Kansas to Vote on Ending Census Adjustment for Redistricting
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas voters are deciding whether to end the state's unusual policy of using its own numbers in addition to federal census data to redraw boundaries of state legislative districts. The ballot in today's (TUE) election includes a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to eliminate a requirement for the state to adjust federal census figures when the Legislature redistricts itself. The adjustment counts college students and military personnel not where they're living but in a "permanent" home elsewhere. That's outside Kansas for thousands of people and the practice has cost university towns some political clout. Secretary of State Scott Schwab argues that the policy is outdated and says the next adjustment for 2022 would cost $835,000. Kansas is among only a few states that adjust federal census figures for redistricting.
Wichita Mayor Seeks Re-Election in Race Marked by False Online Ad
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell is seeking to win re-election after a contentious race marked by an allegation of favoritism in contracting and a false campaign ad targeting an opponent. Democratic state Rep. Brandon Whipple hopes to unseat Longwell in Tuesday's election. The Wichita Eagle reported during the campaign that Longwell steered a multi-million-dollar contract to a group that includes friends. Longwell denied wrongdoing. The local district attorney concluded Longwell needed only to refile a disclosure form. The race was enflamed by an online ad falsely suggesting that Whipple had been accused of sexual harassment at the Statehouse. Republican leaders linked a GOP lawmaker to the ad. Longwell was on a suburban school board and the City Council before being elected mayor in 2015. Whipple is a Wichita State University lecturer.
Kansas City to Vote on Removing King's Name from Historic Boulevard
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - After nearly a year of debate that included charges of racism on one side and claims city officials bypassed rules on the other, Kansas City, Missouri, residents will decide today (TUE) whether to remove the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s name from an historic boulevard. Voters will decide if they want to change the historic 10-mile boulevard back to its original name, The Paseo. The City Council voted in January to rename the boulevard to honor King, ending Kansas City's reputation as one of the largest cities in the U.S. without a street named for the iconic civil rights leader. The vote caught some residents by surprise and a group named Save the Paseo collected enough signatures on petitions to have the name change put to a public vote.
Justices Seem OK with Car Stop over Owner's Invalid License
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court seems ready to say police may pull over a car when they know only that its owner's license is not valid — even if they don't know who's driving. The issue of traffic stops based on information gleaned from motor vehicle records has become more pressing with the advent of automated license plate readers that can run hundreds of plates a minute. The justices indicated in arguments Monday that they would reverse a Kansas high court ruling that found police violated a driver's constitutional rights when they stopped his pickup based only on information that the truck owner's license had been suspended. Chief Justice John Roberts was among justices who suggested that the common-sense view that the owner would be driving was enough to justify the traffic stop. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that police face a relatively low burden known as "reasonable suspicion" to stop and question people. "As we've said often, it can be based on common sense," Roberts said. It's reasonable for an officer to make the traffic stop even if the driver turns out not to be the registered owner most of the time, he said. The situation arises when an officer can't easily see into a vehicle to determine, for instance, that a woman is driving the vehicle, though the vehicle's owner is a man. Siding with the driver in this case, Charles Glover of Kansas, could raise practical problems, some justices said. If the window glass is tinted and an officer can't easily see in, the officer "has to let the driver go on?" Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he was troubled by the possibility that a patrol car would have to follow a driver waiting for a minor traffic infraction to pull over the car. Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor sounded like the most likely votes for the driver. They suggested in their questions that police officers can easily justify a traffic stop based on their experience and training. In this case, the Kansas court said police relied on nothing other than Glover's suspended license, they said. A decision in Kansas v. Glover, 18-556, is expected by late June.
Davids Urges Colleagues to Speak Out on Adoption Rule
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas' lone congressional Democrat is urging her Kansas Republican colleagues to speak out against a policy that would allow faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to get taxpayer funding even if they turn away same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. The Kansas City Star reports that Rep. Sharice Davids sent a letter Tuesday asking GOP colleagues to use their relationships with President Donald Trump to help reverse the policy, proposed by the administration on Friday. Davids is one of nine LGBTQ members of Congress. The proposed rule would roll back an Obama-era regulation barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Four of the five Republican members of the state's congressional delegation voiced support for the policy. Sen. Jerry Moran has yet to respond.
Lawmaker Quits Outside Job Amid Conflict of Interest Worries
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state senator has resigned from her job outside of government working for a company that has earned more than $13.3 million from state contracts since 2016 amid conflict of interest concerns. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Sen. Julia Lynn of Olathe resigned Friday from Inclusion Works, a division of Allied Global Services. Lynn has served as Republican leader of the Senate Commerce Committee. She declined to discuss her role in a private 2017 meeting in which a Kansas Department of Commerce data breach was discussed with agency leaders and AGS executives. The firm sought contract work to help resolve the hacking problem. Lynn says influence she has had for AGS shouldn't be questioned because Kansas law exempts lawmakers from conflicts of interest. Some lawmakers called her interpretation inaccurate.
Trial Delayed over Bomb Plot for Former Ft. Riley Soldier Said to Be Satanist
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas has delayed the trial of an Army infantry soldier who prosecutors say is a Satanist hoping to overthrow the U.S. government and distributed information about building bombs. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in Topeka on Monday granted a request from attorneys for Jarrett William Smith to postpone a trial from early December until at least mid-January. Smith pleaded not guilty in September to charges of distributing explosives information and making a threatening interstate communication. His attorneys said they needed more time to review evidence. Smith was a private stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He's accused of providing information about explosives to an FBI undercover agent and threatening to burn down the house of a far-left-leaning "antifa" member. Authorities say he also wanted to car bomb a major news organization.
Police: Kansas Robbery Recorded, Posted on Social Media
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Four Kansas high school students face charges for armed robberies on Halloween, including one that was recorded on video and posted on social media. Olathe police told the Kansas City Star that a video shared on social media was related to the robberies. The suspects are students at Olathe High School in suburban Kansas City. All four suspects have been taken into custody. They are charged in juvenile court, each with two felony counts of aggravated robbery. Victims of both crimes told police that the robbers took clothing and electronics. The suspects were arrested later that night.
Prisoner Gets 19 ½ More Years for Attempted Sexual Assault
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — An inmate serving a life sentence for killing a Kansas teacher has been sentenced to an additional 19 ½ years for attempting to sexually assault a prison counselor. The Hutchinson News reports that the extra time was ordered last week for 42-year-old Tanner Green. He already is serving a "Hard 50" life term for the 2000 murder of Janice Vredenburg in her Goddard home. Green said during the hearing that he doesn't "deserve to be in society." Green wrote his wife before the attack, saying he saw a woman in the Hutchinson prison that looked like her and he was going to "give himself up completely to his innermost cravings" for his birthday. The prison counselor was able to fight him off and trigger a panic alarm on her belt.
Police Identify Woman Found in Gas-Filled Topeka Home
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman found dead under "suspicious circumstances" in a natural-gas filled Topeka home was a Shawnee County Department of Corrections employee. Police identified the woman Monday as 36-year-old Brandi Prchal. Her cause of death is under investigation. Officers investigating reports of a gas leak in a central Topeka home found her dead inside the home. Police say a man found ill inside the home, 36-year-old Jeremy Lardner of Topeka, was treated and released from a hospital and then booked into jail. He faces possible charges of first-degree murder and criminal threat. Police have released no details about why the indicent was considered suspicious.
Ex-Clerk of Kansas County Admits Misuse of Public Funds
MARYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) — The former clerk of a northeast Kansas county has admitted to spending more than $100,000 of taxpayer money for personal use. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release that 44-year-old Sonya Laurette Stohs, of Marysville, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Marshall County District Court to felony misuse of public funds. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 7. A Kansas Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Secret Service investigation found that Stohs used more than $100,000 in county funds to pay for various personal items between May 2013 and April 2019.
Relatives of Man Fatally Shot by Police Reach $1 Million Settlement
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Relatives of a Kansas man who was fatally shot by a police officer have settled a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit for $1 million. The Kansas City Star reported the settlement Monday for the family of Antonio Garcia Jr. Garcia was killed by a Leavenworth officer on July 11, 2017, while sitting in a car in the driveway of his home. The lawsuit said Officer Matthew Harrington unjustifiably shot and killed Garcia. The suit cited what it called the city's "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" policy. Harrington was fired. A grand jury indicted him on an involuntary manslaughter charge . That case has not yet gone to trial. Garcia's family reached the settlement with the city and the officer in August, and a federal judge approved it Monday.
Affidavit: Suspect Says Child Porn Was 'Form of Art'
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Court documents say a Lawrence man told police that child pornography found on his electric devices was a "form of art." The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 46-year-old Charles Tingler is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The recently released affidavit says a woman called police in 2016 to report finding child porn on Tingler's devices. Tingler told police that the images on the devices belonged to the previous owners, although they had been downloaded recently. Tingler later told police that he "equated the access of the imagery to an appreciation for the imagery as a form of art or curiosity." The affidavit says he denied accessing the images for sexual arousal. It is not clear why Tingler wasn't charged until September.
Toddler's Killer Gets 13 ½ More Years for Stabbing Guard
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man serving a life sentence for killing a toddler has been sentenced to 13 ½ more years in prison for stabbing a guard at least three times in the abdomen with a shank. The Hutchinson News reports that 34-year-old Mark Anthony Baker was sentenced to the extra time Friday for the Dec. 6, 2018, attack at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Prosecutors say it happened after the officer denied Baker's request to talk to a counselor. Records indicate that the officer spent one night in the hospital. Baker previously was sentenced to life for the March 2011 killing his then-girlfriend's 19-month-old son, Zane Pennington. A forensic pathologist testified that Zane suffered from severe head trauma and abdominal injuries. In the plea, an aggravated criminal sodomy charge was dismissed.
Wichita Police: Remains of Fetus Found in Box Along River
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita, Kansas, are investigating after a woman found the remains of a human fetus inside a small box along a river. The fetus was found Sunday afternoon. Police believe it to be 10 weeks gestation or younger. A coroner will examine the remains for a more exact determination. At a news conference on Monday, police Capt. Brent Allred said a 57-year-old woman was near the Arkansas River when she saw a box on a sandbar. Officers were called and found the fetus inside the box. Bloody towels and other materials also were found in the box. The remains were taken to a forensics lab for an autopsy. Police say they have not classified the case as a criminal investigation but that could change, depending on autopsy results.
Sprint: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Sprint Corporation on Monday reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $274 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. The Overland Park, Kansas-based company said it had a loss of 7 cents per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 1 cent per share. The wireless carrier posted revenue of $7.8 billion in the period, which also did not meet Street forecasts. Twelve analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $8.17 billion. Sprint shares have increased 8% since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased slightly in the last 12 months.
Kansas City Man Charged in Deadly Drunken Driving Crash
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Court documents say a Kansas City man had a blood-alcohol level that was three times the legal limit when he caused a deadly crash. Thirty-nine-year-old Paul Dowdell was charged Saturday with driving while intoxicated in the deadly collision. No attorney is listed for him in online court records. The Jackson County prosecutor's office says Dowell had a blood-alcohol level of .295 in January when he crossed a lane divider on Interstate 470 in a Cadillac Eldorado and struck a tractor-trailer. The truck's driver, Daniel Shafer, was ejected when the rig crashed into a concrete barrier. He died the next day. Prosecutors say Dowdell left the hospital against medical advice before an officer arrived. He was arrested Saturday. Court records show he has two prior DUI convictions in Missouri.
Church of Scientology Opens Downtown Kansas City Location
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Church of Scientology has opened a new location in downtown Kansas City, in a seven-story building that once housed a bank. The Kansas City Star reports that the 79,000-square-foot building near 18th and Grand was draped with a giant red ribbon and box affixed to the upper floors over the weekend. A large electric sign reading "Church of Scientology" was lit at night. The opening occurred more than a decade after the church bought the building in 2007. The building was constructed in the 1920s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The church's previous presence in Kansas City was at a storefront at 39th and Main.
Police Investigating the Death of a 72-Year-Old Wichita Man as a Homicide
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities are investigating the death of a 72-year-old Wichita man as a homicide after a woman who sometimes takes him to Sunday church services found his body. Wichita police Captain Brent Allred says Raymond Koob Jr. didn't come to the door when the woman showed up to give him a ride. Police say the women returned later in the day to check on Koob and found his body when she entered through an open door. Allred says first responders initially thought Koob might have died from a medical condition. But during their investigation, they realized his injuries were the result of someone assaulting him. Wichita police are asking anyone with information to come forward.
Contract Worker Electrocuted in KC Suburb
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — A contract worker is dead after coming into contact with power lines in a Kansas suburb of Kansas City. Police say the man in his 40s was electrocuted Tuesday afternoon in Prairie Village, a town in Johnson County. The victim's name has not been released. According to authorities, the man was in a bucket truck doing contract work when he made contact with the line. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Evergy workers were on the scene inspecting the power lines.
Chiefs, Team President Mark Donovan Sign Long-Term Extension
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs and team President Mark Donovan announced a long-term contract extension Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed. Donovan joined the Chiefs as chief operating officer in 2009 and was promoted to team president in 2011.
"I'd like to congratulate Mark and his family on this well-deserved recognition," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. "Mark is an innovative leader and a talented executive who is widely respected in our industry and in the Kansas City community. I am thrilled that he will continue to be a key part of the leadership of the Chiefs for many years to come." Donovan spent six years with the Philadelphia Eagles following leadership roles in sales and marketing with the National Hockey League. The Pittsburgh native graduated from Brown University with a double major in political science and organizational behavior/management. He is a former quarterback for Brown and signed with the New York Giants as a free agent after graduation.
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