More than 70 Foster Kids Missing in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan (Wichita Eagle) - More than 40 foster children are missing in Kansas. That's according to a report today (TUE) from the Wichita Eagle, which quotes that figure from companies running the state's foster care system. State lawmakers met at a child welfare task force meeting today (TUE) and expressed concern about the issue. Lawmakers also expressed concern that the secretary for the Kansas Department for Children and Families -- Phyllis Gilmore -- appeared to be unaware that three sisters have been missing from a foster home in Tonganoxie since August 26. State Senator Laura Kelly, of Topeka, told that task force that when she raised the missing children with the department, the agency knew nothing. After the meeting, Secretary Gillmore said she couldn't discuss the case of the missing sisters, who are aged 12, 14 and 15. Police think they fled their foster home. KVC Kansas, one of the foster care contractors, reports that it has 38 missing children. Another contractor, Saint Francis Community Services, says 36 of its foster children are missing.
Lawsuit: District failed to report allegations before assault
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - A lawsuit alleges that a boy sexually assaulted a girl at a suburban Kansas City middle school after school officials failed to report previous allegations against the boy to law enforcement. The Kansas City Star reports that the girl's father is suing the Shawnee Mission School District. The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court alleges that the girl was assaulted "entirely against her will" earlier this year in a study hall classroom at Westridge Middle School. The suit says the boy's school records contain reports from three other female students about similar assaults and that none of them were reported to authorities. Several current and former school and district officials are named as defendants. The district didn't immediately return a phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Douglas County Sheriff: No Foul Play in Case of Body Found in Burning Car
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Douglas County authorities say they do not suspect foul play was involved in the death of a man whose body was found in a burning car at a campsite near Clinton Lake. Sgt. Kristen Channel says detectives have concluded their investigation. The body was found March 7 after a burning car was reported at the Rockhaven Campground. Firefighters found the body after the fire was extinguished. At the time, the park was closed for the season. Sgt. Channel says the body has been identified as a 45-year-old man from Independence, Missouri.
Topeka Man Runs for 2nd District Congressional Seat
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A 25-year-old Topeka man with little political experience is joining a crowded field of candidates seeking the nomination for the state's 2nd Congressional District. Matt Bevens announced his candidacy today (TUE), saying he was a political outsider who would serve only six years if elected. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Blevins emphasized simplifying taxes, investing in infrastructure and education and preserving liberties. He also criticized tax cuts championed by Governor Sam Brownback and other Kansas conservatives. Bevens only political experience is an unsuccessful bid for the Topeka City Council. He is an energy trader for Westar Energy. Bevens joins Republicans Vernon Fields, Steve Fitzgerald, Antonio Soave and Caryn Tyson in the race. Democrats Paul Davis and Kelly Standley also are running to replace Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who is not seeking re-election.
Man Sentenced in Kidnapping of Kansas Woman Who Was Killed
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Junction City man who participated in the kidnapping of a woman who was later killed has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says 33-year-old Christopher Pugh was sentenced Tuesday after he admitted that he helped kidnap 24-year-old Amanda Clemons in February 2014. Pugh was among a group of people who kidnapped Clemons from a Junction City hotel and beat her, while demanding that she pay $300. Clemons eventually was allowed to call her young son and mother and the mother called police. When police called Clemons, Pugh left the scene. Prosecutors say Clemons was taken to a remote bridge in Geary County and beaten, and eventually her throat was cut. Three other people have been sentenced to jail and a fourth is awaiting sentencing.
Officer Shoots and Wounds Man at Overland Park Apartment
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ Police say an officer shot and wounded a man at a luxury apartment complex in Overland Park while investigating a domestic disturbance. The shooting happened yesterday (MON) afternoon. Police say that officers responded to the complex after a man called 911 and said he was armed with a knife. The man also is accused of threatening to kill himself and his wife. Authorities say the man displayed a weapon and charged toward the responding officers. Police say one of the officers shot the man twice. The man, whose name has not been released, is listed in stable condition at a local hospital.
23-Year-Old Man Identified as Topeka Shooting Victim
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified a man killed in a Topeka shooting that left another man wounded. Police said in a news release that the man who was found dead Monday in an alley was 23-year-old Bondderrick Sanders. A second person was taken to a hospital in a private vehicle with a non-life threatening gunshot wound. Police also are investigating whether the shooting is related to a report of gunfire earlier Monday. The release says a vehicle that was wanted in connection to the case has been located. Anyone with information is urged to call police.
Kansas Governor Issues First Pardon over 1994 Theft Case
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has issued his first pardon in almost seven years in office to a man convicted of felony theft as a college student in 1994. Brownback's office announced the pardon today (TUE) for Mark Schmitt of Parker, Colorado. Schmitt is a Liberal, Kansas, native convicted of felony theft while living as a college student in Ottawa. The governor's office said the charge arose from a false insurance claim for $1,552. It said Schmitt completed probation, paid restitution and had his record expunged. Brownback said in a statement that Schmitt has proven since to be "a man of character." Then governor's office said Schmitt applied for a pardon from former Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson but the paperwork was lost. Brownback denied 72 other clemency applications.
Kansas Agency, Labor Union Split over Staffing at Larned State Hospital
LARNED, Kan. (AP) — State officials overseeing mental health hospitals and an employee labor union are disputing over whether a hospital in west-central Kansas was staffed at minimum standards. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that an email released by the Kansas Organization for State Employees says Larned State Hospital was inadequately staffed in all units Monday. The union says staffing is a continual problem for the hospital, which has had to ask workers to come in. Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck says staffing didn't fall too low, but that it was a complex issue. He says staffing levels fluctuate daily. A union official says the department isn't doing enough, saying pay is too low and health insurance premiums are too high. Keck says nearly 30 percent of the hospital's jobs are vacant.
Anti-Gay Vandalism Found Outside Kansas State Student Union
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State officials say an anti-gay slur was found outside the university's student union, the latest vandalism targeting diversity at the school. The Wichita Eagle reports that the slur was found Monday and removed that afternoon. The anti-gay vandalism occurred the same week someone vandalized a temporary dwelling erected outside a residential complex for the Jewish harvest festival, Sukkot. Pat Bosco, dean of students and vice president for student life, said campus police are investigating. In September, white supremacist fliers were found on campus. And in May, a noose was found hanging from a campus tree.
Bob Dole Back Home After 3-Week Hospital Stay
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole has returned home after being hospitalized for three weeks with low blood pressure. Dole spokeswoman Marion Watkins said in an email Tuesday that the 94-year-old former Kansas senator was discharged Thursday from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C. He was hospitalized September 13. Dole tweeted last week that he's "happy to be home." He lives in the D.C. area. The tweet continues, "Cheers to all the well-wishers, care givers and staff at Walter Reed," and bears a photo of him holding up a drink. Dole served in Congress for 35 years. He left the Senate in 1996 for his campaign against President Bill Clinton. Congress recently voted to award him a Congressional Gold Medal.
Grandparents Challenges Kansas Child Immunization Mandate
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ The grandparents of a 2-year-old Kansas boy say the state is acting as "religious police'' by requiring vaccinations for children. Linus and Terri Baker are suing the state Department for Children and Families after the agency announced its intention to vaccinate the boy despite the family's wishes. The Bakers have physical custody of the boy as his foster parents. The couple opposes immunization on religious and health grounds. But because the child is in temporary state custody, the department has the authority to make the immunization decision. State law says children in child care facilities are required to have current immunizations unless there are health risks or religious reasons. A department spokeswoman says the agency can't comment on the pending lawsuit.
KBI Investigates Death of 1-Year-Old in Ulysses
ULYSSES, Kan. (AP) _ Law enforcement agencies are investigating the death of a 1-year-old boy from Ulysses. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says Ulysses police were called to a Ulysses home last week because a toddler was unresponsive. First responders found 13-month-old Jaxon Silva unresponsive. He was flown to a Wichita hospital, where he was declared brain dead on Friday. An autopsy is scheduled for this week.
Tax Office Shooting Affidavit: "I Just Killed a Guy... I Lost It"
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Court records say a man accused of walking into a tax office in Wichita and shooting a tax seizure agent told an acquaintance in a phone call that he'd "lost it'' and "just killed a guy.'' The Wichita Eagle reports that the arrest affidavit for Ricky Wirths says the call was one of two that the 52-year-old made after the September 19 shooting that wounded Cortney Holloway. The affidavit says Wirths also asked the acquaintance to care for his employees and children. Wirths remains in jail on $500,000 bond after pleading not guilty to attempted first-degree murder. He owed nearly $400,000 in outstanding tax warrants.
Kansas Boy Whose Town Gave Him a Special Early Christmas Dies
LEBO, Kan. (AP) — A 3-year-old boy whose fight with cancer prompted his small eastern Kansas hometown to celebrate Christmas in September has died. Christian Risner of Lebo died Saturday in Emporia. Christian's family announced his death on a Facebook page they established after the boy was diagnosed with Rhabdoid kidney cancer in April 2016. Christian began hospice care in August. He loved Christmas, so Lebo — a town of about 940 people — put on a special celebration September 10, with Santa, a horse-drawn sleigh and homes throughout the town decorated for the holiday. The Jones-Vans Arsdale Funeral Home says his funeral will take place Saturday at Lebo High School, with visitation before the service. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and paternal grandparents.
Sculpture on KU Campus Designated as National World War I Memorial
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A memorial in Lawrence has been designated as a World War I Centennial Memorial as part of a national campaign. The designation means the Victory Eagle memorial outside Dyche Hall on the University of Kansas campus will qualify for grant funds to help restore it. The Lawrence Journals-World reports the 4-foot sculpture of a bronze eagle was originally located on U.S. Highway 40. It was given to the university in the 1980s after the sculpture was found toppled over. The memorial is one of 100 nationwide to receive the designation as part of the "100 Cities/100 Memorials" program. Each memorial will receive a $2,000 matching grant toward restoration and maintenance.
Complaints over Dicamba Chemical Continue in Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri Department of Agriculture says it is continuing to receive a high volume of complaints over dicamba from farmers who say the chemical is ruining their crops. The agency received more than 310 complaints about dicamba this year, the highest number in years. The Columbia Missourian reports an estimated 3.1 million acres across the U.S. have been harmed by the chemical this summer. The state temporarily banned the chemical in July, but the ban was lifted within a week with restrictions on its use. The chemical was designed to kill broadleaf weeds but can drift into other farmer's crops that are not dicamba-resistant.