Colyer Confirms Bid for Full Term as Kansas Governor in 2018
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer has confirmed that he will seek a full, four-year term as Kansas governor in 2018 after assuming the office upon Governor Sam Brownback's departure. Colyer announced Tuesday that he appointed a treasurer for his campaign for the Republican nomination. He said in a statement that he is committed to doing the work necessary to win. Brownback has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Brownback has not set a date for stepping down as governor. Both Brownback and Colyer are conservative Republicans who ran together on a single ticket in 2010 and 2014. The race for the GOP nomination already is crowded with six other candidates that include Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.
Kansas Senate Leader: Governor Should Boost Prison Pay Now
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Republican is calling on GOP Governor Sam Brownback to give corrections officers at state prisons an immediate pay increase. Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita issued a statement Wednesday urging Brownback to take executive action. She toured the El Dorado Correctional Facility with hometown Republican Senator Bruce Givens. The Department of Corrections has confirmed three inmate disturbances at the El Dorado prison in May and June and a pair of inmate-on-inmate stabbings July 28. The prison is struggling with an annual turnover rate among uniformed officers of 46 percent. They are sometimes working 16-hour shifts because of staffing shortages. Wagle said she would leave the size of the pay increase to Brownback and Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood. She said lawmakers could cover the cost next year.
Kansas Announces Effort to Redesign Public Schools
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials have chosen seven school districts to participate in an effort to redesign public education. The seven school districts participating in a pilot effort were announced Tuesday during a Kansas Board of Education meeting. The seven districts selected by the department will each revamp an elementary school and a secondary school. The changes will emphasize new priorities pushed by the state as it tries to modernize efforts to develop and define successful high school graduates. Education officials say the rest of the state will eventually join the program. School districts will be asked to find new ways to promote five principles - developing individual study plans, measuring social and economic growth, improving graduation rates and post-secondary completion and addressing kindergarten readiness.
Kansas City Voters Approve Minimum Wage Hike
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City, Missouri voters have agreed to raise the local minimum wage, ignoring a law that state legislators enacted earlier this year barring cities from setting their own wage rates. Under the proposal approved Tuesday, Kansas City's minimum wage would increase from $7.70 to $10 on August 24. But it may only be in place for a few days because the new state rules take effect on August 28. Though largely symbolic because of the state law, the Kansas City vote calls for annual rate hikes starting September 1, 2019. It would eventually reach $15 per hour in 2022. Advocacy groups also launched a petition drive Tuesday seeking to let Missouri voters decide next year whether to raise the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.
Topeka Capital-Journal Sold to NewMedia Investment Group
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Morris Communications is selling its 11 daily newspapers and other publications in those markets to New Media Investment Group, the parent company of GateHouse Media, Inc. New Media said Wednesday it purchased Morris Publishing Group, the newspaper division of Georgia-based Morris Communications, for $120 million. The sale includes The Topeka Capital-Journal and daily newspapers in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Alaska. A news release said it should be finalized in October. GateHouse Media owns more than 130 daily newspapers and other publications in 36 U.S. states. William S. Morris III, chairman of Morris Communications, will remain publisher of The Augusta Chronicle. Morris Communications, a family-owned media company, will still publish magazines, sell broadband services and operate other business ventures.
Escaped Inmate from Kansas Prison Captured
WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man who escaped from a Kansas prison where he was serving time for a burglary case has been recaptured in another county. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet says 53-year-old Lewis Mitchell was caught shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday after a sheriff's deputy saw him hitchhiking along a highway and, after approaching the man, saw him run into a corn field. The Kansas Department of Corrections said Mitchell had walked away Tuesday night from the Winfield prison in Cowley County. Mitchell was serving a sentence of two years and three months on a Sedgwick County burglary conviction.
Man Convicted of Fire Attack at Fort Leavenworth
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal jury has convicted a former civilian employee of charges that he set a supervisor on fire and attacked her with a straight razor and scissors at a health center at Fort Leavenworth. Jurors in Kansas City, Kansas found 55-year-old Clifford Currie guilty Tuesday of one count of assault with intent to commit murder. Prosecutors allege during the Leavenworth man's trial that in September of last year, Currie threw a flammable liquid on his female supervisor, ignited her and assaulted her with a straight edge razor and scissors. Authorities say another worker was injured when she tried to stop the assault before other hospital employees subdued Currie. Currie faces up to 20 years in federal prison and possibly as much as $250,000 in fines when sentenced October 31.
Case Against Tonganoxie Superintendent Dismissed
TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) - Linn County authorities have dismissed a criminal case against a Tonganoxie school superintendent who was charged with not reporting sex abuse cases. Chris Kleidosty was scheduled to appear Monday in Linn County District Court but County Attorney James Brun recently dismissed the charges. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Kleidosty was charged in February with failing to report two sex abuse cases in the Prairie View school district, where he previously was superintendent. He was placed on administrative leave with pay at Tonganoxie after the arrest. The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled. A teacher and an administrator at Prairie View High School were arrested for alleged sexual relations with two students. Kleidosty has contended that he always cooperated with authorities investigating the case.
Kansas Supreme Court's Chief Justice Reports to Jury Duty
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man awaiting trial on charges of felony theft had the potential that one of his jurors might have been the top official on the judicial panel that ultimately could have reviewed his appeal. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss reported for jury duty Tuesday with 51 other Shawnee County residents. Nuss wasn't selected because the defendant avoided trial by pleading guilty. Nuss said Wednesday he was prepared to be there as long as the process took, spending idle time checking his emails on his iPhone. As a 15-year member of Kansas's high court, Nuss has been called for jury duty three times but didn't have to report for duty the first two times.
16 Empty Railroad Cars Derail in Topeka; No Injuries
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Sixteen empty cars on a Union Pacific freight train derailed near downtown Topeka near the Kansas River. Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff says no injuries were reported after the derailment Wednesday morning. He says the cars derailed on a curve and landed on their side just south of a railroad bridge that crosses the river. The derailed cars were near the middle of the 80 railroad cars being pulled by the train. Another locomotive was called to move the cars that stayed upright. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the derailed cars were moved off the track about two hours after the derailment. DeGraff says the derailment caused minimal damage to the track.
Police: Mother, Daughter Found Slain in Kansas Home
NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Police in Newton say a man suspected in the slayings of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter has been arrested in Texas. Authorities say 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and daughter Zaylynn Paz were found dead shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday by Runyon's ex-boyfriend in bedrooms in the victims' duplex. Police said the girl had been fatally stabbed and that her mother strangled. Police said the suspect was arrested shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Taylor, Texas, where he allegedly was found driving Runyon's vehicle when he arrived at a relative's home. Police Chief Eric Murphy said the suspect has been previously arrested and has been known to law enforcers in and around 19,000-resident Newton. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting.
Inspection Backlog Reduces Use of Kidney Dialysis Clinics
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eight nearly new kidney dialysis clinics are mostly unused because the state is more than two years behind inspecting and certifying for the clinics. And another four clinics are waiting to expand because they are waiting for state inspections. The Kansas City Star reports federal funding for inspectors was reduced in recent years and Kansas has not made up the difference. That's caused turnover in the health facility inspection force. The backlog for new dialysis centers are by federal law a lower priority than inspections of other types of facilities and existing dialysis centers with problems. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services contracts with state health departments to do the inspections. Without inspections, dialysis centers can't bill Medicare, which covers 85 percent of Americans in kidney failure.
NTSB: Mechanical Failure Unlikely as Factor in Kansas Crash
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal investigators say mechanical failure likely didn't play a role in a plane crash that killed a pilot and flight instructor near an airport in Topeka, Kansas. The National Transportation Safety Board says in a preliminary report that investigators found "no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation" of the 1965 Piper PA-30 before it went down July 31 near Philip Billard Municipal Airport. The crash killed 61-year-old pilot William Leeds of Topeka and 55-year-old flight instructor James Bergman of Leawood. Authorities say that Leeds was an experienced pilot who was working on a new multi-engine land airplane rating for his pilot certificate, and that the crash happened during a practice flight a day before his scheduled examination.
Kansas Native Among 3 Marines Killed in Military Plane Crash
SYDNEY (AP) — U.S. military officials have identified the three Marines who were killed after their aircraft crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia. The three men remain missing and were declared dead by the military on Tuesday. They were among 26 people on board an MV-22 Osprey that crashed off the coast of Queensland state on Saturday. The U.S. Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said the victims were 26-year-old 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross of Oxford, Maine; 21-year-old Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway of Sedgwick, Kansas; and 19-year-old Pfc. Ruben Velasco of Los Angeles. The Australian navy found the wreckage of the aircraft on Monday.
KBI Identifies Man Shot by Officers in Junction City
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has identified the man who was fatally shot by law enforcement officers in Junction City. The agency said Wednesday that 23-year-old Peter James Robbins was killed outside a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Junction City. KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood says Junction City and Geary County officers responded early Tuesday to a report of an armed disturbance at the Walmart.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the officers located a man who was armed with two handguns on the sidewalk near the store's parking lot.Underwood says the man was told to drop his weapons and when the confrontation escalated, four officers from the two agencies fired at the man, killing him. No officers were injured.
Police: Bones Found at Kansas City Construction Site Are Human
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Missouri, say bones found Monday at a downtown construction site are human, and the county's medical examiner and archaeologists are investigating. A police statement Tuesday offered no additional details about the bones unearthed by construction workers the previous day beneath a former Kansas City Star building, which is now vacant but being renovated. Police are unsure how the bones came to be there or how old they are.
Trial over Security at Chiefs Games Begins
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A trial has begun over a Kansas City man's claims that he was attacked during a Chiefs game because of lacking security. The Kansas City Star reports that the Chiefs deny the claims and are fighting them during the civil trial. Adrien Caye's lawyers say he was at an October 2013 game at Arrowhead Stadium when a man in front of him started fighting. Caye's attorney, Ken McClain, said that the other man sent Caye flying down 20 concrete stairs before punching him several times. The man has been dismissed from the lawsuit. Caye says security wasn't there to help. A Chiefs' attorney told jurors that the team has hundreds of off-duty police and private security guards at home games and fans can easily get help.
Cardinals Pound Royals 10-3 for 2nd Win in "I-70 Series"
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yadier Molina, Jedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk went deep, the Cardinals scored so much in the fifth inning that they broke the scoreboard, and St. Louis rolled to a 10-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. Michael Wacha (9-4) allowed a three-run double to Cheslor Cuthbert but otherwise kept the Royals in check, surrendering six hits over six innings to win for the sixth time in seven decisions. Molina homered off Jason Vargas (13-6) in the fourth and Grichuk and Gyorko connected to highlight the six-run fifth, when the crown-shaped video board at Kauffman Stadium suddenly went dark. About half of it came back online in the seventh, as the Cardinals continued to tack on runs. The inter-league, "I-70" series moves to St. Louis for two more games starting tonight (WED).