UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court Lifts Hold on Gay Marriage in Kansas
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court says same-sex marriages can go ahead in Kansas. The court on Wednesday denied the state's request to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying while Kansas fights the issue in court. A federal district judge last week blocked the state from enforcing its ban, saying it was in keeping with an earlier ruling by the federal appeals court that oversees Kansas that struck down bans in Oklahoma and Utah. The judge's ruling was supposed to go into effect Tuesday, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily put it on hold while the high court reviewed the case. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have sided with the state.
Education Leaders Fear Cuts in School Funding
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas education leaders fear a new revenue forecast requiring the state to make $278 million in cuts for the current fiscal year will result in a school funding reduction. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the state's fiscal situation is expected to be discussed at a Kansas Board of Education meeting on Wednesday. Board member Janet Waugh says education spending in the state already is down to the bare bones. State Department of Education officials say they don't think Governor Sam Brownback or the Legislature plan to cut K-12 spending because of statements they have made that indicated education would not be targeted. Brownback's budget director announced more than $100 million in proposed savings during the fall gubernatorial campaign, and said an additional list of $50 million in cuts would be revealed soon.
Competency Tests Ordered in Jewish Site Shootings
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has ordered a competency hearing for an avowed white supremacist from Missouri who is accused of shooting three people to death at two Jewish sites earlier this year. Johnson County Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan ordered the evaluation Wednesday for 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller, of Aurora, Missouri. A December 18 hearing has been scheduled to discuss the findings. The move delays a preliminary hearing that was to determine if enough evidence existed for Miller to stand trial. Miller objected to the delay and said it interfered with his right to a speedy trial. He is charged with capital murder in the April 13 attacks outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and a Jewish retirement home in Overland Park, Kansas. None of the victims was Jewish.
Wichita Child Dies in House Fire; 2 Injured
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 9-year-old boy died and his mother and younger brother were seriously injured in a fire at a south Wichita home. Wichita fire officials are trying to determine what caused the fire early Wednesday. Wichita Fire Captain Stu Bevis says the 27-year-old woman and a 3- to 4-year-old child escaped through a window of the two-story home. Firefighters removed the 9-year-old from the home but he was dead at the scene. A man who lives in the first floor of the home escaped unharmed. The older home was converted into four apartments. KWCH-TV reports that the fire caused significant damage to the living room of the one unit. This is Wichita's eighth fire death this year.
Irrigation Wells Bring Concerns in Central Kansas
MILTONVALE, Kan. (AP) — An increase in requests for irrigation wells in central Kansas is raising some concern among residents there. The department that issues the permits says safeguards are in place to protect the water in an area of the state without widespread irrigation. Lane Letourneau, of the Kansas Division of Water Resources, says requests for water wells indicates a trend toward more irrigation, as are efforts to capture surface water in northeast Kansas. He says the increase is being driven at least partly by higher crop prices. The Salina Journal reports the water agency received 22 applications in 2013, with six dismissed, nine approved and the other seven pending. Letourneau says many of the systems are meant to help crops during dry periods and not to fully irrigate the crops.
Kansas City Man Dies in Downtown Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri police say a man died and a suspect is in custody after a shooting downtown near City Hall. Police say the victim, a man in his 40s, died during surgery after the shooting early Wednesday. The Kansas City Star reports that the victim worked in the area but did not work for the city. He was the husband and brother-in-law of two employees in the Finance Department. No further information about the victim was released. Police spokesman Tye Grant says officers heard the shots and chased the suspect, catching him not far from the federal courthouse. Grant says several witnesses reported the men argued before the shooting but it unclear was caused the argument. City Hall remained open but traffic was disrupted for about two hours.
Kansas Man Recovering After Hunting Accident
HOLTON, Kan. (AP) - A 56-year-old Holton man who is recovering from a hunting accident says a 12-year-old boy's quick thinking saved his life. Jerry Valdez is recovering at the intensive care unit of Salina Regional Health Center after being accidentally shot in the back November 2 while hunting near Clay Center. A statement released by Valdez's wife, Rogene Valdez, says he is making steady progress. She says when her husband was able to talk after being removed from a ventilator on November 7, he said he didn't know what to do after the accident and the boy saved his life. Details of the boy's actions and his relationship to Valdez were not released. Valdez is expected to make a full recovery
Boys Recover After Eudora Train Accident
EUDORA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities in eastern Kansas say two 16-year-old boys have been released from the hospital after being struck by a train on a railroad bridge. Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lieutenant Steve Lewis tells The Lawrence Journal-World that both teens have been discharged but one will have to return for additional surgery on a broken bone. Lewis says the boys from Lawrence and Eudora were hanging out on the bridge November 1 and couldn't move quickly enough to avoid the train. Their identities haven't been released. Deputies are investigating the collision.
Kansas Man Arrested in Uncle's Death
BELVUE, Kan. (AP) - A man is jailed in northeast Kansas after he went to police to report that his uncle had died. Pottawatomie County Sheriff Greg Riat says 70-year-old Larry Arand, of Belvue, was found dead in his home Monday afternoon. Arand's body was found after his 36-year-old nephew went to the Wamego Police Department Monday to report the death. The nephew was booked into the Pottawatomie County Jail. No bond has been set. Riat did not release any other details of the death but said authorities don't believe any other people were involved.
Battery Company to Expand in Joplin After Winning Fed Contract
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - EaglePicher Technologies plans to expand its plant and hire more employees in Joplin after receiving a $22 million federal contract. The company will use the grant to produce new lithium-ion batteries. Company officials said Tuesday that a 100,000-square-foot addition will be added to its existing plant and about 130 people eventually will work there. EaglePicher executive Dwayne Friend says the company won the contract because it has the advanced lithium-ion technology needed for the job. The Joplin Globe reports the U.S. government currently relies on lithium-ion cells that are produced in other countries. The cells are a key element in energy-dependent weapons. Friend said the new addition will feature state-of-the-art equipment and production areas for large-scale manufacturing required by the contract.
Another New Kidney Transplant Clinic Planned for Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wesley Medical Center is planning to partner with Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri to establish a kidney transplant clinic. Wesley spokesman Nick Adams tells The Wichita Eagle that an exact date hasn't been determined yet but the new Research Medical clinic will likely open sometime next month. He says that both hospitals think there's a need in the community for the clinic. Another Kansas City hospital, Saint Luke's Hospital, opened a kidney transplant clinic in Wichita in August. Research Medical has performed more than 1,000 kidney transplants. Saint Luke's has performed more than 1,400. Wesley Medical Center officials said another kidney clinic in Wichita offers more options for patients needing transplants.
Farm Tractor Sales Steady But Combine Sales Plummet
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Sales of combines plummeted in October in the United States, but sales of farm tractors remained steady. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reported in its monthly snapshot that the number of tractor sales for the month remained unchanged at 19,528 when compared with the same month a year ago. Strong sales of two-wheel drive tractors offset declines in the sales of their four-wheel drive counterparts. Overall total sales of farm tractors to date are up 4.1 percent for the first 10 months of the year, with some 179,923 tractors sold in the United States. But farmers bought just 583 combines in October, representing a drop of 49.3 percent when compared with the same month a year ago. Combine sales are down 21.3 percent so far this year.
Chiefs Promote West, Sign Supernaw After Injuries
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have promoted running back Charcandrick West from the practice squad and signed tight end Phillip Supernaw after losing Cyrus Gray and Demetrius Harris to season-ending injuries. West signed with the Chiefs as a rookie free agent this season, and had spent nine weeks on their practice squad. Supernaw has played four games in two seasons with the Ravens and Texans. Gray, a special teams standout, tore an ACL in Sunday's victory in Buffalo. Tight end Harris broke a bone in his foot during pregame warmups before facing the Bills. Both were put on injured reserve. The Chiefs have won four straight games after defeating Buffalo last week. They face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.