Jenkins Exits US House Leadership, May Mull Governor's Race
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas congresswoman Lynn Jenkins will be leaving a position on the House Republicans' leadership team when the newly elected Congress convenes in January. Jenkins said Wednesday that she is stepping down as GOP conference vice chairwoman to focus on health care and tax reform legislation. She's seen as a potential candidate for governor in 2018 to replace term-limited Republican Sam Brownback. Jenkins said she's always willing to consider opportunities for returning to Kansas. She said she also has opportunities in Washington to work with Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress and GOP President-elect Donald Trump. She is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and expects it to review both tax and health care proposals. Jenkins has represented the 2nd District of eastern Kansas since 2009.
Ousted Kansas Congressman Contacted for Agriculture Post
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp says someone "close to the transition" of President-elect Donald Trump has contacted him about becoming agriculture secretary. Huelskamp lost the GOP primary in his agriculture-heavy Kansas district this year after he was booted from the House Agriculture Committee amid fights with Republican leadership. He also opposed a five-year Farm Bill enacted in 2014. The Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association and National Association of Wheat Growers endorsed Huelskamp's challenger, Roger Marshall. Huelskamp said Wednesday that the USDA needs major reform, including stronger work requirements for food stamps. Some other possible candidates for agriculture secretary include Charles Conner of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, a former Bush USDA official; former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue; Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller; and Nebraska cattle rancher Charles Herbster.
Remains Believed to be Those of Homicide Victims Found in Southeast Kansas
PLEASANTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two bodies found buried in eastern Kansas are believed to be those of two homicide victims. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the bodies were found late Tuesday on a rural property west of Pittsburg. The release says the remains are believed to be those of 65-year-old Kenneth Mcnabb and his mother, 87-year-old Betty Mcnabb. They were reported missing Friday. A relative was arrested Monday on suspicion of second-degree murder, criminal desecration of a body, and interference with a law enforcement officer in the killings. KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said she couldn't discuss specifics about why the bodies are believed to be those of the victims. She says autopsies are pending. She also couldn't discuss who owned the property.
Budget Troubles Lead KDOT to Postpone 24 Road Projects
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Budget uncertainties have forced the Kansas Department of Transportation to postpone two dozen road projects that were scheduled to start next summer. The Wichita Eagle reports an estimated $32 million in projects were to be put up for bid in December before KDOT learned last week that the state faces a $350 million budget gap. The 24 projects now are delayed indefinitely. Transportation Department spokesman Steve Swartz says the paving and resurfacing projects were not emergencies, adding that some could still be done if funds become available. Governor Sam Brownback has swept more than $1 billion from the state's highway fund since 2011 to make up for budget shortfalls.
Kansas House of Representatives to Nominate New Speaker
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republicans are set to nominate a new House speaker in December as the current House speaker prepares to retire from the state Legislature. The Wichita Eagle reports that House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey, Representative Ron Ryckman and Representative Russ Jennings are vying to succeed Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick. Republicans control 85 seats in the 125-member House. They will make nominations for the position by secret ballot next month before an official floor vote, which includes Democrats, takes place in January. The next speakers will have to deal with several issues, including the projected $349 million budget hole for the state's current fiscal year.
Topeka Students March to Show Diversity, Unity
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A few hundred Topeka students marched to the Statehouse to show they're diverse and united. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 400 to 500 Topeka High School students participated in the march Wednesday. Angelo Campos, an 18-year-old senior, says since the presidential election last week there've been reports of minorities being discriminated against, and he wanted to show he takes pride in the school's diverse groups. Principal Rebecca Morrisey says the march occurred during a morning period when the school's estimated 1,800 students are in homeroom and that students were allowed to participate if they chose to. Morrisey says the school's been working to "make sure we honor both sides of the political spectrum and that we don't allow negative hate speech from either side of the political spectrum."
Interim K-State President Gets Job on Permanent Basis
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents has selected retired Air Force General Richard B. Myers as the 14th president of Kansas State University. The 74-year-old Myers had been serving as the interim president of the university since former president Kirk Schulz left to become president of Washington State University. Myers, is a retired four-star Air Force general and the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. He is also a 1965 graduate of Kansas State.
New K-State Leader Opposes Concealed Guns on Campus
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — New Kansas State University President Richard Myers has reiterated his opposition to allowing concealed weapons on state college campuses starting next year. Myers told reporters Tuesday that it will be up to the Legislature to decide whether they rescind the policy, but he's voiced his disapproval of the idea. Kansas law will require state universities to start allowing anyone 21 or older to carry concealed weapons into buildings that don't have their own security measures, such as metal detectors. The policy will take effect in July 2017. The Legislature enacted the policy in 2013, with supporters arguing that it would allow law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves.
Small Quake Reported in North-Central Kansas
SMITH CENTER, Kan. (AP) — A small earthquake has shaken parts of north-central Kansas, but there are no immediate reports of damage. The Hays Post reports that the magnitude-3.4 quake struck just before noon Wednesday. The U.S. Geological Survey says it was centered about 25 miles southeast of Smith Center. Officials with the Osborne and Smith County Sheriff's Departments said they didn't receive any calls about the quake. Scientists say damage is not likely in earthquakes below magnitude 4.0.
Authorities: Man Accused in Somali Bomb Plot Considered as Escape Risk
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a man accused in a bomb plot targeting Somali immigrants in Kansas tried to use another inmate to sneak a letter out of the jail that identified a confidential informant. Authorities say Patrick Stein is an escape risk. Law enforcement officials testified that they searched Stein's cell at the Butler County jail and found papers with references to ``a small man team'' overtaking the jail and cutting power to it. The hearing came amid defense concerns that the searches scooped up confidential attorney-client communications. Stein is one of three men accused of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex where 120 Somali immigrants live in Garden City. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Missouri Jury Awards $37.5 Million to Man Paralyzed in Crash
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri jury has awarded a $37.5 million judgment to a man left a paraplegic after a 2014 accident involving a tractor-trailer. Steve Holdeman was driving on Interstate 435 in February 2104 when he slowed in order not to hit Philip Stratman's stalled car in the middle of the highway in front of him. Stratman had shifted his car into neutral to preserve his car brakes when his vehicle stalled, and Holdeman's vehicle was then hit by a tractor-trailer. Holdeman sued Stratman and tractor-trailer's driver, though the jury found Stratman 99 percent at fault.
Southeast Kansas Jail Escapee Agrees to Plea Deal
GIRARD, Kan. (AP) - One of two men who escaped from a southeast Kansas county jail has agreed to a plea deal. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that 27-year-old Steven Ray Barnes pleaded no contest Tuesday to aggravated escape from custody and two unrelated aggravated battery counts. As part of the agreement, charges of aggravated intimidation of a witness, possession of amphetamines and obstruction of official duty were dropped. He faces a 10 year prison term. One of the aggravated battery charges stems from a 2014 attack that left a Pittsburg State University with a broken jaw. Then in April, Barnes and another inmate scaled a fence at the Crawford County jail's outdoor recreation area. The other battery count stems from an attack last month that left another inmate with a collapsed lung.
Kansas Businessman Gets Prison Term on Sex Charge
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas businessman who once was a backup quarterback at Kansas State has been ordered to spend two years and eight months in prison for improper sexual contact with a former high school student. WIBW-TV reports 38-year-old Zach Burton was sentenced Tuesday in Riley County after telling the judge that his actions were "selfish," and that he never coached or had the female student in class. Authorities have said the female student went to Riley County High School, where Burton was an assistant boys' basketball coach and substitute teacher. Burton pleaded guilty in September to one count of unlawful sexual relations.
Man Pleads No Contest in Deadly Kansas Stabbing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas man has agreed to spend 50 years in prison after having pleaded no contest to charges that he fatally stabbed a 6-year-old girl, critically injured her sister and raped their mother. The 47-year-old man, who is related to the mother, entered no contest pleas Tuesday in Sedgwick County. The plea means he neither admits nor disputes the crimes with which he was charged. The Associated Press is withholding the man's name to prevent potentially identifying a sexual assault victim. Wichita police responding to a vehicle accident November 4 found the 6-year-old and her 24-year-old mother stabbed inside a Jeep in a strip mall's parking lot. The girl died at a hospital. Her 4-year-old sister, also stabbed, was found miles away wandering in a field.
Texas Man Arrested in Kansas Crash that Killed Woman, Girl
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Texas man has been arrested in a head-on Kansas crash that killed a mother and her 5-year-old daughter and critically injured the woman's son. The 42-year-old Houston driver is jailed in Geary County on $250,000 bond on suspicion of two counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence and two other counts. No formal charges have been filed. Kansas Highway Trooper Ben Gardner says 26-year-old Jessica Michelle Thompson, of Junction City, had taken her children out of school Tuesday for a medical appointment. They were returning when a large box truck crossed the median on Interstate 70 and crashed into the family's vehicle in Geary County. The crash killed Thompson and her daughter, Leah Michelle Thompson. Her 6-year-old son was flown to a Wichita hospital in critical condition.
Microsoft to Use Kansas Wind Farm for Data Center
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Microsoft has announced that it will purchase 178 megawatts of energy production from a wind farm under construction near Dodge City. The Wichita Eagle reports that the purchase from Bloom Wind Farm will be a portion of the 237 megawatts of alternative energy Microsoft is buying to supply through the grid to its Cheyenne, Wyoming, data center. The wind farm will consist of 54 towers across 15,000 acres of privately-owned land about 20 miles south of Dodge City in Ford and Clark counties. Capital Power will operate the wind farm and plans to sell the power to Microsoft for 10 years.
Kansas City Police to Pay $300K to Settle Lawsuit
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have agreed to pay a robbery suspect $300,000 over allegations that officers used excessive force during his 2014 arrest. The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday that in reaching the settlement with 25-year-old Manuel G. Palacio, Kansas City police did not admit liability or wrongdoing. Palacio alleged that officers drove his head into the ground and verbally threatened him during the May 2, 2014, incident. Palacio also said in his lawsuit that he did not resist and was unarmed during the arrest, which was captured on dash cam video. One of the officers, Shannon Hansen, is no longer with the department after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of harassment. Hansen was sentenced to two years of probation and 30 days of jail shock time.
Longtime Kansas City Star Columnist C.W. Gusewelle Dies
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — C.W. Gusewelle, a longtime columnist for The Kansas City Star, has died. The Kansas City Star reports that Gusewelle died Tuesday. His age and the cause of death were not given. Charles W. Gusewelle joined the Star in 1955 as a general assignment reporter and went on to become an editorial writer on foreign affairs. After serving as foreign editor, he became an associate editor and columnist. The Missouri Press Association named Gusewelle daily columnist of the year in 1984, 1985 and 1987. He wrote 21 books and continued to write his weekly column for the Star until earlier this year. Mike Fannin, the Star's editor and vice president, said in a statement that "Kansas City journalism has lost one of its greatest voices."
Topeka Airport Adopts Dog Found Tied Behind Vacant Building
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka's airport police and fire department have adopted a dog but he won't be doing much police work. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 1-year-old Khan, named after a Star Trek villain, was found on a hot August day tied behind a vacant building on airport property by officers. Chief J.T. O'Grady presented Khan to the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority on Tuesday. O'Grady says the dog had been left behind overnight, and he was extremely thin and had a swollen tongue. Khan was taken to Helping Hands Humane Society, but no one had taken him from the shelter by September so officials decided to adopt him. Khan will undergo obedience training, but he will not work as a police dog.
Kansas Beats No. 1 Duke, 77-75, in New York
NEW YORK (AP) — The Kansas Jayhawks' Frank Mason III hit a short jumper with 1.3 seconds to play to give No. 7 Kansas a 77-75 victory over No. 1 Duke on Tuesday night in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York. With 8 minutes to play Kansas was leading 62-50 but the Blue Devils (2-1) managed to suddenly start hitting shots and they tied the game at 75 with 15 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Frank Jackson. Kansas called a timeout with 8.2 seconds left and set up the game-winner. Mason led Kansas with 21 points, freshman Josh Jackson added 15 and Devonte' Graham had 13. Luke Kennard led five Duke players in double figures with 22.
Kansas State Defeats Omaha, 81-68
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — After opening up the game going 1 for 6 from the field, Kansas State went on a 21-0 run to defeat the University of Nebraska, Omaha Mavericks, 81-68, Tuesday night. The Wildcats (2-0) were down 13-4 when DJ Johnson and Barry Brown pulled ahead with back-to-back 3-point plays for a 12 point lead at the 9 minute mark. Kansas State led 42-31 at the half and ended up shooting 51 percent. Brown finished with 15 points and Wesley Iwundu and Kamau Stokes had 14 apiece for K-State. Tre-Deon Hollins led the Mavericks (1-2) with 12 points. Omaha's Zach Jackson had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Kansas City Chiefs Rally Around Teammate Whose Dad Was Slain
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are rallying around long snapper James Winchester, whose father Michael was killed by a former Southwest Airlines employee outside of an Oklahoma City airport. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Winchester, who like his father played college football at Oklahoma, has returned to the state to be with his family. Reid says he's not sure if Winchester will be back for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt says he spoke to Winchester, who told him: "Obviously this is a tough time for my family, but I appreciate the thoughts and prayers." Police say a former Southwest Airlines worker shot and killed Michael Winchester on Tuesday in retaliation for something that contributed to the attacker quitting his job with the airline last year. The attacker then killed himself.