Kansas to Consider State Compensation for Wrongly Imprisoned
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators expect to consider proposals next year to make it easier for people wrongly convicted of major crimes to win compensation from the state. Lawmakers in both parties said they expect a debate following the release last week of 41-year-old Lamonte McIntyre in Wyandotte County. McIntyre spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he always said he never committed. His release came on the second day of a court hearing re-examining his convictions. The Innocence Project says Kansas is one of 18 states without a compensation law. A Kansas Senate committee had a hearing earlier this year on a proposal to allow people to file lawsuits to collect $80,000 for every year they were wrongly imprisoned. But it took no action and called for a study.
Kansas Settles Lawsuit over Tapping Fees in 2009 Budget Fix
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is acknowledging that it illegally diverted specialized fees to help cover general government spending as part of a 2009 budget fix to settle a lawsuit filed by a legislative leader. Former Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal said Wednesday that the settlement is a victory for businesses and individuals who pay fees to cover the costs of state regulation. Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis approved the settlement last month. O'Neal was House speaker when as an attorney he filed the lawsuit for providers of workers' compensation insurance coverage that paid annual fees. The settlement declares that the diversion of nearly $3.1 million in fees from workers' compensation, bank regulation and real estate regulation funds was illegal. Legislators paid those funds back in budget legislation approved earlier this year.
Kansas City Police Release Man Connected to Missing Sisters
TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — Police have released a man who was considered a person of interest after three sisters who disappeared in August from their Kansas foster home were found safe. Authorities did not release details about where the 12, 14 and 15-year old girls were found but police said they were safe. 48-year-old Rico Rangel was taken into custody in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City police released Rangel Tuesday morning after Tonganoxie officials said they didn't have enough evidence to charge him. KCTV-5 reports that police say Rangel was trying to help the girls after they apparently lied to him and said they were being abused at their foster home. Police say there is no evidence he abused or hurt the girls. Police have said the girls ran away from their foster home August 26. The case led to broader concerns among lawmakers who learned last week during a Statehouse meeting that more than 70 foster children are missing in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Children and Families says the number of missing foster children represents about 1 percent of the state's foster care population, which is in line with the national average.
Police Identify 2 Topeka Men Arrested in Downtown Lawrence Shooting
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence police have now identified the two Topeka arrested in a shooting that killed three people and wounded two others in a popular entertainment area of downtown Lawrence. A spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department says 22-year-old Ahmad Malik Rayton is being held on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 19-year-old Dominique Jaquez McMillon is suspected of aggravated assault and battery. The shooting happened early on October 1 in an area crowded with people from local bars and several nearby concerts and events. Lawrence police say they believe the incident was related to an earlier altercation. Those killed were identified as Colwin Lynn Henderson III, 20, and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean, 24, both of Topeka, and Leah Elizabeth Brown, 22 of Shawnee.
Sedgwick County: V-A Owes County $1.5 Million
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County officials say the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs owes the county more than $1.5 million in unpaid ambulance costs. Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services Director Scott Hadley said in a report that the VA asked for county ambulance service more than 1,900 times in the last four years without paying. County Commissioner David Dennis said he and others will meet Thursday with the hospital's nurse executive to discuss the problem. The Wichita Eagle reports Dennis said the county could use the money but he's mainly worried the situation could cost sick veterans. He says if the county can't collect the money, its only alternative will be to bill veterans directly.
Wichita Landscaper Who Defrauded Victims Sent to Prison
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita landscaper has been ordered to spend 10 months in prison after he failed to make restitution to two customers he defrauded. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office says 31-year-old Ricky Moyer was previously sentenced to five years of probation after pleading no contest to felony theft. At the time, he was ordered to pay $16,000 to two customers. The district attorney's office says Moyer, owner of Rick's Tree and Landscape, didn't make payments to his victims and committed other violations of his probation, including using cocaine. A judge ordered that Moyer be sent to prison. Both victims had to hire other contractors to finish work for which they had originally hired Moyer.
Kansas Math Test Scores Unchanged from Last Year
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas students' performance on the annual state math test essentially stayed flat from 2016 to 2017, while performance on the English and language arts portion decreased slightly. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas State Board of Education reviewed data Tuesday on students' performance on the statewide assessment exams. The board says that in 2016, the percentage of students performing at what's considered below or just meeting grade level in math was 65.5 percent. The rate was 65.8 percent in 2017. In English and language arts, a combined 58.6 percent of students in 2016 performed at or below grade level. That rate was 61.7 percent in 2017. Education officials expect test scores to slowly increase as the design of Kansas's schools goes through a transition.
Kansas State Working on $12 Million in Cuts After Enrollment Drop
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University officials say they are developing a plan to cut $12 million because of a drop in enrollment. Fall enrollment at the university fell by nearly 1,000 students — or 4.1 percent — compared to last fall. It was the first time in 15 years Kansas State enrollment fell below 23,000 students. University officials said Wednesday the $12 million budget reduction would come from administrative and academic units. The Topeka Capital-Journal reportsKansas State President Richard Myers said an enrollment management consultant will be hired to review current operations and make recommendations to increase enrollment. Pat Bosco, the school's dean of students, said aggressive recruiting of out-of-state students didn't compensate this fall for fewer international students. And he said the in-state pool of potential students had declined.
KBI Investigates Second Child Death in Ulysses This Month
ULYSSES, Kan. (AP) — For the second time in a month, authorities are investigating the death of a toddler in Grant County. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says Grant County sheriff deputies and Ulysses police were called after a family member took a 1-year-old girl to a Ulysses hospital on Sunday. The child, Mia Garay, was not breathing when she arrived at the hospital and she could not be revived. An autopsy is pending. The KBI is also investigating the death of 13-month-old Jaxon Silva of Ulysses. Officers were called on October 6 with a report that the boy was unresponsive. He later died at a Wichita hospital.
Kansas Woman Sentenced for Stealing from Older Acquaintance
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - An elderly Wichita woman has been sentenced to probation for stealing more than $57,000 from an 89-year-old acquaintance. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennet said Monday that 80-year-old Shirley Morgan was had durable power of attorney for the acquaintance, who he didn't name. Bennett says Morgan used the victim's money and assets for gambling trips and other expenses, rather than paying nursing home bills. Morgan was convicted of mistreatment of a dependent adult. She was sentenced to two years and 4 months in prison but given probation because of her age and lack of a criminal history. She also must pay restitution and cannot gamble.
Life-Size Carry Nation Sculpture Headed to Downtown Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita is getting a life-size statue of ax-wielding prohibitionist Carry Nation who once trashed a hotel bar in the city's downtown. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Wichita City Council accepted a donation of the bronze statue on Tuesday. It will be placed somewhere in the vicinity of Eaton Place. The apartment building was once known as The Carey Hotel. Nation famously attacked it in 1900 as part of her crusade to rid the nation of alcohol. The bronze statue stands 6 feet tall, the actual height of Nation. Her name was originally spelled "Carrie," but she changed it to Carry A. Nation believing she was ordained to "carry a nation" to sobriety. The city says the donors are the statue's sculpture, artist Babs Mellor, and J. Eric Engstrom.
Driver Sentenced in Wreck That Killed Olathe Instructor
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A drunk driver who caused a wreck that killed an Olathe school instructor has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison. The Kansas City Star reports 29-year-old James McAllister, of Overland Park, pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Caitlin Vogel of Stilwell. He was sentenced Wednesday to nine years and seven months in prison. Police say McAllister ran a stop sign and hit a sedan driven by Vogel in May 2016. Authorities say McAllister was driving under the influence of alcohol. Court documents indicated he has two prior DUI convictions and also pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle without the ignition interlock device he was required to have. Vogel was an autism instructional assistant for the Olathe school district.
US Agency Withdraws Rule Aimed at Protecting Animal Farmers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has killed a rule designed to protect the legal rights of farmers who raise chickens and hogs for the nation's largest meat processors. The rule would have made it easier for farmers to sue companies they contract with over unfair or deceptive practices. It was rolled out in the final days of Barack Obama's administration. But the USDA delayed it after President Donald Trump took office. On Tuesday, the agency withdrew it for good. Farmers who have waited years for the rule are expressing disappointment. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa farmer, accuses the Trump administration of "pandering to big corporations." Poultry and pork industry trade groups say the rule would have reduced competition and driven meat prices higher.
Man Who Helped Abduct Girl, to Face Parole Hearing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man who helped kidnap a 9-year-old girl in Wichita and helped her killer is up for parole for the fourth time. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Prisoner Review Board is taking comments Wednesday in Derby on the parole bids of 54-year-old Donald Wacker and 16 other prison inmates. Wacker was convicted of helping Doil Lane kidnap Nancy Shoemaker near her south Wichita home on July 30, 1990. After the abduction, the men drove Nancy to a Sumner County field where Lane raped her and strangled her with a belt. Her body was found more than six months later. Nancy's father, Bo Shoemaker, said Tuesday that the "goal" is to keep Wacker in prison. Shoemaker's family lives in Florida but traveled to Wichita for the hearing.
Topeka Pedestrian Dead After Being Struck by Train
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a train has struck and killed a pedestrian in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that police were called Wednesday morning after the body was found. The discovery was made in a southern part of the city, just west of the Landon Nature Trail and Betty Phillips Park. The identity of the person who was hit wasn't immediately released.