Kansas Senate GOP Hopefuls Craft Platform, Woo Angry Voters
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Senate President Susan Wagle and other Republican candidates for the Kansas Senate have outlined a broad campaign platform aimed at addressing voters' anger with state government. But the 26 senators and Senate candidates who signed onto the platform Wednesday are not publicly breaking with GOP Governor Sam Brownback. The platform says the Republican candidates are committed to providing greater oversight of the state budget, making the tax system fairer and working to create new jobs. It doesn't specifically call for repealing key tax cuts enacted at Brownback's urging, though Wagle said "everything is on the table." The Wichita Republican said the platform is a response to what Republicans are hearing from voters while they campaign. But Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka called the platform "a bunch of platitudes."
Strong Storm System Hits Central Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Strong storms swept through central Kansas Tuesday night, downing trees and knocking down power lines.The storm system churned up winds of as much as 70 mph. Hail larger than golf balls was reported in some locations but no tornadoes touched down. At one point, more than 6,000 Westar Energy customers were without power, although the number had fallen to 1,000 by this (WED) morning. The towns of Valley Center and Maize were particularly hard hit, but significant outages also were reported in parts of northwest Wichita and Park City. Westar expected all power to be restored by Wednesday evening.
Kansas Task Force Proposes Ending Monthly Tax Comparisons
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A task force appointed by Governor Sam Brownback suggests ending the monthly reports that compare the state's tax collections to projections of how much money it'll bring in. A proposal released Tuesday by the task force wants to do monthly reports instead only comparing tax collections to the previous year. Task force chairman Sam Williams said the goal is to focus on actual tax collections rather than imperfect projections. Monthly comparisons of tax collections against projections have long provided a look at how the state's budget is faring, but have become a political problem for Brownback as tax collections have regularly fallen short of expectations. Some Democratic lawmakers say the change is politically motivated. September was the fifth consecutive month in which tax revenues failed to meet projections.
Some Kansas Lawmakers Fear Medicaid Application Backlog Will Grow
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are expressing concern over whether the state will face another backlog of Medicaid applications. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is on track to clear a current KanCare backlog after the agency told federal officials in June the number of unprocessed applications was underreported by 12,000. The backlog developed in 2015, primarily caused by problems with a new electronic eligibility system. The department retained temporary staff and enlisted the help of the Department for Children and Families to deal with the backlog. State Representative Jim Ward says he thinks that it's probable that another backlog will emerge and that the agency is unprepared to keep the volume of applications under control.
Kansas Man Charged in Death of Former University of St. Mary Basketball Player
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri man has been charged in the death of former University of St. Mary basketball player Marcus Mondaine. The Kansas City Star reports that 21-year-old Damon Hammons, of Grandview, Missouri, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Mondaine. Hammons has not been apprehended. Authorities said Mondaine had been dating Hammons ex-girlfriend. Mondaine was killed Saturday in Kansas City while he slept beside the woman's 1-year-old daughter. Hammons is the child's father. Mondaine was finishing his final semester at the private liberal arts university in Leavenworth. Before his last season ended this spring, he was twice named the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Defensive Player of the Week. University President Diane Steele described Mondaine in a statement as a "humble, gentle soul."
Kansas Highway Patrol Says Tattoo Policy Won't Change
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says it will not change its policy on tattoos on troopers. The Salina Journal reports that the agency released a statement Tuesday saying a more focused effort on recruiting and a salary scale adjustment have generated enough applicants for jobs without having to alter the policy. The current policy prohibits tattoos that are visible on areas of a trooper's body not covered by the uniform. Minor adjustments were made for consistency. Further changes weren't recommended by an internal committee studying the issue.
Bicyclist Dies After Being Struck by Car in Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 75-year-old man has died from injuries sustained last month when he was struck by a car while riding a bike in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that John Gamber was critically injured after the collision with a car on September 20. Topeka police said he died Wednesday. Police say investigators are still working to determine if a crosswalk light was activated when the crash occurred. Once the investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to either the Shawnee County District Attorney's Office or the Topeka city prosecutor for review.
Man Charged in Former K-State-Football Player's Death Arrested in Ohio
CLEVELAND (AP) - Authorities say a man charged with murder in the slaying of a former Kansas State University football player outside a Cleveland hookah bar has been arrested. U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott says officers arrested 27-year-old Jean Blevins during a traffic stop Tuesday in Cleveland. Blevins also is charged with manslaughter and assault. Cleveland.com reports court records indicate Blevins is accused of disposing of a gun his brother used to fatally shoot 26-year-old David Garrett in October 2014. Authorities say Jean Blevins' brother fired into a crowd after a fight, striking Garrett. Barry Blevins pleaded guilty in August to involuntary manslaughter. Garrett played at T.W. Harvey High School in Painesville before joining Kansas State's team in 2009.
Kansas Man Sentenced for Killing Wife in July
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 63-year-old Wichita man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading no contest in the stabbing death of his wife. Larry Andres was sentenced Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court for first-degree premeditated murder in the death of Marilyn Andres. Under a plea agreement, he will be eligible for parole after 25 rather than 50 years. Prosecutors say Larry Andres stabbed his wife in the chest at least six times after beating her in July in the couple's home. He called 911 afterward and cooperated with police. But at the sentencing hearing, he said he stabbed his wife but "did not kill her." He suggested she inflicted the fatal injuries upon herself by hitting her head on a bathtub.
Man Gets Life in Prison in Slaying of Topeka Bride
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to life in prison in the shooting death of a Kansas bride as she left her reception in her wedding gown. Thirty-nine-year-old Thomas Earl Brown Jr. of Topeka was sentenced Tuesday for premeditated first-degree murder in the May 2014 death of 42-year-old Tiffany Davenport-Ray and the attempted murder of her husband, Melvin Ray. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that under the sentence, he must serve at least 71 years in prison. Prosecutors say shots were fired at the Topeka newlyweds from a sport utility vehicle in which Brown and two others were riding. Prosecutors say Melvin Ray returned fire, but wasn't wounded. Co-defendant Awnterio Dwan Lowery was sentenced previously to life in prison, while the third SUV occupant was later killed.
Former Washburn Grad Assistant Football Coach Enters Plea
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Washburn University graduate assistant football coach who originally was charged with aggravated kidnapping and rape has pleaded guilty to reduced charges. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 23-year-old Jesse Robert Bubke, of Topeka, admitted Tuesday to one count of battery and two counts of criminal restraint. Under the plea, he will serve 60 days in the Shawnee County Jail and be placed on probation for 10 months after that. Senior assistant district attorney Dustin Curry told the judge he had discussed the proposed plea with the victim, who was in full agreement with it. Police said the woman reported in March that she had been kidnapped from a bar, taken to Bubke's home, assaulted and released. As a graduate assistant, Bubke has coached defensive backs.
Native American Mascots Popular in Kansas High Schools
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Native American mascots are popular among Kansas high schools even as a national debate brews over whether they should be eliminated. The Manhattan Mercury analyzed a list of all the high school mascots in Kansas. Fourteen schools have the mascot name "Indians," making that the fourth most popular in the state. One of those schools is in Manhattan, where the school board is considering changing it. Advocates say the mascot is offensive or insensitive to American Indians. Manhattan has used an Indian mascot since 1940. A push to change the mascot in 2001 was unsuccessful. The list obtained from the Kansas State High School Activities Association also shows that three schools use Redskins; two use Redmen. Wamego uses Red Raiders. Two use Chieftains; two use Braves.
1 Dead After Wichita Apartment Complex Shooting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an 18-year-old man is dead after 20 to 30 rounds were fired at a car in northeast Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the shooting happened before 5 a.m. Wednesday in an apartment complex parking lot. Wichita police Lieutenant Todd Ojile says officers found the victim inside the car. The Wichita man had multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Ojile says he had gone to the apartments to see someone but didn't live at the complex. His name wasn't immediately released, pending notification of his relatives. Police are interviewing witnesses and urging anyone with information to come forward.
Woman Ordered to Stand Trial in Killing of Son's Friend
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 43-year-old woman has been ordered to stand trial in the fatal 2007 shooting of her son's teenage friend in Topeka. A Shawnee County judge found sufficient evidence Monday for Michelle Antoinette Filby to be tried on a second-degree murder charge in the killing of 16-year-old Michael Torneden. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Torneden's death originally was reported as a possible suicide but was ruled a homicide after an autopsy. Filby's son, Lance Olsson, testified that his mother said the shooting was an accident. Olsson had talked to Torneden beforehand. Olsson said Torneden talked about wanting to resume high school. The pair planned to walk to school the next day. Filby was arrested in May in Torrance, California. Her trial is scheduled to start in February.
Jayhawks' Shelley-Smith Retires Due to Concussions
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ University of Kansas offensive lineman Jordan Shelley-Smith has decided to retire from football due to repeated concussions, the second player in the Big 12 to make that decision this week. The senior has played minimal snaps after sustaining a concussion in before the season began. He also missed three games last season after sustaining a concussion against Oklahoma State. Oklahoma linebacker Tay Evans decided to retire on Monday. And just last year, KU linebacker Jake Love made the same decision after dealing with several concussions.