Kansas Lawmakers Question Proposed Employee Policy Change
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lawmakers are raising questions as Governor Sam Brownback's administration works to overhaul the state's protocol for employee layoffs and rehiring. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that legislators on a regulatory advisory committee are studying the Kansas Department of Administration's plan for altering policy on employee layoffs and rehiring, annual performance ratings, and donation of unused sick leave. Some of the proposed alterations include capping the donation of unused sick leave at 80 hours, and restricting worker options for appealing regular job performance ratings Some lawmakers say the proposed regulations are too vague and could be manipulated to weaken the standing of the most experienced staff. Legislators are also unhappy that the state workers or employee unions were asked for their input. A department spokesman has said the changes have been in development since 2014.
Engineers Find Source of Water Leak at Nuclear Plant Near Burlington
BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Staff members at the Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station near Burlington have located the source of a minor water leak and are working to repair it. Communications director Jenny Hageman says Wolf Creek personnel identified a cracked weld as the source of the water leak in the reactor cooling system. Staff members are finalizing a repair plan. The plant was manually shut down Friday due to the leak. Hageman says officials had planned to shut down the nuclear plant on September 24 for a maintenance and refueling outage. The plant will be kept offline through the scheduled outage.
Man Charged with Murder in Deadly DUI Crash in Suburban Kansas City
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been charged with second-degree murder for the deaths of two children who were in a vehicle he struck from behind on Interstate 70 near Kansas City Monday evening. Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says 60-year-old James Green of Odessa also is charged with two counts of second-degree assault and drunken driving. Authorities say the two children were killed in the crash near Blue Springs. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Green had been drinking before his sport utility vehicle struck the rear of a family's car, killing 7-year-old Chloe Beaird and 13-year-old Gavin Beaird, both of Warrenton. Two adults in the car were seriously injured.
Wichita City Council Approves Ordinance to Punish Drunken Biking
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council has approved a new ordinance that will separate the offense of biking under the influence from driving a motor vehicle under the influence. The Wichita Eagle reports that the ordinance was approved Tuesday. Under current city ordinances, drunken bicycle riding and drunken driving are treated the same way. That poses a conflict with state law, which doesn't have a crime for operating a human-powered vehicle under the influence. A staff report by the city attorney's office says the legal difference has caused some problems in calculating penalties for drunken drivers in court. The new ordinance will make it a crime to operate a human-powered vehicle drunk if the rider causes a traffic or safety hazard. The penalty for a BUI would be $500 maximum and six months in jail.
ITT Tech Permanently Closing Campuses in Kansas, Missouri
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Indiana-based ITT Technical Institute says its campuses in Overland Park, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, have permanently closed. ITT Educational Services blamed the closings of all of its campuses on a federal ruling last month that banned the company from enrolling any students who relied on federal financial aid. The Kansas City Star reports the action reflects concerns by the U.S. Department of Education about the company's "administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial ability and ability to serve students.'' ITT Educational Services says the closings will be permanent and idle most of its roughly 8,000 employees nationwide. U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. says students enrolled in ITT facilities may be able to have federal student loans at the school discharged.
Bank Robbery Suspect: Incarceration Beats Living with Wife
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 70-year-old man accused of robbing a bank in Kansas told investigators he would rather be imprisoned than live with his wife. Court documents say Lawrence John Ripple gave a note to a bank teller in Kansas City on Friday, demanding cash and warning he had a gun. Ripple took the money and went to sit in the lobby where he told a guard he was the "guy he was looking for." Officers arrived quickly. An FBI agent wrote in the affidavit that Ripple had earlier been arguing with his wife. He told investigators he wrote the note in front of his wife, telling her he would "rather be in jail than at home." Ripple was charged with bank robbery Tuesday. Online court records don't list an attorney for Ripple.
Kansas Police ID Woman Killed in Suspected Murder-Suicide
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, have identified a woman found dead with her husband in their home in what investigators suspect was a murder-suicide. Police spokesman Tom Tomasic said Wednesday that a 17-year-old girl returning home Tuesday afternoon found the bodies of her 45-year-old mother, Jennifer Combs, and her stepfather. The man's name wasn't released. Tomasic said both victims had been shot. Tomasic says the officer retreated before authorities applied for a search warrant to further investigate the scene.
Police: Kansas Man Harassed New Zealand Blogger, Others
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Police say a Lawrence man charged with harassing a New Zealand fashion blogger online also sent sexual pictures to other people. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a recently released arrest affidavit says the social media accounts of 19-year-old Kalim Akeba Lloyd Dowdell had been blocked more than two dozen times. He faces a single misdemeanor charge of harassment by telecommunications device in Douglas County. The criminal charge was filed eight months after blogger Rachel Gronback contacted police about inappropriate pictures she had received on her Instagram account. The affidavit says Dowdell would create new accounts when Gronback attempted to stop the pictures by blocking him.
Former City Clerk in Southeast Kansas Faces Felony Charges
FRONTENAC, Kan. (AP) — A former city clerk in southeast Kansas has been charged with misusing public funds and several other felonies. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that Doug Sellars, of Frontenac, was arrested Friday morning. Other felonies he is facing include official misconduct and theft. He has been released on $10,000 bond. His attorney, Rick Smith, declined to comment. Sellars began working as the Frontenac city clerk in 2004 after more than a decade with the city's police department. He was appointed interim city manager in 2014. Sellars abruptly resigned from both positions August 2015. Authorities say the alleged misconduct occurred in 2014 and 2015. The allegations include that he purchased about $8,100 of "personal merchandise" with city dollars. The charges follow a Kansas Bureau of Investigation probe.
Royals Rally in Ninth to Beat Twins, 10-3
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Kansas City Royals' Kendrys Morales had two home runs, including a three-run blast in Kansas City's seven-run ninth inning that propelled the Royals to a 10-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. Morales also hit a two-run shot in the first inning. Royals' catcher Salvador Perez left the game with a bruised right wrist after he was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. Royals' catcher Drew Butera took over and hit a bases loaded single to break a 3-3 tie and get the Royals rolling in the ninth. The Twins' Brian Dozier hit his 39th home run of the season, moving him into a tie with Rogers Hornsby and Alfonso Soriano for fourth-most home runs by a second baseman in a season. He has homered in five straight games, tying Harmon Killebrew and Marty Cordova for the longest streak in Twins history.