Judge Delays Hearing in Kansas Abortion Lawsuit
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has postponed a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against parts of a new Kansas abortion law. Chief Judge Kathryn Vratil's decision Friday came after attorneys for both sides asked Vratil to revise her schedule for considering the case in U.S. District Court. Vratil had scheduled a hearing for July 29. Instead, she set a telephone conference call for that date to set a new schedule. Planned Parenthood is challenging parts of the law dealing with abortion providers' websites and what they must tell patients before terminating pregnancies. Attorneys said they needed more time to agree on a summary of the facts in the case. But she warned the lawyers that she might not be able to reschedule the hearing until December.
UPDATE: Kansas Authorities Investigating 34-Hour Standoff
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say the 34-hour standoff at an apartment complex that ended with the suspect's death is among the longest in the department's history. Lieutenant Doug Nolte said Friday the investigation is complex and more time is needed before other details can be released. That is expected to happen Monday. KFDI-FM reports that a SWAT team entered the building shortly before 6 pm Thursday. They exchanged gunfire with the 24-year-old suspect, who barricaded himself after firing shots Wednesday in a Kmart during a robbery. He was found dead in an apartment around 10:30 pm Thursday. Police are not saying how he died. The man also is a suspect in a woman's July 4 stabbing in Derby. A shelter is open at Ruth Clark Elementary School for displaced residents.
Judge Reviews Kansas Doctor's Fate in Abortion Case
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for a state agency and a Kansas doctor who lost her license over referrals of young patients for late-term abortions argue in court over the reasons for the disciplinary action. Friday's hearing in Shawnee County District Court for Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus was expected to be the final one scheduled before Judge Franklin Theis rules. Neuhaus wants to overturn a State Board of Healing Arts decision last year to revoke her license. The board concluded she did inadequate mental health exams before referring patients to the late Dr. George Tiller of Wichita for abortions. Board General Counsel Kelli Stevens says the case isn't about abortion but Neuhaus' exams, which Stevens said were poorly documented. But Neuhaus' attorneys said doctors haven't lost their licenses over questionable record-keeping.
Park City Admits Violation of Open Meetings Law
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Park City has acknowledged it violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act when it held a special meeting to consider a city pool tax levy, employee wages and severance pay. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office said Friday it investigated a complaint that resulted in a consent judgment. In it, Park City agreed to pay a $500 fine and $180 in court costs. The city also has agreed to remedial measures aimed at preventing future violations. Those include staff training and a revamped website where citizens can request meeting notifications. At issue is a special meeting on Oct. 10. The city sent a fax about two hours before the meeting began to two of the 16 people who had requested notification of meetings. Eighty who had requested agendas were sent nothing.
2 Bodies Found at Kansas City-Area Motel
BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — Police are awaiting autopsy results before determining how two people from North Carolina died in a hotel in a Kansas City suburb. A maid found the bodies of a man and woman inside one of the rooms Thursday at the Holiday Inn Express in Bonner Springs. Police believe the deaths were a murder-suicide but will not make a final determination until autopsies are performed Friday. Bonner Springs police on Friday identified the couple as Lacie Martinez and Michael James Jr., both of North Carolina. They were in their 20s. A hometown was not immediately available. Police believe the couple was traveling from North Carolina to Seattle to visit James's mother.
Kansas Man Convicted of Kicking Girlfriend to Death
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 42-year-old Wichita man who kicked his girlfriend 20 to 30 times with steel-toed boots will be sentenced in August for first-degree murder in her death. A Sedgwick County jury on Thursday convicted Anson Bernhardt for the September death of 38-year-old Amber Kostner, who was still breathing when Bernhardt left her on the side of a road in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that during the trial, jurors watched Bernhardt admit the crime to sheriff's deputies. Prosecutors said Bernhardt kicked Kostner after the two had quarreled in a bar about breaking up. Defense attorneys did not dispute that Bernhardt killed Kostner but had argued for a lesser charge, saying the death was not intentional or premeditated. Bernhardt will be sentenced August 15.
Kansas Man Killed by Officer Outside OKC Concert
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City police say an off-duty police officer shot and killed a Kansas man outside an Oklahoma City concert. Captain Dexter Nelson said Friday that Sergeant Paul Galyon shot 24-year-old Brian Simms Jr. of Olathe late Thursday at the Farmers Public Market in Oklahoma City. Nelson says the shooting occurred outside a concert by Chicago-based rap artist Chief Keef. Nelson says Galyon and another officer were working off-duty outside the concert venue when they saw a man who appeared to be unconscious in a car. Nelson says the officers approached and saw the man had a gun in his waistband. Nelson says Galyon opened fire when Simms did not comply with orders and confronted the officers. Galyon has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into the shooting.
Parade Tradition Returns for Kansas State Fair
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Fair is reviving the carnival train and animal parade through Hutchinson to celebrate the fair's 100th anniversary. The parade was once an annual tradition when the carnival train came to town each September, with carnival equipment and animals parading down Hutchinson's Main Street to the fairgrounds. The Hutchinson News reports the tradition faded because the carnival now brings in most of its equipment on trucks and the use of circus animals declined. State Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein says the parade will be revived on Labor Day. Entries in the parade are limited and must be registered. After the parade, spectators will be able to enjoy festivities at Lake Talbott. The fair runs September 6-15.
Institute to Host 90th Birthday Event for Bob Dole
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A community celebration is scheduled for July 22 on the University of Kansas campus to mark the 90th birthday of former Kansas Senator Bob Dole. The event will be held at the Dole Institute of Politics where the former Republican U.S. senator's archives are housed. The institute opened in 2003. Dole is not expected to attend. Dole served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 until 1996, when he retired to run for president but lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole is a World War II veteran who served in Europe, where he was severely wounded in battle in Italy. Activities scheduled for the birthday celebration include serving cupcakes, story time, making political buttons and the signing of a card wishing the senator a happy birthday.
K-State Donors Set $152M Record
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University easily set a new record for donations in the just-completed fiscal year. The university said it received $152 million in donations, pledges and deferred gifts for the 2013 fiscal year, breaking the previous record of $111 million in fiscal 2012. The Manhattan Mercury reports that $86 million was received in outright gifts, $33 million was pledged and $33 million was committed through deferred gifts. The donations came from 57,300 individuals, an increase from 51,400 last year. Twenty-two of the donations were for $1 million or more, totaling $82.6 million. Kansas State University president Kirk Schulz said that less than one-quarter of the university's operating budget comes from state aid. The rest comes from tuition, grants and contracts, and private philanthropic support.
Insurer Denies Coverage in KC Diocese Settlement
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former insurance company for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is seeking to avoid paying for priest sexual abuse settlements. The Kansas City Business Journal reported Friday the Chicago Insurance Company is claiming in a federal court filing that it has no obligation to cover a $2.25 million settlement the diocese reached with the parents of Brian Teeman. The parents contended their 14-year-old son committed suicide because of repeated sexual abuse by a priest. The insurer also is seeking to deny coverage for six claims from a 2008 settlement. Plaintiffs' attorney Rebecca Randles told the AP that the diocese already paid the plaintiffs who were part of the 2008 settlement. She says the Teeman suit was settled on the assumption that there would be no insurance coverage.
Kansas Officials Tout Impact of Passenger Trains
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials are reaching out to the public to promote the impact passenger rail service could have in Wichita. The issue is slated as the discussion topic at the Tuesday Topics program to be held at noon at the Wichita central library auditorium on August 27. The Wichita Eagle reports that the brown-bag lunch seminar will feature Wichita Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner and Dale Goter, the city's government relations manager. Kansas and Wichita are seeking nearly $13 million in federal grant money to complete the planning phase of a proposed project that would extend Amtrak's Heartland Flyer passenger service from Wichita to Oklahoma City. The project would extend the Heartland Flyer to Wichita and Newton and connect the Wichita area with the Southwest Chief line to Oklahoma City.
Redesigning Eisenhower Memorial Could Cost $17M
WASHINGTON (AP) — Analysts say scrapping a disputed design for a planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial near the National Mall and developing an alternate concept over the next five years would cost about $17 million. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released the estimate Thursday based on a House bill that would have the 14-year-old memorial project redesigned. Utah Represntative Rob Bishop called for a new design with the support of Eisenhower's family. The family has called the current design "too extravagant." The federal Eisenhower Memorial Commission selected architect Frank Gehry to design the memorial. He proposed a park with statues of the president and World War II hero framed by large metal tapestries depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower's home. About $60 million has already been allocated for the $142 million project.
Finney County Sues over Missing Bonds from 1984
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — The mystery of what happened to bonds purchased for the Finney County public library in 1984 has moved to court. Finney County is suing Bank of America to determine the whereabouts of bonds valued at $60,000. The Garden City Telegram reports the founder of Brookover Feed Yards in Garden City bequeathed the bond to the library in 1984, and it was placed at what was then the Garden National Bank. A copy of the bond was put in a time capsule, which was opened in 2008. Garden City Bank has changed owners four times since 1984 and is currently owned by Bank of America. The county says in its lawsuit that it can't determine who took possession of the bonds or how to get the proceeds.
Mobile Home Residents Move Off College Land
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — After four months of contention, the residents of a former mobile home park have left land owned by Garden City Community College. The college bought the land in December. Many tenants refused to leave, saying they should be compensated for their mobile homes. A Garden City ordinance prevented some of the older mobile homes from being moved. The college sued the seven remaining tenants in May. In June, only four tenants showed up for a court hearing and were told they had until July 3 to vacate. One tenant has not yet been located to be served. The Garden City Telegram reports the college intends to move all the empty mobile homes off the land when the legal process is finished.
WSU Men's Basketball Locker Room Getting a Renovation
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita State men's basketball team is getting a locker room renovation after making its first trip to the Final Four since 1965. The university says a graduate donated $250,000 for the project. Shockers athletic director Eric Sexton says recruiting is a "facility arms race" and that the school is fortunate to have financial support to keep up and "hopefully set the bar." He says the school is looking forward to renovating other locker rooms at Charles Koch Arena. The new area will include a trophy case that will house the newly won NCAA regional championship trophy. Each locker also will have an iPad dock. Coach Gregg Marshall says the gift shows "that Shocker Nation is firmly behind us." Work is expected to be completed by summer's end.
Officials Capture 1 of 2 Escaped Kansas Zoo Monkeys
INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — A southeast Kansas zoo remains closed while a search continues for an escaped monkey. The Independence Daily Reporter says the capuchin monkey was one of two that escaped Wednesday from a pen at the Ralph Mitchell Zoo at Riverside Park in Independence. One monkey was caught a short time later, but officials remained on the lookout Thursday for the second money. Park director Barbara Beurskens says a zookeeper failed to adequately secure the lock to the monkey's pen while cleaning cages. Independence Director of Public Safety David Cowan says one monkey bit an Oklahoma man before jumping on a woman who hit the animal with her purse. Live animal traps are being set up throughout the zoo area. Both monkeys also escaped from their cage a few years ago.
Report: Long Wichita Standoff Ends; Suspect Dead
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A long standoff at a Wichita apartment complex has ended and the suspect is dead. The Wichita Eagle reported late Thursday that Wichita police are saying the 24-year-old suspect, who had barricaded himself after firing shots Wednesday in a Kmart parking lot, is dead. It was not clear how the suspect died. Earlier Thursday a SWAT team entered the building and exchanged fire with the suspect.
**this story has been updated. Please see above.