Judge Orders DNA Testing in Quadruple Homicide
OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — A Franklin County judge says DNA testing should proceed in the case of a man accused of killing four people in rural Ottawa. Franklin County District Judge Thomas H. Sachse issued an order this week in the capital murder case against 27-year-old Kyle Flack of Ottawa. He's charged in the May deaths of 30-year-old Andrew Adam Stout, 31-year-old Steven Eugene White, 21-year-old Kaylie Kathleen Bailey, and Bailey's 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh. Prosecutors sought the DNA testing of 13 items that could be used as evidence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the items haven't been detailed and Sachse sealed the DNA testing order. Attorneys for Flack argued in a hearing earlier this month that the defense wanted to inspect any items that could be destroyed by the testing.
Kansas Town Raises Estimate of Flood Damage
LINDSBORG, Kan. (AP) — Officials in a central Kansas community now estimate the damage from this week's flash floods at $3.8 million. Lindsborg officials issued the new estimate Wednesday following additional inspections of homes that were inundated Monday when up to 5 inches of rain fell in roughly an hour. The initial estimate was $2.5 million. The city will hold a public information meeting at 7 pm Thursday at Smoky Valley Middle School. The meeting will focus on assistance, cleanup, sanitation and health issues. KSNW-TV reports that Lindsborg teenagers are pitching in to help. Smoky Valley High School football coach Chris Hattabaugh brought 30 of his players plus 15 girls Wednesday to the home of Herbert Johnson, whose basement was filled with water. Johnson says he's grateful for the assistance in cleaning up.
Kansas Company Recalls Ground Beef Products
LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas company is recalling more than 50,000 pounds of ground beef products over E. coli concerns. The U.S. Agriculture Department said Wednesday National Beef Packing Company in Liberal produced the meat. The products carry the number "EST. 208A" inside the USDA mark. They were produced July 18 and shipped in 40 to 60 pound cases across the country. The recall includes 10 lb chubs of "National Beef" 93/ 7 ground beef, product code 0707. Also: 10 lb. chubs of NatureSource products: 80/20 ground chuck, code 7031; 85/15 ground beef, code 7054; 90/10 ground beef, code 7344; 93/7 ground beef, code 7004. Also: 10 lb. chubs of NatureWell products 80/20 ground beef, code 7484; 85/15 ground beef, code 7454; ground sirloin, code 7577; 93/7 ground beef, code 7404.
KDHE: Substance in Cottonwood River Was Algae
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials say a substance that was removed during the weekend from the Cottonwood River was an algae bloom. KVOE reports that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed this week that the algae bloom gave off an oil-like sheen that stretched from Hartford to Strong City. Officials at first thought the spill might be oil. Hazardous waste teams from Emporia and Topeka, as well as several county, state and federal agencies, responded to the report Sunday or were involved in testing the material. Lyon County officials said this week that the algae was non-toxic and should be dispersed by recent rains. Health officials say the bloom is not related to dangerous blue-green algae affecting some larger lakes across the state.
Rain Helping Replenish Kansas Water Supplies
AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) — The recent spate of wet weather has caused flash floods and other headaches in much of Kansas, but the rain is also replenishing some lakes that communities rely on for water. In Butler County east of Wichita, Santa Fe Lake and Augusta City Lake both dried up amid severe drought two years ago. KWCH-TV reports that Santa Fe Lake is now overflowing. Workers are pumping water into a nearby retention pond. Augusta city Lake is also filling back up. Both lakes help supply water to the cities of Augusta and Mulvane and two rural water districts. Augusta has had mandatory water restrictions in place, but city officials now plan to review them in the fall.
Obama Picks Kansas Supreme Court Justice for Federal Appeals Court
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Barack Obama has nominated Kansas Supreme Court Justice Nancy Moritz to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The White House announced the Democratic president's nomination Thursday, and it immediately drew support from Republican U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. Moran called Moritz "highly qualified" and said he intends to vote for her confirmation. The 53-year-old Moritz has served on the state's highest court since 2011, having been appointed by outgoing Democratic Governor Mark Parkinson. She previously spent seven years on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The Denver-based 10th Circuit court handles cases from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Obama also announced that he's nominating Kansas City-area attorney Daniel D. Crabtree for a U.S. District Court judgeship in Kansas. Moran also endorsed Crabtree's nomination.
Kansas Group Receives Dental Health Grant
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas dental health organization has been awarded $100,000 to improve access to oral health care around the state. The grant to Oral Health Kansas from the DentaQuest Foundation will be used to fund a multi-year initiative. The foundation is supported by a Boston-based oral health benefits company called DentaQuest. Oral Health Kansas will work on the project with the Kansas Dental Association, Kansas Hospital Association, Leading Age Kansas and the Kansas Health Care Association. Goals include creating pilot programs to strengthen local dental care and identifying barriers to access.
Plane Maker Beechcraft Wins $1.4B Deal
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Newly reorganized Beechcraft Corporation says it has received a $1.4 billion plane order in a deal believed to be the largest propeller aircraft order by value in general aviation history. The Wichita-based manufacturer said Thursday the order to build 105 King Air 350i aircraft, valued at $788 million, came from Wheels Up, a new private aviation membership company. Beechcraft also was named the maintenance provider for Wheels Up in North America and Western Europe. Beechcraft said in a news release that the first 35 planes will be delivered between now and mid-2015 with nine deliveries this year. The deal includes options for 70 more aircraft as Wheels Up expands over the next two to three years. Beechcraft Corporation, formerly known as Hawker Beechcraft, emerged from bankruptcy protection in February.
Kansas Activist Reacts to Military Removal of Porn
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas family values activist says he's pleased with the military's decision to remove pornographic magazines from Army and Air Force stores, but says the rationale fails to make the link between sexual content and abuse. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service announced Tuesday that it was removing 891 magazines from more than 1,500 stores worldwide because of declining sales. Phillip Cosby of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri says Thursday that removing nearly 50 pornographic magazine titles from the shelves is a positive step toward curbing sexual violence in the military. However, Cosby, who spent 22 years in the Army, says the military is being less than forthright in saying the magazines are being removed for financial reasons and not to address sexual violence issues.
Police Find Car Linked to Fatal Crash with Horse
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say they're confident they've found a car involved in a hit-and-run collision that killed a man on horseback. Police Lieutenant Brent Allred told The Wichita Eagle on Thursday an anonymous tip led investigators to a Mercury Grand Marquis with heavy damage. The car was found Wednesday in a residential garage. Forty-nine-year-old Lloyd Ferguson was killed the night of July 5 when the horse he was riding was hit by a car that sped off. A 6-year-old boy who was also on the horse was badly injured. Allred says police believe the Grand Marquis was hidden in the garage after authorities released a photo of the make and model of the car involved in the collision. No arrests have been made.
Driver Lost Control Before KC Day Care Crash
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Police say a 74-year-old driver who knocked a parked car into a Kansas City day care thought another vehicle had pulled out in front of him. The Kansas City Star reported that the driver lost control of his Range Rover before striking a Cadillac on Tuesday. The force of the collision sent the car crashing into a power pole and the Christian Academy Child Care east of downtown. Three children were taken to Children's Mercy with minor to moderate injuries. But a hospital official says all three have since been released.
3 Indicted in Kansas Sex Trafficking Case
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted three people on charges of running a sex trafficking scheme at nine Asian massage parlors in Wichita. A six-count indictment returned Wednesday charges owner Gary H. Kidgell, 44, of Waltham, Massachusetts; Yan Zhang, 49, of Wichita; and employee Xiuqing Tian, 42, of Framingham, Massachusetts, with a conspiracy lasting from 2009 to 2011. They had initially been charged last week in a criminal complaint. The indictment alleges they recruited women and coerced them into prostitution. A judge ordered Thursday that Kidgell and Zhang be held until trial, ruling both were flight risks and a danger to the community. It was unclear whether Tian had been arrested. Lawyers for two defendants did not immediately respond to phone and email messages. The other had no listed attorney.
Survey: Gambling-Related Problems Could Affect 26 Percent of Kansans
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A survey finds that up to 9 percent of Kansans are at risk of developing a gambling problem, and 26 percent of the state's residents could be affected by the uncontrolled gambling of a relative or friend. The survey was presented Wednesday to the state's problem gambling task forces and other service providers. A Kansas City firm conducted a telephone survey of 1,600 adults in Kansas to help determine how to spend $400,000 in new state funding to combat problem gambling. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the firm says the survey revealed a need for stronger educational campaigns about prevention and treatment of gambling problems. A member of the firm that conducted the survey, Doug Ballou, says problem gambling appears to be most prevalent in south-central and southwest Kansas.
KU Gets $2M Gift for Counseling Psychology Professorship
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has received a $2 million gift to establish the first counseling psychology professorship in the School of Education. The university said in a news release Thursday that it's the second-largest gift to the School of Education. The donor wanted to remain anonymous. Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education, said the donor felt the education she received at the university was a positive influence on her life. The university's doctoral program in counseling psychology trains people to practice in activities ranging from clinical treatment to academic research.
Kansas Awarded Nearly $161K to Digitize Old Newspapers
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Historical Society has received a grant of nearly $161,000 to convert 100,000 pages of old Kansas newspapers into a digital format. The Wichita Eagle reports that it's the second grant to the state society from the National Endowment for the Humanities in nearly three years. In 2010, the society received nearly $210,000 to digitize nearly that same number of pages from old Kansas newspapers. The newspapers are from 1854 to 1922. Pages are now online through the Library of Congress, allowing anyone with Internet access to view them. The library and the National Endowment are working to digitize copies of 19th-century newspapers from 32 states.
Plane Lands in Field at Ellinwood Airport
ELLINWOOD, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a single-engine plane landed in a field after the pilot tried to abort a lift off at an airport in Barton County. The plane ended up in a field near the Ellinwood Municipal Airport Wednesday afternoon. The patrol says the pilot, 58-year-old Michael J. Yagel of Raymond, tried to abort take-off after the plane did not reach appropriate altitude. He lost control of the plane and the 1946 Luscombe 8A went into the field. Yagel and his passenger refused to be taken to a hospital. The Ellinwood airport is about 10 miles east of Great Bend.
Missouri School District Converts to Natural Gas Buses
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City school district is converting nearly all of its school buses and other vehicles from diesel fuel to natural gas. The Lee's Summit school district will have 106 new yellow buses on the streets during the coming semester. The Kansas City Star reports that within 10 years, the district plans to have at least 139 of its 149 school buses switched to using natural gas. The others will be converted to another type of fuel. Another 46 trucks and vans used by the district will be switched to natural gas. The district will spend $20.3 million on the conversion but expects to save about $11 million over 10 years. The Kansas City, Kansas school district bought 47 natural gas buses in 2011.
Midwest, Plains Economic Index Declines from June
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Conductors of a monthly survey of business leaders in nine Midwest and Plains states say the region's economy will grow in the coming months, despite a fourth month of decline in the survey's overall index. The overall economic index for the region declined to 53.5 in July from June's 55.6, but any score above 50 suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey. He says the regional economy will continue to add jobs, but at a slow pace. The survey of business leaders and supply managers uses a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Wichita State Foundation Nets $22.5M in FY 2013
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita State University Foundation says it received more than $22.5 million in giving in the past fiscal year, the highest amount in three years. The organization said Wednesday the total includes almost $5 million from 19 estate gifts. Foundation president Elizabeth King says the engineering college received the largest amount, mainly due a gift from the estate of Velma Wallace. The total value of the WSU Foundation's endowment is about $230 million.
Independence Man's Stabbing Death a Mystery
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Police and family members of a 22-year-old Independence man who died of a stab wound say they are mystified by what led to the death. Twenty-two-year-old Corey Laykovich died Saturday after a sibling discovered him in his bedroom suffering from a stab wound. He had just returned home and went directly to his bedroom. Bob Norris, Laykovich's stepfather, told The Kansas City Star that the family can't find any evidence of where, when or how Norris was stabbed. He says there was not blood trail and a police dog found no evidence. Police spokesman Tom Gentry says the investigation is continuing. A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.