Searing Heat Forecast to Continue Across Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The high temperatures baking most of Kansas are not expected to ease for the rest of the week. Northwest and north-central Kansas are under a red flag warning through Wednesday, meaning high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity pose a serious risk of fire. The National Weather Service says several western Kansas towns set records Monday, including 113 at Rawlins, Lane and Norton and 112 in Rooks, Trego and Thomas. Temperatures are forecast to reach around 110 on Tuesday. A heat advisory is in effect for most of central Kansas through Tuesday evening, with high humidity and temperatures making it feel like 105 degrees or more. A hazardous weather advisory is in effect for the rest of the state, with the metropolitan Kansas City area under an excessive heat watch.
Acting State Fire Marshal: Conditions Pose Fire Risk
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top fire official in Kansas says residents should be careful about summer activities that involve fire because the state has been hit with conditions that could help fire spread rapidly. Red flag warnings are in place for northwest and north-central Kansas through Wednesday, meaning triple-digit temperatures, strong winds and low humidity pose a serious risk of fire across the region. Terry Maple, acting Kansas Fire Marshal, said Tuesday that while Kansas doesn't have the deep forests of Colorado, where fires have burned thousands of acres, there is plenty of combustible material in Kansas. He says fires on rangeland, dry pastureland and areas with tall fescue grasses can burn quickly. Maple encourages people to be responsible with fireworks and grilling, and any controlled outdoor burning, particularly with Independence Day coming up.
State Health Officials Urge Caution in Heat
HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is baking in triple-digit heat, prompting authorities to urge residents to stay indoors when possible and dress smart if they have to go outside. Temperatures well above 100 are putting residents at risk for heat-related injuries. In western Kansas, where the mercury is hitting 110 and higher this week, Ellis County Health Department Administrator Butch Schlyer is urging residents to limit their time outside. For those that must be outdoors, Schlyer tells The Hays Daily News that they should get into the shade as much as possible and wear loose-fitting and light protective clothing to reflect the heat. Officials are also urging residents to increase their fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages to keep from getting dehydrated.
Kansas Heat Prompts Officials to Offer Health Warnings about Ozone
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials are warning people in the state's three biggest urban areas that summer heat could lead to high ozone levels. The state Department of Health and Environment issued the warning Tuesday, a day after high ozone levels were detected in the Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita areas. KDHE officials said excessive heat can help generate ozone. The agency says unhealthy levels of ozone can cause coughing, throat irritation, chest pain and shortness of breath. Other concerns include aggravation of asthma and an increased likelihood of respiratory infection. KDHE recommends limiting outdoor exercise, other strenuous activity and children's activities during the afternoon and evening. Officials are also urging the public to drive as little as possible.
Kansas Renegotiating 3M License Contract
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is renegotiating its contract with the company that supplied the state with its new motor vehicle computer system. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the state's contract with the company, 3M, was supposed to end Friday. But Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said the state has a list of changes it wants made to the system before signing off on the contract. Since the state launched the new $40 million motor vehicle system May 9, many county treasurers' offices have complained about problems with the system that tie up their clerks and increase the amount of time it takes to process customers. Jordan said the state is working with 3M to clean up the issues. He says his main goal is to make the system "even faster."
Father Found Competent for Trial in Bound Children Case
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has found an Illinois man competent to stand trial on charges filed after two of his children were found bound and blindfolded in a Walmart parking lot. During a hearing Tuesday, District Judge Paula Martin ruled 52-year-old Adolfo Gomez of Northlake, Illinois could stand trial on multiple counts of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment. He and his wife, Deborah Gomez, were charged after their 5- and 7-year-old children were found bound on June 13 in Lawrence. Three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15, were inside the family's vehicle but were not restrained. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Gomez also dropped a request to represent himself. He told the judge he and attorney Elbridge Griffy had reconciled after a disagreement. The children are in protective custody.
UPDATE: Kansas Man Sentenced to Life Term in Cheerleader's Murder
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man convicted of killing a 14-year-old cheerleader and burning her body at the asphalt plant where he worked will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Adam Longoria was sentenced Tuesday to life imprisonment without the chance of parole for the August 2010 death of Alicia DeBolt. Barton County Judge Hannelore Kitts had little leeway in deciding the punishment because a capital murder conviction in Kansas carries a mandatory sentence of at least life without parole. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. He also received 17 months for vehicle burglary and 7 months for theft. Those terms will be served consecutively to his life sentence.
Slain Girl's Family: Longoria "A Coward" for Skipping Sentencing Hearing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The family of a murdered 14-year-old Kansas girl says her killer is a coward for refusing to face them at his sentencing. Thirty-eight-year-old Adam Longoria did not attend the hearing Tuesday where he was formally sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the August 2010 death of Alicia DeBolt. The girl's burned body was found at an asphalt plant. Longoria also got consecutive sentences of 17 months for vehicular theft and seven months for theft. Dawn DeBolt, the girl's stepsister, said Longoria is a coward. The murdered girl's mother, Tamara Conrad, recounted how she had been told she could never have children and helped her husband raise his children. But at age 32, she found herself pregnant. She called Alicia her "miracle baby."
Holton Teachers Return Contracts Unsigned
HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — Holton teachers returned their contracts unsigned to protest a lack of negotiations and another year without a pay raise. The teachers took 69 unsigned contracts to the Holton school district's offices on Monday. Joni White, president of the Holton National Education Association, says teachers are unhappy that the board of education issued a unilateral contract last week. She says teachers also haven't received a raise in four years. Teachers had asked for a 1 percent raise for next school year, which would have cost the district about $51,000. Superintendent Nancy Meyer said 132 certified teachers were involved in the earlier negotiations. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that under the unilateral contract, teachers could accept the contract, continue under the 2010-2011 contract or resign without penalty by July 3.
New Member Appointed to Kansas Corporation Commission
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has named an attorney from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to a seat on the state commission that regulates utilities. Brownback announced the appointment of Shari Feist Albrecht to the three-member Kansas Corporation Commission on Monday. She replaces Ward Loyd, an attorney and former Kansas House member from Garden City whose term expired earlier this year. Albrecht has worked for KDHE since 1993. She was a supervisor in its environmental protection division before becoming associate chief counsel. She previously served on the Corporation Commission staff in the division that regulates oil and natural gas companies. Brownback cited Albrecht's experience with oil and gas issues in appointing her to the KCC.
Boeing Commercial Plane Chief Albaugh to Retire
CHICAGO (AP) — The head of Boeing's commercial airplanes division is retiring. Jim Albaugh has run the biggest division at Boeing for almost three years. He was brought in at a time when its expensive new plane, the 787, was struggling with delays. The 787 has now been delivered, along with a revamped version of Boeing's superjumbo 747. Albaugh is 62. Before running the commercial airplane division, he ran Boeing's defense business. Boeing says he will be replaced by Raymond L. Conner, who is 57. Conner is a former airplane mechanic who has been with the company since 1977. His most recent job was senior vice president of sales and customer support for Boeing commercial planes.
"Fake Beard" Robber Sentenced to 11 Years in Federal Prison
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — A man who became known for wearing a fake beard while robbing banks in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma is to serve a little more than 11 years in federal prison. A U.S. District judge on Tuesday sentenced 39-year-old Jason Day of Tulsa, Oklahoma to 135 months in prison for nine robbery-related charges. Day was arrested shortly after the robbery of a bank in Fort Smith in August. He pleaded guilty to multiple counts in February. Day was ordered to pay $70,500 in restitution and be on probation for five years. Prosecutors say Day robbed the banks from June through August 2011. Besides Fort Smith, the banks were in Oklahoma City; Shawnee, Oklahoma; Olathe, Kansas; and Joplin, Missouri. Federal public defender James Pierce didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Kobach: Ruling Gives Kansas Green Light on Immigration Law Revisions
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary of State Kris Kobach says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law gives Kansas legislators a green light to pursue their own crackdown on illegal immigration. Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft Arizona's law, said he's pleased with Monday's ruling in the Arizona case even though it struck down three of four provisions at issue. Critics of the Arizona law see the ruling as likely to hinder any push for something similar in Kansas. But Kobach says the high court upheld the heart of the Arizona statute. That section directs law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people stopped for other reasons with a reasonable suspicion that they're in the country illegally. Kobach says Kansas lawmakers can still pursue that policy and others.
Police Identify Body Found in Little Arkansas River
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita have released the name of a man found dead over the weekend in the Little Arkansas River. But the cause of death is still unknown. The Wichita Eagle reports that documents found on the body identified the man as 54-year-old Vincent Manuel. Kayakers called 911 Saturday morning after spotting the body floating in the water near Riverside Park. It's not clear how long it had been in the river. Police said Tuesday that Manuel was fully clothed and showed no signs of trauma. An autopsy performed Monday was inconclusive.
Koch Brothers and Cato Institute Prepare to End Ownership Dispute
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Cato Institute and a pair of its billionaire shareholders say they're ready to settle two lawsuits over ownership of the libertarian-leaning, Washington-based think tank. Charles and David Koch, known nationally for supporting conservative causes and candidates, filed the lawsuits in their native Kansas. The billionaire brothers argued that since another shareholder died last year, they and the institute's CEO were the only ones left. CEO Ed Crane accused the brothers of trying to engineer what he called a hostile takeover. Both sides announced Monday they had an agreement to restructure the institute so it'll be governed by member-directors, not shareholders. The parties eventually expect to ask a judge to dismiss the litigation. The Koch brothers have been longtime shareholders in the institute, a research organization promoting free-market, small-government policies.
Kansas to Receive Grants Designed to Spur Hiring of Veterans
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas county and three cities will share nearly $482,000 from the U.S. Justice Department to hire military veterans for law enforcement jobs. The grants were announced Monday under the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services program, or COPS. In Kansas, the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department is receiving about $113,000. Grants of $125,000 are going to the Paola Police Department and the city of Andover, while the city of Liberal will receive about $118,000. All new positions funded by this year's grants must be filled by military veterans who have served at least 180 days since September 11, 2001. In all, the Justice Department said it's awarding more than $111 million this year to public safety agencies nationwide to create or save about 800 law enforcement positions.
Kansas Winter Wheat Harvest Nearly Complete
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas winter wheat harvest is nearly finished. Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that only 4 percent of the crop is left to be cut statewide. Harvest is running about three weeks ahead of normal in the state. Farmers in northwest Kansas are close to wrapping up. They had 61 percent of their wheat in the bin as of Sunday. Meanwhile, some spring-planted row crops are showing signs of stress from high temperatures and lack of rain. Corn condition declined over the past week, with 17 percent of the crop now rated as poor to very poor. Forty-three percent was rated fair, while 36 percent was rated good and 4 percent was excellent. Planting of soybeans and sorghum is nearly complete.
Memorial Service Held for 3 Soldiers at Washington State Military Base
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) — Joint Base Lewis-McChord is holding a memorial service Tuesday for the family and friends of three soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. All three were members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade that deployed in April. An improvised explosive device killed 33-year-old Sergeant 1st Class Barett W. McNabb of Chino Valley, Arizona on June 12. He was assigned to the 562nd Engineer Company. Enemy small arms fire killed 23-year-old Specialist Gerardo Campos of Miami, Florida on June 2. And, a roadside bomb killed 23-year-old Private First Class Cale C. Miller of Overland Park, Kansas on May 24. Campos and Miller were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment.
Passenger Numbers Increase at Garden City Airport
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — New flights to Dallas have been good for the Garden City Regional Airport. More than 1,400 passengers used the airport in May, and the number is expected to increase to about 1,500 by the end of June. Airport officials say those numbers are more than 50 percent higher than the average monthly figures from the past two years. The Garden City Telegram reports passenger numbers are taking off since April, when the airport changed service to American Eagle flights to Dallas. Previously, the airport had flights to and from Denver offered by Great Lakes Aviation. Passenger enplanements averaged 928 per month in 2011, a total of 11,140 passengers during the year.
KC-Area Drill Team Instructor Sentenced in Molestation Case
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Kansas City drill team instructor who was charged with molesting two boys has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The Jackson County (MO) prosecutor's office says 40-year-old Daniel M. Roberson was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to statutory rape, exposing another person to HIV and first-degree child molestation. A grand jury indicted Roberson in February. Prosecutors dismissed additional charges of attempted sodomy and child molestation. Roberson had served for several years as a volunteer instructor with a Kansas City drill team and as an independent contractor, leading after-school drill teams and drum corps activities. Roberson was sentenced to 15 years on the statutory rape charges and 10 years on each of the other two felonies. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently.
Kansas City Man Sentenced for Robbery That Left Security Guard Dead
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been sentenced to 87 years in prison for an attempted bank robbery that caused a security guard's death. Twenty-five-year-old Iralee French Jr. was sentenced Tuesday. He and a co-defendant, 25-year-old Thriplus Moose, robbed a UMB Bank branch in the February 2006. They tried to rob the same bank a few weeks later. During that attempt, French shot 70-year-old Dwight Mayhugh as he arrived at the bank for his job as a security guard. The two men forced the injured Mayhugh into the bank but when the guard said he didn't have access to money, they drove away in his car. Mayhugh died at a hospital the next day. Moose, who pleaded guilty to charges related to the crimes, will be sentenced later this week.
Missouri Man Sentenced for Laundering Embezzled Funds
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has gone to federal prison for helping launder some of the nearly $824,000 his wife embezzled from a company where they both worked. The U.S. Attorney's office says 41-year-old Thomas D. Hutchens, of Blue Springs, Missouri, was taken from court Monday to begin serving his 46-month sentence immediately. Thomas Hutchens was convicted in December on seven counts of money laundering. Shanna Hutchens was sentenced in 2010 to 46 months for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Richardson Hauling in Sugar Creek. Shanna Hutchens became the company's bookkeeper in 2004 and almost immediately began forging company checks to herself and her husband. Prosecutors said the couple spent the stolen funds on a house, cruises, numerous cars and boats and multiple trips to Las Vegas.
Human Remains Discovered in River
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Authorities plan to send divers into a western Missouri river where a kayaker came across a human hand. Independence police say the discovery was made about 4 pm Monday in the Little Blue River, near the Little Blue Trace Trail in eastern Jackson County, Missouri. The trail runs for 11 miles along the river. KCTV reports Monday's discovery occurred several miles south of where fishermen found the remains of a missing woman in 2007. The hand that was found Monday was described as decomposed.
Kansas Woman Held Following Fatal Crash in Nebraska
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been arrested after a LIncoln, Nebraska woman was killed in an accident on Interstate 80 near Grand Island, Nebraska. The Hall County Sheriff's Office says 34-year-old Kathy Teichmeier, of Almena, Kansas, was taken into custody after Monday's accident, which occurred around 3:50 pm. Officials say Teichmeier was driving east when she tried to make a U-turn. The sheriff's office says Teichmeier's vehicle was turning left when she clipped the rear wheel of a motorcycle driven by C. Lloyd Hermanson of Lincoln. Hermanson's wife, 58-year-old Nancy Hermanson, was killed when her motorcycle then rammed into Teichmeier's car in the aftermath of the initial collision. Teichmeier and four of her passengers were treated for minor injuries. Teichmeier was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide. Hall County records say Teichmeier remained in custody on Tuesday.
Slain Teen's Family Expected to Address Court at Killer's Sentencing
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — The mother and sister of a 14-year-old cheerleader whose burned body was found at the Great Bend asphalt plant are expected to make victim impact statements at a hearing for the man convicted of killing her. Sentencing for 38-year-old Adam Longoria is Tuesday before Barton County District Judge Hannelore Kitts. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, but capital murder carries at least a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Jurors deliberated less than four hours in April before convicting him for the August 2010 murder of Alicia DeBolt. To find Longoria guilty of capital murder, jurors had to find he committed criminal sodomy, aggravated criminal sodomy or attempted rape during the killing. Jurors decided he committed all three. They also found him guilty of vehicle burglary and theft.
**this story has been updated. Please see above.