Kansas Officials Find $80 Million Error in School Funding Measure
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials have discovered that a public school funding bill passed by lawmakers contains an error lowering the size of its spending increase by at least $80 million. Spokesman Kendall Marr said Tuesday that Republican Governor Jeff Colyer still plans to sign the measure and work with legislators on fixing the problem. The State Department of Education posted a notice about the flaw in the legislation on its website Monday. Legislators meant to phase in a $534 million increase in education funding over five years in hopes of satisfying a Kansas Supreme Court mandate. With the flaw, the figure would be $454 million or possibly a little lower. The House approved the bill Saturday and the Senate passed it early Sunday. Critics argued that the measure was being rushed.
Kansas Could Provide Free ACT Testing for High Schoolers
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas could soon provide free college admission testing to its high school students.A provision in a school finance bill approved by legislators would set aside $2.8 million for one ACT test and three WorkKeys vocational assessments for each student statewide. Republican Sen. Molly Baumgardner of Louisburg said Tuesday that ACT tests are critical to college applications but are often too expensive for some students. The State Department of Education says that in 2017, 60 percent of high school graduates took the ACT nationwide and 73 percent in Kansas. Baumgardner wants 100 percent. Baumgardner said with free ACT testing, every student will have a chance to show colleges what they know, making higher education more accessible. She is an author of the provision and the Senate Education Committee's chairwoman.
Verruckt Water Slide Designer Says Not Guilty in Boy's Death
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The designer of a waterslide where a 10-year-old Kansas boy was decapitated has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the boy's death. John Schooley, who designed the Verruckt slide for the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas, made his first court appearance Monday in the 2016 death of Caleb Schwab. Schooley remains jailed in Wyandotte County after being brought to Kansas from Texas Friday. District Judge Roger Burns declined to lower Schooley's bond from $500,000 to $250,000 and ordered Schooley to surrender his passport. Schooley's attorney, Justin Johnston, declined comment after the brief hearing. Jeff Henry, co-owner of Texas-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, pleaded not guilty last week to second-degree murder in Caleb's death. A trial date for Henry and Schooley has been tentatively set for September 10.
Attorney for Schools: Kansas Bill Phasing in $534 Million More for Schools is Inadequate
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An attorney for the school districts that sued Kansas over the adequacy and equity of school funding says the bill passed early Sunday doesn't provide enough money to satisfy the state Supreme Court. Lead school district attorney Alan Rupe said the plan to phase in a $534 million increase over five years does not provide enough money and five years is too long. Rupe said $70 million to $100 million a year would be consumed by inflation. Republican Representative Don Hineman of Dighton said there is no way to phase in $534 million in less than five years with current revenue and there is no willingness among lawmakers to raise taxes. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last fall that the state isn't spending enough money on its public schools.
Father of Missing Wichita Boy to Hire Private Investigator
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The father of a 5-year-old Wichita boy who's been missing for nearly two months is planning to hire a private investigator. KAKE-TV reports Jonathan Hernandez, father of Lucas Hernandez, has set up an online fund to raise money to help find his son. Jonathan Hernandez says he plans to hire investigators from Nederland, Texas. Lucas Hernandez was reported missing on February 17 from his home in Wichita. His stepmother reported he went missing after she put him down for a nap and took a shower. Extensive searches have found no sign of the boy. His stepmother, 26-year-old Emily Glass, is jailed on $50,000 bond on a child endangerment charge involving her 1-year-old daughter. She has not been charged in Lucas's disappearance.
Twitter Account of Man Accused of Deadly Hoax Threatens Swat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Twitter handle associated with a man who's in jail on accusations that he made a hoax emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Kansas was used to again threaten to swat someone after authorities say some inmates were able to gain access to the internet. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Monday that a software upgrade to an inmate kiosk improperly let inmates get onto the internet for "less than a few hours." The problem apparently also occurred at other jails across the country. The Sheriff's Office launched its investigation into the breach after The Wichita Eagle noticed a series of tweets posted on Tyler Barriss's account Friday. A tweet from Barriss's @GoredTutor36 handle at 9:05 a.m. Friday said: "How am I on the Internet if I'm in jail? Oh, because I'm an eGod, that's how." A follow-up tweet posted 19 minutes later said: "All right, now who was talking (expletive)," and went on to add that the person "is about to get swatted." Four tweets were posted from Barriss's account during that time, including one saying "Y'all should see how much swag I got in here." Barriss has a history of making such hoax emergency calls, which are sometimes called "swatting." His defense attorney, Bradley Sylvester, did not immediately return a phone message left at his office. The 25-year-old California man is in jail in Wichita awaiting trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. Barriss is accused of calling police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28 with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at a home in Wichita. When police responded to the address, an officer fatally shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch after he opened his door. Police have said Finch moved a hand toward his waistband and an officer, fearing he was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot and killed him. Inmates can use jail kiosks to check account balances to buy commissary items and to send and receive electronic messages, but those kiosks are not supposed to have internet access. "As soon as the path was identified it was closed and the affected kiosk was upgraded with the proper digital security features," the Sheriff's Office said.
Husband of Woman Whose Body Was in Dumpster Arrested in Iowa
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say the husband of a 37-year-old woman whose body was found in a dumpster has been arrested in Iowa. Police Lt. Todd Ojile says the 30-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday in Davenport, Iowa, after a state trooper found the victim's stolen vehicle in a hotel parking lot. Iowa officials identified the suspect as Donnell Stafford, of Wichita. He's being held in an Iowa jail pending extradition to Kansas on a first-degree murder charge. Ojile says Leuh Moore was killed early Sunday at her Wichita home. Her body was put in the dumpster less than a mile away. He says the couple had a history of domestic violence but the investigation is continuing. Investigators believe the suspect took to the couple's 7-year-old son to a relative's house after the killing. Two dogs at the home were stabbed and were taken to a vet for treatment.
5 Arrested for Deer Poaching After Blood Drips from Trunk
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Five adults are facing possible poaching charges after a sheriff's deputy who stopped to help them saw blood dripping from their vehicle's trunk. The Douglas County sheriff's office says the deputy stopped Saturday night to help a car stopped on a county road with its hazard lights on. The deputy called a game warden after seeing blood dripping from the trunk. Wildlife officials say the warden found two dead deer in the trunk. A loaded .22 caliber weapon and a spotlight were also found in the car. Deer hunting season is currently closed in Kansas. The five adults were booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of poaching, or illegal hunting.
Woman Dies After Fall at Downtown Lawrence Restaurant
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police say a woman who fell at a restaurant bar has died. Sgt. Amy Rhoads says the 61-year-old woman from Leawood died on Sunday. She fell Friday night at Quinton's Bar Deli in downtown Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Rhoads said officers are continuing to investigate what caused the woman to fall but it does not look currently look suspicious.
Kansas Firefighter, Another Man Die in 2-Car Collision
COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Coffeyville firefighter and another man died when two pickup trucks collided. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash occurred Sunday afternoon on Route 166 west of Coffeyville. The patrol says a pickup heading east went left of center and hit and oncoming truck. Both drivers, 44-year-old Derek Messner, of Coffeyville, and 57-year-old Garry Bush Jr, of Caney, died at the scene. Messner was a lieutenant with the Coffeyville Fire Department. A 55-year-old woman who was a passenger in Bush's truck was hospitalized in Joplin with serious injuries.
Man Suspected of Shooting, Killing Girlfriend's Father
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has shot and killed his girlfriend's father at a suburban Kansas City home. The Kansas City Star reports that police took the suspected shooter into custody around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Overland Park home after finding a man in his 50s dead and a 6-year-old struck in the thigh or lower leg. Police say the child is expected to be OK and that the suspect is cooperating with police. Officer John Lacy, an Overland Park police spokesman, says police don't have any indication that the child was intentionally targeted. Investigators are trying to determine if the child was injured by a ricocheting bullet. Police don't know what prompted the shooting.
Man Charged in Death of Rural Northeast Kansas Woman
LINWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man is charged in the death of a woman who was reported missing last week. Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson says 63-year-old Dan Flannagan was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the death of 61-year-old Constance Perryman. The Leavenworth Times reports a family member reported Perryman missing Thursday night. Her body was found on farm property south of Linwood. Flannagan and Perryman lived on the property where her body was found. Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley says Perryman apparently was shot. Sherley say a disagreement at the home apparently led to the shooting but the investigation is continuing.
St. Joseph Woman Sentenced in Death of Infant Girl
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A 36-year-old St. Joseph woman was sentenced to five years in prison but she will spend about 120 days in jail for the death of her 4-month-old daughter. A judge sentenced Michelle Trinidad Deming Monday but said because of the time she has been in jail, he didn't expect state prison officials to keep her incarcerated for more than another 120 days. The St. Joseph News-Press reports Deming pleaded guilty in March to endangering the welfare of a child. She admitted that she put her daughter to bed and took a walk. Prosecutors say she tested positive for methamphetamine at the time of her daughter's death. Her 12-year-old son found the girl dead and called police.
Kansas Investigator Suspects Teen's Car Went into Creek
LINWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A retired Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent says he believes a teenager who disappeared nearly 30 years ago died after driving into a creek. The Kansas City Star reports that Timothy Dennis spent more than a decade investigating the disappearance of Randy Leach. The 17-year-old went missing in April 1988 after borrowing his mother's car and attending a party near his home in the town of Linwood. His parents have sued to see some of the investigative records in the case, but a judge denied their request. Dennis, speaking publicly about the case for the first time, says the most reasonable explanation is that the teen's car went off a single-lane bridge. The creek was searched, but Dennis fears the car was swept too far downstream to be found.
Kansas Wheat Condition Declining
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new report shows the condition of the Kansas winter wheat crop is declining. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 44 percent of the state's wheat is in poor or very poor shape. Another 43 percent rated as fair. Just 12 percent of the crop is considered in good condition, with 1 percent rated excellent. The deterioration of the Kansas wheat crop comes amid a drought that has left 70 percent of the state's topsoil moisture supplies considered short or very short. Kansas farmers have also begun seeding corn with 2 percent now planted.
Kansas Burial Planned for Navy Pilot Who Was Shot Down in 1943
MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — A Navy pilot whose plane was shot down during World War II will be buried next week in Kansas after his plane was found on a reef. The Wichita Eagle reports that Lt. Irvin Edmund Rink was 25 in 1943 when Japanese fighter planes took down his F4F-4 Wildcat plane in the Russell Islands near Guadalcanal. In 2008, a diver recovered human remains, which eventually were identified as Rink's. He'll be buried next to his parents April 16 at a cemetery in Maize, which is on the outskirts of Wichita. He was 10 when his family moved to a farm near Maize. Rink was born in Dixon County, Nebraska, in the northeast corner of the state. Irvin learned to fly while earning his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas.
Oklahoma Teacher Strike Extends a 7th Day
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's two largest school districts say they are canceling classes for the seventh consecutive day as a walkout by teachers demanding more funding for public education continues. Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest school district, and Tulsa Public Schools said Monday they will remain closed on Tuesday, extending the second week of the statewide teacher walkout. Many Oklahoma school districts have been shuttered since April 2 when thousands of teachers traveled to the state Capitol demanding that lawmakers appropriate more tax dollars for classroom needs. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation last month granting teacher pay hikes of about $6,100 and providing tens of millions of new dollars for public schools. But many educators say classrooms still need more money. Educators have not said when their walkout will end.
Sheriff: Bodies Found in Home South of Branson
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — The Stone County Sheriff's Department is investigating several deaths at a home near Branson. Sheriff Doug Rader says deputies went to the home for a welfare check Monday afternoon and found multiple people dead inside a home. No other information was immediately available. Rader says his deputies are rarely called to the area, which is in a quiet retirement area south of Branson West. Neighbors told KYTV-TV that the family living at the home had moved in about five months ago.
KU, NC State Newly Mentioned in NCAA Bribery Case
NEW YORK (AP) — The University of Kansas and North Carolina State are the latest schools to be swept up in a bribery scandal involving college basketball. A rewritten federal indictment released Tuesday in New York alleges that Adidas officials paid parents of athletes willing to commit to the schools. Prosecutors say an Adidas representative agreed to pay $90,000 to the family of a KU recruit and $40,000 to a recruit at North Carolina State. Prosecutors say money helped secure the players' commitments to play college basketball at the schools and ensured the North Carolina State recruit signed an Adidas sponsorship deal when he entered the NBA. He entered the draft last June. In the Kansas case, the student-athlete made a surprise announcement last August to attend the school.