Fort Leavenworth Among Options Assessed for Guantanamo Detainees
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Department personnel are taking another look at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth and the Navy Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, in a renewed effort to evaluate a number of potential U.S. facilities where detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be transferred. The Pentagon says a team was surveying the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth on Friday and will do a similar assessment at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston later this month. Officials say the latest surveys come a week after a draft Pentagon plan to provide potential locations for the detainees was stymied when the administration said the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois was off the table. That draft plan had focused largely on Thomson and Charleston.
Biggest Security Threat? Kansas Politicos Demur on Answer
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas delegation demurred when it came to what was likely the most interesting audience question of a congressional summit hosted by business leaders. Is the Islamic State or Russia more of a threat to the United States today? After a long silence Friday by the three Republicans, Representative Tim Huelskamp took a stab at it. He said Fort Riley, which in his congressional district, is on the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State and so it is first on his mind. Representative Mike Pompeo told them no one answered the question because it is "a bit of a parlor game." He cited threats from China, Syria and radical Islamic extremism in every state, including Kansas. Representative Lynn Jenkins attacked the Obama administration over national security funding.
Former Lawrence Mayor Repays $1K Before Resigning
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The mayor of Lawrence used a city government credit card for about $1,100 in personal expenses but repaid the city shortly before resigning this week. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that former Lawrence Mayor Jeremy Farmer reimbursed the city for items that included purchases at a sporting goods store after interim City Manager Diane Stoddard asked for an explanation of the charges. Farmer paid the city $1,148.85 on Tuesday, and also wrote a memo to city staff members and commissioners explaining that he used the city's credit card to pay for some personal expenses because his personal credit cards had been "compromised." Farmer resigned as mayor Wednesday, two days after resigning from his job as executive director at a food pantry.
Kansas Statehouse Vendor, Don Wistuba, Pushes Back Date for Shutting Down
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The operator of a concession stand inside the Kansas Statehouse says he plans to keep his business open through October rather than shutting it down at the end of this month. Don Wistuba announced earlier this week that he planned to close the snack-and-sandwich shop he operates on the third floor of the Capitol on August 31. But The Kansas City Star reports that he postponed the date for two months after hearing from friends who want to help. He declined to name the friends. The 59-year-old Wistuba has been blind since birth and has operated the Statehouse concession stand since 1976. He's said his business has declined because offices once housed in the Capitol have moved to other buildings and because lobbyists provide free food to legislators.
Topeka to Consider Banning Public Nudity
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka will make a third attempt at banning public nudity when city officials consider a proposed ordinance next week. The draft of a new ordinance banning public nudity was made available Thursday. It lists two exceptions to the ban: mothers breastfeeding, and children under the age of 10. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Topeka's proposal was prompted recently by concerns about a local man who walks nude on the area's Shunga Trail and in other public areas. Topeka previously attempted in 2005 and 2014 to enact bans on public nudity. Under the new draft ordinance that will be considered at the council meeting next week, public nudity would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of between $1 and $499.
Kansas Health Aide Rejects Plea Offer in Murder Case
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 48-year-old northeast Kansas man accused of killing a disabled 65-year-old in his care has rejected a plea offer from prosecutors. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Ronald Eugene Heskett claims the September 12, 2014, death of Vance Moulton was the result of an assisted suicide, not murder. Prosecutors say the health aide from Eudora killed Moulton, who had cerebral palsy and limited mobility, for financial reasons. Moulton was found dead in his Lawrence residence with a towel around his neck. Assistant prosecutor Eve Kemple told a judge on Friday that she had offered Heskett the chance to plead guilty to murder in exchange for the opportunity to argue mitigating factors at sentencing. Heskett instead opted to try his case before a jury. His trial is scheduled to begin September 14.
Kansas Man Convicted of First-Degree Murder in 2011 Killing
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, man has been convicted of killing his girlfriend's friend when she tried to intervene in the couple's fight. The Wyandotte County prosecutor's office announced Friday that 30-year-old Donald R. Haygood was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Demetria Mill. Witnesses testified that Mill was holding up a cell phone to call 911 and the bullet went through the phone. Haygood later was arrested after an 11-hour standoff. Sentencing is set for October 2.
Cast of Gunsmoke TV Show Reunite in Dodge City
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Six decades after "Gunsmoke" debuted on television, several actors who appeared in the show, including Burt Reynolds, are scheduled to reunite in Dodge City. The Wichita Eagle reports that the actors will attend Wild West Fest on September 25, 26 and 27. The event is hosted by the Boot Hill Casino & Resort, the Wild West Heritage Foundation and the Roundup Rodeo. Besides Reynolds, who portrayed blacksmith Quint Asper from 1962 to 1965, also attending are Bruce Boxleitner, Buck Taylor, Jess Walton, Lane Bradbury and Merry Florene. "Gunsmoke" ran on CBS from 1955 through 1975 and was nominated for more than a dozen Emmys. Other key actors from the show have died, including James Arness, who starred as Matt Dillon; Amanda Blake, who played Miss Kitty; and Milburn Stone, who was Doc Adams.
Military Officials Say They're Committed to Fairness in Chelsea Manning Case
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. military says it is committed to "a fair and equitable process" in the case of national security leaker Chelsea Manning and other prisoners accused of breaking rules at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. The response comes a day after Manning's lawyer disclosed that Manning could be placed in solitary confinement indefinitely for allegedly having a copy of Vanity Fair with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover and an expired tube of toothpaste, among other things. In a statement issued Thursday, Army spokeswoman Tatjana Christian says Manning's case is pending before a disciplinary board, which is "a common practice in correctional systems to hold prisoners accountable to facility rules." The former intelligence analyst was convicted in 2013 of espionage for sending classified documents to WikiLeaks while working in Iraq.
Appeals Court Rejects Kansas Inmate's Conjugal Visit Appeal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal appeals court has again rejected a Kansas prison inmate's bid to "co-habitate and procreate" with a woman whose mother the couple were convicted of killing. The Kansas City Star reports 34-year-old Joshua Robertson sued state prison officials for refusing to allow him to have conjugal contact with 32-year-old Jennifer Self, a woman he describes as his common-law wife. The pair are serving life sentences for killing Self's mother in 2002. Roberts claimed in his suit that his constitutional rights to freely practice his religious beliefs were being violated. A federal judge and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously dismissed the suit, finding that a prison inmate has no constitutional right to contact visitation. The 10th Circuit on Thursday denied an additional appeal.
Man Charged in Derby Shooting of 60-Year-Old Woman
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of shooting a woman inside a Derby AT&T store has made his first court appearance. The Wichita Eagle reports James Michael Phillips appeared in a Sedgwick County courtroom Thursday. He is charged on several counts including attempted capital murder.According to authorities, Phillips tried to rob the store Tuesday morning. Court documents say he ordered two employees to the back of the store at gunpoint and shot a 60-year-old woman multiple times. She was the only customer in the store at the time and was in critical condition at Wesley Medical Center as of Thursday evening.Police say Phillips then led officers on a brief chase to south Wichita, during which he fired at a Derby police officer. He is being held on $500,000 bond. It was not immediately clear if Philips has an attorney.
FBI Seeking Suspect in 3 Missouri Bank Robberies
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a woman suspected of robbing three Missouri banks. The Kansas City Star reports that the robberies occurred June 24 in north Kansas City, July 8 in Blue Springs, and July 14 in Webb City. In each case, the woman said she had a weapon and handed a note to a teller demanding money. The suspect is white, 20 to 30 years old and about 5 feet 5 inches tall.
Topeka Activist Plans Protest over Sherman County Jail Death
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka activist is planning a protest over the 2014 death of a 58-year-old woman in a western Kansas jail. Brenda Sewell of Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested in Sherman County in January 2014 after a traffic stop on her way home from Colorado. She was arrested for possessing an ounce of marijuana. She collapsed and died in her cell. Her relatives contend jailers in Sherman County refused to give her prescription medication and were slow to help after she collapsed. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation declined to investigate Sewell's death because Sewell died of natural causes. Authorities have also cleared the jailers of wrongdoing. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Sonny Scroggins is planning the demonstration Saturday in a Kansas City park. He says any deaths in custody raise concerns.
Kansas City Minimum Wage Plan Faces Challenges
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A proposal by the Kansas City Council to boost the minimum wage is facing challenges from two groups. The Kansas City Star reports that the Kansas City Council on Thursday took a step to seek voter input in November on a group's petition to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. That proposal is supported by civil rights groups seeks to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour on Sept. 1 and to $15 per hour by 2020. The council has adopted its own ordinance to increase the city's minimum wage to $13 per hour by 2020. The council ordinance hasn't become law because another group of petitioners representing businesses has also started a referendum drive to overturn it.
Caribbean Flour Millers Visiting 4 US States Next Week
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Flour millers from Caribbean countries are visiting four states next week to learn more about U.S. wheat and the country's supply system. U.S. Wheat Associates is sponsoring the visit in cooperation with the Foreign Agriculture Service and state wheat commissions in North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Louisiana. Officials say the wheat buyers from Guyana, Haiti, St. Vincent and Trinidad are either new to the industry or have a history of purchasing wheat from U.S. competitors. They say the trip is an opportunity to grow U.S. market share in the Caribbean.
Kansas Man Uses Sword to Confront Teen Breaking into Home
OAKLAWN, Kan. (AP) — A 17-year-old suspected of breaking into a suburban Wichita home early Friday morning was being treated for cuts after the homeowner confronted him with a sword. The Wichita Eagle reports that an Oaklawn man called 911 shortly before 4:30 am to report that "he was arming himself" because someone was breaking into his house. The intruder was gone when a sheriff's deputy arrived, but a few minutes later someone called 911 from a house a few blocks away reporting someone was bleeding. Sedgwick County sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant Lin Dehning says the teen was taken to a hospital and would be booked into jail after he was released. Dehning says the teen was detained on outstanding warrants and could face an attempted burglary charge. The homeowner isn't likely to face charges.
After Years of Drought, Arkansas River Event Runs Again
SYRACUSE, Kan. (AP) — After having to call it quits years ago because of low water levels, organizers have rekindled a floating event on the Arkansas River, which once again actually has water in it in Kansas thanks to recent rains around the region. The Hutchinson News reports the annual Arkansas River Run began in the 1980s and included cruising the Arkansas, located south of Syracuse, in wildly decorated vessels, including horse tanks. The event was discontinued in the 1990s when it became difficult to predict whether there would be enough water in the river, which originates in Colorado. But water is again flowing in Kansas, thanks to a deluge of rains. The run is scheduled for August 22nd.
Douglas County OKs Permit for Specialty Meat Shop; Kris Kobach Not Happy
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Douglas County commissioners have approved a permit for a specialty meat shop despite opposition from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and others. Commissioners approved the conditional use permit Wednesday for Lawrence chef Brian Strecker, who says his new shop, called The Burning Barrel, would process locally raised livestock into hams, sausages and other cuts of meat. Several residents said they worried the shop would pose fire, odor and health hazards. Kobach owns a structure near where Strecker's shop would be, and said he didn't want his children to grow up downwind from the shop. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that others who spoke in favor of the shop vouched for Strecker's work ethic and professional skills. Strecker says his shop would process no more than four hogs a week.