Kansas Governor Broadens Order Against Refugee Resettlements
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has issued a new, broader executive order telling state agencies that they can't assist with resettling refugees who are security risks. The order issued by the governor Friday applies to any refugees presenting a security risk to the state. Brownback's office issued a statement saying the order recognizes the threat posed by terrorists or refugees sympathetic to them. The Republican governor issued an executive order in November that applied specifically to Syrian refugees. Like the previous order, the new one also is aimed at preventing organizations that receive state grant money from helping relocate refugees. The new order says the restrictions will remain in place until Kansas is assured that the federal government has an adequate process for vetting refugees.
Kansas Tax Amnesty Generates $23M, $7M Under Expectations
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A tax amnesty program designed to help balance the Kansas budget has generated only about three-quarters of what lawmakers expected. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the program brought in about $23 million, which fell about $7 million short of the $30 million that was anticipated. The Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback passed the amnesty program this past spring as part of a massive revenue package to raise $400 million to balance the state budget. The program ran from September 1 through October 15. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, provided the $23 million figure to The Capital-Journal. It matched what House Tax Committee chairman Marvin Kleeb said he understood the program had generated. Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican, says the program was successful, despite falling short of the estimate.
Kansas Lawmakers Plan Sunday Pre-Session Meetings
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers plan to have meetings Sunday before their annual session opens, and a gathering for Senate Republicans is closed to the public. Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce's office confirmed that GOP senators plan to meet at Sunday afternoon at the Kansas Bankers Association headquarters in west Topeka. Bruce described it as a pre-session orientation meeting that traditionally has been private. House Democrats have scheduled a retreat for noon Sunday at the Jayhawk Tower in downtown Topeka. Senate Democrats have been invited, and the event is open to reporters and the public. The House and Senate are scheduled to convene at 2 pm Monday for the session's opening day.
Brownback Seeks Federal Aid for Flooded Southeast Kansas
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback is seeking federal help for an area that flooded last month in southeast Kansas. Brownback's office said Thursday that the governor signed a disaster declaration request and it was submitted to the Small Business Administration. The request seeks help for residents affected by last month's flooding in Cherokee County. The flooding forced hundreds from their homes and closed several roads. The Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters.
State Mistakenly Notifies Some Employees They've Been Fired
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Administration has apologized after several state employees were mistakenly notified that they had been fired. Department spokesman John Milburn said Thursday a computer glitch caused the problem. The email was intended for people who retired or were fired last year, saying the state would no longer furnish them with W-2 forms. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the email was instead went to 3,800 state employees. Milburn says he wasn't sure how many people on the list should have received the email. The administration department sent an email Thursday apologizing for the mistake.
KS Congressman Pompeo 'Hopeful' that Clinton Will Be Indicted
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican member of the House Benghazi committee says he is "hopeful" that the Justice Department will indict Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for having classified information on her private email server. Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas says there is increasing evidence that "an enormous amount of information" on Clinton's private server is classified. He told conservative radio host Lars Larson that there is "only one answer that can be reached, and I am hopeful that will be the outcome that the FBI achieves." Pompeo's comments came as the panel interviewed former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta behind closed doors on Friday. The remarks are the latest by a congressional Republican suggesting an unfavorable judgment against Clinton before the committee or the FBI concludes their respective investigations.
Kansas Lawmaker Says He Regrets Sharing Facebook Post
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas legislator says he regrets posting a comment on Facebook that mocked Hispanics who speak accented English and making a derogatory comment about President Obama. Republican Representative John Bradford of Lansing said Thursday that sharing the post was "in bad taste.'' Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley and others called the posting racist. Hensley said the House should investigate and consider disciplining Bradford. Bradford had removed the comment from his Facebook page by Thursday afternoon. The post featured a man wearing a sombrero and an altered photo of Obama. It made fun of heavily accented English by using several unrelated words to celebrate Obama's leaving office next year.
Report: Brownback Repays Lt. Gov for Campaign Loans
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new report shows Republican Governor Sam Brownback has made a final $100,000 repayment on loans from his running mate to their re-election campaign. Three loans from Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer totaling $1.5 million were the subject of a federal grand jury investigation last year. No charges were filed. The campaign also repaid the governor and his wife $100,000, half of what they loaned to the campaign in October 2014. The Brownback campaign listed the transactions in a finance report filed Friday, covering all of last year. After his re-election, the Brownback campaign received nearly $578,000 in contributions last year. It spent $574,000. More than $167,000 went to legal fees paid to various law firms. The campaign reported it had $51,385 at the end of the year.
Judge Dismisses Ouster Action Against Topeka City Councilman
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Shawnee County judge quickly dismissed a civil action to remove a Topeka city councilman charged with child abuse from the council. But prosecutors say they will refile the action later. In a hearing Friday, Judge Franklin Theis dismissed the ouster effort against Jonathan Schumm. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the district attorney's office sought the dismissal earlier in the day. But prosecutors said they would refile the civil action after the criminal case against Schumm is resolved. Schumm and his wife, Allison are charged with one criminal count each of aggravated battery and four counts of endangering a child. Court records show that Jonathan Schumm is accused of choking a child and threatening to "kill him." He has denied the allegations.
Kansas Lawyer Convicted of Mistreating Disabled Man
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A longtime Kansas City, Kansas, lawyer has been found guilty of misappropriating funds from a disabled man's trust fund. A Wyandotte County judge this week found Don Charles Ball guilty of felony mistreatment of a dependent adult and misdemeanor passing a worthless check. The Kansas City Star reports Ball's license has been suspended by the Kansas Supreme Court. Prosecutors say Ball managed the affairs of a man who has a disabling brain injury. The man had a trust and a probate judge ordered Ball to not spend trust proceeds without court approval. When the court ordered Ball to pay out money in the trust, he wrote a $32,000 check that the bank rejected for insufficient funds. Ball will be sentenced February 26.
Lawrence High School Alum Creates Non-Profit to Collect Donations for Kansas Schools
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Lawrence High School graduate has created a nonprofit organization to funnel donations to Kansas schools while the state Legislature overhauls the school funding system. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 2010 graduate Thomas Wheatley has named the charity OurKansas. Donors can pick from four plans, ranging from $4.49 to $12.69 per month. Fifty percent of donations go toward a local school program or activity of the donor's choice, 30 percent go toward low-income districts and 20 percent go toward community outreach. In March, the Kansas Legislature repealed the school funding formula that had been in place since 1992 and replaced the old funding system with block grants while lawmakers work on a new formula.
County Officials Express Frustration with Mental Hospital
PAOLA, Kan. (AP) — Officials in an eastern Kansas county say they're frustrated by safety problems at the state's largest mental hospital that recently lost federal funding. Federal officials said last month that the Medicare program would stop paying for patient care at Osawatomie State Hospital because the hospital falls short of meeting federal regulations. At a commission meeting this week, Miami County Commissioner Rob Roberts said that some of the issues "are not ones that anyone in our county should be proud of." Among numerous problems cited by federal inspectors was a report that an employee was raped by a patient in October. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a representative from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services spoke before the Miami County Commission and rejected federal findings that there was "systemic failure" at the hospital.
Wichita State, Fort Hays School Possible in Dodge City
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State and Fort Hays State are discussing opening a specialized school for medical training in Dodge City. The talks are in the early stages but representatives of both schools have met with Dodge City officials. The Dodge City Daily Globe reports the universities are considering the former St. Mary of the Plains complex for a school to train physician assistants, nurses and physical therapists. State Representative Bud Estes of Dodge City says the new school would partner with the city, Ford County and a local hospital. St. Mary of the Plains College closed in the late 1990s because of declining enrollment.
Wichita Interim Police Chief to Retire
Wichita's interim police chief has announced that he's retiring in two weeks. Nelson Mosley will be leaving the department after 29 years. The city's new police chief Gordon Ramsay will take over on January 29.
Former Miss Kansas Pleads Guilty in Hunting Case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ A former beauty queen who hosted an adventure TV show has pleaded guilty to killing an Alaska grizzly bear without a state license. The sentence for Theresa Vail, who was Miss Kansas 2013, includes one year of probation and a $750 fine. Court documents say Vail, on a guided hunt, held a single bear tag when she shot a bear. But when she attempted to kill it with a second shot she killed a second bear. Vail hosted the Outdoor Channel series ``Limitless with Theresa Vail.''
Kansas Officials Warn of Man Posing as Veterinarian
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners is seeking information about a man who is reportedly impersonating a veterinarian. The board says 49-year-old Danny Thomas is using the alias Chase McKnight. KWCH-TV reports the man treated several horses and has done free spay and neutering services in Cowley County. Kansas Agriculture Department spokesman Jason Walker says Thomas has never been a licensed veterinarian in Kansas and no one named Chase McKnight has ever had a license either. Thomas was sentenced to prison for several computer crimes he committed in 2009 and was released in June of 2015.
Brownback Touts Kansas Tax Policy in Tweet on Royals Star Outfielder
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's office has taken a swing at promoting his tax-cutting policies through Kansas City Royals star Alex Gordon's new, $72 million contract. The Wichita Eagle reports that the World Series champions' All-Star outfielder signed a four-year deal Wednesday. Brownback tweeted congratulations — and said Gordon would save $1.8 million a year living in Kansas instead of California. Brownback pushed successfully in 2012 and 2013 for massive income tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since. Twitter users quickly questioned Brownback's claim. A Royals spokesman said Gordon claims Nebraska as his official home and pays state income taxes wherever the team plays games.
Part of Marion Evacuated After Grain Elevator Fire
MARION, Kan. (AP) — A grain elevator fire caused an evacuation of part of an east-central Kansas town Thursday but only one worker suffered smoke inhalation. Marion County authorities say the fire at the Cooperative Grain & Supply in Marion did not cause an explosion. But streets around the elevator were evacuated for about three hours. Marion City Administrator Roger Holter says the fire started when grain dust caught fire in the area where grain trucks unload their cargo. The Hutchinson News reports a maintenance worker who was in the area was treated for smoke inhalation. Authorities did not have a damage estimate for the grain elevator.
Frontier Airlines to Add Non-Stop Flights from Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Frontier Airlines plans to add non-stop flights from Kansas City International Airport to Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia, beginning this spring. The Kansas City Star reports that service to and from Chicago-O'Hare International Airport will begin April 14. Service to Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport will begin April 15. Service to and from Philadelphia International Airport begins June 2. The announcement comes the same week Frontier launched new non-stop service to Orlando.
Missouri Woman Gets 30 Years in Prison in Kansas Killing
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in a Kansas City, Kansas, killing. The Wyandotte County district attorney's office says 32-year-old Natasha Tone Pa Hote, of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, was sentenced Thursday for second-degree murder. She pleaded guilty last month to killing 60-year-old Richard Vertz Jr. in June 2013 at his home. An autopsy revealed that Vertz had been stabbed to death.
Man Charged with Murder in Kansas City, Kansas Killing
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 45-year-old man has been charged in the shooting death of another man in Kansas City, Kansas. Franklin Bryant Jr. of Kansas City, Kansas, was charged Thursday in Wyandotte County with second-degree murder in Tuesday's killing of Jerome Simmons. Bryant is jailed on $250,000 bond. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney. The prosecutor's office said in a news release that the investigation into the killing is ongoing.
Police Investigate Fire at KCMO Apartment Building
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two people were treated for injuries after a fire that engulfed a Kansas City apartment building. The Kansas City police bomb and arson squad is investigating the fire and a person of interest was arrested after the fire early Friday. Large sections of the three-story building collapsed while firefighters fought the blaze for several hours. The building had six units. Battalion Chief Mike Cashen said the cause of the fire was under investigation. The American Red Cross helped 16 people. One of the injured had to jump from the building. The other was treated for smoke inhalation after running from door-to-door warning other residents. Their conditions were not available later Friday.