Kansas Democratic Governor Hopeful Criticized on Abortion
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement is giving the Kansas governor's race an odd twist. It's complicating the bid by a major Democratic candidate who's trying to rebuild his party's brand with rural voters but is hindered by his anti-abortion past. Former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty argues that Democrats can't break an eight-year losing streak in all statewide races without pulling more votes from strongly Republican rural areas. But he could have trouble winning the August 7 primary because abortion-rights advocates are energized and Svaty voted consistently for anti-abortion measures as a Kansas House member. Svaty has tried to woo liberal Democrats by pledging to veto any new abortion restrictions if he's elected governor. But he's facing two major rivals taking strong abortion-rights stances.
Kansas Governor Expands Counties in Drought Emergency to 50
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has expanded the number of counties classified as having a drought emergency so that nearly half are covered. Governor Jeff Colyer issued an executive order Friday listing 50 of the state's 105 counties as having a drought emergency. His new order replaces one in March listing 28 counties as having an emergency. That status allows counties to use water from some state fishing lakes and federal reservoirs. The entire state is under some stage of drought. The least serious stage is a drought watch. Under Colyer's new order, that status applies to 28 counties, down from 48 in March. Twenty-seven counties are covered by a drought warning, down from 29 in March. Twelve counties jumped from a warning to an emergency, and 10 from a watch to an emergency.
Protesters at Wichita Immigration Facility Demand Inspection
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Protesters camping near an Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing center in Wichita are demanding that the agency allow it to be inspected by a group of elected officials. Democratic state Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau says inspection of the facility could help put people's minds at ease. She says its part of the duties as an elected official to see what's going on and answer questions they've been getting from constituents. The Wichita Eagle reported Friday that ICE told them elected officials would need to formally request access through Homeland Security's Office of Legislative Affairs. Protests have stayed near the building since Sunday. The building has been rented by ICE since 2013 and includes office space where undocumented immigrants are processed for detention and deportation.
Man Shot by Overland Park Police Dies from Injuries
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Overland Park police say a man shot by officers during a confrontation at an apartment complex has died. Spokesman John Lacy said 43-year-old Charles Webb died Friday after being shot earlier in the day. No police were injured. Authorities were called to the apartment complex where a man and woman were arguing. Police say when the woman ran, the man began firing at random outside the apartment complex. Lacy says Webb fired several shots at officers when they arrived at the scene and two officers fired back, hitting him. Webb died later at a hospital. The two officers were placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. The woman involved in the earlier dispute was not injured.
Kansas Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Infant Son's Death
EUREKA, Kan. (AP) - A southeast Kansas man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the death of his 6-month-old son. The Kansas Attorney General's office says that 23-year-old Benny William Clark, of Reece, was sentenced for second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of his son, Cooper. Prosecutors say Clark was caring for the boy in August 2017 while his mother was at work. When she returned home, she found the boy gasping for air. He was flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita and died two days later. Clark said in court that he shook Cooper for 6 to 7 seconds because the baby urinated. Clark also told authorities Cooper fell off an ottoman and hit his head.
Man Charged in Shooting Outside Kansas School
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been charged in a shooting near a Kansas elementary school that killed one man and left another critically injured. The Kansas City Star reports that 32-year-old Anthony Grable was charged Thursday with premeditated first-degree murder and seven other counts. His bond was set at $1 million. The shooting occurred Tuesday morning outside Sunrise Point Elementary School in Overland Park, Kansas. Grable and the two victims were contractors installing new turf on the school's playground. Police say 48-year-old Todd Davis, of Lee's Summit, Missouri, died after the shooting. Fifty-four-year-old Efren Gomez remained in critical condition Thursday. Police are investigating the shooting.
Businesses Closed After Possible Explosion in Atchison
ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say some type of incendiary device damaged eight businesses in downtown Atchison. Fire Chief Ted Graf says no one was injured the incident early Friday. The St. Joseph News-Press reports investigators responding to an alarm found structural damage and broken windows throughout the downtown business block. Graf says the scene eventually was determined to be safe enough to allow business owners into their damaged stores. He says some stores might reopen Friday afternoon. An investigation involving federal, state and local offices is continuing.
7 Injured When Bus from Arizona Collides with Vehicle
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says seven people were injured when a bus from Arizona collided with a pickup truck on the Kansas Turnpike near Lawrence. Patrol Captain Joe Bott says the injured were taken to hospitals in Lawrence and the Kansas City area. He says none of the injuries were considered life-threatening. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the accident occurred on westbound Interstate 70 about 10 miles east of the Tonganoxie/Eudora exit. The patrol says a pickup driven by a Lawrence man rear-ended the bus, which went out of control, hit a barrier wall and overturned. A third vehicle was struck by debris. That driver was not injured. The pickup driver and six men on the bus were taken to hospitals. All the injured bus occupants are from out of state, mostly Arizona and California.
Wichita Fireworks Enforcement Sparks Confrontations, Assault
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A fire official says Wichita's enhanced fireworks enforcement sparked some street confrontations, including a Roman candle assault on a city firefighter. Deputy Chief Stuart Bevis says most of the 133 people cited for illegal fireworks accepted their tickets without causing trouble. The Wichita Eagle reports that authorities enforcing the fireworks code were confronted in several cases by crowds and backed off rather than escalate the situation. He says one of his firefighters got hit over the head by an elderly lady with a Roman candle. The city sent out 22 teams of firefighters and police officers in unmarked cars Tuesday and Wednesday. City leaders contemplated dropping the fireworks restrictions this year, but most people wanted it toughened instead. The council set the fine at $250.
Former Sheriff's Deputy Alleges Age Discrimination in Firing
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A former Crawford County deputy alleges in a lawsuit she was fired after the sheriff told her she was too old and too feeble to do the job. Mary Mays spent more than 20 years at the sheriff's office before she was fired last fall after failing a firearms test. The lawsuit alleges younger deputies were allowed to retake the test if they didn't pass. The lawsuit accuses the county of age discrimination. Mays was 59 at the time she was fired. County officials declined to comment. The lawsuit names the as defendants the Board of Crawford County Commissioners.
Kansas Ag Department Unveils Proposed Rules for Hemp Farmers
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — The Kansas Department of Agriculture has released its draft of proposed rules for growing industrial hemp. The draft is a 26-page document laying out what types of licenses the state will make available, how they’ll be monitored, and how much it will cost. The draft sets the license fee for growers at $1000, the fee for fiber and grain processors at $3000, and the fee for flower processors at $6000. Jeff Vogel, the program manager who will oversee the hemp pilot program, says officials have been working hard to get the rules right, but says he hopes the public will help the department make them even better. The Agriculture Department will take public comment on the proposal until July 19. The department must have the new rules finalized and approved by December 31.
Manhattan Implements Hiring Freeze Amid Budget Shortfall
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The city of Manhattan has implemented a hiring and travel freeze amid budget shortfalls it blames on sluggish tax revenues. City officials say that Kansas State University is seeing declines in enrollment and fewer solders are being stationed at Fort Riley. Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr says this has resulted in fewer shoppers in Manhattan and could be part of the reason for the stagnant tax revenues. The city had $250,000 less revenue than expected in 2017. That trend is continuing this year with the city revenues more than $80,000 dollars down in May. Fehr says they are going to be more conservative when estimating revenues in the future.
Home Destroyed After Fireworks Reignite in Trash
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Fire investigators say a fire that destroyed a house near Topeka began when fireworks thrown in the trash reignited. The Kansas State Fire Marshal's office says both residents inside the home just south of Topeka city limits escaped the early Thursday fire after being awakened by smoke detectors. Firefighters responded to the fire near Lake Sherwood early Thursday. They rescued a dog and cat inside the home. The fire has been ruled accidental. Fire investigator Tony Celeste says the fireworks were put in a trash bin near the house after they were shot off Wednesday evening. He says the blaze damaged two vehicles.
University of Kansas Hires Jeff Long as Athletic Director
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas will hire former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long to lead its athletics department. KU announced Thursday that Long will replace former athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who was fired May 21. Long was athletic director at Arkansas from 2008 to 2017 before being fired last November amid criticism over the football team's performance. The university said Long agreed to a five-year contract paying $1.5 million per year. Private funds from Kansas Athletics will pay $1.3 million, with the remaining $200,000 paid by KU. Long will be introduced at a news conference July 11 and will start his new job August 1.
Maryland Releases Subpoenas for Records in FBI College Basketball Probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Maryland has joined the list of schools to receive a grand jury subpoena seeking records in the ongoing federal corruption investigation into college basketball. The school released two subpoenas to The Associated Press and other media outlets Friday in response to public records requests. That follows North Carolina State's release in March of a similar subpoena seeking communication records between school officials and its former coaching staff, and ex-Wolfpack guard Dennis Smith Jr. and his representatives. A March subpoena to Maryland sought communications or any information regarding possible improper payments to a former Maryland player — the school redacted the name, citing federal privacy laws — or that player's family. It also sought the personnel file of men's basketball assistant coach Orlando Ranson, as well as documents or communications regarding or involving Christian Dawkins — an agent runner and one of 10 men originally charged in the case last fall. A June subpoena sought records tied to "the recruitment, eligibility and/or amateur status" of Silvio De Sousa, who played his freshman season at Kansas last year. De Sousa, a 6-foot-9 forward, joined the Jayhawks after graduating high school in December and was a reserve for a Final Four team. In a statement, Maryland says it has complied with the subpoenas, both of which sought records dating to January 2015. "None of the responsive records shows evidence of any violations of applicable laws or NCAA bylaws by university coaches, staff or players," the school said. "The university has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing federal investigation." The subpoenas are similar to the one issued in January seeking records such as emails, text messages, photographs or calendar entries from N.C. State tied to Smith, a one-and-done lottery pick who completed his rookie season with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks last year. It's unclear how many subpoenas have been issued to schools in the case. The multiyear investigation became public in September when federal prosecutors announced the charges against 10 men — including assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, USC and Oklahoma State along with a top Adidas executive — in a fraud and bribery scandal. The case involves hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged bribes and kickbacks designed to influence recruits on choosing a school, agent or apparel company. It has entangled schools such as N.C. State , Kansas, Louisville and Miami , among others, though prosecutors withdrew a criminal complaint in February against one of the defendants. The fallout included the ouster of Louisville's Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino — who was not charged criminally — while top Cardinals recruit Brian Bowen transferred to South Carolina but was never cleared to play. Bowen ultimately declared for the NBA draft but went undrafted. The case also led to the creation of a commission in October seeking to reform the sport. That group, led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, issued its report in April and the NCAA has been reviewing those recommendations for possible implementation ahead of next season.