Ex-Colyer Chairman Backing Orman in Kansas Governor's Race
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Governor Jeff Colyer's campaign chairman is endorsing independent candidate Greg Orman instead of GOP nominee Kris Kobach after Colyer's narrow primary loss to Kobach. Orman's campaign announced Monday that Steve Baccus, a former Kansas Farm Bureau president, will become one of Orman's campaign co-chairmen. Orman and the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, are wooing Republican voters alienated by Kobach's in-your-face conservatism and advocacy of tough immigration policies. Colyer endorsed Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, after Kobach won the Republican primary by 350 votes out of more than 317,000 cast. Colyer reiterated the endorsement Monday and said Orman's announcement was the first Colyer and his aides knew of Baccus' plans. Orman is a Kansas City-area businessman, and Baccus said Orman is best qualified to improve the state's economy. Baccus is an Ottawa County farmer who served 12 years as Farm Bureau president before retiring from the post in 2014. The Farm Bureau endorsed Colyer in the primary. Kobach said the Baccus endorsement means, "Topeka insiders are sticking together." Kelly spokeswoman Johanna Warshaw said the Baccus endorsement shows Orman won't move Kansas past the past experiment in cutting Kansas income taxes championed by former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback or the budget woes that followed. Colyer was Brownback's lieutenant governor before Brownback resigned in January to take an ambassador's post.
Faulty Software Blamed for Slow Election in Johnson County
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Officials say faulty software caused a 12-hour delay in tabulating Johnson County's election night results in the August primaries. Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker said Monday the problem is fixed and he is confident it won't happen again in November. The Kansas City Star reports Election Systems & Software, the county's election vendor, has rewritten part of the code that caused the delay. Company CEO and president Tom Burt says initial test of the new code were successful. The new software must be certified for use before the general election. Johnson County spent $10.5 million this summer on new voting machines and software. The county also experienced long lines at some polling places in August. Metsker says the county will use 2,100 machines in November to shorten the lines.
Kansas Didn't Inform Residents of Contaminated Water
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials allowed hundreds of residents in two neighborhoods to drink contaminated water for years without telling them. The Wichita Eagle reports that the state discovered dry cleaning chemicals had contaminated groundwater at a Haysville laundromat in 2011. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment didn't act for more than six years. The state didn't test private wells less than a mile away, nor did it notify residents that their drinking wells could be contaminated. The state also waited more than four years to notify more than 200 homes that officials discovered contamination near a Wichita dry cleaning site. Dry cleaning chemicals can build up over time when consumed, potentially harming a person's nervous system, liver, kidneys and reproductive system. The delays stem from a 1995 state law that places more emphasis on protecting the dry cleaning industry than public health.
Kansas City Police: 1 Man Shot Dead, Another Arrested
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a teen has been shot to death blocks from the Kansas City zoo, and another man has been arrested. Police say officers were patrolling the area west of the zoo, at the Foxtown East neighborhood, around 5 am Saturday when they heard gunfire and saw a vehicle speeding away. Officers chased the vehicle into Kansas, where it crashed at I-35 and 7th Street. Officers then arrested the driver. At the scene of the shooting, officers found 17-year-old Raphael Butler-Grimmett suffering from gunshot wounds and performed CPR. Medics who arrived on scene declared him dead. The man arrested had been released by late Saturday afternoon.
Man Killed in Hit-and-Run Eastern Kansas Crash
MORAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Missouri man has been killed in a hit-and-run crash in eastern Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 26-year-old Billy Lee Montgomery, of Springfield, was found dead early Sunday in the eastbound lane of U.S. 54 in Allen County. No details were released about the vehicle involved in the crash. Montgomery's death is under investigation.
Kansas GOP Centrists Warned Against Endorsing Challengers
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Moderate Republicans in Kansas find themselves in an awkward position of whether to stay silent on Kris Kobach's gubernatorial nomination or endorse one of his competitors and face potential GOP-led repercussions. The Kansas City Star reports that the conundrum came to light earlier this week when House Majority Leader Don Hineman wrote to more than two dozen of his fellow centrists to discourage them from taking a public stance on anyone who isn't Kobach, the GOP's lead candidate. Hineman's warning is the latest demonstration of the wide divide in the Kansas GOP, where moderates tend to side with Democrats on issues like Medicaid expansion and rolling back former Governor Sam Brownback's 2012 tax cuts. Kobach has promised "full-throttled conservatism" if elected, and has rejected moderating his views for the general election. He faces independent candidate Greg Orman and Democratic nominee Senator Laura Kelly.
2 Convicted in Lawrence Fatal Shooting, 1 Mistrial Declared
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A jury found two men guilty in a fatal shooting at a Lawrence motel but could not reach a verdict on a third defendant. The Douglas County jury on Monday found 20-year-old Tyrone Carvin and 23-year-old Ramone Singleton, both of Kansas City, Kansas, guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Cameron Hooks of Lenexa. A mistrial was declared for 19-year-old Shawn Smith, of Kansas City, Missouri. A new trial for him was scheduled for January 22. Two other men were shot in the confrontation at a Motel 6 in September during a party involving at least nine people. The Lawrence Journal-World reports prosecutors allege the three defendants shot Hooks during an attempted robbery. Defense attorneys argued the three defendants fired shots in self-defense because others tried to rob them first.
Found Pipe Bomb Brought to Police Station Prompts Evacuation
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a city hall in southeastern Kansas was evacuated after someone brought in a pipe bomb found on rental property. Police in Arkansas City say the person was cleaning a rental property when he discovered the bomb, made of a sealed metal pipe with a cap and fuse on one end. Police say he brought it in to the station, located next to City Hall, around 2 pm Friday not knowing what else to do with it. Police then evacuated City Hall and closed parts of surrounding streets. The Wichita Police bomb squad and state police helped move the device to a sand-filled dump truck, which took it to an undisclosed location to be detonated. No one was hurt.
Convicted Kansas Methamphetamine Dealer Granted Probation
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A 36-year-old woman who was facing nearly 13 years in prison for dealing methamphetamine was given probation by a judge who said she had made significant progress in dealing with her drug addiction. Sarah McHaley, of Hutchinson, was sentenced Friday to three years' of probation by District Judge Trish Rose. McHaley would face 12 years, 10 months in prison if she violates her parole. The Hutchinson News reports McHaley pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school. She was arrested in a drug raid in May 2017. A co-defendant, Kerry Potter, who earlier was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Supporters noted McHaley has completed drug treatment, is a public speaker for Oxford House and has been employed for a year.
Lawrence to Spend Hundreds of Thousands on Public Art
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence is planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for public art as part of several large-scale building and renovation projects. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a $5.3 million fire station renovation, $4.5 million new bus hub and $17 million new police headquarters building are in the works. A long-standing resolution allows the city to set aside up to 2 percent of a project's budget for public art. That amounts to about $450,000 for the three projects. Commissioner Leslie Soden has been a proponent of putting more art into public places, such as parks. She says, "Creative pursuits are really important in Lawrence, so I think it's appropriate for city leaders to fashion creative engagement throughout our city with these public projects."
Planned Parenthood Faces Abortion Challenge in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas City that stopped providing medication-induced abortions when its provider left five months ago is facing licensing issues as it works to resume offering the procedure. The license that allowed the procedure at the midtown clinic expired earlier this month, KCUR -FM reported. After its previous provider left, the clinic secured another one. But Planned Parenthood said state health officials want to start the licensing inspection process from scratch.
"It's hard for me to imagine how this isn't for purposes of delay," said Emily Wales, Planned Parenthood's general counsel and chief compliance lawyer.
"We met our deadlines and submitted things to them as requested and, without any other information from the department, we hear that our license has expired, with no response to our application until after the date of expiration," she said. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services didn't immediately reply to a request for comment left Monday by The Associated Press. Because the midtown clinic's new abortion provider doesn't have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, it's unclear whether it would be able to offer abortion services even if its license is renewed. A lawsuit is being fought over an admitting privilege requirement. Emily Miller, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates the midtown facility, said the clinic continues to provide reproductive and other health services to patients, and has been directing patients interested in an abortion to its Overland Park, Kansas, facility.
"When abortion patients are contacting us to schedule appointments, we're just talking with them about their alternatives," Miller said. "We can't keep people waiting around, so we're trying to meet the need with services at our Overland Park location if that's possible for people." For patients who depend on public transportation, that may be inconvenient at best and, in some circumstances, not possible at all.
"For a lot of patients, this is a much more accessible location," Miller said. "So this is why we really feel like we need to restore care here."
Post Office Supervisor in Kansas Sentenced for Mail Theft
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A woman who worked as a supervisor in a Johnson County post office has been sentenced for stealing mail. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said 40-year-old Stacey Kampfer, of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Monday to a year on probation and ordered to pay about $785 in restitution. Kampfer pleaded guilty to one count of mail theft. She admitted that while she was a supervisor of customer services she opened mail and stole gift cards and debit cards. Investigators said she opened mail belonging to 214 people.
University of Kansas Won't Have Booth at Kansas State Fair
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — For the first time in decades, the University of Kansas will not have a booth at the Kansas State Fair. University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the university decided to use more targeted efforts to attract people to the university. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the university does plan to join other universities for Team Spirit Day at the fair on Sept. 15. It also will used digital marketing in Hutchinson during the fair, which runs from September 7 to September 16. In the past, Kansas would spend about $2,500 to rent a booth space in one of the commercial buildings. Representatives would use the space to meet people and hand-out items meant to encourage people to attend or support the university.
Museum Opens Exhibit on 'Notorious' People in Kansas History
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A museum in central Kansas is launching a new exhibit showcasing controversial men and women who had a lasting impact on the state's history. The Salina Journal reports that the "Notorious" exhibit opens Friday and runs through March 2 at the Smoky Hill Museum in Salina. The exhibit features 13 historical figures with connections to Kansas that include con men, money launderers, serial killers and a famed bank robbing duo. The individuals are profiled under three categories: "Legend vs. Reality," ''How Passage of Time Alters Perspective" and "Lasting Impact on Society." Jennifer Toelle is the curator of collections and research at the museum. She says being labeled "notorious" doesn't necessarily someone was a bad person, but rather they were well-known or contributed to history.
Dog Lost After Colorado Mountain Crash Reunited with Family
CHAFREE COUNTY, Colo. (AP) — A dog that survived almost three weeks in Colorado's Rocky Mountains after being thrown from a vehicle in a crash has been reunited with its family. The year-old canine — a golden-doodle named Bentley — was lost when the vehicle it was traveling in slid off the edge of a mountain road west of Pueblo and plunged 600 feet down an incline on August 7. The crash killed Jennifer Orr of Wichita, Kansas and seriously injured her 21-year-old daughter, Samantha. Samantha Orr returned to the crash scene after being released from the hospital. Orr and others spotted Bentley early Saturday and captured on video the moment when they were able to lure the animal in with food and a toy. KKTV reports the dog was malnourished and dehydrated but otherwise fine.
Police: 2 Killed when Car Swerves into Oncoming I-35 Traffic
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say two people have been killed in a head-on crash on Interstate I-35. The Kansas City Star says the crash happened around 11:15 pm Friday, when a speeding car traveling north on I-35 tried to exit, but crossed into the northbound lanes when the driver swerved to avoid hitting a van. Investigators say the car ran through barrier cables before hitting a sport utility vehicle head-on. The crash killed the car's driver and a passenger. A mother and her 4-year-old daughter in the SUV suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening. The driver a third car hit in the crash was not injured. Police have not released the names of the two people killed.
Kansas Wants Citizens to Prepare for Upcoming Winter Season
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — It still feels like summer but Kansas officials want residents to start thinking about winter. Governor Jeff Colyer on Friday signed a proclamation declaring September as Kansas Preparedness Month. The goal is to remind Kansans to make plans for what they would do in case of tornadoes, floods, wildfires, blizzards and other natural disasters. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said residents should all have a three-day supply in an emergency kit. That includes a gallon of water per person, per day, along with water for pets. Michael McNultey, the deputy preparedness director of the health department, says everyone also should have food and first aid supplies. There will also be the annual Kansas Preparedness Day at the State Fair in Hutchinson on September 10.
Boy Scout from Missouri Earns Every Available Merit Badge
GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. (AP) — A Boy Scout from western Missouri has achieved a rare milestone —earning every available merit badge. KMBC-TV reports that Ryan Niederschulte says he earned 138 badges, even though only 21 are needed to be an Eagle Scout, because "I just wanted to keep going." The 17-year-old is from Grain Valley, which is about 20 miles east of Kansas City. He says his favorite badge was horsemanship. Through scouting, he's been on all kinds of adventures across the country with his father, including scuba diving, kayaking and hiking. He acknowledged that it was a "lot of work" but said it also was a "lot of fun." The Boy Scouts no longer offer the computer merit badge. Future scouts can only earn 137 badges.
Researchers Say They Cracked Complete Genome of Wheat
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — More than 200 researchers working together around the world have published a research article saying they have finally cracked the complete genome of wheat after 13 years of work. Kansas State University scientists collaborated with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium on the project. They said in a news release that the work will pave the way for wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges with higher yields and better nutrition. Wheat is a complicated organism whose wheat genome is more than five times bigger than the human genome. The research article published in the journal Science was authored by scientists from 73 research institutions in 20 countries. It presents the genome of the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring, the highest-quality genome sequence produced to date for wheat.
KU Band Day Canceled for First Time in 70 Years
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — For the first time in 70 years, the University of Kansas Band day will not occur. The Lawrence Journal World reported Friday that the event has been canceled this year. The tradition was that regional high school marching bands would meet in Lawrence and parade down Massachusetts Street, then perform at halftime during a home football game. Portions of the event have been canceled in the past but this is the first time the entire day has been canceled. Matt Smith, associate director of bands, says the event was canceled because of increasing costs. Other factors were logistical issues and a drop in participation from high school bands. In the past, the city had charged nominal fees for the parade, but this year it wanted more than $1,000.
Koch Family's New Private School to Open in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new Wichita private school financed by members of the Koch family is preparing to open its doors to preschool and elementary-age children this fall. The Wichita Eagle reports that the school called Wonder on the Wichita State University campus will open Sept. 4 with 39 students. The private pre-K-through-12th-grade school is funded by Chase and Annie Koch, the son and daughter-in-law of Koch Industries chief Charles Koch. Plans call for phasing in the middle- and high-school programs. Wonder incorporates facets of the "Maker movement" and other education innovations, such as project-based lessons that don't use traditional courses, subjects, grades or classrooms. Students will spend half of their day in the school's design studio, which is a converted garage with a stage that opens onto an outdoor play area.
Endowed Scholarship at Wesleyan for Land Institute Founder
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A group of Kansas Wesleyan University alumni have established an endowed scholarship to honor the founder of The Land Institute. The scholarship for pioneering conservation researcher Wes Jackson will give recipients insight into research at the institute, which Jackson co-founded in 1976. Recipients also will assist in the fields, seed processing facilities and laboratories. A Kansas Wesleyan biology student in good academic standing will receive the scholarship each year. Jackson graduated from Kansas Wesleyan in 1958 and tough there as a biology professor for several years. His career includes scientific publications and books in the field of sustainable agriculture, which is the focus of the Land Institute. KSAL reports the Conservation Endowed Scholarship was initiated by Jackson's longtime friend Harold W. Keller.