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Headlines for Monday, August 7, 2017

Here's what's happening.

Growing Inmate Numbers Worsen Kansas Prison Problems

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas prisons face high staff turnover and potential inmate unrest at a time when state officials expect the population behind bars to continue growing steadily well into the future.  The problems could become worse.  The total state inmate population exceeded 9,900 last week, and the state's official projections have it reaching 11,000 by 2027.  Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood told legislators recently that he's worried that high turnover is creating an inexperienced workforce. He blames low pay that starts at $13.95 an hour for keeping open one in every five jobs for uniformed officers.  Legislators and the union representing the officers increasingly see a link between inmate unrest and staffing shortages and long hours for remaining employees. The prison in El Dorado has seen multiple disturbances in recent months.


Kansas Governor-in-Waiting Names GOP Official as Assistant 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer has hired a state Republican Party official as a special assistant and named a new press secretary in preparing to become governor. Colyer announced that Clay Barker began working as his special assistant Monday after having been the Kansas GOP's executive director for six years. Colyer also announced that Kara Fullmer joined his staff July 31 as press secretary. She is a former reporter with WIBW-TV in Topeka and has been operating her own business in recent years. Republican Governor Sam Brownback plans to resign to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international freedom but hasn't set a date. President Donald Trump nominated Brownback last month. Brownback spokeswoman Melika Willoughby confirmed that Laura McCabe had left Colyer's office after serving as his press secretary.


Kansas Corrections Employee Out of Job After Email Mistake

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An employee for the Kansas Department of Corrections is no longer working for the department after he mistakenly sent an email to a newspaper that advised downplaying the need for a special legislative session because of political considerations.  Jimmy Caprio, the department's legislative liaison, sent the email to The Kansas City Star Friday after the newspaper asked about calls for a special session to discuss increasing pay for state prison guards.  He wrote that the special session could put the governor's office in "a tight spot," especially if current Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer takes office when Governor Sam Brownback leaves for a diplomatic post.  Governor Brownback's spokeswoman, Melika Willoughby, said in a statement that Caprio no longer worked for the state and emphasized that he was not speaking for the administration.


Kansas Insurance Regulator Appoints Treasurer for Gubernatorial Campaign

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer has appointed a treasurer for a campaign for the Republican nomination for governor next year. Selzer filed the form last week with the secretary of state's office. Appointing a treasurer allows him to legally accept contributions. Five other Republicans have appointed treasurers. They are Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former state Senator Jim Barnett of Topeka, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, Leawood businessman Patrick Kucera and ex-state Representative Ed O'Malley of Wichita. Pro-marijuana activist and Wichita businesswoman Jennifer Winn a still has an active campaign committee from her unsuccessful 2014 bid for the GOP nomination. Four Democrats have appointed treasurers. They are ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty, Olathe physician Arden Andersen and Wichita high school student Jack Bergeson.


Kansas City Police: Man Shot, Killed After Pointing Gun at Officers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City police say two officers shot and killed a man after he pointed a handgun at them.  The Kansas City Star reports the incident happened early yesterday (SUN) afternoon on the city's south side.  Police spokesman Officer Darin Snapp says officers were initially called to a gas station after a witness reported the man was brandishing a gun in public. While on the scene, a female told the officers the man had assaulted her.  Snapp says as officers caught up with the man, the suspect pointed a gun at the officers.  Both officers opened fire.  The man was pronounced dead at a hospital. Police didn't say how many times he'd been shot. The officers were not injured.  


5-Year-Old Kansas City Boy Shoots Himself

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a 5-year-old boy has died after he reportedly shot himself inside a south Kansas City apartment. The Kansas City Star reports that police responded to the shooting shortly before 1:15 am Sunday. The child was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police say the child's father was at home at the time of the shooting and called police.  

Wichita Schools Plan Hopes to Improve Student Behavior

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Leaders of the Wichita school district say they have a plan to reduce the number of discipline problems in the district, particularly in elementary schools.  The Wichita Eagle reports data shows suspensions, detentions and trips to the principal's office have increased dramatically in the last four years. In elementary schools, discipline incidents have increased more than 53 percent during that time.  District leaders unveiled a plan this week that will clarify expectations, monitor data more carefully and help teachers better understand students' diverse backgrounds.  Superintendent Alicia Thompson says the district also plans to increase teacher recruitment and retention, with an emphasis on placing more veteran teachers in high-poverty schools.  Michele Ingenthron, assistant superintendent of elementary schools, says principals will be trained on setting behavior expectations and dealing with misbehavior.


Kansas Schools Prepare for Major Changes in State Oversight

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas State Board of Education is set to take the first official step toward enacting sweeping changes in the way the state's public schools are accredited and held accountable.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the 10-member board is expected to receive a set of new regulations Tuesday that represent the first overhaul of an accreditation system that has been in place since 1992.  The system known as Quality Performance and Accreditation grew out of a movement in the 1970s and 1980s known as outcomes-based education, in which individual schools were held accountable for the results they produced. The new Kansas Education System Accreditation represents a massive change, in part by accrediting whole districts instead of individual schools.

Kansas Board of Regents Awaiting Word on 3 Members' Seats

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents is still awaiting word on whether Governor Sam Brownback will replace three members whose terms have expired. The Manhattan Mercury reports that Brownback hasn't named anyone to replace Regents Shane Bangerter, Ann Brandau-Murguia and Helen Van Etten. Their four-year terms expired at the end of June. Kansas law allows the three to continue serving as regents until their replacements are named. They also are eligible to be appointed to a second term. The governor appoints members of the board. They are allowed to begin serving if their appointments are approved by the state Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee. Board spokeswoman Breeze Richardson says it is still waiting on word from Brownback's office.


Kansas Man Dies Following ATV Crash in Neosho County

ERIE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a 21-year-old Erie man died when an ATV rolled on top of him. The patrol says Jonah DeMeritt was a passenger on the ATV Saturday when it rolled on top of him as it was going up hill on private property in Neosho County. The crash happened about 5 miles south of Erie. DeMeritt was riding on a 2017 Polaris ATV being driven by a 21-year-old Galesburg man. The patrol says DeMeritt was trying to get off the ATV when it crashed. The driver was not injured.


PenAir Announces Reorganization, Termination of Liberal & Dodge City Air Routes 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An air carrier based in Alaska says it's filing a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. PenAir announced Monday it's closing its Denver hub pending approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The move would end essential air service routes between Denver, Liberal and Dodge City in Kansas, and the Nebraska cities of North Platte, Kearney and Scottsbluff. The company says a transition to a new carrier usually takes 30 to 90 days. PenAir had previously announced it was ending Portland, Oregon, regional routes. All but an essential air service route between Portland and Crescent City, California, are to be shut down after Monday. Operations in Alaska and Boston will not be affected. PenAir CEO Danny Seybert in the announcement says the reorganization will allow the company to emerge as a stronger airline. 


Police Investigate Pedestrian's Death in Arkansas City

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - The Arkansas City Police Department is investigating the death of a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle.  Police have not released the name of the 77-year-old woman who died in the accident Friday evening.  Police say she was walking in the road when she was struck by a car driven by a 21-year-old woman.   Neither alcohol nor drugs are thought to have played a role in the accident.


Kansas Woman Sues KU Hospital Sued for Misdiagnosis, Removing Organs

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas woman who says a misdiagnosis led doctors to remove parts of her organs and then cover up the mistake is suing the University of Kansas Hospital over her treatment.  Wendy Ann Noon Berner, of Shawnee says in her lawsuit that she didn't learn about the misdiagnosis until reading media reports about a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a pathologist who raised concerns about the case and wanted to inform Berner.  The Kansas News Service reports Berner's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Wyandotte County District Court, accuses the hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, of fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy.  Spokesman Dennis McCulloch said the hospital is limited in what it can say in response to the lawsuit but believes its physicians and staff acted appropriately.


Topeka VA's Hospital to Expand Emergency Room

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Topeka Veteran Affairs' hospital is planning a $4.5 million modernization project this fall.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports internal emails it obtained show the project entails expanding the emergency department, including private patient bays, a central physician and nursing hub, and a dedicated waiting space for families.  Chief of staff Alexander Hallock says funds have been allocated for the two-year project.  The project comes as the hospital struggles with a staffing shortage. The emergency room was closed from January 2014 to late June 2015 because of the staffing shortage.  Last month, the eastern Kansas VA system initiated the Physicians Ambassador Program, which uses volunteer, retired doctors.  The women's health department also is being upgraded through a grant. The project is expected to double services for female veterans.  


2 Teenagers Killed in Kansas City, Kansas Shooting 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two teenagers are dead after a shooting in Kansas City, Kansas. Three teens inside a vehicle were shot just after 9 p.m. Sunday. Police say 17-year-old Le'Andrew M. Vaughn was pronounced dead at the scene. Sixteen-year-old Adarius Barber was taken to a hospital, where he died. Both were from Kansas City, Kansas. The third victim is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. A house near the vehicle was also struck by several bullets. No arrests have been made.


KC Mayor May File Ethics Complaints Against Council Members

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City's mayor has threatened to file ethics complaints against his city council colleagues if he learns they have revealed information from closed council meetings. The Kansas City Star reports that Mayor Sly James made the threat during a closed session. Council members say the threat is part of a culture of secrecy among city officials, particularly as it relates to the effort to build a new $1 billion terminal at the Kansas City International Airport.  


Misspelling on Wichita Water Tower Gets Corrected

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A spelling mistake on a water tower in Wichita that drew national attention and a lot of laughs has been corrected. The water tower on Wichita State University campus carried the name "Wichita Staty Universite" for a few hours on Friday before it was corrected.  Alan King, the city's public works and utilities director, said the incorrect words went up late Thursday as workers continued a project to add layers of protective paint to the tower.  The Wichita Eagle reports workers from an Ohio construction company contracted to do the work had individual templates for each letter and somehow inadvertently switched the last letters of "State" and "University.  The contractor's supervisor noticed the error early Friday and it was fixed by noon.


Kansas Couple Killed in Crash 1 Day After Their Wedding 

CLEARWATER, Kan. (AP) — A traffic accident in Kansas has claimed the lives of a husband and wife, just one day after their marriage. The Wichita Eagle reports that the accident happened around 6:30 p.m. Saturday near Clearwater. The driver of a truck, Austin Wesson, was pronounced dead at the scene. His 19-year-old wife, Rebekah Bouma, died about 12:30 a.m. Monday at a hospital. Bouma and Wesson married on Friday. Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Lin Dehning says the cause of the accident is under investigation. Clearwater is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wichita.


Royals Split Double-Header with Mariners

The Kansas City Royals split a double-header with the Seattle Mariners Sunday.  The Mariners won the first match-up, 8-to-7... but the Royals bounced back in the second game, defeating Seattle 9-to-1.  The Royals are still 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central division.



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