Whistleblower Lawsuit Settled Against City of Leavenworth
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A deal has been reached in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the city of Leavenworth retaliated against an employee who reported the city had defrauded the U.S. government. A trial had been set for next month on a claim of retaliation made by a former employee who says she faced adverse consequences after reporting ongoing maintenance problems and dumping of solid wastes at the city's waste treatment plant. She alleged the city failed to comply with contract terms that required the city to protect the public health and environment in its handling of sewage disposal and wastewater treatment for three federal agencies. Her lawyer says the deal settles retaliation and damage claims, but allows her to appeal on environmental and fraud issues. Leavenworth's lawyer didn't return a call for comment.
Fundraising, Geography Key Issues in Kansas Governor Tickets
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Major party candidates for Kansas governor are using their running-mate picks to bolster key campaign themes. They're also addressing potential political trouble spots and ensuring that their ticket represents different regions of the state. Seven of the eight major candidates have named their candidates for lieutenant governor. The candidate filing deadline is June 1. Among Republicans, Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer all have strong ties to Johnson County and have picked running mates from other regions. The same holds for independent candidate Greg Orman. Among Democrats, ex-state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty built what he sees as a relatively young ticket for the future. State Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka is emphasizing experience. Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer tapped another ex-mayor, from Johnson County.
Police: Woman in Wellington Killed; Man Arrested
WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Police in southern Kansas say a woman has been killed and a man arrested on suspicion of murder. The Wichita Eagle reports that the woman's body was found in Wellington around 8 pm. Thursday. Police have not released the woman's name or details about how she died. An autopsy has been ordered. Police arrested 32-year-old Bradley Dean Aue on suspicion of second-degree murder. He's being held in the Sumner County Jail on $500,000 bond. It was not clear Saturday whether he yet had an attorney.
WWII Plane Crashes in Kansas After Memorial Day Flyover
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A World War II plane that had just completed Memorial Day flyovers crash-landed in Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 1943 Fairchild PT-23 plane crashed Monday afternoon near Wichita's Westport Airport. The plane was part of the Commemorative Air Force-Jayhawk Wing that was doing flyovers across the state. Wichita Police Sergeant Kelly O'Brien says the plane was southbound for the airport when its engine failed after noon. The plane's right wing clipped the ground and at least one pole. O'Brien says a male pilot and female passenger suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for stitches. The Kansas Highway Patrol and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. The PT-23 was a trainer plane for the U.S. Army Air Force.
Man Dies After Girlfriend's Son Punches Him in Fight
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating the death of a 45-year-old man who died after being punched by his girlfriend's adult son. Police said the man got into an argument with his girlfriend's 23-year-old son Saturday evening. The Wichita Eagle reports that man's 46-year-old girlfriend told police her boyfriend tried to strike her son first. Police said the son responded by punching the man in the head once. Then the man lot consciousness. Officer Charley Davidson says investigators have learned that a pre-existing medical condition might have contributed to the man's death. An autopsy will be conducted.
In Ambassador's Job, Ex-Kansas Governor Looser, More Relaxed
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sam Brownback appears relaxed, looser and more convivial as he settles into his ambassador's job and far from where he was during his final, difficult months as Kansas governor. Brownback left the governor's office in January. The two-term conservative Republican left behind low approval ratings, ire from fellow Republicans over the state's fiscal problems and an order from the Kansas Supreme Court to increase spending on public schools. The Kansas City Star reports that five months later, a visibly relaxed Brownback appears back in his element in Washington as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. He was making jokey sports analogies and ribbing former aide and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. He said he is not following Kansas politics. His new job has taken him all over the world.
Kansas Testing Drones for Designing Roads
NETAWAKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas transportation officials are beginning a pilot project to determine how drones could be used in future road design work. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that last week marked the first time the Kansas Department of Transportation has employed drone technology in conjunction with a road project. The department has contracted the Kirkham Michael engineering firm to operate the fixed-wing drone back and forth above part of the US-75 highway in northern Jackson County. The device is equipped with a still camera that takes hundreds of images of the terrain below. Kirkham Michael municipal engineer Wayne Scritchfield says there are many advantages to using drones to do survey work for road projects, including safety benefits for drivers and workers. Officials could use drones for road work in the future if the pilot is successful.
Data Centers Plan Massive 100-Megawatt Center in Oregon
HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — A Kansas data hosting company says plans to build a massive 100-megawatt data center on more than 90 acres in Hillsboro, Oregon. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that QTS Data Centers is the latest in a series of large data companies to build in Hillsboro. Companies are drawn by lucrative tax breaks worth $7.6 million over the past three years. Those breaks became less valuable, though, after Hillsboro moved in 2016 to tie the value of tax breaks to jobs created. Those changes came amid concern that Hillsboro was serving up tax breaks to companies that occupied a lot of prime land but provided few jobs. Six large Hillsboro data centers employed just 71 people altogether last year. QTS, which leases space in its data centers to other companies, purchased 92 acres in Hillsboro last fall for $26 million.
Topeka on Pace to See Warmest Month of May on Record
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka might be sweltering through its warmest month of May on record. Kris Sanders, a National Weather Service meteorologist, says the city's average temperature for the first 24 days of the month was 73.1 degrees. That's higher than the city's record highest average temperature for the entire month of May, which was 72.7 degrees, recorded in 1962. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports highs are expected to be in the 90s for the rest of May in Topeka.
New Kansas Website to Help Find High-Demand Jobs
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new state website can assist residents in Wichita and Sedgwick County to find jobs that are in the greatest demand and show how much they pay and where and how much training is necessary. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Career Navigator website has information updated on the 10 most in-demand jobs in the state as well as in each of its more than 100 counties. The website also provides information on current openings, the education or training required for them, and where residents can get such training and how much it'll cost. The site is the product of the state Department of Labor, Commerce and Education, as well as the Kansas Board of Regents. Business and education innovation Executive Director Diane DeBacker says the site can also help high school students considering careers.
Man Killed When SUV Crashes into Suburban Kansas City House
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Police in a Kansas City suburb says a 52-year-old man has died after crashing a car into a house. The Kansas City Star reports that the crash happened around 11:10 a.m. Saturday in Independence, Missouri. Investigators say the man's sport utility vehicle veered off the road and collided with the house. Police say there were people in the home, but no one inside the house was injured. Police have not released the driver's name pending notification of his family members. The crash remains under investigation.
Kansas Couple to Expand Farm with Goat Creamery
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita couple is planning to expand its farm and create a commercial goat creamery. George and Katharine Elder are in the process of building a 4,000-square-foot facility for the Elderslie Creamery, the Wichita Eagle reported . The couple's Elderslie farm allows visitors to pick their own berries. The farm also includes fine dining and a cafe. The new creamery will produce mostly goat cheese and include a retail area that'll offer both a cheese counter and a gelato counter. "Goat milk has as a signature a little more acidity and more brightness than cow milk does," said George Elder. "With a goat milk gelato, you get a little bit of a nice, bright, crisp flavor. He said his goal is to eventually have 100 milking goats in his herd. The couple has made basic goat cheeses for a while, but as they became more interested in cheese making, they realized they needed a more controlled environment to make the kinds of products they wanted, George Elder said. A herd manager and a cheese maker are expected to join the farm's staff next month. The creamery is expected to open in October. "We felt like we wanted to take another step in our agriculture, diversifying it into something that had a longer window of availability than blackberries and a different risk curve," said George Elder.