DA: Kansas Trooper Not Being Charged in Shooting Death
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A district attorney says a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper was justified in fatally shooting a man whose vehicle was dragging the trooper and a Topeka police officer through the snow. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay says the trooper won't be charged in the death of 35-year-old Jarmane Logan in November. The trooper and police officer were trying to take Chelsee Retana into custody when she and another woman got into Logan's vehicle in Topeka. Investigators say Logan was driving away with the women while dragging the officer and trooper. Investigators say the trooper shot Logan when he refused to stop the vehicle. Retana is charged with law enforcement and possession of methamphetamine and two misdemeanors. The other woman hasn't been charged.
Wichita's Winefest Loses Partner for Excluding LGBTQ Bars
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita's annual Midwest Winefest fundraiser will have to find a new wine distributor after its partner pulled out of the event because organizers decided not to invite back certain bars and restaurants with LGBTQ clientele. Standard Beverage's chief financial officer, Angie Wilhelm, tells The Wichita Eagle that the Wichita liquor distributor will not work with the festival this year. The liquor company took issue with a recent decision by the event's organizer and beneficiary, Guadalupe Clinic, to not invite businesses it deemed "morally and ethically" at odds with Catholic values. The clinic provides medical services to uninsured community members and is part of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. The clinic's executive director David Gear says LGBTQ bars and restaurants weren't the only businesses that weren't back this year.
Schlitterbahn Mum on Plans for Water Park
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The operators of a Kansas water park where a 10-year-old boy was decapitated aren't saying whether the attraction will open for the upcoming season.Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said Friday in an email that the Texas-based company doesn't have an announcement "at this time" about the park where Caleb Schwab died in 2016 on a 17 story-slide that was billed as the world's largest. Work began last year to dismantle the slide — called Verruckt. And prosecutors have charged several people, alleging that shoddy planning and maintenance led to Caleb's death. Season passes for 2019 for the Kansas City, Kansas, park aren't available on Schlitterbahn's website. But they are available at the company's four Texas locations, which open for spring break. Prosapio says those locations are a "focus."
Wichita Police Detail Shooting of Suspect
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say two officers shot a 29-year-old man after he tried to hit one of the officers with a stolen car. Police spokesman Charley Davidson said in a news release that the two Wichita officers and another person were trying to arrest the suspect Thursday. Davidson says when two Wichita officers drew their handguns, the suspect put the car in reverse, hit a corrections department vehicle and then drove forward, nearly hitting one of the officers. The two officers fired at the suspect, hitting him several times. He is being treated for critical injuries. One officer suffered minor injuries. The suspect was wanted for three counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He also had traffic warrants.
New Kansas Governor Names 3 Agency Heads to Complete Cabinet
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelly has named top administrators for three state agencies to fill the remaining openings in her Cabinet. The incoming Democratic governor announced Friday that she plans to nominate former state Rep. Delia Garcia of Wichita as secretary of labor and Westar Energy environmental official Brad Loveless as secretary of wildlife, parks and tourism. Their appointments must be confirmed by the state Senate. Kelly also said Mark Beshears will be interim secretary of revenue. He held the job in the 1990s under Democratic Governor Joan Finney. Garcia served in the House from 2005 through 2010 and has been CEO of a group working to increase diversity among elected officials. Loveless is Westar's senior director of environmental conservation. Westar is the state's largest electric utility.
Kelly takes office Monday.
Topeka Racetrack Owner Threatens to Relocate amid Tax Fight
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The owner of the Heartland Motorsports Park says he's looking into razing the Topeka racetrack and moving to the Kansas City area because of a tax fight. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Chris Payne says several parcels of land are for sale and bids are being taken to remove some of the buildings. He says the current tax situation makes it nearly impossible to run a profitable business. The Shawnee County Appraiser's website says that Payne currently owes nearly $522,000 in back taxes. He purchased the facility in 2016. Payne says he's offered to donate the property to the city and then pay rent on it. Payne says the idea was rejected, but Topeka city manager Brent Trout says it's being reviewed. Trout says the situation is "concerning."
New Kansas Mayor Helps Fellow Ex-offenders
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas mayor who was recently elected after serving three years in prison has spent his first day in office helping qualified ex-offenders get their criminal records expunged. The Kansas City Star reports that Jermaine Wilson presided over his first Leavenworth City Commission meeting as the new mayor on Tuesday evening. Wilson stepped into the mayor's seat roughly 12 years after starting his prison sentence for drug charges, serving as a symbol of redemption for the city. Wilson worked with Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson on Wednesday to launch a program assisting those who qualify under Kansas law to be considered for having their criminal records erased. Thompson is planning a 60-day event to offer rebounding ex-offenders help from the prosecutor's office. Wilson had his record expunged in 2015.
Friendly McDonald's Worker Given Car by Regular Customer
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A friendly worker at a Hutchinson McDonald's is riding high after one of her regular customers surprised her with a major gift. Wichita businessman Chris Ellis says he always looked forward to being waited on by Vicki Anderson when he visited the restaurant. On Monday, Anderson asked Ellis if he knew anyone who was selling a car. Her 1994 vehicle needed repairs that would cost more than the car was worth. The Wichita Eagle reports Ellis' son was trying to sell his 2009 Pontiac. So Ellis bought it and drove it to Hutchinson Wednesday. Anderson says she had no idea why Ellis and his son asked her to come out to the parking lot. There, they presented a shocked and tearful Anderson with the Pontiac.