Topeka Man Using Torch Dies in Explosion
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man local Kansas authorities say was using a blow torch to cut into what he thought was an empty metal drum died after the drum exploded. The Topeka Fire Department says in a news release that the explosion happened Friday evening near a maintenance building at the Heartland Motorsports in Topeka. Firefighters arrived to find 41-year-old Joshua Darryl Aubert suffering from critical injuries. Officials say he died at the scene. Investigators say while Aubert thought the drum was empty, it was labeled as containing methanol, which is a highly volatile compound.Officials have listed Aubert's death as accidental.
KU Official Picked for Kansas Secretary of Administration
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has nominated a University of Kansas vice provost DeAngela Burns-Wallace for secretary of administration. The Capital-Journal reports that Kelly announced her pick Friday. Burns-Wallace will replace Duane Goossen, who is retiring after serving in the secretary position on an interim basis throughout the legislative session. Burns-Wallace is the vice provost for undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas and previously worked as a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department. Burns-Wallace's federal work included stints in China and South Africa. John Yeary, a legal adviser in the Department of Administration, will serve as interim secretary through the end of the month. Kelly praised Goossen for his efforts to install accountability and transparency in state government.
Pilot Suffers Minor Injury in Lee's Summit Plane Crash
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in western Missouri say a pilot suffered only minor injuries when his small airplane crashed at the Lee's Summit Airport. The Kansas City Star reports the crash happened Friday evening. Emergency responders called to the airport just east of Kansas City found the single-engine plane just off the runway at the northeast edge of the airport. It was unclear whether the crash happened during landing or takeoff. Lee's Summit police Sgt. Chris Depue says damage to the plane was extensive, but that the pilot — the only person in the plane at the time of the crash — was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. The pilot's name has not been released. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.
Kansas Rainfall Sets All-Time Record in May
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — May was the wettest month in Kansas history. The Kansas State University Weather Data Library says average rainfall in May was 10.26 inches, the wettest month on records going back 125 years. The Kansas News Service reports the deluge broke the previous record set in June 1951. In addition, 19 weather stations recorded monthly totals of more than 20 inches. The rainfall was uneven but followed typical patterns of being drier in the west and wetter in the east. Southeast Kansas stations averaged 17 inches in May, while west central Kansas stations averaged only 5.31 inches, which is still 175% of normal rainfall for the region in May. The amount of water moving through the state was the highest the U.S. Geological Survey's Kansas Water Science Center has ever seen.
Wichita Man Sentenced for Attacking Officer with Butter Knife
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for attacking an officer last year with a butter knife. Television station KAKE reports that 54-year-old Darren Hutcherson was sentenced Friday to four years and three months in prison. Police say the attack happened Oct. 10, when officers were sent to a Wichita homeless shelter to arrest Hutcherson on a warrant. Officers found Hutcherson in the dining hall and told him put his hands behind his back. Police say Hutcherson instead lunged at an officer holding a butter knife and tried to stab the officer in the chest. The knife hit the officer in his bullet-proof vest and fell to the floor, causing no harm to the officer. Hutcherson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and other charges.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Rape Kit Testing Remains at Low Rate
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The amount of untested rape kits with the Missouri State Highway Patrol's crime lab has substantially increased since last August, when a new law mandating police to submit kits within 14 days took effect. The Kansas City Star reports that as of May 1st, 403 kits were untested. The agency's website, which posts monthly updates, shows there were 179 in August. The figures indicate the kits are not being tested at a higher rate despite more continuing to be submitted. Advocates say that increasing kit testing should also be required. MSHP director Brian Hoey says that some highway patrol lab workers have been moved within the division and a new section in the lab designed to screen kits is being established.