Public Report Not Created in Topeka Man's Shooting by Police
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An advocate for open government contends the Topeka and Lawrence police departments are trying to bypass the state's open records laws by not creating a standard public document on the fatal shooting of a man by Topeka police officers more than a month ago. Both departments have denied requests for incident and offense reports on the September 28 shooting of Dominique White, which is being investigated by the Lawrence police department. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the departments have not created the first page of the Kansas Standard Offense Report, which is a public record under state law and is routinely released. Ron Keefover, president of the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, said he had never heard of a police department failing to issue such a report. "I think that's a purposeful attempt to circumvent the Kansas Open Records Act," Keefover said. "Suddenly because this involves one of their own, they're not creating one." The state's open records law doesn't require government agencies to create records upon request but they are required to release reports that already exist. The Topeka police department said in a news release after the shooting that the officers shot White in a park when he was trying to flee and reached for a pocket containing a handgun. The Capital-Journal later reported White's death certificate said he died from gunshot wounds to his back.
Shawnee Mission School District Transformed After Controversy
MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The board for the state's third largest school district has been transformed in an election that followed the departure of its leader who was one of the only superintendents in the state to back Governor Sam Brownback's push to repeal the state's school funding formula. Shawnee Mission voters overwhelmingly voted out the race's only incumbent Tuesday and elected three first-time candidates. They've promised a new direction as the nearly 28,000-student district in suburban Kansas City seeks a replacement for former leader Jim Hinson. 54-year-old Hinson announced in April that he was retiring to spend more time with his family. Although he was praised for overseeing the passage of a $223 million bond issue, overhauling security and expanding early childhood education, critics pushed back in part over his support of Brownback's 2015 plan to replace the school finance formula with block grants. The policy was ruled unconstitutional by the Kansas Supreme Court in March. The Shawnee Mission district is a key player in any debate over school funding because of Johnson County's political clout. The county's voters have long voiced strong support for public schools and shown their willingness to raise local taxes to help support them.
President Trump Approves Kansas Disaster Declaration
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for Johnson and Wyandotte counties for heavy damage from storms in late July. The declaration from the president orders federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts for areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding from July 22 to July 27. Federal funding is available for local and state governments and some private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repairs or replacements needed after the storm. Some federal funding also is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation statewide. Johnson County emergency management coordinator Dan Robeson says the storms did about $6 million uninsured damages in the county.
Army Vet Joins GOP Race for Kansas 2nd Congressional District
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An Army veteran with no previous political experience is joining a crowded race for the GOP nomination in Kansas's 2nd Congressional District. Steve Watkins, of Topeka has announced that he will join a crowded field seeking the seat currently held by U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins, who is not seeking re-election. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Watkins attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served in the Army and earned master's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Watkins says he wants to bring conservative Kansas values of hard work, service to country and integrity to Congress.
Arrest Made in Unfounded Email Threat Against Pratt Schools
PRATT, Kan. (AP) - The superintendent of Pratt schools says a suspect has been arrested after the district received a threatening email. The email was received on Monday by several administrators and staff. The threat prompted the district to cancel classes Tuesday. Police and staff searched the district's buildings Tuesday and found the district was safe. Classes resumed on Wednesday. Superintendent Suzan Patton said in a note to parents that Pratt police told the district Wednesday that developments led to an arrest in the case. No further details have been released. The case remains under investigation.
Kansas Attorney Ranked as Unqualified for Federal Bench
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An American Bar Association rating committee has rated a Johnson County attorney as "not qualified" for a seat on the federal bench. The committee announced its rating for Holly Lou Teeter Tuesday but did not publicly state a reason. The Lawrence Journal-World reports an ABA publication says the committee generally believes a nominee to the federal bench should have at least 12 years of law experience to be qualified for the federal bench. Teeter, a 2006 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, currently has 11.5 years of experience. An independent website called the Vetting Room indicated that Teeter's relative lack of experience is unlikely to affect her chances for confirmation. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider Teeter's nomination Thursday.
Wichita Cancer Patient Fulfills Dream of Becoming a Police Officer
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas man with terminal bone cancer has fulfilled his dream of becoming a police officer. The Wichita Eagle reports that Caleb Moraine was sworn in Wednesday as a Wichita police officer shortly after turning 20. A crowd dabbed away tears as Moraine rose out of his wheelchair and raised his right hand. His voice was barely above a whisper as he repeated the oath new officers take as best he could. Chief Gordon Ramsay described Moraine as ``a brave young man.'' Moraine had wanted to be a police officer since he was 10 years old. Since being diagnosed with cancer when he was 16, he's had serious surgeries. His mother, Renee, said that it has ``been a long road, a long battle for Caleb.''
Kansas State Announces Campus-Wide Anti-Racism Rally
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas State is suspending classes for a campus-wide rally against racism after a series of incidents. University President Richard Myers made the announcement Wednesday night. He says students, faculty and staff will walk in unison Tuesday afternoon from classrooms and offices to the lawn in front of the central administration building, which is called Anderson Hall. Myers plans to provide a ``message of unity'' and outline steps to ``move our campus and community forward.'' The student body president and Black Student Union president will be co-hosts. A noose and racist flyers have been found on campus in recent months. Last month, a 21-year-old black man defaced his own car with racist graffiti in what he described as a Halloween prank that got out of hand.
Knife-Tipped Cane Used in Fatal Kansas City Stabbing
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Police in Kansas City are searching for a man suspected of using a cane with a knife at the end to fatally stab one person and injure another. Police spokesman Darrin Snapp says the attack happened Wednesday after the suspect and one of the victims argued inside a gas station in the city's West Bottoms area. The Kansas City Star reports that the second victim was stabbed after coming to the aide of the first victim. The surviving victim was in critical condition. Snapp says the suspect is in his 50s. He was last seen leaving area on foot. The homicide is the city's 125th of the year.
Nelson-Atkins Adds 800 Photos with $10 Million Hall Gift
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has used a $10 million gift from the Hall Family Foundation to add 800 new photographs to its collection. The museum announced Wednesday that curators have been acquiring the photographs for the last two years. The new photos represent the work of about 150 artists from more than a dozen countries, and span more than 190 years. The foundation has long supported the museum and its photography collection. In 2005, Hallmark Cards donated all of its 6,500 photography collection to the museum. The museum plans to show 100 of the new works this spring in an exhibition titled ``The Big Picture: A Transformative Gift From the Hall Family.'' It is scheduled to run from April 28 to October 7, 2018.