GOP Primary Candidates Spar at Televised Forum
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach have clashed over spending on public schools during a televised forum for GOP candidates for governor. Colyer on Tuesday touted a school finance law enacted this year that phases in a $548 million increase in education funding over five years. The governor noted that the state did not raise taxes to pay for it. Lawmakers passed the law in response to a Kansas Supreme Court order in October, and the court said last month that the new spending still is not sufficient. Kobach said Colyer paid a "$500 million ransom" by signing the new law and said the Supreme Court is wrong in its latest order. Kobach is wooing fellow conservatives in hopes of ousting Colyer in the Aug. 7 primary.
Republican candidates for Kansas governor are differing on whether the state should encourage public schools to allow teachers to be armed to stop shootings. Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Tuesday that he supports arming teachers because schools need "a good guy with a gun" in their buildings. He made the comment during a debate for GOP candidates televised live by KWCH in Wichita and WIBW in Topeka. Kobach is trying to unseat Governor Jeff Colyer in the Aug. 7 primary. Colyer said arming teachers is a local issue and he would support decisions by local school boards to do so. Former state Senator Jim Barnett said he opposes the idea. Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said he favors making sure that each school has an armed officer.
Kansas Official: Meeting Court Order on Schools Would Cost $364M
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top education official says Kansas would have to phase in another $364 million increase in public school funding over five years to comply with a recent Kansas Supreme Court order. Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis presented his calculations Tuesday to the State Board of Education. The Supreme Court ruled last month that a new law phasing in a $548 million increase in school funding over five years isn't adequate under the state constitution but gave legislators until next spring to fix it. Under Dennis's calculation, the total increase would exceed $900 million. The court said the new law should have provided additional funds to cover inflation and noted that the average rate was 1.44 percent from the 2010-11 school year through 2016-17. Dennis used that average in his calculations.
Minnesota Man Charged with Kidnapping Kansas Girl
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A 23-year-old Minnesota man was charged with kidnapping a 13-year-old Kansas girl he met online. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister announced Dechon White, of St. Paul, was charged yesterday (MON) in federal court in Kansas. Court documents indicate White and the girl met online in February. White traveled to Lenexa in July to visit the girl. He allegedly told the girl's mother he was 16. Prosecutors say he had sex with the victim in Kansas. On July 4, the girl and White said they were going shopping but instead took a bus to St. Paul. After the girl's mother reported her missing, police found White and the child at his home in St. Paul. If convicted, White faces not less than 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Two Wounded in Weekend Shooting in Westport
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say two people have been wounded in a shooting in Kansas City's Westport bar and entertainment district. The weekend shooting comes just as business owners in the area have been working to add new security measures. Twenty-four-year-old Davontae McCutchen is charged with assault and other felonies for allegedly firing shots into a crowd early Sunday. A second man, 26-year-old Anthony Boykin, has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Authorities Investigate Murder-Suicide in Wellington
WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of a man and woman in southeast Kansas as a murder-suicide. Sumner County Sheriff's Captain Mike Westmoreland says 27-year-old Carrie Ensminger, of Emporia, and 36-year-old Toby Farley, of Wellington, were found dead of gunshot wounds Saturday in rural Sumner County. Investigators say a passing motorist found the bodies in a road.
Police: Man Fatally Shot in North Topeka Home
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in a deadly Topeka shooting. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the 32-year-old suspect was booked into jail early today (TUE) on suspicion of second-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old David William Payne, of Topeka. Officers responded just after 6 pm Monday to a report of a shooting at a home in the northern part of the city. Payne was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.
Two Workers Injured in Explosion at Mulvane Area Home
MULVANE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two workers have suffered severe burns in an explosion that leveled a home in southern Kansas. KAKE-TV reports that the explosion happened Monday morning as one of the workers was trying to turn on a breaker box in the basement of the Mulvane-area home. Mulvane is about 15 miles (about 25 kilometers) south of Wichita. Mulvane public safety director Gordon Fell says arriving crews found the victims in the ruble. They had been doing maintenance work at the home and were taken to Wichita hospitals for treatment. Crews investigated and determined that propane caused the explosion, which was ruled accidental.
Woman Arrested in String of Arsons in Southeast Kansas
MCCUNE, Kan. (AP) — A 46-year-old woman is charged in a series of arson fires that have plagued the southeast Kansas town of McCune for the last three years. Crawford County authorities say Sherry Kerby, of McCune, was arrested Monday night by investigators from the county and the state fire marshal's office on one count of arson to a dwelling. Further investigation led to five more charges of residential arson and one count of aggravated arson. Authorities didn't say how Kerby was linked to the fires. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports authorities have been investigating arson fires at 13 structures in McCune from Sept. 5, 2015, to July 3 of this year. The investigation is continuing. Kerby is being held on $350,000 bond. It wasn't immediately clear if she has an attorney.
Records Show KDCF Notified Multiple Times of Abuse in Hernandez Case
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Newly released records show the state's child protection system was alerted at least seven times that 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez of Wichita was being abused or neglected before his body was found under a bridge. The Kansas Department for Children and Families provided a timeline to the Wichita Eagle in connection with the Lucas Hernandez case. Records in another child death show the agency received a report that 2-year-old Tony Bunn of Wichita was being abused seven months before he died.
Police Investigate Deadly Shooting in Kansas City, Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting in Kansas City, Kansas. Police say the shooting happened early Sunday afternoon. Police Chief Terry Zeigler said in a later tweet that the victim had died. The victim's name wasn't immediately released, and police provided no details on a suspect or suspects.
Man Sought in Shooting Death of Girlfriend in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are searching for man who is wanted in the shooting death of his girlfriend in Wichita. Police say that a first-degree murder warrant has been issued for 25-year-old Juan Carlos Caballeros-Yescas. Police say he was in a relationship with the 41-year-old victim, who was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds on Saturday afternoon. She was rushed to a hospital where she died. Police say Caballeros-Yescas is believed to be driving a Volkswagen Beetle with a Minnesota license plate and should be considered armed and dangerous.
Court: Kobach Has Complied with Court Order on Voter Registration
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - According to court records, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has complied with a judge's order by fully registering thousands of voters whose eligibility to cast a ballot had been in limbo because of the state's now-defunct proof-of-citizenship requirement. Some 25,000 Kansans will have their voting status solidified ahead of the August 7 primary as a result of the move. Kobach is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in that election, challenging incumbent Jeff Colyer.
Court: Kansas Did Not Violate Transgender Inmate's Rights
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has ruled Kansas prison officials are not deliberately indifferent to a transgender inmate who claims her medical treatment is so poor it violates her constitutional rights. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a lower court's summary judgment in favor of prison officials in a dispute about the treatment of Michelle Renee Lamb. Lamb was born male, but has identified as female since a young age. She receives hormone treatment, testosterone-blocking medication and weekly counseling sessions in prison. She wants greater doses of hormones and surgery. The appeals court said the record does not contain evidence these are suitable treatment options for her. Lamb claimed a violation of Eighth Amendment protections prohibiting officials from acting with deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious medical need.
4 Schlitterbahn Rides Remain Closed over Safety Concerns
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Four rides remain closed more than a month after a Kansas water park where a 10-year-old boy was decapitated opened for the season. The Kansas City Star reports permits for four rides at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, expired July 1 and it's unclear when they will reopen. The four rides — Soaring Eagle, Boogie Bahn, Whirlpool and Wolfpack — were among 11 rides that state regulators decided in May were not complying with state law. The other seven rides are now operating. Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement the company is waiting for a follow-up inspection of the closed rides. The audit occurred after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was decapitated in August 2016 while riding the 17-story Verruckt waterslide.
Wichita City Council Approves Bonds for Cargill Expansion
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More than $38 million in industrial revenue bonds has been approved to help pay for Cargill's new biodiesel plant in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the city council approved the bonds on Tuesday. The plant is part of an $87 million project being built at Cargill's facility. Mayor Jeff Longwell says the city is "thrilled" in the investment in the city. Cargill currently has a soybean processing plant, a grain elevator and truck and rail bulk loadout operation at the site. Cargill facility leader John White says the site has produced vegetable oil, but it will transition to making biodiesel. White says it's a "great growth opportunity." He says the new plant should be completed by early next year.
Kansas Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Bank Customer
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Coffeyville woman pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 from a customer at a bank where she worked. U.S. Attorney Stephen McCallister said in a news release Tuesday that 61-year-old Phyllis Lanning pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. Lanning admitted that while she worked for Condon National Bank in Coffeyville she created and mailed falsified documents to conceal her theft of $150,000 from a customer's account. She also diverted legitimate monthly statements to a post office box in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, that she controlled. Lanning mailed fraudulent statements to the account owner. The theft was discovered after the account owner died and family members took control of the account. Sentencing is set for September 24.
Wichita Police Captain Guilty of Shoving Referee at Game
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita police captain was found guilty of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct for confronting a teenage referee at a youth basketball game. A judge found Captain Kevin Mears guilty Tuesday and sentenced him to six months of probation. Mears must also pay $450 in fines. Mears has been on leave since shortly after a video of a January game in Augusta appeared to show Mears going on to the court and shoving the 17-year-old female referee. In earlier testimony, Mears said he didn't shove the referee and was just trying to get to his son, who was injured. The referee testified Mears ignored her orders to leave the court and was shouting obscenities before he pushed her. KWCH reports Mears's attorney said he plans to appeal the ruling.
Boeing Awards $125K Grant to Boost Wichita Training
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita manufacturing workers will receive more training through a $125,000 grant awarded by aircraft supplier Boeing Co. The Wichita Eagle reports that the money was awarded through the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and will be administered by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas. It's aimed at helping entry-level manufacturing workers get on-the-job training and existing workers advance their skills. Cox Machine is among five partnering companies that will offer additional training to new hires and existing employees. The other manufacturers include GKN Aerospace, HM Dunn, TECT Aerospace and XLT Ovens. Cox Machine human resources manager Cheryl Childers says the grant will help Boeing recruit new workers and Cox with the cross-training of its workforce. She says the grant will "continue the growth of aerospace" in Wichita.
Former Kansas CPA Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a former Kansas certified public accountant has pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns. Federal prosecutors say 70-year-old Robert Purinton, of Fountain Hills, Arizona, was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in jail. He also was ordered to pay the cost of his imprisonment, estimated at $34,000, and restitution of $106,055 for unpaid taxes. Purinton pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement on his 2009 tax return by under-reporting his income. He agreed to make restitution for taxes owed in 2009 and 2010. During those years, he was a CPA with an accounting firm in Overland Park.
Train Hits Unoccupied Patrol Car Near Wichita
RIVERSIDE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a train has struck a patrol car that got stuck on railroad tracks near Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says the deputy got out of the patrol car early Saturday before the collision. The train came along minutes after the deputy lost control of the patrol car while responding to a 911 call and got stuck on the tracks. The crash is under investigation.
Kansas State Cuts May Lead to Horticulture Center Closure
HAYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) - Staff members are trying to find a way to keep one of Kansas State University's research centers open after the school announced it would close the center south of Wichita. Kansas State announced last month its decision to close the John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville as part of budget cuts. The university cited lower state funding for higher education and declining enrollment as reasons for cutting $3.5 million from the College of Agriculture and Research and Extension's budget this year. The Wichita Eagle reports that university officials said they'd consider keeping the center open if people can find outside funding sources. Jason Griffin is the center's director and tasked with organizing an advisory board to make the center self-sustaining. Griffin says he hopes people understand the valuable information the center provides.
Man Arrested in Killing of Wichita Woman in Her Apartment
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man in the killing of a Wichita woman. Sedgwick County Jail records show the 59-year-old suspect is being held on $750,000 bond on suspicion of second-degree murder. Police say he was arrested Monday in the death of 55-year-old Eula Duncan. Lt. Todd Ojile said earlier that Duncan and a man she knew got into an argument that ended with him hitting her with an object. Ojile would not say what the object was. Ojile said people knew about the woman's injuries, but she did not come out of her apartment for several days before police were called to check on her. Officers found her body inside the apartment on June 30.
Family's Insurance Pays After Kansas Boy Topples Sculpture
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - The city of Overland Park has received $107,000 from a family's insurance company after a 5-year-old boy accidentally knocked over a sculpture at a community center. Overland Park spokesman Sean Reilly says the city plans to send $99,000 to artist Bill Lyons, who created the bust-like artwork ("Aphrodite di Kansas City.") Reilly says that's the amount the artist would've received had the sculpture sold at the center's art fair. The bust was damaged in May at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center. Surveillance video shows the 5-year-old child wrapping his arms around it and then struggling to hold it up as it fell... and broke.
Kansas State Athletics Receives Record Donations
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State plans to increase its athletic department budget for the upcoming fiscal year after setting a record in donations this year. The university announced Tuesday that the athletic department received cash payments of $30.9 million in the last fiscal year. The department says a record $18.9 million of that was designated to the Ahearn Fund giving program. For the next fiscal year, the athletic department's budget will increase by $8.9 million to $82.1 million. The record donations helped Kansas State achieve a balanced budget for the ninth consecutive fiscal year. The school's athletic department does not use public tax money or tuition funds in its budget. Most of next fiscal year's athletic department revenue is expected to come from Ahearn Fund donations and Big 12/NCAA revenue shares.