University of Kansas Mourns Death of Former Chancellor Del Shankel
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU) — The University of Kansas community is mourning the death of its 15th chancellor, Del Shankel, who died July 12 in Lawrence. He was 90. "I am deeply saddened by the passing of Chancellor Shankel, and I offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “During his five decades of service to our university, Chancellor Shankel established a remarkable legacy of leadership and scholarship and touched the lives of countless Jayhawks. He will forever have a special place in KU history.” Delbert M. “Del” Shankel was the only individual to have served as KU’s chancellor twice. Shankel was acting chancellor for the 1980-81 academic year. In 1994 he was interim chancellor for seven months before the Kansas Board of Regents designated him chancellor. In 1995, he left that role and was granted chancellor emeritus status. Shankel came to KU in 1959 as a faculty member in the microbiology department, then known as the bacteriology department. He came to KU to start a program in what was then a new area, microbial genetics, and was promoted to associate professor 1964 and full professor in 1968. Born in Nebraska and raised in Canada, Shankel earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Walla Walla University in Washington and a doctorate in bacteriology and biochemistry from the University of Texas. The microbiology department was his academic home throughout his career at KU. It was where he kept an office, a laboratory and continued to teach classes amidst his forays into administrative roles. It was also where he returned for his final year at KU before retiring with emeritus status in 1996. A memorial service will be held at 4 pm on August 18 at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union followed by a reception at the Adams Alumni Center.
3 Democrats Raised Over $170 Thousand in Last Quarter in Kansas 3rd District Race
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Campaign finance records show that three Democratic candidates in the 3rd Congressional District each raised more than $170,000 in contributions during the last quarter. But Republican Representative Kevin Yoder continued to maintain a huge fundraising advantage over any potential Democratic challenger. Six Democrats are vying for their party's nomination in the Kansas City-area district. The top Democratic fundraisers for the quarter were labor attorney Brent Welder, with almost $179,000 in contributions; teacher Tom Niermann, with more than $174,000, and attorney Sharice Davids, with almost $172,000. Welder has the most cash on hand at the end of June, with $399,000. Niermann had about $385,000 and Davids, nearly $146,000. But Yoder ended June with almost $1.9 million in cash. He raised about $453,000 in contributions, most of it from political action committees.
Senator Jerry Moran: Russian Summit Was 'Missed Opportunity'
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "missed opportunity" to press for "better behavior" from Russia. Moran said during a Fox News interview Tuesday that the summit in Helsinki gave Trump a chance to publicly show solidarity with Europe and NATO and to tell Putin that Russian meddling in U.S. and European elections will not be tolerated. But the Kansas Republican also said he thinks Trump has been strong in dealing with Russia and has not backed off sanctions on that nation. Moran also said he believes Trump sees Russia as an adversary and may have delivered tough messages in private. Moran visited Russia with other senators earlier this month and faced criticism for being there on the Fourth of July.
Kansas to Distribute $5 Million in Security Funds to Schools
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is distributing $5 million in state grants for security features to improve the safety of children and staff in school buildings operated by more than 150 districts. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the state Department of Education began distributing the grants Monday for new doors, windows, security cameras, intercoms and other safety features at schools. The appropriations authorized by lawmakers must be matched by districts submitting requests to the state Board of Education. A total of 153 public school districts have sought $13 million in grants, with a formula devised to bring grant awards within budget. Two districts originally proposed part of their funding be used to buy firearms, but an Education Department spokeswoman says those requests were removed after representatives from partnering agencies rejected the idea.
2 Companies Donate $5 Million to Build Topeka's Downtown Plaza
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A banking and utility business are donating $2.5 each toward the construction of a downtown Topeka plaza that will include a large digital screen and performance stage. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the donations are coming from Capitol Federal and Evergy, which was formed by the merger of Westar Energy and KCP&L. The combined $5 million gift will make up more than half of the funds needed to build the plaza. Downtown Topeka Inc. CEO and president Vince Frye says the plaza is expected to cost between $8 million and $9 million. Besides the stage, the plaza also will feature a splash pad that can be used as an ice rink during winter months. Construction is expected to begin next year, with the plaza expected to open in March 2020.
NRA Backs Kobach's Rival in Race for Kansas Governor
Correction: TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — In a story July 16 about the National Rifle Association's endorsement of Governor Jeff Colyer in his Republican primary race, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the NRA also praised a rival Republican candidate, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, for helping to draft a 2013 state law declaring that the federal government has no power to regulate guns made, sold and kept only in Kansas. In a letter to Kobach, the group praised him for other positions favoring gun rights, but not for his work on the 2013 law. A corrected version of the story is below:
Kansas Conservative Firebrand Kris Kobach has Failed to Land the Coveted Endorsement from the National Rifle Association in the Republican Primary Race for Governor
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas conservative firebrand Kris Kobach, who appears in parades riding a jeep with a replica machine gun mounted on back, failed Monday to land the coveted endorsement from the National Rifle Association in the Republican primary race for governor. Instead, it went to Governor Jeff Colyer, who immediately touted his "A'' rating from the gun rights group ahead of the state's August 7 primary. But Kobach pointed to his own "A'' rating from the NRA and announced his endorsement by Gun Owners of America, which describes itself as a "no-compromise" gun-rights group. Gun-rights advocates are a key constituency for Republicans in Kansas, which has loosened gun laws over the past decade so that no state permit is required for adults 21 and older to carry concealed weapons. The Republican candidates' rhetoric contrasts sharply with Democratic candidates' embrace of gun-control policies backed by their party's liberal base, even if they've favored gun-rights measures in the past.
"The Second Amendment is the load-bearing wall of the Constitution," Colyer said in a statement expressing pride at his NRA endorsement. "It must be protected or the whole institution will come crumbling down." Kobach has relished critics' consternation over the jeep he uses in parades with a replica machine gun. The vehicle also is painted with a U.S. flag design. "The right of law-abiding citizens to protect their families is non-negotiable," Kobach said in a statement. "I will never back down in defense of those rights."
David Kopel, an adjunct law professor at Denver University, said Gun Owners of America is more "pure ideologically" and less willing to accept legislative compromises to make incremental progress in broadening gun rights. He said it's possible for a candidate with a good NRA grade to have a significantly lower grade with the other group. But, Kopel, also the research director for a free-market think tank, said a candidate endorsed by either group is "probably good on gun issues."
Colyer is battling to win a full, four-year term after being elevated from lieutenant governor to governor in January, when ex-GOP Governor Sam Brownback resigned to take an ambassador's post. Kobach is a serious threat to unseat him in a crowded Republican field. The governor has been lining up endorsements, including on Monday from conservative Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, one of the nation's most prominent GOP governors. Among other things, the NRA letter cited Colyer's support for granting state permits to carry concealed guns at age 18. "His brand of effective conservative leadership matches up very well against the challengers and people see that he can get things done," said Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr.
Kobach has a solid base on the political right after more than a decade of advocating tough policies against illegal immigration and strict voter identification laws. He dismissed the NRA's endorsement of Colyer as "incumbent protection." Kobach's campaign released its own letter Monday from the NRA's PAC that confirmed his "A'' rating with the group without giving him a formal endorsement. Kobach noted that he helped draft a 2013 state law declaring that the federal government has no power to regulate guns made, sold and kept only in Kansas.
Texas Murder Suspect Found Dead in Oklahoma Parking Lot
ANADARKO, Okla. (AP) — A Kansas man wanted in connection to a Texas slaying has been found dead in Oklahoma. Authorities say the body of 37-year-old Jeremy Judd Owens of Oakley, Kansas, was found Saturday in a parking lot in Anadarko, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Owens was a suspect in the Friday shooting death of 61-year-old William Schoolcraft. The Texas Department of Public Safety says Schoolcraft was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head in a cemetery in Crowell, Texas, about 170 miles southeast of Amarillo. Anadarko police found Owens' body in a car about 8:10 pm Saturday. Texas officials say it appeared that Owens shot himself and left a letter in which he acknowledged shooting Schoolcraft to death.
Kansas Churches Vow to Protect Immigrants from Deportation
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two churches in Kansas say they'll protect immigrants facing deportation even if it means arrest. The Wichita Eagle reports that Newton's Shalom Mennonite Church and Moundridge's First Mennonite Church are two of a growing number of churches nationwide that have joined the sanctuary movement. Those churches have pledged to offer sanctuary to immigrants who live in the U.S. illegally and face the threat of deportation. Some churches have opposed the sanctuary movement, saying religious spaces have no legal authority to protect immigrants or that it's immoral to harbor people in the U.S. illegally. Pastors at Shalom and First Mennonite say they wouldn't try concealing their housing someone, but understand there could still be consequences. Both churches will undergo renovations to create spaces for immigrant families to live while they work on their legal cases.
Suspect Identified in Shooting of Three Kansas City Police Officers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police have identified a man who they say shot and wounded three officers before he was fatally shot by police in Kansas City. Police Chief Rick Smith said Monday that 25-year-old Marlin Mack was killed after he fired at officers at two locations Sunday. Investigators say he'd been under surveillance in an investigation into the killing of a college student earlier this month. Smith says one of the injured officers was expected to be released from the hospital Monday. The other two officers will remain hospitalized but are in stable condition. Mack was a person of interest in a July 6 killing of Sharath Koppu, a master's degree student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Police believe Koppu was a random victim during an armed robbery at a local restaurant. Smith said Mack hadn't been on investigators' radar before Koppu's death.
Kansas Man Arrested in 2003 Shooting Death of Mother
BELOIT, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas man has been arrested in the shooting death of his mother 15 years ago. Forty-six-year-old Charles Ray Fleming made a first appearance Tuesday in Mitchell County on a first-degree murder charge in the August 2003 death of 51-year-old Carol Fleming in Beloit. City manager Jason Rabe says Fleming was arrested Monday in Johnson County. Bond is set at $1 million. His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says on its website that an "extensive" investigation began after it was reported that Carol Fleming had been shot in the head. When no suspect was identified, a $5,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Rabe says he can't discuss why it took so long to file charges.
Lawsuit: Kansas Woman Not Warned of 'CoolSculpting' Effects
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman is suing a Wichita plastic surgery clinic, alleging it failed to warn her of a rare, plumping side effect of a popular body-contouring procedure. The Wichita Eagle reports that Tammy Hammond filed the lawsuit last month against Dr. Bruce Ferris and his clinic, the Plastic Surgery Center. Hammond received three treatments of "CoolSculpting" over a 16-day period more than two years ago. CoolSculpting is a noninvasive form of fat-cell freezing. The lawsuit says the woman developed a benign tumor in her liver and experienced fatty tissue growth post-procedure. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of not telling staff who perform the procedure about its known hazards so they could warn customers. An attorney for Ferris and clinic says the lawsuit "contains both legal and factual errors."
Salon Manager on Trial in Blaze that Killed 2 Firefighters
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A nail salon manager accused of starting a fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters is going on trial. Thu Hong Nguyen is charged with arson, second-degree murder and causing a catastrophe in the October 2015 fire that killed 43-year-old Larry Leggio and 39-year-old John Mesh. The Kansas City Star reports that a judge will hear the case against the 46-year-old woman on Monday. She has pleaded not guilty. The blaze started in the storeroom of a nail salon that Nguyen was the last person seen leaving. An exterior brick wall collapsed, killing Leggio and Mesh and seriously injuring two other firefighters. Court documents show Nguyen has been linked to fires at two other nail salon fires in which she collected insurance payouts.
Kansas Woman Charged in Beheading Found Competent for Trial
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ruled a Kansas woman accused of decapitating her ex-boyfriend's mother is competent for trial. Rachael Hilyard is charged with first-degree murder in the April 2017 death of 63-year-old Micki Davis, the mother of Hilyard's ex-boyfriend. KAKE-TV reports that earlier this year Hilyard had been found not competent and returned to Larned State Hospital pending Monday's reevaluation in Sedgwick County District Court. Prosecutors say Davis was attacked when she went with her 9-year-old grandson to collect some belongings from a home. The boy was able to run away and call 911. Davis' decapitated body was found in the garage and her head was in the kitchen sink.
Ex-Director of ESU Child Center Gets Diversion
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The former director of the Emporia State University's early childhood center has been granted diversion for failing to report suspected child abuse or neglect at the center. The Emporia Gazette reports Keely Persinger's record will be cleared if she successfully completes the plea agreement. A pretrial conference for Kimberly Schneider, a former teacher at the center, was continued to August 20. She is charged with five counts of child endangerment. Teacher's aides and parents have said they reported their concerns to the state that a teacher was not treating the children correctly. Persinger was charged with not investigating the complaints or filing necessary documentation. Four families have sued Emporia State and the center, claiming Schneider physically and emotionally abused four children.
Missouri Court Gives Jolt of Life to High-Voltage Midwest Power Line
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A proposal for a high-voltage power line carrying wind energy across the Midwest has received a jolt of new life after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that regulators wrongly rejected it. The court ruling Tuesday means that Missouri must re-evaluate whether Clean Line Energy Partners deserve approval for a $2.3 billion project that would build one of the longest electric transmission lines in the U.S. Plans call for the line to run from wind farms in western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois before hooking into a power grid in Indiana that serves the eastern U.S. Clean Line has been working on the so-called Grain Belt Express power line since 2010 but hasn't been able to start construction because of regulatory hurdles.
Report: Kansas Wheat Harvest Nearly Finished
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government's latest update pegs this year's Kansas wheat harvest as nearly finished. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported on Monday that 99 percent of the wheat has been harvested in the state. That compares to 95 percent five-year average for this time in the season. The agency reported corn condition in the state as 20 percent poor to very poor with 32 percent rated as fair, 42 percent as good and 6 percent as excellent. Other crops are also making progress. About 13 percent of the soybeans in Kansas are now setting pods and 10 percent of the sorghum has now headed in Kansas.
Family of Leavenworth Man Shot by Police Files Lawsuit
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The family of a man who was fatally shot by an eastern Kansas police officer is suing for the video of the shooting. The Kansas City Star reports that family members of Antonio Garcia Jr. gathered Monday with lawyers in Kansas City, Kansas, to announce the open records lawsuit filed last week against the city of Leavenworth. The officer who shot Garcia last summer while investigating a domestic dispute was later fired for what the police chief said was a violation of the department's use of deadly force policy. Prosecutors say a separate investigation to determine if the officer violated Kansas law remains underway. The family's attorney, Ben Crump, says it's been a year since the shooting and time to show the video. He asked, "What are they hiding?"
Land Near, Around Wichita Greyhound Park Sold at Auction
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The land under and next to Wichita Greyhound Park has been sold at auction to two men trying to protect what they already own in the area. The Wichita Eagle reports racing magnate Phil Ruffin bought an 82-acre tract that includes the park buildings and the racetrack, which he closed in 2007 after voters rejected a proposal to bring slot machines to the park. Ruffin paid $1.6 million for the land. He owns the buildings at the track and was leasing the land. Johnny Stevens, the owner of the nearby Kansas Coliseum and accompanying buildings, bought 35 acres west of the park for $150,000. The Sedgwick County Commission approved the sales after the auction.
3 Inmates Sue Former Jail Worker over Abuse Allegations
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Three former inmates have filed lawsuits alleging that a former food service worker at a Kansas jail sexually and physically abused them and that the worker's supervisors ignored their complaints. The civil suits were filed last week in Sedgwick County District Court over the conduct of Timothy Kaneer, who worked with CBM Managed Services, a food services vendor that contracts with the jail. He's currently awaiting trial on eight criminal counts associated with the assault allegations at the county jail, the Wichita Eagle reported. Kaneer supervised the three inmates in the jail's kitchen while working for the facility's food service vendor, according to the lawsuit. The suit accuses him of making sexual comments, rubbing up against them and threatening in at least once case to retaliate against an inmate if he reported the behavior. Kaneer has denied the allegations, according to his defense attorney.
One of the inmates who complained about Kaneer to CBM was asked by a manager if he was gay, according to the lawsuits. "CBM, through its supervisors, knew of and deliberately disregarded warnings that defendant Tim Kaneer had been sexually and physically attacking inmates," the lawsuits said. That inmate ultimately filed a report with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office alleging violations of the 2003 federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, which aims to identify and eliminate sexual violence in U.S. prisons.
The Sheriff's Office's investigation led to Kaneer's arrest and criminal charges in July 2017. CBM has a three-year contract to provide food and commissary services to the jail's inmates, Capt. Jared Schechter said. The contract began in February 2017 and has two one-year options to extend after 2020. The company said it's unable to comment on pending litigation. Schechter said Kaneer no longer works at the jail, but CMB declined to provide updated information about his employment with the company.
AP Editor Sue Manning Dies; Gave World LA's Biggest Stories
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sue Manning, an Associated Press editor who for decades delivered stories of Southern California to the world, has died. She was 71. Manning's brother Daniel Manning says police found her dead at her home in Glendale, California on Sunday after family members couldn't reach her. The cause of death wasn't immediately known. Manning was at the center of the AP's coverage of stories including the Los Angeles riots, the Northridge earthquake, the death of Michael Jackson and the O.J. Simpson saga. The Kansas-native's AP career began in Spokane, Washington, where she later covered the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. After moving to Los Angeles, she quickly rose to supervising editor at a time when few women held media leadership positions.
K-State's Snyder Bucks Trend, Brings QBs to Big 12 Media Days
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Kansas State University head football coach Bill Snyder brought his top two quarterbacks to Big 12 media days while several of his fellow coaches, notably Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman of Texas, decided against it. Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson were two of the five quarterbacks to make the trip to the Dallas area for the annual preseason meeting with reporters. Snyder said he saw it as "a great opportunity to imply some preseason pressure so you've got to practice the things you're going to experience so there is a little bit of pressure in them being here." Delton and Thompson are battling for the starting job for the Wildcats and could share time. Riley didn't bring Kyler Murray, who was picked ninth overall by Oakland in the June baseball draft and reached a deal with the A's that lets him play a year of football. Riley says Murray hasn't won the job. Herman left behind Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele after they split time at the position for the Longhorns last season. Snyder says he understands "as everybody in here does that that quarterback is under a little more scrutiny than most positions."