Missouri Governor Greitens to Resign Amid Scandals Investigation
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a sometimes brash outsider whose unconventional resume as a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL officer made him a rising star in Republican politics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday after a scandal involving an affair with his former hairdresser led to a broader investigation by prosecutors and state legislators. The 44-year-old governor made the announcement nearly 17 months after taking the oath as Missouri's chief executive with a pledge to root out "corrupt career politicians." The investigations of him widened to include questions about whether he had violated the law in financing the campaign. Greitens said his resignation would take effect Friday. A St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens on February 22 on one felony count of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a photo of the woman without her consent at his home in 2015, before he was elected governor. The charge was dismissed during jury selection, but a special prosecutor was considering whether to refile charges.
More on this story, including a timeline of the scandal, can be found here.
WWII Plane Crashes in Kansas After Memorial Day Flyover
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A World War II plane that had just completed Memorial Day flyovers crash-landed in Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 1943 Fairchild PT-23 plane crashed Monday afternoon near Wichita's Westport Airport. The plane was part of the Commemorative Air Force-Jayhawk Wing that was doing flyovers across the state. Wichita Police Sgt. Kelly O'Brien says the plane was southbound for the airport when its engine failed after noon. The plane's right wing clipped the ground and at least one pole. O'Brien says a male pilot and female passenger suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for stiches. The Kansas Highway Patrol and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. The PT-23 was a trainer plane for the U.S. Army Air Force.
Kansas-Based Company Plans to Build Massive Data Center in Oregon
HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — A Kansas data hosting company says it plans to build a massive 100-megawatt data center on more than 90 acres in Hillsboro, Oregon. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that QTS Data Centers, of Overland Park, is the latest in a series of large data companies to build in Hillsboro. Companies are drawn by lucrative tax breaks worth $7.6 million over the past three years. Those breaks became less valuable, though, after Hillsboro moved in 2016 to tie the value of tax breaks to jobs created. Those changes came amid concern that Hillsboro was serving up tax breaks to companies that occupied a lot of prime land but provided few jobs. Six large Hillsboro data centers employed just 71 people altogether last year. QTS, which leases space in its data centers to other companies, purchased 92 acres in Hillsboro last fall for $26 million.
Kansas Sees Dozens of Births by Jailed Women in Last 4 Years
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas jails are facing a rising likelihood of births behind bars amid a nationwide increase in women's incarceration. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas Department of Corrections saw more than 45 babies delivered by women in its custody in the past four years. That comes as the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. has been increasing at a rate 50 percent higher than men since 1980. Eight states have nursery programs allowing new mothers to raise children while serving time. Columbia University researchers found mothers participating in such programs had lower recidivism rates. But in Kansas, new mothers behind bars must give up their babies to the Department of Children and Families and can only see them on visitation days. The agency has recently been scrutinized for missing children.
10 States Back Arkansas Court Fight over Lawmaker Testimony
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Ten states back the state of Arkansas's argument that legislators should not be forced to provide documents or testify regarding a state law that prevents cities and counties from banning discrimination against LGBT people. The states on Tuesday asked to file a brief in support of Arkansas before the state Supreme Court, which last year halted efforts by the university city of Fayetteville and the American Civil Liberties Union to seek the documents and testimony from the two legislators who sponsored the 2015 law. The states requesting to file the brief are Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kentucky. The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance last year, saying it violates the law. But justices didn't rule on the constitutionality of the law itself.
Lawsuit: Prison Officials' Negligence Caused Loss of Colon
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas inmate alleges in a lawsuit that most of her colon had to be removed because prison officials ignored her requests for medication. Sarah Loretta Cook, who is 68, filed the lawsuit this month against the Kansas Department of Corrections and its health care provider, Corizon Health. She says she asked for months for her needed medication but Corizon employees ignored evidence of her profuse bleeding and deteriorating medical condition. The Wichita Eagle reports Cook has had gastrointestinal conditions for decades. She says condition flared up while she was in the Topeka Correctional but she didn't receive the medication until days before her release. Her condition eventually required surgeons to remove most of her colon. The corrections department and Corizon declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Whistleblower Lawsuit Settled Against City of Leavenworth
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A deal has been reached in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the city of Leavenworth retaliated against an employee who reported the city had defrauded the U.S. government. A trial had been set for next month on a claim of retaliation made by a former employee who says she faced adverse consequences after reporting ongoing maintenance problems and dumping of solid wastes at the city's waste treatment plant. She alleged the city failed to comply with contract terms that required the city to protect the public health and environment in its handling of sewage disposal and wastewater treatment for three federal agencies. Her lawyer says the deal settles retaliation and damage claims, but allows her to appeal on environmental and fraud issues. Leavenworth's lawyer didn't return a call for comment.
Man Stationed at Fort Riley Drowns at Milford Lake
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 28-year-old soldier drowned at Milford Lake during the holiday weekend. Geary County Sheriff Tony Wolf says Jonathan Rivera, of Grandview Plaza, tried to swim across a cove at the south end of the lake but became exhausted and went under water. Authorities do not believe the drowning is suspicious. KSNT reports Rivera's mother, who arrived in the area from New York City Monday, says her son was a soldier stationed at Fort Riley.
15-Year-Old Georgia Girl Dies in UTV Crash in Kansas
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A 15-year-old girl from Georgia was killed during the holiday weekend when the utility terrain vehicle she was driving crashed in Saline County. Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan says Taylor Patterson, of Woodstock, Georgia, died Sunday when she lost control of the vehicle on a country road. Soldan says it's unclear why she lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle overturned and Patterson was partially thrown off and pinned underneath. The Salina Journal reports Patterson was taken to Salina Regional Health Center, where she later died. A passenger in the vehicle, 60-year-old Tony Jennings, of Salina, also was taken to the Salina hospital. He was not listed as a patient Monday. Neither Patterson nor Jennings wore safety restraints.
Man Dies After Girlfriend's Son Punches Him in Fight
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating the death of a 45-year-old man who died after being punched by his girlfriend's adult son. Police said the man got into an argument with his girlfriend's 23-year-old son Saturday evening. The Wichita Eagle reports that man's 46-year-old girlfriend told police her boyfriend tried to strike her son first. Police said the son responded by punching the man in the head once. Then the man lot consciousness. Officer Charley Davidson says investigators have learned that a pre-existing medical condition might have contributed to the man's death. An autopsy will be conducted.
Topeka on Pace to See Warmest Month of May on Record
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka might be sweltering through its warmest month of May on record. Kris Sanders, a National Weather Service meteorologist, says the city's average temperature for the first 24 days of the month was 73.1 degrees. That's higher than the city's record highest average temperature for the entire month of May, which was 72.7 degrees, recorded in 1962. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports highs are expected to be in the 90s for the rest of May in Topeka.
Fundraising, Geography Key Issues in Kansas Governor Tickets
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Major party candidates for Kansas governor are using their running-mate picks to bolster key campaign themes. They're also addressing potential political trouble spots and ensuring that their ticket represents different regions of the state. Seven of the eight major candidates have named their candidates for lieutenant governor. The candidate filing deadline is June 1. Among Republicans, Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer all have strong ties to Johnson County and have picked running mates from other regions. The same holds for independent candidate Greg Orman. Among Democrats, ex-state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty built what he sees as a relatively young ticket for the future. State Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka is emphasizing experience. Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer tapped another ex-mayor, from Johnson County.
Kansas Testing Drones for Designing Roads
NETAWAKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas transportation officials are beginning a pilot project to determine how drones could be used in future road design work. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that last week marked the first time the Kansas Department of Transportation has employed drone technology in conjunction with a road project. The department has contracted the Kirkham Michael engineering firm to operate the fixed-wing drone back and forth above part of the US-75 highway in northern Jackson County. The device is equipped with a still camera that takes hundreds of images of the terrain below. Kirkham Michael municipal engineer Wayne Scritchfield says there are many advantages to using drones to do survey work for road projects, including safety benefits for drivers and workers. Officials could use drones for road work in the future if the pilot is successful.
Maize Teacher Accused of Sexual Relations with Student
MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas teacher faces several charges accusing him of sexual relations with a student. The Wichita Eagle reports that 44-year-old Johnny Paul Yelverton of Maize was charged last week with six counts of unlawful sexual relations between a teacher and a student 16 or older. Yelverton also is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child. Prosecutors say Yelverton had relations with a student in March and April, and possessed a sexually explicit image or recording of a child in May. A preliminary hearing is June 5. Yelverton taught fire science and law and public safety courses to Maize High School and Maize South High School students. He was named Kansas DARE officer of the year in 2015. At that time, he was working as a police officer.
Kansas Underground Tunnel May Have Link to Bonnie and Clyde
HUGOTON, Kan. (AP) — Leaders in a southwest Kansas town say a recently dug up underground tunnel was likely used by 20th century outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. The Wichita Eagle reports that Hugoton officials last month discovered a partially collapsed tunnel under a building the couple frequented. The tunnel didn't contain any direct artifacts from the criminal pair, but town leaders plan to continue digging. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are reported to have spent time in Hugoton during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Town leaders say Clyde worked in a farmer's field while Bonnie ran a cafe, where locals believe the couple ran a bootlegging operation. Jan Leonard is the executive director of Stevens County Economic Development. He hopes to eventually create a tourist attraction related to the duo's history in Hugoton.
Kansas Couple to Expand Farm with Goat Creamery
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita couple is planning to expand its farm and create a commercial goat creamery. The Wichita Eagle reports that George and Katharine Elder are in the process of building a 4,000-square-foot facility for the Elderslie Creamery. The couple's Elderslie farm allows visitors to pick their own berries. The farm also includes fine dining and a cafe. The new creamery will produce mostly goat cheese and include a retail area that'll offer both a cheese counter and a gelato counter. A herd manager and a cheese maker are expected to join the farm's staff next month. The creamery is expected to open in October.
4 White Peregrine Falcons Hatched in Topeka Get Bands
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Four fluffy, white peregrine falcon chicks that hatched less than a month ago in Topeka are growing and healthy. Officials on Monday but bands on the four chicks, which hatched on a nest near the top of the 12-story Westar Energy building. The Topeka Capital-Journal report s this is the first time four eggs hatched. Usually one to three eggs have hatched. It's the eighth consecutive year the falcons nested in a box Westar provides. The chicks' parents are falcons named Nemaha and Boreas. The chicks' genders are not yet known. Several Westar employees and wildlife specialist helped with the banding Monday. The goal is to allow wildlife experts to track the birds as they grow older. Brad Loveless, environmental specialist for Westar, said the falcons are about 20 days old.
Kansas City Chiefs Lineman Duvernay-Tardif Graduates from Med School
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif can finally put away the medical books for a while and spend all his free time studying up his playbook. Duvernay-Tardif graduated from McGill University's medical school on Tuesday. The Chiefs picked Duvernay-Tardif in the sixth round of the 2014 draft, but despite playing at a smaller Canadian school, he quickly earned a starting job. But he never gave up his pursuit of medicine, spending time each offseason doing school work and hospital rotations. Duvernay-Tardif posted a photo of himself on social media after commencement wearing a lab coat with "Dr. Duvernay-Tardif" across the back and his No. 76 in Chiefs colors. "This is it!" he said. "Today I become a doctor! It also marks the beginning of a great new adventure." Duvernay-Tardif plans to begin his medical career after his playing days are over. He signed a $41.25 million, five-year contract to remain with the Chiefs last offseason.