Kansas Chief Justice Argues Court System Needs More Funds
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss has told legislators that judicial branch employees are so underpaid that the problem threatens the state's ability to provide justice. Nuss made an aggressive pitch for greater funding for the court system during his annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday to a joint session of the Legislature. The chief justice's speech came a week after Republican Governor Sam Brownback released budget proposals that did not include nearly $20 million in additional funds sought by the courts for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Nuss said the pay for all job classifications within the court system are below market rates and some by as much as 21 percent. He said low pay has given Kansas courts an unusually high turnover rate.
Trump Calls Bob Dole 'True American Hero' at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on former Sen. Bob Dole (all times local):
President Donald Trump is honoring former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, calling the longtime Kansas lawmaker "a true American hero." Trump is speaking under the Capitol dome at a ceremony to present the 94-year-old Dole with Congress's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. Trump is recounting Dole's service in World War II, his lengthy recovery from his wounds during the war and his service in Congress. The president says Dole "has never stopped fighting" for Kansas, military veterans and the disabled. He is pointing to Dole's work to create the World War II Memorial and his frequent visits to the memorial to greet fellow veterans.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole says he's "extremely honored" to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. It's the highest honor the nation's legislative body has for a civilian. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, presented the medal to the decorated World War II veteran during a ceremony at the Capitol. Dole also ran for president, winning the Republican Party's nomination in 1996. He lost to Democrat Bill Clinton. The 94-year-old Dole thanked his colleagues and staff, and all the speakers for their "kind words." Then, in a flash of his trademark wit, Dole said of the tributes, "They're probably not true, but they're kind."
Kansas Lawmakers Get Hour of Training on Sexual Harassment
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Dozens of Kansas legislators have received an hour of training on identifying and dealing with sexual harassment. The session Wednesday for Kansas House members was part of an effort by legislative leaders to address allegations of misconduct at the Statehouse. About 80 of the House's 125 members attended. Two dozen of the House's 40 Democrats attended a separate session in December. The Senate planned to have a session for its 40 members Thursday. Several House members said the training represents a first step toward combatting sexual harassment. The training came weeks after the ex-chief of staff for a former Democratic leader said publicly that a lawmaker once asked her for sex in 2015 and that female college-student interns regularly served as after-hour designated drivers for intoxicated lawmakers in 2016.
Judge Denies Request to Boost Number of Trump Voters in Jury
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge says three Kansas men accused of plotting to bomb apartments housing Somali refugees have no legal basis to request that prospective jurors come from counties where more residents voted for President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren issued the decision Wednesday. The men are accused of targeting an apartment complex in Garden City, in rural western Kansas. They're being tried at the closest federal courthouse about 220 miles away in Wichita, where trials pull prospective jurors from surrounding, more urban counties. The men argue the practice is discriminatory because it excludes western Kansas counties with more rural and conservative residents. But the judge ruled that those demographic differences aren't legally recognizable. Prosecutors argued defense attorneys were trying to pick a jury pool based on ideology.
Affidavit: Special Ed Teacher Inappropriately Touched Teen
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court documents say a teacher at a special education center in Wichita inappropriately touched a student with Down Syndrome and had her touch him. The Wichita Eagle reports that 59-year-old Tommy Tarrel Rains has been charged with sexual battery. The allegations are reported to have occurred from August 2014 through March 2016 at the Levy Special Education Center. The probable cause affidavit released by the Sedgwick County District Court says the victim was 16 and 17 at the time. The affidavit says an investigation started last November after the student told her parents she likes her new teacher at Levy "because she doesn't get touched." She also said he had her touch him while he videotaped it. His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.
Several Drug-Related Arrests at Newton High School
NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities arrested seven people, including five minors, as part of an investigation into drug activity at Newton High School. The arrests Wednesday morning were the result of a two-month investigation by a Harvey County Drug Task Force. During the investigation, police seized 74.5 grams of marijuana and 97 prescription pills. Newton officials said all those arrested either attended the high school or recently withdrew. They were arrested on charges of selling marijuana, Xanax, Oxycontin and hydrophone. Five people were arrested at the high school and two were arrested elsewhere in the city. Newton spokeswoman Erin McDonald said another person wanted in the case was already in custody and two more arrest warrants are outstanding. The statement said none of the cases involved weapons.
Catholic University Cancels LGBTQ Exhibit Amid Complaints
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Catholic university in Wichita canceled an exhibit intended to highlight contributions to the arts by LGBTQ Kansans after it heard "community concerns" that the exhibit would expose students to "evil." The exhibit, "Rainbow in Reverse: Queer Kansas History," was scheduled to open next week at Newman University's Steckline Gallery. The artist, Genevieve Waller, a Wichita native now living in Denver, was scheduled to present the show to highlight LGBTQ Kansans who worked through various art forms, The Wichita Eagle reported . During the weekend, an email with the subject line, "Newman University sponsors LGBTQ event -- Your action is needed!" was sent to local religious circles. In the email, Jean Heimann - a Wichita Catholic writer and speaker - wrote: "First of all, why is it necessary to expose students to evil? Why do students need to be encouraged to learn more about a sickness in our society?" She suggested instead that the university showcase people how have "overcome the temptations of this lifestyle" or have an exhibit of artwork showing the "treasures of the Church." Heimann's email asked those concerned about the exhibition to contact Newman and diocesan officials. On Tuesday, Newman Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly McDowall Long said in a statement that the university "understands that diverse perspectives, in an atmosphere in which the human dignity of each person is respected, are key to learning," yet "we thought it was best to make this decision." The statement also refers to "some confusion regarding the purpose and content of this particular exhibit." Newman said she hoped an alternate exhibit venue would be found in Wichita. "I would like the exhibit to spark curiosity about LGBTQ history in Kansas and help pave the way for LGBTQ Kansans' stories to become part of official state histories," she said Tuesdsay in an emailed statement to the Eagle.
Ex-Education Official Focuses on Kansas Workforce Challenges
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas's former education commissioner is hoping to bridge the divide between how schools teach and what businesses need from their workers. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Diane DeBacker was appointed late last year to the new executive director of business and education innovation position at the Kansas Department of Commerce. Her job is meant to bring education voices into the department. DeBacker hopes to bring education and business officials together to better prepare students for the workforce at a time when Kansas faces worker shortages in skilled and technical jobs. The Kansas Labor Department says nearly 49,000 jobs were vacant last year. DeBacker says the Commerce Department will outline goals in the coming weeks, which may include rethinking the school day structure or tailoring curriculum for students' career interests.
Industrial Hemp Backers Narrow Proposal for Kansas Research
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Advocates of industrial hemp production in Kansas are pursuing a new legislative proposal for allowing state universities to research it. The new bill is narrower than a measure opposed by law enforcement officials last year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee had a hearing Tuesday. The new measure would allow state universities to research industrial hemp but prohibit its cultivation outside state-sanctioned test plots. The House approved a bill last year to allow research and commercial cultivation with industrial hemp growers licensed by the state Department of Agriculture. The measure stalled in the Senate because of law enforcement opposition. A Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman said it is less concerned about this year's bill, and several law enforcement groups did not formally oppose it.
Signed Copy of Eisenhower's Book Donated to Kansas State University
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A one-of-a-kind signed copy of a President Dwight D. Eisenhower's wartime memoirs has been given to Kansas State University. Eisenhower was the supreme Allied commander during World War II and wrote "Crusade in Europe" before he was elected president. The donated leather-bound copy was a gift to Eisenhower's youngest brother, Milton Eisenhower, who was Kansas State's president from 1943-1950. Eisenhower wrote inside it that "if I could have had the help of Milton in preparing this work its value, if any, would have been multiplied for every reader." Kansas State graduate Richard Rees acquired the book from a rare books dealer in Pennsylvania and donated it to Kansas State in memory of his late parents. Current Kansas State president Richard Myers described it as an "irreplaceable treasure."
Plane Crashes on Kansas-New Mexico Flight, Pilot Hurt
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man is hospitalized in critical condition after the small plane he was flying crashed in New Mexico. Santa Fe Sheriff's officials say the pilot called a regional emergency communications center about 8 pm Monday to report the crash. The man provided coordinates directing emergency personnel east of the Rancho San Marcos subdivision off State Road 14. Sheriff's deputies say the man was found at the crash site and complained of leg, back and arm injuries. He told authorities he was flying from Kansas to Santa Fe and his single-engine aircraft iced up and lost lift as he flew through a storm toward the Santa Fe Airport. The man's name and hometown weren't immediately available Tuesday. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
Natural Gas Leak in Truck Blamed for Large Wichita Fire
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have determined the cause of a fire that caused more than $2 million in damage and losses at a truck maintenance facility in southwest Wichita. Wichita fire Lt. Jose Ocadiz says employees were doing mechanical work Monday on a tractor-trailer fueled by compressed natural gas when a gas leak reached a heater inside the building and started the fire at Fleet Maintenance Inc. The Wichita Eagle reports that Ocadiz says that the blaze caused $1.5 million in damage to the building and $750,000 in losses the building contents. The company fixes large trucks and semis. Owner Stan Furgason says the company employs 22, but not all worked on Monday.
2 Men Charged in Deadly Shooting in Kansas City Suburb
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Two people have been charged in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old during an attempted robbery in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs. Nineteen-year-old Triston Withers, and 20-year-old Daquan Tolefree were charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, attempted robbery and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of Jack Price. Court documents say a witness told police that several people were inside an apartment waiting for a drug buyer when two masked men entered an apartment Friday night. The witness recalled yelling at Price to get his gun before he was shot. He died at a hospital. One of the suspects' cellphones was found at the scene. The suspects surrendered to police Monday with an attorney. Prosecutors have requested bonds of a $150,000 for each suspect.
Kansas City Area Man Charged in Death of Woman Whose Body Was Burned
GRANDVIEW, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has been charged in the death of a 27-year-old woman whose body was found on fire near a burning trash bin. Twenty-seven-year-old Kasanova Callier was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Lynnette Williams. Her body was found Sunday evening outside her apartment in Grandview. She had been stabbed. Court records say police tracked the body's dragging in the snow from an apartment complex stairwell nearby. Witnesses reported a disturbance in an apartment where police had responded previously on domestic disturbances involving Callier and Williams. The couple had a baby together. Court records say Callier told detectives that Williams was a bad mother and that he had to kill her because she had tried to stab him.
Wichita Eagle Promotes Employee as Its New General Manager
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Eagle has promoted an employee with more than three decades of experience as its general manager. The Wichita Eagle reported on Wednesday that Dale Seiwert will be responsible for The Eagle's publishing, advertising and financial operations. Its parent company, McClatchy, says his promotion is effective immediately. The 58-year-old Wichita native is beginning his 38th year at The Eagle. He joined the paper in his final semester studying accounting at Friends University for a part-time position that ended up being 40 hours a week. He was most recently a McClatchy regional manager of financial planning and analyst for The Eagle, Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat. Seiwert lives in Maize. He and his wife, Linda, have three grown daughters who live in Wichita.
Wichita State Gun Case Shows Loophole in Campus Carry Law
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The case of a former Wichita State University student who was arrested for carrying a loaded gun on campus points to what could be an unintended loophole allowing criminals who are barred from carrying a gun to get away with it. The Wichita Eagle reports that under the current law, police can't question someone carrying a firearm unless they suspect that person has committed another crime. Police can't check whether a person has a past conviction making it illegal to carry. Court documents show the Wichita State case began after a student reported that classmate John W. Bannon frequently carried a gun. He was later jailed on a gun charge after a 2013 police search. Permitless concealed carry took effect July 2015. Lawyers say police wouldn't have been allowed to investigate Bannon under current law unless they suspected him of another crime.
Arkansas School Investigates Racist Taunts During Games
HARRISON, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas community college will investigate allegations that fans attending basketball games yelled racial slurs toward black players on the opposing team from Kansas. North Arkansas College President Randy Esters says the school plans to investigate. He says if the allegations are true, the school will take action to ensure it doesn't happen again. The college's men's and women's basketball teams played Labette Community College last week in Harrison. The northern Arkansas city has a history linked to white supremacy, including the decades-old headquarters for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The Parsons Sun newspaper in Kansas reports that video of the game shows North Arkansas fans making crow and monkey noises directed at black Labette players. The newspaper hasn't published the video, saying the source wants to remain anonymous. Esters says officials haven't seen the video. The teams play each other again Wednesday.
Officials: Rappers Used Kansas Fire Truck Without Permission
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Fire Department says rappers didn't have permission to use a fire truck in a music video that had explicit language and made references to drugs. The Wichita Eagle reports that the video was posted to YouTube in October and shows musicians Blue Scrilla and Pj rapping both inside of and in front of the fire truck. Wichita Fire Marshal Stuart Bevis says the vehicle was used a backdrop when it wasn't in use. Bevis added that the rappers also went into various stores on the east side of the city for backdrops. Bevis says the department filed a report with police. No charges have been filed. Hit King Productions produced the "Right Now" video. The Eagle couldn't reach Hit King Productions or Blue Scrilla and Pj for comment.
Trial Set to Begin in Ex-NFL Player's Road-Rage Killing
GRETNA, La. (AP) — The trial in a road-rage shooting that left a former NFL football player Joe McKnight dead is set to begin in a New Orleans suburb. Fifty-five-year-old Ronald Gasser is charged with second-degree murder in the December 1, 2016, shooting of the former running back. McKnight played college ball at Southern California before three seasons with the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. Police said the confrontation took place as they were traveling over a Mississippi River bridge in New Orleans and on roads in neighboring Jefferson Parish. Gasser's attorneys have cast the 28-year-old McKnight as the aggressor and are expected to argue Gasser shot in self-defense. Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday.
World War I Painting on Loan from United Kingdom Coming to Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City is preparing to display a John Singer Sargent painting depicting British soldiers blinded by a gas attack on the Western Front. The Kansas City Star reports that the American artist's 8-foot by 20-foot oil on canvas titled "Gassed" is so large the museum had to build a new exhibit space. The exhibit opens February 23 and lasts through June 3. Sargent's 1919 painting is on loan from the Imperial War Museum in London. It has been on tour while its home exhibit space is being renovated. Kansas City is the only stop in the Midwest. The visit coincides with the ongoing centennial observations of World War I.
Penguin Chick Joins Flock at Kansas City Zoo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The first king penguin chick hatched at the Kansas City Zoo is now on public display. The chick was named Louie after a vote on social media. He joined the rest of the flock Tuesday at Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The Kansas City Star reports that Louie will be in a "penguin playpen" on the other side of a glass that offers close-up views for visitors. He still has his gray chick fur. He will eventually grow as tall as a yardstick. Kings are the second largest penguins, after emperors. Louie was hatched November 8 from a surplus egg provided by the Saint Louis Zoo. He was hand-raised by zoo staff. His gender was determined by a blood test.
KU Jayhawk & Boston Celtics Great Jo Jo White Dies at 71
BOSTON (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and an Olympic gold medalist, has died. He was 71. The Celtics announced his death Tuesday night. No cause was provided. The team said it was "terribly saddened" by White's passing, calling him a "champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it." White played 10 seasons for Boston, which drafted him ninth overall from Kansas in 1969. He averaged 17.2 points per game over 13 years, also playing for Golden State and the Kansas City Kings before retiring in 1981. The Celtics retired White's No. 10 the following year, and he still was working with the club as a director of special projects at the time of his death. White averaged 18.1 points as a member of the 1974 Celtics championship team and was chosen MVP of the NBA Finals two years later when Boston won again, scoring 33 while leading the Celtics to a 128-126 win in triple overtime against the Phoenix Suns. Boston traded White to the Warriors midway through the 1978-79 season and he remained with Golden State through the following season. He played one final season in Kansas City, but was always beloved in Boston as a Celtic. "His contributions to the team's championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community," the Celtics said in the statement. "The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family." At the University of Kansas, White was an All-America selection in 1968 and 1969, was a three-time All-Big Eight Conference honoree and the Jayhawks' Most Valuable Player for three straight seasons under coach Ted Owens. Owens later hired White as an assistant at Kansas for two seasons. "He made an incredible contribution to Kansas basketball," Owens said. "He was the absolute complete player, so unselfish. His teammates loved playing with him because he would play great on defense and distribute the ball, and would think about his teammates first then his own shot later." White, who won an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. team in 1968, was a seven-time NBA All-Star. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, when he recalled his performance in the triple-overtime victory over the Suns that put Boston one game away from winning another title.
Brown, Wade Star as Kansas State Routs No. 4 Oklahoma 87-69
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Barry Brown scored 24 points, Dean Wade added 21 and Kansas State frustrated Oklahoma star Trae Young all game in springing an 87-69 upset of the fourth-ranked Sooners on Tuesday night. Cartier Diarra added 16 points and Xavier Sneed had 13 for the plucky, defensive-minded Wildcats (13-5, 3-3 Big 12), who bounced back from a last-second letdown against bitter rival Kansas with their sixth consecutive win over the Sooners at Bramlage Coliseum. Young was held to 20 points on 8-of-21 shooting, his fewest since scoring 15 in his college debut. He also was 2 of 10 from the 3-point line and committed 12 turnovers against six assists. It was the Wildcats' first win against a ranked team in four tries this season, and their first win over a top-5 team since beating the then-No. 1 Sooners two years ago. The dominance was so complete that coach Bruce Weber subbed out his starters in the final minute, allowing an appreciative home crowd to give them a standing ovation. Young was supposed to be the main attraction, but it was Brown — whose flub on the final play against the Jayhawks cost them a chance to win the game — who dominated on both ends in the first half. Oklahoma kept trying to claw back. Kansas State kept answering, at one point making eight of nine field goals to maintain a 74-58 lead with just over 5 minutes to play. The Sooners never made a dent in that deficit the rest of the way.
Oklahoma was averaging 93.6 points, tops in the country, but was held to 42 percent from the field and turned the ball over 20 times against the Wildcats. Those numbers doomed the Sooners to another tough night at Bramlage Coliseum, where coach Lon Kruger's jersey hangs in the rafters.
Kansas State could have cowered after its 73-72 loss to the Jayhawks last weekend, but instead rose to the occasion. And the Wildcats did it without Kamau Stokes, one of their best players, who remains out with a foot injury.
Oklahoma visits Oklahoma State for the return edition of Bedlam on Saturday.
Kansas State wraps up back-to-back home games against No. 24 TCU on Saturday.