UPDATE: Governor Brownback Has Signed Bill Outlawing Use of Alternate Law Systems in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill aimed at keeping Kansas courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes. A spokesman for the Council on Anerican-Islamic Relations says a court challenge is likely. Brownback signed the measure Monday. The Kansas Senate was notified Friday. The new law takes effect in July. Muslim groups had urged Brownback to veto the measure, arguing it promotes discrimination. Supporters say it simply restates American values. Supporters have worried about Shariah law being applied in Kansas courts. However, they also point out that the bill doesn't specifically mention codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts or other tribunals can't base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.
Lawmaker Subpoenaed in Meetings Probe
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member says he's been subpoenaed by a prosecutor investigating private meetings Governor Sam Brownback had with legislators at his official residence. Representative Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, told The Associated Press Friday that he received a subpoena Thursday ordering him to appear June 7 at the Shawnee County Courthouse. Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, a Democrat, is investigating seven meetings the Republican governor had for members of 13 legislative committees. Taylor's spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. Schwab is angry about the subpoena. He says he told Taylor's office repeatedly that he did not attend the two gatherings to which he was invited. Brownback has said he's confident the Kansas Open Meetings Act wasn't violated.
14 Kansas Counties Receive Federal Disaster Declaration
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for 14 Kansas counties hit by severe storms last month. The declaration signed Thursday makes federal funding available for state and some local governments and some nonprofit organizations. The funds can be used for emergency work and repairs needed after storms on April 14-15. It does not provide funding for private property owners. The counties included in the declaration are: Edwards, Ellsworth, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kiowa, Mitchell, Osborne, Rice, Rush, Russell, Sedgwick, Stafford, and Sumner.
UPDATE: Homeless Man Charged in Topeka TV Station Attack
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 48-year-old homeless man has been charged with breaking into a Kansas television station and attacking several employees. Shawnee County records show the four felonies and two misdemeanors were filed late Thursday against Ray Anthony Miles. He remains jailed on $100,000 bond in Wednesday's melee at WIBW-TV in Topeka. Miles reportedly became upset after learning the station wouldn't do a story on his problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs and threw a lamp through the glass front doors. WIBW officials said two sales employees were cut while attempting to restrain Miles. The news director was knocked down, and the chief engineer was left with a black eye. None of the injuries was serious. The public defender's office didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.
Kansas State Parks Prepare, Hope for Big Holiday Weekend
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — After a dismal season at the state's lakes last summer, Kansas parks officials are hoping a strong Memorial Day weekend will give the parks department an economic boost. The Wichita Eagle reports that toxic algae and extreme heat caused a sharp drop in visitors to state waterways last summer, causing a tight budget for the state parks department. The acting director of the Kansas Department of Parks, Wildlife and Tourism says even with a one-time supplement of $800,000 from the state, the department's budget is tight. She says a Memorial Day weekend with plenty of visitors to the state parks would help end the fiscal year on a good note. The state's new budget year begins July 1. Permits to enter a state park for a day sell for $4.20 per vehicle.
Lawmakers Hope to Name Bison America's "National Mammal"
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Western lawmakers are seeking to elevate the plains bison to a status similar to that of the iconic bald eagle with legislation to declare the burly animal America's "national mammal." Bison advocates launched a "vote bison" public relations campaign Friday to coincide with the bill. The National Bison Legacy Act introduced in the Senate is backed by lawmakers from Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, the Dakotas and Rhode Island. The largely symbolic measure would provide no added protections for the estimated 20,000 wild bison in North America. Tens of millions of bison, also known as buffalo, once roamed most of North America. Overhunting reduced the population to about 1,000 animals by the beginning of the 20th century.
UPDATE: 2 Adults, 2 Children Dead in Suburban Kansas City
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Police in a Kansas City suburb say they're not looking for any suspects in the deaths of two adults and two children inside a home. A relative found the bodies in a Blue Springs duplex Friday afternoon. The cause of the deaths has not been released, but police said they recovered a weapon in the home and that the victims died by "multiple means." Police told KCTV the perpetrator was among the dead. The victims were identified only as a 23-year-old man, a 22-year-old woman, and two girls, ages 4 and 2. Their relationships were not immediated disclosed. The relative who discovered the bodies told police she went to the home after not hearing from the occupants within the previous 24 hours.
KS National Guard to Name Complex for Ex-Secretary of Defense Gates
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita native and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will be honored later this month by the Kansas National Guard. The Guard announced Thursday it will name its intelligence complex at McConnell Air Force Base after Gates. Dedication for the Robert Gates Intelligence Complex is set for May 30th. Gates served as Defense Secretary between 2006 and 2011. He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1993. The three-building complex at McConnell Air Force Base is home to more than 350 airmen who help produce intelligence information collected by various manned and unmanned aircraft. In April, it was announced that Gates would join an international consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Derby Mourns Hometown Marine's Accidental Death
DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old Marine who fell to his death at the Grand Canyon is being mourned in his south-central Kansas hometown of Derby. The Wichita Eagle reports that Jeffery Klingsick was recently discharged from his home base of Camp Pendleton, California. He was driving home to Kansas when he and a Marine friend stopped Tuesday at the national park in Arizona. Klingsick's father, Russ Klingsick, told the newspaper Thursday his son walked too close to the edge on the canyon's South Rim and fell 30 feet to a ledge below. The father says Jeffery then stumbled and fell at least 600 feet from the ledge. The Derby High School graduate had mustered out of the Marines after two years of service, including seven months in Afghanistan as a scout and rifleman.
Portion of Ellis County Waiting for Running Water
HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A small slice of southern and southwest Ellis County could get running water for the first time. The Kansas Department of Commerce on Wednesday approved a project to bring water to 10 applicants through the Ellis County Water District 1-C. The water district next will hire an engineer for a 10-mile water main. It hopes to fund the project through a program that requires residents to donate labor to construct the project. The Commerce Department would provide the cost of materials, engineering and grant administration. The Hays Daily News reports of the 10 properties proposed for new service, four are homesteads more than 100 years old, two use distillers for safe drinking water, three have hauled water for drinking and cooking for decades and five will build new homes.
Video Implicates Two Vehicles in Fatal Wichita Hit-and-Run
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say surveillance video shows a man who was killed while riding his bicycle last weekend was hit by two vehicles, instead of one. The Wichita Eagle reports 49-year-old John Fuqua first was hit Saturday night by a white, four-door sedan. About 20 seconds later he was hit by a low-profile SUV as he lay in the curb lane of the street. Police Lieutenant Joe Schroeder says the SUV slowed almost to a stop before continuing on, but the driver of the sedan didn't slow at all. Detectives are looking for additional surveillance footage to help identify the two vehicles involved in the hit-and-run.
Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame Adds Two Generals to Roster
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame has its first Marine inductee. Marine General Charles Krulak was inducted during a ceremony Thursday at the Lewis and Clark Center along with the late Army General Michael S. Davison. Both men were graduates of the Army's Command and General Staff College during their careers. Krulak became the 31st commandant of the Marine Corps in 1995. He commanded a platoon and two companies during Vietnam. Davison was a commander of Fort Leavenworth and commandant of the Command and General Staff College. He joined the Army in 1939, serving in World War II and Vietnam. In the early 1970s he oversaw the U.S. Army in Europe.
Eisenhower Foundation Receives $625,000 in Grants
ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A foundation that honors the legacy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower has received more than $600,000 in grants to support its mission. The Eisenhower Foundation announced Thursday that it received a total of $625,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation. The foundation's executive director, Mack Teasley, says the money will be used to develop new educational programs and a website, as well as digitizing historic materials at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. Other uses will include more staff and funding for research grants for scholars who visit the library. The Abilene Reflector-Chronicle reports the Gates foundation gave a two-year grant of $500,000 and the Bechtel foundation granted $125,000.
Missourians Prevent Woman's Jump into River
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Police in St. Joseph are praising three citizens who prevented a distraught woman from jumping off a heavily traveled bridge into the Missouri River. KQTV reports the 41-year-old woman had already climbed onto the railing on the Pony Express Bridge when the three rescuers pulled over around 7:30 am Thursday. Dave Williams, Heidi Utt and Marilee Dishon, all of St. Joseph, grabbed the woman's arms and legs and held on until police arrived. Williams told the station he was the second person to pull over while he was driving to work. He says he told the woman that if she was going into the river, he was going with her. The Pony Express Bridge carries U.S. 36 across the Missouri to Elwood, Kansas.
KU, K-State Advance in Big 12 Baseball Tournament
Governor Brownback to Decide Fate of Bill Prohibiting Alternate Law Usage
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback is preparing to decide the fate of a bill aimed at keeping Kansas courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes. Brownback had a Friday deadline to sign or veto the bill or let it become law without his signature. His office hasn't said what he would do. Muslim groups have urged him to veto the measure, arguing it promotes discrimination. Supporters of the measure worry about Shariah law being applied in Kansas courts, although they point out the bill doesn't specifically mention codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts or other tribunals can't base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.
Suspect in Topeka TV Station Attack Reportedly Fixated on VA
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A knife-wielding man suspected of attacking two employees at a Topeka television station had a court record and had been kicked out of at least two homeless shelters. Forty-eight-year-old Ray Anthony Miles is jailed in Shawnee County on suspicion of six counts, including aggravated battery and burglary. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that charges haven't been filed but that bond was set at $100,000 during a court appearance Thursday. Court records show his convictions were for misdemeanors, including battery on a law enforcement officer. Shelter officials in Topeka said Miles was frustrated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. WIBW-TV reported that Miles broke a glass front door Wednesday morning after he complained to the news director about the VA. Two sales employees suffered minor wounds before police took Miles into custody.
**this story has been updated. Please see above.