Kansas smoking ban survives constitutional challenge
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has overturned a temporary injunction that had exempted some private clubs from the statewide public smoking ban. In Friday's ruling, the justices ruled against the Downtown Bar and Grill of Tonganoxie. At issue was a provision that allows a certain type of private club to permit smoking as long as the license was obtained before January 1st, 2009. The problem is the Tonganoxie bar didn't switch its license until May 4th, 2009. That's after the Legislature began discussing the ban but well before it won passage and took effect in July 2010. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the bar said the cutoff wasn't fair. But the state argued it was necessary to make sure ordinary bars didn't switch to private clubs to avoid the ban.
Rebuilding Harveyville United Methodist Church celebrates Easter
HARVEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Today's Easter Sunday is especially meaningful for the members of the Harveyville United Methodist Church. The small congregation has voted to rebuild the church destroyed by a February tornado that wrecked much of the town and killed one person. The building was a community landmark for more than 100 years. Church members will gather at the site of the old building for a sunrise service before walking a couple of blocks to Odd Fellows hall that has served as their sanctuary since the storm. Many in the congregation see parallels between the Easter story and the rebirth of their church. Pastor Dennis Irwin said in his Palm Sunday sermon that the tornado was a reminder that the people who make up the church are more important than the building. The new church will have room for a food pantry that is one of the congregation's many outreach programs. It will also have a couple of stained-glass windows salvaged from the old building.
New Kansas Highway Patrol cars have retro look
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The new Kansas Highway Patrol cars are garnering some double-takes. The Wichita Eagle reports that to mark the 75th anniversary of the law enforcement agency, 14 retro patrol cars are cruising Kansas roads. They sport red bulbs on their roofs, reminiscent of patrol cars from years ago.Trooper Matt Mullen was assigned one of the 2011 Crown Victoria models, painted in the traditional highway patrol colors of gray and blue. He says he's "proud" to drive the car, adding that it reminds him of the ones he used to see when he was a kid. But for kids these days, the car takes some explaining. He says several neighborhood children had to ask their parents about the red bulb on the rooftop.
Kansas inmate's mother loses lawsuit over suicide
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A jury in Topeka has cleared two Shawnee County jail employees of negligence in the 2002 suicide of an inmate who hanged himself in his cell with a sheet. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the jury deliberated less than 45 minutes Friday before returning the verdict in the lawsuit brought by Cathy Thomas, mother of Anthony Stapleton. The lawsuit noted in part that Stapleton was among six inmates who killed themselves between December 1998 and October 2003 while in the custody of the Shawnee County corrections department. Stapleton had been jailed for 38 days on charges of aggravated robbery when he committed suicide in November 2002. He was under special observation as a suicide risk, and fellow inmates said he talked about killing himself.
Nebraska farmers urged to watch for wheat diseases
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska farmers are being warned to look out for signs of rust diseases in their wheat fields. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension says stripe rust and leaf rust were found in parts of Kansas last week. Plant pathologist Stephen Wegulo says the Kansas discoveries mean Nebraska farmers are likely to see those diseases in the next two to three weeks. He says Nebraska wheat is about two weeks ahead of normal crop development this year because of the unseasonably high temperatures this winter and spring. More information about scouting wheat fields and treating diseases can be found online at cropwatch.unl.edu.
Son of former KU assistant walking on to basketball team
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning is leaving a presence behind when he leaves Lawrence to become the coach at Tulsa. The Wichita Eagle reports that his son, Evan Manning, will walk on the Jayhawk team. Since his 2011 graduation from Lawrence Free State, the 6-foot-1 guard has spent the past year playing at the New Hampton School, a prep school in New Hampshire. New Hampton coach Peter Hutchins says Manning started at point guard the first half of the season while guard Olivier Hanlan, a Boston College commitment, was injured. Manning was limited to a reserve role when Hanlan returned, but still averaged close to double figures for the season.