Overland Park Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 23-year-old soldier from suburban Kansas City has died of wounds suffered in Afghanistan. The Kansas City Star reports that Private First Class Cale Miller of Overland Park, Kansas died Thursday in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was in the Army's 2nd Infantry Division. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he will issue an order to lower flags in Kansas to half-staff on the day of Miller's funeral.
Tornadoes Rake Kansas, Damaging Homes, Businesses
LA CROSSE, Kan. (AP) — Tornadoes raked Kansas overnight, injuring one person and damaging some homes and businesses. The Kansas Department of Emergency Management says one person was injured in Russell when a modular home was destroyed. That person was taken to Russell Hospital. Several other homes in the area were also damaged. In La Crosse, a tornado struck a four-block area in the town of about 1,340 people. No injuries were reported. The Kansas Department of Emergency Management says one building, a car wash, a farm shed and three camping trailers were destroyed. Authorities closed U.S. 183 north of the town and Kansas 4 west of the town because of downed power lines.
Greensburg Well Reopens 5 Years After Tornado
GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Greensburg is reopening the exhibit that was its biggest claim to fame before the southwest Kansas town was smashed by a tornado five years ago. And visitors who thought there'd be nothing new to see at the world's largest hand-dug well are in for a surprise. The Big Well used to consist of a visitors' area, a gift shop and a stairway into the 109-foot well. But like many other structures in Greensburg, the well's entrance was destroyed in the EF-5 tornado that struck on May 4th, 2007. KAKE-TV reports it's been rebuilt as the $3 million Big Well Museum and Visitors Center. Admission is free during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Displays in the museum tell the story of the 124-year-old well, the tornado and the town's rebuilding.
Wichita Officer Charged With Sex Crimes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita police officer who pleaded guilty in January to sexual battery while on duty has been accused of abusing two children. The Wichita Eagle reports that 28-year-old Joseph McGill was charged Friday with aggravated indecent liberties with two children. He was being held on a $500,000 bond in the Sedgwick County Jail and has a preliminary hearing June 7th. A court document says he planned to hire an attorney. McGill was sentenced in March to three years' probation after pleading guilty to charges stemming from allegations that he inappropriately touched residents on two occasions while working as a police officer. He worked for the police department for three years but resigned after the earlier charges were filed.
Kansas School Finance Case Nears Court Date
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A lawsuit that challenges the way the state funds education gets under way next week in Shawnee County District Court. It is the second time in the past decade that school finance has been put to litigation and the first since a 2005 Kansas Supreme Court ruling forced legislators to pump nearly $1 billion into K-12 funding. Fifty-four school districts are involved in the case. The districts are alleging that budget cuts in recent years amount to reneging on promises legislators made to comply with the court order. The state counters that extraordinary economic times forced the state to make spending cuts to keep the state solvent and that efforts were made to protect schools and academic progress. A three-judge panel will hear the case, which begins June 4th.
Kansas Eyes Changing Park Entrance Fee Structure
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Changes are in store for Kansas residents who want to take advantage of the state's parks, lakes and hunting attractions. A bill awaiting Governor Sam Brownback's signature would allow residents to buy an annual pass to the state's parks for $15.50 when they register their vehicles each year at county treasurer offices. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism patterned the proposal after a 2011 Michigan plan in order to raise new revenue for parks and attractions. Other changes include increasing the age for senior citizens to receive an exemption from buying hunting or fishing licenses from 65 to 75 years old. Wildlife and Parks Secretary Robin Jennison says the changes will leverage additional federal funds, as well as reflecting that Kansas residents are living longer.