Headlines for Monday, December 15, 2014
Kansas Reports Tornado, Snow & Rain - All in Same Day
HARPER, Kan. (AP) _ Everyone who lives here knows that Kansas weather can be weird... but yesterday (SUN) the state had some extra-strange weather. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings yesterday (SUN) evening in Harper, Kingman and Reno counties in south-central Kansas. A tornado did briefly touch down near Harper but no injuries or serious damage was reported. And then, later in the evening yesterday (SUN), snow began falling in Cheyenne County in far northwest Kansas. Much of the rest of the state had rain and misty conditions. The mix of weather was unusual for mid-December... even by Kansas standards.
New State Investigative Division Formed to Fight Cattle Theft
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state of Kansas is creating a new investigative unit to combat an increase in cattle theft. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Department of Agriculture announced a joint agreement Monday to form a new Livestock/Brand Investigation Unit. The unit will help local law enforcement agencies investigate suspected cattle thefts. It will be part of the Attorney General office's consumer protection division. It will be led by Kendal Lothman, a 22-year veteran of law enforcement who spent six years as Kiowa County sheriff. Schmidt said in a news release that the new unit will combine the law enforcement authority of the attorney general's office with the livestock investigations authority of the agriculture department.
New Court, Dental Programs to Aid Mentally Ill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — People with mental illness will be offered two new programs in Topeka beginning in January. An alternative sentencing court run through the Topeka Municipal Court will allow mentally ill people who committed relatively minor crimes to be released from a jail earlier if they comply with a treatment plan. The program also will offer employment, housing and substance abuse help. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the second program will provide dental services to the mentally ill who don't have dental insurance. It's being offered through a partnership between Valeo and Community Health Ministry. Valeo CEO Glea Ashley says many people with mental health disorders have not had routine health care for some time and have more advanced problems.
ACLU Chapters Focusing on Hot-Button Issues in KS, MO
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — American Civil Liberties Union officials say they have begun a new and more aggressive effort to intervene in Missouri and Kansas over highly public issues like same-sex marriage, privacy and police policy. The ACLU's Missouri chapter has been actively involved in the protests in Ferguson over Michael Brown's shooting death by a Ferguson police officer. It's sued on behalf of a reporter arrested during a protest and argued for protections for street demonstrators. In Kansas, the state's chapter has helped lead the legal battle over the state's same-sex marriage ban. The Kansas City Star reports critics say the nonprofit is straying from its initial mission of protecting civil liberties to promote a more liberal agenda. But an ACLU official with its Missouri chapter says the group has worked closely with conservatives before. He acknowledges, though, that the public doesn't always see the ACLU as nonpartisan.
Fate of Topeka Girl's Killer Rests with Jury
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say a man should be executed for kidnapping, raping and killing an 8-year-old Topeka girl, while the defense is calling for a life prison sentence. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that closing arguments were made Monday in the penalty phase of the trial for Billy Frank Davis Jr. The 31-year-old was convicted last week of 10 counts, including capital murder, in the May 2012 killing of Ahliyah Nachelle Irvin. Defense attorney Mark Manna says imprisoning Davis for the rest of his life will protect the public. Chief deputy district attorney Jacqie Spradling's posted 30 photographs on a TV monitor depicting the battered child, her injuries and her blood smeared in the basement crime scene. Spradling says jurors will know what to do if they look at the images.
16-Year-Old Dies After Drive-By Shooting in KCK
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 16-year-old boy wounded in a drive-by shooting has died from his injuries. The Kansas City, Kansas, police department says Kahlif Hampton died Sunday after being shot in the head on Friday. Officers say a woman who was also injured in the home shooting is expected to survive. Police say suspects fired multiple shots into the townhouse from a vehicle in the back alley. The department is investigating the shooting and is searching for two suspects. No arrests have been reported.
Mom Taken into Custody After Boy Killed in Home
WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas woman has been taken into custody on suspicion that she killed her 10-year-old son. The Wichita Eagle reports the 33-year-old woman was being held in Sumner County jail after the boy was found dead in the family's home in Wellington. Police were called at 11:45 pm Sunday to the home, where they found the boy dead with a puncture wound to the chest. Wellington Police Chief Tracy Heath says the official cause of death hasn't been determined. Police say the mother was arrested without incident.
2 Suspects Arrested in Fatal Wichita Christmas Party Shooting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say two people are in custody after a weekend shooting that killed a 24-year-old man and injured another man. The shooting happened Saturday night near a company's private Christmas party in northwest Wichita. Police say the men were shot as they were leaving and got into an argument with people inside another car. KAKE-TV reported that the 24-year-old victim was found with multiple gunshot wounds and died later in a hospital. Another 21-year-old man was taken to a hospital by car. Police say one suspect was booked for murder, while the other was booked for aiding and abetting. Officers are still looking for a third suspect. This is the 24th homicide of the year in Wichita, compared with 17 in all of last year.
KC's Liberty Memorial Gets More National Attention
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri's Liberty Memorial in Kansas City is one step closer to gaining ramped up national status. The U.S. Senate last week passed legislation that would designate the landmark as the nation's World War One Museum and Memorial. Both of Missouri's Senators -- Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill -- serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee and pushed for the provision in this year's annual defense bill.
Suspected Cop Shooter Taken into Custody in KS
PLEASANT VALLEY, Mo. (AP) _ Authorities say a man suspected of shooting a Missouri police officer has been taken into custody in Kansas. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the suspect was arrested yesterday (SUN) in Kansas City, Kansas and taken to the jail in Wyandotte County. The patrol says the suspect is being questioned in the shooting of a Pleasant Valley officer. The officer was conducting a traffic stop Saturday night on Interstate 35 when he was wounded. A news release from authorities didn't list the officer's condition.
University Lists Show 37 Registered Offenders Enrolled
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Thirty-seven registered criminal offenders are enrolled or employed at the six state universities in Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that federal law requires universities to keep a list of the registered offenders at their school and make the information available. But it's not clear how many people know about the lists. There are 12 offenders at Wichita State University, 10 at K-State, seven at Pittsburg State, five at KU, two at Emporia State and one at Fort Hays State. Their crimes include rape, indecent liberties with a child and use of a deadly weapon. Reports of sex crimes at the University of Virginia have fueled a national discussion about campus safety.
Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Wichita Injection Killing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The owner of a Wichita auto shop will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of killing a man by injecting him with a lethal dose of methamphetamine. Thirty-three-year-old Dang Sean was sentenced Friday for the January 2013 death of 34-year-old Shawn Lindsey. A life sentence for first-degree murder will run consecutively with a 77-month term for aggravated kidnapping. Prosecutors say Lindsey was bound and tortured before Sean injected him with a quarter-ounce of meth at the Automotive Bullies car repair shop because Lindsey owed a debt to Sean. The Wichita Eagle reports one other suspect is serving life in prison, while cases against four other men charged in Lindsey's slaying are in various stages in the Sedgwick County court system.
Nonprofit for Visually Impaired Acquires Radio Station
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita nonprofit that serves the visually impaired is going into the radio business. Envision on Friday acquired KFTI, a 100,000-watt FM radio station, from Journal Broadcast Group. Envision CEO Michael Monteferrante says the radio acquisition is part of the nonprofit's plan to expand its mission. He says the station will provide jobs for people who are blind or have low vision, while also diversifying Envision's revenue sources and allowing the group to spread its message. The Wichita Eagle reports Envision's business operations support its non-employment programs and services. Envision is best known for providing jobs for the visually impaired at a plant where it manufactures plastic bags. It also operates office supply stores at 16 Army, Air Force and Navy installations in 10 states.
University of Kansas Fundraising Effort Meets Goal
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas Endowment has reached a $1.2 billion fundraising goal two years early but officials say the effort will continue. The endowment's Far Above campaign met its goal last week after it received a $58 million gift from the estate of Madison and Lila Self, the largest individual gift in the university's history. That brought the total raised so far to $1.218 million. Campaign chairman Kurt Watson says the last two years of the eight-year campaign will focus on using funds for student scholarships and faculty fellowships or professorships, rather than capital needs. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the Far Above campaign began in 2008 with a goal of raising $1 billion, which was raised in 2012 to $1.2 billion.
KS Insurance Commissioner-Elect Wants More Competitive Market
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The next insurance commissioner in Kansas says creating a more robust market is a top goal and argues that greater competition will address problems with the federal health care overhaul. Commissioner-Elect Ken Selzer is confident that he can attract companies into the state and encourage others already in Kansas to do more business. Selzer is a Republican and takes office January 12th.
Lawrence Considers Code Changes Following Kennel Fire
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A Lawrence kennel fire that left at least three dogs dead has city officials reviewing fire and pet services codes. More than 20 dogs were evacuated after the fire broke out November 29th at Christal K-9. The business was unusually busy because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Lawrence Journal-World obtained a city memorandum that shows the building did not have fire alarms or sprinklers. Those safety features are not required in any kennels in Kansas. Lawrence City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer says he thinks requiring kennels to have fire sprinklers is a "no-brainer." Christal K-9 owner Cedric Devin has apologized to the families for their loss and anxiety. He has said his attorneys have asked him to refrain from talking to the media.
Sporting KC Wants Youth Program in Garden City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sporting Kansas City is considering building a youth academy program in Garden City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports the team's request to use STAR bonds is on the Garden City Commission's agenda for Tuesday. The proposal includes a training center with classrooms, locker rooms, fitness and conditioning equipment and possibly a dormitory. Sporting lawyer Greg Cotton says in a letter to the city that the plan includes making Garden City the home of a Premier Development League franchise that would be affiliated with Sporting Kansas City. The academy program would be part of a Sporting KC youth system that started in 2007 that now has 12 affiliates in the Midwest. Sporting KC academy players can eventually join the MLS club without going through the draft process.