Headlines for Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Kansas Preparing to Impose New Rules for Social Services
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is preparing to sign welfare legislation restricting how poor families can spend cash assistance from the state. The Republican governor scheduled a Thursday morning signing ceremony at the Statehouse. The new law would take effect July 1. Brownback and his allies emphasize that the measure puts into state law administrative policies enacted by the state since he took office in January 2011. They include a requirement for adult cash-assistance recipients to work, look for work or seek job training. But the measure also says cash assistance couldn't be used for tobacco, alcohol or sexually oriented materials or at casinos, spas, nail salons, tattoo parlors or fortune-telling businesses, among other places. Also, the law would limit ATM withdrawals of cash assistance dollars to $25 a day.
Kansas Urges Dismissal of Federal Lawsuit over Gay Marriage
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas argues in a new court filing that the ability of same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in many counties should prompt a federal judge to dismiss a gay-marriage lawsuit. But an American Civil Liberties Union attorney said Tuesday that lawyers representing state officials are not raising any new legal issues. The state's filing Monday in federal court was expected to be its last before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree considers whether to permanently bar enforcement of the state constitution's ban on gay marriage. The Kansas Supreme Court in November left it to chief judges in each of the state's 31 judicial districts to determine whether marriage licenses would be issued to same-sex couples. The state argues that as a result there is now no legal controversy.
Kansas Considers Allowing More Unlicensed Teachers to Teach
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas could allow five public school districts designated as innovative districts to hire unlicensed teachers. The State Board of Education plans to vote tomorrow (THUR) on a proposal drafted by the districts. Supporters say the plan would foster innovation and allow the districts to tailor their staffs to teaching needs.
Kansas Lures Missouri Company with $8.6 Million to Move Across State Line
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Commerce says WireCo WorldGroup will receive more than $8.6 million in incentives to move its headquarters this year from Kansas City, Missouri, to Prairie Village, Kansas. WireCo has signed a lease for part of a building in Prairie Village, where it will employ about 185 people. Because the jobs are moving across the state line, the company is eligible for Promoting Employment Across Kansas incentives.
Police Investigating Topeka Shooting
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a 34-year-old man was injured in a Topeka shooting. Lieutenant John Sturgeon says police discovered the man, whose identity wasn't released, after responding to a report of a shooting around 11 pm Tuesday in southeast Topeka. The man was taken by an ambulance late Tuesday to a Topeka hospital. His injuries aren't considered to be life-threatening. No further details were released. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call authorities.
Hundreds March in Kansas City for $15 Hourly Wages
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than 200 low-wage workers took to the streets in Kansas City in pursuit of raises to $15 an hour as part of an expanding national movement known as Flight for 15. The Kansas City Star reports the protesters started Wednesday with a 6:30 am rally at an east-side McDonald's, then gathered three-deep in front of a non-profit on Main Street to call attention to sub-par wages for home health care workers. The event was part of a national protest day to coincide with the April 15 deadline for filing income taxes. Organizers planned similar rallies in as many as 200 other U.S. cities. The movement to unionize and raise wages to $15 an hour began in 2012 with a single protest by fast-food workers in New York City.
Regional Jet Safely Makes Emergency Landing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A regional airliner with 84 passengers on board safely made an emergency landing in Wichita after the plane had cabin pressurization problems. No one was injured during Wednesday afternoon's landing at Wichita's Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. Airport spokeswoman Valerie Wise says the Mesa Airlines for American flight had taken off from Wichita and was headed to Dallas. She says the plane wasn't in the air for very long before the pilot declared an emergency around 2:20 p.m. and returned to the airport. The plane is a Bombardier CRJ-900. She had no further details.
Former KC Area Coach Gets 30 Years in Prison for Child Pornography
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former youth soccer coach in a Kansas City suburb was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for secretly videotaping young girls on his team while they changed clothes. The U.S. Attorney's office says Joel While was sentenced after pleading guilty last summer to three counts of attempting to produce child pornography. He videotaped the girls on his team in Lee's Summit.
Sister to Stand Trial as Adult in Saline County Girl's Death
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a 15-year-old girl will be tried as an adult in the fatal stabbing of her 13-year-old sister. Saline County District Judge Patrick Thompson ruled Tuesday that Sierra Niehaus will be tried as an adult in the August 1 death of Galazia Niehaus in northwest Saline County. Thompson ordered that juvenile charges be dropped when an adult charge of first-degree murder is filed. Formal reading of charges is set for April 27. Attorneys who had represented Niehaus in juvenile proceedings were dismissed and a new attorney will be appointed. Thompson said Niehaus has shown no remorse or any other reaction to the death of her sister. Niehaus will be transferred from juvenile detention in Junction City to the Saline County Jail.
Wichita Considers Offering Free Lunch and Breakfast at 6 Schools
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita school district is considering a program that would offer free breakfast and lunch for all students at six schools next year. The Community Eligibility and Provision program gives schools in high-poverty areas the option of serving the meals to all students, regardless of their families' economic situation. David Paul, director of nutrition services for the district, says the program might be used next year at Hamilton Middle School and at Gardiner, Harry Street, Park, Stanley and Washington elementary schools. The Wichita Eagle reports the program was available to Kansas schools for the first time this year. A few districts, including Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas, are participating. Supporters say the program helps ensure that more low-income students have access to healthy meals during the day.
Overland Park Spends $27 Million to Create Bicycle Lanes
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Overland Park officials have approved spending $27 million over several years to install 165 miles of bicycle lanes throughout the city. The council voted Monday to implement a plan that will be constructed gradually along with street resurfacing and other reconstruction projects. Supporters say more people are riding bikes and proper infrastructure was needed to improve safety for cyclists and drivers.
New Natural Gas Extractions Plant Operating in Kansas
HAVEN, Kan. (AP) — A new natural gas liquids extraction plant began operating in central Kansas this week. The Tenewa Haven Processing plant started operations Monday near Haven, in Reno County. The plant is near Kansas 96, at the junction of two major natural gas pipelines owned by Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line. The plant separates natural gas liquids from methane and pipes them to an Oneok Hydrocarbon gas fractionation plant near Hutchinson, where they will be separated into individual products. Company president Greg Ameringer said the Haven plant can handle 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas liquids a day. It employs 12 people. Ameringer says no natural gas liquids are stored at the plant and all the gas handled there will be immediately shipped out.
Records Reveal Details from 'High-End' Clothing Thefts
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Newly released court documents show that a Facebook post first led police to investigate a suburban Kansas City woman charged with stealing more than $100,000 worth of "high-end" clothing. The Kansas City Star reports that 45-year-old Kelli Jo Bauer is accused in court documents of using social media to advertise the sale of more than 1,000 items of women's clothing. The documents say she was arrested this month after undercover detectives posing as customers went to her $900,000 home in an upscale Overland Park development. Bauer told the police that she was selling the items because she was a "compulsive shopper" and had lost weight. She is on house arrest as a condition of bond. Defense attorney Scott Gyllenborg didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.
Southwest Airlines Unveils 'Missouri One' Jet at KCI
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Southwest Airlines has unveiled a Boeing 737 jet that is painted as though it's wrapped in the Missouri state flag. The Kansas City Star reports that the plane made its debut Wednesday at the Aviation Technical Services aircraft overhaul base in Kansas City. It's the 10th jet in the airline's fleet painted to honor one of the states it serves. Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly says the airline wants to show its appreciation. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Kansas City Mayor Sly James were on hand for the presentation, and the group christened the repainted plane "Missouri One." Southwest makes 68 daily departures from the Kansas City International Airport, and there is talk of a massive overhaul of the facility. Kelly says any improvements should focus on cost.
Dole Institute to Exhibit Bob Dole's WWII-Era Letters
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence is exhibiting World War II letters between Bob Dole and his family for an online audience. The institute announced the exhibit became available online Tuesday, marking the day Dole was wounded in the war. It shows correspondence between the former Republican senator and his family from September 1941, when he was a student at Kansas, through his military service until April 1947. Dole reported for duty in 1943 and was seriously wounded in Italy on April 14, 1945. He spent several years recovering from his injuries at Percy Jones Army Hospital in Michigan. Dole Institute archivist Audrey Coleman says the letters tell a story common to many on the home front and in the action of World War II.
CertainTeed to Renovate Plant in Kansas City, Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — CertainTeed Corporation officials say the building materials company will renovate its plant in Kansas City, Kansas, creating more than 70 new jobs over the next three years. The company announced Tuesday that it has begun renovating its plant to begin production of fiberglass insulation products during the second quarter of this year. Greg Silvestri, president of CertainTeed Insulation, says the company is investing more than $30 million to re-engineer the plant's furnace and restart related production lines to give it greater flexibility to support its growing business needs. CertainTeed employs about 6,000 people in 65 facilities in the U.S. and Canada. It is a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building materials company.
Bird Flu Outbreak Could Head Eastward with Fall Migration
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Some scientists say that eastern U.S. poultry producers should brace for the potential arrival of a deadly bird flu virus outbreak that farmers in the Midwest have struggled to stop. The fear is that if the virus isn't already lurking in the Atlantic Flyway, it could spread there this fall when wild ducks fly south for the winter. Donna Carver, extension veterinarian at North Carolina State University, says producers there are preparing for the worst. H5N2 avian influenza has turned up since December in poultry farms and wild birds in the Pacific and Central flyways. But it's done the most damage in the Mississippi Flyway, especially in Minnesota, the country's top turkey producing state. Midwest and Ontario producers have lost over 2 million turkeys and chickens since early March.