Headlines for Thursday, June 18, 2015
No Charges in Kansas Campaign Loan Investigation
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Federal prosecutors will not charge Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer with breaking any campaign finance laws. Prosecutors said they investigated the $1.5 million in loans that Colyer made to the re-election campaign but that no charges would be filed. Colyer made three loans of $500,000 each, and two of them were repaid within days. Colyer said in August that the loans were "good money management." But some Democratic lawmakers call them "scam loans" and say Kansas needs to rewrite campaign finance laws to close what they see as a loophole involving loans by candidates to their own campaigns. The Democratic critics say such short-term loans are intended only to deceive the public and the legislature should stop them.
Kansas Regents Seek 3.6 Percent Tuition Hike for State Colleges
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Board of Regents schools in Kansas are all seeking a 3.6 percent tuition increase. The state's six Board of Regents colleges want 3.6 percent tuition increases for in-state undergraduate students for the coming school year. At the University of Kansas, standard tuition for full-time in-state students would increase by about $100 to $4,500 per semester. In addition to tuition increases, the colleges also are proposing fee increases, which the Board of Regents members also are expected to vote on this week. Combined tuition and fee increases at the University of Kansas would boost the total amount that students pay by 4.9 percent for in-state undergrads.
Feds Arrest 280 Immigrants, Including 36 in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say they have arrested 280 convicted criminals for deportation in six Midwest states, including Kansas, during a monthlong operation. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday that of those arrested, 36 were found in Kansas. The agency says all the immigrants arrested fall within its priorities for deportation with previous convictions for armed robbery, drug trafficking, drunken driving and other crimes. Most of the arrests were made in Wichita and Garden City. Some also occurred in Cimmaron, Dodge City, Liberal and Newton. ICE says its enforcement initiative began May 18 and ended Saturday.
Kansas Attorney General Plans Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office is launching a statewide billboard campaign against human trafficking. Schmidt says the goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about human trafficking and to encourage people to report suspicious activities. He says billboard ads will go up in Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. Schmidt says the ads will run over the next 12 months and encourage people to report suspicious activities to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. The attorney general says Clear Channel Outdoors and Lamar Advertising are donating space on digital billboards.
Judge Frees SW Kansas Couple Accused of Laundering Cartel Money
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has released a couple accused of laundering millions of dollars for a Mexican cartel drug at a small Kansas bank. George and Agatha Enns of Meade, were released Wednesday on secured bonds of $100,000 each. An indictment alleges that between 2011 and 2014, the couple deposited more than $6.8 million into their account at Plains State Bank. The government contended during a hearing last week that the couple is hiding assets that they could use to flee. But a defense attorney told the court that if it weren't for their 10 family members the couple wouldn't even have had the money to retain legal counsel.
KCK Store Owners Accused of Defrauding Food Stamp Program
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Owners of a Kansas City, Kansas, store have pleaded guilty to defrauding a federal food stamp program out of more than $227,000. The U.S. Attorney for Kansas says 39-year-old Saima Sajjad, of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Her husband, 47-year-old Sajjad S. Chaudhry, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture and aggravated identity theft. Their store came under investigation in 2013 because it reported thousands of dollars in transactions in a federal food stamp program. Investigators found the couple had been exchanging benefits for cash, keeping about 50 percent of the value of the food stamp benefits. Sentencing is August 25.
Salina to File Claim for Airport Contamination Cleanup
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Salina Airport Authority will try to get Hawker Beechcraft to help pay for cleaning up contamination at the former Schilling Air Force Base. The Salina Journal reportsthe airport authority has approved filing a $2 million claim against Hawker Beechcraft, a former tenant at the airport. Salina public entities are investigating cleaning up contamination at the former base, which is primarily polluted with TCE, plumes of which are moving underground toward Salina's water wells. Exposure to TCE, a metal cleaning solvent, has been linked to illnesses ranging from kidney cancer to brain damage.
Jury Again Finds No Fault in Royals Macot Hot Dog Injury
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A jury says neither the Kansas City Royals nor a man who was hurt when he was struck in the eye by a hot dog were at fault in the accident. Jackson County jurors said Wednesday that nobody was to blame for the incident at a September 2009 Royals game. John Coomer of Overland Park, Kansas sued the team, saying Royals mascot Sluggerrr recklessly threw a foil-wrapped hot dog behind his back and struck Coomer in the eye. A jury in 2011 found Coomer at fault because he should have been paying better attention. A Missouri appeals court disagreed in 2013 but the Missouri Supreme Court concurred with the Jackson County verdict and sent the case back for another trial.
Hutchinson Transforms into Smallville Again for the Weekend
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ Hutchinson will transform itself into Superman's hometown again this weekend. The Hutchinson News reports this year's Smallville celebration will be longer and include more festivities. It is scheduled to start Friday and end Sunday, with more downtown events, concerts and even a musical about Superman. Smallville is the fictional town where Superman was raised as Clark Kent. Superman's hometown has often been depicted as being somewhere in Kansas, although some fans of the comic book hero claim he was born in different states. The event began in 2013, when three men persuaded Hutchinson officials to change the city name to Smallville for one day, and it was so popular the event continues to grow.
Royals Pound Brewers, 10-2 in Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alcides Escobar equaled his career high with four RBIs as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 10-2 on Wednesday night. Royals' pitcher Joe Blanton (1-0) limited the Brewers to one run and five hits. The 34-year-old right-hander struck out four and walked none, throwing a season high 73 pitches. Escobar tripled with the bases loaded in a four-run eighth inning. He also singled home a run in a three-run second. The Brewers' Mike Fiers (3-7) gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings. The Royals will try to finish a sweep of the series versus the Brewers tonight in Kansas City.