Headlines for Friday, July 3, 2015
Investigators: Illegal Explosives Found Near Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Federal, state and local authorities are investigating the manufacture of illegal explosives in the Topeka area. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with Topeka authorities and the Kansas Fire Marshal's office -- to investigate a group making homemade explosive devices and equipment to make illegal explosives. A spokesman for the fire marshal's office says criminal charges for the use of explosives are being forwarded to district courts, and the investigation is ongoing. The ATF says illegal explosive devices are often made and lit around the Independence Day holiday, putting people at risk of injury. It's illegal to make, sell or distribute explosives without a license in Kansas.
Clinton to Speak at La Raza Conference in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has announced plans to speak at an upcoming conference in Kansas City. Clinton will address the National Council of La Raza's annual conference on July 13th at the Kansas City Convention Center. Janet Murguia, the organization's president, says thousands of Latino community leaders are expected to attend.
Kansas Spent More than $100,000 on Same Sex Marriage-Related Lawsuits
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas attorney general's office says legal disputes involving the state's gay marriage ban have cost taxpayers nearly $100,000 over the past 18 months. The figures released Thursday cover expenses from three lawsuits but not staff time for Attorney General Derek Schmidt's employees. Schmidt filed a petition in October with the Kansas Supreme Court to block county court clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Kansas State Parks Race to Recover from High Water
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Workers have been scrambling to ready flood-damaged Kansas parks for an expected onslaught of Fourth of July visitors. Linda Lanterman is state park director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. She says waters are receding and conditions are "looking good," despite a few trouble spots that include some closed swim beaches and docks. She also says parks workers haven't had a chance to clear some of the debris or replace all the gravel that was washed off roads. Problems began around Memorial Day, with water lapping at a restroom roof at northeastern Kansas's Perry State Park during the worst of the flooding. Staff was shuffled around and extra seasonal workers were added to help clear the mess. Lanterman described the effort as a success.
Longtime On-Campus Family Housing Unit at Kansas Closes
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The closing of a longtime apartment complex means the end of family housing on the University of Kansas campus. The final family moved out of the university's Stouffer Place apartments last week, bringing an end to the use of the 58-year-old housing complex. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the 25 buildings opened in 1957 for married students, and eventually opened to students with children and single graduate students. The university's long-range plans do not include replacing family housing. A tentative plan for the site includes new integrated science buildings and some apartments for single students. Kip Grosshaus, associate director of student housing, says the complex's buildings were at the end of their usefulness and the university could not build new ones and charge the low rents that attracted students to Stouffer Place.
Kansas Gambling Regulators OK Kansas Crossing Casino
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas gambling regulators have given final approval for a business partnership to begin building a casino in southeast Kansas for the state lottery. Don Brownlee, executive director of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, says the four-person commission approved the contract for Kansas Crossing at a meeting Thursday. He says three commissioners voted in favor of the contract, and one commissioner abstained. The $70-million casino will be built south of Pittsburg and is expected to employ 300 people, and feature slots, table games, a 100-room hotel, a restaurant and a 600-seat capacity entertainment center. Brownlee says the Kansas Crossing group also has casinos in Dodge City and Mulvane. Bruce Christensen, lead investor and Kansas Crossing developer, says preparation on the new casino is expected to begin Friday.
OSHA Investigates Death of Oil Field Worker in Great Bend
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A federal agency is investigating the death of a 30-year-old oil field worker in central Kansas. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a release late Thursday the agency's Wichita office will investigate the June 30th death of the worker, whose name was not released. OSHA says the worker was an employee of Klima Well Service Incorporated, an oil field pumping unit service, and was working at well site near Great Bend when he was found unresponsive on a hot day. OSHA says Klima Well Service Incorporated was cited in 2006 after a worker was electrocuted at an oil well site near Ellinwood. The company was also fined $4,000. Klima Well Service did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Former Police SWAT Leader Sues, Claiming Age Discrimination
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former lead member of the police tactical team in Wichita is suing, alleging he was forced off the unit because of his age. The Wichita Eagle reports the federal age-discrimination lawsuit brought by 58-year-old Richard McCluney seeks more than $75,000 in damages, including lost overtime pay. The lawsuit alleges McCluney was 57 and had spent 21 years on the SWAT team when he resigned "under duress and at the direction of" of a police administrator. McCluney still works for the department. Police Capt. Doug Nolte, a spokesman for the department and the city on the matter, said that city officials have seen the lawsuit and are reviewing McCluney's version of events. He declined further comment.
Kansas Investigates State's Role in Beating Death Case
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are looking into the state's treatment of a mental health patient accused of killing a man in Kiowa County. The Kansas City Star http://bit.ly/1ITRgil reports superintendent of state hospitals Bill Rein told a mental health committee Thursday that the records of 30-year-old Brandon Brown have been isolated and inquiry into the his treatment has begun. Authorities say Brown was sent to Osawatomie State Hospital on May 7 to undergo seven days of treatment for violent behavior after fighting with residents at an assisted living facility in Haviland. According to state records, Brown was discharged May 14 and sent back to Haviland, and is accused of beating 61-year-old Jerry Martinez on May 17. Martinez died in early June. Brown has been charged with second-degree murder. It is not immediately clear if he has an attorney.
Confederate Battle Flag Taken Down in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Confederate battle flag at Veterans Memorial Park in Wichita has been taken down. City officials are expected to meet with veterans groups Monday to discuss the flag's future at the John S. Stevens Pavilion where it has flown with other flags for nearly 40 years.
Officials Issue Blue-Green Algae Warnings for Several Kansas Lakes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a warning of high levels of toxic blue-green algae for six lakes. The agency said Thursday the lakes under warning status are in Brown, Sedgwick, Jewell, Marion, Barton and Rooks counties. The environmental agency said in a statement that boating and fishing on the lakes under warning are safe, but people should avoid direct contact with the water.
Wichita Police Make Arrest in Woman's Death
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita, Kansas, say they've made an arrest in the killing of a woman found dead in a house. The Wichita Eagle reports that investigators took a 27-year-old man in to custody Thursday and expect to present the case to prosecutors next week. His name was not released, and police offered no other immediate details. Authorities say the boyfriend of 27-year-old Ciera Ray found her body June 25 when he returned from an out-of-town business trip. Police have said without elaborating that Ray died from "multiple injuries."
Missouri Prosecutor Decries Store Owner's Shooting of Teen
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, area prosecutor says she's seeking the highest punishment for a store clerk accused of shooting a teenager who allegedly was shoplifting cookies. Jackson County (Missouri) Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker's office charged 26-year-old Mohammed Abdi on Wednesday with first-degree assault, which is punishable by up to life in prison. He's also charged with armed criminal action — a count that carries mandatory prison time. Police say Abdi shot a 16-year-old in the leg Tuesday at a Pic N Save store as the teen was walking out the door. The teen is expected to survive. Baker tells KMBC-TV that while she understands stealing is a crime, it's not worth a shooting and that "simply put, this can't happen." Online court records don't show whether Abdi has an attorney.