Headlines for Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Kansas Ends $25 Cap on Cash Benefits from ATMs
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas has eliminated a $25-per-day limit on ATM withdrawals with cash assistance cards. The Department for Children and Families said Tuesday that it was rescinding the policy before it could be put into effect for 15,000 poor Kansans receiving cash assistance benefits. Legislators approved the withdrawal limit in April as part of a measure rewriting rules for cash assistance. The limit was designed to prevent benefits from being converted to cash for non-essential spending. In June, lawmakers passed a follow-up measure giving department the DCF Secretary the authority to raise or eliminate the limit. Federal officials told Kansas lawmakers that the cash limit would cause the federal government to withhold funds from the state.
US Officials Questioned Kansas Rule on ATMs, Cash Assistance
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Records released by the state show Kansas faced pointed questions from U.S. officials about its now-abandoned plan for a $25-a-day limit on ATM withdrawals with cash assistance cards. The state Department for Children and Families on Wednesday released an email from a regional Department of Health and Human Services official. The state agency eliminated the cap on ATM withdrawals Tuesday, a day after receiving the email. The HHS official attached a list of questions containing a statement that the limit appeared to violate federal law. The Legislature approved the $25 limit in April as part of broader efforts to ensure that poor families use cash assistance for necessities. But lawmakers later worried about how federal officials would react and in June authorized DCF to increase or eliminate the cap.
Geologists: Drilling Slowdown Limits Kansas Earthquakes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Oil drilling in Kansas has slowed since winter, and so have the frequency and intensity of earthquakes in the southern part of the state. State geologists say it's no coincidence that a reduction in drilling activity has resulted in fewer earthquakes. A panel of state geologists and regulators told the Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association this week that they don't know how much of the increased seismic activity is being caused by the use of wastewater disposal wells as a byproduct of the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Wichita Eagle reports there have been 67 earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 3.0 in the last year emanating from Harper and Sumner Counties, but only 15 since April 1, and none in July.
Judge Denies Venue Change in Jewish Site Shootings
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has denied a request to move the trial of a 74-year-old Missouri man charged in the deaths of three people at Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City. Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., of Aurora, Missouri, is charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of three people last year at two Jewish sites in Overland Park, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/1UnMku0 ) a Johnson County District Court judge on Wednesday denied Miller's motion for the change of venue. The judge says without any evidence or testimony to back the request, he had no legal basis to consider the request. Miller is representing himself at the trial, which is set to begin August 17. Miller, an anti-Semite, has admitted carrying out the shootings. None of his victims was Jewish.
Topeka Council to Attempt Banning Public Nudity
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Topeka City Council is expected to make another attempt at banning public nudity. City Councilman Jeff Coen on Tuesday discussed his proposed ban on nudity in public places, referring to a local man who reportedly walks nude along an area trail. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Mayor Larry Wolgast said there appeared to be a consensus that the council should consider the nudity ban at a future meeting. The council voted last year to send its public health and safety committee a proposal that would make public nudity a misdemeanor. But committee members later voted to send the proposal out of committee with no recommendation regarding whether it should be rejected or approved. The council also considered banning public nudity in 2005, but the proposal died.
9-Year-Old Batboy Honored at Team's 1st Game Since His Death
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 9-year-old batboy who died after being accidentally struck by a follow-through swing in Wichita has been honored at the baseball team's first game since his death. Kaiser Carlile was struck Saturday by a warm-up swing made by a Liberal Bee Jays player near the on-deck circle during a National Baseball Congress World Series game. Kaiser died Sunday. Kaiser's younger sister, Keirsie, threw a ceremonial pitch before Tuesday's game against the Seattle Studs. She and her father, Chad Carlile, embraced Liberal players, who wore jerseys with Kaiser's initials. The teams stood side by side in a moment of silence. A banner with Kaiser's initials was hung in his honor. Commemorative baseball cards featuring Kaiser are available for a small donation. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell said Kaiser would be remembered for his smile, dedication and love of baseball.
3 Missouri Residents Killed in Western Kansas Crash
GRAINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — Three members of a Kansas City area family have been killed in a vehicle crash in western Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the accident occurred Tuesday on Interstate 70 in Gove County when the family's SUV rolled over into a ditch. The patrol says 56-year-old Mark A. Groom and his wife, 56-year-old Margaret K. Groom were killed, along with another family member, 85-year-old Richard E. Nieweg. The family is from Lee's Summit. Three children in the vehicle survived the accident and were hospitalized in Wichita.
2 Unnamed Corrections Officers Accused of Burglarizing Cars
EDWARDSVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Two corrections officers have been put on administrative leave after being accused of burglarizing cars in an eastern Kansas retirement community. KMBC-TV reports a woman who lives in Edwardsville Court, in the Wyandotte County town of Edwardsville, saw someone going through cars in the parking lot early Sunday. Loretta Moore says hers was one of four vehicles burglarized. She says the men violated the public's trust for trying to steal from older people in a housing project. Police say the two suspects are prison officers at Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison in Leavenworth. Investigators are looking into whether the suspects were involved in other car burglaries up the street from the retirement community. CAA officials say the officers could face possible further action later.
Body Found Near Burning Vehicle in Lenexa
LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a body was found near a burning sport utility vehicle on a Johnson County highway. Lenexa police say firefighters found the body after responding to a vehicle fire early Wednesday on the U.S. 69 overpass over Interstate 35 in Lenexa. The fire forced the closure of an area of southbound U.S. 69, but all lanes were reopened before 10 am. The victim's identity and cause of death haven't been released.
KCC Provides $29K Over Discrimination Allegation
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Corporation Commission has provided nearly $30,000 to its former general counsel over allegations of disabilities discrimination. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the KCC, which regulates public utilities including electric and water companies, settled with its former attorney Dana Bradbury for $29,458. The newspaper received a copy of the settlement in response to an open records request. The settlement contains no admission of wrongdoing or liability on the part of the KCC. Documents showed the settlement was over allegations of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The KCC approved the settlement on April 23 after a closed executive session. The agreement doesn't provide any additional information regarding the alleged discrimination but says Bradbury also filed a charge of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February.
Judge Denies Cherokee County's Request to Block Casino
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has denied Cherokee County's request for a temporary injunction to stop construction of a casino in Crawford County. Cherokee County sued last month after the state awarded a contract for a state-owned casino in southeast Kansas to Kansas Crossing Hotel & Casino, to be built south of Pittsburg. Cherokee County supported a competing proposal for a casino that would have been built in their county. District Court Judge Larry Hendricks ruled that the Crawford County Board recommended the casino project after holding numerous hearings and based on advice from independent experts. Cherokee County Commissioners say they still want to block the Crawford County casino and are evaluating their next move.
Kansas Lawmakers to Reopen Debate Over Police Body Cameras
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas legislators are reopening their debate over requiring body cameras for police, and a key Republican says he's determined to resolve issues that kept lawmakers from enacting the policy. Local officials and law enforcement groups are concerned about the potential costs and limiting access to the recordings. Body-camera proposals introduced earlier this year in the Kansas House and Senate did not clear committee hearings. A joint committee plans to study the issue this summer and fall. Republican Representative John Rubin of Shawnee says the police body cameras protect the public while shielding officers from unwarranted allegations of misconduct.
Kansas Supreme Court to Hear Cases in Garden City
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court is taking its show on the road in October with a special evening session in southwest Kansas. Court officials announced Tuesday the justices will convene October 13 at Garden City High School. It will be the court's first-ever visit to that community. It will be the second time the court has heard cases in the evening. The first evening session was in held April in Hays. Nearly 700 people were in attendance. After the session in Garden City, the justices will meet with the public in an informal reception at the school. The court convened outside its Topeka courtroom for the first time in 2011, as a way to educate Kansans about the state judiciary system and the role of the Kansas Supreme Court.
Man Charged for Threatening to Attack Wichita Courthouse
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A man has been charged after authorities say he threatened to storm the Sedgwick County Courthouse and kill law enforcement officers if a man on trial for murder was found guilty. Twenty-two-year-old Samuel McCrory was charged Tuesday with criminal threat and nine counts of unlawfully carrying a firearm. McCrory was arrested last week after police say he posted comments about storming the courthouse on Facebook in reference to the trial of Kyler Carriker. According to authorities, several people reported the comments to law enforcement, which resulted in increased security around the courthouse. Carriker was found not guilty July 30 in the 2013 shooting death of Ronald Betts
Single-Engine Plane Overturns After Hitting Deer at Kansas Airport
KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) - A single-engine plane overturned after striking a deer during takeoff in south-central Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the pilot was trying to take off from the Kingman Airport late Monday when the deer ran in front of his plane. The patrol says the deer hit the plane's front tire, tearing it off and causing the plane to overturn. The pilot was treated for minor injuries. KAKE-TV reports there have been about 33 animal strikes at Kansas airports in the last year, and all but one involved birds. The only other deer strike was last August at Forbes Field in Topeka.
2 Kansas Siblings Sentenced for Robbing Missouri Bank
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Two Kansas City, Kansas, siblings have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a Missouri bank robbery. 25-year-old Charles Spencer was sentenced Tuesday to eight years and six months in federal prison, while his 29-year-old sister Virginia Spencer was sentenced to 10 years and three months. Prosecutors say the two stole nearly $12,000 at gunpoint from the Bank Midwest in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, on May 23, 2014. A customer called 911 after her car was nearly struck by the robber's fleeing vehicle, driven by 23-year-old Steven Robinson of Kansas City, Kansas. The three were caught after their car crashed following a high-speed chase. Robinson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years and eight months behind bars.
Blue Bell Receives OK to Resume Production at Alabama Plant
BRENHAM, Texas (AP) — Public health officials are allowing Blue Bell to resume the production and sale of ice cream manufactured at its Alabama plant. Jim McVay, director of health promotion and chronic disease at the Alabama Department of Public Health, said Wednesday that Blue Bell can resume full production at its facility in Sylacauga. McVay says product testing and trial runs have shown no indications of the listeria contamination that caused a crippling recall in April following illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas. Production facilities remain closed in Oklahoma and Texas. Blue Bell, which is based in Brenham, Texas, underwent an extensive cleaning and decontamination process at its four plants following the recall. A message left for a Blue Bell spokesman for comment was not immediately returned.
Perez Homer Lifts Royals to 5-1 Win Over Tigers
DETROIT (AP) — Salvador Perez homered and drove in three runs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 Tuesday night. The Royals' Danny Duffy (5-5) allowed one run on five hits and four walks in seven innings, striking out two. The Tiger's Justin Verlander (1-4) struggled through seven innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits. The game was overshadowed by an afternoon announcement that Detroit's general manager Dave Dombrowski was being replaced by his top assistant, Al Avila. In 14 years with the Tigers, Dombrowski improved one of the worst franchises in baseball taking the Tigers to six postseason appearances including World Series losses in 2006 and 2012. Detroit came into the season looking for a fifth straight AL Central title, but now trail the Royals by 12 1/2 games.
2 Toronto Blue Jays Suspended After Sunday's Brawl with Royals
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto pitcher Aaron Sanchez has been suspended for three games and manager John Gibbons for one game as punishment for their roles in Sunday's brawl between the Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals. Major League Baseball also fined Sanchez an undisclosed sum for intentionally throwing at Alcides Escobar with warnings in place during the eighth inning of Toronto's 7-6 win. Sanchez denies intentionally hitting Escobar with the pitch. Gibbons was disciplined for coming back on the field when the benches cleared following Sanchez's pitch. Gibbons already had been ejected in the seventh inning.