Headlines for Monday, August 10, 2015
Judge Voids Kansas Same-Sex Marriage Ban as Unconstitutional
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has voided the Kansas ban on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree summarily ruled Monday that the provision in the Kansas constitution that prohibits issuing marriage licenses same-sex couples or recognizing such marriages violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That ruling also applies to any Kansas statute, law, policy or practice that bars or fails to recognize such unions. But Crabtree stopped short of issuing a permanent injunction so as to give Kansas the opportunity to voluntarily comply, as its attorneys have assured the court they will do. The court says some facts in the court record suggest Kansas officials have not uniformly complied with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Ex-Candidate Wolf Confronts Kansas Senator Moran at Town Hall Meeting
WAMEGO, Kan. (AP) — Former tea party-backed candidate Dr. Milton Wolf has confronted Kansas Senator Jerry Moran at a town hall meeting over the state medical board's past investigation of Wolf's license as Wolf was running for office.Wolf declined to say Monday whether he plans to run in next year's Republican primary against Moran. Wolf is a Leawood radiologist and gave Kansas Senator Pat Roberts a tougher-than-expected challenge in last year's GOP primary.Wolf asked Moran at a town hall in Wamego what Moran knew about the medical board's investigation of Wolf over his postings on Facebook in 2010 of X-ray images of fatal gunshot wounds. Moran said he didn't know anything until he saw news reports last year. Wolf said last week that the board closed its investigation without finding wrongdoing.
Auburn-Washburn School Audit: Replacing School Nurses with Aides Saves Money
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A recent audit showed that an eastern Kansas school district could save money by employing health aides instead of nurses. But the district's recent superintendent said nurses are worth the extra money because of the services they can provide. A Legislative Post Audit study of staffing and other practices at Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437 showed the 6,200-student district could save $68,000 a year by replacing four of its 10 nurses with health aides. The switch also would save the state $9,000 a year in pension funding because lower pay would mean lower retirement obligations. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Brenda Dietrich, superintendent of the district from 2001 until last month, said the district considers nurses worth the money and that parents are more comfortable with a nurse at school.
Report Claims Proposed Budget Cuts in Sedgwick County Will Lead to Deaths
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new report released by the Kansas Health Institute estimates that proposed health cuts in the Sedgwick County budget could contribute to 65 preventable deaths each year. The study claims that over time, the proposed $910,374 in health and human services cuts could lead to two additional diabetes deaths, five additional infant deaths, 17 additional cancer deaths and 41 additional heart disease deaths in Sedgwick County each year. But Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau said he does not see any evidence the budget cuts would lead to loss of life, calling the report a "bunch of political rhetoric of trying to push their agenda of more government in health care." The Wichita Eagle reports that the county commissioners will finalize the 2016 budget on Wednesday.
Police: 2 Dead in Dodge City Shootings
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dodge City police say two people were shot to death at separate locations before the suspected gunman shot and wounded himself. Police say officers responding to a shooting Sunday in a hardware store parking lot found an adult male gunshot victim, who was taken to a hospital, where he later died. The Dodge City Globe reports that officers responded a short time later to a report of man abducting a woman from another store at gunpoint. Police located the suspect's vehicle and found the suspect and the kidnapping victim inside. Police say as officers tried to make contact with the occupants, the subject shot the woman and then turned the gun on himself. The woman was transported to a hospital, where she died. The suspect is in critical condition.
Police: 17-Month-Old Ingests Marijuana Pill in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating after a 17-month-old child swallowed a marijuana pill in Wichita. According to Wichita police, officers were called to Wesley Medical Center Saturday morning to check on the welfare of a child. Authorities say the child's mother told officers she had left her child in the care of a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman while she was at work. According to police spokesman Bob Gulliver, the mother said that when she picked up her child, she noticed the child was lethargic and unresponsive. After the mother took the toddler to the hospital, it was determined the child had ingested a marijuana pill. It was not immediately clear what the child's condition is.
Salina Police Say Man Intended to Kill Estranged Wife
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina police say a man who shot himself at a house intended to kill his estranged wife. Captain Mike Sweeney says 38-year-old Dan Fisk broke into his wife's home on Friday and shot at her and a neighbor who came to help before fatally shooting himself. Sweeney said Monday it was clear Fisk intended to kill his wife. He said she was alert after undergoing surgery but police hadn't yet talked to her. A neighbor, 32-year-old Jerry Alkire, was shot in the thigh and stomach when he came to help the woman, whose name was not released. The Salina Journal reports that the woman cared for three children and her own three children at the house. They were taken to safety by another man who heard the shots.
Catholic Foundation in KCK Raises $500K for Students
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas foundation has raised more than a half a million dollars under a new program that seeks to pay for low income children in northeast Kansas to attend private schools. The state Legislature last spring created a tax credit for corporations, which took effect this year. The program allows businesses to donate money for low-income children to attend private schools. The Catholic Education Foundation, a Kansas City, Kansas-based foundation, says 65 to 70 children will receive scholarships to switch to the Archdiocese's schools this year. Most of the children are elementary or middle-school-aged, living primarily in Wyandotte County, Topeka, Ottawa and Leavenworth. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Patrick Woods, president of the Topeka Board of Education, says Kansas instead should give public schools more resources to help struggling children.
2 Arrested in Fatal Shooting on Wichita State Campus
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a shooting death on the Wichita State University campus was not a random act. Deputy Police Chief Hassan Ramzah says a 23-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were arrested Sunday afternoon in connection with the shooting. The victim, 23-year-old Rayan Ibrahim Baba, was found in a campus parking lot Saturday morning suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at a Wichita hospital. Ramzah says Baba was acquainted with the two suspects and had arranged to meet them at Fairmount Towers, where he lived. The Wichita Eagle reports that Baba was a Saudi undergraduate student majoring in electrical engineering but was not signed up for classes this fall. Wichita State police chief Sara Morris says Baba's death is the first homicide on the campus since 1993.
Youth Horizons Boys Ranch Expanding to Serve 32 Boys
VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — A ranch near Wichita that serves at-risk boys is expanding to serve more boys. The Youth Horizons boys ranch near Valley Center currently has 12 boys in its residential program. They are taught such things as personal hygiene, caring for animals and how to behave in front of women. The Wichita Eagle reports that the program started in a house near downtown Wichita in the 1980s. Two houses were later built about 20 miles north of Wichita. Construction is nearly complete on two more houses. President Earnest Alexander says $1.5 million of the $2 million needed has been raised. The organization is now trying to match a $250,000 grant by the end of September. The new houses will allow the group to have 32 boys living at the ranch.
Kansan Died as Storm Slammed Down RV, Nebraska Sheriff Says
STRATTON, Neb. (AP) — A southwest Nebraska sheriff says a Kansas man was killed when a storm tossed his recreational vehicle. Hitchcock County Sheriff Bryan Leggott says 38-year-old Heath Erbert died when his fifth-wheel RV was picked up and slammed back to the ground in Stratton during Friday night's storm.Jan Sydow, who lived in a neighboring trailer, says Erbert was from Lucas, Kansas. Sydow says Erbert had been in Stratton for just a few weeks while working for a welding company in Trenton.Region 15 emergency manager Patrick Gerdes says no other injuries have been reported. The storm temporarily left dozens of people without power. The National Weather Service says the storm's straight-line winds hit an estimated 110 mph.
About 100 Gather in Kansas City to Mark Anniversary of Michael Brown's Death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — About 100 people gathered near the pavilion in Swope Park to mark the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that the group arrived via a motorcade that included several dozen vehicles, including two symbolic hearses. Organized by the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, the prayer service also served to remember Ryan Stokes, a 24-year-old black man killed by a Kansas City police officer on July 28, 2013. Police said Stokes had a gun and did not obey commands to show his hands. Stokes' family disputes that he had a gun and said he might not have heard the commands.
Kansas Officials Riled by EPA's Changes to Power Plant Rule
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Many Kansas Republicans are critical of the federal government's efforts to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Yet the GOP-dominated Legislature anticipated earlier this year that the state would attempt to comply and enacted a law spelling out how. Then, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tightened standards this week for Kansas in the final version of its rule, aimed at addressing climate change. EPA's announcement last week prompted Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas House energy committee chairman Dennis Hedke to suggest Kansas must reconsider how it responds to the rule. Under the revised rule, the EPA is giving states an additional two years, until 2022, to start reducing carbon emissions. But Kansas and 15 other states saw the EPA toughen their targets. The Kansas figure is now 43 percent.
Police: 17-Year-Old Pulls Gun on Taxi Driver to Avoid Paying
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has been arrested after police say he pointed a gun at a taxi driver to avoid paying the fare in Wichita. According to Sergeant Roger Runft, a 42-year-old taxi driver picked up the suspect and a 16-year-old girl Friday afternoon. Runft says when they arrived at their destination, the boy pulled out a gun "and told them to open the door and they would not get hurt." Authorities say the suspect then jumped out of the car and ran away. Officers arrested him a few blocks away after speaking with the girl. The suspect faces aggravated assault charges.
Woman Sues Wesley Medical Center Over Father's Death
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The daughter of a man who died after two hospital falls is suing Wesley Medical Center for $600,000. Donald Carlson passed away in 2013 at age 91. According to court documents obtained by the Wichita Eagle, Carlson went to Wesley Medical Center after a car accident on August 5, 2013. Carlson fell two days in a row while a patient at Wesley, according to the lawsuit. Medical providers had labeled him a high fall risk. Wesley Medical Center would not discuss the lawsuit or provide fall data. Wesley's attorneys in the case deny allegations made by Carlson's daughter, Donna Sierks, that the center was negligent in its care. No court date has been set.
StoryCorps Launches Oral History Holiday on Thanksgiving
As students head back to school, here comes a big homework assignment: StoryCorps wants teenagers across America to interview a grandparent or elder this Thanksgiving and upload the recordings to the Library of Congress. The nonprofit oral history organization is asking high school history teachers to have students record the interviews with the StoryCorps smartphone application. Founder Dave Isay (EYE'-say) says "The Great Thanksgiving Listen" could collect tens of thousands of one-on-one conversations for posterity. Isay hopes it becomes an annual tradition. He says it will bring families closer together by using modern technology to share the wisdom of elders with future generations. Isay adds that the stories are less important than the fact that they're talking.
Kansas City Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin Misses Practice with Strained Neck
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was held out of practice Monday after straining his neck the previous day, putting his availability for their preseason opener in question. Kansas City visits Arizona on Saturday. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he was unsure when Maclin was hurt during Sunday's practice, or whether the injury occurred during a brief scuffle with cornerback Marcus Cooper. Maclin had an X-ray Monday morning and spent practice working out with the trainers. The Chiefs did get some positive injury news with the return of wide receiver Chris Conley to practice. The rookie has been out since the start of training camp with a knee injury.