Headlines for Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Kansas Officials: Review Shows No Problems with New Welfare Law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials say a review of the state's new welfare law shows it doesn't conflict with federal rules governing state child care programs. Kansas Department for Children and Families economic and employment services director Sandra Kimmons also said Tuesday that federal officials haven't indicated that there's a problem. The issue arose after a child advocacy group raised concerns that several aspects of the new welfare reform law could conflict with federal rules, jeopardizing more than $40 million a year in federal funds. The law, called the HOPE Act, was approved by the Legislature last session. Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children, maintains there could be a problem with certain state work requirements for parents and subsidy cutoffs for noncompliance.
Kansas Sees Small Dip in Enrollment Under Federal Health Law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new report shows a small decline in the number of Kansans with health insurance coverage through the federal online marketplace during the spring and early summer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday about 84,900 Kansas residents were enrolled in health plans through the federal marketplace at the end of June. The figure is 0.7 percent less than the figure of nearly 85,500 for the end of March but still significantly higher than the 57,000 reported in the spring of 2014. Enrollment shifts expected as people's circumstances change and they cancel coverage or newly enroll. The report said the number of Kansas residents receiving tax credits to help play for their insurance declined 3.2 percent, from nearly 70,000 to about 67,700.
First Land Bank Lots from Fort Riley Overbuilding to Be Sold
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Junction City is looking for new owners for lots it was forced to take back after a surge of troops at Fort Riley never materialized. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the first 25 of the city's more than 900 lots are for sale. Junction City planning and zoning director David Yearout says sealed bids are due by 5 p.m. Thursday. On Tuesday, the city will decide whether to accept the bids, which must be for at least $5,000. The lots in the land bank have utilities and streets leading to them, a legacy of the building spree following optimistic projections about the future of Fort Riley. City manager Allan Dinckel says that if it goes well, more properties will go on sale in the future.
KU Student Charged with Sexual Battery Enters Diversion Program
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old former University of Kansas student accused of raping a woman in a university dorm room has entered a diversion program. Douglas County prosecutors charged the man with sexual battery after a woman said he forced her to have sex with him in April 2014 in Gertrude Sellards Pearson Residence Hall. The 19-year-old woman told police she repeatedly said "no." According to a police affidavit, the man told police he thought it was a "playful no." The Douglas County district attorney's office will not prosecute if the man meets several conditions, including writing the woman an apology and abstaining from alcohol and recreational drugs. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that an assistant district attorney said the woman agreed with the state's decision to put the man in a diversion program.
Wichita State University to Increase Evening Police Presence
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials at Wichita State University say they plan to increase evening police patrols after two recent on-campus robberies. University spokesman Lou Heldman said Tuesday the school will have additional officers on campus between 7 pm and 3 am. Heldman said the school is not adding officers, but rather using officers from day shifts more during the evening. Officials say police officers will be conducting more foot patrols, as well. According to school police chief Sara Morris, a 19-year-old female student was robbed of her purse at knifepoint Monday in a campus parking lot. The student was not injured.
Tests Suggest Most Kansas Students Not Ready for College
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new state report says a majority of Kansas public school students aren't on track to be ready for college based on their scores on standardized English and math tests. The state Department of Education released a report Tuesday on the statewide results from tests given this spring to 260,000 students from third through 10th grades. It was the first data from revised tests aligned with multistate Common Core academic standards. On average, 42 percent of students scored well enough on the English tests to be considered on track to be ready for college or a career. On math tests, the figure was 34 percent. The percentages were lower for 10th graders. Department officials acknowledged that they're not pleased with the results but said they expect significant future improvements.
AP Exclusive: Drilling Boom Means More Harmful Waste Spills
CROSSROADS, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. oil and gas production boom of the past decade has an unwanted side effect: Millions of gallons of briny wastewater have spilled onto land and flowed into waterways, often doing severe damage. An Associated Press analysis of state and federal record finds some nearly 22,000 spills of oilfield wastewater between 2009 and 2014. They add up to more than 180 million gallons. And officials acknowledge many releases are never reported. The spills happen primarily because of human error and equipment failures such as ruptured pipelines, overflowing tanks or illegal dumping. Experts say wastewater spills can be more environmentally harmful than oil spills. The salty byproduct turn can land into barren moonscapes where plants can't grow. Oil industry officials say they're trying to reduce the number of spills.
Jury Recommends Death Sentence in Miller Trial
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A jury has recommended a death sentence for the white supremacist who fatally shot three people at Jewish sites in Kansas last year. Jurors announced their decision Tuesday for 74-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., who was convicted of capital murder last week. The Missouri man admitted killing 69-year-old William Corporon and Corporon's 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, and 53-year-old Terri LaManno at a nearby retirement center. Miller, who founded a Ku Klux Klan chapter in North Carolina, espoused his anti-Semite views during the trial. None of his victims was Jewish. The judge overseeing the trial will now decide whether to follow the jury's sentencing recommendation. A sentencing hearing is set for November 10.
Former Jail Deputy Accused of Probation Violation
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Sedgwick County jail deputy convicted of sex crimes against inmates is accused of violating his probation for driving drunk and refusing a breath test. The Wichita Eagle reports that David Kendall is set for a hearing September 25 in Wichita. His latest legal troubles come from his conviction on August 14 for driving while intoxicated and refusing the breath test last January in Sumner County. Kendall has been serving a two-year probationary sentence. He pleaded no contest last year to six counts of attempted unlawful sexual relations with inmates and one count of making a false information. Those crimes involved six different inmates in 2012. His probation terms require he not possess or consume alcohol or drugs without a prescription.
Kansas City Airport Partially Evacuates Terminal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A terminal at Kansas City International Airport was partially evacuated Tuesday after a passenger began acting suspiciously on a flight before it landed. Airport spokesman Joe McBride says that the male passenger was aboard an American Airlines flight from Chicago to Kansas City. The crew alerted airport police, who met the passenger when the plane landed. He was taken into custody for questioning. McBride said part of Terminal C was evacuated ``out of an abundance of caution.''
Kansas Woman Charged with Abandoning Grandson at Store
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has made her first court appearance to face charges after allegedly abandoning her 5-year-old grandson three months ago while fleeing Kohl's after a shoplifting incident. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 41-year-old grandmother appeared by video link Tuesday from the Sedgwick County jail to face charges of abandonment of a child and theft. She had been on the lam until her arrest Friday. She is accused of trying to steal $200 worth of clothing from the store before fleeing, leaving the clothes and her grandson behind. Attorneys say the boy remains in foster care because no one from his family is willing or fit to take him. The boy's mother in Texas hasn't seen her son for four years. She tested positive for meth after his birth.
Infant Among 3 People Fatally Shot in KCMO Home
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police say three people, including an infant, have been found fatally shot at a home in Kansas City, Missouri. KCPD Captain Tye Grant says a family member returned home and discovered the bodies of a man, woman and infant last night (TUE). Grant said that officers arrived around 9:30 p.m. and all the victims appeared to have been shot to death. Police do not yet have a description of a suspect. Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte and Mayor Sly James both visited the scene. The investigation is ongoing.
Kansas State to Pay Fine After Band Performance
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University says it will pay a $5,000 fine after its marching band shaped itself into a formation that many saw as an obscene depiction of the rival Kansas University Jayhawk mascot during a halftime show. The school said Tuesday that band director Frank Tracz will miss the November 28 game against the University of Kansas and that university officials must approve future halftime shows. The university says it decided to pay the self-imposed fine after the Big 12 Conference warned of potential sportsmanship and ethical conduct violations. The controversy erupted after Saturday's space-themed halftime show during the team's home opener against South Dakota. One formation featured the Kansas State band forming the University of Kansas mascot and a phallic looking Starship Enterprise crashing into it. Tracz has apologized for what he described as a "misinterpretation."
Data Shows Earthquakes Down in Kansas After Limits on Water Disposal Enacted
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Preliminary data shows the number of earthquakes in Harper and Sumner counties has decreased since Kansas regulators set limits on drilling wastewater disposal. Early study findings suggest that as the amount of allowable wastewater disposal decreased, there was a corresponding reduction in the strength and frequency of earthquakes. Staff from the Kansas Corporation Commission told the Harper County Commission Tuesday that it is recommending that KCC continue the existing limits. The agency said that its staff also is recommending continued study of seismic activity and its relationship to large-volume wastewater disposal related to oil drilling operations. KCC is expected to formally review the recommendations in mid-September.
Advocates for New Wichita Library Set $8 Million Fundraising
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Supporters of a new library in downtown Wichita say they are more than halfway to their goal of raising $8 million for the structure. The Wichita Public Library Foundation announced Wednesday it has raised $4.4 million including a $3 million gift from the Dwayne and Velma Wallace Foundation. The Wichita Eagle reports that city leaders voted in January to pay about $27.5 million if the library foundation provided $2.5 million. The design is expected to be completed by November. Don Barry, chairman of the foundation, says the fundraising will allow architects to add about 10,000 square feet to the library, providing space for a children's area, genealogy research and special collections. Library officials say construction could start next spring and take about two years.
Nuclear Power Plant in Kansas Celebrates 30th Anniversary
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Kansas has celebrated its 30th anniversary. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that it comes at a time when environmental groups say attitudes have softened toward the use of nuclear plants because of more immediate concerns over climate change they say is related to the use of coal. The Wolf Creek plant began commercial operation in 1985 and was a focal point in a debate over the safety and costs of nuclear energy following a major accident at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. As a result, few plants have been built since Wolf Creek. The most recent was a plant in Tennessee, which opened in 1996. Wolf Creek was initially licensed to operate for 40 years, but it has received a 20-year extension.
KC-Area Couple Sentenced for Bank Fraud
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A couple has been sentenced to federal prison for a $664,000 bank fraud scheme tied to a construction project in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit. Fifty-two-year-old Dennis R. Key was ordered Tuesday to serve three years and five months in federal prison without parole. His wife, 49-year-old Michal Ann Key, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered the couple to pay restitution. The Keys admitted through an earlier guilty plea that they stole from a longtime friend by double-billing him for work and concealing the deception through hidden fees, shell companies and bank accounts. They also admitted signing false and fictitious names to checks. The scheme took place from August 2006 through November 2009.
Police: Man Injured in Wichita Motel Stabbing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a man was stabbed multiple times at a Wichita motel. According to Wichita police Lieutenant James Espinoza, officers responded to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis at 10 am Monday after a report of a stabbing at the Top Hat Motel. Police say the man, who has not been identified, said he had been stabbed multiple times Sunday during a fight with two men around 9:30 pm. Authorities say the man needed more than 50 stitches and staples for the numerous cuts he suffered on his back, stomach, chest and arms. Espinoza said it is unclear why the victim waited to report the incident.
Kansas Farmers Begin Planting 2016 Winter Wheat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A new report shows Kansas farmers have started planting their 2016 winter wheat crop. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Tuesday that 1 percent of the winter wheat in the state has now been seeded. The federal agency's weekly snapshot of crop conditions also shows that 33 percent of this season's corn crop is now mature. It rated corn condition as 57 percent good to excellent, 32 percent fair and 11 percent poor. Growers have also begun harvesting their sorghum crops. NASS reports that 1 percent of the sorghum has now been cut in the state. Soybean crops were rated as 56 percent good to excellent, 35 percent fair and 9 percent poor.
Missouri Woman Sentenced to Life for Infant's Death
HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Pleasant Hill woman faces life in prison in the death of her infant, whose body was found encased in concrete. The Kansas City Star reports that 30-year-old Krystal Scroggs was sentenced Tuesday. She pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder after authorities said she didn't seek medical attention after giving birth in 2013. She also was convicted of abandonment of a corpse and endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities said the infant was born with methamphetamine in its system and that Scroggs' failure to take the baby to a hospital or call 911 was the cause of the baby's death. Prosecutors also say the infant's body was found in a plastic tub filled with concrete. Scroggs's attorney, John Picerno, says he's filed a notice of appeal.
Arkansas Man Pleads Guilty to a Dozen Robberies in 5 States, Including KS and MO
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 45-year-old Arkansas man pleaded guilty to committing 12 robberies in five states during the summer of 2013. Federal prosecutors say Timothy Patrick Hoyt, of Bella Vista, Arkansas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to indictments from Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma, all of which were transferred to Missouri. Hoyt pleaded to using what appeared to be a handgun to rob the Alliant Bank in Blackwater, Missouri, and 10 other businesses, including eight fast food restaurants. The weapon was a pellet or BB gun. Besides those crimes, he acknowledged committing another robbery in Kansas and two in Iowa, where he was arrested. Hoyt faces up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, a fine up to $250,000 and restitution for each of the robberies. No sentencing date was scheduled.
Kansas St to Enclose Lower Bowl in Next Phase of Renovations
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State has announced plans for the next phase of its renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium, a $15 million project that will complete the lower bowl and provide other fan amenities. The school has aggressively upgraded its football facility over the past several years. First came a $90 million renovation to the west side that includes luxury suites, a training table and other improvements. Then last weekend, the school unveiled a $68 million renovation to the north side that includes new locker rooms, meeting spaces and enhanced fan experiences. The next phase announced Wednesday will enclose the northwest corner, allowing fans to walk around the entire stadium concourse. The school has already raised $9 million for the privately financed project. Construction is expected to begin in December.
Royals End 4-Game Losing Skid, Beat Twins 4-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals snapped their four-game losing skid with a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in Kansas City. The Royals' Edinson Volquez (13-7) pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs. Minnesota's Kyle Gibson (9-10) lasted eight innings, but the Twins' offense was unable to come to his aid. The young right-hander allowed his first Royals six batters to reach base. Eric Hosmer hit a three-run double and Kendrys Morales drove in another run to give Kansas City an early 4-0 lead. The Royals face the Twins again tonight (WED) at Kauffman stadium before hitting the road for a two-week trip to Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit.