Headlines for Monday, October 19, 2015
Kansas Faces Tough Carbon Reduction Target
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will face a higher target than many other states as it tries to reduce carbon emissions under new federal clean air rules. Kansas will need to reduce its rate of carbon emissions by 44 percent. The Clean Power Plan is scheduled to take effect November 13th but 15 states, including Kansas, are suing to block the new rules. The Environmental Protection Agency expects utilities to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels. But states face different standards, based on their mix of coal and natural gas electric plants. Kansas' rate reduction is high because it relies heavily on coal to produce electricity, while using a smaller amount of natural gas, which emits lower amounts of carbon.
Kansas is Still Alone in Giving Elections Chief Power to Prosecute
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is unique among U.S. states in granting its top elections official the power to prosecute alleged voting crimes himself. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is looking to push through a contentious national debate on voter identification laws. Kobach's office filed three election fraud cases in two counties earlier this month, accusing the defendants of illegally voting in Kansas while casting ballots in the same elections in other states. The law granting Kobach's office the authority to do so took effect in July. It's not yet clear whether other states will follow Kansas' example but a judge in Colorado is refusing to prosecute a Kansas man that Kobach's office has charged with voting in both states.
Former Attorney General Sues Kansas Supreme Court Justices
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has filed a federal lawsuit against the Kansas Supreme Court justices and others related to the suspension of his law license over his investigations of abortion providers. His attorneys contend in a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas that the court enhanced Kline's punishment because of his "fervid beliefs" against abortion. The lawsuit also contends the court selectively applied rules governing attorney conduct. The Kansas Supreme Court sanctioned Kline's law license in October 2013. The court found that as attorney general and as Johnson County prosecutor, Kline misled judges and a Kansas City-area grand jury to further his investigations against a Wichita abortion doctor and an Overland Park Planned Parenthood clinic. The court didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Judge Sets March Bench Trial in Lawsuit over Voting Machines
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The lawsuit filed by a Wichita mathematician seeking voting machine tapes after finding statistical anomalies in election counts is set to go to trial early next year. A scheduling order issued Monday sets a one-day bench trial for March 22 to hear the open records case brought by Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson. Sedgwick County Judge Douglas Roth also set deadlines for motions and scheduled a January 14 pretrial conference. Clarkson wants the tapes to do a statistical model by checking the error rate on electronic voting machines used at a Sedgwick County voting station during the November 2014 general election. Top election officials for Kansas and Sedgwick County want the court to block the release of tapes, arguing they are not subject to the open records act.
Kansas Student Test Results Expected Soon
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Results from Kansas state assessment tests administered last spring are expected to be released to parents in the next few weeks. The student test reports will be distributed by school districts, and will show students' scores and how the scores compare to median scores for each school, district and the state as a whole. Beth Fultz, assistant director for assessments for the Kansas Department of Education, says the new tests were more difficult. Wichita Superintendent John Allison says the bar has been set very high, and while students' results may not be at the highest level initially, they could eventually get there.
KU Provost Chosen as Ole Miss Chancellor
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi College Board has named Jeffrey Vitter, the brother of a U.S. senator who is provost at the University of Kansas, as its top choice to become chancellor of the University of Mississippi. The board still needs to take a final vote to make the selection official. Vitter, a 59-year-old computer scientist, has also served as provost at Texas A&M University and dean of the College of Science at Indiana's Purdue University. Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana is Jeffrey Vitter's brother. Earlier this month, Vitter was named one of three finalists to become chancellor of the University of Arkansas. That status may have motivated quick action in Mississippi.
Thousands Attend Memorial for 2 Fallen Firefighters
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of people attended a memorial service over the weekend for two Kansas City, Missouri firefighters who died last week when a building collapsed while they were helping to fight a fire. Hundreds of firefighters from across the country lined the street in front of the Sprint Center Saturday before the service for Larry Leggio and John Mesh. The veteran firefighters died last Monday when a three-story building collapsed in northeast Kansas City. Fire Chief Paul Beradi thanked the men's families for their sacrifice and vowed they would never be forgotten. The Kansas City Star reportsthe families also received Medals of Valor from the International Association of Fire Fighters. Leggio was a 17-year veteran and Mesh was a 13-year-veteran firefighter.
11 Injured in Great Bend Crash Involving Spider
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say 11 people were sent to the hospital after a collision in Great Bend was caused by a 17-year-old girl who tried to kill a spider. The Hutchinson News reports the teenager was driving along U.S Route 56 Sunday when she noticed a spider on her lap. The Kansas Highway Patrol says she let go of the steering wheel to swat at it and her vehicle crossed the center lane, colliding with a car before bouncing off and striking a second car. The report says three people in the first car and five people in the second vehicle were transported to Great Bend Regional Hospital for treatment. The 17-year-old girl was also taken to the hospital.
Mission Man, 59, Charged After Officers Hit with Car
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 59-year-old suburban Kansas City man faces charges accusing him of hitting two police officers with his car. The officers weren't seriously hurt in the incident Sunday in Overland Park. The Kansas City Star reports that Verton Tyrone Gee Sr. was charged in Johnson County District Court with theft and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. Police say two officers were knocked to the ground by a car Gee was driving when they tried to stop him from leaving a store where a theft had been reported. Gee's being held on $250,000 bond. Online court records don't list a lawyer for Gee.
Prosecutors to Target Human Trafficking, Money Laundering
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Top prosecutors from several U.S. states are looking to bolster relationships with their counterparts in Mexico to tackle a rise in human trafficking and money laundering. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says drug running and weapons smuggling continue to be dangers along the border, but organized crime is becoming more sophisticated and is seeing higher profits from human trafficking. Balderas joined attorneys general from Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Rhode Island and Kansas for a special gathering in Mexico City last week. A grant from the U.S. State Department funded the visit. The focus was on improving the sharing of information among law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border as well as more training for prosecutors. Balderas says Mexico will be a critical partner in the effort.
Whooping Cranes Spotted in Quivira Refuge
STAFFORD, Kan. (AP) - Two adult whooping cranes have been reported at a wildlife refuge in central Kansas, marking an early fall return for the endangered birds. The Wichita Eagle reportsthe two whooping cranes were seen this weekend at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County. Barry Jones, visitor services specialist at the refuge, says the earliest record of the birds arriving at Quivira was in 2000, when a pair arrived October 6. The first sighting this fall was October 10, when another pair of the whooping cranes rested in refuge's south end of the Little Salt Marsh. About two dozen of the large birds pass through Quivira and nearby Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County each fall migration.
Great Bend Zoo Reports Death of 50-Year-Old Monkey
GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — The Great Bend zoo's oldest resident, a 50-year-old spider monkey, has died. The Great Bend Tribune reports the monkey, which was named Spidey, died Monday at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. Spider monkeys are expected to live about 20 years in the wild, but their life expectancy in captivity is about 40 years. The zoo acquired the monkey in 1965.
Man Injured After Handgun Goes Off in Salina Theater
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina theater was evacuated after a man apparently shot himself in the leg with his own concealed handgun. The Salina Journal reports that the theater was evacuated Friday after the handgun went off in the man's pocket, hitting him in the upper leg. Tim Coleman says he was sitting nearby when he heard a pop, smelled gunpowder and the man said "Oh my God! I shot myself." Coleman, an Army mechanic now with the Kansas National Guard, says first he checked to make sure his 14-year-old daughter and her friends were safe. He says people evacuated calmly, and several people called 911. Coleman fixed a tourniquet to stop the man's bleeding and made sure the weapon was secured. Police say no charges have been filed, and the man's injuries weren't life-threatening.
Kansas City Considers Replacing Animal Shelter
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A possible plan to replace Kansas City's outdated animal shelter could include a public vote and private funding. City Manager Troy Schulte told The Kansas City Star that the new shelter plans are preliminary and that other details to be worked out. City Councilwoman Teresa Loar says the shelter, which has been around for 43 years, is "woefully inadequate," when compared to much larger, newer facilities like the 28,000-square-foot shelter in Independence, completed in 2013 and which serves half the animals that Kansas City does. She says citizens would likely support a modest property tax increase to pay for a shelter and other infrastructure improvements. The cost of a new shelter is unclear, but could cost about $12 million. The 43-year-old shelter takes in more than 10,000 animals per year.
Developers Warn About Delays to Kansas City Hotel Project
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Developers of a proposed Kansas City convention hotel say delaying a public vote could jeopardize the $311 million project. The Star reports developers told the Kansas City Council Thursday they were ready to seek financing to finalize the hotel bond financing until a Kansas City petition initiative drive stalled that effort. Steven Rattner is a New York finance expert who's worked on the $311 million, 800-room Hyatt hotel deal. He says if developers have to wait six to eight months or longer for a public vote on the petitions, financing could unravel. The city attorney says the petitions are flawed, and the council shouldn't put them on the ballot next year. The council is weighing that legal advice against a desire to be responsive to voters.
Man Arrested in Assault of Security Guard in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 57-year-old man has been arrested after police say he assaulted a security guard at a Wichita hospital. Wichita police Sergeant Brian Sigman says the 47-year-old guard reported the assault happened around 5:30 am Saturday at Wesley Medical Center. Police say the suspect was in the hospital "creating a disturbance," when the security guard made contact with him. Sigman said the man attempted to take the security guard's gun away from him and a struggle ensued. No injuries were reported. Authorities arrived on the scene, and the suspect was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
2 Kansas City Men Charged in Beating of Another Man
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two Kansas City men have been charged in the beating of a man outside a restaurant at the Country Club Plaza that left him seriously injured. Twenty-six-year-old Antonio Stuckey and 30-year-old Raymond Robinson were charged Friday with first-degree and second-degree assault. Prosecutors say the victim bumped into Robinson inside of the restaurant's bar area on September 19th, and the suspect later confronted the victim outside. According to prosecutors, Robinson struck and knocked the man out and a group of men, including Stuckey, stomped on the man. According to court documents, the victim suffered brain injury, a skull fracture and multiple facial fractures. Another victim, who court documents say tried to defend first victim, was treated for a swollen jaw and a concussion. It was not immediately clear if the two men have attorneys.
Kansas Designates Roads For National Bike Trail
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas transportation officials have designated 487 miles of state roads to become part of a national bicycle route. The Kansas route starts near Girard and ends near Tribune after winding through the Flint Hills and the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. KDOT officials said the Kansas portion of the route was added after cities and counties supported the designation. The Kansas City Star reports the roads will become part of the U.S. Bicycle Route, which supporters hope will eventually stretch more than 2,000 miles from Virginia to Oregon. Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King said that the route could help tourism by attracting bicyclists from across the country to Kansas.
Kansas City Artist Donates 800 Works to Washburn University
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas City-based artist has donated 800 pieces of her work to Washburn University's Mulvane Art Museum. The university announced Friday that Rita Blitt, a painter, sculptor and film maker also made a financial donation for a gallery addition. The gallery will be used to house Blitt's art and help the museum prepare for traveling exhibits. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the new addition to the gallery could be complete in 18 months. Blitt's work has been shown across the world in more than 70 solo exhibitions.
Vikings Hold On for 16-10 Win Over Chiefs
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings held on to beat the mistake-prone Kansas City Chiefs 16-10 on Sunday in Minneapolis. The Chiefs' Alex Smith threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Albert Wilson in the fourth quarter to pull the Chiefs within three points, but the Vikings (3-2) answered with another three points to defeat the Chiefs (1-5). Charcandrick West, one of Kansas City's replacements for the injured star running back Jamaal Charles, lost a fumble down the stretch. The Chiefs had eight penalties enforced for 95 yards. Viking's rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs had 129 yards on seven catches on a day when Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater threw two interceptions.
Royals' Chris Young to Start ALCS Game 4
TORONTO (AP) — Royals manager Ned Yost has chosen Chris Young as his starting pitcher for Game 4 of the ALCS. Young has only made two starts since July 28, but he allowed one run in 11 1-3 innings over those two outings, with his last start coming October 2. Young appeared as a reliever in Game 1 of the ALDS, giving up a run in four innings. He has faced the Blue Jays once this year, a 7-5 loss on July 11. But over his 11-year career, Young has held current members of the Blue Jays to a .229 average (22 for 96) with two homers. Yost reportedly had also considered Kris Medlen for tonight's starter. Medlin was 6-2 in 15 appearances, including eight starts, this year. He returned from Tommy John surgery on July 20 and hasn't pitched since October 1. Game 4 starts tonight (MON) at 7:00 in Toronto.
Logano Wins Second Straight Chase Match at Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Joey Logano won his second straight Chase race Sunday, spinning out Matt Kenseth with five laps remaining at Kansas Speedway to potentially spoil his rival's championship hopes. In desperate need of a victory to advance to the next round, Kenseth kept trying to block Logano with less than 20 laps to go. But when the two of them hit traffic, Logano ran into Kenseth's left rear quarter panel, sending him for a spin entering Turn 1. Logano pulled away from fellow Chase contender Denny Hamlin on the restart, following up his victory a week ago at Charlotte with his second straight fall win at Kansas Speedway. Kenseth led 153 laps but wound up 14th, leaving him last among the 12 drivers still alive in the Chase heading to Talladega, the final race in the "contender" round.