Headlines for Monday, November 2, 2014
Parade Tuesday for Kansas City World Series Champs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City officials have announced plans for the 2015 World Series parade and celebration for the champion Kansas City Royals. The city says the parade will start at noon Tuesday in the Power & Light District in downtown and heads north before ending at Union Station, where the victory rally is planned. The Royals on Sunday won their first World Series crown since 1985 with a 7-2 win in 12 innings in Game 5 against the New York Mets in New York. Officials also say free transportation to the celebration area will be provided from various locations around the city.
Kansas Tax Collections $11M Short of Expectations in October
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas collected nearly $11 million less in taxes than anticipated in October, and the shortfall worsens the state's budget picture. The state Department of Revenue reported that Kansas collected $446 million in taxes last month. The state's official fiscal forecast had predicted $457 million in taxes, and the shortfall for the month was 2.4 percent. Disappointing sales, corporate income and oil and gas tax revenues were largely to blame. The shortfall in tax collections came only days before state officials and university economists planned to meet to issue new and more pessimistic revenue projections. Since the current fiscal year began in July, tax collections have fallen more than $78 million short of expectations, at $1.8 billion. The shortfall for the four months is about 4.1 percent.
Kansas Prisons Full; Official Outlines $27M Expansion Option
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state's corrections secretary has outlined a proposed $27 million expansion of a maximum-security prison outside El Dorado as an option for dealing with crowded prisons in Kansas. Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts told a joint legislative committee Monday that by mid-2018, the state expects to have 9,400 male inmates in its custody. That would be about 600, or 7 percent, more than its capacity. He told the committee that the number of female inmates will also exceed the state's bed space by then. The secretary outlined a proposal to add 512 beds to the El Dorado prison. Roberts also said Kansas could increase the amount of time inmates receive off their sentences for completing programs. He says the state could also house more inmates in county jails and private prisons.
Mott Would Be First Transgender Kansas House Member
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — If she's selected by a small group of Topeka Democrats to replace a retiring member of the state House of Representatives, Stephanie Mott would be the first transgender member of the Kansas Legislature. Mott, who's 57, began living as a woman full time in 2007 and has since become one of the state's leading advocates for transgender rights. The Wichita Eagle reportsthat Mott wants to be the replacement for Representative Harold Lane, a Topeka Democrat who announced his retirement in October. Mott faces competition for the House post from Carolyn Wims-Campbell, the first African-American to serve on the Kansas Board of Education. Wims-Campbell, an executive member of the Topeka chapter of the NAACP, previously served on the Topeka school board. The committee will vote on Lane's replacement November14.
Pair of Men Arrested After Police Chase Through East Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two men were arrested early Monday after a seven-minute police chase through East Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that officers received a call to check on a stationary car. Police officials say they were checking on two men passed out in the front seat of the vehicle as the driver took off. Police followed as the car traveled about a mile and a half east on Interstate 70 and exited the highway. When police stopped the chase, both men were booked into the Shawnee County Jail. The driver was booked for multiple traffic offenses, including fleeing and eluding from police officers. The passenger also was booked on several counts, including narcotics offenses.
New KBI Forensic Science Lab to Open on Washburn Campus
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is opening a new multimillion-dollar forensic science laboratory today (MON) on the Washburn University campus in Topeka. The $55 million dollar building replaces an old lab in the basement of a renovated junior high school. KBI Director Kirk Thompson says the new building was designed to meet current and future needs of the agency. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the current lab processes about 10,000 pieces of evidence each year for law enforcement agencies across the state. Washburn University's forensic science classes will also be located in the building.
Kansas Lawmakers to Again Consider Police Body Cameras
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers will study instituting a statewide policy requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. A similar proposal failed to gain traction last spring. Representative John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican, will hold a hearing next week of a joint committee on corrections and juvenile justice oversight. The Kansas City Star reports that the issue has bipartisan support but lawmakers don't agree on the specifics. For example, the committee will consider whether to require all levels of law enforcement to use body-worn cameras, how to pay for them and rules about the storage and access of recordings,
Farmer Corn Trade Lawsuits Against Syngenta Reach 2,000
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — About 2,000 farmers, grain handlers and corn exporters have filed lawsuits against Swiss biotechnology company Syngenta now that a federal judge has ruled their cases have merit and will move forward. The lawsuits allege Syngenta's introduction of Agrisure Viptera, a new genetically modified corn seed, interrupted trade with China in 2011, costing the U.S. corn industry an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion. More than 1,860 cases have been filed since December from 22 states including Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. The cases have been consolidated before a Kansas City, Kansas judge. Syngenta argues it had no duty to protect farmers from a drop in corn prices but the judge has ruled the law requires manufacturers to exercise reasonable care not to create a risk of widespread harm with products.
Halt Continues on Construction of Southeast Kansas Casino
PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Construction of a state-owned casino in southeast Kansas won't resume for a while. Kansas Crossing spokeswoman Carrie Tedore told The Pittsburg Morning Sun that the company will report on the status of a lawsuit involving the casino at the end of November, and a decision will be made then on whether to seek another 90-day extension on completing the casino. The southeast Kansas casino is the last of four nontribal casinos allowed under a Kansas law. Castle Rock Casino, which submitted a failed bid for the casino, filed a lawsuit against the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and the Kansas Gaming Facility Review Board, arguing the board made the wrong decision in awarding the casino contract and didn't follow state law. The commission says the board used proper procedures.
Sedgwick County Inmates Checked Less Amid Low Staffing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The frequency of inmate checks at the Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita has decreased amid low staffing levels and a policy change. The Wichita Eagle reports previous jail policies called for what are referred to as "physical rounds" to be conducted every 30 minutes. According to the sheriff's office, the checks require a deputy to visually check an inmate to ensure that the inmate is doing well. The new policy says inmate checks should be reasonably spaced throughout a deputy's shift and not more than two hours apart in maximum-security areas. Due to a lack of staff members, Sheriff Jeff Easter has said that increasing rounds is virtually impossible. Easter said in October that jail staffing was down to 67 from a full staff of about 300.
Lawrence Public Schools in Pilot Program to Use Online Resources
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Next semester the Lawrence Public Schools will introduce a pilot course that relies on free, openly licensed online educational resources rather than textbooks. The Lawrence Journal-World reportsthe district's plan is part of a new U.S. Department of Education campaign to encourage states and school districts to use openly licensed educational materials. Lawrence Public Schools is one of 10 districts nationwide that have taken up the challenge to replace at least one textbook with open resources within the next year. Superintendent Rick Doll says the money saved will be used for funding programs that have been cut in the past six years, hiring more teachers and providing more resources for students.
Survey: More Signs of Midwest Economic Slowdown
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Figures have plunged in a third straight monthly survey of supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states, providing more evidence of a slowdown in the region's economy. A report issued today (MON) says the overall Mid-American Business Conditions Index dropped to 41.9 last month, compared with 47.7 in September and 49.6 in August. Economists cite the strong U.S. dollar and global economic weakness among the reasons for the region's economic slide. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
New Kansas City Center Offers Free Internet Access
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Kansas City church now houses at least 30 desktop computers that will be available to the public for free beginning November 9th. The Kansas City Star reports the project was created by Connecting for Good, a nonprofit that has worked to bridge the digital divide since 2011. The organization strives to bring email and the Internet to low-income people. The new center will allow the public to use computers for free, offer classes for basic and advanced computer skills, and sell refurbished computers to people who enroll in classes. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that a quarter of Kansas City area residents don't have home Internet access.
Missing Falcon in Hutchinson Returned to Owner
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — An Illinois man who lost his prized white falcon in Hutchinson, Kansas, has been reunited with the bird. Michael Garcia found the bird on Saturday. He was in Hutchinson for the North American Falconers Association national field meet, scheduled for November 8th through 13th. He was training his bird when it escaped from a leash Tuesday. Garcia says he got a call Saturday that the 5-year-old Gyrfalcon, which is nearly all white, was sitting on a pole about 100 yards from the park where Garcia lost the bird. He rushed to the park and easily coaxed the bird back with its favorite food. He told Hutchinson police he appreciated the help he received from residents since he reported the bird missing.
Royals Win World Series With Late Rally in Game 5
NEW YORK (AP) — The Kansas City Royals won their first World Series crown since 1985 Sunday night, rallying in the ninth inning when Eric Hosmer scrambled home to tie the game and then breaking away in the 12th to beat the New York Mets 7-2 in Game 5. The Royals capped their postseason with a comeback that made up for last year's near-miss in a Game 7 loss to San Francisco. Hosmer's sprint home from third base on a grounder finished off a two-run burst in the ninth inning. Then in the 12th, pinch-hitter Christian Colon delivered a tiebreaking single in his first appearance of the postseason and Lorenzo Cain added a three-run double. Royals' starter Edinson Volquez threw two-hit ball for six innings a day after returning from his father's funeral in the Dominican Republic.
Weather Radar Registers Flurry of Fireworks After Royals Win
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City erupted in a half-hour flurry of fireworks last (SUN) night after the Royals won the World Series, and the National Weather Service has radar images to prove it. Meteorologist Jared Leighton says the NWS radar in Pleasant Hill, about 45 minutes southeast of Kansas City, shows the most intense fireworks activity was downtown, near the Power & Light District, starting just after 11:30pm. He says smoke from the fireworks showed up better on the radar Monday night than it would have during the Fourth of July because the air is cooler and the radar beam stays closer to the ground. Kansas City Police Chief Daryl Forte tweeted a photo of fireworks around midnight and said they were a big part of celebrations happening all over the city.
KC Royals Donate Artifacts for BB Hall of Fame Exhibit
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals are World Series champions, and they're donating several artifacts to the Baseball Hall of Fame for a new exhibit dubbed Autumn Glory. Among items to be placed on display later this month is the jersey worn by first baseman Eric Hosmer on Sunday night when he scored the tying run in the ninth inning. Also included are the glove used by Royals catcher and World Series MVP Salvador Perez, the road cap worn by Royals closer Wade Davis, who struck out eight batters in four innings and notched the Series' only save, and bats used by Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and shortstop Alcides Escobar. The Royals beat the New York Mets 7-2 on Sunday night to take the series in five games.
UNC Tops Preseason AP Poll for Record 9th Time; KU Tapped as #4
The University of North Carolina, which returns four starters and nine of its 10 top scorers from the team that reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, is No. 1 in The Associated Press's preseason Top 25 for a record ninth time. The Tar Heels received 35 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. Kentucky is ranked second with 10 No. 1 votes, followed by Maryland, which had 14 first-place votes, and Kansas, which was No. 1 on five ballots. Defending national champion Duke is fifth with Virginia, which got one first-place vote, sixth followed by Iowa State, Oklahoma, Gonzaga and Wichita State. North Carolina was last a preseason No. 1 in 2011-12. They broke a tie for most preseason No. 1 rankings with UCLA.
Chiefs Beat Lions 45-10 in London
LONDON (AP) — Alex Smith threw for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 78 yards and a touchdown to lead the Kansas City Chiefs over the Detroit Lions 45-10 Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Smith scrambled his way through the Detroit defense for some big plays, including a career-high 49-yard run in the second quarter that set up his 12-yard touchdown run. The Chiefs (3-5) were playing at Wembley for the first time, while the Lions (1-7) played in London for the second straight season. De'Anthony Thomas, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware also rushed for touchdowns for the Chiefs. Thomas ended up with 100 total yards, while West ran for 97.