Headlines for Friday, November 20, 2015
3 Top Student Leaders at KU Remain in Posts Amid Turmoil
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The University of Kansas student government has taken steps to impeach three top leaders after concerns were raised about their handling of racial issues. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Student Senate introduced a bill of impeachment Wednesday night against Student Body President Jessie Pringle, Student Body Vice President Zach George and Chief of Staff Adam Moon. The three leaders said Wednesday that they wanted to remain in the Student Senate. On Monday, they issued a joint statement outlining 11 proposals for increasing diversity within student government. A student government committee is pushing for their departure, based in part on what members see as an inadequate response to demands for greater diversity at the university from a campus protest group called Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk.
Media Asked to Leave Emporia State Diversity Forum
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Emporia State University excluded media from a public forum on race but later allowed reporters back into the event. The Emporia Gazette reports that reporters were asked to leave yesterday's (THUR) forum, which the university had announced earlier in a press release. Emporia State officials allowed reporters back into the event after discussing the issue with the university's general counsel. Emporia State's Interim President Jackie Vietti said the reporters were asked to leave the event because students thought the forum would not be open to the media. She said the university would work to avoid that confusion in the future. The Kansas Press Association says denying media access to a public meeting would be a violation of the state's open meetings law.
Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Emporia State Leaders
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former assistant professor is suing four Emporia State University officials, alleging he faced racial discrimination and retaliation before he was fired. Rajesh Singh taught at the university's School of Library and Information Management from 2009 to 2015. He is suing two current administrators in the department, a provost and the university's former president. He plans to add the university to the lawsuit. The lawsuit comes about a month after Melvin Hale, a current assistant professor in the same department, filed a defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit against the university. Singh, who is Asian, contends he was subjected to years of discrimination at the university, despite receiving outstanding reviews, and his efforts to argue his case were ignored. Emporia State did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Methodists to Sponsor Syrian Families in Kansas, Nebraska
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The United Methodist Church in Kansas and Nebraska says 35 congregations are willing to sponsor at least one Syrian refugee family. Bishop Scott J. Jones, leader of the church in the two states, announced Friday that the number of participating congregations could increase in the future. Jones says the vast majority of Muslims in the world are our allies, and the church wants to stand with them against the jihadists. The church's Great Plains Conference includes 1,032 congregations in the two states. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order Monday prohibiting state agencies and organizations receiving state money from relocating Syrian refugees in the state. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has urged resettlement agencies not to participate in any efforts to bring Syrian refugees to that state.
Topeka Councilman, Wife, Charged with Abusing Children
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka City Council member and his wife have each been charged with one felony count and four misdemeanor counts accusing them of abusing some of the 16 children in their care. The Shawnee County prosecutor's office says 34-year-old Jonathan Robert Schumm and 32-year-old Allison Schumm were charged on Thursday with aggravated battery or, in the alternative, abuse of a child. Prosecutor's spokesman Lee McGowan says the battery charge is a lower-level felony than the abuse count. The two also are charged with four misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. They made their first court appearance on Friday in Shawnee County District Court, where Jonathan Schumm was appointed counsel from the public defender's office. McGowan says the two were still in custody as of early Friday afternoon.
Kansas City Man Charged with Felony Child Abuse
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been charged with felony child abuse after his 6-month-old son suffered severe head injuries at home. The Kansas City Star reports that 32-year-old Michael C. Nagel has been charged with one count of felony child abuse. The charge stems from a September 1 incident in which Nagel called 911 to report that his son was injured. Court documents say that emergency crews found the boy breathing abnormally and without a pulse. After the boy was transported to a hospital, a doctor told police the boy's symptoms were consisted with having been shaken. Nagel told police he dropped the child. Nagel was arrested September 1, and Clay County prosecutors filed the charge against him Tuesday.
Kansas Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Slaying Uncle
WESTMORELAND, Kan. (AP) _ A northeast Kansas man has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years in the 2014 slaying of his 70-year-old uncle. KMAN reports37-year-old Christopher Arand of rural Belvue was sentenced Thursday in the death of Larry Arand, who was beaten in the back of the head with brass knuckles before being suffocated with a plastic bag on November 10, 2014. Arand pleaded guilty in October to premeditated first-degree murder just before jury selection was scheduled to begin in his trial. Pottawatomie County District Judge Jeff Elder said he decided not to give Arand a Hard 50 sentence because of Arand's mental health status and to spare his family additional grief. Arand also admitted killing his uncle's cat.
2 Teens Arrested in Kansas for Fatal Shooting of Tulsa, Oklahoma Girl
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two teenagers have been arrested in Kansas in connection with the fatal drive-by shooting of a 16-year-old girl in Tulsa. Tulsa Police say a 15-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were arrested in Wichita on charges of first-degree murder in the July 17 death of Deouijanae Terry. Police say the suspects were 14 and 17 at the time of the shooting. Police have said they believe Terry was a victim of gang violence and wasn't the intended target. Tulsa police say the teens have been on the run since they were charged with murder on August 21. Investigators tracked them as they traveled to Dallas and then to Wichita, where agents kept surveillance on the teens. They were arrested Thursday at a home in Wichita.
County Commissioner's Remarks, Slide Show Draw Protests
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Muslim group wants Kansas political and religious leaders to repudiate views expressed by Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn at a county commission meeting. The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Thursday condemned the Republican commissioner's remarks a day earlier saying he was providing "a public warning for citizens." Peterjohn put on a slide show at the session of people named "Mohammed," or some derivation of that name, who committed crimes. Commissioners also passed on a 4-1 vote two resolutions offering condolences to Russia and France for the recent attacks, while condemning U.S. leaders for not calling them "Islamic terrorism." CAIR spokesman Moussa Elbayoumy says people are concerned about a crescendo of calls from mostly Republican politicians racing to see who is more bigoted than the other.
Kansas Mental Health Center Denies Sexual Harassment Claims
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A mental health center in Great Bend has denied allegations it was aware that its former executive director was a serial sexual predator who had inappropriate contact for almost 30 years with clients and staff. The Center for Counseling and Consultation filed late Wednesday its response to the federal lawsuit brought against it in September by two women. The women allege the board allowed its ex-executive director to resign last year following an investigation into sexual harassment complaints brought by several women. The lawsuit contends the board then retaliated against the complainants. In addition to broadly denying the claims, the center argued it cannot be held liable for acts of its managerial employees that were contrary to its own good-faith efforts to comply with federal law prohibiting employment discrimination.
Kansas Spending $20M to Dredge John Redmond Reservoir
BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is spending about $20 million to remove sediment from the reservoir that serves as the primary water source for a nearby nuclear power plant and several communities. The Wichita Eagle reports the project seeks to remove about 3 million cubic yards of sediment from the bottom of John Redmond Reservoir, which provides water for the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant and for several communities. The dredging process is expected to take about a year. The Army Corps of Engineers says the project is the first of its size for a corps reservoir and could serve as a model for other reservoir dredging projects in Kansas and around the U.S. The Kansas Water Office says the dredging project is being paid for with money borrowed through 15-year bonds
KC Area Cities Vote to Limit Tobacco Sales to Minors
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line in the Kansas City area have approved ordinances raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products and alternative nicotine items to 21. Kansas City, Missouri Council members approved the measure on an 11-1 vote Thursday. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas approved a similar measure on a 6-1 vote Thursday night. Supporters say raising the legal age to 21 will make it harder for younger smokers -- including 18-year-olds who are still in high school -- to obtain tobacco products and provide them to younger friends and relatives. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is leading the effort to have the ordinance passed in all cities in the metropolitan area.
Sporting KC Announces Partnership with Children's Hospital
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — MLS club Sporting Kansas City has announced a 10-year partnership with Children's Mercy Hospital that will include branding of its stadium and a pediatric sports medicine center. The team will now play at Children's Mercy Park, which has been known as Sporting Park. The sports medicine center will be part of the 174-acre, $62 million National Training Center, which will break ground next spring. The training center will serve as the home of the U.S. Soccer Federation and its national teams. The partnership with Children's Mercy will also support Sporting Moves, a program designed to get children active, and the Victory Project, which helps kids dealing with serious illnesses. Sporting KC announced the agreement Thursday.
Foul Play Not Suspected with Body Found in Wichita Park
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say foul play is not suspected in the death of a man whose body was found in a Wichita park. The Wichita Eagle reports that police were called to McAdams Park around 5:30 pm Thursday after someone reported finding the body. The man was in his late 60s. Witnesses say he was homeless and was camping out in the park in an area across the street from the tennis courts. The temperature in Wichita was around 45 degrees Thursday evening.
Mother Who Locked Girl in Closet Found Guilty of Child Abuse
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri mother accused of forcing her emaciated 10-year-old daughter to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom inside a locked closet has been found guilty of assault and child abuse. Police officers responding to a child abuse hotline call in June 2012 found the 32-pound girl barricaded inside a closet that reeked of urine in a Kansas City apartment. The mother was charged with first-degree assault, child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. A Jackson County jury on Friday found the woman guilty on all charges. The Associated Press is not naming the mother to protect the child's identity. The mother's lawyers say she hasn't received proper mental health treatment. Prosecutors say the woman locked the girl up because she was disobedient.
Kansas Jayhawks Suspend Brannen Greene for 6 Games
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas men's basketball team, currently ranked number 4 in the nation, has suspended junior guard Brannen Green for six games for unspecified conduct detrimental to the team. Coach Bill Self announced the suspension today (FRI) with the Jayhawks (1-1) traveling to Hawaii this weekend for the Maui Invitational, which begins Monday. Green will not make the trip, but can practice with the team upon its return. Green has averaged about 12 minute and 12 points this season and made all six of his shots from the field, including five 3-pointers. KU also said the NCAA is allowing Cheick Diallo to travel to Maui, though he has not been cleared to play. The NCAA has been looking into the prospect's relationship with guardian Tidian Drame.