Headlines for Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Kansas Urges Court to Let Governor, Lawmakers Decide School Funding
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is urging the Kansas Supreme Court to let the governor and lawmakers decide whether schools are getting enough money. Lawyers for the state argued in a brief Tuesday that if the court wants to make that decision, then the evidence students are excelling should convince it that the funding is sufficient. Attorney General Derek Schmidt contends the Kansas school finance system satisfies the requirement for adequate funding in the state Constitution. It urged justices not to allow a small number of districts to second-guess the Legislature's judgment. The new school funding law took effect in April and scrapped the old per-student formula for distributing aid in favor of predictable grants for each districts. A lower-court panel invalidated parts of the school financing law enacted by the Republican-dominated Legislature.
600 Franklin County Residents to Receive Summons for Capital Murder Trial Jury
OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds of Franklin County residents are expected to receive jury summonses for the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing four people. Kyle Trevor Flack's trial is scheduled to begin February 1, 2016. He's charged with capital murder in the 2013 slayings of 21-year-old Kaylie Smith Bailey and her daughter, 18-month-old Lana-Leigh Bailey. He's also charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the deaths of 30-year-old Andrew A. Stout, and 31-year-old Steven White. The Topeka Capital-Journal reportsthat summonses for 600 Franklin County citizens are expected to be mailed next week. Questioning of the possible jurors will start February 1 and is expected to last 12 days. Also Tuesday, a Franklin County judge granted prosecutors permission to show jurors security video clips depicting three of the victims.
Rubio Files for Kansas Republican Caucus
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has filed for the Kansas Republican Presidential Caucus, making him the sixth presidential contender to file in the state. He joins former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Ben Carson. The caucus will be held March 5 in 95 different locations around Kansas. All registered Kansas Republican voters are allowed to take part in the caucus.
KCP&L Appeals Rate Increase Ruling
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City Power & Light is appealing a September ruling by Kansas regulators reducing the percentage of annual profit the utility is allowed to return to its stockholders. KCP&L filed a rate request seeking to boost annual revenues by $67 million in Kansas, or $11.67 a month for average residential customers. The request proposed increasing allowed annual profit to 10.3 percent, up from 9.5 percent. In September the Kansas Corporation Commission approved an increase of $40.1 million, roughly $27 million less than KCP&L was seeking. The ruling also lowered the amount of allowed profit to 9.3 percent. KCP&L asked the Kansas Court of Appeals on Monday to either increase the allowable profit to closer to 10.3 percent or set aside KCC's ruling and send it back for further deliberations.
Bill Clinton Wins Bob Dole Leadership Prize
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Former President Bill Clinton is the latest recipient of a prize named after the man he defeated in the 1996 election. Clinton was at the University of Kansas Monday to receive the Dole Leadership Prize, named in honor of the longtime Republican senator from Kansas. Dole was the 1996 GOP presidential nominee who lost when the Democrat Clinton was re-elected. The award is granted by the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the university. In accepting his award, Clinton urged people from both parties to be more willing to work together. In a statement last month, Dole said he and Clinton have become friends over the years. Dole, who is 92, did not attend.
Lawrence School Superintendent Announces Resignation
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The superintendent of Lawrence public schools has announced his resignation. The Lawrence Journal-World reportsthat Rick Doll, Lawrence's superintendent of public schools since 2009, announced his resignation Monday. Doll says he's resigning to take a job as an associate professor and executive director of the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute at Kansas State University. His resignation is effective June 30, 2016, the end of the current school year. The Lawrence school board is expected to begin the process of replacing Doll immediately.
Kansas Police Concerned with State Handling of Foster Care
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A lobbyist for a Kansas police association has expressed concerns over the way state social workers handle foster care. Lobbyist Ed Klumpp of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police told state lawmakers that social workers with the Department for Children and Families can be difficult to contact, supervisors are sometimes unreachable and calls to a hotline to assist with problems may go unanswered. Klumpp voiced these concerns at a meeting of the Foster Care Adequacy Committee last week. He said that law enforcement officers responding to a situation involving a child in a foster home are left with very limited options, and a last resort is placing the child in protective custody. Department secretary Phyllis Gilmore acknowledged Klumpp's statements are concerning and says the agency will make any necessary corrections.
Kansas Secretary of Aging and Disability Resigns
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kari Bruffett, secretary of the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, has announced plans to resign at the end of the year. Governor Sam Brownback said Monday that Bruffett's resignation is effective December 31. Bruffett was named KDADS secretary in May 2014. She previously had been director of the Health Care Finance division of the state Department of Health and Environment. Bruffett is leaving her position leading KDADS to join the Kansas Health Institute as director of policy.
Wichita Reporting Increase in Armed Robberies
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say they're dealing with a dramatic increase in armed robberies of businesses. The Wichita Eagle reports that police say that through late last week there had been 102 armed robberies of businesses so far this year. That's up 33 percent over the same time last year and nearly 50 percent over 2013. Sergeant Stephen Patton, who heads the robbery section of the Wichita Police Department, says the robberies are also more aggressive and dangerous. Patton says he doesn't know the reason for the increase, and the largest increases came in the spring and summer.
Man Sentenced to 31 Months for Wichita Shooting
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 32-year-old Wichita man faces about 2 ½ years in prison for a fatal shooting in June. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office says Justin Rourke also was ordered to pay about $12,000 in restitution in connection with the June 11 shooting death of 41-year-old Roman Padilla. The Wichita Eagle reports that police have said Rourke pulled a handgun and shot Padilla and a dog after he and others went to a house to retrieve the pit bull puppy. Padilla later died at a Wichita hospital. Rourke has said he fired in self-defense. He turned himself into police after the shooting and pleaded guilty in August to involuntary manslaughter.
Poor Equipment, Weather to Blame for Fatal Crash near Derby
DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A new report says a plane crash that killed a California traveling pastor and his longtime pilot in 2013 near Derby was the result of the pilot attempting to navigate icy conditions with malfunctioning controls. The National Transportation Safety Board report also says 49-year-old pilot Mitchell Morgan had reported problematic equipment to maintenance in another state after arriving in Wichita. Personnel replaced one of the faulty instruments before the flight, but no other work was performed on it at the time. The report says Morgan likely became disoriented as he attempted to maneuver and maintain control after an air traffic controller gave him altered flight instructions. The Wichita Eagle reports that the crash killed Morgan and 72-year-old Ed Dufresne, who was a pastor in Murrieta, California.
Leavenworth Seeks Historical Photo Negatives
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The Leavenworth County Historical Society has launched a $1 million campaign to retrieve glass-plate photo negatives taken more than century ago during Leavenworth's pioneer days. The 40,000 photo negatives, some of which show steamboats and cavalry soldiers, were obtained in 1968 by David Phillips, a Chicago man who got them from a Leavenworth photographer. The Kansas City Star reports that the Leavenworth County Historical Society now wants the photo negatives back. So far, the historical society has recovered 25,000 of the glass plate negatives that Phillips sold to a California museum. The historical society says the million dollars would be used to buy the rest of the plates from Phillips, as well as for storage, presentation and research accessibility for families, students and historians.
Wichita to Offer Traffic Citation Amnesty Program
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita Municipal Court is offering an amnesty program next month for drivers whose licenses have been suspended for failing to pay or go to court for a traffic citation. The Wichita Eagle reports the program will run from December 4 to December 30, during which fees and traffic-related warrants will be waived. Applicants who can't afford to pay the fines and court costs can receive credit toward their fines by performing community service with local organizations or attend training offered by Workforce Alliance. State Senator Michael O'Donnell, a Wichita Republican, says the pilot program is being watched closely at the state level. If it's successful, he says legislation will be introduced in the next session allowing for the waiver of city and state fees.
State of Kansas Seeking Increase in Engineering Grads
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is moving toward a goal of increasing the number of college graduates majoring in engineering. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas has a multiyear plan to increase college degrees in engineering to 1,365 annually by 2021. That compares with 875 in 2008. The initiative includes more than $100 million in funding by the Legislature for Wichita State, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. The money is given out over a decade with includes matching university funds. The Kansas Board of Regents says so far the universities are on track to hit the 2021 target. The effort got a recent boost from Spirit AeroSystems, a Wichita-based flight technology manufacturer, that said it'll invest more than half a million dollars in college scholarships, particularly for engineering majors.
KU Crushes Chaminade, K-State Trounces Missouri
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — The fifth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks cruised past Chaminade 123-72 in the opening round of the Maui Invitational on Monday night. KU (2-1) will play the winner of the UNLV-UCLA game in the semifinals today (TUE). The Jayhawks bounced back from a 79-73 loss to Michigan State last week in the Champions Classic. Meanwhile in Kansas City, the Kansas State Wildcats beat Missouri in a 66-42 rout in the semifinals of the CBE Classic on Monday night. In women's basketball, Kansas State lost on the road last night to UConn, 97-57 in Hartford. UConn, which is seeking its fourth straight national championship, has won 39 straight games.