Headlines for Thursday, November 26, 2015
Kansas Urges High Court to Examine Judiciary Rulings in Other States
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas attorney general's office wants the state Supreme Court to look at how the judiciary in surrounding states works when it decides the validity of a law stripping the high court of its power to appoint chief judges. Court filings Wednesday laid out each side's arguments before the December 10th hearing on the state's appeal of a Shawnee County judge's ruling striking down the 2014 law. That judge ruled that the law violated the state constitution by infringing on the Supreme Court's power to administer the courts. Kansas contends that determining how chief judges are picked is a legislative power. It notes Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma allow district judges to pick their own chief judge. Opponents say that the law passed by the Legislature is an unconstitutional violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine.
Prosecutors Seek Removal of Topeka City Councilman
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking to remove a member of the Topeka City Council over child abuse allegations. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County prosecutors filed a civil action Tuesday seeking first to suspend and then to oust Jonathan Robert Schumm. Court records show that the 34-year-old is accused of choking a child and threatening to "kill him" the next time. Schumm and his wife are charged in Shawnee County District Court on charges of aggravated battery or, in the alternative, abuse of a child. Both are free on bond. The Schumms have 16 children, including four who are their biological children, two who are in foster care and 10 who are adopted.
Black Leaders Call for Election Day Voter Registration
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Black Leadership Council is asking the state to allow people to register to vote on Election Day. The Wichita Eagle reportsthe proposal was included in the council's 2016 legislative agenda and is a response to the state's requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register. Currently, state law requires voters to register at least 21 days before the election. Bonita Gooch, the council's president, said that allowing people to register to vote on Election Day would eliminate an extra step for those who don't have the proper documentation when trying to register before the election. Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he strongly opposes same-day registration because, he says, it opens the door for voter fraud.
Police Find Remains While Investigating Baby's Disappearance
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found human remains in Kansas City, Kansas, while investigating the disappearance of a 7-month-old boy. Police said in a news release that the investigation began after officers responded Wednesday to an armed disturbance. An allegation was made during the investigation that the baby had been missing for "an extended period of time" and was possibly dead at a nearby residence. While serving a search warrant Thursday tied to the missing baby allegation, human remains were discovered. The human remains haven't been identified, and no other information was immediately available. Authorities said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to come forward.
Governor's Christmas Tree Arrives at Cedar Crest
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The governor's Christmas tree arrived at Cedar Crest yesterday (WED) on a horse-drawn coach. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Governor Sam Brownback hopped on the high-wheel hitch wagon for the final leg of the delivery. He shouted "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Thanksgiving" after jumping from the wagon in front of the governor's mansion. Brownback and his wife, Mary, said the tradition stirred memories of past family outings to secure a holiday tree. The wagon loaded with the Scotch pine from the Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree farm west of Lawrence was pulled by a pair of Percherons named Bill and Buck. Their owner, Wellsville farmer Robin Dunn, has performed the delivery duty for more than a dozen years. Dunn says the event "kicks off the Christmas season."
Law Allowing Guns on Campus Sparks Discussion Among Students
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — University students in Kansas are starting to talk about a day in the not-too-distant future when anyone over 21 who legally owns a gun will be allowed to carry it onto campuses across the state. The Wichita Eagle reported legislation passed in 2012 required concealed-carry permit holders to be allowed to carry their weapons in almost all public buildings. Earlier this year, the Legislature revoked the permit requirement. Now, anyone who can lawfully own a gun is allowed to carry it loaded and hidden without a permit or training. Security measures, such as metal detectors, are now required for public agencies to ban guns in particular buildings. The Legislature allowed universities to keep banning guns until July 1, 2017. Kansas Board of Regents and student leaders are discussing what happens next.
Number of Homeless Without Shelter Rising in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More homeless people are without a place to sleep in Wichita. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data shows that the number and percentage of homeless in Sedgwick County without shelter has roughly doubled over the past eight years. The Wichita Eagle reports that about 100 homeless people, or 17 percent, lack shelter in the county. New data shows that Sedgwick County is one of the best counties in the nation for providing shelter to homeless family members. But the problem is getting worse when it comes to providing shelter to homeless individuals. The increase in homeless people without shelter is almost entirely single individuals. The study shows that the 150 homeless family members, which make up about a quarter of the homeless in Wichita, all have shelter.
New Minivan Service Debuts in Western Kansas
CIMARRON, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas county has a new transportation service organized to help residents get to appointments, visit friends or collect their groceries. Gray County Transit is a door-to-door minivan service administered by Dodge City's R-Tran Public Transportation, under the Dodge City Parks and Recreation Department. The project, which got underway recently, is funded through a Federal Rural Transportation Grant and state Rural Transportation money that was matched by Gray County. Organizers hope it will grow into a popular service. There are currently two part-time drivers, who split the day in half. Residents have been working on the program for years. The Hutchinson News reports that the service offers a $15 monthly pass for unlimited rides. The van operates all over Gray County, from Cimarron to Ingalls, Montezuma, Copeland and Ensign.
Kansas City's World War I Museum Breaks Attendance Records
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The National World War I Museum and Memorial at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City has broken its attendance record again. The Kansas City Star reports it's the second year in a row that attendance at the site has gone up beyond the previous year's attendance. The memorial says it had 257,830 visitors through the third week in November, breaking last year's record of 235,271. Memorial President Matthew Naylor says people in Kansas City and around the world have embraced the museum. A special exhibit, "Sand to Snow," about the global nature of the war, runs through April 10. Another exhibit about American volunteers in the war opens in April.
Santa Arrives in Downtown Lawrence Friday Night
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Santa Claus is preparing to make his annual holiday appearance on a downtown Lawrence rooftop. Santa is expected to "land" Friday night on the roof of Weaver's Department Store. Firefighters then will use a ladder truck to climb up and rescue him. Once on the ground, Santa will listen to the Christmas wishes of
children and pose for pictures. The event coincides with the Lawrence holiday lighting ceremony. There also will be musical performances and hot chocolate.
Manhattan Zoo to Display 2 Tiger Brothers
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The zoo in Manhattan has two new striped additions. The Manhattan Mercury reports that they're two Malayan tigers named Malik and Hakim. The 8-year-old brothers come from Cincinnati and arrived at the Sunset Zoo earlier this month. They'll go on display December 12 after the standard quarantine process is complete. Zoo director Scott Shoemaker says the zoo is "thrilled" to reconnect the Manhattan community to the "gorgeous big cats." There also are plans to modernize their home. The zoo's previous tiger, Bob, died in the spring of 2014.
University of Kansas Residence Hall Demolished as Planned
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A massive 50-year-old landmark residence hall at the University of Kansas was imploded Wednesday morning as planned. Demolition crews detonated about 750 pounds of explosives spaced through McCollum Hall just after 9:00 AM. The implosion of the 10-story, 220,000-square-foot building was arranged for the first day of Thanksgiving break so most students would be away from campus. McCollum Hall opened in 1965 and was replaced with two new residence halls that opened at the start of the school year. The new dorms house about 350 students each. The university has planned surface parking in the space where McCollum once stood.
Junction City Man Gets Life for Operating Cocaine Ring
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Junction City man faces life in prison for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring in northeast Kansas. The office of the U.S. Attorney for Kansas said Wednesday that 33-year-old Albert Dwayne Banks was sentenced to life in federal prison after he was convicted in June on charges of distributing crack cocaine and being involved in a conspiracy to distribute crack in Manhattan and Junction City. Prosecutors say another defendant, 34-year-old Martye Madabuti Madkins III, was sentenced to nearly 22 years for his convictions for distributing crack cocaine. Prosecutors say Banks and Madkins were among three men convicted of operating a large cocaine trafficking ring in Geary and Riley counties during late 2012 and early 2013.
KC Prepares for Holiday Lighting Tradition
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Author Gillian Flynn will flip the switch that lights up Kansas City's Country Club Plaza on Thanksgiving night. The annual lighting event attracts tens of thousands of people to the midtown Kansas City shopping and entertainment district, where several blocks of buildings will be outlined in holiday lights through January 17. A local celebrity gets the honor each year of flipping the switch. Flynn is a Kansas City native and the author of the best-selling 2012 novel, "Gone Girl." Musical performances also will be part of Thursday night's festivities.
Royals GM Dayton Moore to Help with KC Christmas Tradition
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The general manager of the World Series champion Royals is helping with an annual Christmas tradition in Kansas City. On Friday night, Dayton Moore will join Kansas City Mayor Sly James in lighting a 100-foot tall Douglas fir in front of Crown Center. Called the Mayor's Christmas Tree, it draws public attention to a nonprofit organization that helps the needy during the holidays. The ceremony comes less than a month after an estimated 800,000 people crowded downtown Kansas City for a parade to celebrate the Royals' first World Series championship in 30 years.
Arrests for Drunken Boating Plummet on Missouri Waterways
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Arrests for drunken boating on Missouri waterways have fallen by 63 percent since the Missouri State Water Patrol merged with the Highway Patrol. State records show that arrests for boating while intoxicated fell from 352 in 2010, the last year before the merger, to 131 in 2014. So far this year, the arrest total stands at 131. Governor Jay Nixon initially sought to combine the departments to save money. The legislation passed despite concerns from water patrol officials who warned lawmakers that it could hurt services. Merger proponents have since faced questions, in part because a 20-year-old handcuffed man in patrol custody drowned on May, 31, 2014, at the Lake of the Ozarks. Patrol spokesman John Hotz noted that the number of crashes involving impaired boaters also is down.
NCAA Clears KU's Diallo to Play
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The NCAA will allow freshman Cheick Diallo to begin playing for the number five-ranked University of Kansas beginning next week, ending a months-long investigation into the five-star prospect's background. In a statement Wednesday, the NCAA said Diallo received a limited amount of impermissible benefits. The result is a five-game suspension that includes four games already missed and the Maui Invitational title game last night (WED) against Vanderbilt. Diallo will be allowed to play Tuesday night against Loyola of Maryland. The 6-foot-9 Diallo has been allowed to practice with KU, but he had been barred from participating in games while the NCAA examined his coursework from a New York prep school and his relationship with his guardian, Tidiane Drame. The NCAA said KU provided new information last week that helped it render a decision.
Jayhawks Beat Vanderbilt, 70-63, to Win Maui Invitational
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Wayne Selden Jr. tied a career-high 25 points last night (WED) as No. 5 Kansas won the Maui Jim Maui Invitational with a 70-63 victory over No. 19 Vanderbilt. Kansas trailed by 30-26 at at the break but KU’s offense opened up in the second half and its defense remained strong as Vanderbilt was held to its lowest point total of the season. The Jayhawks shot 62.5 percent in the second half. Selden made 8 of 11 field goals, seven rebounds and made 5 of 10 3-pointers. He was named tournament co-MVP. Frank Mason was also named co-MVP. He added 10 points and 5 rebounds. KU (4-1) will play host to Loyola on Tuesday in Lawrence.