Headlines for Monday, December 21, 2015
Troubled Kansas Mental Hospital Losing Medicare Funds
OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) _ One of the state's two mental hospitals is losing federal Medicare funds because it falls short of meeting federal regulations. State officials were told Friday that Osawatomie State Hospital would receive no Medicare funds for patients admitted after today (MON). That means the state will have to pay for the care of new patients at the eastern Kansas facility. The secretary for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Kari Bruffett, says the hospital intends to seek Medicare recertification immediately. Inspectors raised safety concerns earlier this year at the hospital, including fixtures in the ceilings that patients could use to hang themselves. The hospital put a cap on the number of patients it admits while it made renovations, creating a waiting list that has persisted since June.
Audit: Kansas Social Services System $46M over Budget
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A recent legislative audit has found that a new computer system designed to make it easier for Kansas residents to apply for Medicaid and other social services is more than two years past due and at least $46 million over budget. The Legislative Post Audit says the Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System won't perform as originally intended when it goes fully online, or produce the projected savings in operational costs. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the system was designed to allow people to fill out a single application that would be used to determine eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance and other social services. Auditors say the project ran into several issues, including complex coordination between federal and state agencies.
Kansas Governor Not Ready to Boost School Funding
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he and many state lawmakers aren't ready to consider big increases in funding to public schools. Brownback says he first wants to be certain that enough of the money already spent on education is finding its way into the classroom. Lawmakers who expect to work on a new school funding law next year say they don't have a clear definition of what makes up classroom spending. Their uncertainty is likely to cloud discussions about how to distribute nearly $4.1 billion in annual funding to 286 school districts and how much to increase it. Brownback's critics see those arguments as an attempt to justify inadequate education funding. The State Department of Education says in the last school year, districts spent 61 percent of their operating budgets on instruction.
Kansas Contractors Warn Against More Raids on KDOT Funds
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ An organization that represents highway construction companies is warning that further raids on Kansas highway funds to pay for other government programs endanger the state's highways. Bob Totten, the executive vice president of the Kansas Contractors Association, says the group will lobby hard next year against any additional transfers out of the highway fund. And the association plans to work for candidates in next year's elections who vow to protect highway funding. The state transferred about $300 million from the highway fund to the general fund this year, after making similar transfers in the recent years. Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King says the state can afford to take money from the highway fund because many transportation projects have cost substantially less than expected.
Death Penalty-Related Motion Filed in Quadruple Slaying Case
OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Lawyers for a man accused of killing four people in eastern Kansas have filed motions focused on the death penalty. Kyle Trevor Flack is charged with capital murder in the 2013 slayings of Kaylie Smith Bailey and her daughter. He's also charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the deaths of Andrew A. Stout, and Steven White. If convicted, Flack could face the death penalty. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Flack's attorneys filed a motion asking the judge to explain to prospective jurors that they can sentence Flack to life in prison, rather than impose the death penalty. They also asked to question potential jurors about their views on the costs of execution versus lifetime imprisonment. Flack is set to appear at a motion hearing in district court Tuesday.
Kansas Case Reported in Recent E. Coli Outbreak
SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Health regulators say one person who ate at a Chipotle restaurant in Kansas became ill in a new, late November E. coli outbreak that sickened five people in three states. Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry said Monday the person ate at Chipotle's Shawnee Mission Parkway location the week of November 23. No other details were released. Jesus Martinez is a kitchen manager at that location. He says food safety is the top priority right now and managers are watching to make sure staff follows health and safety procedures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the latest outbreak occurred between November 18 and November 26. A larger outbreak, which began in October, sickened 53 people in nine states.
Prosecutor: Lottery Industry Insider Fixed 2 Kansas Jackpots
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A lottery industry insider allegedly fixed two jackpots in Kansas, bringing to five the number of states connected to the widening investigation. Iowa prosecutor Rob Sand said in court documents Monday that investigators recently linked the Kansas jackpots to Eddie Tipton. Sand says evidence will show that others claimed the prizes and half of the winnings were returned to Tipton in cash in 2011. The documents don't provide additional details. Tipton's attorney, Dean Stowers, dismissed the latest allegations as a publicity stunt. Tipton is former security director of the Urbandale, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association and managed its random number generators. Tipton was convicted of fixing a $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot earlier this year. Since then, prosecutors have charged him with fixing jackpots worth millions in Colorado, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.
2 Fraternities at University of Kansas on Probation for Hazing
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Two fraternities at the University of Kansas are on probation for hazing. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that documents obtained through an open records request show Delta Tau Delta and Phi Beta Sigma were placed on probation this spring. Hazing at Delta Tau Delta occurred in fall 2014, and hazing by Phi Beta Sigma occurred in spring 2015. The university prohibits hazing, which it says can include anything from "extreme embarrassment" to endangering someone's physical health. The university didn't detail what hazing occurred or whether the fraternities have complied with the terms of their probations so far. Delta Tau Delta's national headquarters says some members of the Kansas chapter have been disciplined. The national headquarters of Phi Beta says on its website that a few members have been suspended through 2019.
Sheriff: Man Fatally Stabs Self After Chase Near Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities near Wichita, Kansas, say a man fatally stabbed himself in the neck and chest after leading sheriff's deputies on a multi-county chase. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department says the suspect died roughly an hour after starting the chase near Wichita. His name had not been released as of Monday. Authorities say that when a deputy tried to stop the suspect's car about 9:45 am Sunday for unspecified reasons, the driver refused to pull over. The chase went into Wichita, then onto the Kansas Turnpike, at one point going northbound in the freeway's southbound lanes. After deputies forced the suspect's car into a ditch, he stabbed himself. Sumner County authorities are investigating the death.
Couple Who Sued After Unsuccessful Pot Raid Lose Lawsuit
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City couple whose home was raided in an unsuccessful search for marijuana has lost their legal fight against law enforcement authorities. A federal judge summarily ruled late Friday that authorities had probable cause for the warrant to search the Leawood home of Robert and Adlynn Harte after a field test of wet tea leaves found in their trash falsely tested positive for marijuana. The failed search in 2012 launched the couple on a crusade for documents to find what led to the search, which produced no charges. The Hartes spent $25,000 to get the records, and subsequently supported legislation that made it easier to get probable-cause affidavits in Kansas. Their lawsuit also prompted the Johnson County Sheriff's Office to now require lab confirmation of suspected drug material.
Man, 32, Charged in Death at Kansas Bar
EDGERTON, Kan. (AP) — A 32-year-old man is accused of second-degree murder in connection with a death at a bar in Edgerton. The Kansas City Star reports that Johnson County prosecutors also charged Gregory B. David Cooper of Edgerton on Monday with attempted aggravated battery. Cooper's bond was set at $250,000. Authorities say deputies were called to a reported physical disturbance at the Boxcar Bar & Grill about 9:45 pm Saturday. The criminal complaint against Cooper alleges that he was swinging a pool cue at a third person's head when Tyler Knudsen was killed. It's not immediately clear if Cooper has an attorney.
Fourth Man Charged with Murder in Wichita Double Homicide
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A fourth man has been charged with first-degree murder in a December 1 double homicide in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that 25-year-old Quincy Carter was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of criminal discharge of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was arrested Thursday afternoon and is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court December 31, although that hearing will likely be postponed. Twenty-four-year-old Brent Carter, 19-year-old Jonathan Carter and 19-year-old Jamion Wimbley have also been charged in the deaths of 55-year-old Betty Ann Holloman and 24-year-old Brenton Oliver. It wasn't immediately clear if the men have attorneys who could comment on their behalf.
Longtime Owner of Kansas City Bar Killed
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating the shooting death of the 83-year-old owner of a well-known Kansas City bar. Police said James "Jimmy" Townsend's body was found Saturday outside his home. He died from a gunshot wound. Townsend was 83. The Kansas City Star reports Townsend owned the Green Duck Lounge and Grill for more than 20 years. The bar was also owned earlier by civil rights leader Leon Jordan, who was killed outside the tavern by a gunman in 1970. Jordan was a co-founder of the political organization Freedom Inc. The Green Duck was shut down as a public nuisance in 2011 by the Jackson County prosecutor's office after repeated instances of violent crime and drug activity. The business reopened in 2012.
Kansas Man Sentenced to 13 Years for Raping Girl
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A 30-year-old Kansas man has been sentenced to less than 13 years in prison for raping a girl who was under the age of 14. The Hutchinson News reports that Steve Love Jr. pleaded no contest last month to a single count of rape. In the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed a charge of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced Friday to 12 years and 11 months in prison. He's also required to register for life as a sexual offender and remain under lifetime post-release supervision. The Reno County district attorney's office says it agreed to support a lesser sentence in order to prevent the victim from having to testify. The defendant could have faced life in prison.
DNA Convicts Kansas City Man of 2012 Rape
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A 31-year-old man has been convicted in the 2012 rape of a woman in Kansas City after DNA linked him to the crime. Justin Simon was found guilty last week of rape, sodomy and second-degree robbery in the June 2012 attack. Authorities say Simon and another man sexually assaulted the woman after offering to give her a ride home.
Oops! Riley County Courts Release Juvenile Records Online; Say Problem Now Fixed
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Riley County District Court officials say they have fixed errors that made confidential juvenile records available on public computers at least 20 times since 2013. The Manhattan Mercury reports the records included arrest affidavits, details about probation violations and juvenile detention reports that were left unsealed on courthouse computers accessible to the public. Many of the records included Social Security numbers and dates of birth for children as young as 13. A spokeswoman for the agency that oversees the state's courts says the data breech may have violated a Kansas law that bans public disclosure of most law enforcement and court records pertaining to juveniles. Riley County Clerk of Court Kathy Oliver says the records were left unsealed because of human error.
Body Found in Burned Kansas City Building
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City authorities are investigating after emergency crews found a body inside a burning building. The Kansas City Star reports that the man's body was discovered Saturday night after crews were called to a commercial building fire. The fire destroyed the property. Fire officials said Sunday they did not yet know the cause of death or the origin of the fire. Both are under investigation.
Chiefs Beat Ravens 34-14 in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens 34-to-14, extending their winning streak to eight games!
KU Women Stumble Against Washington State
The University of Kansas women's basketball team fell to Washington State, 66-to-53, in Lawrence yesterday (SUN). The Jayhawks are now 5-and-5.
Michigan State, KU, Oklahoma Stay 1-2-3 in AP Top 25
Michigan State, Kansas and Oklahoma held the top three spots in The Associated Press college basketball poll for a second straight week. There was a shakeup in the rest of the top 10 after a weekend of upsets. The Spartans (12-0) were a near unanimous choice, receiving all but one first-place vote from the 65-member national media panel. Kansas (9-1) got the other number-one vote. Following Oklahoma were Maryland, Virginia, Xavier, North Carolina, Arizona, Butler and Providence, which is in the top 10 for the first time since January 17, 1978.