Headlines for Thursday, January 14, 2016
Kansas Medical Board Clears Planned Parenthood
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' medical board is taking no action against a Planned Parenthood clinic after completing an investigation into whether illegal sales of fetal tissue are occurring after abortions. A State Board of Healing Arts disciplinary attorney sent a letter last week to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri saying the board's disciplinary staff had investigated the group's clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. The letter said "no further action will be taken at this time." The Associated Press obtained a copy from Planned Parenthood. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback called for the investigation last year and this week ordered the state to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds. Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have said they don't even have programs for legal donations of fetal tissue.
Wichita Doctor Indicted After Overdose
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita doctor accused of unlawfully distributing prescription drugs has been indicted after a patient died from an overdose. The U.S. attorney's office says the 31-count indictment against Dr. Steven Henson was unsealed. The 54-year-old is accused of writing prescriptions for cash, when there wasn't a medical need and for people other than the ones who came to see him. Federal prosecutors say the drug scheme resulted in the death of a patient in July. His attorney, Kurt Kerns, didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press. Charges against Henson include unlawfully distributing the painkiller oxycodone, the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam and methadone. Methadone often is used to wean addicts off heroin. Eight people who got prescriptions from the doctor also are charged with unlawful drug distribution.
Defendant in Killing of Wichita State Student Pleads Guilty
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of two people charged in the killing of a Wichita State University student has entered a guilty plea. The Wichita Eagle reports that 23-year-old Isaiah Copridge pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Rayan Ibrahim Baba. Copridge also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery after waiving his preliminary hearing. The victim was a 23-year-old Saudi undergraduate student. He was found shot in a parking lot of one of the university's dormitories on Aug. 8. An affidavit says he had contacted Copridge's co-defendant, Eboni Fingal, about sexual services she advertised online. Copridge faces more than 54 years in prison. His sentencing is set for Feb. 18, just two days after Fingal's trial is set to begin. She has pleaded not guilty.
Probation Ordered for Gun Buyer in Jewish Site Killings
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A southern Missouri man has been sentenced to five years of probation for purchasing one of the shotguns that a white supremacist used in a deadly attack at two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City. Forty-nine-year-old John Mark Reidle, of Aurora, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Springfield. He previously admitted to falsely claiming he was buying the gun for himself on a federal form on April 9, 2014. Four days later, convicted killer Frazier Glenn Miller killed three people in Overland Park, Kansas. Miller said he was targeting Jews but none of the victims were Jewish. The Joplin Globe reports that Judge Beth Phillips said Miller took advantage of Reidle's limited intellectual ability. Reidle will be confined at home during the first six months of his sentence.
Student Accused of Bringing Gun to Kansas Middle School
PERRY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a 13-year-old boy who is accused of taking a gun to his central Kansas middle school. KSAL-AM reports that the Abilene Middle School student was walking home on when he was arrested. Abilene Police Lt. Mike Mohn says a handgun was recovered from the student's backpack. Mohn says officers believe that the student did not threaten anyone with the gun. He is accused of showing the gun to several friends at school. The friends alerted an adult, who then called police.
Bill Honoring Kansas County 1st to Pass in 2016
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The first bill to clear the Kansas Legislature this year and go to Gov. Sam Brownback designates Cowley County as the state's stone bridge capital. The House approved it on a 118-1 vote Thursday. The Senate unanimously approved the measure last year. Brownback told The Associated Press that he hasn't reviewed the bill but believes he'd able to sign it. The measure says Cowley County in south-central Kansas is home to 18 stone arch bridges built before 1910, and all but one still carry traffic daily. The only vote against the measure came from Republican Rep. Craig McPherson of Overland Park. He said he prefers not to clutter up the state statutes with items that can be handled in legislative resolutions.
Sexual Assault Center Leader Not Daunted by Attention
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The newly appointed director of the University of Kansas' new Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center says she is not daunted by the attention the school has received due to issues with sexual violence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the school announced Jennifer Brockman's appointment, and that she will start her new job Jan. 20. She is currently the executive director of the University of Iowa's Rape Victim Advocacy Program. The University of Kansas is among universities that the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating for their handling of sexual violence cases. Brockman says that the attention is "energizing," and that it presents the opportunity to place deserved national focus on sexual violence on campus and in communities. Brockman is the new center's first employee.
Lawmakers Work to Keep Kansas Courts Open During Funding Dispute
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Two legislative committees are considering bills aimed at keeping Kansas courts open following a legal dispute involving the judicial branch's budget. The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee were having hearings set for today (THUR) on separate but identical bills repealing a 2015 law threatening all funding for the courts through June 2017. The law was passed by Republican legislators to follow up on a statute they enacted in 2014. The 2014 policy stripped the Kansas Supreme Court of its power to appoint the chief district court judges in the state's 31 judicial districts. The 2015 law said the judiciary's entire budget would be nullified if the 2014 law was struck down. The Supreme Court invalidated the law in December. GOP lawmakers say they don't want to close the courts.
Kansas Democrats Outline 2016 Legislative Priorities
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers are outlining their agenda for this year's session of the Kansas Legislature. House and Senate Democrats are holding a joint news conference this (THUR) morning to outline their vision for the state. Democrats in the past have focused heavily on education and economic issues, such as increasing the state's minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley and House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs of Kansas City also plan to respond to budget proposals outlined by Republican Governor Sam Brownback. Lawmakers opened their annual session Monday. Republicans hold majorities of 32-8 in the Senate and 97-28 in the House and won every statewide and congressional race in the past six years.
Child Welfare Audit Won't Examine Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An audit of the Kansas Department for Children and Families will not include an investigation into whether the agency discriminates against same-sex couples. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Legislative Post Audit Committee deadlocked on the proposed anti-gay discrimination investigation and eventually decided to delay the issue until its April meeting. The audit approved will focus on safety and privatization. Senator Michael O'Donnell, a Wichita Republican, says the audit will be the "most comprehensive" of the foster care system in the state's history. But Democratic Representative Jim Ward, of Wichita, called the decision "simply unbelievable." Ward had proposed an audit of discrimination claims after several couples came forward in recent months claiming bias in foster care and adoption decisions. Ward accused lawmakers of voting to "cover up evidence of discrimination in a major state agency."
Moran Campaign Amasses $3.1M in Cash for Re-Election Effort
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new report shows U.S. Senator Jerry Moran has amassed more than $3.1 million in cash for his re-election effort as 2016 kicks off. The Kansas Republican is running unopposed so far. His campaign reported it raised about $750,600 during the fourth quarter last year, with nearly $280,000 of contributions coming from political committees. It spent more than $322,000. The campaign listed the transactions in a finance report, covering the period from October 1 to December 31, 2015. For this time in the election cycle, the campaign contends it has the largest cash-on-hand balance of any incumbent U.S. senator for Kansas in recent history. Moran's campaign says that the support indicates that Kansans know and trust Moran to puts Kansas first.
First Director Selected for KU Sexual Assault Prevention Center
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has chosen a University of Iowa woman as the program director for its new Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center. The university announced that Jennifer Brockman will start her new job January 20. Brockman currently is executive director of the University of Iowa's Rape Victim Advocacy Program, which serves 250,000 people in eight counties. She coordinated primary sexual assault prevention and education for four institutions of higher education and many secondary schools. KU's new center will coordinate the university's sexual assault prevention and education programming. It also will assess those efforts and create new programming. Brockman is the center's first employee. The center is one of several changes recommended by the Chancellor's Task Force on Sexual Assault, which submitted its final report in May 2015.
Kansas City Police Chief Wants to Demolish Abandoned Properties
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Darryl Forte says the city should consider tearing down abandoned properties in blighted areas to help reduce crime. Fortesays he hasn't yet worked out details or the estimated costs. He suggested reallocating money for hiring extra officers to demolish the properties and make other improvements, such as repairing streetlights. He said rather than hire 60 police officers, the department should consider hiring 55 and using the remaining money for neighborhood improvement projects. The Kansas City Star reports that Forte believes a dilapidated environment can lead to crime. City Manager Troy Schulte says the city has 875 dangerous buildings on a list and estimated it would cost $10 million to demolish them.
Miami County Sheriff's Dispatcher Charged With Meth Possession
PAOLA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a former Kansas police dispatcher has been charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. The http://bit.ly/1OiZbLoKansas City Star reports that Debbie Henson was a dispatch supervisor with the Miami County Sheriff's Office until Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents arrested her this month. The sheriff's office says she's no longer employed by the agency. Besides the drug charge, Henson faces one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and official misconduct. Henson was with the sheriff's office for about 18 years.
3 Historic Kansas City Apartments Set for Demolition
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Three Kansas City apartment buildings built in 1927 appear to be headed for demolition. The Kansas City Council's Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee voted to deny historic district status for the Nelle Peters buildings near the Country Club Plaza. The designation could have delayed demolition for up to three years. The Kansas City Star reports the issue now goes to the Kansas City Council but a change seems unlikely because the historic designation would require nine of the 13 votes on the council. The Historic Kansas City Foundation had gathered about 800 signatures on petitions to protect the buildings. They argued the Plaza area had already lost too many historic buildings. Nelle Peters, who died in 1974, was a prolific and well-known architect from 1909 to 1965.
Kansas City Museum Gets $1 Million Gift
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City museum has been awarded a $1 million grant for education programs. Officials at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art said that the museum received the $1 million grant from the David T. Beals III Charitable Trust. Beals was a former Trustee of the museum. The museum says the grant will be used for education programs. The museum says because of the lack of arts programs in many schools, the museum's education programs give students a chance to experience original works of art and explore their own artistic abilities.
Regulators Order Reduced Injection Well Volumes After Quakes
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma regulators are telling operators of 27 oil and natural gas wastewater disposal wells in northwest Oklahoma to reduce disposal volumes following a series of earthquakes that have rocked the area. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said Wednesday it's calling for changes in the operation of wells around Fairview, Oklahoma, about 60 miles south of the Kansas state line. The commission says the daily reduction will be 54,859 barrels — about 2.3 million gallons — a drop of about 18 percent. The directive was issued a day after a class-action lawsuit was filed against the operators of injection wells the lawsuit alleges have caused earthquakes in the area. Oklahoma has become one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world and the quakes have been linked to the injection wells.
Dyson's Hometown Names Street to Honor Royals' Star Outfielder
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The honors keep rolling in for Kansas City Royals players with the renaming of a street in McComb, Mississippi, in honor of outfielder Jarrod Dyson. The McComb City Council voted in December to change the name of Warren Street to Dyson Drive, and Dyson was there on Monday to receive a proclamation about the change. McComb's mayor and city manager say Dyson grew up on Warren Street. The http://bit.ly/1REKAyiKansas City Star reports Dyson posted the news on his Instagram account, calling the name change a "blessing from above." Dyson also served as the grand marshal of the city's Christmas parade last month.
No. 4 Texas Beats Kansas, 75-38
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — No. 4 ranked Texas routed the Kansas Jayhawk's women's basketball team, 75-38, last night (WED) in Lawrence. Texas is 5-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 2002-03 and beat Kansas for the sixth straight time. This was the Jayhawks' worst loss of the season. Before this blowout, Kansas' biggest final deficit was a 23-point loss to Oklahoma in the conference opener. Lauren Aldridge scored 12 points to lead Kansas (5-11, 0-5) and Kylee Kopatich had 10 points. The Longhorns jumped to a 17-0 lead before Kansas hit a 3-pointer. Texas had a 21-point lead at the end of the first quarter and led by 19 at halftime.
K-State Women Defeat Oklahoma State, 47-44
MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas State women's team beat Oklahoma State, 47-44, Wednesday night in Manhattan. The OSU Cowgirls led 39-34 after three quarters, but failed to score over the game's final 5:53 as the Wildcats seized control with a 10-0 run to close the game. OSU (12-4, 2-3 Big 12) shot just 24.6 percent from the field. The Cowgirls have now lost two straight and three of their last four since upsetting then-No. 4 Baylor on December 30 in Stillwater. Guard Brittney Martin led OSU with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kansas State (11-5, 1-4) was led by a game-high 12 points from guard Kindred Wesemann.