Headlines for Sunday, April 17, 2016
Kansas Hopes to Bring Back State Hospital and Federal Dollars
OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) - Kansas hopes to bring its mental hospital in Osawatomie back in line with federal standards by July so the state stops losing up to $1 million a month in federal funds. Legislators worry that the short-term focus on that goal means the state isn't dealing enough with the question of whether it has enough hospital beds for the mentally ill. The federal government decertified Osawatomie State Hospital in December. It cited a "systemic failure" to protect suicidal patients, adequately supervise care and perform required safety checks at the hospital about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City. The state recently increased the pay for nurses, and it has filled nearly 60 positions since mid-January. The state also has hired consultants to help improve operations
Kansas Forest Service Deals with Fires, Budget Constraints
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Forest Service has faced budget constraints as it works to deal with wildfires like the largest in the state's history last month. Larry Biles, director of the Kansas Forest Service, told The Wichita Eagle the service has a budget of around $3 million, but only about 10 percent has come from the state. Biles has been asking the state to provide at least $1 million in matching funds, but as the biggest fire in state history was raging in March, he had to return more than $15,000 as part of statewide budget cuts. The small budget means the Kansas Forest Service has only been able to hire four staffers whose primary responsibility is fire, and only one of those is specifically tasked with direct fire prevention.
Kansas AG Says School Funding Law Fixes Constitutional Flaws
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a law signed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback last week satisfies the state's constitutional duty to provide equitable funding to public schools. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Schmidt filed a brief with the state Supreme Court on Friday urging it to withdraw its threat to close the state's schools. The court ruled in February that the state wasn't giving its poorest districts their fair share of funding, and the justices threatened to shut down schools statewide if the problem wasn't fixed by June 30. The new law makes technical changes in how state dollars are distributed. Most districts won't see any change while 23 will see small increases due to tapping an existing state emergency fund.
1 Dead After ATV Accident in Northwest Missouri; Passenger from Bonner Springs Injured
POLO, Mo. (AP) — A 29-year-old man has died in an all-terrain vehicle accident in northwest Missouri. The St. Joseph News-Press reports Michael Bell of Polo died Saturday night after he lost control of his ATV on a Caldwell County gravel road. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Bell was driving the ATV when it began to slide and ran off the north side of the road before overturning. The ATV then struck a fence post and a tree before stopping in a field. Bell was pronounced dead at the scene. The patrol says a 23-year-old passenger from Bonner Springs, Kansas, was ejected and suffered minor injuries.
Child Killed by Car in Wichita Driveway
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 2-year-old child has died after being struck by a car in a Wichita driveway. KSN-TV reportsthe child was hit Saturday evening by a car backing out of the driveway. Police say a relative was driving the car. The child was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but later died. Officers on the scene said the fatality was being considered an accident.
Man Killed in Altercation with Kansas Deputies
MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) - One man is dead after being shot during a physical altercation with two Kansas sheriff's deputies who were trying to serve an arrest warrant.Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokesman Mark Malik says the man, whose name was not released, physically resisted being arrested at 3 p.m. Thursday before being shot with a Taser without success. Malik says the man repeatedly struck one of the deputies, attacked a second deputy who ordered him to stop, and then resumed striking the first deputy.The second deputy shot the man, who was pronounced dead at McPherson Memorial Hospital.Malik says the incident was captured on video and is being reviewed by KBI investigators. He says no additional information will be available until the investigation is complete.
Lenexa-Based Nonprofit Sending Team to Ecuador
LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City nonprofit has sent an official team to Ecuador to determine what type of medical assistance the group can provide in the wake of the deadly earthquake. Rescuers pulled survivors from rubble Sunday after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Ecuador, killing at least 238 people and injuring more than 1,500. Jim Mitchum, CEO of Lenexa-based Heart to Heart International, said Sunday his organization has sent a three-member advance team to Quito, Ecuador. He says the team, which includes Heart to Heart's chief medical officer, will work with local officials to determine how the group can assist. Heart to Heart works with several area medical volunteers to provide aid during crises in developing countries. Mitchum says the group typically sends medical professionals as well as supplies and medicine.
Auction of Salvaged Items from Kansas Statehouse in May
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — History buffs and those with fond memories the Kansas Statehouse will be able to own a piece of the building. The state is planning to auction off thousands of items salvaged from the renovated Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. The online auction is scheduled May 2-9. The Kansas City Star reports bids will be taken on items ranging from brass hinges and door knobs to large desks and winding staircases. Dave Webb of Stillwell, a former state representative and senator who now runs an auction house, will conduct the event. He says the highlight of the auction is the copper door that protected the staircase leading to the Statehouse dome. The salvage comes after a 13-year, $325 million renovation that was completed last year.
Google Experiments with Technology for Citywide Wi-Fi
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City leaders have given Google permission to put antennas on light poles in parts of the city to test new technology that could lead to citywide wireless Internet access. The company that brought 1-gigabit Internet speeds to both sides of state line in the metropolitan area four years ago is looking at whether it could use new technology to provide service to areas where it's too expensive to run fiber optic cable. The Kansas City Star reports Google is unclear whether the tests will work when the broadband wireless connections might be of use to consumers. The City Council on Thursday voted to allow Google to place antennas in eight parts of the city. Google says it might understand what's possible by the end of next year.
Mistaken Address Generates Trouble for Kansas Property Owner
POTWIN, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas woman never knew why strangers kept calling a property she rents out. But Joyce Vogelman Taylor gained some clarity when Fusion.net published a story about a Massachusetts company, MaxMind, which helps companies learn where their Internet traffic comes from. MaxMind inadvertently used the same geographic coordinates as her family home for a default IP address. The mix-up led some people to her property, claiming the IP address for their complaints was associated with the property.
Kansas Wesleyan Nursing Program Closer to Re-Accreditation
SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Wesleyan University President Matt Thompson says he is optimistic the school's nursing program will regain accreditation this fall. Wesleyan withdrew its accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing in March 2015, days before the organization was likely to vote not to continue the nursing program's accreditation. The Salina Journal reports that Wesleyan had applied for accreditation to the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which most nursing programs in Kansas use. Thompson says representatives of the CCNE and the Kansas State Board of Nursing visited the school in February. He says a preliminary report was positive, with only a few lingering issues. CCNE is scheduled to vote on Wesleyan's accreditation in November. Thompson says if it's approved, the accreditation will apply for this May's graduates.