Headlines for Sunday, June 5, 2016
State Lawmakers Resist State Court's Ruling
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Many Republican legislators in Kansas are angry with the state Supreme Court's latest order on education funding. They question the justices' motives and doubt the court will accept any further fixes from GOP lawmakers. Their views prompted Republican legislative leaders to abandon a push to pass further education funding changes before lawmakers formally adjourned their annual session. Governor Sam Brownback hasn't said whether he'll call a special session. That's despite the court's warning that public schools won't be able to open after June 30 if legislators don't increase aid to poor districts by then. Some Republican legislators advocated defying the court. They argued that complying with its order would encourage what state Senator Jeff Melcher of Leawood called "bad behavior" by the justices.
Kansas Democrats Start Petition for Special Session
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democratic lawmakers say they've been circulating a petition to force a special legislative session to address school funding. The move comes after the Kansas Supreme Court rejected the Legislature's latest attempt to enact a constitutionally equitable school funding system. The high court has meanwhile kept a June 30 deadline for lawmakers, raising the possibility that schools could close if the date passes without further legislative action. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs and Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said in a letter sent Saturday evening to Governor Sam Brownback that they've begun collecting signatures to force the governor to call a special session to find a solution to "equitably fund Kansas schools." Brownback's office hasn't given any indication of its plans.
Governor: Kansas Drought-Free for First Time Since April 2011
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is crediting recent weeks of heavy rains for making the state drought-free for the first time in more than five years. Brownback's office on Thursday made the declaration that all counties are free of drought, though the U.S. Drought Monitor says that's been the case since the week of May 17. Brownback's office says that's the first time that's happened since April 2011. He notes that agriculture plays a key role in the Kansas economy, making the absence of drought particularly good news for farmers and ranchers. Brownback's office encouraged Kansans to take steps to conserve water through daily habits in an effort to lessen the effects of the next drought, whenever it may strike.
Topeka Man to Make Plea in Car Explosion
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 38-year-old Topeka man whose 4-year-old son was severely injured when explosives detonated in his car is scheduled to enter a plea in the case. Jacob Daniel Schell is scheduled to enter a plea on July 8 in Shawnee County court, where he faces several charges, including aggravated battery of a child, aggravated endangering of a child and criminal use of explosives. Details of the plea weren't available. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Schell's son was injured when a sack containing explosives blew up in his lap, severely injuring the child. The incident occurred July 5, 2015, as Schell was driving. The explosion also peeled back the metal roof of the large car.
Boating Accident Takes Life Of Burlington Man
BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 53-year-old man has died in a boating accident on the Neosho River. The Coffey County Sheriff's Office said 53-year-old Michael Myers of Burlington was in a small boat on the river Friday evening when the boat capsized. An officer from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks found Myers' body early Saturday. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that another man survived the accident.
Ellis County Seeks Help in Solving Hit-and-Run Fatality
HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a hit-and-run fatality in western Kansas. The Salina Journal reports 22-year-old Dylan Weiser was struck and killed May 15 by a driver who left the scene of the crash south of Hays. Weiser's body was found in a ditch. The Ellis County Sheriff's Department said in a release Friday that the department is seeking the public's help in finding the driver. Authorities believe Weiser was walking south along the west edge of the road when a southbound vehicle struck and killed him. The release says automotive debris was found at the scene, but authorities haven't determined a specific make or model of the vehicle. It's also unknown who was driving. Weiser lived in Thornton, Colorado, but was formerly from LaCrosse.
Two Charged on Great Bend Swim Team
ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) - A prosecutor says one member of Great Bend High School's swim team has been convicted of a misdemeanor and another has been sentenced in connection with an assault on another team member. Ellsworth County Attorney Joe Shepack said in a statement Friday that a 17-year-old student was convicted on May 31 of misdemeanor battery and is scheduled to be sentenced July 5. A 16-year-old student also charged in the case was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation for misdemeanor battery. The Wichita Eagle reports Shepack also said that what had been previously been described as "an episode of teenage male athlete horseplay progressed (or degenerated) into several incidents of battery" upon a 14-year-old boy on February 6 aboard a school bus while the team returned from a competition.
Olathe Woman Charged in PTO Embezzlement
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - An Olathe woman faces charges accusing her of stealing thousands of dollars from a suburban Kansas City school's parent teacher organization.Christine Ann Glover is charged in Johnson County District Court with one count of felony theft. She's accused of stealing more than $25,000 from the parent teacher organization at Pleasant Ridge Middle School in Overland Park, The Kansas City Star reports Glover was booked into the Johnson County jail on Friday afternoon. It's unclear if Glover has a lawyer.