Headlines for Thursday, August 30, 2018
Kansas Child Welfare Agency Failed to Meet 16 Standards
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new report says the Kansas agency in charge of child welfare failed to meet more than half of 30 performance standards last year. The Wichita Eagle reports the Department for Children and Families this week said a report tracking the performance measures found the agency didn't meet 16 federal and state standards. The report covered from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 and used the agency's data. Among other things, the report found children had 8.9 homes for every 1,000 days they were in foster care - more than double the standard of 4.12 homes. Department spokeswoman Taylor Forrest said the agency has implemented several efforts to improve performance and meet federal outcome measures. Child welfare advocates say the report shows the depth of problems at the department.
Johnson County Election Official Keeps Job
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has reappointed to a four-year term the election commissioner responsible for the state's most populous county. The announcement Thursday that Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker will keep his job comes just weeks after the second consecutive major election fumble by the affluent Kansas City-area county. Johnson County left the rest of the state waiting more than 12 hours for complete Aug. 7 primary election results because of a delay blamed on the vendor's faulty software. Kobach says in a news release that Metsker "addressed the problem swiftly and with competence." Metsker has overseen the county's transition to an election balloting system that now leaves a paper trail. The secretary of state appoints election commissioners for the four most populous counties in Kansas.
Kansas Teachers Union Backs Democratic Nominee for Governor
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A teachers union has endorsed Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly in her bid for Kansas governor, casting her as an ally to education and warning her opponents will hurt schools. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the National Education Association's Kansas chapter released a list Tuesday of recommended candidates for statewide, congressional and legislative races. The chapter says it evaluated the candidates by interviews and voting record. Kelly has supported efforts to comply with state Supreme Court orders and provide adequate public school funding. Lawmakers lowered school funding in response to the 2008 economic recession and struggled to balance the budget after former Gov. Sam Brownback's tax policy. Her Republican opponent, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, opposed a plan lawmakers passed this year to phase in a $522 increase over the next five years.
Judge: KCK Waterslide on Which Boy Died Can be Torn Down
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge says crews can begin tearing down a 17-story waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was killed when his raft went airborne. The Kansas City Star reports that Wyandotte County District Court Judge Robert Burns said Wednesday that the preservation of the Verruckt slide "traumatizes everyone." The 2016 death of Caleb Schwab at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, led to criminal charges against the company that built the slide and five people, including Schlitterbahn's co-owner. Delays in taking down the slide had stemmed from disagreements over which parts should be preserved as possible evidence. Attorneys representing the owners of Schlitterbahn said preliminary deconstruction of Verruckt will start soon. The visible slide will likely start to come down by November 1.
Exonerated Kansas Man Petitions State in Doppelganger Case
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A man is petitioning the state of Kansas for compensation after serving 17 years for a robbery conviction that was dismissed after his attorneys found another man who looked just like him and who lived near the scene of the crime. The Kansas City Star reports that 42-year-old Richard Jones filed a petition Wednesday in Johnson County District Court. Jones was convicted of robbing a woman outside a Roeland Park Walmart in 1999. Prosecutors based their case on witness identifications. Jones learned while in prison that he had a doppelganger, whom his attorneys eventually identified. The conviction was thrown out when witnesses said they could no longer identify Jones as the robber after looking at pictures of both men. Jones is asking for $65,000 for each year he was in prison.
Sprint Considers Selling Its Overland Park Campus
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Sprint's chief executive says the wireless company is considering selling its 4 million-square-foot suburban Kansas City campus as federal regulators weigh a proposed merger with T-Mobile. The Kansas City Star reports that Sprint CEO Michel Combes said Wednesday in an email to employees that the company is evaluating potential buyers for its Overland Park, Kansas, campus in a deal that would allow the company to lease back the buildings it needs for its employees. Under the proposed merger with T-Mobile, the Sprint campus would become the combined company's secondary headquarters. Sprint currently has 6,000 full-time employees at the campus, fewer than half the number the campus was designed to accommodate. As Sprint's headcount has dropped, it has subleased space and more recently announced that it would consider selling unused buildings.
KU Football Stadium to Be Renamed for Generous Alumnus
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The football stadium at the University of Kansas will be renamed David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The renaming ceremony to honor Booth will be held during halftime of the Kansas game against Nicholls State. Last September, Booth said he planned to donate $50 million — the largest gift in the history of Kansas Athletics — to help the football program. The first phase of the improvements is an indoor practice facility, which is currently under construction. More than a decade ago, Booth funded construction of the Booth Family Hall of Athletics in Allen Fieldhouse, which houses the KU Athletics Hall of Fame. He also allowed James Naismith's original rules of basketball to be permanently housed on the Lawrence campus.
2-Month-Old Boy Found Dead at Wichita Motel
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested the parents of a 2-month-old boy who died at a west Wichita motel. Police spokesman Charley Davidson says the boy was found dead early Thursday at the Scotsman Inn. His twin brother was unharmed. Davidson says the parents became intoxicated overnight and the 34-year-old father woke up about 6 a.m. and found the boy not breathing. The cause of death in being investigated. Police went to the motel Tuesday after receiving a call about the boys' welfare. Davidson said the parents were drunk and the children were placed with a family member. The father was booked into jail on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated child endangerment. Davidson said the 39-year-old mother was booked on suspicion of two counts of aggravated child endangerment.
Geological Survey: 4 Quakes in 24 Hours in Southern Kansas
HARPER, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says four earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 3.0 to 3.8 were registered in Harper County in less than 24 hours. KWCH reports the agency reported a 3.0 magnitude earthquake just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, about 9.5 miles east of Harper. About 15 minutes later, a second quake registered near the same location, with a magnitude of 3.1. A third earthquake with a magnitude of 3.2 registered just before 10 p.m. Wednesday in the same area. The fourth quake was recorded about 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the same spot as the first quake. The USGS recorded the last quake with a magnitude of about 3.8, not strong enough to cause major damage but significantly stronger than the three previous quakes.
Pennsylvania Man Returned to Kansas Charged with 150 Rapes
ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A man arrested in June in Pennsylvania on a Dickinson County warrant involving 150 counts of rape is back in Kansas. The Hays Post reports 44-year-old Eric Millsap, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, arrived in Abilene on Monday. Dickinson County Attorney Andrea Purvis says he was extradited from the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A criminal complaint says Millsap faces 178 counts including the alleged rapes, which involved a single victim. The crimes allegedly occurred between 2006 and 2015 when he lived in Abilene and Dickinson counties. Millsap made a first court appearance Monday and remains jailed on a $1.5 million bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for September 10.
Deported 4 Times, Man with Violent Past Sentenced to Prison
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man who was deported to Mexico four times and has a history of criminal convictions has been sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison. Jorge Carrillo-Hernandez was sentenced Monday in federal court in Kansas to four years and nine months for unlawfully returning to the U.S. A federal judge added two years to that sentence because he returned while under probation for one of his criminal convictions. The Kansas City Star reports the 37-year-old Carrillo-Hernandez has three complaints for driving under the influence, and convictions for aggravated battery and domestic battery. Carrill-Hernandez entered the U.S. with is family when he was 8 months old. His attorney says he kept returning because the U.S. is where his family lives and he has no ties to Mexico.
Teen Bicyclist Struck, Seriously Injured in Wichita Crash
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a driver struck and seriously injured a 14-year-old boy as he was riding a bicycle in southeast Wichita. Police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says the boy was struck Tuesday afternoon as he entered a busy road, apparently from a side street. The Wichita Eagle reports that the boy was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent surgery. His injuries don't appear life threatening. The driver who struck the cyclist is cooperating with the investigation.
Lawrence Man Who Defrauded Payless Sentenced
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence architect has been sentenced to almost two years in federal prison for defrauding Payless ShoeSource. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 38-year-old Manuel Francisco Ruiz-Lacayo also was ordered Tuesday to pay $425,000 in restitution. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Proescutors say Ruiz-Lacayo worked as a project manager for store planning, designing exteriors and interior floor plans for new stores in Central and South America. Without Payless's knowledge, Ruiz-Lacayo told contractors that 3D renderings of storefronts were required for all projects. He directed them to use a firm based in Costa Rica. In reality, the address he gave was his mother's and no renderings were produced. Ruiz-Lacayo submitted invoices from the fictitious firm to Payless for payment.
Man Shot, Killed After Altercation in Kansas City, Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been shot to death in Kansas City, Kansas, after an argument in the street. The Kansas City Star reports that the shooting happened Tuesday afternoon. Police Officer Tom Tomasic says the victim run up a hill after he was wounded, and that's where officers found him. The man, who was in his 40s, died of his wounds. Police didn't immediately release his name. Police described the shooting as an "isolated incident." No suspect information has been released.
Prosecutors: Possible Negligence in Missouri Boat Sinking
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say in court filings that the U.S. Coast Guard found probable cause that the captain of a tourist boat that sank in Missouri, killing 17 people, committed misconduct, negligence or was inattentive to his duties. The U.S. attorney's office also said in motions filed Wednesday that the captain of a second duck boat that made it safely to shore when a storm came up on Table Rock Lake near Branson July 19 acted in a "grossly negligent manner" that day. The filing doesn't elaborate on the allegations. In the motion, federal prosecutors are asking the federal court based in Kansas City to delay the discovery process in any lawsuits filed against the operators of the Ride the Ducks tours until the criminal investigation is completed.
3 People from Illinois Killed in Central Kansas Crash
ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say three people from Illinois have been killed in a fiery central Kansas crash. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash happened early Wednesday when a pickup truck rear-ended a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 in Ellsworth County. The impact sent the pickup truck into a ditch, where it caught on fire. All three people inside the truck were killed. The patrol identified the victims as 32-year-old Reginald Miller and 20-year-old Darrin Stutzman, both of Arthur, Illinois, and 16-year-old Matthew Lynn Herschberger, of Arcola, Illinois. The patrol says the rig's driver suffered a possible injury, but his passenger wasn't hurt.
Pair in Stolen Vehicle Charged in Kansas Crime Spree
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a fire that broke out in a suburban Kansas City house after two people who lived there were arrested in a spree of car thefts and burglaries. The Kansas City Star reports that 29-year-old Rita Lee Long was charged Tuesday with felony theft. Thirty-five-year-old Jason Emerson is charged with seven felonies, including burglary and theft. Police arrested Long on Sunday afternoon in Lenexa, saying she was driving a stolen vehicle. A male passenger who fled from her vehicle is accused of entering two occupied homes, stealing a car from the first. Police say Emerson was arrested at the second home around 2 am Monday after an hours-long standoff. Several hours later, firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of Long and Emerson's home.