Headlines for Sunday, September 22, 2019
Kansas Slated to Open Its Newest State Park in October
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The newest state park in Kansas is slated to open next month. Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park in Logan County is a rare geological gem that features chalky spires and buttes projecting as high as 100 feet in the air. The Wichita Eagle reports that the park is set to open Oct. 12. The park's grand opening ceremony will be followed by free, guided tours that run every hour. Kansas dropped a $50 visitor's fee last month. The fee had been intended as a warning to anyone that might damage the park's fragile rock formations. Tours will now be free, but visitors must schedule them in advance. Guests will be required to buy a $5 state park vehicle permit or have a yearly Kansas state parks vehicle pass.
2 Earthquakes Rattle Kansas, Oklahoma; No Significant Damage
CALDWELL, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says two earthquakes were recorded near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. One earthquake with a 2.7 magnitude was recorded early Saturday 12 miles west of Perry, Oklahoma. The second earthquake, with a magnitude of 3, was recorded about 4 miles north of Caldwell, Kansas. KAKE-TV reports no significant damage was immediately reported. Earthquake reports that began to increase in 2014 have been blamed on wastewater injection wells from oil and gas production. Kansas regulators have been investigating the cause of about a dozen recent earthquakes in Reno County, including several in mid-August. The Kansas Corporation Commission is analyzing injection well activity in the county as a possible cause.
Former Kansas House Member to Lead Children's Advocacy Group
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas House member will be taking over as president of a children's advocacy group later this fall. Kansas Action for Children says former state Rep. John Wilson will become president when current President Annie McKay steps down Oct. 31. Wilson has been the group's vice president of advocacy since September 2017. McKay has been with Kansas Action for Children for seven years, including the last three as president. Wilson served in the House for 5½ years before resigning in August 2017 to join Kansas Action for Children. He was a Democrat representing a Lawrence district.
Kansas Jobless Rate in August Was Lowest in 20-Plus Years
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting that unemployment in the state dropped to 3.2% in August and was at its lowest rate in more than 20 years. The state Department of Labor said Friday that the state gained private-sector jobs during the month and over the past year. Labor economist Emilie Doerksen said the state has seen broad economic growth, and Gov. Laura Kelly hailed the report as good news for Kansas. The department said the unemployment rate declined from 3.3% in July. It was also 3.3% in August 2018. It was the lowest unemployment rate since May 1999. The rate has been below 4% since January 2017. Kansas had nearly 1.18 million private, nonfarm jobs in August, up about 4,200 since July and 17,800 from August 2018. The over-the-year growth was 1.5%.
Nebraska Husband, Wife Sentenced for Illegally Selling Fish Caught in Kansas
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska man and wife who sold fish they had illegally caught in public waters in Kansas and other reservoirs have been sentenced to probation. Federal prosecutors for Nebraska say 49-year-old Phong Duong and 46-year-old Oanh Pham were each sentenced Friday to two years' probation for illegally taking, transporting and selling fish. They were also ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution. Prosecutors say that between May 2013 and July 2016, Duong and Pham exceeded the limits on catching fish from the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge in northern Kansas and other reservoirs. To avoid detection, the couple would routinely change fishing spots, stash fish at off-site locations, and use "straw fishermen" — including children — to conceal fish taken in excess of limits. They'd then take the fish back home to Nebraska and clean and bag them at their Lincoln home before selling the fish.
Man Dies After Being Trapped in Grain-Hauling Truck
MULVANE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 39-year-old man has died after becoming trapped in a grain truck in southern Kansas. WIBW reports that Sedgwick County deputies say the man was in the back of tractor-trailer that hauls grain and somehow became trapped. Crews were called to a grain bin near Mulvane Friday afternoon, after reports that a man was not breathing. He was dead at the scene. Mulvane is about 15 miles south of Wichita. The man's name was not released.
Man Sentenced for Shooting Death in Wichita Last Year
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 24-year-old man was sentenced to 15.5 years for a fatal shooting in Wichita last year. Douglas Pete, of Wichita, was sentenced Friday in the death of 25-year-old Deonte Mitchell. Mitchell was found dead in February 2018 outside a Wichita home. He was shot in the back. District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a news release that Pete pleaded guilty Aug. 9 to second-degree murder, armed criminal action, criminal discharge of a firearm and interference with law enforcement. Pete initially claimed the shooting was an accident. Before sentencing, Pete apologized to Mitchell's family but did not provide a motive for the killing.
Catholic Diocese Names 15 Priests Accused of Child Sex Abuse
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Wichita has published a list naming 15 priests accused of child sexual abuse. It also released on Friday a letter from Bishop Carl Kemme saying the diocese will soon provide information on the substantiated allegations to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting a statewide investigation of Catholic priests The diocese posted on its website the names of nine priests of the Wichita diocese against whom allegations have been substantiated. The other six priests have had allegations substantiated in other parishes and served in Wichita for a period of time. It details their ordination dates, assignment histories and status. All have been removed from the clergy or are dead. The diocese says the disclosures were made after an independent audit of all clergy files.