Grand Jury Investigating Loans to KS Gov's Campaign
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A federal grand jury is investigating loans made to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's re-election campaign and the state's chief ethics officer, Carol Williams, has been ordered to appear before the grand jury next week. This is according to a subpoena obtained by the Associated Press. The investigation appears to involve loans made by Brownback himself and other loans to the campaign made by Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer. On multiple occasions, Colyer loaned the campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars only to withdraw the money within several days. A spokeswoman for the governor's office told the Topeka Capital Journal that the investigation has "no merit" and that the governor's campaign followed all campaign laws and ethics regulations.
Lawsuit: Kansas Schools Received Fake Bills for Textbooks
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The state's top prosecutor alleges a New Jersey company sent false invoices to more than 300 public schools in Kansas for textbooks that were never ordered. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Robert Armstrong, of Gloucester County, New Jersey. It asks the Shawnee County District Court to order him to pay a $634,000 civil penalty for multiple violations of the Kansas False Claims Act. Armstrong was charged in October with federal mail fraud charges and accused of sending tens of thousands of fraudulent invoices to school districts. Schmidt's office received multiple complaints and none of the schools had ordered textbooks from the company.
City, Topeka Schools Settle School Officers Dispute
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka school officials have approved a contract that temporarily ends a dispute over the city providing police officers to the district's schools. The school district's board on Thursday approved a one-year contract requiring the district to pay the city $366,000 in fees for 10 school resource officers. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports $366,000 is enough for only four officers. Superintendent Julie Ford says the district will need to find enough money in the next budget to keep 10 officers in the schools. Topeka Police Chief James Brown and the district had a public disagreement in December because a contract for the officers hadn't been signed and the district wasn't paying enough for all the officers working at the schools.
Wichita Airport Named for Eisenhower Earlier than Expected
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Wichita Mid-Continent Airport has officially had a new name for several weeks, although it's not obvious at the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration began using the name Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in November. The airport's signs, websites and other materials still don't carry the name. Victor While, Wichita's director of airports, says the FAA had a publishing deadline before the end of the year for airport directories and other documents, so the new name was added early. White says the city didn't plan to start using the Eisenhower name until the terminal's opening this spring.
Victim's Family Angry over Killer's Parole
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The family of a Topeka man who was killed and then had his tattoos cut off and teeth pulled is angry and stunned that the killer will be released on parole. The family of 33-year-old Charles Duty, who died in 1992, was notified Wednesday that Kenneth Cook has been granted parole. A specific date for his release has not been determined. Cook, now 59, is serving a 15-year to life sentence for Duty's killing. Investigators say Cook killed Duty while he slept, then cut off his tattoos, pulled his teeth and threw his body in the river. Cook's initial sentence left him ineligible for parole for 40 years. But the Kansas Supreme Court found that post-death mutilation doesn't warrant a "Hard 40" sentence. Later the first-degree murder sentence also was overturned, and Cook was retried for second-degree murder. His final sentence made him eligible for parole after 15 years.
KCK Police Seek Public's Help in Baby's Fatal Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Civic leaders are asking for anyone with information in the fatal drive-by shooting of a 7-month-old boy in Kansas City, Kansas, to come forward. The Kansas City Star reports that police have received only one tip, but investigators say the information didn't advance the case. The police chief says detectives investigating the death of JaQuail Mansaw are hampered by a lack of information. The boy died on Monday after a shooter drove by the residence and fired several shots late Sunday into the home. A motive hasn't been released in the shooting. Unified Government Commissioner Gayle Townsend held a news conference Thursday asking for the public's help in discovering who killed JaQuail. The boy's parents held a candlelight vigil on Thursday to honor his memory.
Kauffman Foundation Gives $2.5M in Education Grants
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kauffman Foundation has awarded $2.5 million in grants for programs designed to improve Kansas City-area schools. The foundation announced Thursday that it would invest $1 million in the Kansas City Midtown Community School Initiative's plan for charter schools and another $1.5 million for 10 college prep and scholarship programs. The Kansas City Star reports the initiative for midtown charter schools is a parent-led effort to open two elementary schools in 2016 and expand to a high school by 2027. The 10 post-secondary scholarship programs include public and private school and community-based programs. It benefits schools in Kansas City Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, and several other initiatives to support disadvantaged students.
Wichita Plans New $30M Central Library
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita city and public library officials are proceeding with plans to build a $30 million central library. The library plan will be presented Tuesday to the Wichita City Council, which will be asked to authorize the design phase. The city would pay $27.5 million of the project, and the library foundation is hoping to raise another $5 million. The Wichita Eagle reports the design is expected to be completed by November. Library director Cynthia Berner says if all goes as planned, construction could start in the spring of 2016 and the building could take up to two years to build. Construction on the library was originally planned to start this year, but was delayed when some council members questioned whether the city could afford the project.
KC's Cahill Nominated for Another Term on CPB Board
WASHINGTON, DC _ President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Patricia Cahill of Kansas City to another term on the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Cahill, former general manager of KCUR-FM radio in Kansas City, was first named to the national board in 2009. Cahill has also taught journalism and speech communication at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She worked in public radio for more than 40 years, retiring from KCUR in 2012. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a non-profit corporation created by Congress in 1967 to promote and fund public broadcasting.
Source: K-State's Bill Snyder Headed to College HOF
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame, a person familiar with the results told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the results will be formally announced Friday in Dallas. Snyder became eligible as an active coach when he turned 75 in October. Snyder took over one of the worst programs in the history of major college football in 1989 and turned it into a national contender. He briefly retired in 2005, but returned three seasons later after the program had fallen on hard times. Snyder is 187-94-1 at Kansas State, easily the winningest coach in school history. He's led the Wildcats to two Big 12 titles and 16 bowl games, including this year's Alamo Bowl.