Kansas jails struggle to meet needs of mentally ill
WICHITA (AP) — Scarce mental health resources in Kansas are boosting county jail populations with inmates who might be better served in a psychiatric ward than behind bars.
Some counties such as Johnson and Shawnee have created pods at their jails where prisoners suffering from mental illnesses are segregated from the general population.
But in Sedgwick County, the state’s second most-populous county, Sheriff Robert Hinshaw has tried and faile...
U.S. attorney seeks help to curb Rx abuse
WICHITA (AP) — The top federal prosecutor in Kansas urged residents Monday to join the fight against prescription drug abuse, saying more people in the United States now die from drug overdoses than from auto accidents each year.
At the news conference held to kick off "The Medicine Abuse Project," U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom cited statistics showing every 19 minutes one person dies from a drug overdose — with the death toll from prescription ...
Regents approve request for bigger higher ed budget
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents approved a request Thursday to seek an additional $47.1 million in funding for higher education in 2013.
The vote comes as Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is telling state agencies to prepare for tight budgets in the coming year, including requesting information on how state government would implement a 10 percent cut in spending. The increase would be on top of the $763 million in state...
Woman lives among homeless in Wichita
WICHITA (AP) — Not long ago, Lorenza Andrade Smith called Los Angeles’ Skid Row home. Her neighbor — a friend, she said — was a local gang leader, a drug dealer, a parolee. But that’s life, she said, in the downtown region, which is home to thousands of the city’s homeless people.
Smith is an ordained elder for the United Methodist Church. But since last summer she’s lived among the homeless in San Antonio and other cities, dodging knife fight...
Drought causes shipping issues for corn harvest
ST. LOUIS (AP) — With hopes of a once-stellar corn crop dimmed by a summer of drought, Gerald Jenkins doesn’t expect the unfolding harvest to burden his co-op’s grain elevators, which are capable of storing 9 million bushels of the grain it buys from growers. Finding timely barges to ship it off may be another story.
The same drought that has punished the Midwest’s corn and soybeans for months has lowered the Mississippi River that eases past ...
Kansas agency finds increase in job vacancies
TOPEKA (AP) — Job vacancies increased in Kansas during the second quarter of 2012 compared to a year earlier, according to a report Wednesday from the state Department of Labor.
The report found an estimated 36,000 vacancies from April to June, a 17.3 percent increase over the second quarter of 2011.
During the quarter, Kansas averaged 88,739 unemployed workers. That meant about 2.5 workers for every job vacancy, which was an improvement from ...
Firm proposes new pipeline route
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The company that wants to build a pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries said Wednesday it has revised its proposed new route through Nebraska to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.
The latest proposed Keystone XL pipeline route is TransCanada’s second attempt to satisfy state environmental regulators. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality said in July that the initial revised rout...
Justices hear power plant permit case
TOPEKA (AP) — Attorneys for environmental groups argued Friday that a construction permit issued by state regulators for a new coal-fired power plant in southwestern Kansas violates air quality standards and should be rejected.
But lawyers for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment told the Kansas Supreme Court the agency followed all applicable laws and scientific standards in issuing the permit for Sunflower Electric Power Corp.
Court sides with BP Corp. over Neodesha
WICHITA (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court reinstated on Friday a jury verdict that said residents of Neodesha are not entitled to recover cleanup costs from BP Corp. caused by a refinery that closed 42 years ago, a ruling that sided with Big Oil.
The high court said the judge made a mistake when he overturned the jury’s decision following one of the longest jury trials — 17 weeks — held in Kansas. The judge had set aside the verdict after conclu...
Romney focuses on economy
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House in a Republican National Convention finale Thursday night, declaring “what America needs is jobs, lots of jobs” and promising he has a plan to create 12 million of them.
“Now is the time to restore the promise of America,” Romney said in excerpts released in advance of his prime-time speech to a nation struggling with 8.3 percent unemployment and the slowest economic...
Isaac hovers over Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Isaac hovered over Louisiana for a third day Thursday, shedding more than a foot of additional rain that forced authorities to hurriedly evacuate areas ahead of the storm and rescue hundreds of people who could not escape as the rapidly rising waters swallowed entire neighborhoods.
The huge spiral weather system weakened to a tropical depression as it crawled inland, but it caught many places off guard by following a meander...
Retailers report best growth since March
NEW YORK (AP) — This summer, Americans were walking contradictions: They opened their wallets despite escalating fears about the slow economic recovery and surging gas prices.
A group of 18 retailers ranging from discounter Target to department-store chain Macy’s reported August sales on Thursday that rose 6 percent — the industry’s best performance since March — according to trade group International Council of Shopping Centers. At the same t...
Federal court rejects voter ID law
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal court on Thursday rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.
A three-judge panel in Washington unanimously ruled that the law imposes “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.
The decision involves an increasingly contentious political issue: a...
Isaac steers clear of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans on Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages that had few defenses against the slow-moving storm that could bring days of unending rain.
Isaac arrived exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina and passed slightly to the west of New Orleans, where the city’s fortified levee system easily handled the assault.
The city’s big...
Hurricane brings higher gas prices
NEW YORK (AP) — Drivers are being hit with the biggest one-day jump in gasoline prices in 18 months just as the last heavy driving weekend of the summer approaches.
As Hurricane Isaac swamps the nation's oil and gas hub along the Gulf Coast, it's delivering sharply higher pump prices to storm-battered residents of Louisiana and Mississippi — and also to unsuspecting drivers up north in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
The national average price o...
Storm blunts convention’s enthusiasm
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republicans staged a remarkably subdued opening to Mitt Romney’s national convention Monday in the midst of a turbulent election year, mindful about uncorking a glittery political celebration as Tropical Storm Isaac surged menacingly toward New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast.
“Our thoughts are with the people that are in the storm’s path and hope that they’re spared any major destruction,” said Romney, the man seeking t...
Fire burns more than 1,300 acres
FREDONIA — Only a short time after Wilson County rural fire units responded to a reported grass fire in another part of the county, Wilson County dispatch was notified at 2:30 p.m. Thursday that hay bales and a field were on fire along U.S. 400 at Lane Road south of Fredonia.
According to a statement from Cassandra Edson, Wilson County public information officer, dry and breezy conditions, with winds 17 to 20 miles per hour, gusting to 29 mph...
Isaac’s impact may go well beyond New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With its massive size and ponderous movement, a strengthening Isaac could become a punishing rain machine depending on its power, speed and where it comes ashore along the Gulf Coast.
The focus has been on New Orleans as Isaac takes dead aim at the city seven years after Hurricane Katrina, but the impact will be felt well beyond the city limits. The storm’s winds could be felt more than 200 miles from the storm’s center.
Galena tries to save bordello
Effort under way to save notorious Galena bordello
ROGER MCKINNEY,The Joplin Globe
GALENA, Kan. (AP) — A Main Street building in southeast Kansas with loads of history and notoriety — and maybe even some ghosts — has been spared from demolition.
An online petition, "Save the Steffleback Bordello," has gathered 230 signatures. It initially was directed at Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby, but it turns out that Oglesby is fully on board with the pla...