Archive for March 2017

KCK man sentenced to 25 years in bank robbery case

Jacob L. Smith, 19, Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Monday to 25 years in federal prison for a bank robbery in which he shot at law enforcement officers during a high-speed chase, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

Co-defendant Danille Morris, 27, Kansas City, Kansas, whose 19-month child was with her in the getaway car, was sentenced to 16.6 years.

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm. Morris pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm and one count of unlawfully possessing a firearm following a felony conviction.

In his plea, Smith admitted that on March 9, 2016, he and co-defendant Gary Jordan, 40, Kansas City, Kansas, brandished handguns when they entered the First National Bank at 7460 W. 199th St. in Stilwell, Kan. They held tellers at gunpoint before fleeing with cash stuffed in a backpack. Jordan took the wheel of the getaway car.

During the next 25 minutes, the robbers were pursued by the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Leawood Police Department and other law enforcement agencies as they fled across the Kansas-Missouri state line.

During the chase, Smith fired at officers six times from the car. After the car overturned on a sharp turn, the defendants were arrested. Throughout the chase, Morris and her 19-month-old child were in the car.

Beall commended all the agencies that assisted in the investigation including the FBI, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Leawood Police Department, the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, as well as the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley.

Legislative newsletter from Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist.

Rep. Pam Curtis

by Rep. Pam Curtis

I continue to push for the Kansas House to pass legislation to allow prevailing wage be paid on public projects. On Thursday I offered an amendment on the floor to allow prevailing wage be paid on state public projects.

Numerous studies have been conducted that show the benefits of paying prevailing wage to the economic health of our local communities and to our state.

Prevailing wage helps maintain a high quality construction workforce and provide workers with the income needed to provide for themselves and their families. In Wyandotte County we have seen first-hand the benefits of paying prevailing wage, an option that was taken away from local government by the Kansas Legislature three years ago. I will continue to fight to restore the local option for prevailing wage.

House Standing Committees, except for exempt committees, completed their work for the session this past week. We will spend most of the coming week on the House Floor to consider those bills that have passed out of committee.

It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 452-S, Kansas Statehouse, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at 785-296-7430 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can email me at

Working for working Kansans

Kansas House Democrats proposed several amendments this week on the floor that would benefit the working men and women of Kansas. These amendments included “Buy American,” which places a preference on buying American products when possible, if those products met or exceeded certain specifications. This would apply to state contracts.

Another proposed amendment offered on the floor was for prevailing wage. This means setting the hourly wage on public projects at the rate paid in the largest city in each county to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics.

Prevailing wages are established by the Department of Labor and Industries and they are established separately for each county, and are reflective of local wage conditions. The prevailing wage amendment would have applied to state funded projects only. It would ensure safe, trained, financially responsible, stable contractors to complete projects, fair wages, offer local control, and maximize our return on the dollars we invest in our local construction projects.

Unfortunately, these two amendments failed to pass, though both had overwhelming Democratic support.

This week on the House floor

This week, the House has been busy passing numerous bills. The many pieces of legislation ranged on issues from technology to healthcare to agriculture. Find a few of these bills detailed below.

Sub HB 2331: An act concerning information systems and communications; creating the representative Jim Morrison cybersecurity act; relating to digital information security for Kansas executive branch agencies; establishing the Kansas information security office; establishing the cybersecurity state fund and cybersecurity state grant fund in the state treasury, creating the Kansas information technology enterprise. See

H Sub for SB 60: An act concerning agriculture; relating to the Kansas department of agriculture; certain fees, authorizing the Kansas secretary of agriculture to collect a fee for processing paper documents. See

SB 20: An act concerning financial institutions; relating to certain acts under the administration of the state bank commissioner. See

H Sub for SB 51: An act concerning controlled substances; the state board of pharmacy; relating to scheduling of controlled substance analogs, controlled substances and new drugs; emergency scheduling. See

HB 2313: An act concerning the Kansas lottery; dealing with lottery ticket vending machines; repealing the lottery sunset. See

HB 2232: An act concerning adult care homes; relating to electronic monitoring. See

SB 68: An act concerning health and healthcare; relating to hospitals; enacting the Kansas lay caregiver act. See

HB 2353: An act concerning state contracts and purchases; relating to purchases of products and services from not-for-profit entities; employment of persons with disabilities. See

Coming up in the Kansas Legislature
This week, watch for the Medicaid expansion bill to hit the Senate floor. If it passes through the Senate, the bill will then be sent to the governor.

Republicans in the Senate have said they will wait to act on an education finance formula until the House addresses it first. Conversations as to how to solve this issue are underway, with many ideas being introduced. A bill has been proposed this week in the Kansas House, and we expect action on that bill to begin next week.

A tax plan to restore the revenue in Kansas has not yet been enacted. Previously in the session, the House put forth and passed a tax bill, which then passed through the Senate. The bill essentially repealed Gov. Brownback’s “march to zero” tax experiment. The governor vetoed the bill, after which the House overrode his veto. The Senate failed to override by just three votes. A new tax plan should be coming soon from the Senate side.

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time to reflect on women’s contributions to history and to the present, the inaugural holiday beginning in the United States in 1987. Join us this month in standing with and celebrating women in Kansas, across the nation, and the across the world. Read more at

Ninth inning run lets KCKCC sweep pair from Labette

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s ‘thrill-a-minute’ baseball team did it again Sunday.

Trailing Labette 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Devils tied it and then won it 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth – the ninth time in 16 games KCKCC games have been decided by one run including four in extra innings.

Coupled with a 13-3 5-inning win in the opener, the Blue Devils improved to 10-6 in the Jayhawk Conference and pulled back into a fourth place tie with Johnson County. Allen County and Fort Scott top the standings at 12-4 followed by Cowley at 11-5. Home against Saint Mary today at 3 p.m., the Blue Devils resume conference play Thursday when they play host to Highland in a 1 p.m. twin bill.

Chase Redick’s line drive single to leftfield with two out and the bases loaded won the nightcap 4-3 for the Blue Devils. Albert Woodard’s two-out single ignited the winning rally and after a walk to Tyler Pittman, the Cardinals intentionally walked Alex Phillips and Redick foiled the strategy by ripping a 1-1 pitch to left.

Limited to just three hits and four base-runners over the first six innings by Cody Oliphant, the Blue Devils finally broke through in the seventh, scoring three times on a hit batsman and singles by Brandon Green, Josh Schumacher and Pittman.

The rally made a winner out of Turner sophomore righthander Cowan, who turned in his best pitching effort of the season. His pitch count limited early in the season because of an injury last fall, Cowan went the 9-inning distance allowing just seven hits, striking out seven and walking one. After giving up two runs in the first, Cowan allowed only one run and five hits over the final eight innings.

Trailing 2-0 in the opener, the Blue Devils exploded for 13 runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings in the 13-3 win. Southpaw Shae Stephens ran his record to 4-1, allowing six hits while striking out five and walking two.

Josh Schumacher, who had three hits, got the Blue Devils’ scoring started in the third on with a leadoff triple.

After a walk and two errors, Drew Holtgrieve and Easton Fortuna put KCKCC ahead 4-2 with run-scoring singles. Pittman doubled in two runs and Phillips singled in two more in a 6-run fourth inning after the Blue Devils loaded the bases on a single by Brandon Still and bunt hits by Brandon Green and Schumacher.

The Blue Devils then ended it with a 3-run fifth on two walks, a single by Schumacher, double by Woodard and single by Pittman.