Author: Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

The Kansas Supreme Court has affirmed the death sentences for the Carr brothers, who took part in a horrific crime spree in December 2000 in the Wichita area. Jonathan and Reginald Carr murdered five people and robbed and kidnapped another in a series of three crimes, including a quadruple murder in east Wichita. Each was convicted of four counts of capital murder, one count of first-degree murder and 13 counts of rape. The Carrs were also linked to a carjacking and robbery of another man and the shooting death of another woman that same month. Deputy Riley County Attorney David…

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The Kansas Board of Regents have approved an exception to the tenure clock extension policy. Vice President of Academic Affairs Daniel Archer spoke to the details of the tenure policy during Wednesday’s meeting. A one-time exception was granted by the Regents for tenure-track employees at universities including at K-State in April 2020, due to COVID-19 disruptions. Thus, those employees would not have to count the pandemic as one of their two extensions as the policy states. Archer says having the policy will include the faculty cohort hired in fall 2020. The extension request received unanimous board approval. Other items of…

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A Junction City High School student vocalist has been selected to perform in the 2022 High School Honors Performance Series next month at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Senior Mahkayla Cole will perform Vocal Alto 2 with the High School Honors Concert Choir, putting her as one of the highest-rated high school performers in the world. USD 475 Geary County Schools says Cole auditioned for the Honors Performance Series earlier this year and was recently accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. A 10 year music student, Cole is a member of the Junction City High School…

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The Wamego School Board is inching closer to having a new superintendent in place. Four special meetings are planned next week for interviews to be conducted by the board with finalists, after the application period closed recently. Meetings are scheduled Monday through Thursday and will be entirely in executive session. Each candidate will tour the district buildings prior to a dinner and interview with the board at 6 p.m. The candidates’ names are being withheld until the mornings of their respective visits, with the district also planning to release brief bios on each candidate. A special meeting will be conducted…

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No injuries were reported after a brief fire ignited on the roof of Bluemont Elementary Wednesday evening. The school said on its Facebook page that a faulty heating unit ignited on the school’s roof after school Wednesday. There were staff and students in the building at Boys & Girls Club’s after school program. All were kept safe and were unharmed. The Manhattan Fire Department says damage is estimated at $500.

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School resumed Tuesday in the Manhattan-Ogden district after an extended holiday weekend amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that resulted in several staff members being out sick. Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid joined KMAN’s In Focus Wednesday to discuss how much that extra day off last Friday, prior to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, helped alleviate some of the unusually high  staffing shortages the district has been experiencing. Board member Curt Herrman praised the many who have stepped up to fill in gaps where needed including some familiar public faces. Both Reid and Herrman admit that while there is great…

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Kansas State University officials say they will no longer display student isolation and quarantine data on its dashboard following changes in protocols. Rather, they will be asking students to self-report symptomatic illness directly to faculty members, which means the data will no longer be collected centrally by the Office of Student Life. The move is an effort to keep from publishing inaccurate data, due to larger numbers of people testing positive elsewhere and at home. The university is also suspending support for contact tracing efforts. Those efforts will continue at the state and local health departments for another two weeks,…

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The Riley County Law Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the removal of recruit pay for new police trainees. Recruit pay has been an incentive tool used by the department to pay new recruits in corrections, dispatch and police officers at a lesser wage prior to the conclusion of training, at which point they receive their regular salary. With an increasingly competitive job market, it has hampered the department’s ability of late, to attract personnel. Capt. Josh Kyle says when positions are advertised it’s been at the lower wage, which is less desirable to most new recruits. The change has no…

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After three years and one month leading the Riley County Police Department, Riley County Police Department Director Dennis Butler sat in on his final Law Board meeting Tuesday afternoon at Manhattan City Hall. It was an opportunity for Law Board members to publicly thank Butler for his leadership of the only consolidated police department in Kansas. At-large board member Robert Ward stated that he has not always agreed with Butler on issues, but says they’ve always been able to amicably resolve their differences. He urged Butler to continue to advocate for law enforcement in other ways going forward. Law Board…

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Days after sentencing in the case of a former Belvue city employee charged with stealing thousands in city funds, the current city manager has come forward with some additional details about the woman who committed the crime. In an email to KMAN Monday, City Clerk Joe Peterson said former treasurer Kim Fitzgerald entered a plea deal with prosecutors, agreeing to nearly $89,000 in restitution to be paid. Peterson says city records for some of the years are poor, but indicated Fitzgerald was the acting city treasurer starting in 2008, and took over clerk duties at an unknown time during the…

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