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Wichita

Spirit AeroSystems announced Friday that it will lay off 2,800 employees at its plant in Wichita as the shutdown of the Boeing 737 Max program drags on.

The move comes just weeks after Boeing ordered Spirit to halt all deliveries of 737 Max components. Spirit produces about 70% of the jet at its facility in south Wichita, including the fuselage. The program accounts for half of the company's annual revenue.

Spirit AeroSystems said Friday it will suspend production of the 737 Max beginning Jan. 1.

The company says Boeing ordered Spirit to halt all 737 deliveries. The 737 Max was grounded in March following two fatal crashes overseas.

Spirit did not say how the production suspension would affect its workforce of more than 13,000 people. The company is Wichita's largest private employer.

Spirit makes more than 70 percent of the 737 at its south Wichita plant.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — More than two dozen cities and counties across Kansas have sued the opioid industry, from a small town with a population of 150 near the Colorado border to the state’s most populous county at its opposite end.

More may still file suits, legal experts say. And those that don’t could get a payout regardless if opioid makers, distributors and vendors opt for a global settlement. That would not only end the massive snarl of lawsuits brought by 2,600 parties nationwide but also prevent tens of thousands of other local governments from taking them to court, too.

When it comes to electric scooters, it seems that people either love them, or want to see them all thrown into a river — literally.

White Castle Dreams

Sep 16, 2019

If fast food is an American ritual, the hamburger is our "secular wafer." That's according to the author of a new book, Drive Thru Dreams. He says the story of fast food begins with the invention of the hamburger in Wichita, Kansas.

The Making Of Koch Industries

Aug 27, 2019

You won't see its name on many products but the Wichita-based conglomerate touches the lives of most Americans.

Charles and David Koch took their father's oil-refining business and converted it into the second largest privately held corporation in North America. Business writer Chris Leonard discussed what has been behind the brothers' success, their past transgressions against Native Americans and environmental law, and their influence on American politics.

David Koch, who built one of the nation's largest private businesses with his brother Charles and pumped money into conservative groups to help reshape American politics, has died.

Charles Koch confirmed the news in a statement on Friday that referenced David's long-running ailment.

Todd Feeback

A knight in shining armor with autism is the hero of Lawrence novelist Bryn Greenwood's new book, "The Reckless Oath We Made." A voice tells him to "champion" a waitress he meets in a Wichita physical therapy session, and the two careen off on a dangerous mission.

Greenwood says she didn't know whether the knight character, Gentry, would work. He's not only fascinated by Medieval literature and ancient martial arts, but his primary way of communicating is in Middle English.

Shelley Staib

Shelley Staib held the "best job ever" for 30 years. In 1975, the Shawnee writer was one of the first women to become a lineman for Bell Systems. The position gave her a great deal of independence, allowed her to work outside, and every day was different.

Andrea Allen / Wikimedia Commons, bit.ly/2M4AQBz

In April, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state’s constitution gives women a right to abortion.

That landmark ruling bolsters an ongoing lawsuit to expand access to abortion in Wichita. The case aims to clear the way for a clinic there — unable to find any willing, local doctors — to lean more on physicians in other states.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

The families of several people who were killed or wounded in a 2016 mass shooting near Wichita, Kansas, have reached a multimillion-dollar settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the pawn store that sold some of the guns used in the attack.

The lawsuit alleged that local retailer A Pawn Shop sold the guns to a woman as part of a straw purchase, which is when one person buys a gun on behalf of someone else, circumventing background checks and federal law.

Cities in Kansas have been adopting a new approach for dealing with feral cats: neutering and vaccinating them, and then allowing the felines to roam free.

That has birdwatchers worried.

Wichita State University President John Bardo, who transformed the school with the development of the Innovation Campus, has died.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke compared the national economy to a Looney Tunes character: magically floating in the air for a moment after running off a cliff before inevitably plummeting in 2020.

File photo

McClatchy Co., the parent company of The Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle, is offering buyouts to about 10 percent of its workforce.

In an email to employees on Friday, McClatchy President and CEO Craig Forman said the company was “rolling out two major initiatives,” including “a voluntary early retirement program for qualified colleagues, as we continue to align the size of our workforce to the changes that come with digital transformation.”

The email said about 450 McClatchy employees would be receiving “a voluntary early retirement offer today via email.”

Segment 1: Four nearby counties are "the most typical in the U.S." according to recent study.

A recent study by Echelon Insights, a research and polling firm based in Washington D.C., ranked the top 25 most typical counties in America. Two on the list include Jackson and Clay county in Missouri, as well as Shawnee and Sedgwick in Kansas, respectively. So what makes us so typical? And what does 'typical' even mean?

Spirit AeroSystems announced Wednesday it will add 1,400 new jobs over the course of the next year.

 

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

When a ban might not be a ban

Legislators set out this year to make telemedicine more practical in Kansas. They drafted a law that would force insurance companies to pay for some services offered over video hook-ups the same way as in-person visits.

But that bill became controversial when anti-abortion forces added language that seemed to stop a physician from administering drugs, over telemedicince links, intended to trigger a medical abortion.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Farm filming

Nearly two decades ago, Kansas became the first state to outlaw the unauthorized filming of farms, animal research labs or meatpacking plants.

The law came from a push by ag groups trying to fend off guerilla documentaries by groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals collecting gritty footage of all it takes to make a steer into hamburger.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Fill ’er up

Pavement wears down at the same rate whether the cars and trucks rolling over it rely on internal combustion engines for locomotion or on new-fangled hybrid and electric motors.

Yet Kansas, like most other states, relies on gasoline taxes for much of the cost of building its roads and keeping them in reasonable shape.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Sticker shock

Kansas turned to the nonprofit group Teach For America earlier this year and cut a deal: Find a dozen teachers willing to work in the state in areas where we’re having recruitment problems, including western Kansas, and we’ll pay you $500,000-plus.

In the end, reports Nomin Ujiyediin, the group routed just three teachers, all to Kansas City, Kansas.

Lawmakers are not happy.

About two decades ago the Wichita School Board, disturbed by an increasing number of guns, knives and other weapons being brought to schools, decided to take a hard-line approach:

Zero tolerance.

The board, prompted by the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, passed a policy mandating that any student caught with a gun — or a realistic-looking replica — on school property or at a school-sponsored event would be expelled for a full year.

No weapons — no questions, no excuses.

Leeds

Oct 2, 2018

Leeds, an area of Kansas City that is known primarily as an industrial zone today, was once a self-contained African-American community. We visit with community members to find out what growing up in the Leeds neighborhood was like and what made that area of Kansas City unique. Plus, a look at the latest podcast episode from My Fellow Kansans.

File photo

If there’s been one constant in Kansas politics for the last 30 years, it’s that Republicans seeking statewide office must be unequivocally against abortion, and for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

(This is a digest of news from across the state.)

Sedgwick Deputy Killed

A call to the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department early Sunday afternoon about a “suspicious character” in a small town 10 miles west of Wichita ended with Deputy Robert Kunze and a 29-year-old man both shot dead.

Top-level minor league baseball likely will return to Wichita in 2020.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said Thursday that the New Orleans Baby Cakes of the Pacific Coast League have filed an application to relocate to Wichita. The application must be approved by Minor League Baseball and the Pacific Coast League. It also must be reviewed by Major League Baseball.

Last spring, just minutes after learning he had lost the special election for the 4th Congressional District seat to Ron Estes, James Thompson announced he was running again.

"I announced the night that I lost that I was running in 2018 because I saw a fire that was ignited here that we needed to continue pushing," Thompson says. "There was never a question in my mind."

The civil rights lawyer has spent the past year and a half in campaign mode, largely with the same team of supporters that was behind him last year. He says a major difference in this election is time.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday lashed out at the Koch brothers, tweeting that the billionaire industrialists are a "total joke in real Republican circles" and that he is "a puppet for no one."

It's the latest salvo between the president and Charles and David Koch, who did not endorse Trump in his 2016 presidential bid and have criticized Trump's spending plans and trade policies.

Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Wichita's Koch Industries. David Koch stepped down last month from his business and political activitites because of health concerns.

A piece of funnel cake, dusted in powdered sugar.
Jamiesrabbits / Flickr - CC

Summer in Kansas City means braving the heat and humidity for the metro's many outdoor festivals, where snack offerings are so plentiful and varied that we asked our food critics for guidance on navigating the options.

"Sometimes in those festivals, you can get foods that you can't find in any restaurant in Kansas City. It's a real treat," said Charles Ferruzza.

Federal prosecutors have revived an effort to target violent crime in Kansas, this time with a focus on Wichita and Garden City, U.S. Attorney for Kansas Stephen McAllister announced Thursday.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative prioritizes federal prosecutions of repeat violent offenders and convicted criminals who carry firearms.

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