Today In Kansas Report – Feb. 21, 2020

Jackson SchneiderFebruary 21, 2020

State lawmakers are discussing a bill that would prevent municipalities from banning single-use plastic bags.  Authorities say Wichita, Salina and Lawrence are among the cities considering such a ban, which is typically based on environmental concerns.  Supporters say the bags are already recyclable and any ban would have a minor impact on trash.  Opponents argue the bill infringes on the rights of cities to pursue home-rule policies.

Kansas lawmakers are considering legislation that would make broadband Internet more readily accessible across the entire state.  Authorities say a proposed bill would enable cities and counties to apply for grant funding through the state Department of Commerce.  If approved, those areas would qualify for up to 50-percent of the money required to set up broadband Internet.  Funding for the program has reportedly not been nailed down.  However, officials say it is likely to come from taxpayers funding state and federal programs.

A Leoti man is dead following a single-vehicle accident early yesterday in Wichita County.  KHP officials say 36-year-old Carlos Enrique Gonzales died at Wichita County Hospital after he was critically injured in the rollover crash, which happened a little after 5:30 a.m. Thursday. The driver, 35-year-old Jesus Antonio Subdiaz-Aguilar, and the other passenger, 29-year-old Jose Manual Medina, both suffered minor injuries when the truck went off the west side of the road, rolled onto its roof and then back onto its wheels.  All three men were reportedly wearing seatbelts.  Troopers are investigating.

A man facing charges for sex crimes in Colorado is behind bars in Hays after he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl. 20-year-old Christopher Cox was busted after officers spotted a young girl coming out his room at the Rodeway Inn. Authorities say he remains in custody on rape and other charges.   Meanwhile, Cox is also awaiting trial on charges of third-degree assault and unlawful sexual contact in Lamar, Colorado.

No injuries are reported following an early-Thursday-morning structure fire at a shuttered Kansas pet food factory. Authorities say crews were called to the Treatco building in north Wichita. The blaze at what was once a dog-food plant was still burning 12 hours later. Fire officials said they planned to let the building continue to burn until the fire ran out of fuel, at which point investigators will try to determine cause.

A Lawrence-based builder is facing three months in prison and a five-figure fine after he improperly disposed of asbestos-laced building materials more than three years ago. Officials said 54-year-old Thomas Fritzel failed to notify authorities after he removed asbestos and then neglected to keep it wet during demolition to keep dust out of the air before packing the material in air-tight containers prior to disposal.   Those violations happened in 2016 when he was renovating Alvamar Country Club.  Officials say, in addition to time behind bars, Fritzel faces a $55,000 fine.


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