Fatal helicopter crash happened during delivery
A Tonganoxie man and his passenger were delivering a helicopter to the federal government Sunday when the craft crashed near Ballard, Mo., and killed the two men.
Leonard Lawson, 58, was on the way to Rolla, Mo., where his helicopter was going to be leased for crop dusting, an official with Quisenberry Funeral Home in Tonganoxie said.
The official did not know which branch of government had rented the helicopter but said the aircraft was going to be used to spray cotton in southern Missouri and Arkansas.
Also killed was Lawson's passenger, Richard A. Enlow, 60, Bonner Springs.
Lawson lived in Tonganoxie for 22 years and owned Lawson Backhoe and Dozer Service, the funeral home said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident. The FAA Web site said Lawson's helicopter, a Bell 68, crashed for unknown reasons.
Lawmakers press case for child welfare changes
Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, and House Democratic Leader Jim Garner, D-Coffeyville, on Monday said they will ask the Legislative Coordinating Council to endorse their call for independent oversight of the state's privatized child welfare system.
The seven-member coordinating council meets at 10:30 a.m. today at the Statehouse in Topeka.
Currently, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services oversees the state's family-preservation, foster-care and adoption contracts. According to Garner and Hensley, SRS has been slow in calling lawmakers' attention to the system's shortfalls, a position fueled when United Methodist Youthville, the state's largest foster-care contractor, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. The filing caught lawmakers by surprise.
Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, chairwoman of the joint Committee on Children's Issues, said she hopes to set aside several days of hearings to analyze the contractors' finances.
First woman takes command of Kansas Guard battalion
Olathe Lt. Col. Jane I. Harris, 51, Linwood, became the first woman to command a Kansas Army National Guard battalion in ceremonies Sunday at the Olathe armory.
Harris took command of the 169th Corps Support Battalion from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Barry A. Hoffman, 53, Overland Park, who will become the counterdrug operations coordinator.
Harris has been a member of the Army National Guard since 1982.