State labor department cutting staff hours
Topeka -- The Kansas Department of Labor on Monday said it would reduce hours of employees who handle unemployment compensation claims over the telephone. Layoffs in the agency are expected to come later, officials said.
The "work-share program" will affect 65 department employees at call centers in Topeka, Kansas City, Kan., and Wichita, said Beth Martino, an agency spokeswoman. Martino said reduced hours for those employees would be in addition to an undetermined number of layoffs to be announced at the end of this week or start of next week.
Labor Department officials said they must cut spending because of decreased federal funding to administer jobless benefits. The reduction resulted from fewer people claiming unemployment, officials said.
Slaying suspect found competent to stand trial
Olathe -- A 17-year-old boy accused of killing his social worker was found competent to stand trial during a hearing Monday in Johnson County District Court.
Andrew Ellmaker will return to court Jan. 19 for a hearing to determine whether he will be tried as an adult on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery.
Ellmaker was arrested Aug. 17 for stabbing to death Teri Zenner, a social worker with Johnson County Mental Health Center and a Kansas University graduate student. Zenner had gone to Ellmaker's Overland Park home for a regularly scheduled visit when she was allegedly attacked by Ellmaker.
Ellmaker also is charged with stabbing his mother, who survived.
The competency ruling was made after Ellmaker underwent a mental examination.
Robbery reported at Dollar General store
Two women armed with cans of Mace last week robbed the Dollar General store, 1811 W. Sixth St., according to a Lawrence Police report made public Monday.
The suspects entered the store about 8 p.m. Sept. 28 as the store was ready to close, said Sgt. Dan Ward, police spokesman.
Two employees, a 56-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man, were sprayed with Mace and forced into a back room where their hands were bound with duct tape, Ward said. The suspects then took an undisclosed amount of money and fled.
The victims waited a few minutes and then freed themselves from the tape, Ward said.