Crime, Fire, Courts

Effort to lower marijuana penalties gets second try
September 16, 2014
A group of Wichita residents who want to reduce the punishment for possessing small amounts of marijuana will try a second petition drive.
Local law enforcement agencies help patrol Topeka after officer’s funeral
September 15, 2014
Local law enforcement officers helped out neighboring Topeka this weekend, as police there mourned a fellow officer killed on duty. The Lawrence Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office sent more than 40 officers to help patrol the streets of Topeka Saturday evening and Sunday morning. By Sara Shepherd
Love, full life behind man who battled alcoholism and was found dead in Burcham Park
September 14, 2014
Brandi Woodson was five years old when the strong, blond man with a booming voice came into her life. She and her younger sister’s biological father hadn’t been around for much of their early lives, so when their mother, Karen Fisher, of Lansing, began a relationship Mark Kemberling, the girls were delighted to have someone to do the things fathers do. On Aug. 31, two people discovered Kemberling lying face down in the water of a small creek south of the Kansas River in Burcham Park. Lawrence police finally identified Kemberling’s body on Wednesday, after 10 days of reviewing medical records.
Title IX changing how campuses handle sexual assaults
September 13, 2014
Title IX — the law under which universities investigate campus assaults — once again is forcing American colleges to make historic changes. The 1972 amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965 was passed to bring gender equity to education changed college sports forever. Now, Title IX is breaking new legal ground and forcing colleges to overhaul how they handle sexual assaults.
KU, prosecutors face challenges in rape investigations
September 13, 2014
To her, it’s black and white. What happened in a fellow Kansas University student’s dorm room — two times during the fall of her freshman year, both after nights of heavy drinking — was rape. To her alleged assailant and those investigating her case, it’s not so cut and dried. Campus rape has emerged as a top political and social issue this year. It’s one where federal Title IX law, criminal law, campus policies, enforcement of them and education about them all intersect. Further complicating investigations? Alcohol abuse figures prominently in most of them. By Sara Shepherd
Alcohol and sex can create a dangerous mix on campus
September 13, 2014
As Kansas University and other institutions grapple with sexual assault on campus, alcohol is a complicating factor. And it will remain that way, national experts on campus rape say, until changes occur in cultural norms and attitudes that allow or even encourage students to go to bars and parties, get drunk and have sex.
22-year-old Lawrence man arrested after battering man, officer downtown Saturday morning
September 13, 2014
A 22-year-old Lawrence man was arrested Saturday after putting his hands around a Lawrence police officer’s neck as the officer tried to break up a fight downtown.
Brothers bar brawl ends in two arrests, one taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital
September 13, 2014
Two people were taken to the Douglas County Jail and another to Lawrence Memorial Hospital after a brawl outside It’s Brothers Bar and Grill, 1105 Massachusetts St., Saturday morning.
83-year-old gets 36 months probation for securities fraud in Lawrence
September 12, 2014
An 83-year-old man received 36 months of probation for running a fraudulent investment scheme in Lawrence.
Coroner: Lawrence man’s death caused by electrocution, fall
September 12, 2014
Douglas County Coroner Erik K. Mitchell confirmed Friday that 54-year-old Thomas Richard “Dick” Sheppard’s July 18 death was accidental, caused by electrocution and subsequent fall.
Bomb squad secures suspicious object at Douglas County courthouse
09:57 a.m., September 12, 2014 Updated 12:32 p.m.
The Douglas County courthouse was evacuated and the bomb squad called Friday morning after a suspicious object was reported outside. Shortly after noon, the object was secured without incident, and the area around the courthouse was reopened.
Body of man found near Kansas River Aug. 31 identified as 57-year-old Lawrence resident
September 10, 2014
Lawrence Police have identified the body of a man found dead near the Vermont Street bridge over the Kansas River last month as 57-year-old Mark Kemberling, of Lawrence. By Caitlin Doornbos
Handcuffed suspect ran onto Turnpike, escaped troopers
September 9, 2014
A handcuffed man who ran onto the Kansas Turnpike before heading for the grass, jumping a fence and escaping Monday was still at large Tuesday afternoon. By Sara Shepherd
Teen accused in sex crimes with underage girls considers withdrawing plea
September 9, 2014
A teen who previously pleaded no contest to sex crimes involving one or more underage girls wants to consider withdrawing his plea. By Sara Shepherd
Man wanted in police officer killing skipped sentencing Friday in Lawrence for unrelated case
September 8, 2014
A man connected to Sunday’s Topeka police officer killing was supposed to be sentenced in another case Friday in Douglas County but didn’t show up for his hearing. By Sara Shepherd