Jan 15, 2020 12:30 AM

The Latest: DHS briefs Kan. lawmakers on business, ag threats

Posted Jan 15, 2020 12:30 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators say they have been told in secret briefings that foreign governments are trying to get proprietary information about business and agricultural assets in the state. Participants in the first briefing Tuesday said the extraordinary events involved a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official.

Lawmakers also said they were warned to be careful about opening emails from foreign sources. But they also said they did not hear about immediate threats. Legislators saw the briefings as highly unusual because they were conducted on a former Air Force base south of Topeka. Reporters and legislative staffers were not allowed to attend. 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is giving Kansas legislators extraordinary private briefings about undisclosed security issues.

Kansas House members boarded National Guard buses Tuesday for a briefing at a former Air Force base south of Topeka involving DHS and arranged by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office. Democrats had a separate briefing first, followed by Republicans.

Reporters and staffers were not allowed on the buses before they left the Statehouse. Deputy Attorney General Jay Scott Emler, a former state Senate majority leader, said in a letter Tuesday to the Kansas House speaker that the briefings should be given in closed party caucuses, which are allowed under the state’s open meetings law.

Emler’s letter said only that the briefings concerned issues that legislators “may encounter in the course of their official duties.” Lawmakers knew little about the content ahead of time.

“We’re anticipating it’s something to do with cybersecurity, but we don’t know,” House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., a Kansas City-area Republican, told reporters ahead of the GOP briefing.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat and the Legislature’s longest-serving member, said he cannot recall a similar briefing in his 44 years as a lawmaker. Senators expect their DHS briefings by next week.

Democrat State Rep. Stephanie Clayton who represents the 19th District wrote on twitter, " Heading back from a routine security briefing at Forbes Field. It was nice to tour the facility, but somewhat anticlimactic, given the buildup. "

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Jan 15, 2020 12:30 AM
Kansas man asks judge for sword battle with ex-wife, lawyer
Courthouse Shelby Iowa google image

HARLAN, Iowa (AP) — A Kansas man has asked an Iowa judge to let him engage in a sword fight with his ex-wife and her attorney so that he can “rend their souls” from their bodies.

David Ostrom, 40, of Paola, Kansas, said in a Jan. 3 court filing that his former wife, Bridgette Ostrom, 38, of Harlan, Iowa, and her attorney, Matthew Hudson, had “destroyed (him) legally.” The Ostroms have been embroiled in disputes over custody and visitation issues and property tax payments.

The judge had the power to let the parties “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally," David Ostrom said, adding in his filing that trial by combat "has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States."

He also asked the judge for 12 weeks' time so he could secure Japanese samurai swords.

His motion filed in Shelby County District Court stemmed from his frustrations with his ex-wife's attorney, Ostrom told The Des Moines Register.

"I think I've met Mr. Hudson's absurdity with my own absurdity," Ostrom said, adding that his former wife could choose Hudson to act as her champion.