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Headlines for Monday, February 12, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Chemist Gets Another Stay of Removal
 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the deportation fight involving a chemist from Kansas (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

A federal immigration board has granted a new stay of removal for a Kansas chemist who is battling efforts to deport him to Bangladesh. That came Monday afternoon, hours after a federal immigration judge dissolved a temporary stay he had issued last week for 55-year-old Syed Ahmed Jamal, who was arrested in late January in Lawrence. Jamal's attorneys quickly filed a new motion for a stay with the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia, which granted it late. The chemist and adjunct professor has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years. He and his wife have three U.S. native children and live in Lawrence. His arrest and possible deportation sparked protests and criticism, including from Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver. Immigration officials have not explained why they decided to arrest him January 24.

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(story from earlier today) 
4:13 p.m.

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has denied a stay that would keep a Kansas chemistry instructor in the U.S. while he battles immigration officials' efforts to deport him to Bangladesh. Attorneys for 55-year-old Syed Ahmed Jamal said a federal immigration judge on Monday dissolved a temporary stay issued last week, meaning Jamal could be deported at any time. Jamal's attorneys immediately filed a new motion for a stay with the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia. Jamal, who has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years, was arrested January 24 in Lawrence. His attorneys at the Sharma-Crawford firm in Kansas City said Monday it was unclear whether Jamal was still at a detention center in El Paso, Texas. Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Representative Lynn Jenkins of Kansas issued statements Monday saying they were disappointed in the judge's decision.

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Prison Disturbance in El Dorado Injures Inmate

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) _ A disturbance at the state prison is El Dorado resulted in one inmate being sent offsite for medical treatment.  Cheryl Cadue, with the Kansas Department of Corrections, says a fight broke out Friday between two groups of inmates at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.  She says the injured inmate has since returned to the prison.  Cadue says no staff members were injured and she says the facility was never on lockdown.  But the Kansas Organization of State Employees disputes that.  The union that represents state workers says the facility DID go on lockdown Friday and remained on lockdown Saturday.  This is just the latest in a string of disturbances at several state prisons during the past year.

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Kansas Governor Backs Bill to Open Records on Child Deaths 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer and the state's top child welfare official are backing legislation to require disclosure of some records when a child dies of abuse or neglect. Colyer and Department for Children and Families Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel announced Monday that they're supporting a bill introduced last week in the Kansas House. The bill would require the department to release a child's age, gender and date of death upon receiving an open records request. It also would have to release a summary of its reports of child abuse or neglect and its findings about those reports. Kansas has had several high-profile cases in recent years of children who died in abusive homes. Colyer said under the bill, the public would learn what steps the state took to protect a child.

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Colyer Calls to Stop Diverting Kansas Highway Funds

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas's new governor has joined in increased calls to stop using state highway funding for other purposes. The Wichita Eagle reports that the state has spent more than $3.3 billion meant for highways on other areas of spending over the past 20 years. As a result, the state is currently delaying nearly two dozen projects to repair or expand highways. Governor Jeff Colyer told lawmakers last week that the state "must end the highway funding sweeps and build an effective plan that promotes economic development and strengthens our transportation network." Colyer didn't offer a concrete proposal or timeline for ending the transfer of money from highways to other areas. But his spokeswoman said Friday that the governor is calling for a transportation task force to identify the best option.

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Top Kansas Lawmakers Expect to Revise Policy for Interns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Top Kansas lawmakers are expected to revise a broad confidentiality agreement that legislative interns must sign in order to work at the Statehouse.  Concerns have been expressed that the current agreement could discourage interns from reporting misconduct.  Employment law attorneys have warned that the agreement might have a chilling effect on the willingness of interns to report sexual harassment or illegal activity... and so legislative leaders are reconsidering the agreement.  Leaders in both parties say confidentiality agreement needs to be rewritten and is being reviewed by the Legislature's staff.  House Speaker and Olathe Republican Ron Ryckman Jr. said he supports changing the agreement because, in his words, "We need to clear some things up."  The agreement says what occurs in legislative offices "stays there" and breaching that confidentiality will lead to an intern's immediate dismissal.

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Family Says 102-Year-Old Kansas Columnist Dies After Illness

PROTECTION, Kan. (AP) - A 102-year-old woman who may have been Kansas' oldest newspaper columnist has died after an illness.  Rodney Brown tells the Wichita Eagle that his mother, Bonnie Brown, was found dead in her apartment Saturday morning. She had been battling a cold that turned into pneumonia.  Bonnie Brown had been writing for the Protection Press for eight years. In that time she only missed two deadlines: when the town was evacuated for wildfires last spring and a few weeks ago when she caught a virus.  Brown was known for her upbeat personality. She wrote about local events for the paper and offered her own insight and analysis.  Protection is near the Oklahoma border in southwest Kansas.

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Kansas Middle School Teacher Charged with Sex Exploitation

DERBY, Kan. (AP) - A Derby Middle School teacher and coach who was arrested last month following a child pornography investigation has been charged with 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a child.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 37-year-old Cody Chitwood made his first appearance in court last week.  A preliminary hearing is set for later this month.  Chitwood was a special education teacher, football, track and girls' basketball coach at the school. He's been suspended without pay.  A school district spokeswoman (Katie Carlson) says the charges against Chitwood do not involve any of the school's students.

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Kansas Voting Rights Challenge Headed to Trial

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Should people who want to register to vote in Kansas be required to prove they are U.S. citizens?  That question will soon be tested in court.  Legal challenges to a state law requiring proof of citizenship are headed to trial next month.  U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has added additional days to the previously scheduled trial that begins March 6 in Kansas City, Kansas. The new schedule sets aside eight days for the bench trial.  The American Civil Liberties Union sued Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach over the requirement that people produce a document such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport in order to register to vote.  The ACLU lawsuit's key argument is that the Kansas law violates a federal law requiring minimal information to register.

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Kansas Woman Alleges State Investigators Owe Her Hundreds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 72-year-old woman in northeast Kansas says she paid her neighbor $700 in cash for yard services, but when authorities arrested the man they seized her money and kept it. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Suzanne James alleges the Kansas Bureau of Investigation balked at returning her money unless she went to its headquarters for questioning, which she refused to do. James says she paid $700 in cash to her neighbor, 42-year-old Chad Wendlandt, to mow her lawn and provide tree care services while she was out of town last summer. But Wendlandt was arrested by the KBI on charges of bond violation before he could do the work. The KBI says it acted appropriately and that the matter is no longer its responsibility. The bureau says Wendlandt's case concluded when he was sentenced to prison in December for drug crimes.

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Some Kansas Residents Upset with New ID Requirements

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some Kansas residents are expressing frustration over the state's strict requirements for a new form of driver's license. The licenses adopted by the state last year are intended to comply with the federal "Real ID" law. The law requires state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards to meet specific standards in order to be used for conducting official business with the government. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 78-year-old Gretchen Underwood said Friday she hasn't been able to get her Real ID license because none of her documents meet the new requirements. The Kansas Department of Revenue says people must show a valid passport or birth certificate, either an official non-laminated card or a recent pay stub or tax document bearing the person's full Social Security number, and proof of Kansas residency.

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Judge Weighs Man's Claim That Shooting Was Self-Defense

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A judge is weighing a man's claim that that a deadly Lawrence shooting was self-defense. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the preliminary hearing for Steven Drake III ended Friday with a judge taking the case under advisement. Drake is charged with first-degree murder charge in the killing of Bryce Holladay. The shooting happened in September after Holladay began rummaging through items in a home where Drake was living with roommates. Holladay is accused of throwing punches as several people tried to push him out. Drake told police he gave Holladay "fair warning." At the time, Holladay was awaiting trial in an unrelated auto burglary and theft case. Prosecutors argue that deadly force wasn't reasonable because no one was at risk of great bodily harm or death. Drake knew Holladay.

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Critics Take Aim at Koch-Funded School at Wichita State

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Officials at Wichita State University say a new private school being financed by members of the Koch family is a good fit for the university's campus.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Chase and Annie Koch announced they're financing a new private pre-K-through-12th-grade school called Wonder on Wichita State's campus.  Critics of the proposed school say the public university that receives state funding shouldn't be the site of an exclusive private school. Steve Wentz, president of United Teachers of Wichita, says the school can't accurately test education strategies unless it includes children of all abilities and financial means.  Wonder co-founder Zach Lahn says the school wants to expand access to benefit more students and eventually plans to have at least 25 percent of its students on scholarships or financial aid.

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Multi-State Crime Suspect Now Facing Mississippi Charges

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — A man convicted in Kansas now faces trial in Mississippi over a series of shootings and killings.  Rankin County, Mississippi, District Attorney Michael Guest said Monday that authorities have returned Alex Deaton to Mississippi and aim for a summer trial on murder, drive-by shooting and motor vehicle theft indictments.  Deaton is accused of strangling his girlfriend, stealing her SUV, and shooting a jogger in 2017. He's also indicted for killing a woman near Philadelphia, Mississippi.  Police say Deaton then carjacked a New Mexico couple, fled to Kansas, shot a store clerk and stole the clerk's car.  Deaton pleaded guilty in July in Kansas to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. He was sentenced there in October to nearly 13 years in prison.  He faces a possible life sentence if convicted in Mississippi.

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Missouri River Reservoirs Ready for Spring Runoff

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The officials who manage the reservoirs along the Missouri River say the system is in good shape to handle this spring's runoff.  John Remus with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the reservoirs are ready to reduce flood risk in the region even though runoff is expected to be slightly above average at 104 percent of normal.  Some of the Plains snowpack has already melted and entered the reservoir system because of recent warmer periods.  The releases from Gavins Point dam near the South Dakota-Nebraska border are expected to remain at winter levels of 18,000 cubic feet per second during February.  The Missouri River should have enough water for full service navigation through at least the first half of the 2018 season.

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18-Year-Old Man Killed in Shooting at Wichita Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 17-year-old is in custody after a Wichita man was shot to death at his home. Police Lt. Todd Ojile says three or four people armed with guns went the home Sunday night and one of them got into a fight with a person in the home. The person at the home, an 18-year-old male, was shot. He was later pronounced dead at a Wichita hospital. His name hasn't been released. The 17-year-old boy was arrested early Monday and booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of murder and other charges.

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Man Dies in Shooting at Home West of the Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a man has been fatally shot in a Kansas City, Kansas, home.  Police say officers responding to a report of disturbance found the victim dead late Saturday in a neighborhood west of the Kansas Speedway. He had been shot in the abdomen. The man was in his late 40s. His name wasn't immediately released.  

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18-Year-Old Man Killed in Shooting at Wichita Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say an 18-year-old man has been killed in a Wichita shooting.  Police say the man wasn't breathing when officers responded Sunday night to a home in the southern part of the city. He was rushed to a hospital where he died. The victim's name wasn't immediately released and no arrests have been made. Officers are investigating.

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Man Dies in Weekend Crash on Icy Kansas Highway

LYNDON, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a Missouri man has been struck and killed on an icy Kansas highway.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash happened Saturday when a car went off the side of Interstate 35 in Osage County, about 35 miles east of Emporia. The car struck a full-size van that was legally parked in the median and two people who were on foot. The men were rushed to hospitals, where 49-year-old Robert Groh, of Raymore, Missouri, was pronounced dead.  The Michigan man driving the car and his passenger weren't hurt.

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Firefighters Say Man Dies in North Wichita House Fire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Emergency officials say one person has died in a house fire in north Wichita.  The Wichita Eagle reports that fire was reported around 6:15 pm Friday. Firefighters say they saw no smoke or flames coming from the home when they arrived, but encountered thick smoke upon entering the house.  Fire Chief Tammy Snow says the victim was found on the floor and removed from the house. The man was not breathing and did not have a pulse when rescued and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 7 pm.  Authorities had not released the victim's name by midday Saturday.

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Shocker Men's, Women's Players Involved in Separate Crashes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University says two men's basketball players were involved in a nine-vehicle pileup and that the women's team also crashed after freezing drizzle.  The Wichita Eagle reports that no players or coaches were injured in the Saturday night crashes in Wichita.  The Kansas Highway Patrol blamed the nine-vehicle pileup on slick conditions. University officials say 19-year-old Austin Reaves and 22-year-old Brett Barney continued on to dinner afterward. The crash happened after the Shockers beat Connecticut in Koch Arena. One person in another vehicle was taken to a hospital.  University officials say the bus carrying the Wichita State women's basketball team also was involved in an accident on the way to Koch Arena from Eisenhower National Airport.

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