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Headlines for Friday, August 2, 2019

 

Kansas Joins Missouri in Shaky Truce to Economic "Border War"

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has signed an executive order aimed at ending a long-standing "border war" with Missouri over existing jobs in the Kansas City area.  But the order that Kelly issued Friday suggests the truce may be shaky.  Kelly's order pledges that Kansas won't use economic development incentives to lure existing jobs across the border in the Kansas City area. Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a law in June pledging the same for his state.  Kelly's order notes that local governments in Missouri still can offer more generous incentives than those in Kansas and says she might rescind her order if they don't stop.  The nonprofit Hall Foundation estimates the states have used $335 million in incentives since 2011 to move more than 12,000 existing jobs in the area.

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Flash Flooding in Eastern Kansas Forces Water Rescues

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Thunderstorms and heavy rain in parts of eastern Kansas have forced multiple water rescues.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that authorities in Douglas County were called to rescue nine people Thursday morning from homes around Lone Star Lake southwest of Lawrence.  County spokeswoman Karrey Britt said three people were rescued from flooding along Washington creek in the Lawrence area, one from a vehicle.  Officials said roads were flooded throughout the county, including the underpass leading into North Lawrence from downtown Lawrence.  KMBC reports water rescues were needed early Thursday north of downtown Ottawa, where more than 7 inches fell overnight. Some areas saw up to 10 inches.  The heavy rain began Wednesday evening and continued Thursday morning. The National Weather Service forecast a chance of rain remaining into Saturday morning.

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Rainfall Causes Equipment Failure at Lawrence Wastewater Plant

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials say heavy rainfall has forced its wastewater treatment plant to shut down, diverting sewage into the Kansas River and nearby streams.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Thursday that the exceptionally heavy rainfall caused equipment failure at the Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city shut down the plant for repairs.  The city is advising the public and their pets to avoid contact with any floodwater in low-lying flooded areas because of potential contamination.  The city says the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and municipalities downstream have been notified.

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Kansas Tax Collections Slightly Better than Expected in July

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting that its tax collections were slightly higher than expected in July.  The Department of Revenue said Thursday that the state collected $496 million in taxes last month when its official revenue forecast predicted $494 million. The $2 million difference was a surplus of 0.4%.  It was the first month of the state's 2020 budget year. During the 2019 budget year, the state's tax collections of almost $7.5 billion were $191 million more than expected, for a surplus of 2.6%.  Tax collections have exceeded expectations 25 of the past 26 months.  But the new budget year is getting off to a slightly slower start than the 2019 budget year.  The state collected $499 million in taxes in July 2018, or almost $3 million more than last month.

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UPDATE: Colorado Authorities Identify Kansas Girl Swept Away by River

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — A 16-year-old Kansas girl who died after being swept away by a river in Colorado has been identified as Jamie Tran of Wichita.  The Aspen Daily News reports that the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office received a report around 4:45 pm Wednesday that a young woman crossing the Roaring Fork River was swept downstream by the strong current.  Officials say the girl's body was located at 9:15 am Thursday about 100 yards downriver from a popular summer recreation spot east of Aspen.  An autopsy was being done to determine the exact cause of death.

(-earlier reporting-)

Colorado Rescuers Locate Body of Girl Swept Away by River

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Colorado authorities have located the body of teenager who was missing after being swept away by a river.  The Aspen Daily News reports the 16-year-old girl was taken by the Roaring Fork River while swimming Wednesday.  The girl's body was located Thursday near the Devil's Punchbowl, a popular summer recreation spot about 9 miles east of Aspen.  The identity of the Kansas resident was withheld pending positive identification.  The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office received a report around 4:45 pm. Wednesday that a young woman crossing the river was swept downstream by the strong current.  Authorities say emergency responders searched the riverbank until nightfall and resumed the search Thursday morning.  Officials say a limited search was conducted after nightfall using night-vision equipment.

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Body Found in Lake Wilson Believed to be Missing Kayaker

WILSON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have recovered a body from a Kansas lake while searching for a former college baseball player who went missing while kayaking with co-workers.  The Russell County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that the body found Friday morning in Lake Wilson is believed to be that of Engel Rosario. The post says positive identification is pending an autopsy.  KWCH-TV reports that the 26-year-old became separated from a group of co-workers from Pfizer while kayaking Tuesday afternoon. The co-workers later found his kayak overturned with his cell phone, wallet and flip flops nearby.  Rosario is from the Dominican Republic and played baseball at Bethany College in Lindsborg. His former assistant coach, Olan Ortiz, says several of Rosario's former teammates participated in the search.

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Salina Pharmacist, Husband Sentenced in Opioid Diversion Scheme

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 29-year-old Salina pharmacist has been sentenced to three years of probation for diverting prescription drugs containing opioids.  Kirsty Hartley was sentenced Thursday. The sentence includes 18 months of house arrest.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister says Hartley's husband, Dalton Hartley, was given the same sentence because he received the drugs from her.  Kirsty Hartley pleaded guilty to distributing a prescription painkiller outside the usual course of professional practice. Dalton Hartley pleaded guilty acquiring controlled substances through fraud.  Kirsty Hartley worked at a CVS pharmacy. She admitted she gave more than 21,000 tablets of hydrocodone with acetaminophen to her husband. He consumed or traded them for marijuana.  As part of her plea, Kirsty Hartley surrendered her pharmacist's license.

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Kansas City Drug Traffickers Sentenced for Shipping Heroin and Meth Through FedEx

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two men who used Federal Express to ship heroin and methamphetamine from Arizona to Kansas have been sentenced to federal prison.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said 34-year-old David Thomas, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced Thursday to eight years and four months in prison. And 36-year-old James Reich, of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced to four years and three months. They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin.  Prosecutors say the investigation began when a drug dog alerted on a box at a FedEx facility. The box contained more than half a pound of heroin.  The investigation led to Kansas City, Kansas, home. FedEx records showed six similar packages were delivered to that address. Investigators then linked Thomas and Reich to the address and to one another.

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Last Man Sentenced in Lawrence Triple Murder

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old Topeka man was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of killing three people in downtown Lawrence.  Anthony Laron Roberts Jr., was sentenced Thursday in the October 2017 shootings that killed 22-year-old Leah Elizabeth Brown, of Shawnee; 20-year-old Colwin Lynn Henderson III, of Topeka; and 24-year-old Tre'Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, of Topeka.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports two other men were shot but survived. Brown was the only victim who didn't know anyone involved.  Two co-defendants, Ahmad Malik Rayton and Dominque Jacquez McMillon, both of Topeka, pleaded to lesser charges earlier this year.  The shooting started with a fistfight between two groups of Topeka men who had previous confrontations and ended when more than 20 shots were fired.

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Customer Dies in Shootout at Kansas City Wendy's

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say a customer at a Wendy's was shot to death during an argument with an employee.  Police say 23-year-old Aaron Mason, of Kansas City, died after the shooting Wednesday night in midtown Kansas City.  Captain Tim Hernandez says Mason walked behind the counter to confront the employee during an argument and the two exchanged gunfire.  Gunshots were fired inside and outside the restaurant before Mason collapsed in the parking lot. He died later at a hospital.  The employee fled before police arrived.  The cause of the argument has not been released.  About a dozen customers and employees were inside the restaurant when police arrived. No one else was hurt.

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18-Year-Old Arrested in 2017 Death of 13-Month-Old Son

HUGOTON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says an 18-year-old has been arrested in the 2017 death of his 13-month-old son.  The teen was arrested Thursday at his home in Hugoton. The KBI says he has been booked into the Grant County Jail on suspicion of the juvenile offenses of first-degree murder and child abuse.  His baby died from brain injuries at a Wichita hospital on October 6, 2017, four days after being found unresponsive in a home in the small southwest Kansas town of Ulysses. The father was 16 at the time.

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Wichita Man Gets Probation After Soliciting Child for Sex

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 67-year-old Wichita man who tried to have sex with a 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to three years of probation.  Sedgwick County records show Raymundo Arroyo Sanchez was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to aggravated indecent solicitation of a child.  The Wichita Eagle reports Sanchez could be sent to prison for 32 months if he violates his probation. He also must complete sex offender treatment and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.  Prosecutors say he tried to have sex with the 13-year-old girl in September 2018. She was with three younger girls who went to Sanchez's apartment near a park after he offered them drinks and snacks. The girl knew Sanchez, who had previously given her drinks and snacks.

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2 Teens Surrender, Admit to Impersonating Police

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two teenagers have admitted impersonating police and pulling over unsuspecting motorists in eastern Kansas.  The Lyon County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that the 18-year-old and 17-year-old turned themselves in to the Lyon County Sheriff's Office on Thursday.  The sheriff's office began investigating early Wednesday after receiving reports that the occupants of a silver passenger were using red and blue lights in the windshield area to pull over at least two vehicles on Kansas 99 between Emporia and the town of Olpe. After the vehicles pulled over, the driver of the car with the red and blue lights would drive around them and leave without contacting the occupants.  Formal charges are pending. Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.

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Coach: Kansas Football Player's Death was Act of God

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The former head football coach at a Kansas community college where a defensive lineman died of heatstroke after the first day of practice says the death was an act of God.  KCUR Radio reports Thursday that the comment by former head coach Jeff Sims comes nearly one year after 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth collapsed following practice at Garden City Community College. Sims made the remark Wednesday during football media day for the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  Sims said, "It's unfortunate what happened, but God has a plan."  He insisted Bradforth's death was not his fault, but instead an act of God. He also noted it didn't happen at football practice, but after practice.  Sims left after the 2018 season to take the head coaching job at Missouri Southern University in Joplin.

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Low-Fare Carrier to Take Vacation from Some Wichita Flights

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Low-fare carrier Allegiant Air will take a long break from some Wichita routes starting in about a week as children prepare to head back to school.  The Wichita Eagle reports that August. 10 is the last scheduled flight of the year between Wichita and Los Angeles International Airport, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and Orlando Sanford Airport. The schedule also shows the carrier's flights to Phoenix -Mesa Gateway Airport will stop August 12, but restart on October 4 and continue into next year.  Service is scheduled to continue uninterrupted to Las Vegas, which is Allegiant's home base.  Allegiant spokeswoman Sonya Padgett said in an email it's likely the routes to California and Florida will return next summer when "families are taking their vacations."

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ACLU: Lawyer Filed Bogus Complaint Against Kansas Activists

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union has sued on behalf of two environmental activists who claim a lawyer with the state utilities regulating agency filed a baseless complaint against them as retaliation for their protests.  The federal lawsuit contends former Kansas Corporation Commission Deputy General Counsel Dustin Kirk filed a bogus consumer protection complaint last year against activists Cindy Hoedel and Scott Yeargain.  Kirk's complaint said the activists' protests against injection wells and associations with other concerned citizens constituted an unauthorized practice of law.  Kirk could not be reached for comment.  The commission declined to comment on the lawsuit. Its spokeswoman says Kirk left the agency a year ago and it did not learn about his complaint to the Kansas attorney general's office until after he had left.

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Trump Administration Asks Judge to Dismiss New Lawsuit over Keystone XL Pipeline

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration and a Canadian energy company are asking a Montana judge to dismiss environmental groups' legal challenge of a new presidential permit allowing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border.  Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice and TC Energy filed separate requests Thursday arguing that the groups have no right to sue.  Justice Department attorney Marissa Piropato says in her request that "this is not a hard case" and that President Donald Trump had clear authority to issue the permit in March.  Trump signed the new permit after U.S. District Judge Brian Morris blocked construction of the 1,184-mile (1,900-kilometer) pipeline from Canada to Nebraska.  Morris ruled officials had not fully considered oil spills and other impacts.  Environmental groups are asking the judge to block the new permit, too.

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