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Headlines for Friday, August 9, 2019

GOP Leader, Democratic Governor Differ on Shootings Response

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The leader of the Kansas House is responding to a series of mass shootings by proposing more mental health personnel in rural areas and expansion of a mental health program in K-12 schools while the Democratic governor proposes looking at gun laws. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Olathe Republican Ron Ryckman said the 2020 Legislature should address the widespread deficit of behavioral health workers in Kansas. He said half of the state's population lives in areas with shortages. Ryckman addressed the issue in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, without discussion of firearms. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly responded to the latest mass shootings by calling for "real, common sense gun-safety laws" and described the shootings as part of a public health crisis.

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Kansas to Move Inmates to Arizona Prison to Ease Crowding

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas plans to begin moving inmates to a private prison in Arizona by the end of the summer to help relieve crowding in state prisons. The state Department of Corrections announced Friday that it has signed a contract with Nashville, Tennessee-based CoreCivic. The contract calls for moving 360 inmates to CoreCivic's Saguaro Correctional Facility by the end of the year. Kansas has about 10,000 prison inmates, about 100 more than the listed operating capacity for its facilities. The department is housing more than 100 inmates in county jails. The state budget includes $16.4 million to put 600 male inmates in county jails or out-of-state prisons. But legislative leaders have had misgivings about using private prisons and in June blocked $6.6 million of the funding in June over that possibility.

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Kansas Homeless Shelter Plans to Cut Services in Half

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A homeless shelter in Lawrence says it plans to cut the number of people it serves by nearly half next month as it grapples with financial issues. The Lawrence Community Shelter said Friday in a statement that "funding challenges" led to its decision to reduce capacity from 125 to 65 by Sept. 1. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that board president Thea Perry also said it will cut the number of staff, but no specific number was included. The shelter says it has informed guests and is working to find alternate arrangements, if possible. The homeless shelter says the 30 people in its family program can stay. The remaining 35 spots will be given to people that have been prioritized based on their level of vulnerability.

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Kansas Health Chief Supports Contraception Education

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' top health official says abstinence-only education isn't enough to reduce unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman said Thursday that the department could help reduce unwanted pregnancies and the demand for abortions by broadening educational offerings to emphasize contraception. Lee suggested collaboration among the state, county health departments and school districts. In an interview with the Capital-Journal editorial advisory board Norman also supported enhancement of rural hospital trauma systems, development of a needle exchange program for drug users and training to improve early detection of autism in children. Norman said he would support a state program to provide clean syringes to illegal drug users aimed at reducing the spread of disease.

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Kansas Funnels Money to Fix City and County Bridges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Transportation plans to spend $5 million this year to help cities and counties repair 3,800 bridges that are in poor condition or are structurally insufficient. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the department is restarting a program suspended in 2014 when state government struggled with revenue shortfalls. An estimated 20 percent of the 19,000 county and city bridges in Kansas need to be repaired or replaced. The department will provide up to $150,000 toward replacement or rehabilitation of a bridge on a local roadway system. The agency also offered $50,000 to a city or county in exchange for permanently closing a functionally obsolete bridge. Funding was drawn from $216 million in sales tax funneled to the state highway fund in fiscal year 2020, which began July 1.

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Union: Deal with USDA Eases Impacts of Kansas City Moves

WASHINGTON (AP) — An employees union says it has a deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lessen the burden of moving to the Kansas City area for employees of two agencies. The American Federation of Government Employees says the agreement allows employees of two USDA research agencies to continue working remotely from the Washington area until Dec. 30. The union says the deal will also give workers who move to Kansas City an incentive payment equal to one month's pay. The USDA announced plans in June to move almost 550 employees of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture by the end of September. The USDA says the move will bring the agencies closer to farmers and agribusinesses. Critics contend the agencies will be decimated.

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Judge Allows Former KU Football Coach's Lawsuit to Proceed

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled former Kansas football coach David Beaty's lawsuit against the school will proceed. Federal Judge Kathryn Vratil declined a motion from the university to dismiss the lawsuit on Thursday. Beaty sued Kansas in March. He alleges breach of contract and claims he's owed $3 million. Beaty was fired in November after posting a 6-42 record in nearly four seasons. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Kansas spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson says the university still believes Beaty's court filings contain misstatements and false claims. Kansas officials have said they are withholding the money pending an NCAA investigation into possible rules violations. Beaty's lawyers have said the former coach is unaware of any violations of NCAA rules during his tenure.

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Prosecutors Charge 13-Year-Old Kansas Boy with Murder

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say they have charged a 13-year-old Kansas boy with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy at a townhome in suburban Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that the Johnson County District Attorney's office said the Roeland Park teen who was charged Friday is the same boy that Olathe police had arrested a day earlier. Police initially had said he was 14 years old. The suspect was arrested hours after the 2:15 a.m. shooting. His name has not been released. Zavier Mendoza of Olathe has been identified as the shooting victim, and police have said the boys knew each other.

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Sex Trafficking Arrests, Rescues Made in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The FBI says two juveniles and 35 adults in the greater Kansas City area were rescued from alleged commercial sex trafficking operations as part of a nationwide roundup.  The FBI coordinated the national effort throughout July. The agency says the operation resulted in the identification or recovery of 103 child victims, the arrest of 67 suspected sex traffickers and 60 new federal investigations.  The Kansas City Star reports the Kansas City Division of the FBI said it worked on "Operation Independence Day" with other law enforcement agencies in Missouri and Kansas, including departments in Kansas City, Branson and Springfield in Missouri and Overland Park, Wichita and Sedgwick County in Kansas.

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Kansas Man Sentenced for Child Porn Crimes in Philippines

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Kansas man who traveled to the Philippines to have sex with minor females has been sentenced to 84 years in prison.  Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that Anthony Shultz, a helicopter pilot from Lindsborg, videotaped his sexual encounters with 12- and 15-year-old girls and brought the videos back to Kansas. He also sold the videos online. In one of the videos, Shultz is seen giving the 15-year-old money after having sex with her.  He also produced child pornography with an 8-year-old girl in the Philippines with the cooperation of the girl's mother.  Schultz pleaded guilty in July 2018 to three counts of producing child pornography.  This case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide federal initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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Kansas City Police: Man Used Axe to Kill 2 other Men

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, man is charged in the deaths of two men, and police say he used an axe as the weapon.  Citing charging documents, The Kansas City Star reports 22-year-old Mario Markworth was charged Thursday with two counts of second-degree murder. Markworth is jailed on $250,000 bond and doesn't have a listed attorney.  The bodies of 56-year-old Michael McLin and 52-year-old Kevin Waters were found just before 6 am Tuesday in a parking lot behind the Sheffield Life Center.  Police initially said both men had been stabbed, but Markworth allegedly told detectives he used an axe. Both victims suffered head trauma and cuts. Police say one had defensive wounds on his hands, while the other appeared to have also been bitten by a human.

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Kansas Woman Ruled Competent for Trial in Beheading Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a 37-year-old Kansas woman charged in the decapitation death of her ex-boyfriend's mother is competent to stand trial.  Rachael Hilyard, of Wichita, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 2017 death of 63-year-old Micki Davis.  KAKE-TV reports Davis was attacked after she went with her 9-year-old grandson to a home to retrieve property belonging to her son. The boy ran away and called 911.  Police found Davis' body in a garage and her head in the kitchen sink.  She underwent a mental health evaluation at Larned State Hospital, which said she was competent to stand trial. A judge agreed Thursday.  Trial is set to begin October 15.  Hilyard is jailed on $550,000 bond.

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Police: 1 Person Killed in Police Shooting in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person was killed in a police shooting in Kansas City, Kansas. Police spokesman Thomas Tomasic said the incident began Friday as a pursuit in Kansas City Kansas The Kansas City Star reports that after a foot chase the person allegedly pointed a gun at a Kansas City, Kansas, police officer and was fatally shot. One person was killed in a police shooting Friday afternoon in Kansas City, Kansas. No details were immediately released.

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Kansas City Day Care Owner Sentenced for Benefits Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The owner of a Kansas City day care center was sentenced to federal prison for fraudulently receiving more than $556,000 in benefits.  Forty-one-year-old Sharif Karie, of Olathe, was sentenced Thursday to four years and 10 months without parole. He was convicted in January of nearly 30 counts, including participating in a conspiracy to steal government property.  Prosecutors say Karie, a naturalized citizen from Somalia, fraudulently established KARIE Day Care Center and Tima Child Care Center at the same location. Court documents say Tima Child Care Center was established to avoid state oversight. The businesses submitted claims to the state containing more hours and untrue numbers of children who attended the center.  The center's director, 48-year-old Sheri Beamon, of Kansas City, will be sentenced next week for her role in the conspiracy.

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Kansas Man, Son Awarded $6.55 Million Wrongful Death Verdict

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A jury has awarded a Kansas man and his 3-year-old son $6.55 million in a wrongful death verdict after the man's wife died hours after giving birth at a Wichita hospital.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the award is the largest wrongful death verdict ever in Kansas. It splits the judgment between Edgar Perez and his son, Zander.  Lindsay Perez was a middle school drama teacher who died after giving birth on October 8, 2015, at Wesley Medical Center. The suit named the hospital, its parent company and nine physicians. A hospital spokesman didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.  Doctors diagnosed Lindsay Perez with preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication. The lawsuit claimed the hospital failed to provide adequate care and ignored distress signs during and after the birth.

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Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy Who Was Arrested Twice in Same Day Loses Cop License

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy who was arrested twice in the same day last year has lost his license to be an officer.  The Wichita Eagle reports the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training revoked the law enforcement certification of Raymond Paredes in July after he pleaded guilty in April to misdemeanor battery.  Paredes was arrested October 31 after a domestic battery call at his home in Bel Aire. The sheriff's department says Paredes was arrested later in the day after bonding out of jail and returning to the home, which violated a protection order.  The revocation order says Paredes put his hand on his wife's neck and pushed her against a wall.  His employment with the Sedgwick County sheriff's office ended March 21.

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Armed Man Arrested at Missouri Walmart; No Shots Fired

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Police in Springfield, Missouri, say they have arrested an armed man who showed up a Walmart store wearing body armor, sending panicked shoppers fleeing the store.  Springfield police posted on Facebook that "an armed individual" was arrested. No shots were fired.  The Springfield News-Leader quoted Lt. Mike Lucas as saying that the man showed up Thursday afternoon wearing body armor and military-style clothing. He walked inside the Walmart carrying a "tactical rifle" and another gun. Lucas says the man had more than 100 rounds of ammunition.  Lucas says an off-duty firefighter held the suspect, a 20-year-old man, at gunpoint until police arrived.  He says: "His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that."  The incident happened five days after a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, left 22 people dead.  (Read more from NPR.)

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Government Watchdog Eyes Testimony Against Kansas Official

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court filings show a Kansas government watchdog is examining the testimony of four purported campaign workers who testified against Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell at his federal trial.  Jurors acquitted O'Donnell in March on 21 counts of wire fraud. The judge later dismissed five remaining counts at the request of the government.  That had appeared to end O'Donnell's legal woes.  But docket notices filed this week in the federal case indicate the general counsel of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has purchased transcripts of trial testimony of four of his friends.  The commission's general counsel said Thursday that he can't confirm or deny any investigation.  O'Donnell says he is not worried about it because he didn't commit a crime and was acquitted. He says they've moved on.

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Missouri Man Details Cattle Deal Involving Missing Wisconsin Brothers

KINGSTON, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas dairy farmer say he and a man charged in the case of two missing Wisconsin brothers had a business deal that involved cattle owned by the brothers.  David Foster says he bought 131 calves from Garland Nelson in November. The Kansas City Star reports Nelson was to raise the calves and the two men would then sell them and split the cost.  Nelson is charged with tampering with a rental truck that Nick and Justin Diemel used before they disappeared while visiting northwest Missouri in July. The brothers are presumed dead.  Foster said 100 calves for the deal belonged to the Diemel brothers. He says 96 calves died.  Nelson's mother, Tomme Fell, confirmed the cattle deal and that many of the animals died on Nelson's farm near Braymer.

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Montana Judge to Take Up Keystone Pipeline Flap this Fall

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge won't take up the latest dispute between the Trump administration and environmental groups over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline until this fall.  U.S. District Judge Brian Morris scheduled a hearing for October 9 on the groups' request to block President Donald Trump's new permit allowing the pipeline to be built across the U.S.-Canada border.  Justice Department attorneys also will present their argument at the hearing to dismiss the lawsuit challenging Trump's issuing of the permit in March.  Trump signed the new permit after Morris blocked construction of the 1,184-mile pipeline from Canada to Nebraska in a ruling that said officials had not fully considered oil spills and other impacts.  The plaintiffs accuse Trump of signing the new permit to get around Morris' previous order.

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