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Headlines for Friday, January 6, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Governor Outlines Initiatives to Improve Rural Health 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has outlined two long-term initiatives designed to bring more doctors to rural Kansas. Brownback outlined a proposal Friday to set aside $5 million in state funds to provide seed money for new doctor-training programs at Kansas hospitals. He and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer said the goal is to attract more federal and private dollars. The governor also announced during a Statehouse news conference that he's forming a task force to draft a plan for establishing a privately funded school to train osteopaths in Kansas. Osteopaths are doctors who generally focus on providing primary care and preventative medicine. Brownback noted that Kansas has had a shortage of medical personnel in rural areas for decades and that 92 of the state's 105 counties are considered medically underserved.

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Kansas Man Accused of Sexual Assault Seeks Mental Exam for Teen

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) - An attorney for a Kansas man accused of sexually assaulting five women and a teenager is requesting that the teen undergo a mental health examination. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that attorney Kathleen Ambrosio filed a motion saying that there are "concerns regarding mental stability." Prosecutors allege that her client, 22-year-old Jacob Ewing, assaulted the teen at a rural cemetery when she was 13. The girl, now 15, went to authorities in August, after other women accused the Holton man of similar crimes. Court documents say the girl described herself as a "cutter" during interviews with police. Prosecutors didn't immediately respond to the motion. Ewing is scheduled to go on trial in March in the case involving the teen. He's entered not guilty pleas in all the cases.

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Video Shows Jail Tussle Between ICE Agents, Kenyan Immigrant 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has granted a civil trial for a Kenyan man who alleges immigration agents violently attacked him at a Kansas jail for refusing to be fingerprinted before deportation. The incident was captured on jailhouse surveillance video. The civil lawsuit filed by Justine Mochama, an international student who overstayed his visa, has languished in federal court in Kansas for almost three years. But on Tuesday U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil refused to throw out his claims that two agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement used excessive force during the January 2014 altercation. His attorney provided the jailhouse video to The Associated Press. It shows Mochama being lifted in the air, punched in the stomach and pinned on the ground.

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2 Salina Men Accused of Human Trafficking Involving Minor

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ Two Salina men are accused of human trafficking after allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl who ran away from Kansas City, Missouri. Salina police Captain Mike Sweeney says the men were taken into custody after officers interviewed the girl. She was found Tuesday at a home in Salina. The Salina Journal reports that two toddler girls who were found locked in a bedroom by themselves at the home were taken into protective custody. Their mother was arrested on two counts of endangering a child. Court records indicate one of the men met the girl in Salina, gave her methamphetamine and had sex with her. He then took her to the other man, who allegedly had sex with her before she was taken to the home where she was found.  

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Grant to Kansas University Will Help Disabled Play Music

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A group of University of Kansas professors have received a grant to put on a symposium about the use of computerized instruments that allows people with severe physical disabilities to make music. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the university announced the $35,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts on Thursday. The symposium is planned for August and will tentatively include a week-long workshop for people with limited mobility. There also will be a meeting of an international research consortium dedicated to further developing the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. Software that can be installed on any computer equipped with a camera captures body movement and triggers sounds ranging from bells to drums to synthesizer tones. The instrument requires as little movement as a small tilt of the chin.

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Plane Engineering Company Moves to Wichita State University

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A European plane maker that established a U.S. engineering facility in Wichita 14 years ago has moved to a new building at Wichita State University. The Wichita Eagle reports that Airbus Americas Engineering's final group of Wichita employees began working at the two-story, 90,000-square-foot building this week. Brandi Chandler, who coordinated the multi-stage move for Airbus, says it began the first week of December and involved 300 employees. Vice president of Airbus Americas Engineering John O'Leary says the transition ``went extremely smooth.''  O'Leary says the move not only was a means to consolidate its work from two buildings to one, but was also a way to be closer to at university's new Innovation Campus, where there's a pipeline for the company's future workforce.

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Kansas City, Kansas Police Seek Man in Deadly Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are searching for a suspect in a deadly December shooting in Kansas City, Kansas. The Wyandotte County district attorney's office has issued a first-degree murder warrant for 24-year-old Tyrone Hamilton. The Kansas City Star reports that he is accused of killing Mario Sanders on December 24. Hamilton also is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police said in a news release that Hamilton should be considered armed and dangerous.

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Female Olathe Firefighter Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe firefighter has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that she has been the victim of years of sexual harassment and discrimination. The Kansas City Star reports that Elizabeth Hinton filed lawsuit against the city in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. She says she was the city's only woman firefighter for years after she was hired in 2006, and that the harassment got worse after she became pregnant. Hinton filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last May. She alleges she was retaliated against as a result, including being given an unfavorable review for the first time. A city spokeswoman declined to comment but said in a written statement that it "takes matters like this seriously.

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Kansas Researchers to Try to Make Better Barley for Beer 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Research money has been dedicated to growing better barley for beer in Kansas, which was the last state to do away with prohibition. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Brewers Association awarded a group of brewers, researchers and agricultural experts a $35,000 grant to develop winter malting barley to be grown and harvested in the Great Plains. The project is eligible to receive annual funding for five years, depending on research progress. Kansas is mostly known as a wheat-growing state, and much of its barley is grown as a high-protein grain for livestock feed. Barley grown for beer must be a lower-protein grain. Kansas prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol from 1881 to 1948. It continued to prohibit the sale of liquor by the drink in bars and restaurants until 1986.

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Man Sentenced for Shooting a Man, Throwing Cat Against Wall

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for shooting another man and throwing a kitten against a wall, causing it to be euthanized. Twenty-nine-year-old Damion Looney was sentenced Thursday after being found guilty in November of several charges. District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a statement that Looney shot Quinton Edwards at a home in July 2015 after Looney argued with his girlfriend in a Wichita bar. The shooting caused Edwards to lose an eye. While investigating the shooting, authorities discovered a video showing Looney throwing a kitten against a wall. The animal was later euthanized. Looney pleaded guilty to felony cruelty to animals in that case.

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Missouri Restaurateur Accused of Sexually Attacking 2 Women 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors are accusing a Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant owner of sexually attacking two women. The Kansas City Star reports that 44-year-old El Patron restaurant owner Arturo Cabral was charged Thursday in Jackson County (Missouri) with three counts of rape. Authorities allege that in November 2015, a woman who declined Cabral's advances at a bar said she had a drink with him but later awakened naked hours later in a hotel room and unable to remember what happened. Court documents allege evidence obtained from a sexual assault examination the woman underwent at a hospital matched Cabral's DNA. Authorities allege the second sexual attack involved a 19-year-old woman last June at Cabral's house, where the woman said she had consumed several drinks. Online court records don't show whether Cabral has an attorney.

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Northwest Missouri Nurse Pleads to Stealing Drugs 

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - A traveling nurse has admitted to stealing three patches containing the synthetic opioid fentanyl in northwest Missouri. 38-year-old Kimberly Wickham pleaded guilty Thursday in Buchanan County to possession of a controlled substance. Wickham admitted to using her emergency room position at Mosaic Life Care to attend to a patient at home. She said she stole the patches while in the home. She said she's been addicted to opiates like fentanyl for a long time. She's on probation for a similar crime in New York. Sentencing is set for February 9. The charge carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Manhattan Man Pleads Not Guilty in 3 Rape Cases 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ A Manhattan man has pleaded not guilty to three rape charges, two that are linked to a federal lawsuit against the university. Jared Gihring of Manhattan is accused of raping two Kansas State students in 2014 and 2015 during off-campus fraternity parties. He's also accused of raping a third person at an apartment complex.  The two students sued Kansas State, claiming the university failed to investigate their reported assaults. The U.S. Department of Education also is investigating the university to determine if it violated federal Title IX rules in its response to the reports. Gihring was expelled from the university before the fall 2016 semester. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 17.  

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Leavenworth Catholic High School to Close in June 

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) _ After more than a century in operation, a Catholic high school in Leavenworth is closing its doors after this school year. The Board of Trustees of the Leavenworth Regional Catholic School System has announced it will recommend that Archbishop Joseph Naumann close Immaculata High School, which offers seventh through 12th grade. The Leavenworth Times reports the school will close June 2. Xavier Catholic School, which offers preschool through sixth grade, will remain open. Seventh- and eighth-grade students from Immaculata will move to Xavier next year. School officials said struggling enrollment has caused cost per student to exceed revenue per student by more than $5,000. The Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas said 66 students are currently enrolled in ninth through 12th grade at Immaculata.  

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Man to Be Resentenced in Deaths of Kansas City Firefighters
 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The youngest of five people convicted in the deaths of six Kansas City firefighters will be resentenced in February. Bryan Sheppard was sentenced to life in prison for an arson fire that sparked an explosion and killed the firefighters. Sheppard was 17 at the time of the November 1988 explosion. Sheppard was granted a new sentencing hearing after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to impose life without parole sentences on juveniles. Sheppard, now 45, will be resentenced February 15 and 16. Firefighters Thomas Fry, Gerald Halloran, Luther Hurd, James Kilventon Jr., Robert D. McKarnin and Michael Oldham died in the explosion at a construction site in south Kansas City.

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Homeless Topeka Children Get New Education Facility

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Children whose families are staying at or receiving services from a Topeka homeless shelter have a place of their own. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the new Children's Palace is part of the Topeka Rescue Mission complex. Rescue Mission executive director Barry Feaker says the 18,000-square-foot facility will provide a place for the youngest of homeless children to get age-appropriate development and early education services to prepare them for kindergarten. The colorful building has the capacity for 60 children, age birth to five years of age. There will be an additional 64 slots available after the first year. Feaker says the average stay at the Rescue Mission for families with children in that age range is about four and a half months.
 

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