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Headlines for Friday, July 12, 2019

Kansas Governor Drops Extension of Food Assistance to Certain Welfare Recipients

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Governor Laura Kelly has dropped a policy that extended food assistance to thousands of Kansas adults even though they failed to meet work requirements.  Kelly acted Thursday in response to a threat from Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt to file a lawsuit over the policy change.  Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature argued that the policy change made in May violated a 2015 law imposing work requirements and other restrictions on food and cash assistance recipients.  Kelly said she believes her administration's policy was "legally defensible" but engaging in a lengthy court battle was not worth the cost to taxpayers.  The state extended food assistance this month to 5,500 adults due to lose it. Kelly's administration had planned to help them again in August and September.

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Kansas Governor Appoints 3 Members to Board of Regents

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly has appointed three members to the Kansas Board of Regents. The governor's office announced in a news release Friday her picks for the governing body of the state's six Regents universities and other educational institutions. Her three appointees are Cheryl Harrison-Lee, Jon Rolph and Shellaine "Shelly" Kiblinger. Harrison-Lee of Gardner recently served as city administrator for the city of Gardner, Kansas. Rolph, who is from Wichita, is president and CEO of Thrive Restaurant Group, which owns and operates restaurants in 10 states. Kiblinger, from Cherryvale, is superintendent of Cherryvale Public Schools. The bipartisan board is made up of nine members who serve staggered terms of four years. Each is appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

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Police: Woman Shot at Kansas City, Kansas Deli Has Died

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a woman who was critically wounded in a double shooting at a Kansas City, Kansas, deli has died from her injuries. The Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department identified her in a news release as 42-year-old Lachell Day of Kansas City, Kansas. The shooting Wednesday at the Edwards Original Corner Market & Deli also killed market owner Dennis Edwards. Police arrested a suspect after a standoff at the deli and took him to a hospital with a gunshot wound. Ellis Nave told The Kansas City Star that Day was his niece and she had been dating the suspect. Police say she died Thursday night.

(prior reporting) 

CLARIFICATION: 1 Shot Dead, 2nd Critical After Deli Shooting in KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman who was wounded in a double shooting at a Kansas City, Kansas, deli was initially reported as dead but is alive.  The Kansas City Star reports that the shooting Wednesday at the Edwards Original Corner Market & Deli left one man dead. Police initially said the woman also had died but said Thursday she is in very critical condition and unresponsive.  Police arrested a suspect after a standoff at the deli and took him to a hospital with a gunshot wound.  A brother told The Star that the deceased man was market owner Dennis Edwards. Ellis Nave identified his niece, Lachelle Day, as the second shooting victim and said she had been dating the suspect.  It's unclear why police initially reported that the woman had died.

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Man Charged in Killing of Washburn Football Player

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An 18-year-old man faces charges in a shooting that killed Washburn University football player Dwane Simmons and wounded a friend who had been drafted hours earlier by the New York Giants. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Francisco Alejandro Mendez was charged Friday with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and five accounts of aggravated robbery. It was unclear whether he had an attorney yet who could speak on his behalf. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay's office said in a news release Mendez is being held on a $1 million bond. The shooting in the early hours of April 28 outside an off-campus party also injured cornerback Corey Ballentine, whom the Giants drafted in the sixth round. Ballentine has since recovered. Simmons died at the scene.

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6 Public Works Employees in Kansas City Charged with Lying About Overtime Work

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Six Kansas City public works employees have been charged with lying about damaged road signs so they could be called in on overtime to fix them.  The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release that a 13-count indictment was unsealed Thursday in the nearly three-year-old, $58,000 overtime fraud conspiracy. The unsealing followed the arrest of 36-year-old Prentis Rayford, 47-year-old Eric McKamey, 61-year-old Paul Myers, 47-year-old Edward Lee Ellingburg, 33-year-old Kenneth Gethers and 49-year-old Julio Prospero.  The indictment alleges that the workers made false reports and enlisted the help of friends and relatives. Suspicious managers began going to the scene and photographing signs that weren't busted.  They also tracked the GPS on work trucks and found that the vehicles often didn't go to the locations of the allegedly downed signs.

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Kansas Tax Collectors Seize 7 Convenience Stores

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas tax collectors have seized and closed seven convenience stores in Salina. The Salina Journal reports the stores had signs posted on the front doors and gas pumps on Thursday that read the property had been seized for nonpayment of taxes. The Kansas Department of Revenue said in a statement saying agents took possession of the stores for nonpayment of retail sales taxes totaling $49,540. Their owner has until Monday to reach a deal to pay the outstanding tax otherwise the state will permanently close the businesses. The stores are owned by Rod Bradshaw of Salina. He could not be reached for comment.

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Man Accused in Lawrence Motel Killing Pleads No Contest to Robbery

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — One of three men charged in a fatal shooting at a Lawrence motel has pleaded no contest to robbery.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 20-year-old Shawn Smith, of Kansas City, Missouri, entered the plea Thursday in Douglas County District Court.  He initially was charged with first-degree felony murder and several other counts in the killing of 23-year-old Cameron Hooks, of Lenexa, and the wounding of two other men. The shooting happened in September 2017 while two groups of friends drank and smoked pot at a Motel 6. Each friend group accused the other of trying to rob them first, sparking the shooting.  Two other co-defendants from Kansas City, Kansas, previously were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and other charges in the case.  Smith's sentencing is set for August 14.

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Kansas Chief Concerned About Police Shooting Investigations

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas police chief testified in a newly released deposition that he was so concerned about the fairness of internal department probes of police shootings in Wichita that he removed the high-ranking officers overseeing them and detectives conducting them.  Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay acknowledged investigators asked leading questions that could have prompted officers to claim the shootings were in self-defense.  He also testified that detectives working on the internal probes got involved in the related criminal investigations and were "potentially contaminating" those investigations.  Excerpts of the chief's May 24 deposition were included in a court filing this week in a lawsuit filed by the family of Andrew Finch. The unarmed Wichita man was killed by police in 2017 when a dispute over an online video game sparked a hoax call.

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Ex-Wichita Police Captain Who Pushed Referee Loses Law Enforcement License

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita police captain who was caught on video shoving a teenage referee during a youth basketball game in a nearby town has lost has law enforcement officer license.  Newly released documents show that Kevin Mears' certification was revoked last month by the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the revocation order says that Mears "used profanity" last year after his son was hurt and went onto the court without being summoned to retrieve him. That led to a technical foul. The order says Mears, who was off-duty, then pushed the referee and "flipped off the crowd."
Mears lost his job several months after the video of the confrontation was posted to Facebook.  Mears initially was convicted of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct. But on appeal, he was found not guilty of battery.

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Leaders to Look at Higher Pay for Kansas Legislature's Staff

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Leaders of both parties in the Kansas Legislature agree that they need to develop a plan for raising the pay of their full-time employees and part-time staff.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Legislature's seven-member Coordinating Council of its top leaders plans to examine pay issues. The leaders are concerned that lawmakers are having trouble retaining staff and attracting temporary workers during their annual sessions.  A three-member council subcommittee is expected to issue a report by October on the competitiveness of salaries for the Legislature's staff.  Senate President and Wichita Republican Susan Wagle said she believes the Legislature has a problem keeping employees.  Senate Minority Leader and Topeka Democrat Anthony Hensley said compensation for legislative interns ought to be part of the study.

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Report: Kansas Harvest Forecast at 330 Million Bushels

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report is forecasting that growers in Kansas will harvest 330 million bushels of wheat this season.  The latest estimate released Thursday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service is based on crop conditions July 1 and comes as wheat harvest is well under way in the state.  Its forecast anticipated that the crop will be 19% larger than it was a year ago even though farmers are harvesting fewer acres this year.  Kansas growers are expected to harvest wheat from 6.6 million acres, down 10% from a year ago. The larger crop is expected because average yields in the state are estimated to run about 50 bushels per acre, up 12 bushels per acre compared to last year.

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Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Plans to Retire September 11

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The police chief in Kansas City, Kansas, plans to retire Sept. 11 after 4½ years on the job amid questions about his conduct and a lawsuit over an officer's alleged sexual assault.  Chief Terry Zeigler announced his plans on social media Wednesday. He has been with the department nearly three decades.  Officials with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, praised Zeigler's service.  But the Kansas Bureau of Investigation this year examined whether Zeigler "double dipped" by taking time off to work on a house he leased from the Unified Government. The KBI turned its findings over to the district attorney in May.  And activists demanded Zeigler's firing in June after a federal lawsuit alleged a former police cadet was dismissed for reporting an officer's sexual assault.

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Ex-Fiancee Claims Chiefs' Hill Is Father of Newborn Twins

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill's former fiancee has gone to court seeking to prove that he is the father of her newborn twins and to require him to pay child support. The Kansas City Star reports that Crystal Espinal filed a petition Thursday in Johnson County, Kansas, District Court. Her petition also seeks to establish supervised parenting time for Hill. The Chiefs suspended Hill on April 25 over allegations that his 3-year-old son was abused, which Hill denies. The local district attorney said in June that an investigation was no longer active because he couldn't prove who injured the boy. Online court records did not indicate that Hill had an attorney in the paternity case. The Chiefs did not immediately return a telephone message early Friday seeking comment.

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Fans May Soon Be Able to Buy Used Arrowhead Stadium Seats

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fans may soon be able to buy used Arrowhead Stadium seats, possibly before the end of the Kansas City Chief's preseason next month. The Kansas City Star reports Jackson County is set to approve a contract that would allow those sales. Under the proposal, seats with Arrowhead logos on their metal end caps would sell for $399 a pair. Double seats with no logo would go for $299 and singles for $199. Customers could request specific seat numbers for an additional $20 charge. Jackson County residents will have the first crack at the seats. The proposed contract would guarantee the county $75,000 up front to cover the hauling and storage charges on 30,000 seats. The county and its vendor would then split net proceeds for the seat sales evenly.

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NTSB: Pilot Had Engine Problems Before Fatal Grain Bin Crash in Western Missouri

BUTLER, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a pilot killed when his small plane crashed into a western Missouri grain bin had experienced engine problems.  The National Transportation Safety Board said in its preliminary report that 80-year-old John McConnell Jr.'s right engine became stuck at full power as he descended toward an airport in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kansas. He told air traffic controllers that he was turning off the engine and changed his destination to a closer airport in Butler, which is about 55 miles north of Kansas City.  McConnell then warned "she's going down" and advised that he would attempt to land on a highway. He was the only person aboard the eight-seat Cessna 425 when it hit the grain bin. The flight began in Vero Beach, Florida.

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Ex-Fiancee Claims Chiefs' Hill is Father of Newborn Twins

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill's former fiancee has gone to court seeking to prove that he is the father of her newborn twins and to require him to pay child support.  The Kansas City Star reports that Crystal Espinal filed a petition Thursday in Johnson County, Kansas, District Court. Her petition also seeks to establish supervised parenting time for Hill.  The Chiefs suspended Hill on April 25 over allegations that his 3-year-old son was abused, which Hill denies. The local district attorney said in June that an investigation was no longer active because he couldn't prove who injured the boy.  Online court records did not indicate that Hill had an attorney in the paternity case. The Chiefs did not immediately return a telephone message early Friday seeking comment.

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