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Headlines for Friday, May 26, 2017

Here's what we know so far.

Surgeon, Med Center Chief Chosen to Lead University of Kansas as Chancellor

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A surgeon who has served as the University of Kansas Medical Center's executive vice chancellor has now been chosen to oversee the entire KU system as chancellor.  The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday named Dr. Douglas Girod as the successor to retiring Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.  Gray-Little has been leading the school since 2009 and announced last September she would retire this summer.  As the medical center's executive vice chancellor since February 2013, Girod oversaw educational, research, patient care and community engagement efforts of the university's medicine, nursing and health professions schools. Those schools have more than 3,300 students, 2,100 faculty and 4,000 staffers.  Girod also served as the medical school's interim executive dean until early 2014.  He joined the University of Kansas Medical Center faculty in 1994 and has served in the Navy Reserve.

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Larned Correctional Facility to Become Medium-Security Prison

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state plans to convert the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility into a medium security prison for inmates between the ages of 18 and 25.  The Kansas Department of Corrections announced this week that inmates housed at the proposed Larned Correctional facility would have less than three years left to serve on their sentences.  The Hutchinson News reports 150 mental health inmates now at Larned would be moved to the El Dorado Correctional Facility.  Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig says the changes would occur gradually, beginning by midsummer.  Larned Mayor William Nusser says city officials are concerned about the loss of higher-paying jobs when the change is made. An organization representing correction officers is questioning whether officers and inmates would be safe at El Dorado, which the group says is understaffed.

This story has been corrected to show the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility is being converted to a prison, not Larned State Hospital.

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Ruling: Public Interest Key in Weighing Open Record Cases 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An appeals court has ruled a Kansas judge was wrong to dismiss a woman's open records request seeking police body-camera video of her son's shooting, ruling the judge could not deny it simply because it was part of a criminal investigation. The Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday sent Trina Green's case back to Wyandotte County for further hearings. The three-judge panel reversed a decision that had dismissed her case based on an exemption to the Kansas Open Records Act relating to investigatory records. The appeals court says the judge should have considered whether its release was in the public interest and law enforcement agencies would have to explain how its release would harm investigations. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that the case stems from a 2016 incident. Her son survived.

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Police: Suspect in Manhattan Homicide Arrested in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Riley County police say a man wanted in connection with a Manhattan homicide has been arrested in Wichita.  Police say 38-year-old Steven Harris was taken into custody last (THUR) night.  Earlier this week, police said they were searching for Harris in connection with the shooting death of German Gonzalez Garcia.  Another man was critically injured in last Sunday's shooting.  Authorities also said they were looking for Harris' girlfriend, 37-year-old Cora Brown.  KWCH-TV reports Brown was with Harris when he surrendered Thursday after a police standoff at a Wichita hotel.

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Former Kansas Police Officer Charged with Child Sex Crime 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say a former Valley Center police sergeant has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child, attempted sexual battery, official misconduct and harassment. Forty-nine-year-old Thomas Delgado made his first court appearance Friday in Sedgwick County District Court on seven counts. The charge related to the sexual exploitation is a felony, and the others are misdemeanors. His defense attorney did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office said in an email that Delgado is free on a $75,000 bond on condition he not contact witnesses. His preliminary hearing is set for June 7. The Wichita Eagle reported Delgado had been a Sedgwick County sheriff's patrol deputy before he became a Valley Center police sergeant. He resigned after his arrest in December.

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Woman Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter in KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas woman accused of driving into a group of teenagers, killing one of them, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter. A jury in Wyandotte County also convicted Tamika Pledger yesterday (THUR) of three counts of aggravated battery.  Authorities say Pledger drove into Tierra Smith and three other high school students in January 2015. Smith died about a week after the crash.

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New Kansas House Member Selected for Derby / Mulvane Area

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A lawyer who worked for Secretary of State Kris Kobach will replace his father-in-law in the Kansas House.  Republican leaders from the Derby and Mulvane area have  selected Jesse Burris to replace Pete DeGraaf in the Kansas Legislature.  Burris, a lawyer who worked for Kobach until this week, was the only nominee for the 82nd House District seat.  DeGraaf is leaving the Legislature after nine years because of health issues caused by Parkinson's disease.  Burris is an Air Force veteran and a staunch conservative, who opposes all tax increases, abortion and same-sex marriage. He says he supports school choice and gun rights.  Burris resigned his job with the secretary of state's office Wednesday in anticipation of his appointment.  

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Kansas Lawmakers Close to Approving Abortion Disclosure Rule

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are close to approving a new requirement that abortion providers give women information about their doctors' histories and provide it in print in a specific type font on white paper.  The House approved the bill on an 84-38 vote Thursday. It goes next to the Senate and approval there would send it to Republican Governor Sam Brownback.  The bill would require that providers give women information about the physician performing the abortion at least 24 hours in advance.  The information would include the doctor's credentials, malpractice insurance, hospital privileges, and disciplinary record and would have to be printed in 12-point Times New Roman type.  The bill's supporters say women need the information to make informed decisions.  Critics say the bill is meant to discourage women from having abortions.

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Kansas Woman Guilty of Trying to Dig Up Grave

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A woman who tried to dig up a grave at a Hutchinson cemetery has pleaded guilty to two municipal charges.  Thirty-three-year-old Natasha Holmes pleaded guilty this week to criminal desecration of a grave and criminal damage to property.  Investigators have not disclosed the reason Holmes said she was trying to dig up the grave.

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Kansas Distributor Recalls Precooked Sausage

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas food distributor is voluntarily recalling nearly 100,000 pounds (45,360 kilograms) of precooked sausage that might contain metal.  Armour Eckrich Meats in Junction City announced the recall Wednesday of more than 8,000 cases of 16.6-ounce (460-gram) packages of "Eckrich Smok-y Cheddar Breakfast sausage, Naturally Hardwood Smoked." The labels have the case code "27815 17984" with a use-by date of Aug. 17. The products also have the number "EST. 3JC" inside the USDA mark of inspection.  The products were distributed to foodservice customers in Kansas, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Armour Eckrich says the pork, turkey and beef breakfast sausages were never distributed to retail customers and that the recall came after a single report of trace amounts of metal.  No injuries from consuming the meat have been reported.

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Kansas Man Ordered to Pay $8.4 Million in Restitution 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 71-year-old Kansas man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $8.4 million in restitution for tax evasion. David Pflum, of St. Marys, was sentenced Thursday for tax evasion and obstruction to the Internal Revenue Service. Prosecutors say Pflum claimed on Internal Revenue Service documents that he had less than $475 in assets and a monthly income of $470. Pflum, who owned Coil Springs Specialties, actually owned more than $2 million in real estate and made more than $16,000 a month. Prosecutors say he encouraged people who owed him money to ignore IRS collection efforts.

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Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in Quadruple Homicide 

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — Court records say prosecutors will seek the death penalty if a northwest Missouri man is convicted of killing four members of his family. The Kansas City Star reports a June 1 hearing is scheduled in Platte County Circuit Court in the case against 25-year-old Grayden Lane Denham. Denham is accused of fatally shooting his grandparents, his sister and her 3-month-old son in February. Their bodies were found outside a burning home near Edgerton. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held in Platte County Detention Center. Bond is set at $4 million. Denham was arrested in Seligman, Arizona, where police said he was walking around naked. He is also charged with arson and animal abuse for shooting a dog. Details of events preceding the shooting and fire haven't been released.

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Up Next for the Royals: the Cleveland Indians

The Royals and Yankees got rained out in New York yesterday (THUR).  The Royals take on the Indians Saturday in Cleveland for the first of a three-game series.

 

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