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Headlines for Monday, August 12, 2019

UPDATE: 2-Year-Old Child Found Dead in Parked Car in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police say a 2-year-old child whose body was found inside a parked car was in the care at the time of a family member who was not a parent. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that police on Monday identified the boy as Devonte Lashaun Turner. He was found Sunday evening after someone reported a child was left unattended in a car. Police Chief Gregory Burns told reporters a death investigation was under way and that heat may have contributed to the boy's death. The National Weather Service says the temperature reached 88 Sunday afternoon in Lawrence.

(-- earlier reporting --)

Lawrence Police: Deceased Toddler Found Inside Parked Vehicle

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) -  Lawrence police say a two-year-old child is dead after being left unattended in a parked car.  Just after 5:30 yesterday (SUN) afternoon, police responded to the 3300 block of Iowa Street after receiving a call that a toddler had been left inside a vehicle.  After arriving at the residence, officers and medical personnel determined that the child had died.  Investigators have contacted the family and are actively investigating this incident.  The child’s name and gender have not yet been released.  Police haven't specifically said whether this is a case of someone leaving a child behind in a hot, parked car.  The high temperature in Lawrence yesterday (SUN) was around 88 degrees.  But  temperatures inside a parked car -- with no air conditioning -- can rise as much as 20 degrees in a mere 10 minutes.  

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Fire Erupts at Tyson Meatpacking Plant in Southwest Kansas

HOLCOMB, Kan. (HPPR / KNS) _ Finney County’s largest employer has closed its meatpacking facility indefinitely in the wake of a fire that consumed one part of the plant.  Garden City police say Tyson Fresh Meats in Holcomb caught fire Friday night, forcing the evacuation of some 1,200 employees. No injuries were reported.  Fire crews from Holcomb and Garden City had the blaze under control about 12 hours later -- around 9:30 Saturday morning.  The cause of the blaze is not yet known.  Tyson issued a letter to its approximate 3,800 employees saying they would continue receiving weekly pay guarantees until production resumes.  Kansas Governor Laura Kelly sent her commerce and agriculture secretaries to meet with Tyson officials over the weekend to coordinate any assistance the state may be able to provide.

(AP version)

Tyson Will Pay Employees While Holcomb Plant Closed

HOLCOMB, Kan. (AP) _ Fire officials are trying to determine the cause of a fire that has temporarily shut down the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Holcomb.  Investigators say the fire Friday night started in the box shop near the area where animals are killed, causing part of the roof to collapse. It took firefighters more than 12 hours to get the fire under control.  Garden City Fire Chief Rick Collins said no one was injured.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Secretary of Commerce David Toland and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam met Saturday with representatives from Tyson, local government and economic development officials to coordinate state aid if it is needed.  The plant will be closed indefinitely. The company said in a statement Saturday that it will pay employees until production resumes.  

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Kansas Pays Planned Parenthood's Legal Bills over Medicaid

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A court filing shows Kansas' failed effort to strip Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood will cost the state more than $464,300 in attorney fees, expenses and other costs. A stipulation filed Monday in federal court in Kansas comes after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected last year the state's appeal. Lower court rulings had blocked the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from withholding money that is used for health services for low-income women. The money is not used for abortions. The settlement covers the legal fees and expenses incurred by Planned Parenthood and others who successfully challenged the Kansas effort to withhold the money after heavily edited videos claimed to show the nation's largest abortion provider profiting from sales of fetal tissue for medical research.

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Police Investigate Shooting that Killed Boy, Wounded Woman

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City authorities are investigating a weekend shooting that killed a boy and wounded a woman.  Police said the shooting happened late Saturday in a Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood. Both the victims were inside when someone fired from outside the home.  Police say the juvenile boy died at a hospital. The woman remained hospitalized Sunday morning with a gunshot wound to her leg.  The victims' identities were not immediately released.

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Political Leaders in Kansas City Lament Gun Violence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A crowd of at least 200 people gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, last week to hear a congressman, the mayor and other leaders lament gun violence.  The Kansas City Star reports that the leaders urged residents to pressure politicians to pass gun control measures.  Missouri Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II told the crowd at Metropolitan Community College that as painful as the recent attacks in Texas and Ohio were... he knows "it's going to happen again."  Kansas City is dealing with its own gun violence. The city had recorded 87 homicides through Thursday of last week.  That's nine more deaths than at the same time in 2018.

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Kansas Anti-Vaccine Groups Say Membership Numbers Surging

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Leaders of a Kansas anti-vaccination group say their membership numbers are surging in response to two new immunization requirements for schoolchildren.  As of August 2, Kansas is requiring students beginning seventh grade to receive a meningitis vaccine. And students entering kindergarten or first grade need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccines are required for children in public or private schools.  Connie Newcome, president of Kansans for Health Freedom, said the nonprofit group has grown dramatically. She says Kansans want to make their own decisions about vaccines without the government telling them what to do.  The Kansas City Star reports the opposition comes as state health officials are trying to improve Kansas' low ranking for the meningitis vaccine, and an only slightly better ranking for hepatitis A vaccinations.

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Police Shoot Kansas Man While Serving Search Warrant

CHETOPA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say police serving a search warrant fatally shot a man they encountered inside a Chetopa home in Labette County. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that the Chetopa Police Department was serving a search warrant at about 12:15 a.m. Monday after receiving a tip earlier of possible drug activity. The agency says three officers entered after announcing their presence. The KBI says one officer fired three shots after encountering an armed man and officers quickly left the home. A 25-year-old woman exited the home after officers called for the occupants to come out. Police found 38-year-old Scott Souders inside suffering from gunshot wounds with a rifle near him. He was declared dead at the scene. Souders lived at the residence. The KBI says it is investigating.

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Report: Kansas Growers to Harvest More Corn, Fewer Soybeans

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report says Kansas farmers are expected to harvest 810 million bushels of corn this season. The National Agricultural Statistics Service also reported on Monday that this year's corn crop in Kansas is expected to be 26% larger than last year's production. The agency says about 1% of the corn crop in Kansas is now mature. Harvest of the state's other two major fall crops is anticipated to be smaller this year. Sorghum production is forecast at 194 million bushels, down 17% compared to a year ago. Kansas farmers are expected to bring in 191 million bushels of soybeans. That is down 7% from last year. Winter wheat that was cut earlier this summer is estimated at 350 million bushels for a 26% increase compared to last year's crop.

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Several States Consider New Flood Control Plans, Including Kansas

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Associated Press has tallied $1.2 billion in damages to public infrastructure from this year's storms and floods. Rising flood costs have now led to a new wave of state initiatives intended to protect against severe storms in the future.  Texas voters will decide this year whether to create a $793 million fund for flood-control efforts.  Governors in Arkansas and Missouri have launched studies after flooding overtopped levees in their states.  Other states -- like Kansas -- are also considering plans to spend more on flood protection efforts.

An AP survey of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts found that this year's floodwaters breached levees in about 250 locations in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Some levees crumbled in multiple spots, including one near Missouri's capital city that inundated the airport. When it's rebuilt, the floor of a new airport terminal will have to be 11 feet higher to meet federal flood-plain regulations, said Jefferson City Public Works Director Matt Morasch.  The Army Corps estimates that levee repairs could top $1 billion in the Missouri River basin, where most of the breaches occurred.

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Murder Trial in Lawrence Shooting Delayed

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A trial for a 22-year-old Lawrence man charged with fatally shooting another man two years ago has been delayed again. Steven Drake III is charged with first-degree murder in the September 2017 death of 26-year-old Bryce Holladay at Drake's home. A judge agreed to the delay Monday, after Drake's attorney, Angela Keck, filed a motion to withdraw, saying she had a conflict of interest. The nature of the conflict was not disclosed. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the case has been continued several times in the past 14 months. The most recent trial was scheduled to begin Aug. 19. Drake and three other people at the house testified at a preliminary hearing Holladay was taking things from the home, refused to leave and punched Drake in the face before the shooting.

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Law Enforcement Touts Joint Operation Aimed at Violent Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a joint operation with federal, state, Wichita and other law enforcement officers resulted in nearly 1,000 arrests and took more than 80 guns and more than $835,000 in illegal narcotics off Wichita streets. The Wichita Eagle reports the effort, called "Operation Triple Beam," came as Wichita police try to reduce a violent crime rate that has increased since 2014 to about three times the national average and triple the state average last year. The police department said Monday the operation in June and July targeted violent offenders, many of whom were wanted on warrants. Wichita last month was named part of the National Public Safety Partnership, a three-year program that uses federal resources and training to reduce violent crime in areas where it's above national rates.

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Kansas Man's Trial Delayed in Nebraska; Case Involves Fatal Crash That Killed 4 from Iowa

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska trial of a Kansas man charged with the 2017 traffic deaths of four Iowa motorcyclists has been delayed again until October.  A judge recently agreed to delay the trial for 24-year-old Jeser Cisneros-Hernandez, of Liberal, Kansas. He's pleaded not guilty to four counts of vehicular homicide, one of reckless driving and one of failing to drive in his lane.  The new trial date is October 15. Cisneros-Hernandez remains free on bail.  Prosecutors say Cisneros-Hernandez's vehicle hit two motorcycles carrying two people each on July 1, 2017, near Ogallala.  Authorities say 54-year-old Sheila Matheny and 61-year-old James Matheny, from Bedford, Iowa, were on one motorcycle. The other motorcyclists were 58-year-old Michal Weese and 59-year-old Jerolyn Weese, who lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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Dangerous Heat Grips Parts of 13 States in Midwest, South

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Forecasters are warning of dangerously hot weather across a wide stretch of the U.S. South and Midwest.  The National Weather Service says parts of 13 states on Monday will be under heat advisories, from Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the South to Missouri, Kansas and Illinois in the Midwest.  Forecasters say temperatures in the 90s combined with humidity will make it feel like as much as 110 degrees in some places.  The weather service says it will be even hotter across northwestern Mississippi, northern Louisiana and Arkansas, where the heat index could reach 115 degrees.  Heat exhaustion and heat strokes could result.

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Audit: Lawrence City Finances Don't Add Up

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials made adjustments to more than $60 million in transactions after auditors scrutinized the city's finances.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the auditing firm RSM found the city couldn't reconcile its different cash accounts for all of 2018. The auditors found the city's processes for tracking its finances weren't strong enough to ensure it had accurate financial records for the entire year.  The auditors didn't find fraud had occurred.  After the city made more than 200 changes totaling $63.2 million, auditors certified the city's 2018 books were accurate. Mayor Lisa Larsen said the city needs to ensure it follows a corrective action plan from the auditors.  Larsen asked city staff for a follow-up report after six months. She said she is confident the city's staff can to correct the issues.

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Kansas Officials Issue Toxic Algae Alert for Lake Afton

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas authorities have issued a public health advisory urging people and pets to stay out of the water at Lake Afton near Wichita because of elevated toxins.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the 258-acre lake west of Wichita is among more than a dozen to receive a blue-green algae warning.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says people should not swim, wade, ski, boat, fish or use personal watercraft on the lake while the alert is active.  People should also clean fish well before eating them and keep pets, livestock, children and others from eating dried algae or drinking untreated lake water.  People and animals exposed to tainted water should wash immediately with potable water. Exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, irritated eyes, seizures and breathing problems.

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Nebraska Bidder Wins Auction for Iconic Kansas City House

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bidder from Nebraska has paid $920,000 for a house designed and built by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that Heritage Auctions says new owner wanted to remain anonymous for now, but the bidder plans to honor the integrity of the Sondern-Adler house that sold Monday at auction. Its spokesman Eric Bradley says the winning bidder realizes the gem he just purchased and plans to keep it a national or destination. The home had been on the market for 11 months at $1.65 million. Bidding began at $450,000 and bids quickly soared to $775,000 with the Nebraska bidder on the phone going head-to-head with a representative for a local bidder. At least 10 serious bidders preregistered for the auction.

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Adult Education Classes Offered at Kansas Workplaces

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas workers wanting to take adult education classes are increasingly getting the chance to do so while they work.  The state's colleges and school districts are bringing more classes to the workplace.  For example, Washburn University will soon offer conflict resolution classes to workers at the Ramada Hotel in Topeka. Dodge City Community College will offer customer service lessons at Boot Hill Casino. And several schools are offering English classes.  The Kansas News Service reports some businesses offer the classes during paid work hours, but others occur before or after work with little incentive to participate. And most employees don't earn credentials, such as certificates or degrees, to help their career advancement.  Supporters say schools, businesses and workers all benefit from the arrangement.

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Ginger Rogers Museum in Independence, Missouri, Set to Close After One Year of Operation

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) _ A museum in Missouri dedicated to the late actress Ginger Rogers will close after only one year of operation.  Rogers, who was born in Independence, is most famous as the dancing partner for Fred Astaire in the 1930s and `40s.  Marge and Gene Padgitt opened the museum last year in the home where Rogers and her mother, writer Lela Owens-Rogers, lived.  The Independence Examiner reports Marge Padgitt said the museum didn't have enough visitors, and doesn't have enough space to hold donated items.  The museum will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays through September.  The couple still hopes to acquire a larger building for a museum dedicated Jackson County history and celebrities who lived in the area, including Rogers, Walt Disney, actor Jean Harlow, actor William Powell, and Jesse and Frank James.  

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