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Headlines for Monday, February 13, 2017

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

K-State Coach Bill Snyder Diagnosed with Throat Cancer but Outlook Good

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder has been diagnosed with throat cancer, though treatments are going well and he says in a statement that he expects to be on the field for spring practice in March.  The 77-year-old Snyder addressed his health in a statement today (MON), after rumors began circling that he was seeking treatment for an undisclosed illness.  Snyder said he has been receiving outpatient treatment at University of Kansas Medical Center with consultation from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for about three weeks. Snyder added that both sets of doctors have "projected a positive outcome."  Kansas State begins spring practice March 29. The spring game is April 22.

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Kansas Parties Select Candidates for Vacant US House seat

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —The Kansas Democratic and Libertarian parties have chosen their candidates for the upcoming special election for the 4th congressional district.  The Wichita Eagle reports about 300 Democrats crowded into the Sedgwick County Courthouse in Wichita Saturday for their nominating convention. Convention attendees chose civil-rights attorney James Thompson.  Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party overwhelmingly chose flight instructor Chris Rockhold as its candidate.  Thompson and Rockhold will face Republican Ron Estes in the April 11th special election to fill the seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.  Republicans have represented the district since 1994. Democrats say this election may be their best chance to win the seat, due to voter discontent.

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Judge Tosses Part of Ex-University of Kansas Rower's Lawsuit 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit filed by a former University of Kansas rower who alleged she was raped by a football player. The ruling Friday means that Daisy Tackett will no longer be able to argue that the university should have known there was a heightened risk of sexual assault at apartments where football players live. But the Lawrence Journal-World reports that she can continue to pursue other claims, including that that the university was "deliberately indifferent" to her rape report and that her coach retaliated. The university had requested that the whole case be thrown out. Tackett's attorney says Tackett and her parents are ready to proceed. The AP generally doesn't identify alleged sexual assault victims, but Tackett said she wanted her name used.

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Kansas House Panel Not Ready to Endorse Lansing Prison Plan 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House panel is not ready to endorse a proposal to have a private company build a new prison in Lansing and lease it to the state. The Appropriations Committee on Monday voted 12-9 against including a provision endorsing the project in a budget bill. Members said they don't yet have enough information and shouldn't rush any decisions. The Department of Corrections plans to solicit proposals from private companies to build a new prison to replace the state's oldest one and largest one in Lansing. The department believes that with a new, modern building, it can cut the prison's staff by more than 40 percent and use the savings to cover an annual lease payment. The agency argues that the new building also will be safer.

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Kansas Bill Would Pay Wrongfully Convicted People 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A proposed bill would compensate wrongfully convicted people in Kansas $80,000 for each year served in prison and give them an additional $1 million if they were on death row. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the bill, if signed into law, would make Kansas one of the most generous states for exonerated people. The state currently doesn't have a law for wrongful conviction compensation. If an exonerated person wants to qualify for compensation, a claim would need to be filed within two years of being released in order to prove wrongful conviction under state law. Defendants who pleaded guilty or no contest to the crime are exempt from qualification. The nonprofit Innocence Project says that exemption should be removed. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to discuss the bill Tuesday.

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Kansas Lawmakers Consider End to Death Penalty 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering repealing the death penalty but a committee chairman is not sure whether the bill will pass. The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard testimony Monday. Representative Russell Jennings, the committee chair, says he doesn't know the vote count for the proposal. The bill is brought by a group of 15 lawmakers. Kansas is one of 31 states that allow the death penalty. The bill's supporters argue that the death penalty is expensive because of the higher level of legal work needed in capital punishment cases. They also say people can end up on death row after being wrongly convicted. The Midwest Innocence Project says more than 150 people have been exonerated after being committed to death row. No opponents testified Monday.

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Parents Still Grieving Boy Killed on Kansas Water Park Slide 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The parents of a 10-year-old boy who died on the world's tallest water slide at a Kansas water park say they're still grieving but are thankful for the condolences they've received from around the world. In an interview Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Kansas state Representative Scott Schwab and his wife, Michele, recalled the day in August 2016 when Caleb died as he rode the "Verruckt" water slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City. They say Caleb was on the ride with his older brother when he was killed. The Schwabs have reached an undisclosed settlement with the park's owners and Zebec, the manufacturer of the raft. "Verruckt" — German for "insane" — is now closed. Scott Schwab says the death was an accident, but that "someone was negligent."

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New Kansas City Airport... in Johnson County?  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas officials are considering building an airport in Johnson County to compete with Kansas City International. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback told the Kansas City Star the state is exploring the possibility of building a major airport on the Kansas side of the metro area. Previous talks about renovating Kansas City International and combining all its gates into a single terminal have stalled. Airlines like the idea of a single terminal at KCI because it would be more efficient, but many people who fly out of the airport like the current multiple-terminal design because it is easy to get into and out of. The idea of a new Kansas airport would face numerous challenges because getting plans approved for a new airport often takes years and building a new airport is extremely expensive.

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Kansas Lawmakers Send Asset Forfeiture Policy to Advisory Panel 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are opting not to act this year on questions raised by an audit critical of the state's asset forfeiture laws. Instead, they are asking a judicial advisory group to review potential changes. The audit concluded that law enforcement agencies take advantage of vague laws governing how they should report and use property seized from those suspected of crimes. Some departments use proceeds for what look like routine expenses, which can create an incentive for increased seizures, the audit said. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors say the process helps them deter profitable crime, like drug trafficking. But critics say the government shouldn't seize property from those not convicted of crimes.

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KBI Finds No Evidence of Foul Play in Salina Death 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it has found no evidence of foul play in the death of a woman whose body was found at a Salina apartment complex last week. The KBI said Monday the 27-year-old woman's body was found Thursday at the apartment. The KBI was called in because she had a connection to an employee of the Salina Police Department. The woman's identity has not been released. The KBI said in a statement Monday that investigators processed the scene, conducted interviews and obtained preliminary autopsy results and found no evidence of foul play.

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Kansas City Land Bank Project to Sell Abandoned Homes for $999

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A program in Kansas City, Missouri, that sold off dozens of dangerous houses for just a dollar last year hopes buyers will now be willing to pay a little more for the latest batch of abandoned dwellings. The Land Bank of Kansas City's latest promotion, which starts with an open house Tuesday, is offering roughly 50 homes for $999 apiece. The available houses will be listed on the Land Bank's website and the group says they are in better shape than the ones sold off last year. Buyers have 120 days to address code issues and one year to complete the rehab. It's part of a larger Kansas City effort to deal with dangerous, abandoned houses that have attracted squatters and crime.

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Kansas City Police Say Officers Fatally Shot Armed Man 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say Kansas City, Missouri, police officers have shot and killed a man after he pointed a weapon at them Saturday night. Police said in a news release that officers responded to a report of gunshots and found 27-year-old Alonzo Ashley Jr. on the porch of his home shooting a rifle. The release said officers shot Ashley when he pointed the rifle in their direction. The shooting is under investigation.

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Lawrence Commission Considers Allowing Skydiving at City Airport 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence city officials are trying to determine if they have to allow skydiving at the city's airport now that the Federal Aviation Administration has determined that the area could accommodate the activity. The Lawrence Journal World reports that city attorneys are looking into the issue. City officials are concerned about allowing skydiving at the airport because it could interfere with other businesses. But the city doesn't want to jeopardize the grants the FAA provides, which account for 90 percent of the funding for improvements at the airport. Skydiving operator and Lawrence resident William McCauley has proposed running a skydiving business at the airport and says he does not believe it would cause problems for neighboring businesses.

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Wichita Suspends Use of Spike Strips

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita have suspended use of a tire-deflation device after a police officer was run over and critically injured by a fleeing and stolen SUV. The Wichita Eagle reports that police are reviewing procedures and policies in the wake of the injury to Officer Brian Arterburn. The 25-year police veteran suffered chest, abdomen and brain injuries last week when he was hit by a fleeing vehicle as he placed spike strips on a road in south Wichita. Deputy Police Chief Jose Salcido says there is no suggestion that Arterburn or other officers did anything wrong, but he believes it is wise to step back and review use of the tire-deflation device. Meanwhile, 31-year-old Justin Terrazas has been charged with fleeing and eluding police and various drug charges. 

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Former Sedgwick County Mail Carrier Admits to Stealing Mail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man has pleaded guilty to stealing mail while working as a mail carrier. The U.S. attorney's office says 34-year-old Gary Yenzer, of Derby, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of theft of U.S. mail. Investigators learned Yenzer looked for birthday and anniversary cards while delivering mail last year in rural Sedgwick County. Prosecutors say he kept the cash he removed and sold some of the gift cards for cash, but he did not use the gift cards for fear of them bring traced to him. Sentencing is set for May 1. The government has agreed to recommend a sentence of a year and a day in prison.

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Kansas Woman Killed After Swerving to Avoid Deer

PROTECTION, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Highway Patrol says a woman has died after swerving to miss a deer on a southwest Kansas highway. KHP has identified the woman as 62-year-old Peggy Lee Snodgrass, of Ashland. She was killed Saturday night when she swerved into a ditch on U.S. 160 about two miles west of the Comanche County town of Protection. Snodgrass was ejected, and her sport utility vehicle came to rest about 20 feet from her body. The patrol said she wasn't wearing a seat belt. No one else was in the vehicle.

 

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