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Headlines for Monday, July 22, 2019

Police Pull Body from River Near Atchison

ATCHISON, Kan (St. Joseph News-Press) — The St. Joseph News-Press reports that police are having difficulty identifying the body of a man pulled on Sunday morning from the Missouri River in an area south of Atchison.  Police Chief Mike Wilson said in an update to regional media that he believes the body likely floated downriver from a location north of Atchison, perhaps a significant distance.  However, authorities can't rule out that the man entered the water near Atchison, Wilson said. A Kansas City-area pathologist is studying the cause and circumstances of the death, Wilson said.

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KDHE Medicaid Employees to Work Out of Kansas DCF Offices

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health department employees who will handle complicated applications for Medicaid health coverage will work out of state Department for Children and Families offices. The two agencies announced a partnership Monday to have Kansas Department of Health and Environment workers located in 17 DCF offices across the state. Officials said the arrangements will make both agencies more efficient and expand their reach. KDHE employees are moving into DCF offices in Wichita and Hays this week and into another 15 DCF offices by January. The state budget approved by legislators for the fiscal year beginning July 1 allows KDHE to hire 313 additional workers to handle Medicaid applications for the elderly and people with disabilities. The move was a response to issues with a private contractor's processing of applications.

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1 Juvenile Slain, 2 Wounded in Kansas City, Kansas, Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a shooting that left one juvenile dead and two others wounded in Kansas City, Kansas.  Police Officer Jonathon Westbrook says two of the victims were found at the scene of the shooting early Sunday, including the one who died. The Kansas City Star reports that the third victim was dropped off at a hospital.  The injuries of the two surviving victims aren't believed to be life-threatening.

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2 Officers Hurt in Hit-and-Run Crash in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two police officers have been hurt in a hit-and-run crash in Kansas City, Kansas.  The Kansas City Star reports that the wreck happened shortly before 11 pm Saturday near the Kansas Speedway. Police say the driver of a truck struck the officers' police cruiser as they sat inside completing reports from a previous crash. The driver didn't stop.  Police described the officers' injuries as minor.

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Shawnee Man Charged with Murder, Rape in Woman's Death

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A northeastern Kansas man has been charged with first-degree murder, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy in the death of a woman.  The Kansas City Star reports that 28-year-old Felipe Chavez Jr., of Shawnee, was charged Saturday in the death of 30-year-old Lucia Frayre, of Kansas City.  Police say the charges stem from a July 13 incident in which Shawnee police were called to a local hospital for a suspected domestic battery. Frayre was unconscious and receiving medical treatment when officers arrived. She died from her injuries Tuesday. Police say her death is Shawnee's first homicide this year.  Chavez is being held on $1 million bond. He's scheduled to appear in court on the charges Monday.

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Kansas Officials Suggest Alternatives to Deal with Pond Scum

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health and environment officials are recommending alternative ways for municipal water operators to treat toxic blue-green algal blooms that have troubled state lakes for nearly 10 years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people and animals that come into contact with cyanobacteria algae might suffer diarrhea, headaches and other symptoms. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has detected traces of toxins related to the blooms in at least five water treatment plants. KMUW-FM reports that the department has suggested adding activated carbon to the water treatment process. The carbon causes algae to fall to the bottom of ponds, allowing clean water to pass through. Department officials say they also offer a program to subsidize water quality tests searching for toxins caused by cyanobacteria.

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Kansas City Police: Man Shot During Narcotics Investigation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say an officer shot a man during a narcotics investigation in downtown Kansas City. Spokesman Jacob Becchina said in statement the shooting occurred Monday afternoon when officers were trying to arrest a man who had sold undercover officers drugs several times. Becchina says the man tried to drive toward officers but his vehicle became disabled. He reportedly was armed when he got out of the vehicle but it wasn't immediately clear what he was carrying. One officer shot the subject. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition. No other information was immediately available.

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Missouri Man Sentenced in Rape, Kidnapping of Kansas Deputy

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for kidnapping and raping a Kansas sheriff's deputy.  Brady Newman-Caddell, of Independence, was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty last year to rape, kidnapping and sodomy.  William Luth, of Blue Springs, Missouri, was sentenced last year to more than 41 years in prison for his role in the crime.  Prosecutors said the two men kidnapped the Johnson County deputy in October 2016. They forced her into a car and took turns raping and sodomizing her before eventually releasing her.  They were also charged in the February 2016 rape of an Independence woman.  Luth pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced in January to 30 years. The case against Newman-Caddell in the Missouri case is pending.

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Police: Wichita Man Shot to Death Outside Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 55-year-old man has been fatally shot outside his north Wichita home.  Wichita police say the shooting happened around 10 pm Friday in the Benjamin Hills neighborhood.  The Wichita Eagle says the man had just returned from a trip to the grocery store after work to his home when he was shot. A person with knowledge of the investigation told the newspaper that the victim had been robbed.  Police have not released the victim's name.  Police are searching for a suspect and have asked anyone with information about the crime to call CrimeStoppers.

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Kansas Woman Recovering After Snake Bite at Clinton Lake

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KSNT TV) — A Kansas woman is recovering from a snake bite she received while camping at Clinton lake.  As KSNT TV reports, Shelly Totty went to reach for her phone early Sunday morning, but she was met with a strange pinch.  “I thought it was a bee or wasp or something like that,” said Totty. “So, I still looked at my phone, looked at the time and then I sat there and felt like something wasn’t right.”  After checking her camper, she discovered a baby copper head snake right by where she had grabbed her phone.  Not sure what to do, she called her boyfriend Dreux Doty who rushed to her and killed the snake. He then took her to the hospital.  “It was very scary, you know,” said Doty. “It is the stuff of horror movies that we seemed to be experiencing in real life.”  By the time Totty made it to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, her entire hand was completely swollen with the swelling continuing to get spread up her arm.  Totty said once she realized the severity of the situation, fear began to set in.  “You hear about snake bites, you know, you think death or something like that,” said Totty. “But you feel it moving through your body. You see it swelling as it’s taking over.”  The hospital staff had to get antivenom from a pharmacy, and they were able to stop the swelling just before it spread any further.  Totty thinks the snake probably made its way in her camper with a pile of chairs she brought in from outside.  

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Topeka Man Dies from Injuries Sustained in July 8 House Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 76-year-old man who was burned in an explosion and fire at his Topeka home has died.  WIBW reports the Topeka fire department said Friday Vernon Fisher died last week at a Kansas City hospital.  Fisher was trapped inside his home when a fire broke on July 8. A neighbor heard him yelling for help and was able to help Fisher escape the home.  Investigators determined the fire was most likely an accident caused by a natural gas leak inside the house.

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Wichita Man Sentenced to 'Hard 50' in Girlfriend's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 26-year-old Wichita man has been sentenced in the stabbing death of his girlfriend after a judge denied his motion to withdraw an earlier guilty plea. Dylan Barber was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years for the June 2018 death of 22-year-old MacKenzie Payne, an Emporia native. The Emporia Gazette reports Barber pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in February as part of plea deal but filed a motion in April to withdraw the plea. Sedgwick County District Court Judge Jeffrey Goering on Monday denied that motion before sentencing Barber. Police say officers went to a Wichita apartment after Barber called to say he had harmed his girlfriend. Payne was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering several stab wounds.

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10 Officers Cleared in Hutchinson Shootout with Suspect

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Reno County attorney says 10 officers who fired at a suspect during a confrontation at a Hutchinson home last month will not face charges.  County Attorney Keith Schroeder announced Friday the officers were acting to defend themselves and others when they fired at least 150 rounds at 21-year-old Brendan Jones. Jones was shot at least eight times but survived.  KAKE reports hours after a standoff began, Jones agreed to come out of the home. He says Jones walked outside raised a handgun and fired at least 11 shots at officers, who returned fire.  Police say Jones and another man, Tyson Samuels, holed up in the house after shooting another man at a different location. Samuels surrendered before the gun battle between Jones and police.  No officers were injured.

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Kansas City Man Charged in Killing of Transgender Woman

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials say a 41-year-old Kansas City man has been charged in the fatal shooting last month of a transgender woman.  Television station KMBC reports that Marcus Lewis is charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm in the June 25 death of 32-year-old Brooklyn Lindsey. Police say she was found dead on the porch of a home in northeast Kansas City. She had been shot several times.  Court records say DNA testing of the shell casings at the scene led detectives to Lewis and that Lewis admitted to shooting Lindsey. Police say Lewis told investigators he and Lindsey were engaged in a physical fight when Lewis pulled out a gun and shot her.  Police say Lewis is felon and barred from possessing guns.

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Lawsuit: Kansas Woman Mechanic Sexually Harassed

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A woman mechanic has filed a lawsuit accusing her former freight yard employer of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.  The lawsuit filed July 12 in Kansas District Court says the woman's supervisor and coworkers at Moore Freight Service regularly harassed and demeaned her by calling her derogatory names.  Daseke Inc., which bought Moore Freight in 2016, declined The Kansas City Star 's request for comment.  She was the only female diesel mechanic when she started working for Moore Freight Service in Spring Hill in 2011.  The suit says the harassment just got worse when she complained to human resources and that she was fired less than two weeks after she filed that complaint. The suit says she was fired for insubordination.

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Lawrence Area Farm Taking a Break for Storm Cleanup

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A popular farm east of Lawrence known for flowers, vegetables and its fall pumpkin patch plans to close for the month of August to clean up after a May tornado.  The Kansas City Star reports that the 40-acre Pendleton's farm is a mainstay at the Lawrence Farmers' Market and popular with restaurateurs in the Kansas City area. The EF-4 tornado took out a machine shed, the butterfly house and five of the farm's seven greenhouses.  No one was killed in the tornado, but it leveled homes and uprooted hundred-year-old trees.  The Pendletons are harvesting crops they planted before the storm to sell at the market and a nearby nursery. They plan to sell vegetables next year, but have canceled this year's fall pumpkin season, butterfly attraction and Christmastime open house.

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Fort Riley Holds Full-Scale Emergency Exercise Wednesday

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KPR) — Fort Riley officials say a full-scale exercise is scheduled for Wednesday (July 24) at Fort Riley. During the day, residents, employees and community members should be aware there may be an increase in emergency response vehicle activity and loudspeaker announcements.  Additionally, certain roads on the army base may be temporarily closed and traffic could be rerouted due to exercise activity. Drivers are asked to be patient and allow extra time when traveling on post.  The exercise is a way to test and improve installation emergency preparedness. The annual exercise involves Fort Riley soldiers, civilian personnel and community partners and helps test, synchronize and evaluate emergency response processes and procedures.

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Garden City Zoo Announces Deaths of 2 Red Panda Cubs

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A zoo in Garden City says two of four red panda cubs born last week have died. Officials with the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City say one of the male cubs died of injuries "of an unknown origin" shortly after he was born. Another female cub died while being cared for by her mother.  The two cubs were among quadruplets born last Wednesday to Ember, a 9-year-old red panda.  The zoo said only 1% of red panda litters are quadruplets.  Ember and the cubs are expected to be on public display in late September or early October. Until then, footage of mom and cubs will be available on the zoo's social media accounts.

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Kansas Adds Electric Car Charging at Turnpike Service Areas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Electric charging stations have been introduced at the Topeka, Lawrence and Towanda services areas on the Kansas Turnpike.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the charging station additions Wednesday, calling them "a game changer" for electric vehicle drivers. The Topeka Service Area, similar to the ones in Lawrence and Towanda, has three charging stations.  The charging station additions came as a result of an alliance between the Kansas Turnpike Authority, Westar Energy and Kansas City Power and Light.  Turnpike officials say the charging stations will help to eradicate "range anxiety," or the concern an electric car battery will run out of power before reaching a destination.  Westar Energy officials say manufacturers expect to spend around $500 billion in the next eight years on electric car development.

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Sudden Oak Disease Found in Rhododendrons in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A plant pathogen that causes the tree-killing disease known as sudden oak death has been found in Missouri.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Missouri Department of Agriculture says it has found ramorum blight on rhododendron plants shipped to some retail nurseries in the state. The rhododendrons were shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout Missouri, as well as the Springfield Home Depot, Stark Bros. Nursery Garden Center and Fort Leonard Wood PX.  Agriculture officials are urging those who bought rhododendrons or lilac plants of the known infected varieties labeled Park Hill Plants from these stores between March and June to dispose of them immediately. There is no treatment for the pathogen.  The plant disease has infected plants and trees — and killed oak trees— in California and Oregon, and has also been identified in several Midwestern states.  Sudden oak death poses no threats to humans, animals or food sources.

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Police: Restaurant Owner Killed in Wichita Likely Targeted

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Wichita restaurant owner who was shot and killed over the weekend probably was targeted. Chuck Giles, owner of the Neighbors Bar and Grill, was found dead Friday night outside of his home. He had been shot several times. The suspect or suspects have not been arrested. Police Capt. Brent Allred said Monday investigators believe Giles was targeted for robbery. The Wichita Eagle reports police believe one or more people approached Giles after he pulled into his driveway and fired at him. It is not known of Giles was followed home from the restaurant. Money was stolen but Allred refused to say whether any other property was missing. Giles's death is Wichita's 19th homicide of the year.

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