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Headlines for Monday, July 24, 2017

Here's what's happening in our area, according to staff and AP wire reports.

Kansas Lawyer Linked to Bernie Sanders Enters Congress Race 

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City lawyer who worked for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign is seeking the Democratic nomination for a Kansas congressional seat currently held by Republican Representative Kevin Yoder. Brent Welder, a labor lawyer from Bonner Springs, on Monday announced his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Welder previously worked for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Sanders nominated him last year to the Democratic National Platform Committee year after Welder helped with grassroots support for the Vermont senator's victory in the 2016 Kansas caucus. He also worked on Barack Obama's campaign field staff in the 2008 presidential election. Other candidates include, Tom Niermann, Andrea Ramsey, Reggie Marselus and Chris Haulmark. Jay Sidie, the Mission Woods businessman who lost to Yoder in November, also intends to run.

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Kansas City Storms Leave Thousands Without Power 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than 28,000 people in the Kansas City metro area remain without power after weekend storms brought down trees and power lines. The Kansas City Star reports that more than 23,000 Kansas City Power & Light customers and more than 5,700 Independence Power & Light customers were without power as of Monday morning. That number is still down considerably from the nearly 100,000 people across the metro area without electricity Sunday morning. The utility will assess the remaining outages and manpower Monday to better estimate how quickly power can be restored. The utility says the storms brought 70 miles per hour winds and excessive lightning.

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Thousands Without Power in Kansas City Area After Weekend Storms
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of people remain without power in the Kansas City area after severe thunderstorms moved through the area Saturday night.  The Kansas City Star reports  utility officials believe the power outages will linger into the early part of this week before everyone regains electricity. The storms that began Saturday generated winds gusts up to 70 mph that knocked down trees and power lines.  At the height of the storm, 112,000 Kansas City Power & Light customers lost power.  KCPL says 14,000 customers in Kansas City, Kansas lost power.  And another 8,000 customers in Independence, Missouri also lost electricity.  

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Boil Water Order Lifted for Emporia

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) - Emporia residents no longer have to boil their water. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Sunday that a boil advisory had been lifted.  The advisory had been in place since Thursday, after a major main water break left the city of about 25,000 residents nearly waterless as temperatures soared. The break created the risk of possible bacteria contamination, although testing showed no evidence of such contamination.  

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GOP Set to Go "Somewhere" on Health Care This Week

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Senator  Pat Roberts is working with fellow Republicans on legislation to overhaul health care even as fellow Kansas Senator Jerry Moran grabs national headlines for helping to stall the effort.  Roberts acknowledged during an Associated Press interview that he's not happy with parts of the latest version of the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.  His staff said he's been working on provisions protecting financially stressed hospitals and a home health program for rural states.  Roberts said Congress needs to move quickly because delay allows conditions in the health insurance market to worsen.  Moran jumped into the spotlight by tweeting that he couldn't support the latest version of the GOP plan, denying it a vote that it needed to pass.  Republicans in the U.S. Senate are planning to make another push toward their goal of repealing and replacing the health care law put in place under former President Barack Obama.  During the past month, the Senate has seen two versions of health care bills, one that would both repeal and replace the program commonly known as Obamacare and another that would start a two-year clock on repealing it in order to give lawmakers time to figure out a replacement.

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1 of 4 Men in Kansas Gun Shop Shooting Sentenced to Life Term in Prison
 
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - One of four men charged in the shooting death of a Kansas gun store owner will have to serve at least 33 years in prison before being eligible for parole. Londro Patterson III was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the January 2015 fatal shooting of Jon Bieker at the She's a Pistol gun store in Shawnee.  Bieker and his wife, Becky Bieker, owned the store. He was shot when he exchanged gunfire with suspects during an attempted robbery.  The Kansas City Star reports prosecutors say another man fired the shot that killed Bieker but the four men were all charged with murder because they allegedly participated in a robbery that led to the killing.  Another defendant is awaiting sentencing, while the other two are awaiting trial.

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Kansas Woman Sets Apartment on Fire in Attempt to Kill Bug 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas woman accidentally has set her apartment on fire in an attempt to kill a bug by burning it with a small, flip-style lighter. Monique Quarles tells The Topeka Capital-Journal that sparks shot out of the lighter and caused a mattress to catch fire in the Fairlawn Green Apartments complex in Topeka. After she was unable to put out the fire, Quarles left the unit with two others and began alerting residents of the fire. Fire officials say 13 adults and six children have been displaced. Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Herrera says one person was taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation. Officials estimate that the fire caused $140,000 in damage. The apartment complex was the scene of another large fire in July 2016.

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Ex-Lawrence Nightclub Owner Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The owner of a closed Lawrence nightclub pleaded guilty to operating a sex trafficking operation in several states. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said Monday in a news release that 43-year-old Frank Boswell, of Topeka, pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He is the former owner of the defunct Club Magic in Lawrence. Prosecutors say Boswell's organization recruited mostly homeless or drug-addicted women to work in the prostitution ring. The plea agreement calls for a sentence between four to five years. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23. Prosecutors say up to 20 prostitutes worked in the organization at any given time in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas. Five others people have pleaded guilty in the case.

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Kansas Safety Law Could Shut Down Some Carnival Rides 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A new amusement ride law would affect more than a dozen counties in western Kansas that have home-owned carnivals and rides. The Hutchinson News reports that Governor Sam Brownback signed the bill in April following the death of a 10-year-old who rode a giant water slide in Kansas City. The new standard includes more expensive insurance and having rides examined by a certified inspector. The Kansas Senate passed a subsequent bill postponing the amusement ride law until January 2018. Kansas House Majority Leader Don Hineman says criminal penalties won't go into effect until then, giving small rural rides a chance to operate this year. Carrie Handy of the Lane County Amusement Association says there likely will be no rides at their fair next year because certifying volunteers is difficult. 

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Suspect in Bank Robberies Pleads Not Guilty to Other Charges 

LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) — A man suspected of bank robberies in five states has pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges in Nebraska. Station KNOP reports that Richard Gathercole entered the pleas Monday in Dawson County District Court to two counts of possessing stolen firearms and one of theft or receiving stolen property. A trial starting date of August 12 was set. Authorities believe Gathercole is the man they call "the AK-47 bandit," who's robbed banks in California, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and Washington. Nebraska court documents say Gathercole was arrested June 20 at a gas station near Lexington, Nebraska. A sheriff's deputy had spotted a pickup truck there that Kansas authorities had reported stolen by a man who'd fired at but missed a state trooper. Lexington is 198 miles west-southwest of Omaha.

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Leavenworth Woman Sentenced in Mother's Beating Death

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) - A Leavenworth woman has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for beating her mother to death.  Sixty-year-old Victoria Smith was sentenced Friday for intentional second-degree murder in the July 2016 death of Anna Maria Higgins.  The Leavenworth Times reports  prosecutors say Smith hit Higgins several times with a flashlight and a three-pound mallet at a home where Smith lived.  Friday's hearing began with District Judge Gunnar Sundby denying a defense motion to allow Smith to withdraw her no contest plea.  Family members said before sentencing that Smith had a history of abusing Higgins.  Smith told the court she intended only to scare her mother and then "snapped" but she believed she should be sentenced for manslaughter, rather than second-degree murder.

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Kansas Man Gets Year in Jail for Fatal Drunk Driving Accident that Killed Groomsmen

BASHOR, Kan. (AP) - A Basehor man has been sentenced to a year in jail and probation for a drunken driving crash that killed two relatives who were to be groomsmen at a wedding the day they died. Leavenworth County Attorney officials say 22-year-old William Wilson was sentenced Friday for involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol. The charge stemmed from a June 2015 crash near the Kansas River that killed Justin Wilson and Jesse Aldridge.

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Ex-Lawrence Para-Educator Sentenced for Sex with Student

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A former Lawrence school district para-educator has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for having sex with a student.  Thirty-four-year-old Teri Lynn Johnson, of Baldwin City, was sentenced Friday. She was convicted in March of unlawful sexual relations and sexual exploitation of a child, both felonies, and promoting obscenity to a minor, a misdemeanor. Johnson must also register as a sex offender.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports  the crimes occurred in fall 2015 when the victim - then 17 - was a student at the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center's Day School. Prosecutors say the conduct lasted until December of that year.

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Contest Winner Disqualified Because of Pro-Trump Instagram Post

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas makeup artist says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of her Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.  The Wichita Eagle  reports screenshots taken by Gypsy Freeman show she won the Instagram contest last month. The victor was to be flown to a Los Angeles makeup line launch party.  Freeman won with her an image of an angelic figure beside a girl in an all-black outfit and thick mascara. Instagram users later discovered her pro-Trump post from Election Day in November.  Freeman says tattoo artist and former reality show star Kat Von D later messaged her, saying she'd "drawn a personal line in the sand between myself and anyone who supports that man."  Kat Von D Beauty's parent company isn't commenting.  Freeman splits her time between Wichita and Florida.

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Classical Christian Education Thrives in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Christian education model based on Greek and Middle Ages philosophies is attracting a growing number of students in Wichita.  The Wichita Eagle reports  that four schools in Wichita using the model have reported enrollment growth since they opened in the last decade. That mirrors trends in the classical Christian movement across the country.  Christian classical education teaches in stages: grammar in first through fourth grades; logic in grades 5th through 8th; and rhetoric in high school.  The education model is based on the premise that "the good, the true and the beautiful"- a phrase from Plato - are objective qualities that exist outside an individual's opinion.  The national Association of Classical Christian Schools has grown to 279 schools with 43,000 students since it was founded in 1993. The association estimates about 100 other schools aren't official members.

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Kansas Boy Dies from Blood Loss After Fireworks Accident 

MAYETTA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas sheriff says an 11-year-old boy died after suffering severe blood loss when fireworks he was experimenting with exploded. The Jackson County (Kansas) Sheriff's Office says Colby Harris was found dead at his home southeast of Mayetta on Friday. Officers who responded to a call from Colby about an explosion found the boy's body inside the home. The sheriff's office said investigators determined Colby was experimenting with fireworks and other "minor explosive devices" while he was left alone at home for a short time. An autopsy performed Monday determined Colby died from a massive blood loss caused by shrapnel. The sheriff's office says the death was accidental. Mayetta is about 20 miles north of Topeka.

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Man Sentenced to Prison in Fort Riley Bomb Plot 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) —  A 22-year-old man who admitted he tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb outside an Army post in Kansas to aid the Islamic State group was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. John T. Booker Jr., of Topeka, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. He pleaded guilty in February to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to destroy government property by fire or explosion. Booker admitted he tried to set off a 1,000-pound bomb outside Fort Riley, about 60 miles west of Topeka. He was arrested near the post in April 2015 as he was trying to arm the device, which was inert. He plotted the bombing with two contacts, who were actually confidential FBI sources.

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Police ID Bicyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run Wichita Crash 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified a bicyclist killed in a hit-and-run crash in Wichita. KSNW-TV reports that police said Monday that the victim was 38-year-old Demarco Ritpatoe, of Wichita. Police Sgt. Bob Gulliver says a pregnant woman and a man fled Saturday after the sport utility vehicle in which they were riding struck Ritpatoe and a pickup truck. Gulliver says the woman was taken into custody, but that the man wasn't immediately apprehended.

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Police ID Kansas City, Kansas, Homicide Victim

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified the victim of a Kansas City, Kansas, homicide as a 31-year-old man. Police said in a news release Monday that Cornelius Felton, of Kansas City, Kansas, was injured when officers responded Saturday night to a stabbing. He was taken to a hospital and later died of his injuries. A person of interest has been taken into custody. Police are continuing their investigation.

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Royals Sweep White Sox

The Kansas City Royals have swept the Chicago White Sox.  In yesterday's (SUN) finale, the Royals beat the White Sox 5-4.  The Royals remain in 2nd place, just one and a half games back from the Cleveland Indians, in the AL Central Division.

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