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Headlines for Monday, July 25, 2016

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

Kansas Democrats: Back Sanders, Seek Unity for Clinton

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is sending a delegation dominated by Bernie Sanders supporters to a Democratic National Convention controlled by Hillary Clinton backers.  Kansas party leaders are hoping past divisions heal enough that the presidential race in their Republican-leaning state isn't a blowout. Sanders delegates go into this week's convention in Philadelphia with differing opinions about whether a proposed party platform is progressive enough. Republican nominee Donald Trump made a direct appeal in his acceptance speech to Sanders supporters on trade and campaign finance reform. But the issue for Kansas Democrats appears more to be whether the Vermont senator's backers embrace Clinton or stay home, rather than whether Trump can win them over.  Kansas has long been considered a safe GOP state. The last Democrat to carry it was President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. 

Topeka Law Agencies Adjust Procedures

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Law enforcement agencies in Topeka have been taking steps to ensure officer safety after incidents elsewhere that have claimed officers' lives. Police Chief James Brown says the Topeka Police Department is implementing two-person patrols in some parts of the city. The department also is taking other measures that aren't being disclosed. Kansas City, Kansas, police Captain Robert Melton was killed Tuesday in the line of duty. Earlier this month, five officers in Dallas and three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were killed in ambushes targeting police. Topeka Police spokeswoman Amy McCarter says there has also been a recent influx of community support, including food and flowers and notes of support left in the department's lobby. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office also is assessing some procedures.


Study: Kansas Lost $1 Billion in Aquifer Value 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new study shows that Kansas lost about $110 million annually between 1996 and 2005 in the value of its High Plains aquifer. The study was conducted by Yale University's School of Forestry and Environment Studies. The aquifer is a vast underground water resource. The analysis shows that such things as groundwater extraction and management changes reduced the state's groundwater wealth by $110 million a year between 1996 and 2005, for a total loss of about $1.1 billion. The study used the Kansas aquifer as an example to look at setting dollar amounts on "natural capital," or natural resources such as water, fish and forests. The amount was calculated in 2005 dollars.


Kansas Campaign Sign Law Raises Concern 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials in two cities in Kansas say they have concerns about the constitutionality of a state campaign sign law. The Wichita Eagle reports that the law requires cities and counties to let campaigns post yard signs on street rights-of-way. Wichita city attorney Jennifer Magana and Haysville's chief administrative officer, Will Black, say the law is not constitutional. Magana says the law creates different rules for campaign signs and signs with other types of messages, which conflicts with a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that says city sign ordinances have to be content neutral. Black says Haysville is enforcing its current sign ordinance while working to rewrite it to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.


Contractor Has Begun Review After Sexual Harassment Lawsuit 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas foster care and family preservation contractor says it has begun an internal review of allegations raised in a federal lawsuit that one of its caseworkers sexually harassed and coerced a mother seeking to regain custody of her children. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that St. Francis Community Services President and CEO Robert Smith discussed the allegations in a statement released Friday. The statement says St. Francis strives to "protect any individual entrusted to our care." The statement comes after the organization initially declined to comment, citing an open investigation. A Sedgwick County woman is suing St. Francis and a former employee, accusing him of taking advantage of his authority over her. The lawsuit says chronic insufficient staffing led to inadequate supervision. The woman is seeking $75,000 in damages.


Convicted Sex Offender Sentenced in ID Theft Case 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Texas man whose life was ruined by a convicted child sex offender who stole his identity has seen his impostor sentenced in a federal courtroom in Kansas. Marcus Calvillo of Grand Prairie, Texas, can now begin to repair the havoc left from a decades-long ordeal that prosecutors call one of the most devastating identity theft cases they've seen. Fernando Neave-Ceniceros was sentenced Monday to a year and a day for misusing a Social Security number. His plea deal will help prosecutors clear his victim's name more quickly. Neave-Ceniceros says he feels bad and is sorry. He says he never meant to hurt anybody. Calvillo told the court he is now 45 years old and would like to have what's left of his life solely to himself.


Teen Smoking Prevention Progresses in Kansas City Metro

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials say a campaign to prevent teen smoking in Kansas City is progressing faster than expected. The Kansas City Star reports that a local campaign called Tobacco 21 began in October, and that nearly half the residents in the metro area now must be 21 to buy tobacco products. Organizers say the progress is due to a partnership between public health advocates and the business community. Implementing ordinances to increase the minimum age of sale and purchase of tobacco products is being discussed in the Missouri cities of Liberty and Lee's Summit, as well as Tonganoxie, Kansas. A report from the Institute of Medicine says if all states raised the legal age for tobacco purchase to 21, there would be a 12 percent drop in teen and young adult smokers.


Group Says Shawnee County Sheriff Prohibited Campaigning

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Fraternal Order of Police has accused incumbent Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones of attempting to stop deputies from exercising their right to participate in political campaigns. According to a news release from the group, Jones issued a memo through legal counsel to officers informing them that active participation in political campaigns by any officers or sheriff's office employees violates Kansas law and could lead to termination of their employment. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports it could not reach Jones for comment. Exceptions for political participation include the sheriff, undersheriff, secretarial employees, clerical employees, cooks and maintenance personnel. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 president Kristen Marr says the group has directed its attorneys to respond to the memo


Dedication for Native Prairie in Southwest Missouri 

DIAMOND, Mo. (AP) - Southwest Missouri has a newly dedicated native prairie. The 163-acre George Washington Carver Prairie was dedicated Saturday. It's located near the town of Diamond, the birthplace of Carver, who became a well-known botanist and inventor. Carol Davit, executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, told The Joplin Globe the foundation wanted the prairie to complement the nearby George Washington Carver National Monument. The foundation bought the land with part of a $750,000 grant that was part of a settlement with Asarco, a mining company, for environmental damage in the area. Bruce Schuette, the foundation's vice president of science and management, says before Carver was born in the 1860s there were at least 15 million acres of prairie in Missouri. Now there are fewer than 70,000 acres of native prairies.


Kansas City Rail Plan Headed to November Ballot

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City, Missouri voters may get a chance to vote on another light-rail system. City Attorney Bill Geary said a proposal from Clay Chastain is not "unconstitutional on its face" so under the city charter it should be put to voters November 8. The council is expected to vote on the ballot language later this week. The Kansas City Star reports Chastain gathered more than the 1,709 valid petition signatures needed to place a measure on a Kansas City ballot. His plan seeks three sales taxes totaling three-quarter cents for 25 years each to help build a light rail and electric bus system from Kansas City International Airport to the Cerner campus in south Kansas City and from Union Station to the Truman Sports Complex.


New Attorney for Woman Convicted in 2 Topeka Murders

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new attorney has been appointed to represent a Kansas woman appealing her conviction for killing two people. A Shawnee County judge has appointed Adam D. Stolte, an Olathe attorney, to take over Dana Lynn Chandler's appeal. Stolte is the sixth appellate attorney to represent Chandler, now 56.  Chandler is appealing a 2012 conviction when she was found guilty of the 2002 deaths of her former husband 47-year-old Mike Sisco, and his fiancee, 53-year-old Karen Harkness. The two were fatally shot in Harkness' home in southwest Topeka.  She was sentenced in August 2012 to a "Hard 50" sentence for each of two convictions of premeditated first-degree murder.


Mourners Gather for Funeral of Slain Kansas Police Captain

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral for a Kansas City, Kansas, police captain shot to death on duty. 46-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, police Captain Robert Melton was fatally shot last week by a suspect fleeing law enforcement. A 20-year-old man, Jamaal Lewis, is charged with capital murder in Melton's death. The Kansas City Star reports people began showing up at Children's Mercy Park after sunrise for the service, which began at 9:30 am Saturday. Military veterans also lined the street holding American flags.  Police Chief Terry Zeigler struggled to make it through his tribute to Melton, who he said was committed to the force. Zeigler said Melton's family would always be part of the department. Police officers also attended from other states, including Oklahoma and Texas.


Authorities Arrest Suspect in Topeka Shooting Death 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of a driver who crashed into a Topeka apartment building. Police said in a news release Monday that the 24-year-old suspect has been booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon. The release said authorities found the driver unresponsive while responding early Saturday to a report that a vehicle had struck a building. Police said 28-year-old Xavier McCullough, of Topeka, was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was the only occupant of the vehicle. Police said the victim and suspect knew each other and had a dispute before the crash. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.


Fatal Stabbing Sunday Night West of Wichita West High 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating a deadly weekend stabbing in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the stabbing happened just after 9:10 p.m. Sunday a few blocks west of Wichita West High School. The name of the victim wasn't immediately released. Police are expected to release more details Monday morning at City Hall.


AMC Makes Final $1.2B Bid for Carmike Cinemas 

NEW YORK (AP) — AMC Theatres is making its final bid for Carmike Cinemas, offering to buy the movie theater operator in an approximately $1.2 billion deal including debt. AMC, which was bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group in 2012, made an initial offer of $1.1 billion for Carmike in March. Both offers include the assumption of Carmike debt. The final bid includes approximately $585 million in cash and $250 million in AMC's Class A common stock. Carmike shareholders can choose $33.06 in cash or 1.0819 AMC shares per share. That's an additional $3.06 per share more than the prior offer, AMC said Monday. Both companies' boards have approved the transaction, which is expected to close by year's end. It still needs approval from Carmike's shareholders. Carmike is based in Columbus, Georgia. AMC is based in Leawood, Kansas.


Kansas Woman's Body Found After Skydiving in Oklahoma 

CUSHING, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say they have found the body of a Kansas woman who went missing Sunday after skydiving in northern Oklahoma. Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Wendi Marcy on Monday said authorities have alerted the Kansas woman's family they found the body, but referred The Associated Press to county Sheriff Charlie Dougherty for other details. Marcy said she did not know the name of the woman. Dougherty could not be immediately reached by phone or email. Television station KFOR reports multiple law enforcement agencies had been searching for the woman after her parachute was found in a wooded area near Cushing, Oklahoma. Marcy says she does not know how authorities identified the woman's body.


Royals Drop Game to Texas Rangers, 2-1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Texas Rangers Delino DeShields homered in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon to break a tie and defeat the Kansas City Royals 2-1 Sunday. The loss dropped the Royals to 48-49, the first time the World Series champions have been below .500 since May 15 when they were 18-19. The Royals have lost 13 of 19 games in July. Rangers' left-hander Alex Claudio (2-1) picked up the win, pitching a scoreless sixth. The Royals' Luke Hochevar (2-3) took the loss.

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