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Headlines for Monday, September 9, 2019

Western Kansas Congressman Opens Senate Bid to Block Kobach

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The congressman who represents western Kansas is launching a Senate campaign and pitching himself to fellow Republicans as a pragmatic conservative.  Two-term Congressman Roger Marshall says he is confident he can thwart immigration hardliner Kris Kobach's bid for the GOP nomination.  Marshall entered the race Saturday facing skepticism on the right despite anti-abortion and gun-rights views and a record of voting with President Donald Trump.  Kobach is the former Kansas secretary of state and launched his bid in July after losing the governor's race last year.  Marshall stressed his rural ties in an interview. He portrayed himself as part of a line of western Kansas congressmen who've later served in the Senate, including former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.  Four-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election in 2020.

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Ex-Kansas Lieutenant Governor Mann Running in 1st District

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Lt. Governor Tracey Mann says he plans to run for the state's 1st District seat in Congress. Mann, who was lieutenant governor for former Gov. Jeff Colyer, announced his candidacy on Monday. The announcement comes two days after the 1st district's two-term incumbent, Republican Rep. Roger Marshall, announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Pat Roberts, who is not seeking re-election. Mann, of Salina, said he is running to protect "Kansas values" and to take the state's voice on agriculture to Congress. He said he is anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment and supports President Donald Trump's efforts to build a wall to curb illegal immigration. The 1st district is one of the largest in the nation, encompassing 69 counties in western and central Kansas.

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Records: Wichita Man Paid Girl to Recruit Others for Sex

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Newly unsealed court documents say a Wichita sex offender paid a teenage girl to find young girls he could pay for sex.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the records released Friday say 38-year-old Long Van was arrested in July after police went through the teen's phone and found more than 2,900 messages from him. In the messages, Van would ask for pictures and said, "I like yall young."  The teen was taken into custody at a hotel after advertising on an online escort site. The records say she recruited her friends into human trafficking and kept a portion of their earnings for herself.  Van was already on probation for a 2017 child sex crime. The newest charges accuse him of sex trafficking a 15-year-old.

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Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese Releases Clergy Names

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has released the names of 19 priests and deacons who Bishop James Johnson Jr. says have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children against them.  Thirteen of the 19 clerics on the list released Friday have died. Two have been permanently removed from ministry and four have been laicized, or removed from clerical service. Shawn Ratigan, who was laicized, is in prison for producing child pornography.  The dioceses also listed three clerics with substantiated allegations who are now in other dioceses and two religious-order priests who have been removed from the ministry. And it named three priests who were found to be "unsuitable for ministry" and three who have been named in legal settlements but whose cases have not been substantiated.

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Man Held on $1 Million Bond in Topeka Stabbing Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor has charged a man with premeditated first-degree murder in the stabbing death of another man in Topeka.  The Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay announced the charge Friday against 40-year-old Andrew Timothy Evans. Evans is being held in the Shawnee County Jail on a $1 million bond in the Sept. 1 death of 41-year-old Raymond Lee Smith.  Police say Smith was found suffering from life-threatening injuries in a Topeka house. He was pronounced dead by medical personnel.

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Lawsuit: Inmate Could Die Without Opioid Addiction Treatment

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas and Missouri affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union have sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons on behalf of an inmate they claim could die without a drug used to treat his opioid addiction. A hearing is set for Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, on whether to order officials to continue the medication buprenorphine for Leaman Crews. The Bureau of Prisons policy denies non-pregnant inmates access to that medication as a treatment for opioid use disorder. The ACLU contends in a filing Friday that withholding medication violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment as well as federal statutes. Crews reported to the federal prison at Leavenworth Sept. 4 to begin a 36-month sentence. The ACLU says he became addicted to opioids after a car accident.

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Music Director at KC Symphony to Step Down in 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The longtime music director for the Kansas City Symphony will leave his position, but not for a few years. The symphony on Monday announced that Michael Stern will step down at the end of the 2022-23 season. After that, he will become music director laureate. A news release from the symphony also notes that Stern's contract has been renewed through the 2022-23 season. Candidates to replace Stern will guest conduct during the 2021-22 season. Stern began at the Kansas City Symphony in 2005.

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Trailer with $100K in Fossils Reported Stolen in Colorado

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A trailer containing fossils worth more than $100,000 has been reported stolen from a Colorado parking lot. KCNC-TV reports the silver-toned trailer was taken Sunday from the Crowne Plaza Convention Center and Hotel lot in Aurora. Officials say the 20-foot-long trailer contains 13 fossils including at least four valued at more than $10,000 each. Officials say the items belonging to fossil and mineral supply company GeoDecor Inc. include a 92-million-year-old fossil shark specimen valued at $50,000. The fossilized skull of a giant predatory fish from Kansas is valued at $20,000, while a fossil garfish is valued at $18,000. A stingray and fish fossilized in limestone from Wyoming is believed to be 51 million years old. Details of the stolen items have been circulated to fossil dealers.

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Nebraska Man Dies After Semi Truck Smashes into His Pickup

ATWOOD, Kan. (AP) — Investigators say a cornfield blocked a driver's view before he pulled out in front of an oncoming semitrailer truck and caused a fatal crash.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Nebraska man died in the crash in northwest Kansas that happened in a rural part of Rawlins County around midday Saturday.  The Patrol says 50-year-old Derrick Bassnett of Trenton, Nebraska, died in the crash.  Bassnett pulled into the intersection of two county roads, and the semi smashed into the passenger side of his 2012 Ford pickup truck. Investigators say tall corn at the intersection blocked Bassnett's view of the oncoming semi.  The 29-year-old driver of the semi from Colby, Kansas, wasn't hurt.

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Wichita Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Death of Her Son

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has pleaded not guilty in the death of her toddler son. KSN-TV reports that 23-year-old Brandi Marchant appeared in court Monday. A trial date was set for November 12. Marchant and Patrick Javonovich are both charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the April death of 2-year-old Zaiden Javonovich. Police say Zaiden had been dead for days when his body was found in a crib in the family's mobile home. An autopsy report ruled that the child found bound in pajamas died of dehydration and starvation, and his brain tested positive for methamphetamine. Patrick Javonovich is scheduled to be in court Tuesday. Zaiden's 4-month-old brother was initially hospitalized. That child has been removed from the home.

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4 People Charged in Fatal Shooting in Kansas City Suburb

BELTON, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged four people in connection with last week's fatal shooting of a 25-year-old man in the Kansas City suburb of Belton, Missouri.  Belton Police said four suspects were in custody in connection with Wednesday's shooting at an apartment complex in Belton. All four are charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, forgery and weapons charges.  Police say Timothy Hunter was found wounded at the apartments around 11:30 pm on Wednesday. He died at the scene.  The suspects are: 19-year-old Crishon Willis of Grandview, Missouri; 18-year-old Makayla Davis of Grandview, Missouri; 20-year-old Shane Pierce of Kansas City, Missouri; and 18-year-old Alea Campbell of Belton, Missouri.  Willis' bond was set at $250,000. The other three suspects all have $150,000 bond amounts.

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Police: No Gunfire at Olathe Festival Despite Panic

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Panic broke out at a suburban Kansas City festival that celebrates pioneer history after festival-goers falsely believed shots had been fired.  The Kansas City Star reports it was unclear what led some attendees to begin running and taking cover Saturday night at the Johnson County Old Settlers event in Olathe.  Police said Sunday that reports of gunfire weren't substantiated. Amid the chaos, one woman fell and was hurt.  Sixteen-year-old Mel Hipsher says she was with her friends getting tokens for games when she saw a group push through the crowd, running. The teen says she and her friends also started running. She says she heard someone yell about a shooter.  Word was quickly spread on social media about a purported shooting at the event that includes music and rides.

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Kansas Man Dies More than 2 Weeks After Parking Lot Beating

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died more than two weeks after he was beaten in a Wichita grocery store parking lot.  Police say 33-year-old Haley Collins, of Bel Aire, died Thursday from injuries suffered in the August 21 fight.  A suspect who was arrested at the scene initially was booked on suspicion of aggravated battery. Jail records show he now also is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.  Police say officers are investigating and haven't yet presented their case to prosecutors, who will decide whether to formally charge the suspect in Collins' death.

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About 25 People Forced to Leave Lawrence Homeless Shelter

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Homeless advocates in Lawrence say they did what they could for people forced to leave city's only overnight homeless shelter but they are concerned that some of them had nowhere to go.  About 25 people left the Lawrence Community Shelter after shelter officials said financial difficulties forced them to drop the number of people it could serve.  The shelter announced in early August that it would reduce its capacity from 125 to 65 people on September 6. It stopped accepting new guests on Aug. 8 and found alternate arrangements for others, leaving 25 people with no housing plans.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Assistant Director Kenny Yates said some of the guests were given camping equipment, toiletries and snacks that were donated by some Lawrence organizations.

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Report: Kansas Wheat Planting Begins, Corn Harvest Accelerates

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers have begun planting their next year's winter wheat crops. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 1% of the winter wheat has now been planted in Kansas. That is near the average for this time of year. The agency also reports that 4% of the corn in the state has now been cut. That is near the 8% average for this point in the season. About 28% of the corn has matured. Other major field crops also are making progress as harvest nears in Kansas. About 89% of soybean crops are setting pods and 7% are dropping leaves The government is also reporting that 3% of the sorghum in Kansas is now mature.

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Shawnee County Commission Chairman Says He's Resigning

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Shawnee County Commission Chairman Bob Archer has announced he is resigning.  The Capital-Journal reports that Archer issued the announcement Thursday, saying his resignation will be effective September 30.  The 71-year-old Archer says he's leaving the commission for health reasons, noting that he underwent chemotherapy two years ago to treat non-Hodgkins lymphoma and still suffers from bouts of anemia.  Archer is in his second term on the county commission, which he joined after being elected in November 2012. He represents the commission's District 3, which covers south and southwest Topeka and Shawnee County.  The Shawnee County Republican Party's precinct committee will choose a replacement at a later date. Archer's seat is among offices up for election in 2020.

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State Republican Parties Mull Canceling Primaries, Caucuses

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Republicans in several states are set to decide whether they'll cancel plans to hold presidential preference selections before the 2020 election. It wouldn't be unusual move by the party of the White House incumbent seeking a second term.  In meetings Saturday, Republican parties in South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada are expected to debate canceling primaries, caucuses or other voting. Arizona is expected to make a decision later in the month.  Several challengers to President Donald Trump have emerged, including Bill Weld , a former Massachusetts governor, and Joe Walsh , a former Illinois congressman. Others may join them.  In years past, both Republicans and Democrats have scrapped state nominating contests when an incumbent president from their party ran for a second term.  

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Parole Absconder Arrested After Wichita Chase Ends in Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A parole absconder has been arrested after a Wichita chase ended in a crash.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 26-year-old Brian James Scovel drove off Friday when authorities attempted to arrest him. Police say he ran a stop sign a couple minutes into the chase and collided with a sport utility vehicle, causing the SUV to overturn. Police say Scovel, a passenger and the driver of the SUV were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.  Scovel is now jailed without bond on suspicion of aggravated battery, driving with a suspended license, fleeing and eluding and several traffic-related offenses.  Kansas Department of Corrections records say he was released from the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in June and absconded last month. He had prior convictions for aggravated assault, drugs, forgery and theft.

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Mine Safety Grants Totaling $400,000 Awarded to 5 Recipients

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Five grants totaling $400,000 have been awarded to help prevent unsafe working conditions in and around U.S. mines.  The U.S. Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the funding through its Brookwood-Sago grant program. The program was established in 2006 in honor of 25 miners who died in 2001 in Brookwood, Alabama, at the Jim Walter Resources No. 5 mine and in 2006 in Buckhannon, West Virginia, at the Sago Mine.  The grant recipients include Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas; Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania; the United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. in Prosperity, Pennsylvania; the University of Arizona in Tucson; and West Virginia University Research Corp. in Morgantown.

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