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Headlines for Saturday, December 12, 2015

Kansas Welfare Official: No Anti-Same Sex Couple Bias

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' top child welfare official says allegations that she attempts to block potential adoptions by same-sex couples are "fiction." Secretary Phyllis Gilmore says decisions by the Kansas Department for Children and Families and its contractors about troubled children are driven by a desire to find the best homes for them. The agency faces criticism that it discriminates against gay and lesbian foster parents who want to adopt the troubled children in their care. A gay-rights advocate and Democratic legislator say Gilmore should resign. But Gilmore told The Associated Press that the department and its contractors are required by state and federal law to keep children with relatives and their siblings as much as possible. She said their decisions are focused on what's in the best interest of each child.


Kansas Family Policy Council Claims to Have Hired Lawmaker

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Family Policy Council says it has hired a Republican lawmaker from Wichita as its new executive director. However, the lawmaker, Representative Steve Brunk, said yesterday (FRI) that negotiations are continuing and nothing about his possible new job will be officially announced until January. The council is an advocacy group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. Brunk is chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, which considers several topics, including abortion, guns and First Amendment issues. The family council's chairman, Dennis Blick, announced Brunk's hiring in a fundraising letter. The Wichita Eagle reports if Brunk lobbies for the council, he would be required to resign his House position. But Brunk said he would not be a lobbyist for the group and would not necessarily have to resign.


Kansas Couple Charged with Murdering Child

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas bail bondsman and his wife have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a child authorities believe to be the man's missing son. Wyandotte County prosecutors say Michael Jones and his wife, Heather Jones, were charged yesterday (FRI). Both also are charged with child abuse. Michael Jones was arrested late last month after a domestic disturbance at the family's rural residence, where authorities also found a juvenile's remains. Those remains have not been identified. Heather Jones is being held on $5 million bond and is scheduled for a first court appearance Monday. She doesn't have a listed attorney. Michael Jones is jailed on $10 million bond. His lawyer didn't return a call seeking comment.


3-year-old Kansas Boy Dies After Finding Loaded Gun

SOUTH HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The 3-year-old son of a sheriff's deputy has died from a self-inflicted gunshot after he found a loaded handgun. Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson said in a news release that Kaden Nagel died early yesterday (FRI). The boy is the son of Reno County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Nagel. Henderson says the boy found a loaded Glock handgun in the apartment his father shares with a friend. He says Andrew Nagel was in another room and heard a gunshot. He ran to his son and found him with a gunshot wound. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into the boy's death.


Bond Remains at $2 million for Suspect in KC Fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has rejected a request for lower bond from the woman charged with starting a fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters. An attorney for Thu Hong Nguyen asked that her $2 million cash bond be reduced to $100,000. Jackson County Associate Circuit Judge Jalilah Otto denied the request yesterday (FRI). The Kansas City Star reports Fire Chief Paul Berardi testified against the bond reduction on behalf of the department and the families the two fallen firefighters. Hong Nguyen is accused of setting the fire in a nail salon she owned on the ground floor of a building that housed businesses and apartments. Prosecutors say she was seeking insurance money. She has pleaded not guilty to first-degree arson and two counts of second-degree murder filed after the October fire.


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