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Headlines for Saturday, July 16, 2016

Adoptive Father Suspected in Disappearance of Son Dies

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — The adoptive father of a southeast Kansas boy whose 1999 disappearance went unreported for nearly a decade has died. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said Thursday that Doug Herrman died Wednesday night after an illness. The Wichita Eagle reports that Herrman was 61 and lived near Grove, Oklahoma. His adopted 11-year-old son, Adam Herrman, disappeared from his Towanda home in 1999, but authorities in Kansas didn't learn about it until late 2008. Doug Herrman and the boy's adoptive mother weren't charged in Adam's disappearance. But they were convicted in 2011 of continuing to receive state adoption subsidies after he went missing. The Herrmans had said that the boy ran away and that they didn't report it out of fear that their other children would be taken from them.


Summer of Mercy Leader: No Civil Disobedience Planned

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The leader of the fundamentalist Christian group behind the Summer of Mercy anniversary in Wichita says it plans no violence or civil disobedience during the July 16-23 anti-abortion event. Reverend  Rusty Thomas, director of Operation Save America, told reporters yesterday (FRI) the goal is not to go to jail or be arrested. He says they are not going to "physically" block entrances to abortion clinics. Thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered in Wichita in 1991 for the Summer of Mercy, sparking tumultuous mass protests that led to nearly 2,700 arrests outside local clinics. Thomas says he wants to alleviate fears his group is coming to Wichita to do harm, saying they are coming to pray. The Feminist Majority Foundation has been running ads locally warning about some of the abortion opponents coming.


Kansas Police Chief to Make First Court Appearance Next Month

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas police chief accused of disseminating or requesting criminal history information without a legitimate need is scheduled to make his first appearance next month on misdemeanor criminal charges. The Salina Journal reports that Bronson Campbell's Dickinson County District Court appearance has been rescheduled for August 18. His first appearance initially was scheduled for July 21. Campbell declined to discuss the case with The Associated Press. Campbell was the Enterprise police chief from May 2013 until May 2014, when his appointment wasn't renewed. He is currently the Valley Falls police chief and is seeking the Republican nomination for Jefferson County sheriff. The complaint alleges that in 2014, Campbell disseminated criminal history information, or requested such information from the central repository of another criminal justice agency, without a legitimate need.


Virgin Mobile USA to Establish Headquarters in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A communications company that specializes in prepaid wireless service has announced it will open a headquarters in Missouri and create more than 50 new jobs. Virgin Mobile USA says it's still scouting out potential office space in downtown Kansas City and is actively recruiting candidates for a number of positions, including executive. It expects to have its office finished and staffed by the end of the year. Virgin Mobile is affiliated with Sprint Corp., which is based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company's decision to expand into Missouri is part of a plan to relaunch the brand under Sprint. The state is working with Virgin Mobile on possible incentives contingent upon the company meeting its projection of 84 new jobs within the next five years.


Community Cookout Offers Protest Alternative, Opens Dialogue

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are hosting a free community cookout that aims to open a dialogue amid racial tensions across the country. The "First Steps Barbecue" is the latest example of how Wichita is handling those concerns. After a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest earlier this week, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay met with local activist leaders to discuss replacing another protest planned for tomorrow (SUN) with the cookout. Community organizer Djuan Wash said yesterday (FRI) that the police chief is Black Lives Matter supporter — and people need to hear that. He says the barbecue is an opportunity to have a dialogue, and it is not a celebration. The "First Steps Barbecue" will be held Sunday at McAdams Park, starting at 6 p.m. No arrests were made at Tuesday's Black Lives Matter protest.


Route 66 Goes Green with Charging Stations, Solar Panels

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Route 66, a highway made famous for attracting gas-guzzling Chevrolet Bel Airs traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles, is turning green. The Mother Road is seeing a growing number of electric car charging stations along the 2,500-mile path, and some states are pushing for solar panels and electric buses. Illinois is installing a network of electric vehicle charging stations from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. And earlier this year, Missouri's highway department announced it was considering a project to cover a portion of its Route 66 with road-ready solar panels. Route 66-area motel owners also are getting in on the action. Bella Roma Bed & Breakfast innkeeper Laura Ferrary says she installed a Tesla supercharger at her Albuquerque spot because she anticipates more environmentally-conscience travelers in the future.


Kansas Ordered to Repay Federal Welfare Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Sam Brownback says the state plans to appeal a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that says Kansas must repay $11.9 million in federal welfare funds it received. Kansas Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn tells the Lawrence Journal-World that the department was notified in June about the funds related to child support collection administrative costs from fiscal year 2003 through 2010. Milburn says the amount includes overpayment of federal funds and interest. The HHS began auditing Kansas and the way it charges its administration fees for the collection of child support in 2013. At that time, the state was ordered to repay about $2 million in overpayments and interest for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. More recently, the HHS has been auditing years that predate the Brownback administration.


Kansas Lawsuit Filed Over Sale of Oil, Gas Leases

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A $30 million lawsuit has been filed against Chesapeake Energy Corp., formerly headed by Oklahoma energy executive Aubrey McClendon, and another company alleging a conspiracy led to a third party's sale of oil and gas leasehold interests for artificially depressed prices. The Kansas City Star reports that Chisholm Partners LLC filed the lawsuit in Kansas City. Chisholm sold the interests to Chesapeake Energy. According to the lawsuit, Chesapeake and SandRidge Energy were active bidders for oil and gas leasehold interests in the Anadarko Basin Region in Kansas and Oklahoma in 2011 and 2012. The lawsuit says Chesapeake and SandRidge illegally divided up the area in Kansas and agreed to not compete and drive up prices for the leasehold interests there. McClendon died in a fiery one-car crash the day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in March.

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