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Headlines for Sunday, January 29, 2017

Kansas Special Election Adds Urgency to Pending Court Cases

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The upcoming special election for the 4th District congressional seat has added new urgency to pending court decisions in multiple federal lawsuits.  Those lawsuits challenge restrictive voter registration requirements in Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback has called an April 11th special election to fill the congressional seat formerly held by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo.  Preliminary court orders allowed Kansans who registered using a federal form or at motor vehicle offices to vote in the November election even if they didn't conform to a disputed Kansas requirement to provide documentary proof of citizenship to vote, such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport. The uncertainty comes in part because federal judges hearing three separate cases unfolding in Kansas and in Washington, D.C. could rule on pending motions seeking summary judgment that could impact April's special election.


KC Searchers Discover Second Body

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — For the second straight week, people searching for a missing KC-area woman found a man's body. Relatives of Jessica Runions found the body yesterday (SAT) morning while searching for Runions, who has been missing since early September. Kansas City police say the death is being investigated as suspicious but released no other details. The Kansas City Star reports Runions' relatives search for her nearly every week. Last week, they found a man's decomposing body in a creek bed. He was later identified as 21-year-old Brandon Herring of Raytown, Missouri, who had been reported missing in November. His death is being investigated as a homicide. Runions was last seen leaving a gathering of friends in south Kansas City. Her burned vehicle was found two days later in a nearby wooded area.


Investigations into Kansas Child Deaths Shrouded in Secrecy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas welfare officials rarely release details after a child's death or serious injury despite a decade-old law designed to provide more transparency. The Kansas City Star reports that it has made numerous requests for documents to see how officials with the Kansas Department for Children and Families were complying with the 2004 law. Of 15 media requests, the department released information about the department's involvement in only one instance. In several cases, judges kept information sealed at the request of prosecutors, police departments and even parents suspected of abuse. Department Secretary Phyllis Gilmore says the agency is "constantly striving to make sure children in Kansas are safe." Representative Jim Ward (D-Wichita) says the current law requiring disclosure has "too many loopholes."


Fort Riley, KU Team Up on Brain Injury Study

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — More than a hundred Fort Riley soldiers are helping University of Kansas researchers study how intense running affects wounded soldiers with mild traumatic brain injury. David Johnson, who is leading a two-year study, says many soldiers have significant problems with traumatic brain injuries. Many of the injuries are caused by improvised explosive devices and other blasts. Clinical trials will assess whether intensive cardiorespiratory exercise helps wounded warriors recover from mild traumatic brain injury. Johnson's premise is that aerobic exercise helps the brain heal itself. All the soldiers participating in the study have been exposed to major explosions. Johnson says soldiers will run to improve their aerobic capacity, with a goal of running more miles more quickly. The research is supported by $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense.


Hutchinson Man Sentenced to 3 Years for Drunk Driving Fatality

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson man has been sentenced to three years in prison for a drunken-driving accident that killed his friend. 20-year-old Dakota Wade James was sentenced Friday for a May 15th wreck on the Barton/Stafford county line. Investigators say James missed a curve and rolled his pickup truck rolled, leaving 20-year-old Jacob Kenny of Great Bend dead.
The Hutchinson News reports James told authorities after the accident that Kenny had been driving. James also had a history of alcohol-related violations, including a DUI arrest four months before the crash. Prosecutors charged James with involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter by reckless behavior. A 30-day sentence for filing a false police report will run concurrently with the prison time.


Man Sentenced for Dragging Topeka Officer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man who fled from police while an officer was hanging on to his steering wheel was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Dyllon Alan Tucker was sentenced Friday for the April 14th incident. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports police found Tucker asleep in his car with music playing loudly. When they woke Taylor up, he drove off in his car with officer Cassandra Caviness hanging from the driver's door. The officer was dragged for several hundred feet before she shot Tucker in the shoulder. Caviness suffered a broken arm. At the time, Tucker was on 18 months of probation on a drug conviction. His sentences on that charge and a second previous case were added to his sentence for his encounter with Caviness.


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