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Headlines for Thursday, July 7, 2016

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

Storms Hit Kansas and Missouri, Cutting Power to Thousands

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Heavy thunderstorms rolled through Kansas and Missouri, yanking down power lines and trees and causing power outages.  The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for several sections around the two states and said storms could continue.  The weather service also issued flash flood warnings for southeast Missouri.  Downed trees and power lines have left about 50,000 customers of Kansas City Power & Light without power. Ameren Missouri also reported on its website early Thursday that about 10,000 of its customers didn't have power, largely in central Missouri.  In Kansas, Westar Energy says numerous outages have also been reported, largely in the Topeka area, but power outages were also reported in Lawrence and Eudora.  The weather service says similar storms could spawn large hail and possible tornados in Kansas and Missouri.


Kansas Welfare Mentoring Program Attracts Few Participants

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials say a voluntary mentoring program for welfare recipients has attracted few participants and mentors. The Wichita Eagle reports that the program has had 13 participants since it started six months ago, and 115 people have volunteered to be mentors. The goal is to have 1,100 mentors. Governor Sam Brownback announced the program in January as part of a push to lift low-income families out of poverty. Brownback recently questioned at a meeting of the Social Services Program Council whether the program was approaching participants in a timely way. Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Susan Mosier suggests creating incentives for welfare recipients to participate. The project is being funded by a federal grant and is projected to cost about $350,000 a year.


Infant Found in Trash in Lawrence 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police are investigating after an injured 9-month-old girl was found abandoned in the trash. Police say in a news release the child was taken to a Kansas City hospital in serious but stable condition. She has possibly life-threatening injuries. The child was found Thursday morning in the trash receptacle at the apartment complex. Lawrence police says they have been in contact with the child's family. No other information was immediately released.


Judge: Reason for Tiller's Killing Relevant to Sentencing 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge says the reason that Dr. George Tiller was killed is not a legal defense for murder, but could be relevant for jurors in deciding how long Scott Roeder must stay in prison. Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert said Thursday that Roeder's state of mind during the May 31, 2009, killing could matter to a jury that'll decide whether to resentence him to a minimum of 50 or 25 years before being eligible for parole. Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder and has testified he killed Tiller to stop him from performing abortions. Roeder's life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years was among many vacated after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that juries, not judges, must decide whether to increase punishment.


Fort Riley Soldier Found Dead, Investigation Continues 

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) -- Fort Riley officials say a soldier stationed at the fort was found dead. Fort officials announced Thursday that the body of 26-year-old Specialist Oscar Delgado, of San Francisco, was found July 1, a week after he went missing. The details surrounding his disappearance and death have not been released. An investigation is continuing. Delgado was a fire control repairer with the 101st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. He had been at Fort Riley since October 2014 and had not been deployed. He was reported missing by his unit on June 26. Base officials said Delgado was found dead at Fort Riley.


Missouri Man Charged in Death of Kansas Woman at Motel 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 29-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of an 18-year-old Kansas woman at a motel. Wyandotte County prosecutors said Thursday they had charged Carlos Gallegos in the strangulation death of Monica J. Chavira, of Mission. Her body was found Tuesday at a Kansas City, Kansas, motel. Gallegos was arrested Thursday in Kansas City. He is being held in Jackson County awaiting a hearing on whether he will fight extradition to Kansas. His bond has been set at $1 million.


Kansas City Official Suggests Regulation Change for Uber 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City official has recommended getting rid of a 30-day orientation period in which drivers for Uber, a ride-hailing company, can operate without getting a city driver's certificate or a vehicle permit. The Kansas City Star reports that the city's Regulated Industries Division manager Jim Ready says the orientation period presents a danger by allowing drivers who skip the regulatory process and who have stopped working for Uber or a taxi service to illegally operate by claiming they are in the orientation period. Drivers who are allowed to work during the 30-day period do not have a purple sticker on their vehicles to show they've been approved by the city. The city will seek input from the industry and public comment on potential regulation changes.


3 Charged in Kansas Man's Death in Missouri

SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have charged three people in the death of a 66-year-old Kansas man reported missing in southeast Missouri.  The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that Larry Weaver, of Pittsburg, was reported missing late last month after he failed to check out of a Sikeston, Missouri motel. Authorities discovered his motorcycle was also missing, but his wallet and other belongings were left in his motel room. His body was found Saturday in a cotton field in New Madrid County.  Records show 40-year-old Elsie M. Coleman Hamilton and 49-year-old Ronnie Carl Robinson Sr., both of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and 35-year-old Larenzle Coleman, of Oakfield, Tennessee, are charged with first-degree murder in Weaver's death.  An autopsy shows Weaver had been tied up and beaten.  Online court records don't list lawyers for the defendants.


Warrant Issued for Man Who Allegedly Dragged Lawrence Officer with Car

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police have issued an arrest warrant for a man who allegedly injured an officer by dragging him with his vehicle as he fled a traffic stop.  Police spokeswoman Sgt. Amy Rhoads says 36-year-old Aramis N. Hernandez is wanted for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.  A police officer stopped a white Ford Fusion with a Missouri license plate around 4:45 Tuesday afternoon. Authorities say Hernandez fled the area, dragging the officer on the street with his vehicle.  Rhoads says the officer was treated in a local hospital for injuries that weren't life-threatening. He has been released.  Police said Wednesday that the vehicle has been found, but that Hernandez is still at large.


Kansas Supreme Court Schedules Arguments on School Funding Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court is turning its attention to whether the state is spending enough money overall on its schools.  The justices issued a brief order yesterday (WED) setting oral arguments on that issue for September 21.  The court wants the parties to also address at that time a lower panel's remedial orders and any changes it should make to them if it ultimately upholds their findings. The panel ruled last year the state must increase its annual aid by at least $548 million.  It also gave the parties until August 12 to file any supplemental written arguments.  The Supreme Court signed off last week on a new education funding law that boosts state aid to poor school districts, ending a threat that the state's public schools would be shut down.


Kansas State Senator: School Leaders Want to Oust Him and Other Conservative Incumbents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A state senator from southern Kansas says school district superintendents are working to defeat incumbent Republican conservative lawmakers, like him, in this year's elections.  Senator Forrest Knox, a Republican from Altoona, made that allegation in an email to supporters last week and in an interview with The Wichita Eagle.  Knox says he sees signs for his opponents at the homes across the state belonging to people connected to the state's schools. He suggested some superintendents are intimidating teachers into supporting his opponents.  Cory Gibson, president of the Kansas School Superintendents Association, says the organization doesn't ever make endorsements in legislative races. He says school employees are free to campaign for a candidate on their own time but many superintendents don't because they have to work with whoever wins the election.


Sedgwick County Commission Passes Resolution Against Illegal Immigrants

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County commissioners are officially asking the Kansas Legislature to ban immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from receiving in-state tuition or help from a federal nutrition program.  The resolution passed 3-2 yesterday (WED), after almost two hours of public debate. The Wichita Eagle reports some speakers supported the resolution but most were opposed.  Commissioners supporting the resolution said they were seeking a clear directive from Kansas government on issues related to those in the country illegally. The resolution is not binding.  The resolution will ask the state lawmakers to keep immigrants in the country illegally from receiving in-state tuition. It also asks the state health department to ban them from receiving help from the Women, Infants and Children program, which provides nutritious foods to low-income mothers and their children.


Wichita Police Identify Victim, Shooter 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 26-year-old man shot and killed his former girlfriend before killing himself. Lieutenant Todd Ojile identified the victim as 24-year-old Emily Sonneman and the suspect as Dion Stevens. Police believe the two were arguing in an apartment Wednesday shortly before the shootings. Police say the two had been previously involved in relationship, and Sonneman had gone to Stevens' apartment to return items when they started arguing. Police told KWCH that Sonneman jumped from a second floor balcony, and Stevens chased her outside and shot her. Police say Sonneman was conscious when officers arrived and was able to identify Stevens as the suspect. She died later at a hospital. Officers found Stevens dead in the apartment from a single gunshot wound.


Ground Broken on $7 Million Loading Facility Near Great Bend

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Construction has officially started on a new facility that will allow easier loading of cargo between trains and trucks in central Kansas.  The Kansas Department of Transportation says groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday (WED) for the Great Bend Transload Facility just west of the Great Bend airport.  The rail shipping facility is expected to open by the end of the year.  The public-private partnership is expected to improve movement of goods between trains and trucks.  The transportation department will contribute $3 million to the $6.8 million project. The facility will be operated by Sherwood Companies of Oklahoma City will operate the facility.


Imprisoned Transgender Soldier Chelsea Manning Hospitalized

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Army says imprisoned transgender soldier Chelsea Manning was briefly hospitalized this week, though few details have been provided.  Army spokesman Wayne Hall says the 28-year-old Manning was taken to a hospital Tuesday near Fort Leavenworth and was later returned to the Kansas military base's prison, where Manning is now being monitored. Hall and other Pentagon officials didn't say why Manning was hospitalized.  Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, was convicted in military court in 2013 for sending classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence.  Manning's appellate attorney, Nancy Hollander, said she was unaware of the hospitalization until Wednesday and was "profoundly distressed by the complete lack of official communication about Chelsea's current situation."  A Fort Leavenworth spokeswoman declined comment, citing medical privacy laws.


Blue Jays Beat Royals 4-2; Sweep Series in Toronto

TORONTO (AP) — Michael Saunders hit a solo home run in the fourth inning and singled home the winning run in the eighth as the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of Kansas City, beating the Royals 4-2 last (WED) night.  Toronto won its fifth straight, while the Royals, the 2015 World Champions, dropped their fourth game in a row. 


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