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Headlines for Thursday, June 22, 2017

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

ACLU: 'Confidential' Documents Undercut Kansas Official's Voting Fraud Claim
 
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Civil rights advocates say a Kansas election official is trying to hide materials that contradict his public claim that substantial numbers of noncitizens have registered to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the documents as part of its federal civil lawsuit in Kansas challenging the state's proof-of-citizenship document requirement. It wants to court to remove the confidential designation Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach placed on materials he was photographed taking into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump, as well as a separate draft amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. Kobach, a gubernatorial candidate, has argued in a court filing that the ACLU's efforts to publicize them are meant "to annoy, harass and embarrass" him. Trump named Kobach vice chairman of a national election fraud commission.

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Hutchinson News Editor Tapped to Finish Lawmaker's Term

SOUTH HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - The opinion editor of the Hutchinson News has been picked to complete the term of a Democratic state legislator who died of natural causes earlier this month. Reno County Democrats selected Jason Probst on Wednesday to finish the term of Representative Patsy Terrell. She was 55 when she was found dead June 7 in a Topeka hotel room. The Hutchinson News reports that Probst is resigning his job with the paper. Although he has been a registered Republican before switching party affiliations earlier this month, he's written critically about Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Terrell's two-year term ends in January 2019, but Probst could run for a full term next year.

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Shawnee County Approves $10K Settlement in Jail Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Shawnee County will pay a woman $10,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after she fell from an upper bunk in the county jail. Giuseppina Rogers sued the county, its corrections department and some officials in 2012. She claimed she asked to be allowed to sleep on a lower bunk or the floor of the cell because she it is difficult to climb down from the upper bunk. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Rogers was assigned an upper bunk. She said she suffered permanent injuries when she fell from the bunk, hitting the floor and a toilet bowl. The commission approved the settlement Thursday. County counselor Jim Crowl says the lawsuit's claims had no merit but he recommended settling the case, which has been in litigation for five years.

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Excel Industries to Lay Off More Than 250 Employees in Hesston 

HESSTON, Kan. (AP) — Excel Industries in Hesston says it is reorganizing its operations and will lay off about 270 employees, effective immediately. Excel announced the layoffs Thursday in a letter sent to employees. The plant was the scene of a shooting that left four dead and 14 wounded in 2016. Company officials said in a news release that demand for the turf care products it makes grew rapidly in the last three years but returned to more normal levels this year. They say Excel continues to grow but the overall market for turf care products is flat or down, in part because of weather and economic conditions in some areas. Excel is Hesston's second-largest employer.

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Former Physician Sentenced for Health Care Fraud 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Kansas City physician was sentenced to one year and three months in federal prison without parole for a fraud scheme that involved disability exams for veterans. Federal prosecutors say 74-year-old Wayne Williamson also was ordered Wednesday to pay restitution of $39,155. Williamson surrendered his medical license in 2010 after pleading guilty to health care fraud, conspiracy to distribute drugs and harassing or attempting to harass an investigator with the Missouri State Board of Healing Arts. He was sentenced to three years in prison and banned from participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Despite not having a license, Williamson performed disability examinations for the Department of Veterans Affairs at Industrial Medical Center in Independence. The federal government requires disability exams be conducted by credentialed providers with unrestricted licenses.

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Flying Drones at Night Allowed at KSU-Polytechnic in Salina 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus in Salina is going to be flying unmanned aircraft systems after dark. The school announced Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration granted it a waiver to federal law regulating the unmanned systems, often called drones. Generally, flying the unmanned aircraft is not allowed at night. The night flights will be conducted for research, commercial flight training courses and as in the curriculum of the UAS degree program. The Applied Aviation Research Center offers several different UAS short courses and is introducing night operations in its commercial remote pilot training course starting Friday. The school offers two UAS degree options and one minor.

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KU to Move Forward with $300M Stadium Renovation Plan 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — University of Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger says plans to renovate Memorial Stadium and build an indoor training facility are moving forward and will cost around $300 million. The Kansas City Star reports that Zenger made the announcement Wednesday night at a meet-and-greet event for the football team at a Kansas City, Missouri, bar. He says architectural drawings are in the works and will be released to the public in September. Zenger offered few details, saying he will speak more in the coming months after the designs are shown to fans. Kansas football coach David Beaty says fans "deserve a really, really nice stadium." He's trying to turn around a program that ended with a 2-10 record last season. University officials have considered a stadium overhaul for more than a decade.

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Officers Shoot, Kill Kansas Man After He Fails to Drop Gun 

LEHIGH, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an officer has shot and killed a central Kansas man after he refused to drop a gun. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that 50-year-old Robb Stewart was killed Tuesday night after officers responded to a domestic situation in the small town of Lehigh. The release says responding officers saw Stewart move from his home to a large outbuilding. Officers from the Marion County Sheriff's Office, the Marion Police Department and the Hillsboro Police Department then surrounded the outbuilding. The release says Stewart emerged from the building about 15 minutes later and was shot after not dropping his firearm as ordered. He died at the scene. No officers were injured, although one was transported to a hospital as a precaution. The KBI is investigating.

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Appeals Court Rules Against Kansas Woman in Prayer Lawsuit 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal appellate court has upheld a judge's dismissal of a Kansas woman's lawsuit against police officers.  Mary Ann Sause, a Catholic former nurse, claims that police officers who came to her home wouldn't allow her to pray during their encounter. A 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Denver affirmed a Kansas district court's decision last year to dismiss Sause's case against two Louisburg officers. Sause alleged the officers responding to a noise complaint demanded to be let into her apartment, wouldn't specify why they were there and called a copy of the Constitution she showed them "just a piece of paper." Sause said that when she began praying, an officer unconstitutionally ordered her to stop. Hiram Sasser, a First Liberty Institute attorney for Sause on appeal, says lawyers for the woman are weighing their legal options.

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Kansas State University Touts Large Capital Projects in Last 5 Years 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University says it has added or renovated more than 1 million square feet of space on the Manhattan campus in the last five years. The university announced Thursday in a news release it also has renovated or erected several structures on its Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in the past five years, including an unmanned aircraft systems laboratory and the Bulk Solids Innovation Center. Kansas State President Richard Myers says the construction is part of the university's goal to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025. Current and upcoming large projects including renovation and expansion of Seaton Hall, renovating the Student Union, two more phases of renovating Bill Snyder Family Stadium, an office park and an agronomy education center.

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Mother Says Missouri Cop Should Have Stopped Daughter from Driving 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The mother of a University of Missouri-Kansas City student who drove into the Missouri River and drowned after a traffic stop says the 20-year-old was "hammered" and shouldn't have been allowed to drive. The Kansas City Star reports that Liz Anderson is raising concerns after watching two videos of Toni Anderson the last time she was seen alive in January. Surveillance video from a QuikTrip convenience store shows the Wichita woman driving the wrong way and sitting at an intersection for nearly 15 minutes before a North Kansas City police officer pulled up behind her. Although she seems confused in dashcam video, the officer told her to park her car and collect herself. Toni Anderson's body was found two months later in her submerged vehicle. Liz Anderson says the officer "messed up."

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Suspect Arrested in Killing Man Behind Topeka Gas Station 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect has been arrested in the killing of a man behind a Topeka gas station. KSNT-TV reports that a 41-year-old man was booked into the Shawnee County Jail early Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of 34-year-old Jason Baker. Police found the Topeka man bleeding and unresponsive Friday night behind the gas station in the western part of the city. The investigation is ongoing. Police are urging anyone with information to come forward.

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Eudora City Manager Enters Diversion for DUI 

EUDORA, Kan. (AP) — The Eudora city manager has entered into a diversion agreement for a driving under the influence citation he received in February. The agreement with the Douglas County District Attorney's Office requires 31-year-old Barack Matite to pay $1,025 in fines and costs and complete 20 hours of community service. Mattie must also complete an alcohol education class and not use alcohol for a year. If he doesn't comply with the terms, he could be prosecuted for first-offense DUI. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Matite was arrested February 4. He has been city manager in Eudora since August 2016. Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin says the incident was unfortunate but the Eudora City Commission still has confidence in Matite's ability to do his job.

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Missouri Man Charged with Giving Child Gum to Pose Nude 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, man is charged with child pornography after prosecutors say he gave a 7-year-old girl a pack of gum to pose for nude photos. The Kansas City Star reports 44-year-old Dennis Everette is charged in federal court with production of child pornography. His attorney with the Federal Public Defender's office didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press. Court documents say someone discovered the pictures after borrowing Everette's cellphone and called the girl's mother. The mother then contacted police. The girl told investigators Everette told her that if she took some pictures, he would give her a surprise and that the surprise was a pack of gum. He is accused of having her take off her clothes and telling her how to pose.

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Postal Employee from Kansas City Admits to Stealing Mail 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a postal employee from Kansas City, Missouri, has pleaded guilty to stealing mail. The U.S. attorney's office says 55-year-old Terry Williams admitted Thursday that the theft occurred in 2015 and 2016 while he was working at a mail processing center. Prosecutors say federal agents watched Williams pluck colored envelopes from the trays of mail he was loading to be processed. When approached at the end of his shift, he dropped a bag he'd dropped the envelopes into and ran. Agents chased Williams, tackled him to the ground and handcuffed him. Agents seized two gift cards from Williams and found 232 greeting cards in the bag he'd kept under this work station. Inside his vehicle's trunk, agents found 104 greeting cards, 34 Netflix DVD mailings and three gift cards.

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Family of Man Charged in Wichita Girl's Rape Express 'Shock'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Relatives of a registered sex offender who's charged with raping a 7-year-old in a stranger's Wichita apartment say they are in "utter shock and disbelief." The Wichita Eagle reports that the family of 23-year-old Corbin Breitenbach said in a statement that it's "impossible to communicate the depth of our sorrow and the grief we feel for the victim and her family." The statement was left on the voicemail of an Eagle reporter. A woman who answered the phone at the number from which the voicemail was left identified herself as Breitenbach's mother. Breitenbach is charged with attempted capital murder, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated burglary in the June 11 attack. He'd been released from prison six weeks earlier after serving time for choking and raping a woman in 2012.

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Kansas Boy Fatally Hurt in Collision, Nebraska Patrol Says

MCCOOK, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a 10-year-old Kansas boy died after the bicycle he was riding collided with a pickup truck in southwest Nebraska. The accident occurred around 1:20 pm Tuesday on the southwest side of McCook. The Nebraska State Patrol says the boy rode his bike from a private driveway onto a roadway, where it was struck by the pickup. The patrol says the boy was pronounced dead later at Community Hospital in McCook. He was identified as Peyton Fife, who lived in Oberlin, Kansas. The pickup driver was identified as 37-year-old Jason Stephens, of McCook. He was not injured.

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14-Year-Old Boy Dies in Western Kansas ATV Crash 

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a 14-year-old boy has died in an all-terrain vehicle crash in southwest Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the ATV's 16-year-old driver was speeding Wednesday night when the vehicle started to fish tail on a road about nine miles north of Liberal. The ATV then toppled onto the passenger side, killing Brett Cunningham, of Liberal. The driver wasn't hurt.

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Chimpanzee Dies in Fall from Tree at the Kansas City Zoo 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Zoo says a 31-year-old male chimpanzee died in an accidental fall from a tree. The zoo said Wednesday the chimp, called Bahati, climbed a tree while interacting with other chimps. He fell to the ground after grabbing a dead branch and died from injuries from the fall. Zookeepers estimate Bahati fell 30 to 40 feet. The zoo says its chimp area includes natural trees, which are monitored by staff and professionally trimmed annually. Bahati was born at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita in 1986. He came to Kansas City in February this year from the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. The Kansas City Zoo now has 12 chimpanzees.

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Kansas City Man Sentenced in Overland Park Nightclub Death 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City man was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 50 years for a man's death outside an Overland Park nightclub. James Willis was sentenced Wednesday for first-degree murder in the September 2015 death of 24-year-old Jurl Carter of Olathe. Willis' brother, Dale Willis, was previously sentenced to life in prison in the case. Carter was a rapper called "Bo Boogy." Dale Willis also was a rapper and owned a Kansas City record company. Carter was killed outside Jim Kilroy's Roxy Bar after an altercation with Dale Willis. Witnesses said Carter was in a vehicle when he was shot several times. Prosecutors said Dale Willis told his brother to shoot Carter. James Willis testified he shot Carter in self-defense.

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MLB, Players Union Donate $1M to Negro Leagues Museum in KC 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Major League Baseball and its players union have donated $1 million to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City to support its operations, expansion and educational opportunities. Baseball Commissioner Bob Manfred and union director Tony Clark announced the grant Wednesday. The Negro Leagues museum was founded in 1990 in a one-room office in Kansas City and has grown into an attraction that draws thousands of visitors every year. Many big league players make it a point to stop by when their teams are in town to play the Royals. Earlier this year, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones toured the museum and made a $20,000 donation.

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Perez Grand Slam Rallies Royals to 6-4 Win Over Red Sox 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez hit his first career grand slam, connecting in the eighth inning to lift the Kansas City Royals over the Boston Red Sox 6-4 Wednesday. The Royals have won nine of 11 and moved within a game of .500. Perez homered over the Kansas City bullpen in left field on the ninth pitch from Robby Scott (0-1). With Boston leading 4-2, reliever Matt Barnes started the inning by walking Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain on 12 pitches. Scott was summoned to face Eric Hosmer, but walked him on four pitches to load the bases for Perez. The All-Star catcher fouled off three full-count deliveries before hitting his 15th home run of the season. Jorge Soria (3-2) worked a run-free eighth before Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

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Former KU Football Standout Keith Loneker Dies at 46 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Keith Loneker, the former Unversity of Kansas offensive lineman who spent three years in the NFL before becoming a modestly successful actor, died Thursday. He was 46. The school announced Loneker's death in a statement. No cause was given, though son and current KU linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. said he'd been diagnosed with cancer late last year. Loneker helped the Jayhawks to a victory in the 1992 Aloha Bowl, earning first-team All-Big Eight honors, before signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Rams. He wound up spending three seasons with the franchise, starting five times and appearing in 19 games. After his football career, Loneker appeared in such films as "Rock Star" and "Superbad." Along with his son, Loneker is survived by a daughter, Kylee.

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Chiefs Sign Andy Reid to Extension, Part with GM John Dorsey 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs have given coach Andy Reid a contract extension and parted ways with general manager John Dorsey, making two massive decisions on what is typically a quiet week in the offseason. The 59-year-old Reid was entering the final year of the five-year deal he signed in 2013, shortly after the end of his long and mostly successful tenure in Philadelphia. Reid is 43-21 with three playoff appearances in four seasons in Kansas City, helping to deliver an AFC West title last season. Less than an hour after his extension was announced, the Chiefs said Dorsey — who was hired to work in tandem with Reid — would not be retained. Dorsey was also entering the final year of his contract. The Chiefs did not say who would take over the GM duties on an interim basis.
 

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