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Headlines for Thursday, October 10, 2019

 

Former Kansas Democratic Congresswoman Drops Out of U.S. Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas Democratic congresswoman has dropped out of the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Roberts.  Former U.S. Representative Nancy Boyda formed a campaign committee in June to run for the Democratic nomination next year.  Former federal prosecutor and Kansas City area attorney Barry Grissom is also seeking the nomination.  Boyda represented a northeast Kansas district in the U.S. House in 2007 and 2008, ousting a Republican incumbent in 2006, only to narrowly lose the seat two years later. She said today (THUR) she was leaving the Senate race to focus on bringing Kansans together at a time of civic strife without what she described as the "constraints of a partisan campaign."  Republicans haven't lost a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since 1932.

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Kansas City Man Convicted of Rape, Filming Crime on Victim's Cellphone

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl while recording the crime on her cellphone.  A Platte County jury on Wednesday found 20-year-old Martese Johnson-Winters guilty of first degree rape, first degree sodomy and sexual exploitation of a minor. Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said Johnson-Winters forced the girl to have sex while pointing what she believed to be a gun at her.  Johnson-Winters' attorney did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on his behalf. Sentencing is set for December 5.

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Lawsuit Claims ICE Mistreated Missouri Immigration Attorney

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has sued two immigration agents alleging they mistreated an attorney who was accompanying her 3-year-old client to be reunited with his pregnant mother before both would be deported to Honduras.  The ACLU said in a news release Thursday that ICE agents separated immigration lawyer Andrea Martinez from the child last year at an ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Facility in Kansas City, Missouri. Its claims agents pushed her to the ground.  Their lawsuit alleges the ICE agents refused her medical treatment for her bleeding leg and fractured foot and illegally detained her inside the facility. They also allegedly seized and searched her cell phone.  The incident was recorded as part of the Netflix documentary, Living Undocumented, which was released this month.

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Software Engineer to Change Plea in Kansas Cyberattack Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A computer software engineer accused of plotting cyberattacks on websites criticizing a Wichita attorney's work has notified the court he plans to change his plea.  A docket notation on Wednesday in U.S. District Court says VIRAL Artificial Intelligence co-founder David Dorsett is set for a change-of-plea hearing on October 21 in Wichita.  Dorsett and Wichita lawyer Bradley Pistotnik pleaded not guilty last year to federal charges of computer fraud and conspiracy. Pistotnik is also charged with making false statements to the FBI.  The indictment alleges that Pistotnik and Dorsett are responsible for cyberattacks on Leagle.com, Ripoffreport.com and JaburgWilk.com in 2014 and 2015. The indictment also accuses Dorsett of filling website inboxes with threats. Court records say one email demands that a webpage be removed or the hackers will target advertisers.

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Third Republican Enters Kansas Congressional Race

ROELAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A former suburban Kansas City mayor has become the third Republican to kick off a campaign to challenge freshman Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids.  The Kansas City Star reports that Adrienne Foster announced her campaign this week for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District. Foster served one term as the mayor of Roeland Park, a community of about 6,800, before becoming executive director of the Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission under Republican Governors Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer.  During her tenure with the commission, she faced calls for her resignation over comments she made in support of then-candidate Donald Trump.  Also running in the Republican primary is former National Down Syndrome Society CEO Sarah Hart Weir and Amanda Adkins, a Cerner Corp. executive with political ties to Brownback.

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Search Continues for KCK Bar Shooting Suspect, Police Seek Help

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A suspect in a Kansas bar shooting that left four dead and five wounded remains on the lam and stymied authorities behind an ongoing manhunt are urging witnesses to come forward.  Police continued searching Thursday for 29-year-old Hugo Villanueva-Morales, more than four days after gunfire erupted early Sunday at the Tequila KC bar in Kansas City, Kansas. Villanueva-Morales and 23-year-old Javier Alatorre are charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Alatorre was arrested hours after the shooting at a home in Kansas City, Missouri.  Officer Thomas Tomasic says officers don't know whether Villanueva-Morales has left the area. He says police are at a "slow point right now as far as information." Police want to talk to any witnesses who were in the bar but left before officers arrived.

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KCK Bar Shooting Suspected Got Probation Last Year

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A suspect in a weekend Kansas bar shooting that left four dead and five wounded was given probation last year for another crime.  Instead of being given more prison time, Hugo Villanueva-Morales got probation for trafficking contraband while imprisoned for aggravated robbery.  The Kansas City Star reports that the same Leavenworth County judge that allowed Villanueva-Morales to avoid prison in the case also made news earlier this year when he reduced the sentence of a convicted sex offender because he said the 13- and 14-year-old girls who were victims in the sexual abuse were actually "aggressors."  Police continue searching for Villanueva-Morales. He and 23-year-old Javier Alatorre are charged with four counts of first-degree murder in Sunday's shooting at the Tequila KC bar in Kansas City, Kansas. Alatorre was arrested hours after the shooting in Kansas City, Missouri.  

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Rig Hauling Cattle Overturns on Kansas City Highway

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a tractor-trailer hauling cattle has overturned on a Kansas City highway, causing several other crashes as more than 40 animals broke free.  The rig flipped around 1 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 29 near the Interstate 636 interchange.  Police say another tractor-trailer and at least one car hit loose cattle. Police say another driver crashed into a police cruiser. No drivers were injured, but traffic was disrupted for hours as crews cleaned up the mess and rounded up the loose cattle.  Police say several head of cattle had to be euthanized at the scene.

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2 Men Killed in Central Kansas Crash with Semi

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two men were killed after their van collided with a semi headed in the opposite direction in Marion County.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 84-year-old Cecil Gill Jr. of Illinois was headed west on Highway 50 around 7:36 p.m. Wednesday. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Gill was traveling partially in the eastbound lane of traffic.  In the 2005 Dodge Caravan with him was 20-year-old Dwayne J. Scott of Missouri.  Both Gill and Scott were killed when their vehicle collided with a semi driven by 57-year-old Kevin M. Thompson of Wisconsin. Thompson was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

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Missouri River Will Remain at High Levels into December

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The lower Missouri River will remain high into December because of the large amount of water being released from dams into the river.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the amount of water being released from the Gavins Point dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border will remain at a level more than twice what is typical for this time of year — 80,000 cubic feet per second — into mid-December.  Officials do not expect significant new flooding along the river because of the high releases. But many levees remain damaged from severe flooding in the spring, allowing the floodwaters to flow into many farm fields and rural areas.  The amount of rain and melting snow flowing into the river has remained exceptionally high this fall, and wet weather is expected to continue through the end of the year.

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Kansas Man Faces 2nd Murder Trial over Infant's 2018 Death

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man accused of killing a 2½-month-old infant faces a second trial in January after his first trial resulted in a hung jury.  The Manhattan Mercury reports that D'Khari Lyons faces charges of first-degree murder and child abuse over the November 2018 death of Michael Calvert Jr. Authorities said the infant died from head trauma after sustaining severe internal injuries.  Riley County District Judge Meryl Wilson scheduled the start of a second trial for January 13. The first was in September.  Wilson also lowered Lyons' bond to $100,000 from $500,000.  Defense attorney Cole Hawver said Lyons is not a flight risk and has no prior criminal history.  Prosecutors allege Lyons lashed out at the baby in momentary frustration at his crying while watching him for a girlfriend.

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Relatives of Man Killed by KC Area Deputy Want Case Reopened

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Relatives of a man who was fatally shot by a Kansas City-area sheriff's deputy are outraged after the deputy was charged with shooting a scooter rider in the back while trying to arrest her.  The Kansas City Star reports that Donald Sneed Jr. says 29-year-old Jackson County sheriff's Deputy Lauren Michael is "trigger happy." His son, Donald Sneed III, was fatally shot by Michael in 2017 outside a Walmart in Raytown, where he was suspected of shoplifting.  Sneed is demanding that the case be reopened after Michael was charged Wednesday with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the August shooting that wounded the woman on the scooter.  But prosecutors say the first shooting was reviewed and that the decision was made not file charges. Michael is on unpaid leave.

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Wichita Water Plant Behind Schedule Amid Scrutiny of Mayor

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new water plant planned for Wichita is behind schedule, delaying a City Council decision on keeping a nearly $524 million contract that has prompted an investigation of the mayor.  The Wichita Eagle reports the contract gave Wichita Water Partners until October 4 to submit a cost estimate for a part of the plant it is designing. The council had planned to decide at the end of October whether the group could start construction.  But on October 3, City Manager Robert Layton approved the group's request for a 75-day extension. The December 18 deadline is after the November 5 mayoral election.  Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett opened an investigation after The Eagle reported that Mayor Jeff Longwell steered the contract to the group and it includes friends of his.

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Wichita Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Store Robbery

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been sentenced to 84 months in federal prison for robbing a convenience store last year.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister's office said the sentence was imposed Tuesday on 39-year-old Willie Smith. He pleaded guilty to a single robbery charge in June.  U.S. District Judge John Broomes also ordered Smith to be supervised for three years after his release and to pay $561 in restitution.  Authorities said Smith robbed the convenience store by showing the clerk what appeared to be a revolver and demanding money. When investigators searched his apartment later, they found a black BB gun.  Authorities allege that Smith also used the BB gun robberies of another convenience store and a liquor store in Wichita in 2018.

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Emporia State Receives $2 Million Aimed at Deaf, Autism Disorders

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Emporia State University is receiving more than $2 million in grants to help professionals seeking to bolster employment opportunities for people with hearing problems and autism spectrum disorders.  The university says in a news release that it has one of three programs nationwide that concentrates in working with deaf and hard-of-hearing people.  Its education department will use the grants to support students with tuition, training and professional development through 2024. Vocational rehabilitation personnel will receive online instruction leading to a master's degree or certification.  The university says the funds aim to address shortages in rehabilitation services in the region.

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Kansas City Firm Makes $6.9 Million Bid for Rural Kansas Hospital

HILLSBORO, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, company that specializes in turning around financially distressed hospitals is seeking to a rural central Kansas hospital that is in bankruptcy.  KCUR Radio reports that Rural Hospital Group is proposing to buy Hillsboro Community Hospital for $6.9 million. It appears to be the only bidder so far.  The 15-bed hospital about 50 miles north of Wichita was placed in receivership in January and then in bankruptcy in March after its previous owner defaulted on its bills and other financial obligations.  A member of a group that took over the hospital in 2017 has been charged in federal court in Kansas City with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The hospital was placed in receivership after it defaulted on a construction loan.

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Ex-ICE Agent Faces Federal Charges for Impersonating Officer

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a former agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement accused of helping an inmate escape from a local Kansas jail by impersonating an immigration officer.  Forty-two-year-old Andrew J. Pleviak was indicted Wednesday on a charge of false impersonation of a federal officer.  He is accused of falsely identifying himself as another man who is an actual ICE agent in an effort on September 3 to free an inmate held at the Kingman County jail. He allegedly provided a sheriff's deputy a memorandum on ICE letterhead falsely claiming the inmate was an important confidential informant and saying that ICE would drop the detainer on him.  Pleviak also faces state charges , including attempted aiding of escape, false impersonation and forgery. His defense attorney declined comment.

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Missouri Community Campaigns to Get Residents to Cleanup After Pets

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Officials in a southwest Missouri city are planting small flags in piles of abandoned dog poop as part of a campaign to get residents to clean up after their pets downtown.  The Police Department in Springfield, Missouri, posted photos of the flags in use on its Facebook page Wednesday.  The flags contain messages such as, "Is this your turd? 'Cuz that's absurd" and "This is a nudge to pick up the fudge."  The campaign started this week and the department noted on Facebook that leaving behind a pet's mess in many cases violates a city ordinance.  The flags are made of bamboo and recycled paper.  The city said it picks up nearly 25 pounds of poop a week from downtown parks and parking lots, with the work costing $7,500 annually.

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