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Headlines for Thursday, September 19, 2019

Board of Regents Changes University Admission Standards

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents approved changes in admissions standards that will allow more students to qualify for state universities. The board voted Wednesday to eliminate a rule that required students to take high school courses in English, math and science. Class rank will no longer be considered, and most students with a C or C+ grade point average will be accepted at most of the universities. The Wichita Eagle reports the new rules will qualify 87% of Kansas high school graduates for admission to Wichita State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State. Kansas State will have the same requirements as those schools, except students will need a 3.25 GPA, while the other four schools will require a 2.25. The University of Kansas is not changing its standards other than eliminating the curriculum requirement.

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4 Families Sue over Missouri Vaccine Requirements

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Four Missouri families who don't want to vaccinate their children allege in a lawsuit that the children's schools and state health officials have made it increasingly difficult to file religious exemptions.  The Kansas City Star reports that a federal judge has already ruled that one of the unvaccinated students may continue going to a charter school in Kansas City while the case continues. The child's grandfather, Linus Baker, of Stilwell, Kansas, is representing his grandson's family as well as families from Bates, Christian and Miller counties. Baker also sued last month in Kansas to keep from having to vaccinate his 4-year-old son.  The lawsuit says exemptions are harder to get, with parents required to fill out a form provided by the health department. He says, "The agency has gone rogue."

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Man Found Guilty of Holding Woman Captive, Raping Her

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A man has been convicted of holding a woman against her will in her suburban Kansas City apartment for several weeks and sexually assaulting her.  The Kansas City Star reports that jurors found 38-year-old Anthony Darryl Allen guilty Wednesday of one count aggravated kidnapping and two counts of rape.  Police arrested Allen in August 2015 after officers were dispatched to the woman's apartment in Lenexa for a welfare check. Allen initially refused to come out of the apartment but eventually surrendered to police.  Charges were filed after the woman told police Allen wasn't allowing her to leave the apartment and had raped her.  His sentencing is scheduled for November 7.

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Southeast Kansas Town Council Fires 3 Top Officials; Mayor Walks Out

FRONTENAC, Kan. (AP) — The city council for a small southeast Kansas community has fired its administrator, attorney and clerk without any discussion, prompting the mayor to threaten to resign and then walk out of the meeting.  The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that the mass firings happened during Monday night's meeting in Frontenac, a town of about 3,400 located just to the north of Pittsburg. The reasons for the surprise terminations remain unclear. The Morning Sun has filed a records request.  After the firings, Mayor Linda Grilz said she would veto the vote or the council also could have her resignation. She then walked out with the three fired employees.  A city council member who voted in favor of the firings is now serving as interim mayor. But questions remain about whether Grilz had officially resigned.

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Barton County Civil Process Server Charged with Rape

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A civilian employee for the Barton County Sheriff's office has been charged with rape.  Barton County Attorney Levi Morris says 64-year-old Jimmy Hapes, of Great Bend, was charged Wednesday after he turned himself in to county officials. Hapes is a civil process server for the sheriff's office.  The sheriff's office asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to help with the investigation after the rape was reported on June 24. The KBI said in a news release Wednesday the alleged rape occurred June 7.  The KBI said Hapes was placed on administrative leave after the accusations were made.  No further information was immediately available.

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Dozens of Cats Discovered in Augusta 'Hoarder Home'

AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) — The Butler County Sheriff's says at least 60 cats — some of them dead— were removed from a home in Augusta. Sheriff Kelly Herzet says crews cleared the animals from the home Thursday. He said a dead and decaying dog was found inside the house and it's possible more animals would be found. KAKE -TV reports Stephanie Heinz, who lives next to the home, said the woman who rented the home would show up periodically to feed the animals and then would leave again. Herzet said because the renter paid her utilities, crews couldn't go into the home until she recently surrendered her rights to the animals. Sheriff Herzet said his office hopes to forward a criminal case of animal cruelty to the Butler County attorney.

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Woman Sentenced in Death of Oklahoma Man in Kansas

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — A woman who was a fugitive with her son for two years after an Oklahoma man was killed has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.  Diana Bohlander was sentenced Tuesday to 59 months in prison for her role in the death of 64-year-old James McFarland, of Tulsa, whose body was found in April 2017 in southeast Kansas.  Bohlander's 23-year-old son, Ty, was given the same sentence September 3.  The Joplin Globe reports the Bohlanders were living in a van with McFarland when he was killed. Investigators believe McFarland suffered blunt force trauma when he and Ty Bohlander fought. Diana Bohlander was accused of helping her son conceal the crime.  The Bohlanders were fugitives until Ty Bohlander was arrested in March in Santa Monica, California. His mother turned herself in the next month.

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Road Closures Around KCI Airport Will Cause Delays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City International Airport officials are warning travelers to give themselves more time to get to their destinations.  The airport authority announced that construction on a new terminal will start slowing traffic this week.  Vehicle traffic between terminals B and C will be reduced to one lane, and the road that allows motorists to return to a terminal will be closed.  The change to the loop road system will particularly affect motorists who circle the area while waiting to pick up passengers. People waiting for passengers may park for free in the Cell Phone lot near the FAA tower. Or they can park in the economy parking lot for up to one hour without being charged a fee.  The airport says ongoing construction means travelers should allow more time for up to a year.

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Kansas Football Player Charged with 2 Misdemeanors

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas football player is charged with two misdemeanors after his arrest at a Lawrence bar.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports sophomore linebacker Thomas Patrick Barrett was charged Tuesday with two counts of contributing to a child's misconduct. An attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.  Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads says Barrett, from Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested on Aug. 31 at the Jayhawk Cafe. Two 17-year-old girls inside the business were in possession of what was believed to be alcohol.  The girls were released to their guardians.  Barrett turned 21 the same week he was arrested. He's scheduled for another court appearance October 2.  The Kansas athletic department said it's monitoring the situation while it goes through the legal process.

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4 Students Suffer Minor Injuries in Wichita School Bus Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Four Wichita middle school students suffered minor injuries when a semi-trailer truck ran into the back of a school bus. Wichita schools spokeswoman Susan Arensman said the accident happened Thursday morning in southwest Wichita. She said the bus, which was headed to Allison Traditional Magnet Middle School, was stopped at railroad tracks when the truck, which did not have an attached trailer, hit it. Arensman said of the 21 students on board, four complained of injuries and two were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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Kansas Man Shot with His Own Gun Heads to Prison

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 26-year-old Kansas man who was shot with his own gun was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison after admitting he was not legally allowed to have the weapon. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release that Keeno DeVonte Collins, of Ozawkie, was sentenced Wednesday after previously pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Collins was shot in the arm in June 2018 on the Topeka West High School campus. DNA from blood on the pistol matched Collins' DNA. He told emergency responders he didn't remember what happened. A school employee found the gun in the grass at the school's football practice field the day after Collins was shot. Collins wasn't allowed to have the handgun because of a prior felony drug conviction.

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Audit Questions How Anti-Crime Tax Money was Spent

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An audit has found that millions of dollars generated by a Kansas City-area anti-drug and violence sales tax has been spent on unrelated expenses.  The report released Wednesday found that the amount of revenue the 30-year-old COMBAT sales tax was expected to generate was chronically underestimated starting in 2010. The extra money created a kind of slush fund that was used to pay for non-crime-fighting related expenses like a pedestrian trail.  Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who commissioned the audit, said that money will now be used to "address the crime and violence that's occurring in this county right now."  County executive Frank White's staff is reviewing the findings before commenting. The audit says White and his predecessor often approved the questioned spending by saying it was "emergency status."

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Kansas Man Sues Leading E-Cigarette Maker

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man who began vaping in high school and now suffers respiratory problems has sued a leading e-cigarette maker, alleging that it fraudulently concealed the addictive nature of its products.  KCUR Radio reports that Isaac Gant, of Johnson County, Kansas, filed the lawsuit this week in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. He's seeking class action status on behalf of all Kansas residents who bought or used products made by Juul. The suit seeks unspecified damages.  The filing comes as health officials investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses nationwide reported in people who used vaping devices. Seven deaths have been reported, including one in Kansas.  San Francisco-based Juul said last week in a statement that it's "never marketed to youth" and has ongoing campaigns to combat underage use.

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Wichita State, Kansas State Plan Satellite Nursing Program

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University and Kansas State are hoping to offer a satellite nursing program in Manhattan.  The program would allow Kansas State students to earn a three-year bachelor's of science from the College of Health and Human Sciences. And, if they are accepted, students could also complete a two-year bachelor's of science in nursing through Wichita State on the Manhattan campus.  The program is intended to address a nursing shortage in Kansas.  The Manhattan Mercury reports Kansas State signed a memorandum of understanding last month. That starts the planning phase leading up to seeking the Kansas State Board of Nursing's approval for the program.  John Buckwalter, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, said the program will attract students who would have attended Kansas State if it had a nursing program.

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Judge Denies Missouri Request to Allow 20-Week Abortion Ban

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request by Missouri to allow a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy to go into effect while the state waits for further court action.  The Kansas Star reports that U.S. District Court Judge Howard Sachs had previously paused parts of Missouri's new abortion law. It was set to go into effect August 28 and criminalizes abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.  It also triggered bans at 14, 18 and 20 weeks if the initial eight-week ban was found unconstitutional.  The judge issued a preliminary injunction August 27 against the bans based on gestational age. The state immediately appealed the judge's decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. It's not clear when the appellate court will hear the case.  Missouri asked Sachs to reinstate just the 20-week abortion ban during the appeal.

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Bankers Expect Slow Regional Economic Growth Amid Trade War

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states expect slow growth in the months ahead, but the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China is weighing on the economy. The Rural Mainstreet survey's overall index climbed into positive territory at 50.1 in September from August's 46.5. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says bankers are less confident because of the ongoing trade disputes and the lack of approval for a new North American trade agreement. The confidence index remained low at 42.9 in September — up slightly from August's 42. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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Police: 2 Stole Life-Sized Cutout of Chiefs QB Mahomes, Crashed Car

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Two suspects are being penalized after they allegedly stole a life-sized cutout of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, then crashed their getaway car. Lawrence police spokesman Patrick Compton says a man and woman grabbed the cutout at a McDonald's restaurant Monday, ran out the door, then jumped into a car and sped away. Officers investigating a nearby two-car accident saw the cutout in one of the vehicles. Compton said the vehicle also matched the description of the car that drove away from the McDonald's. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the two were issued notices to appear for theft and were cited in the accident. One person was treated for minor injuries. The cutout of the popular Chiefs quarterback wasn't damaged and is back on display at the McDonald's.

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Judge Temporarily Blocks Provisions of "Riot Boosting" Law

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of parts of new South Dakota laws that aim to prevent disruptive demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline. A lawsuit spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union against Governor Kristi Noem and others alleges that the legislation chills protected speech.  U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction halting several provisions of the law.  The legislation passed in March allows officials to pursue criminal or civil penalties against demonstrators who engage in "riot boosting," defined in part as encouraging violence during a riot. It's meant to head off Keystone XL protests like those against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.
Piersol filed a separate order earlier Wednesday removing Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom as a defendant.  The original Keystone pipeline enters the northern part of Kansas and travels south across the state on its way to Cushing, Oklahoma.

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