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Headlines for Thursday, September 29, 2016

Here's what's happening in our area

Army Names New Fort Riley Commander to Replace Fired Officer 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army has named a new commander at Fort Riley, Kansas, to replace an officer who was fired Monday, just weeks before soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division deploy to Iraq. Major General Joseph Martin is assuming command of the division. Martin replaces Major General Wayne Grigsby, who is the subject of an Army investigation and was removed from command. The Army hasn't released details of the investigation. Martin is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and recently was commander at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. He deployed to Iraq twice as a commander during the Iraq war. Brigadier General Jeffery D. Broadwater will take command of the National Training Center. He's currently deployed to Afghanistan.


Judge Cancels Contempt Hearing for Kansas Secretary of State  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has canceled a contempt hearing for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after he agreed to concessions that will fully register and clearly notify thousands of people that they can vote in November. The ruling Thursday by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson comes a day before a hearing had been scheduled for Kobach to show why he should not be held in contempt for allegedly violating her May order. Robinson's order required Kobach to put on voter rolls people who registered at motor vehicle offices or with a federal form without providing citizenship documents. Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union brokered a deal Thursday that would allow more than 20,000 voters to cast a regular ballot, instead of a provisional one.


Report: Kansas Government Has 2 Days' Worth of Cash Reserves

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A recent study says the Kansas government could run on its cash reserves for only two days.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed cash reserves for all states at the end of the most recent fiscal years and estimated how long state government could continue to function if it relied on those reserves.  Kansas ended the 2016 fiscal year in June with a $35 million balance. The study says the average state has about 29.2 days of reserve funds.  Governor Sam Brownback's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, says the study reflects a steep drop off in the oil and agriculture economies. Hawley says other states with similar economies have also experiences declines in their state reserve funds.


Kansas to Drop Some Proposed Changes to State Worker Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback's administration says it intends to withdraw a proposed regulation limiting the amount of sick leave state workers could donate to peers and a rule reducing the opportunity to appeal annual employee evaluation ratings after.  Officials say the decision was made based on feedback.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas Department of Administration will go forward with other amendments, including establishing an exemption from layoffs for select employees regardless of performance scores, overriding a process entitling laid-off staff to priority status when rehiring occurs and authorizing paid administrative leave to be used as a reward mechanism.  State officials say the changes are an attempt to make the terms and conditions of state government employment more comparable to the private sector.


Kansas Sets Date for Closing Juvenile Correctional Facility 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state plans to close a juvenile correctional facility in western Kansas in March. The Kansas Department of Corrections earlier this year announced plans to close the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility because of a declining number of youths jailed at the site. The state's juvenile incarceration operations are to be consolidated at a complex in Topeka. The department said in a release Thursday that it has set March 3, 2017, as the Larned facility's final date of operation. Secretary of Corrections Joe Norwood says many staff members are transferring to nearby correctional facilities and others will work for the Larned State Hospital. Norwood says juveniles will stay at the Larned facility until January 23.


Former Lawrence Mayor Admits to Stealing from Food Pantry

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former Lawrence mayor has admitted to stealing money from his old job as executive director of a food pantry.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 33-year-old Jeremy Farmer pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Topeka to one count of interstate transportation of stolen funds.  He was hired at Just Food in 2011 and resigned from that position — and from his seat on the Lawrence City Commission — in August 2015. His resignation came about after it was revealed he had not paid more than $50,000 in federal and state payroll taxes on behalf of Just Food. At the time Farmer said the taxes were unpaid due to an oversight.  Farmer now lives in Kansas City, Kansas. Sentencing will be set at a later date.


Kansas Reports Record Low Infant Mortality Rate in 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting that its infant mortality rate decreased in 2015 to the state's lowest annual figure ever.  The state Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday that there were 230 infant deaths last year for a mortality rate of 5.9 for every 1,000 live births.  The figure was 6.3 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2014, when 246 infant deaths were reported. The department also said the figure last year was 28 percent lower than it was in 1996.  The state's rate also is slightly below the national figure of 6 deaths for every 1,000 live births.  KDHE Secretary Susan Mosier attributed the decline to ongoing work by more than 20 organizations to research and raise awareness about infant mortality.


Worker at Fort Leavenworth Indicted over Fire Targeting Co-Worker

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A civilian employee accused of setting a co-worker on fire at a health center at Fort Leavenworth is facing an additional charge in a new federal indictment.  Grand jurors on Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, indicted 54-year-old Clifford Currie of Leavenworth with one count each of assault with intent to commit murder and of assault with a dangerous weapon.  The indictment replaces a complaint that charged Currie only with assault to commit murder.  Prosecutors allege Currie threw a flammable liquid on his female supervisor, lit her on fire and assaulted her with a straight edge razor and scissors. Authorities say another worker was injured when she tried to stop the assault before other hospital employees subdued Currie.  Messages left Wednesday with Currie's public defenders weren't immediately returned.


Authorities Say Hays Officer Killed Man in Self-Defense

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have cleared a western Kansas police officer of wrongdoing in a shooting death. Ellis County Attorney Thomas Drees said in a release Thursday that no crime occurred because the Hays officer was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot the 36-year-old man, who wasn't armed. Drees says the shooting happened August 18 after police tried to stop a vehicle with an expired license plate. Drees says the driver sped off as other officers responded. He says the suspect eventually stopped, got out of the car and again ignored police commands. Drees says the man fled again until an officer caught him and tried to force him to the ground. He says the suspect then tried to take the officer's gun, and the officer fatally shot him in the chest.


Guilty Plea in Shooting That Led to Death of Kansas Captain 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An 18-year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a shooting that a Kansas City, Kansas, police captain was investigating when he was killed. DaQon Sipple pleaded guilty Thursday in Wyandotte County court to charges including aggravated assault and criminal discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors say Sipple fired shots that police were called to investigate on July 19. After Sipple was arrested that day, Police Captain Robert David Melton was investigating the shooting when a man fired shots into Melton's patrol car, killing him. Jamaal Lewis is charged with capital murder in Melton's death. The Kansas City Star reports that as part of the plea agreement, Sipple has agreed to testify if he's called as a witness in the case against Lewis. Sipple's sentencing is November 18.


12-Year-Old Driver Hits, Injures Convenience Store Worker

WALTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old driver has struck a convenience store worker with a pickup truck, knocking the 71-year-old employee through a plate glass window.  The Hutchinson News reports that the employee was sent to a Wichita hospital with a possible leg fracture after being hit Tuesday while picking up trash outside the store in the small town of Walton.  The young driver reported hitting the gas instead of the brakes. She was taken to a different hospital to be assessed for possible injuries.  Sheriff's office spokeswoman Melissa Flavin said in an email that authorities aren't sure whether she'll face charges.  A licensed 16-year-old and unlicensed 17-year-old also were in the truck with the 12-year-old when the collision happened. The 16-year-old was ticketed for contributing to a child's misconduct.


Kansas Woman Convicted in Killing of Man Who Was Burned

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been convicted of killing a man whose burned body was found after he reported that the woman was threatening to kidnap her children from foster care.  The Joplin Globe reports that 37-year-old Crystal Galloway, of Scammon, was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the May 2015 death of 59-year-old Robin Fought, of Dennis.  During the trial, prosecutors played a voicemail message that Fought left for a caseworker talking about Galloway planning to flee the state with her children. Five of Galloway's six children had been taken into state custody in 2014, and she was only allowed supervised visits.  She and co-defendant Dakota Cunningham were arrested two days after the killing in Oklahoma. The 19-year-old Cunningham has been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.


Man Arrested After Brief Chase Leading Back to His Own Home

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a fleeing Kansas motorist has been arrested after driving to his own home and trying to sneak inside.  WIBW-TV reports that the man drove off Wednesday night when a Shawnee County deputy attempted to pull him over. The five-minute, slow-speed pursuit ended at the man's home.  Sheriff's officials said the 40-year-old suspect was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with multiple offenses, including felony fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, possession of stolen property and interference with a law enforcement officer.


Prosecutors Meet in Hawaii on International Sex Trafficking

HONOLULU (AP) — Prosecutors from a dozen states and eight countries are meeting in Waikiki to talk about the global problem of sex trafficking.  They're planning to share strategies for bringing traffickers to justice.  The conference beginning Wednesday is being held in Hawaii which was the last state in the nation to formally ban sex trafficking.  Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro says they intend to send a clear message that sex trafficking will not be tolerated.  Most of the law enforcement conference is closed to the media. Organizers say that's because they may talk about sensitive cases or law enforcement strategies.  International prosecutors are attending from Canada, China, Japan, Palau, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.  American prosecutors are attending from states spanning the coasts and the Midwest.


Judge Rules KC Streetcar Expansion Election Process Legal 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has agreed to allow voters to consider spending money to expand Kansas City streetcar service beyond the 2.2-mile starter line that opened this spring. The Kansas City Star reports that a Jackson County (Missouri) Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday that petitions seeking to create a transportation development district to support streetcar expansion were legally filed. Under the ruling, transit advocates can proceed with a series of elections, beginning in 2017. The elections would solicit voter approval to actually create the taxing district and impose the increased taxes to build the expanded streetcar route. The expanded system would cost an estimated $227 million to build, and supporters anticipate that the federal government would pick up half of the tab. The exiting line runs from River Market to Union Station.


Royals Win, but Officially Eliminated from Postseason

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The World Series champions have failed to make the postseason for the fourth year in a row.  Kendrys Morales and Alex Gordon keyed an eighth-inning rally and Kansas City beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Wednesday night, but the Royals were still knocked out of playoff contention.  The defending World Series champs were eliminated when Baltimore beat Toronto 3-2.  Morales' ground-rule double to right scored Jarrod Dyson, who had doubled and stole third. Gordon's single scored Whit Merrifield and pinch-runner Billy Burns.  Taylor Rogers (3-1), the fourth of five Twins pitchers, took the loss after allowing three runs, three hits and two walks while retiring only one of the six batters he faced.  Joakim Soria (5-8) worked a scoreless eighth to pick up the victory. Wade Davis got his 27th save in 30 chances.


Chiefs' Charles Getting Closer to Return vs Steelers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles could make his season debut Sunday night at Pittsburgh, though coach Andy Reid acknowledged that it would depend on how he practices this week.  Charles has not played since tearing the ACL in his right knee in Week 5 last season.  The Chiefs have the week off following the Steelers game, so holding the four-time Pro Bowl running back out would essentially give him two more weeks. But conversely, getting him onto the field for a taste of action would also mean extra time to recover afterward.  The Chiefs have been cautious in getting Charles onto the field. Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have proven to be solid replacements over the past season.



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