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Headlines for Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Kansas Says Aetna Still Not Fulfilling Contract Terms

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas health department says insurance company Aetna is still not living up to the terms of its $1 billion contract with the state's Medicaid program. The Wichita Eagle reports that the state has rejected a corrective action plan Aetna submitted in response to a non-compliance letter Kansas sent it last month. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment released Tuesday Aetna's proposed plan. The company says it's addressed several concerns and many others are "well on their way to being brought into compliance" under the contract. But the state says the company's plan doesn't adequately address its concerns. It asked Aetna to submit a new one and plans to negotiate with company officials for a resolution. A Wichita Eagle request for comment to Aetna was not immediately returned.

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Officer-Involved Shooting Leaves One Man Dead in Southeast Kansas

CHETOPA, Kan. (AP) -Authorities are investigating an officer-involved fatal shooting in southeast Kansas.  While trying to serve a search warrant in Labette County, police fatally shot a man they encountered inside a home in Chetopa.  The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the Chetopa Police Department was serving a search warrant just after midnight Monday after receiving a tip about  possible drug activity.  According to the KBI, three officers entered after announcing their presence.  One officer fired three shots after encountering an armed man and officers quickly left the home.  A 25-year-old woman exited the home after officers called for the occupants to come out.  Police found 38-year-old Scott Souders inside suffering from gunshot wounds with a rifle near him. He was declared dead at the scene. Souders lived at the residence.  The KBI says it continues to investigate.  

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Drive-By Shooting Kills 8-Year-Old Kansas City Boy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City police say an 8-year-old boy died and his mother was seriously injured when someone shot dozens of bullets at their home. Police say Brian Bartlett and his mother were asleep when they were shot late Saturday. Brian and his mother were rushed to hospitals, where he was pronounced dead. His mother was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg. No information about a motive or suspect has been released.  The Kansas City Star reports Brian is the youngest homicide victim in Kansas City this year. He is one of at least five people under the age of 16 killed this year in the city.

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3 Charged in Cyberstalking Conspiracy to Murder Missouri Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Prosecutors say three men have been indicted in a cyberstalking conspiracy that used GPS tracking devices to help murder a Missouri man.  The U.S. Attorney's Office says the conspiracy began in November 2017 and resulted in the death of Christopher Harris of Kansas City, Missouri.  The indictment charges three men -- 32-year-old Lester E. Brown of Kansas City, Missouri; 29-year-old Michael Young of Independence, Missouri; and 32-year-old Ronell Pearson of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area.  They face one count of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking resulting in death and one count of aiding and abetting cyberstalking. One of the suspects is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Prosecutors allege Harris was killed in his car on March 14, 2018 while dropping off his daughter at her mother's house after dance class.

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Child Dies in Hot Car in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence police have identified the 2-year-old child whose body was found inside a parked car Sunday afternoon.  The boy was ID'd as Devonte Lashaun Turner.  He was discovered after someone reported to police that a child had been left unattended in a car.   Police say heat may have contributed to the boy's death.  The National Weather Service says the temperature reached 88 degrees in Lawrence Sunday afternoon.  At the time, police say the child was in the care of a family member... but not a parent.

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Beef Producers Concerned Fire at Processing Plant in Holcomb Could Disrupt Cattle Industry
 
HOLCOMB, Kan. (AP) _ Cattle producers are concerned a fire at a Tyson meat processing plant in Holcomb could disrupt already strained processing operations.  The plant is closed indefinitely after Friday's fire. Tyson has said it will reopen the plant but the timeline will depend on the extent of the damage.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports industry experts say the Holcomb plant processes about 6,000 cattle a day _ about 6% of all the cattle processed in the U.S.   Finney County commissioner Larry Jones, a partner at J&O Cattle Co., said meat packing plants are already running at capacity because a record number of cattle are going to market.  In the first day of trading since the fire, cattle futures on Monday dropped $3 per hundred pounds, the maximum fluctuation allowed for a single day.  

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Trial Begins in Topeka for Man Charged in Shooting Death of Home Buyer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ An 83-year-old Topeka man is on trial this week in the shooting death of a man who was buying his home.  Jury selection began Monday in the first-degree murder trial of Anthony Darcy. He is charged with killing 36-year-old Stephen Matthew Snyder in 2017.  WIBW reports Darcy was found competent to stand trial in August, after he underwent several competency exams.  Prosecutors allege Snyder was shot three times when he went to the house he was buying from Darcy. Snyder had closed on the house but allowed Darcy to live in it for two weeks before moving out.  Snyder's 8-year-old son was with his father when he was killed.  Darcy's defense attorneys have contended that he acted in self-defense.  

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Kansas City Officials Pledge to Help Keep 'Border War' Truce

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Local officials are helping Kansas and Missouri preserve a truce in an economic "border war" that had seen the states use incentives to lure jobs across their border in the Kansas City area. The cooperation came ahead of a summit Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas, between Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. The Kansas City Star reports that the Port Authority of Kansas City's board agreed Monday to limit incentives to companies relocating to Missouri to 10-years, the existing limit in Kansas. Mayor Quinton Lucas has promised to push for a similar limit in Kansas City, Missouri. Parson signed a law in June and Kelly issued an executive order earlier this month declaring that their states won't use their incentives to lure existing jobs across the border.

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Kansas Boy Accused of Shooting Drunk Mom Charged with Murder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed a second-degree murder charge against a boy who was 14 when he shot and killed his drunken mom at a mansion near Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that juvenile court Judge Patrick Walters said during a court hearing Tuesday that the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office filed the more severe charge in an amended complaint on Monday. The boy had initially been charged last month with voluntary manslaughter in the death of his 41-year-old mother on June 20, 2018. His attorney contends the teen shot his mother to defend himself and his then 12-year-old brother against a drunken attack. The autopsy found the woman had "acute and chronic alcoholism" and scarring of the liver. Her blood-alcohol level was more than double the legal limit for driving.

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Independence, Missouri, Police Look for Driver Involved in Fatal Hit-and-Run

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) _ Police are looking for the driver of a black pickup truck involved in a fatal hit-and-run.  Thirty-year old Misty Collins, of Independence, was struck and killed Sunday morning as she walked along the shoulder of U.S. 24 in Independence.  Surveillance videos from businesses in the area captured the crash. Police say the vehicle appears to be a black, older model truck, possibly a 1995-2002 Chevrolet S-10 or GMC Sonoma.

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Lawrence Murder Trial Delayed Again

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A trial for a 22-year-old Lawrence man charged with fatally shooting another man two years ago has been delayed again.  Steven Drake III is charged with first-degree murder in the September 2017 death of 26-year-old Bryce Holladay at Drake's home.  A judge agreed to the delay Monday, after Drake's attorney, Angela Keck, filed a motion to withdraw, saying she had a conflict of interest. The nature of the conflict was not disclosed.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the case has been continued several times in the past 14 months. The most recent trial was scheduled to begin August 19.  Drake and three other people at the house testified at a preliminary hearing Holladay was taking things from the home, refused to leave and punched Drake in the face before the shooting.

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Charges Filed Against Tennessee Man in Chase with Baby, Guns

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Tennessee man faces several felonies after allegedly leading sheriff's deputies on a 3.5-mile chase with a baby and loaded guns in his truck. The Lawrence Journal-World reports 32-year-old Kenneth Jeremy Leedom of Woodbury, Tennessee was charged Monday with aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer, aggravated endangering of a child, attempting to elude a police officer and possession of stolen property. His defense attorney did not immediately return a call Tuesday seeking comment. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says Leedom was arrested Sunday after driving off from a traffic stop. He allegedly rammed a patrol vehicle as deputies were trying to stop him. The charges indicate the boy with him was 9 months old. A woman also was in the truck. No one was injured.

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Wichita Law Enforcement Touts Joint Operation Aimed at Violent Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a joint operation with federal, state, Wichita and other law enforcement officers resulted in nearly 1,000 arrests and took more than 80 guns and more than $835,000 in illegal narcotics off Wichita streets.  The Wichita Eagle reports the effort, called "Operation Triple Beam," came as Wichita police try to reduce a violent crime rate that has increased since 2014 to about three times the national average and triple the state average last year.  The police department said Monday the operation in June and July targeted violent offenders, many of whom were wanted on warrants.  Wichita last month was named part of the National Public Safety Partnership, a three-year program that uses federal resources and training to reduce violent crime in areas where it's above national rates.

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Report: Kansas Corn Crop Expected to be 26% Larger this Year

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A government report says Kansas farmers are expected to harvest 810 million bushels of corn this season.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service also reports that this year's corn crop in Kansas is expected to be 26% larger than last year's production.  The agency says about 1% of the corn crop in Kansas is now mature.  Harvest of the state's other two major fall crops -- sorghum and soybeans -- is anticipated to be smaller this year.  Sorghum production is forecast at 194 million bushels, down 17% compared to a year ago.  Kansas farmers are expected to bring in 191 million bushels of soybeans. That is down 7% from last year.  Winter wheat that was cut earlier this summer is estimated at 350 million bushels for a 26% increase compared to last year's crop.

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Former Missouri Police Officer Admits Distributing Child Pornography

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) _ A former Joplin police officer has admitted distributing child pornography.  Forty-three-year-old Gary McKinney pleaded guilty Monday to receiving and distributing child pornography.  The Joplin Globe reports Gary McKinney was a police officer for seven years before leaving the force in May 2006. He also worked for the Webb City and Duquesne police departments.  The investigation began in September 2018 when a joint state and federal task force received a tip about a Facebook user uploading a video of the sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl.  
Federal prosecutors say that person was 31-year-old Anthony Helsel, of Joplin, who is charged with sexual exploitation of children.  That investigation led to McKinney.  A search of McKinney's home found about 650 images and videos of child pornography.  
 
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Kansas Pays Planned Parenthood's Legal Bills over Medicaid

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A court filing shows Kansas' failed effort to strip Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood will cost the state more than $464,300 in attorney fees, expenses and other costs.  A stipulation filed Monday in federal court in Kansas comes after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected last year the state's appeal.  Lower court rulings had blocked the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from withholding money that is used for health services for low-income women. The money is not used for abortions.  The settlement covers the legal fees and expenses incurred by Planned Parenthood and others who successfully challenged the Kansas effort to withhold the money after heavily edited videos claimed to show the nation's largest abortion provider profiting from sales of fetal tissue for medical research.

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Wichita Saw Slight Uptick in Voter Turnout with Mayor's Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A law aimed at increasing voter turnout by moving local elections from the spring to the fall got its first real test in Tuesday's election for Wichita mayor.  The Wichita Eagle reports that turnout in this year's mayoral primary in Wichita, the state's largest city, was 10%. That is only a slight uptick from the 9.8% in the 2015 mayoral primary, the last spring election.  Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says things had seemed to be going better and she was surprised when the turnout ended up being almost exactly the same as four years ago.  Turnout for primary elections in some other Kansas counties was also low this year, but those counties did not have a mayoral election in a large city like Wichita.

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Police Arrest Teen After 7-Year-Old Kansas Girl Shot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say they've arrested a teen who injured 7-year-old Wichita girl while was firing a handgun in a backyard next door. KAKE-TV reports that responding officers found the girl had a minor injury to one of her fingers. The girl was playing in her backyard when she heard two loud bangs and a projectile struck her finger. Police spokesman Charley Davidson says a 16-year-old boy was booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated battery, criminal possession of a firearm by a juvenile, obstruction and an outstanding warrant. Police believe he was shooting at some type of target when the girl was struck. Davidson says the teen did not live at the home.

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Kansas City, Kansas Police Fatally Shoot Rifle-Toting Man

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police shot and killed a man on Tuesday who told a hotel manager that he had killed his wife and was heading to a popular shopping and restaurant area. The "very angry and distraught" man entered the Country Inn & Suites near the Legends Outlet shopping area said he had killed his wife, said Jason Honeycutt, general manager of the business.

"He said 'I'm heavily armed and very dangerous. I'm going to Legends. You better call police,'" Honeycutt said.

The man was not armed when he entered the Inn, said Honeycutt, who tried to follow the suspect but couldn't catch him before he got into a car and sped away, driving through stop signs before the confrontation with police. Officer Jonathan Westbrook told The Kansas City Star the gunman was waiting at an intersection for police to arrive.

"We were able to locate him so quickly because he was stationary," Westbrook said. "Given the information that he was heavily armed and dangerous, our officers were very tactical in how we approached the subject."

The man raised an assault-style rifle at officers, who tried to convince him to put it down, Westbrook said. Eventually the man fired several shots at the officers and they fired back, he said. The number of rounds fired by the unidentified gunman and officers was not immediately known. No officers or bystanders were injured. Law enforcement authorities were investigating to determine if the man had committed any earlier crimes, Westbrook said. Honeycutt said he and a front desk manager were the only people in the Inn when the man arrived. He praised police for their quick response to the situation.

"I was worried about the safety of my guests and employees but also all the people in the rest of the shopping area," he said "We wanted to try and stop them but unfortunately we couldn't so we got ahold of the police as quickly as possible."

The man was stopped before he made it into the Legends, which is full of stores and restaurants in a rapidly developing area in western Kansas City, Kansas. The County Inn & Suites is on a road that surrounds the shopping area, located near other businesses such as Cerner and Cabella's and the stadium for the Sporting KC soccer team. All the businesses were reopened and operating normally about two hours after the man was shot.

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Nebraska Bidder Wins Frank Lloyd Wright-Built House in Kansas City for Nearly a Million

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bidder from Nebraska has paid $920,000 for a house designed and built by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Kansas City Star reports that Heritage Auctions says the new owner wants to remain anonymous for now, but the bidder plans to honor the integrity of the Sondern-Adler house that sold Monday. Wright designed the home in 1939 for Clarence Sondern. He designed a later addition for the second owner, Arnold Adler.  Heritage Auctions spokesman Eric Bradley says the winning bidder plans to keep it a national or regional destination.  The home had been on the market for 11 months at $1.65 million.  Bidding began at $450,000. Bids quickly soared to $775,000, with the Nebraska bidder on the phone going head-to-head with a representative for a local bidder.

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