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Headlines for Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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

Yoder Calls Trump 'Presidential' on Afghanistan 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder says President Donald Trump was "presidential" in outlining his strategy for the war in Afghanistan but still needs to sell his policies because Americans are war weary. Yoder told reporters Tuesday evening before a town hall meeting in Olathe that he supports Trump's decision not to set a specific timeline for removing U.S. troops. In a national address Monday night, Trump reversed his past calls for a quick exit and recommitted the U.S. to the 16-year-old conflict. He warned repeating what he said were mistakes in Iraq, where an American military withdrawal led to a vacuum that the Islamic State group quickly filled. Yoder said Congress has an important oversight role and must make sure money and resources are used wisely.

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Rains Prompt Flood Watches and Warnings in Northeast Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —Heavy rains that resulted in 5 to 8 inches of precipitation in the Topeka area overnight prompted a Flood Warning this (TUE) morning for several counties in northeast Kansas. The National Weather Service said areas under the Flood Warning included Jefferson, Shawnee, northern Douglas and southeastern Jackson counties. Early Tuesday, law enforcement reported many low-water crossings remained flooded from heavy rainfall, especially in Jefferson County. Weather service meteorologists said some of the locations that experienced flooding included Topeka, Lawrence, Rossville, Oskaloosa, Tecumseh, Eudora, Richland, Dover, Silver Lake, Auburn, Perry, McLouth, Meriden, Hoyt, Ozawkie, Lecompton, Clinton, Willard, Pauline and Williamstown.

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Kansas Death Blamed on Flash Flooding 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —  Authorities in eastern Kansas say a 56-year-old man drowned after his car was swept away by floodwaters caused by thunderstorms that pummeled the region. The Miami County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Tuesday that the body of Robert Dean Schoenhals of Pleasanton was found about 2½ hours after the accident. Authorities say a deputy saw Schoenhals try to drive through high standing water on a highway shortly before 4:50 a.m. when the car hydroplaned off the road and entered a ditch with deep, rushing water. The Sheriff's Office says the car was found unoccupied about 45 minutes later some 150 yards from where it first entered the water. Schoenhals' body was found about 7:20 a.m., about 75 yards (70 meters) from his vehicle. Rain in the region prompted rescues of stranded motorists and others who scrambled to safety atop rooftops.

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Heavy Rains Lead to Water Rescues in Kansas City Area 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities rescued more than a dozen stranded drivers after heavy rains soaked parts of Kansas City, Missouri, and its suburbs overnight (MON). Flash flood warnings were issued across the area. Police and fire crews plan to go door-to-door today (TUE) in parts of southern Kansas City, asking residents to voluntarily evacuate. The National Weather Service says as much as 9 inches of rain fell in one neighborhood, while a large swath around the city saw between 4 and 6 inches of rain. On the Kansas side of the metro area, he Overland Park Fire Department says it responded to over 16 water assist calls as drivers found themselves stalled in high waters.

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Clouds Obscure Eclipse in Parts of Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The shifting cloud cover across Kansas on Monday gave people hoping to see the eclipse a mixed viewing experience. In downtown Topeka, the clouds parted just in time for many people to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse as it reached its peak of 99 percent. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that about 200 people at a watch party in the parking lot of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library got a look for about 30 seconds through a thin layer of clouds. People cheered as a small portion of the sun could be seen when the clouds separated. The skies were mostly clear in the Wichita area, where people could see a little more than 92 percent of the eclipse peak.

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Trial Begins in Kansas on Bias Claim Against Kobach's office

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A former employee of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office has testified in federal court that she was confused and embarrassed by her 2013 firing after being told that her lack of church attendance was a key reason. Jurors began hearing ex-employee Courtney Canfield's lawsuit against the office and chief Kobach deputy Eric Rucker on Monday in Topeka. Canfield alleges that her firing in November 2013 after 91/2 months at the secretary of state's office represents illegal religious discrimination. Attorneys for Kobach's office say she was fired over performance issues. Canfield testified she was told of her firing by her grandmother, who was friends with Rucker. Canfield said her grandmother told her that Rucker emphasized that Canfield did not go to church.  Rucker strongly disputes the grandmother's account. 

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Kansas Father: Legal System Failed Slain Family Members

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A father says the Kansas legal system failed his loved ones because it kept a man's sex offender status below the radar long enough to kill his daughter and granddaughter. 19-year-old Keith Hawkins was charged Aug. 8 with capital murder, just hours after 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and her 4-year-old daughter Zaylynn Paz were found dead in their Newton home. Harvey County attorney David Yoder says Hawkins previously was supposed to be arrested for failing to register as a sex offender but that a warrant wasn't filed in time due to a backlog of cases. Runyon's father, Edward Runyon, says the system failed the victims because it kept Hawkins's status from public disclosure and didn't hold him fully accountable for failing to register his address.

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Ex-Cashier Pleads Guilty to Theft from Navy Base in Japan 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Filipino woman has pleaded guilty in Kansas to stealing nearly $100,000 from a U.S. Naval base in Japan. The prosecutors announced Monday that Cynthia Lopez Creseni pleaded guilty Friday to theft of public money. She stole $99,068 from the Morale Welfare and Recreation Center at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. At the time of the thefts, Creseni was lead cashier of the game/slot room. Prosecutors said Creseni was placed on administrative leave after reporting the funds missing when she returned from a U.S. vacation in February 2015. She sold her home and returned to the Philippines. Agents learned she entered the U.S. in July 2015. She was arrested in January 2017 in Overland Park, Kansas, for overstaying her visa. Sentencing is scheduled for January 4.

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2 Inmates Who Escaped in Northwest Oklahoma May Be Armed 

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say two inmates who escaped after stealing a prison transport van in northwestern Oklahoma may now be armed. Major County Sheriff Steve Randolph says inmates Andrew Foy and Darren Walp overpowered two transport officers about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and took the van on U.S. 412 north of Fairview. The small city is about 80 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Authorities say the van was found about 13 miles (21 kilometers) away in Ringwood, and an empty gun holster was found inside. An oilfield company truck was later reported stolen in the area. Authorities say the inmates were being taken by a transport company to a correctional facility in Kansas. It was not immediately clear where the inmates were from or what crimes they were convicted of committing.

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Kansas Linebacker Long Dismissed After Alleged Gun Threat

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A sophomore linebacker at Kansas has been dismissed from the Jayhawks after being accused of threatening a woman with a handgun. Nineteen-year-old Maciah Long of Houston was charged Monday with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property and marijuana possession. Douglas County court records allege Long damaged or destroyed the woman's television. Long was arrested Sunday and made a brief court appearance Monday. Court records show he said he would hire an attorney. He remained jailed later Monday on $5,000 bond. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Lawrence police declined to discuss the case because it involved alleged domestic violence. Jayhawks coach David Beaty announced Long's dismissal from the team Monday. Long played linebacker and tight end last season. 

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Missouri Company Fined for Breaking Rules After Worker Death

BELTON, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri plumbing company has been fined more than $700,000 for workplace safety violations, including an employee's death. Arrow Plumbing LLC has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the death of Donald "D.J." Meyer as well as for allegedly failing to take steps to prevent other employees from dying the same way. Meyer died in December after the walls of a 12-foot trench without proper shoring caved in on him as he was working on a sewer line in Belton. Agency officials say the main rule Arrow broke was its failure to provide a trench box or other shoring that would likely have prevented the cave-in.

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Computer Programmer Gets 25 Years for Lottery Scam 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has sentenced a lottery computer programmer to up to 25 years in prison for rigging a computer program to enable him to pick winning numbers in several lottery games over six years. Eddie Tipton pleaded guilty earlier this summer to ongoing criminal conduct, and on Tuesday he received the prison sentence. Judge Brad McCall also ordered Tipton to repay more than $2 million that the scheme paid Tipton and others. Tipton's brother, Tommy Tipton, is serving a 75-day jail sentence on a theft charge. A friend of Eddie Tipton's, Robert Rhodes, of Sugar Land, Texas, will be sentenced August 25 on a computer crime charge. Tipton worked for the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa. He fixed lottery games in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma between 2005 and 2011.

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Suit: Teen Incarcerated Despite Video Proving His Innocence 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The family of a 15-year-old who was incarcerated for three weeks despite dash cam video proving his innocence is suing Kansas City police. The Kansas City Star reports that the wrongful arrest suit was filed Monday in federal court in behalf of Tyree Bell. He was arrested on June 8, 2016, while walking home from summer school. The suit says Bell was identified as the armed suspect who had fled from officers in the area minutes earlier. Video that showed the fleeing suspect was available, as was video of Bell's arrest. But it wasn't until June 29, that a detective watched the video. Bell then was released. The suit described the experience as "bewildering." A police spokeswoman told The Star that the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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Authorities Identify Off-Duty Officer Killed, Woman Wounded in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after an off-duty officer was killed and a woman was wounded at a restaurant in the Westport bar and entertainment district in Kansas City. The Lee's Summit Police Department has confirmed that the person killed Sunday night on the patio of Californos was Officer Thomas Orr. The department's website say the 30-year-old worked as a school resource officer of Campbell Middle School. Police say the shooting happened after an argument broke out between patrons. Orr wasn't involved. A woman was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm that wasn't believed to be life threatening. Police say at least 200 people were on the patio when the shooting happened. The suspect remains at large, and witnesses are urged to contact police.
 

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