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Headlines for Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Here's a look at what's happening in our area.

Is Osawatomie State Hospital Ready for Recertification? Inspectors Visit Today

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials say the conditions at Osawatomie State Hospital have improved since it lost its Medicare certification last year. And, they say, the psychiatric facility is ready for a federal inspection. The facility lost certification in December after federal inspectors expressed safety concerns. One of those concerns was the rape of a staff member by a patient. Decertification has been costing the state hospital about a million dollars a month in federal funding. After renovations and upgrades, the state has applied for recertification. The hospital expects federal officials to inspect the facility today (TUE).  


Kansas Supreme Court Asked to Order Grand Jury on Kobach 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas House candidate has asked the state Supreme Court to order a county's judges to convene a grand jury to investigate Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Democrat Steven Davis of Lawrence filed his request last week after Douglas County's chief judge rejected Davis's petition for a grand jury. Davis wants the grand jury to investigate whether the Republican secretary of state or his subordinates mishandled online voter registrations. Davis circulated petitions after hearing anecdotes about potential problems, but even some of Kobach's toughest critics haven't seen evidence of wrongdoing. Kobach did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment. Kansas is among a handful of states allowing citizens to call for grand juries. Judge Robert Fairchild ruled August 18 that the allegations in Davis's petition weren't specific enough.


Review of Westar Purchase Strains CURB's Budget

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) Kansas utility regulators are beginning to review the proposed purchase of Topeka-based Westar Energy by Great Plains Energy. The size of the case could stretch the budget of the group that advocates on behalf of Kansas utility customers. David Nickel is with the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, a state agency that is studying the deal to determine if it will be good deal for the public. Nickel says arguments in this particular case will consume a lot of resources, and if other cases come up, the agency could be left short on cash. CURB is funded through fees paid by utility consumers. Nickel says they’ll be submitting testimony in the Westar case later this year and the review by state regulators will take place in 2017.


Kansas to Use Nearly $1.2 Million in Federal Funds to Fight Zika
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials say they will use nearly $1.2 million in federal funds to fight the Zika virus. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 11 people in the state have been infected with the virus, which is primarily spread through mosquitoes. The state has received the funds under three cooperative agreements with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The funds are going toward public health emergencies preparedness and response, as well as an epidemiology and laboratory capacity program that includes participation in a nationwide Zika pregnancy registry. Surveillance, intervention and referral to services for infants with adverse outcomes linked to Zika will also be funded. Kansas's first case was reported in March. No cases of local transmission have been reported. Zika causes a mild illness in most people but can lead to severe brain-related birth defects if women are infected during pregnancy.


Judge Tosses Kansas Jail Inmate's Religious Rights Lawsuit 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas has thrown out a Muslim inmate's lawsuit that accused a county jail of violating the convicted killer's religious rights. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Waxse in Topeka dismissed Eddie Gordon Sr.'s 2014 lawsuit against the Shawnee County Jail and its administrators. Acting as his own attorney, Gordon alleged he wasn't fed for 28 hours during the season of Ramadan, when Muslims for 30 days fast from dawn until after sunset. He also said jail officials served him cold, unbearable meals so close to his prayer time that he couldn't eat them before fasting. Waxse dismissed the lawsuit after Gordon failed to show in a timely manner how the alleged conduct harmed him physically or intentionally interfered with his religion.


Another $1 Million Worth of Repairs in Store for Bowersock Dam

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence is planning another $1 million of repair work on a 130-year-old dam across the Kansas River. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the goal is to reinforce the southernmost third of Bowersock Dam. The repairs are budgeted for 2018, although the ultimate decision of when it moves forward is dependent on budget decisions the City Commission makes next year. The first phase of reconstruction on the dam was done in 2010, after structural concerns were raised by the dam's chief regulator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. At that time, the city paid for $2.2 million of repairs on the dam. The main element of that work was to stabilize the dam by replacing supports of wood and concrete with ones of steel piling and concrete.


Lawrence Firefighter Sues City over Arrest in 2014 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the city accusing the police department of using excessive and negligent force against him during his arrest. The Lawrence Journal-World reported Tuesday that witnesses say police arrived at the city's Veterans of Foreign Wars hall to break up an argument on April 19, 2014, and one officer struck a man's head against a squad car. According to court filings, witnesses say the officer then beat firefighter Miguel Armenta, who was at the scene. Armenta was arrested and found guilty of interfering with his own arrest. Lawrence police say nobody was beaten and that officers acted within their rights to keep the peace. Armenta filed the civil lawsuit in October 2014 and the case is scheduled to begin in September. The lawsuit is seeking $225,000 in compensation for Armenta's injuries.


VA: Ex-Marine Who Killed 3 in Baton Rouge Did Not Have PTSD

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Newly released medical records show a former Marine who ambushed and killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers last month never saw combat in Iraq, but told doctors he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because a buddy showed him videos of maimed and decapitated bodies. Documents provided by the Veterans Health Administration to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act show Gavin Long's doctors diagnosed him in November 2011 as suffering from an "adjustment disorder with depressed mood," but not PTSD. Long, a black military veteran from Kansas City, Missouri shot and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others on July 17 outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. Long had posted rambling internet videos calling for violence in response to police treatment of African-Americans.


Cattle Drive to Mark Chisholm Trail Sesquicentennial 

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Longhorns will once again be driven through central Kansas to mark the approaching 150th anniversary of a famous cattle trail. The Salina Journal reports that the cattle drive is part of a weekend celebration in Abilene marking the Chisholm Trail sesquicentennial. The drive will feature about 30 longhorns and will end at a Wild West attraction called Old Abilene Town after a parade. The festivities will mark the almost two-decade span when the trail, which started in 1867, was used to move millions of head of cattle from Texas ranches to Kansas railheads. The cattle then were sold and shipped eastward. Besides the longhorn drive, there also will be Native American Indian dancers. Descendants of Jesse Chisholm, who blazed the trail, also will be in town for the festivities.


Kansas Man Pleads No Contest to Man's Pool Cue Death at Bar 

EDGERTON, Kan. (AP) — A 32-year-old Kansas man has pleaded no contest in the death of a bar patron who was struck in the head with a pool cue a week before Christmas. WDAF-TV reports that Gregory Cooper of Edgerton was charged with second-degree murder and attempted aggravated battery in the death of 23-year-old Tyler Knudsen at an Edgerton bar on December 19. Johnson County prosecutors said Cooper "unintentionally, but recklessly" killed Knudsen when he swung a pool cue at another man's head but instead hit the victim. Family members say Knudsen was an innocent bystander just waiting to play a game of pool. Cooper entered his plea on Tuesday. His sentencing is scheduled for November 18.


Police Arrest Teen After Accidental Shooting

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested a Hutchinson teenager after another teen was wounded in an accidental shooting. The Hutchinson News reports that police began investigating Sunday night after a 15-year-old arrived at a Hutchinson hospital emergency room with a wounded foot that required surgery. The teen said he didn't know the gun was loaded when he pointed it to the ground and accidentally shot himself. Lieutenant Thad Pickard says another teen reportedly lied to police when they asked where the gun was. Officers found the gun buried at a different location. Officers are investigating how the teen obtained the firearm.


1 Dead After South Wichita Fire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person has died in a residential fire in Wichita. KWCH-TV reports that the fire was reported shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday in a home that is split into three apartment units. The Wichita Fire Department says one person with fatal injuries was found. Another person was evaluated for injuries. The fire is under control and its cause is under investigation. No other details were immediately available, including the name of the victim.


Woman Killed in Suspected Kansas City, Kansas Drive-By Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been killed in what appears to be a drive-by shooting. Police said in a news release that the woman was found dead early Tuesday inside a home. According to the preliminary investigation, she was killed when an unknown suspect drove by and fired shots into the home. The identity of the victim wasn't immediately released. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.


Victim of Liberal Shooting Identified as Dodge City Man

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Seward County have identified the man killed in a weekend shooting in Liberal. The Hays Post says Daniel Flores of Dodge City was the 24-year-old man pronounced dead at the scene. Autopsy results are pending. A 20-year-old man also was treated for gunshot wounds and released. The shooting happened late Saturday morning after a dispute among several people in a parking lot. Police said a 23-year-old man was arrested Saturday evening at a home in rural Seward County.


Some Businesses Object to Kansas Tax Policies

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Some well-off Kansans are openly objecting to the state's so-called "LLC loophole." The Kansas City Star reports that the provision allows about 300,000 independent business owners to pay no state tax on the bulk, if not all, of their income. It was passed by the Kansas Legislature in 2012 on the promise of creating jobs.  One of those who objects to the tax policy is Kansas attorney James Zakoura. He makes a lot of money, doesn't pay state income taxes and says... he feels bad about it.  


Female Inmates Removed from Missouri Jail for Safety

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Nearly two dozen female inmates have been removed from a Missouri jail after two women said they were sexually assaulted by male inmates who somehow got into their cells. Kansas City police say one of the women reported three men she initially thought were guards came into her cell and took turns raping her on Friday. Former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves has been hired to investigate the attacks.  


Former K-State Quarterback Arrested for Home Invasion

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - Authorities say a former Kansas State quarterback has been arrested for his part in a fatal home invasion in Louisiana. Lake Charles police say 32-year-old Daniel Sams was arrested Saturday. His bond was set at $200,000.  


Kansas Coalition Proposes Dental Therapists for Service Gap

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A coalition of more than 50 advocacy groups in Kansas has suggested educating dental therapists to work under the supervision of established dentists to help cover a service gap in the state. The Topeka Capital-Journal  reports that four out of five counties in Kansas don't have enough dentists to meet demand and 14 of the state's counties have no dentistry practitioners at all. The Kansas Board of Regents suggested in early August the possibility of starting the state's first school of dentistry at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The coalition is offering the education of dental therapists as an alternative. Graduates of the dental therapy programs would be eligible to perform routine or preventative care that includes extractions, fillings and cleanings.


K-State's Hale Library Restricts Hours, Cuts Back on Staff and Subscriptions

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Routine, all-night access to Kansas State University's Hale Library has ended. The building is closing at midnight on most nights in order to save money. K-State is also cutting back on staff and subscriptions at its libraries. School officials say the libraries lost nearly $1 million over the past two years from a drop in general funds and lower enrollment. The funding reductions come at a time when costs are rising.


NYC-Based Blood Bank Will Screen All Blood for Zika Virus 

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Blood Center will begin screening its blood supply for the Zika virus. The announcement Tuesday by the New York City-based blood bank comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidelines Friday recommending Zika testing for all donated blood. The New York Blood Center supplies blood to about 200 hospitals in the northeastern United States. Along with its partners, the Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri, and Innovative Blood Resources of St. Paul, Minnesota, it collects approximately 2,000 units of blood products daily. Dr. Christopher Hillyer, president of the blood center, said the nonprofit is dedicated to delivering safe blood to all the communities it serves. Zika usually causes a mild illness but can lead to severe birth defects if women are infected during pregnancy.


Royals Beat Yanks 8-5

The Royals just keep on winning! Kansas City defeated the New York Yankees 8-5 last (MON) night at the K. The same two teams play again tonight (TUE).


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