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Headlines for Tuesday, August 9, 2016

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

Police: Kansas Boy Died of Neck Injury on Water Slide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police say a 10-year-old boy who was killed while riding the world's tallest water slide died of a neck injury. Police say Caleb Schwab was one of three passengers riding in a raft Sunday on the Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Police say an off-duty officer working at the water park notified a police dispatcher of the accident around 2:30 pm. Emergency responders arrived to find the boy dead in a pool at the end of the ride. Police say two women who also were in the boat — but not related to the boy — sustained minor facial injuries and were treated at area hospitals. The Police Department's Major Case Unit is seeking anyone who has additional information on the incident.


2 Riders Say Kansas Waterslide Had Loose Straps 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — At least two people who've ridden the waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was killed over the weekend say shoulder straps snapped or popped off during the ride in Kansas City, Kansas. Paul Oberhauser told local television station KCTV that the safety restraints on his raft on the Verruckt waterslide weren't working properly when he rode it on July 26 at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. The Nebraska man says his shoulder strap "busted loose" during the ride and he "just held on." A video shot by his wife shows it loose at the ride's end. He says he told workers about the loose strap. Kenneth Conrad told WDAF-TV that he rode the waterslide last year with a friend whose shoulder strap came "completely off." Conrad's wife snapped a photo at the end of the ride showing the strap missing. Conrad says he didn't file a complaint with the park. The park's spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking comment on the claims.


Ride on Which Boy Died Closed for Remainder of Season 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —  The operator of a Kansas waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was killed last weekend say that 17-story ride will remain shut down for the remainder of the season. Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, closed the Verruckt ride after Caleb Schwab died Sunday. Police said that son of Kansas lawmaker Scott Schwab sustained a fatal neck injury, though authorities and the park haven't said specifically how that happened. Schlitterbahn also announced Tuesday that "a limited portion" of the park will reopen at noon Wednesday, and that park officials won't be offering media interviews. The waterslide is billed as the world's tallest, measuring 168-feet high.


Funeral Set for Caleb Schwab

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A funeral is set for a state lawmaker's 10-year-old son who was killed while riding a Kansas waterslide billed as the world's tallest. Police say Caleb Thomas Schwab died Sunday of an unspecified neck injury while riding the 168-foot-tall Verruckt at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Neither investigators nor park officials have released specifics about how the boy sustained his fatal injuries. Caleb was the son of Republican state Representative Scott Schwab. A family spokesman, the Reverend Clint Sprague, says visitation will be held Thursday evening at LifeMission Church in Olathe. A memorial service is scheduled for Friday afternoon. The park is tentatively scheduled to reopen Wednesday, though the waterslide remains closed.


Kansas Lawmaker Wants to Review Ride Oversight 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —  A Kansas legislator says he wants to examine the state's relatively light oversight of amusement park rides like the waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was killed. Democratic state Senator David Haley of Kansas City said Tuesday that he's hoping there will be bipartisan support for a review. He said people shouldn't be risking their lives in having fun at an amusement park. Kansas requires annual inspections of permanent rides but has parks do the inspections. The state Department of Labor is required to randomly audit inspection records. Caleb Schwab died Sunday at the Schiltterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Republican state Representative Scott Schwab of Olathe. House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey said lawmakers' immediate focus is on supporting the Schwab family.


Inquiry into Child's Death at Water Park Considered a Criminal Investigation 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —  A spokesman for police in Kansas City, Kansas, says the death of a boy killed while riding a waterslide at a local water park is considered a criminal investigation because a death was involved. Officer Cameron Morgan confirmed Monday that police were investigating the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab. He said investigators didn't believe anything criminal happened, so it would be a "civil matter." On Tuesday, he clarified that the investigation is a criminal case because a death was involved, as is standard procedure. He reaffirmed that police don't believe any criminal wrongdoing occurred and are investigating to rule out that any crime was committed. Caleb was one of three passengers riding in a raft on the Verruckt waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark when the accident occurred. Emergency responders found the boy dead in a pool at the end of the ride. The other passengers sustained minor facial injuries.


Kansas Water Park Where Boy Died May Reopen Wednesday

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas park where a state lawmaker's 10-year-old son died on what's billed as the world's largest waterslide says the park is tentatively planning to reopen on Wednesday. The slide will remain closed. Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, also said in a statement Monday that it is "deeply and intensely saddened'' for the family of Caleb Schwab. He was killed Sunday while riding the 168-foot Verruckt, which remains closed indefinitely.Caleb Schwab was the son of Republican state Representative Scott Schwab of Olathe. Calling safety its top priority, Schlitterbahn says all of its rides are inspected daily before opening. The park directed questions about the investigation to police.

Schlitterbahn Outing Was Special Event for Kansas Elected Officials 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas water park was having a special day for elected officials when the 10-year-old son of a state legislator died on what is billed as the world's largest waterslide. Both a state senator who was at the park and the Kansas City, Kansas, mayor's office confirmed Monday that state legislators and local elected officials were invited to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. State Senator Pat Pettey of Kansas City said the park provided a buffet lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs and thanked elected officials for their service to the state and their communities. Caleb Thomas Schwab, son of state Representative Scott Schwab of Olathe, died Sunday while riding the 168-foot Verruckt, one of the top attractions at the park. 


Kansas Senate Leader Hires Lawmaker as Legislative Director

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle has hired a fellow lawmaker to work on her staff as legislative director. Senator Garrett Love, a Republican from Montezuma, was hired last month and will earn $40,000 to help with legislative campaigns, focusing on rural races. Love announced near the end of the last legislative session that he would not seek re-election. His term ends in December. The Wichita Eagle reports the state's ethics law allows personal staff of elected officials to do campaign work on taxpayer time. Wagle's chief of staff, Harrison Hems, says Love won't take any reimbursements as a senator for being in Topeka for interim committees while serving in his new job. Love says he would not continue in the job if Wagle is Senate president again next session.


Grant Offered to Recruit Rural Kansas Firefighters

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The State Fire Marshal's office is offering a new grant program to help recruit firefighters to volunteer or part-time departments around the state. The $200,000 Fire Marshal Fund will pay for firefighter safety gear, physical exams and regionally shared equipment. The Hutchinson News reports State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen announced the new grant program during a meeting of the Kansas State Firefighters Association. The grant program also could be used to fund youth Explorer programs, to help interested young people learn about firefighting. The deadline for submitting applications is October 3, with funding available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 


Kansas University Asks Judge to Dismiss Sexual Assault Lawsuits

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The University of Kansas is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit related to two alleged sexual assaults. Two former members of the female rowing team contend they were raped in university housing by the same man. The two women and their parents claim in the lawsuit that the university misled the public by saying campus housing was safe. The alleged assailant, a former football player, was expelled last spring. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that during a hearing Monday in Douglas County, university attorney Brian Fries argued the lawsuit didn't identify specific injuries caused by the university's actions, which makes their lawsuit unwarranted. He said the former students could be consumers at the university but their parents are not. District Court Judge Kay Huff took the motion under advisement.


Sedgwick County May Stop Offering Certain Travel Immunizations

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County's health department may stop offering certain types of immunizations for international travel under the county's recommended budget. The Wichita Eagle reports that county manager Michael Scholes's proposed budget calls for the end of providing vaccines for certain diseases and infections like yellow fever and typhoid fever. Scholes says the decision to cut some immunizations will allow the health department to focus on other services. The proposed budget says the immunization program cost nearly $138,143, but generated about $137,660 in revenue. County chief financial officer Chris Chronis says the decision ties to Scholes' goal to reduce government funding services that can be provided by non-governmental groups or through the private sector. The county's final budget is set to be adopted Wednesday.


Former Kansas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Child Solicitation 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas middle school teacher has pleaded guilty to electronic solicitation of a child after swapping explicit messages with an undercover Wisconsin law enforcement officer. The Wichita Eagle reports 41-year-old Steven Young of Derby entered his plea on Monday. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a charge of sexual exploitation of a child. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office says Young was an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Derby North Middle School when he used an online chat room in July 2015 to contact the undercover officer, who he thought was 14. Prosecutors say the two had several conversations over Skype in subsequent months before Young took his clothes off Oct. 17 and performed a lewd act during a video chat. He was arrested two days later in his classroom.


Portland Police Arrest Armed Man Who Watched Them for Months 

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a 39-year-old man was arrested after officers who noticed him monitoring a Portland police precinct found weapons and ammunition in his vehicle. Portland police Sergeant Pete Simpson says Eric Crowl was arrested Sunday on charges of attempted assault, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm According to Simpson, Crowl had been watching and filming officers at the precinct since April and considers himself a "Constitutionalist." On Sunday afternoon, an East Precinct sergeant asked an on-duty officer to speak with Crowl. The man who has a police scanner quickly drove away, but returned later to continue conducting surveillance. Officers went to vehicle and arrested Crowl after finding a rifle, a shotgun, two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Court records do not list an attorney for the Portland man. Public records show he has previously lived in Manhattan, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.


Man Pleads Guilty to Teen's Shooting Death at Fort Riley

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a teenager at Fort Riley while recklessly handling a firearm. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says Juwuan Jackson pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the September 2015 death of 16-year-old Kenyon Givens Jr. He originally said a masked man broke into the home and shot Givens. He later admitted he was spinning the chamber of a .22-caliber handgun while holding the trigger, causing it to go off. Beall says the initial false story prevented paramedics from treating Givens until after police searched the house. Jackson faces up to eight years in federal prison when he is sentenced in January.


$1 Million Gift to Establish Ophthalmology Chair at KU

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A $1 million gift will allow the University of Kansas to endow a chair of ophthalmology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The school announced the gift Monday from Luther Fry, who graduated from the Kansas School of Medicine in 1967, and his wife, Ardis. They had previously donated $1 million to establish an endowed professorship to in the Department of Ophthalmology. The additional gift will allow the medical center to elevate the endowed professorship to an endowed chair. Dr. John Sutphin currently holds the position. The Frys established the Fry Eye Associates in Garden City. 


3 Kansas Men Accused of Conspiracy to Commit Capital Murder

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says three Salina men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit capital murder as part of an ongoing  probe by the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force. The Salina Journal reports two 22-year-olds and one 24-year-old were arrested early Monday. All three were arrested without incident and were being held in the Saline County jail on $1 million bond each. KBI Special Agent Doug Younger declined to identify the intended victim or provide other information about the ongoing investigation, but noted additional arrests are possible. He says 30 to 40 law enforcement officers are involved in the investigation. 


Kansas Couple Sues Company over Internet Glitch 

POTWIN, Kan. (AP) — A couple who rented a Kansas farmhouse is suing a company over an internet glitch that brought them numerous legal problems. The glitch put the coordinates for the center of the U.S. in the front yard of James and Theresa Arnold near Potwin. The farmhouse became the default location for any website owner who didn't have a specific IP address. The Arnolds allege in a lawsuit filed Monday that the glitch meant more than 600 million IP addresses became associated with the farmhouse. That led to them being accused over the years of internet-based crimes such as computer fraud and tax fraud, as well as making pornographic films. The Wichita Eagle reports the couple is suing MaxMind, which they say is responsible. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000.


Kansas Among 15 States Seeking to Overturn Endangered Frog Ruling 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Fifteen states are asking a federal appeals court to reconsider a Louisiana landowner's attempt to keep the government from listing 1,500 forest acres as essential to an endangered frog. A 2-1 June ruling upheld a district judge's decision that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was within bounds in declaring the land part of a critical habitat for dusky gopher frogs, now found only in Mississippi. Federal scientists say it's the only potential breeding ground outside Mississippi. Tuesday's petition says the rulings leave the concept of essential habitat without meaningful limit. It supports the landowner's earlier request for a hearing by the entire 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  The states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.


Top Dirt-Track Racer Bryan Clauson Dies in Kansas Crash 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bryan Clauson, considered the top dirt-track racer in the country, has died from injuries suffered in an accident at the Belleville Midget Nationals USAC midget race in Belleville, Kansas. He was 27. His death was announced Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A statement from his family was read that said Clauson died Sunday evening and "fought to the end." Clauson was leading the race Saturday night when he crashed. His car rolled and was hit by another competitor. He was airlifted to a hospital in Nebraska, and died surrounded by his family. Clauson was on pace to compete in 200 races this year. He had 27 victories in 116 starts, and led three laps in the Indianapolis 500 in May. Clauson was a four-time USAC national champion.

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