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Headlines for Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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

Ex-Kansas Official Accused of Sexual Misbehavior Fired from New Job

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A company helping to manage the Kansas Medicaid program has fired an employee facing allegations of sexual misconduct from a previous job as a state social services administrator.  Amerigroup Kansas spokeswoman Olga Gallardo (GUY-ar-doh) said in an email today (TUE) that Brandt Haehn (Hawn) no longer works for the company. Amerigroup is among three companies managing Medicaid health coverage for the needy.  Gallardo didn't provide further details. Haehn couldn't be reached for comment.  Haehn formerly was the administrator overseeing in-home and community services in the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.  He left in June after being disciplined over his alleged conduct toward a woman who formerly worked for a provider of services to the disabled.  The woman, Jennifer Gill, told The Topeka Capital-Journal that Haehn solicited sex from her and offered her a better job in exchange.

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3 Found Dead in Burning Kansas City, Kansas, Home

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials say a third body has been found after a house fire at a Kansas City, Kansas, home.  The blaze was reported early Tuesday. Firefighters searching the single-story home found two bodies at that time. A third body was found later in the day as firefighters sifted through the house.  Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman Tom Tomasic said evidence found at the home was leading investigators to believe the deaths were suspicious but they had not been ruled homicides.  KCTV5 reports Tomasic says the fire department will look for accelerants and an autopsy will be performed to determine how the people died.  No other details were immediately released.

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Kansas City Police Shoot, Injure Carjacking Suspect

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say four people are in custody after a carjacking led to one of the suspects being shot by Kansas City police.  Authorities say a carjacking in Kansas City, Kansas, on Monday led to a police chase that ended when the car stopped in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, near City Hall.  Police spokeswoman Stacy Graves says the four suspects were known to be armed. They fled from the car into a nearby parking garage and three suspects were arrested.  Graves says the fourth suspect inside the garage disregarded commands from officers and shots were fired.  The suspect was taken to a Kansas City hospital and was in stable condition Monday afternoon.  No police officers were injured.

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Missouri Mother Charged with Drowning Baby

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman has been charged in the drowning death of her 6-month-old son.  The St. Joseph News-Press reports that 27-year-old Sydney Jones, of St. Joseph, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on a charge of abuse or neglect leading to the death of the child at her apartment. She's jailed on $100,000 bond. No attorney is listed for her in online court records.  A police detective wrote in the probable cause statement that Jones pinned her son down to an inflatable child's tub inside of a bathtub last week while water was running. A witness stated that the drowning was intentional.  Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Scroggins says the charge carries a sentence of up to life in prison. He wouldn't say whether other children were in the home.

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Wichita Homicide Victim Was Moving Out When He Was Shot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have identified a 45-year-old man who was shot and killed as he was moving out of his house during the weekend. Police say Randy Gibson and two of his friends were moving his belongings Saturday when a man who lived in the house fatally shot Gibson and wounded his two friends. Police officer Charley Davidson said Monday the 21-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene and booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and other charges. The two wounded men were treated at Wichita hospitals. Two other people inside the house when the shooting occurred were not injured.

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Woman Found Dead After Fire in Overland Park Apartment Building

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ Fire crews have found a woman dead while putting out a fire in an Overland Park apartment building that mainly houses elderly and low income residents. The Overland Park Fire Department said in a news release that the fire started Monday in Overland Towers Apartments, an eight-story building in the Kansas City suburb. The blaze was contained to the unit where the woman died. The woman's name wasn't immediately released, pending notification of relatives. Two residents from other units were taken to hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation.  The cause of the fire and the woman's death are under investigation.

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Authorities Identify 3 Killed in Kansas City, Kansas, Crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified three people killed last week when a van went off the side of a Kansas City, Kansas, road and landed upside down on a stretch of railroad tracks.  Police said Monday that the victims were 45-year-old Steven Gelhart, 29-year-old Joe Bosquez and 31-year-old Destiny Gregory.  Gelhart and Bosquez were pronounced dead at the scene of the Thursday night crash, while Gregory died at a hospital. A fourth person injured in the crash has been upgraded from critical to stable condition.  Police say the van wasn't struck by a train. The crash remains under investigation.

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Ex-Frontenac City Administrator Guilty of Misusing City Money

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A former city administrator in southeast Kansas has admitted that he misspent taxpayer money, including buying GPS devices that he used to track his former mistress.  Former Frontenac city administrator Doug Sellars pleaded guilty today (TUE) to misuse of public funds. As part of the plea agreement, three other felony charges and a misdemeanor were dropped.  An affidavit said Sellars placed GPS devices bought with city funds inside the bumper of his former mistress' car.  The Kansas Bureau of Investigation uncovered the thefts on a city credit card after Sellars was accused of stalking the woman. He resigned in September 2016.  The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso says Sellars will likely get a suspended sentence and probation. He also will be required to make restitution of about $8,000.

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Man Pleads Guilty in Death of Kansas Mother and 3 Children

PARSONS, Kan. (AP) — A former Montgomery County man pleaded guilty to killing a southeast Kansas woman and her three children in 2013. The Kansas Attorney General's office said 26-year-old David Cornell Bennett Jr, formerly of Cherryvale, pleaded guilty Monday to capital murder and three counts of first-degree premeditated murder. As part of the plea deal, the state withdrew its notice to seek the death penalty against Bennett. Bennett pleaded guilty in the November 2013 deaths of 29-year-old Cami Umbarger and her three minor children in Parsons. Testimony at a preliminary hearing in October 2014 indicated the victims were strangled. Testimony indicated Bennett repeatedly tried to contact Umbarger after they met at a club in Independence. He will be sentenced February 16. His only possible sentence is life in prison without parole.

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Homeless Man Critically Injured in Fire He Apparently Set

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ Saline County authorities say a homeless man who was found badly burned in a field near Salina apparently started a fire to stay warm. Sheriff Roger Soldan says 49-year-old Brett Hageman, of Lincoln, Nebraska, was found unconscious Saturday by firefighters who responded to a fire just north of Salina. Authorities found a lighter nearby and believe Hageman started the fire and then fell asleep. The Salina Journal reports  Hageman was in critical condition Monday at a Wichita hospital.  

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Kansas Families Struggle to Find Child Care in State

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new report shows that Kansas is experiencing a shortage of child care services.  The report was released Monday by Child Care Aware of Kansas. The agency administers the state's child care referral service.  The Wichita Eagle reports the agency found that Kansas counties on average have capacity to meet only about half the potential demand for child care. Sedgwick County can meet 45 percent of potential demand.  The lower the percentage, the less likely that parents will find the right child care provider.  The report says nearly 164,000 children under age 6 potentially need child care in Kansas.  The nonprofit Kansas Action for Children wants lawmakers to strengthen the state's child care tax credit to improve access to child care. Lawmakers reinstated the credit in June.

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No Charges in Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting in Kansas

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — No charges will be filed in an officer-involved fatal shooting in McPherson County in August.  McPherson County Attorney Gregory Benefiel announced Tuesday that a county deputy who fired the shot that killed 24-year-old William Holmes reasonably believed that another officer was in serious danger.  The shooting occurred after a chase started in Newton when police responded to a burglary call. The vehicle eventually was disabled near Moundridge. Benefiel says Homes and a passenger yelled obscenities at officers and Holmes yelled "shoot me."  KAKE-TV reports Benefiel says officers unsuccessfully used non-lethal means such as bean-bags and a Taser to try and subdue Holmes. Benefiel says Holmes eventually was shot while trying to gain possession of a Newton officer's gun during a struggle.  The Newton officer suffered minor injuries.

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Central Kansas Sheriff Pleads Not Guilty to Mistreatment

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas sheriff who's accused of striking a handcuffed man has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor.  The Great Bend Tribune reports that Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir entered the plea last week through his attorney to the charge of mistreatment of a confined person.  The charge, which was filed last month by a special prosecutor, alleges that Bellendir spoke in a "vulgar, rude and/or angry manner" to a man after he was booked into jail in August on a probation violation charge. Bellendir also is accused of striking the man on the side of the head.  The sheriff was issued a summons in October after an investigation by Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents. Bellendir later issued a statement noting he was still on the job.

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Supreme Court Will Not Review Appeal in Kansas Sheriff's Death

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court is letting a death sentence stand for a southeastern Kansas man who fatally shot a sheriff during a 2005 drug raid. The high court declined Monday to review Scott Cheever's case a second time. Cheever faces lethal injection for killing Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels as Samuels tried to serve a warrant at Cheever's rural home about 75 miles northeast of Wichita. Cheever acknowledged shooting Samuels, but his attorney argued Cheever was too high on methamphetamine for the crime to be premeditated. The Kansas Supreme Court in 2012 ordered a new trial for Cheever because prosecutors used a court-ordered mental evaluation from a different trial against him. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision in 2013. The Kansas court then upheld Cheever's death sentence last year.

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Wichita Megachurch Plans 33-Acre Development

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of Wichita's largest churches is planning to develop a major housing subdivision and special-events complex. The Wichita Eagle reports that Central Community Church filed plans with the city for developing 33 acres of vacant land just west of the existing church buildings. City Council member Bryan Frye says he met with church leaders last week for a briefing on the development. Plans call for as many as 280 homes and senior-living apartments, an amphitheater, a special events center or nightclub, a chapel, shops, a soccer field and two ponds. The megachurch would also set aside space for developing a future school that would serve students in kindergarten through high school. Planners will publicly present the project Thursday to a committee created by the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.

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Topeka Zoo Says 35-Year-Old Elephant Shannon Has Died

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka officials say a 35-year-old African elephant at the Topeka Zoo has died. The elephant, named Shannon, died Monday morning after she was found lying on her side for the second day in a row. When the 5,500-pound elephant was found on her side Sunday, Topeka fire personnel used a large strap and tripod to help lift her back into an upright position. Zoo director Brendan Wiley said firefighters were attempting to lift the elephant again Monday morning when she took her last breath. Wiley said zoo officials are investigating what caused the elephant's death. Shannon and Cora, a 59-year-old Asian elephant, arrived at the Topeka Zoo in August 2016 from a traveling elephant program based near Tampa, Florida. They joined two other elephants at the zoo.

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Free Dental Clinic Planned for Hutchinson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A free dental clinic is coming to the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson next year and is expected to draw massive crowds. The Hutchinson News reports that the Kansas Mission of Mercy clinic is planned for February 9 and 10. The outgoing president of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund in Hutchinson is Kim Moore. He recalls that people lined up at 4 a.m. at a 2003 Mission of Mercy clinic in Garden City, despite a snowstorm. Moore says the demand illustrates the problem with access to dental care. Some employers do not offer dental insurance, and insurance coverage can be limited. Medicare does not have a dental care benefit, and Medicaid recipients may or may not have dental coverage. Nearly 30,000 have attended past clinics. 

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