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Headlines for Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kansas News Headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Panel to Address Revised Guns-on-Campus Policy 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas Board of Regents panel is ready to make public its latest, tweaked plan governing how to allow concealed weapons on the state's college campuses by mid-2017. The board's four-member governance committee will discuss the newest draft Wednesday morning in Topeka, Kansas. In Kansas, gun owners can carry concealed weapons without a license. And public universities in Kansas must allow concealed weapons on campus beginning in July 2017 in buildings that don't have security measures including metal detectors. Opponents argue that classroom dialogue could be hindered because students may worry an armed student or educator who disagrees could react violently, or that a firearm could accidentally discharge. A regents' spokeswoman says it's possible the full board could consider the policy drafts as early as next month.


Kansas Officials Protest Possible Guantanamo Closing 

 TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas officials have sent President Obama a letter protesting the possible move of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. The letter says moving terrorism suspects to northeast Kansas would jeopardize families, schools and local businesses. All six members of the state's congressional delegation signed the letter, as did Gov. Sam Brownback, state legislators and local officials. The letter followed a town hall meeting Friday in Leavenworth sponsored by Republican U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins and Mike Pompeo. Their signatures appeared first, along with that of Leavenworth Mayor Lisa Weakley. Closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center has been a priority for President Obama but continues to inspire opposition in Congress. The Defense Department earlier this year surveyed seven potential sites for housing detainees in Kansas, Colorado and South Carolina. 


Kansas Supreme Court Hears Kleypas Death-Penalty Appeal 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The first prisoner condemned to death in Kansas in more than three decades is again asking the state's highest court to throw out his sentence. The Kansas Supreme Court heard two hours of arguments Monday involving an appeal from 60-year-old death row inmate Gary Kleypas. Kleypas was convicted of rape and murder in the death of 20-year-old Pittsburg State University student Carrie Williams in 1996. His attorney is asking the court to throw out his sentence saying a foiled courtroom attack on Kleypus in 2008 should have prompted a judge to dismiss the jury. That jury later sentenced Kleypas to death. After the state Supreme Court in 2001 overturned Kleypas's death sentence, another jury restored it in 2008. The Kansas Supreme Court last month upheld a death sentence for the first time since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1994.


Democratic Kansas House Member from Wichita Stepping Down

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita Democrat plans to resign from the Kansas House over what she says is anti-education rhetoric in the Republican-dominated Legislature. Representative Carolyn Bridges announced Tuesday that she will step down Sunday. Bridges was a school principal for 25 years before being elected to the House in 2012. She told The Wichita Eagle that educators are, in her words, "just beat up daily by the people who don't believe in public education." She said her 83rd District needs to be represented by someone who won't take anti-education rhetoric as personally as she does. She's served on the Education and Taxation committees. House Education Committee Chairman and Wamego Republican Ron Highland said lawmakers don't intend to attack teachers and must be willing to listen to differing opinions.


Kansas Group Gets Grant to Study Fort Riley Troop Reduction Effects 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas group has received a $294,000 grant from the Department of Defense to evaluate the economic impact of potential future force reductions at Fort Riley. The Manhattan Mercury reports that the director for The Flint Hills Regional Council told Riley County Commissioners Monday that the grant will be used to hire a consultant to complete the evaluation, which will look at the effects of past reductions, and make recommendations about how surrounding communities could handle the impact of a troop reduction. Council director Gary Stith said the evaluations will focus on the impact of potential reductions on local jobs, housing, schools and retail services. Stith said that once the evaluation is complete, the council would have to apply for additional funds to implement the consultant's recommendations.


Aerospace Company Offers Voluntary Retirement Program to Employees 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An aerospace company has offered a voluntary retirement and layoff program to employees in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that Spirit AeroSystems announced Monday that the programs are being offered to eligible executive, management and salaried employees in Wichita and Oklahoma. Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace's Midwest director Bob Brewer says he was surprised by the announcement because company officials had indicated in earlier conversations that there were no plans to offer an early retirement program this year. The company says it does not have a target for the number of people who will participate in either program. Company officials also wouldn't say if there would be involuntary layoffs if it was not satisfied with the results. Spirit AeroSystems has about 11,000 employees in Wichita.


Man Gets Prison Time for Making False Calls to 911 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of using various names to make 26 false 911 calls to Salina authorities in 24 hours has been sentenced to a year and four months in prison. The Salina Journal reports that 42-year-old David Slover was sentenced Monday. He had pleaded guilty to one count of criminal threat and three counts of interference with law enforcement by falsely reporting information. Authorities said emergency responders received the calls between Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, in which Slover reported various emergencies at a Salina Motel 6. He also threatened to burn the motel down unless his money and wallet were returned to him. Police say Slover was found by an officer at a truck stop and that he had three cellphones with him.


Kansas School Districts Receive Grants to Replace Diesel Buses

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) - Three Kansas school districts are getting a total of $220,000 in federal grants to replace older diesel school buses. The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the Turner, Altoona-Midway and Maize school districts will get the funds to replace or retrofit 11 diesel buses. The EPA says older diesel engines emit larger amounts of pollutants. Maize is getting $120,000 for six buses, Turner gets $80,000 for four buses and Altoona-Midway receives $20,000 for one bus. The EPA says the awards are part of more than $7 million in rebates to replace or retrofit 400 older diesel school buses throughout the U.S.


Topeka Man Sentenced for Bank Robbery

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for a bank robbery this year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 27-year-old Kirk Mychale Sexton pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. Sexton admitted that he robbed the Equity Bank in southwest Topeka on January 9. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says Sexton entered the bank and handed the clerk a note demanding money.  Police stopped him nearby after they saw red dye from a dye pack on his clothes.


Kansas Woman Accused in Killing of Stepson Hears Charges 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman accused in the death of her missing 7-year-old stepson appeared Monday before a Wyandotte County judge. Heather Jones was charged Friday with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of a child whom authorities believe to be her stepson. She's in custody on $5 million bond. Her husband, Michael Jones, is in custody on the same charges. Heather Jones appeared Monday via a video feed before a judge as he read the charges to her and set her next court appearance for December 22.  Police said the child was reported missing after authorities called to the family's home last month found a juvenile's remains at the property. Tests to identify the remains are expected to take several weeks.


KU Professor Finds Rare Audio of Basketball Inventor Naismith 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas researcher has uncovered an audio recording of James Naismith talking about setting up the first game of basketball in 1891 in Massachusetts. The school says it is believed to be the only known recording of basketball's founder. Associate professor Michael Zogry found references to a 1939 interview with Naismith on a New York radio program "We the People" while researching a book and obtained the roughly three-minute recording in November. He says Naismith's description of roughhousing among 18 players in the first game sheds new light on the creative process that led him to draft the 13 original rules. Naismith moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1898 and became the first basketball coach at the University of Kansas.


Icy Roads Blamed for 2 Deaths in Western Kansas

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Police say two people died in wrecks on icy western Kansas roads in recent days. The Kansas Highway Patrol says that 71-year-old Amedeo Grieco, of Santa Barbara, California, died Sunday after losing control of his car on an icy and slushy stretch of U.S. 50 in Gray County. The vehicle slid sideways across the center line and was struck by a sport utility vehicle. Also Sunday, 39-year-old Joseph E. Freeman, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, died when he lost control of his motorcycle on an icy stretch of U.S. 56 in Pawnee County. 


Kansas Police Department Using Software to Predict Crime

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) _ A south-central Kansas police department is trying to utilize analytical software to help its officers patrol more effectively and lower the city's high crime rate. The Wichita Eagle reports that the predictive policing software calculates where crimes are likely to happen after being fed crime reports and other statistics.  But Newton Police Department officials say it has been difficult for the department to use the technology to its full potential because it is short-staffed. The department is planning to give courses to its officers on how to use the software in January.

Kansas School Regents Consider Transcript Notations for Sexual Assault

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Board of Regents is set to discuss a proposal that would require all state universities to add a notation on a student's transcript if the student is expelled for sexual assault.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Regents Council of Presidents, made up of leaders of the six state universities, will take up the issue at its meeting tomorrow.  Regents spokeswoman Breeze Richardson says the presidents have "confidently'' agreed that they want such a requirement. She says the proposal will likely go to the Regents Governance Committee in January, and if approved, will be forwarded to the full Board of Regents for a vote.  


Off-Duty Deputy Shoots, Wounds Man in Finney County

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an off-duty western Kansas deputy has shot and wounded a 23-year-old man. Sheriff Kevin Bascue said in a news release that the shooting happened Sunday night when deputies were sent to assist a suicidal man in northeast Finney County. The Hutchinson News reports that the deputies were told that an off-duty deputy who lives in the area would be responding because neighbors had contacted him. The off-duty deputy arrived in his personal vehicle and was approached on foot by the man, who was carrying a gun. The release says the deputy fired two shots from his handgun, striking the man once in the leg. The man was taken to a hospital for treatment. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating. The deputy is on paid administrative leave.


Car Collides with City Bus in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — At least three people have been hurt in Kansas City after a car collided with a city bus. KMBC-TV reports that the crash happened just before 6 am Tuesday. Police said a car ran a stop sign and hit the bus. Both vehicles ended up in the front yard of a home. Police said both drivers and a bus passenger were injured.


Kansas Woman Gets 20-Year Sentence for Missouri Killing

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in the stabbing death of a man whose body was found in a northwest Missouri river. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that 44-year-old Kelli Hoard, of Elwood, Kansas, was sentenced Monday for the death of 28-year-old Richard Berry. His body was discovered in April beside the Third Fork of the Platte River near a bridge. Hoard, also known as Kelli Reeves, was among three people charged in the killing. A probable cause statement alleges Hoard stabbed the victim with a knife, while the two men pinned Berry to the ground. The prosecution says the autopsy showed Berry had been stabbed 37 times. The defense, in an attempt for a lesser sentence, noted that Hoard had no prior record.


3 Men Killed in 2 Shootings in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three men have died in two separate Kansas City shootings. The Kansas City Star reports that the killings bring the city's 2015 homicide total to 102. Last year, Kansas City recorded 81 homicides. Police said officers found the first victim's body lying at the side of a street while responding to a reported shooting around 9 pm Monday. Police say that two men who apparently were shot in the same incident showed up at a hospital later. One man died at the hospital, and the second man was seriously injured. Police said that a couple hours later, officers found another man with a fatal gunshot wound lying near the rear of an apartment building in another part of the city. Anyone with information is urged to come forward.


Man Pleads Guilty in Fraud Linked to Kansas City Company 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Indiana man has pleaded guilty to participating in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme that included impersonating employees of a Kansas City-based company. The Kansas City Star reports that 54-year-old David Hernon entered a guilty plea Monday to charges that he conspired to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors claim Hernon and three others created dozens of companies with the intent to impersonate actual companies such as Cerner Corporation in Kansas City. According to prosecutors, the participants in the scheme solicited more than $6 million in investments from dozens of doctors and engineered the sale of a $1 million MRI system to a Dallas hospital. The three other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty as well. Sentencing dates have not yet been scheduled.


Permanently Injured Kansas Child Awarded $109 Million

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas child who suffered permanent brain damage and blindness when he was beaten as an infant was awarded $109 million from the man accused of attacking him. Romeo Whitebird was 7 months old when he was injured by his mother's boyfriend in April 2014 at a Holton apartment complex. The boy is now 2. A Jackson County District Court ruling last Friday ordered Koylen Corbin McKinney to pay the judgment. McKinney is serving a nine-year prison sentence for abusing the child. However, Topeka attorney Dan Lykins says McKinney is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, which entitles him to royalties from oil production for the rest of his life. 


2 Men Sentenced in Large Drug Ring in Metro Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two Missouri men who led a multi-million drug trafficking ring in the Kansas City metropolitan area were sentenced to 13½ years in federal prison. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom of Kansas says Eduardo Perez-Alcala, of Independence, and Hector Aguilera, of Sugar Creek, were sentenced Tuesday for conspiracy to commit drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors say they led a $28.5 million drug trafficking group. Aguilera received shipments of cocaine from Perez-Alcala and two other Mexican sources. An investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration resulted in the seizure and forfeiture of more than $2 million in cash, 194 firearms, 29 vehicles, 26 kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of crack.


AMC Theater Chain Names Starwood Boss Aron as New CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. is naming Starwood Hotels and Resorts' interim CEO Adam Aron as its new chief executive, replacing interim CEO Craig Ramsey. Aron, 61, headed Starwood as interim boss since February. He is also the former CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and has been chief executive of Vail Resorts Inc. and Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. Ramsey will remain chief financial officer and report to Aron. AMC, the nation's second largest movie theater chain, has been publicly traded since December 2013. It is controlled by Chinese theater giant Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd., which bought it in September 2012 in a $2.6 billion deal. Aron said in a statement he'll aim to "raise the bar" on the movie-going experience and bolster its AMC Stubs rewards program.


Wichita Police Still Waiting for Federal Funds for Body Cameras 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita's interim police chief says his department won't be able to equip every field officer with a body camera as planned by the end of this year because federal funding for the project isn't yet available. Chief Nelson Mosley says that he expects the $250,000 in federal matching funds to be available next month. The department already has bought and deployed more than 200 body cameras, with plans to buy a total of 429.


Michigan State, KU Remain as Numbers 1 and 2 in AP Top 25 Poll

Michigan State and the University of Kansas remain the top two teams in The Associated Press college basketball poll. The Michigan State Spartans (11-0) are a runaway No. 1, receiving most of the first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel on Monday. Kansas (8-1) was in second place. Oklahoma, after its impressive win over Villanova, jumped from seventh to third followed by Kentucky, Iowa State, Maryland, Duke, Virginia, Purdue and Xavier.


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