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Headlines for Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Governor Signs Executive Order Requiring Sexual Harassment Training

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer plans to require all employees and interns working for executive branch agencies to undergo annual sexual harassment training.  Colyer announced the new policy Monday during a Cabinet meeting and planned to sign an executive order to put it into effect. He allowed The Associated Press into the meeting.  The executive branch has not had a single anti-harassment policy across all agencies.  Colyer said he wants to ensure that state government has a culture of respect. He said his executive order will require an outside, independent review when an elected official or Cabinet secretary is accused of harassment.  He said the order also will require agencies to review their anti-harassment policies at least once every three years.  It's Colyer's first executive order since taking office last week.

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Kansas Bill Would Protect Those Saving Kids, Animals in Cars

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas bill would legally protect Good Samaritans who break into vehicles to save overheating children and animals. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that lawmakers heard testimony Monday for the potential legislation. The bill states it would provide immunity from civil liability when a vehicle is damaged by a person trying to aid a "vulnerable person or domestic animal" in situations where there is "imminent danger of harm" and law enforcement has been notified. Greg Smith of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department says the bill could cause confusion with its definitions of a vulnerable person and of signs of impairment. Carla Lewis of the Kansas Animal Control Association says the bill could increase public awareness about the dangers of leaving a child or pet in a car during dangerously hot weather.

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Kansas Education Department to Keep Bus Funds Despite Audit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Education Department will continue distributing millions in bus funding despite a recent audit that says the payments are barred under current state law.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the state Board of Education says it will keep paying for school districts' bus operations under the same formula it's been using for decades until instructed otherwise. A January independent audit of how transportation aid to districts had been distributed says the formula is based on a law repealed in 1973.  The board held a meeting January 26 in response to a letter from Republican lawmakers urging board members to suspend the Education Department's top school finance officer pending the audit. But the board voted almost unanimously to support the officer's continued employment.  Lawmakers have introduced bills to clear up confusion on the transportation aid formula.

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Age Requirements Sought After 6 Teens Run for Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Candidates would be required to be at least 18 to run for statewide offices in Kansas under legislation drafted in response to six teenagers entering the race for governor.  The Kansas House Elections Committee is considering whether to set an age requirement for running for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state commissioner of insurance.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the committee could vote on the plan Monday. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would also have to live in Kansas for four years before seeking office.  If approved, the changes wouldn't take effect until after this fall's election.  Six teenagers are seeking the state's top office, while another is running for secretary of state. Proponents of the bill say most states require candidates to be older.

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Food Pantry Opens for Low-Paid Courthouse Workers in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A courthouse in south-central Kansas has opened a pantry for low-paid judicial workers who can't afford to buy food. The Wichita Eagle reports that the pantry at Sedgwick County District Court is about four months old. Courthouse employees facing financial struggles can take home food from the pantry. The judicial branch is seeking more funding from lawmakers to boost salaries. Chief Judge James Fleetwood told a House committee Monday that the need for a pantry is embarrassing and that employees deserve better. Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss says that nearly a third of all Kansas judicial workers have starting salaries below the 2017 federal poverty level for a family of four. Some lawmakers say that workers deserve more money, but court funding must be balanced with other needs.

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Wichita Police Recover Stolen Documents from 7 Cases

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a traffic stop led to the recovery of stolen property from seven cases, many involving identity theft. Officer Charley Davidson says a vehicle was pulled over Saturday because the tag on the car was reported stolen. He says the officer found stolen documents including mail, debit cards, identity cards, Social Security cards and birth certificates. The documents come from six cases in 2017 and one from 2013. A 37-year-old woman in the car had brass knuckles, drug paraphernalia and multiple documents. She was jailed on charges of aggravated weapons violations, possession of drug paraphernalia and seven counts of possession of stolen property. The 54-year-old driver was arrested for driving on a suspended license and a tag violation.

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Woman Killed in Early Morning Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an 18-year-old woman was fatally shot as she sat in a car in south Wichita. Officer Charley Davidson says the woman, her 18-year-old boyfriend and her 40-year-old mother had just arrived at a home early Tuesday when another car drove by and shots were fired. The woman was shot and killed. The other two people in the vehicle were not injured. Police don't have a description of the suspects or their vehicle. This is the fourth homicide in Wichita this year.

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Koch Family to Open Unconventional Private School in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two members of the Koch family are financing a new private school in Kansas that will incorporate aspects of the "Maker movement" and other education innovations.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Chase and Annie Koch are opening a new pre-K-through-12th-grade school on Wichita State University's campus. The couple are the son and daughter-in-law of Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch.  The school is called Wonder and is scheduled to open for preschool and elementary-age children in September.  Wonder is expected to have a mastery-based approach to academics rather than traditional grade levels. There also won't be traditional grades or report cards.  The lease agreement between Wonder and the Wichita State Innovation Alliance says that total launch costs are estimated at about $1.5 million, which includes renovations and equipment.

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Wichita Approves Late-Night March Madness Parties Downtown

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Fans attending the NCAA basketball tournament in Wichita next month won't have to close up their downtown partying by midnight. Wichita officials on Tuesday approved an ordinance to allow after-midnight entertainment and drinking in downtown Wichita. Currently, outdoor events must close by midnight on Friday and Saturdays and 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The Wichita Eagle reports promoters wanted to hold special late-night events to entertain the thousands of people expected to visit Wichita March 15-18. John D'Angelo, manager of the city's arts and cultural services division, says the NCAA tournament games will be played late into the night because of West Coast games. City Attorney Jennifer Magana said the ordinance would allow the council to waive the usual limits on late-night events for any events in the future.

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ICE Agent Accused of Leak to Kansas TV Anchor to Change Plea

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A court notation says an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement accused of sending a Wichita television news anchor sensitive law enforcement material has told a federal judge he intends to change his plea.  ICE Agent Andrew J. Pleviak had a hearing Monday during which he was judged competent to assist in his defense.  He was indicted in July on two counts of exceeding authorized access to a government computer and one count of destruction of records.  A probable cause affidavit released last month shows KAKE-TV anchor Deb Farris told police Pleviak was sending her sensitive law enforcement material and texting messages that were sexual in nature.  A change-of-plea hearing was set for Wednesday. The court will also consider at that time whether to revoke his bond.

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Woman Killed in Early Morning Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been fatally shot in Wichita. The shooting happened just after 2 o'clock this (TUE) morning in the southern part of the city. Police say the woman died at the scene. No other details were immediately released, including the name of the victim or a possible motive.

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Wichita Man Admits Not Paying Taxes on Gambling Income

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man pleaded guilty to not reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars from illegal bookmaking on his federal income taxes.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said 65-year-old Daniel Dreese, of Wichita, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of making false statements on income tax returns. He admitted that he didn't report about $89,000 from illegal bookmaking in 2011 and about $137,000 in 2012.  And he admitted he didn't $383,684 in income in 2010.  As part of his plea agreement, Dreese agreed to pay $214,540 in restitution.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 23.

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Hunting Biz Owner Admits Illegally Importing Deer to Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man who owns a trophy-hunting company has pleaded guilty to illegally importing deer into Kansas.  The U.S. attorney's office says 48-year-old Robert McConnell, pleaded guilty Monday to four counts. The Slippery Rock man owns Horseshoe Hill Outfitters, which advertises "big game hunting adventures" in Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Ontario.  Prosecutors say he violated an act that regulates the trade of wildlife, fish and plants. In two counts, McConnell admitted to importing deer that weren't from an accredited herd, weren't officially identified and didn't have a certificate of veterinary inspection. In two others, he admitted to importing domesticated deer.  Sentencing is set for May 21. Both sides are recommending a fine of at least $10,000 and five years of probation during which he couldn't do business in Kansas.

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Man Jailed After Charging Topeka Officers with Machete

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a homeless man is jailed in Kansas after charging at officers with a machete at police headquarters in downtown Topeka.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the incident began around 2 am Saturday when a man armed with a machete entered the Law Enforcement Center and said he had a bomb.  Officers were able to get the man to exit the building. Police Lt. Steve Roth says officers used a stun gun to subdue the man when he became aggressive. Roth says the man sustained only "superficial" injuries.  The man is jailed on $25,000 bond on suspicion of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, making a criminal threat and other offenses.

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New Chancellor from Texas Named at Missouri-Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An official from the University of Texas at San Antonio will be the new chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Missouri System President Mun Choi announced Tuesday that C. Mauli Agrawal will take over the Missouri-Kansas City job June 20. He currently is vice president for academic affairs at Texas-San Antonio.  Agrawal replaces Barbara Bichelmeyer, interim chancellor since Leo Morton left Missouri-Kansas City last year.  Agrawal has been interim provost at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, he was vice president of research and dean of the university's engineering college. He earned a doctorate from Duke University in 1989, a master's degree from Clemson in 1985 and a bachelor's degree from IIT-Kanpur in India.  Choi said Bichelmeyer will continue to lead several new initiatives at Missouri-Kansas City.

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6-Foot-Tall, 65-Pound Harp, Stolen from Wichita College

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A music major at Friends University in Wichita says a thief somehow walked off with his harp and a bassoon during the weekend.  Raul Rangel says his 6-foot tall harp, valued between $11,000 to $12,000, and his bassoon were stored at the university's Riney Fine Arts Center during the weekend. The area they were in requires a code for access that is given only to specific students and faculty.  The Wichita Eagle reports the harp is an Aoyama Model 42-B with the serial No. 1-0163.  He says the instruments were in the room on Friday and he discovered them missing Monday. Rangel says the harp is delicate and it will be ruined if the thief keeps it outside or in a garage.  Wichita and university police are investigating the theft.

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Giraffe Born at Kansas City Zoo Weighs 105 Pounds

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The newborn giraffe at the Kansas City Zoo already weighs around 105 pounds  and stands around 5 feet tall.  The zoo announced in a news release Monday that the calf was born Friday. She has undergone a medical exam and appears to be in good health.  The calf is behind the scenes for now with her mother, Lizzie. She won't be on exhibit until the temperatures warm up.

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