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Headlines for Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Brownback: State's Bid Process Was Open

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he will cooperate with the FBI if he is contacted about a reported investigation into allegations about the awarding of contracts to privatize the state's Medicaid program. Brownback told The Associated Press Tuesday that he believes the allegations are mostly a smear campaign. The Republican governor says he has directed state employees to cooperate fully if they are contacted by the FBI. Brownback says he hopes the FBI does contact people because Kansas went through an open bidding process in awarding the contracts. Several news outlets including the AP have reported the existence of an FBI probe into the activities of Brownback confidante David Kensinger and his Topeka firm, Parallel Strategies, which he and two former Brownback staffers formed last year.


4-Hour Standoff in Salina Ends with 2 in Custody

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Two people are in custody after a four-hour standoff in Salina. Salina police chief Brad Nelson says the standoff began about noon Monday when police received a report that two people wanted on outstanding felony warrants were inside the home. When officers arrived, the two refused to come outside. After unsuccessful negotiations, police fired tear gas into the home about 4 pm, and a 25-year-old woman wanted on drug charges came out. A 29-year-old man was taken into custody at the back of the home. He is wanted on Saline County drug charges, interference with and felony battery of a law enforcement officer. He is also wanted in Sedgwick County for two counts of aggravated assault with a deputy weapon and theft. No injuries were reported.

KS Supreme Court Delays Genetic Testing in Sperm Donor Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court is delaying a decision on whether a Topeka man who provided sperm to a lesbian couple must undergo genetic testing. The justices issued an order Friday saying the testing should be delayed while they study the issue. William Marotta asked the court in March to direct a district court judge to block the state's request that he undergo paternity testing. The state is seeking to require Marotta to pay child support for a child who was born to the couple after he donated his sperm. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Marotta's attorney, Benoit Swinnen, said Monday the two-paragraph order requires all parties to wait while justices consider the request. Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi has twice ordered the genetic testing to proceed.

Kansas Appellate Courts to Get New Clerk in June

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An official from Indiana's judicial system will be taking over next month as the new clerk for both the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Court of Appeals. The state's high court says Heather Smith will start work in Topeka on June 9. She will replace Carol Green, who has been clerk since 1991 and is retiring June 6. Smith is deputy clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Tax Court. In that job, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the clerk's office. She also played a key role in planning several technology projects. In Kansas, she'll be responsible for planning and overseeing the day-to-day administrative work of the state's two appellate courts.


GOP Senate Leader Endorses Change in V-A Leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican says a leadership change may help resolve what he calls "dysfunction" at the Department of Veterans Affairs, following allegations of corruption and avoidable deaths at the veterans' hospital in Phoenix. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the tenure of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is "embarrassing" and that the agency is in "a stunning period of dysfunction." McConnell isn't calling for Shinseki to step down, but says a change in leadership "might be a good thing." The White House says President Barack Obama remains confident in Shinseki. Two Republican senators — John Cornyn of Texas and Jerry Moran of Kansas — have called for Shinseki to resign amid claims that up to 40 patients in Phoenix may have died because of delays in care.


Short Police Chase Ends on KU Campus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police say a brief car chase ended with the arrest of a wanted man on the University of Kansas campus. Sergeant Trent McKinley says the chase began Monday afternoon when officers tried to stop a stolen car. 6News Lawrence reports that the pursuit lasted only three blocks before the car went through a parking lot and tried to drive down a flight of stairs on the campus. The car was impaled on the stairs and the driver fled toward Memorial Stadium. Officers arrested a 33-year-old Lawrence resident a few minutes later. He was taken to a Lawrence hospital for an undisclosed medical issue. McKinley says the suspect has been jailed for several crimes since 2003 and he was facing other charges when he was arrested.

Earnhardt Jr. to Visit with Topeka Students

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to visit a Topeka high school this week ahead of Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Earnhardt, who drives the number 88 car sponsored by the National Guard, will talk to students and sign autographs at Seaman High School on Thursday. Members of the Kansas National Guard are also expected to be on hand for the afternoon event. Earnhardt won at Daytona to start the 2014 season and is 19 points back of teammate Jeff Gordon in the point standings heading into the weekend at race in Kansas City, Kansas. The race is the first night NASCAR Sprint Cup event to be held at the track since it opened in 2001.


FBI Finds Synagogue Directions in Suspect's Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Evidence recovered from the home of a southwest Missouri man accused of killing three people outside two Kansas Jewish facilities last month indicates he researched directions to synagogues and kosher places to eat. Avowed white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross is charged with shootings in April outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, and at Village Shalom senior care facility nearby. Killed were 69-year-old William Corporon, his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, and 53-year-old Terri LaManno. Returns from an FBI search warrant served on the 73-year-old's rural Aurora, Missouri, home on the day of the shootings list items that were seized, including a copy of "Mein Kampf," three boxes of ammunition and a T-shirt with a swastika symbol. Cross's attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.


Car with Body Inside Owned by Missing Wichita Man

MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a car found with a decomposing body inside belonged to a Wichita man missing since February. The car was found Monday morning at a Maize apartment complex when police were called to investigate a bad smell. McPherson police said Monday the car belonged to 54-year-old Adam Sabri, who co-owns a sports bar in McPherson. The body has not been positively identified because it was badly decomposed. Neighbors told Wichita media outlets the car had been in the same place for months but the back windows were so darkly tinted that it was impossible to see inside. The body was found in the backseat. Residents said they began to notice a strong smell in recent days as temperatures reached 100 degrees.


Defense Raises Cyber 'Snooping' Claim in Porn Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The president and CEO of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children wants a federal court to quash a subpoena for his testimony in a Kansas child pornography case. John Ryan made the request Tuesday in the federal prosecution of 56-year-old Walter Ackerman of Lebanon, Kansas. Ackerman is charged with distribution and possession of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren has scheduled a hearing May 19-20 on a defense motion to suppress pornographic emails Ackerman is accused of sending. Prosecutors say Internet service provider AOL uses a filtering process to detect child pornography and sends files to the National Center, which then notifies law enforcement. Ackerman's lawyers argue the practice amounts to cyber "snooping" resulting in illegal searches.


Natural Gas Storage Firm to Upgrade Kansas Site

CONWAY, Kan. (AP) — Environmental regulators say officials at natural gas liquids storage facility in central Kansas have agreed to spend $2 million to reduce air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the settlement with Mid-Continent Fractionation and Storage in Conway resulted from a 2012 inspection. The company has agreed to install and operate a new vapor collection system that reduces emissions of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. EPA says the upgrade will bring the company into compliance with the Clean Air Act and cut emissions by more than 15 tons a year. The agency says volatile organic compounds may cause wheezing and breathing difficulties during outdoor activities, aggravate asthma and increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses.

Foundation Donates $50,000 to Help Baxter Springs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two organizations are getting $25,000 each from the Kansas Health Foundation to help residents in the Baxter Springs area recover from an EF-2 tornado that damaged 100 homes and 12 businesses. The Joplin Globe reports the American Red Cross Midway-Kansas Chapter and the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas are getting the funds to help the community bounce back from the April 27 tornado. The money will be used to provide food, shelter, clothing and emotional support for those affected by the storm. Monday's announcement followed a weekend announcement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that the tornado didn't do enough damage to meet the requirement for disaster funding.


Exodus Continues from Tornado-Stricken KS Town Despite Innovative Reconstruction

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) — After a mammoth tornado wiped out most of Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007, supporters of clean energy seized on an unusual opportunity to rebuild a town from the ground up with the latest green technology. They came up with a sustainable-power dreamscape: wind turbines to power hundreds of homes, futuristic buildings with environmentally friendly features and a gleaming new school that runs on less than half the water of its flattened predecessor. But the reimagining of Greensburg has failed to provide what it needs most: people. The storm sent half the town packing, accelerating an exodus from rural Kansas that had been underway for decades. Those who stayed now acknowledge that the reborn town is serving a population of only about 800 and is still looking for answers.


Armenians Viewing Kansas Hazard Training Events

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A delegation from the Republic of Armenia is visiting Kansas to observe a state training exercise and receive instruction on responding to bio hazards. The events are part of an ongoing exchange between Armenia and the Kansas National Guard through a program administered by the National Guard Bureau. On Tuesday, the delegation was in Emporia to watch a bio hazards training exercise involving local first responders and the Kansas National Guard's 73rd Civil Support Team. The Armenians travel next Wednesday to the state's Crisis City training center in Salina for classroom instruction on responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards.The visit has been coordinated by the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center at Kansas State University.


Woman Dies in Drive-Thru Lane of KS Bank

CHANUTE, Kan. (AP) — A southeast Kansas woman died after she was hit by a car in a bank's drive-thru lane. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 83-year-old Gloria Pefley died Monday at the Bank of Commerce in Chanute. The patrol says Pefley got out of a car she was riding in and walked in front of the vehicle. The vehicle hit Pefley and then struck a pickup truck. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car and two people in the truck weren't hurt. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the accident.


Basketball Used in 1936 Olympics Offered for Sale

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas sports promoter is looking for someone interested in buying the ball that was used in the first Olympic gold medal basketball game. The undersized, deflated ball that's stitched together like a volleyball has been in Canada since a player's wife slipped it under a blanket after the 1936 championship game in Berlin. The U.S. team took the gold with a 19-8 win over Canada in a game played outside in a downpour, but Canadian player Jimmy Stewart wound up with the ball used in that game. The Kansas City Star reports Overland Park promoter Keith Zimmerman is trying to sell the ball on behalf of Stewart's son, Jimmy Jr. The 75-year-old Windsor, Ontario, resident says none of his family members were interested in it.


Workers Find Baby in Closet of Wichita Apartment

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 1-year-old Wichita boy has been placed with his grandmother after maintenance workers found him in a closet while his parents were out of their apartment. KWCH-TV reports that the workers were fixing the apartment's air conditioner around 11 am Tuesday when they noises from behind the closet door. Police Lieutenant Alan Prince says the baby was thirsty and had a wet diaper. Prince said the mother returned after a 30-minute trip to take the baby's father to work. She told officers she had putting the sleeping boy on a mattress inside the closet during such trips for about two months. The mother has not been arrested. Prince said authorities will work to get her the information and help she needs.


Oklahoma Wildfire About 90 Percent Contained

GUTHRIE, Okla. (AP) — Forecasters are warning of critical fire conditions as crews battle a wildfire that has scorched more than 4.5 square miles in central Oklahoma. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for western and central Oklahoma until 10 pm Tuesday. Forecasters say temperatures could surpass 100 degrees with low humidity and gusts up to 45 mph. Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow says firefighters have contained about 90 percent of the blaze after winds died down overnight in the city about 35 miles north of Oklahoma City. Harlow says the wildfire has destroyed at least 10 homes and left one person dead. Forecasters say parts of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Utah are also at a high risk of wildfires Tuesday.

Missouri Man Sentenced to 14 Years for 1992 Rapes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the rapes of two young women in 1992. Forty-nine-year-old Keith Harris was sentenced Monday for raping the 18- and 19-year-old women. Harris was arrested in December 2012 in Platte County, after his DNA profile matched evidence from the 1992 case. The Kansas City Star reports that the two victims told police they met Harris at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas and agreed to ride with him in his semi-trailer truck. They said he stopped in Kansas City and raped them while threatening them with a knife. Harris was sentenced to seven years each on two counts of rape. The sentence will run consecutively.


Plane Lands Safely in Salt Lake After Reports of Smoke Odor

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Airport officials say a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver has landed safely in Salt Lake City after a pilot reported the smell of smoke in the cockpit 20 minutes before landing. Salt Lake City International Airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann says there are no indications of any fire on Southwest Flight 1291 on Tuesday morning and the smell of smoke dissipated by the time the plane landed. Gann says the plane taxied to the gate and passengers disembarked from the plane as normal. She says crews are checking the aircraft as a precaution. No delays have been reported at the airport. Flight records show the plane flew from Kansas City, Missouri around 7 am and made a stop in Denver an hour later, before flying to and landing in Salt Lake City around 10 am.


Kansas City Woman Wins $2.5 Million Missouri Lotto

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman who won a $2.5 million Missouri Lotto prize says she plans to retire early. The Missouri Lottery announced Tuesday that 64-year-old Patricia Roscher won the April 12 drawing after buying a ticket at a QuikTrip in Pleasant Valley. Roscher is a financial analyst with a credit card company. She chose to take the $1.25 million lump-sum. She says she and her partner of 18 years also plan to buy a new home. Lottery officials say Roscher is the 225th player to win a Lotto jackpot and the 401st person to win at least $1 million in a Missouri Lottery game. The QuikTrip will get $5,000 for selling a winning ticket.


Chiefs Could Be in Market to Trade Draft Picks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey would love to hear his phone ringing on draft night. One year after picking first overall, Kansas City will be waiting until number 23 to make its first selection this year. It's also the only selection the franchise has in the first 86 picks, which is why Dorsey made it clear he's entertaining offers to move down and acquire more. If that doesn't happen, expect Kansas City to address one of its most glaring holes, wide receiver. The Chiefs have struggled to find a playmaker to stretch the field, and with that position arguably the deepest in the draft, it's a good bet that's where they'll go. Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. are two possibilities.



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