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Headlines for Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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

UPDATE: Retired Air Force General Richard Myers Chosen as K-State's Next President

The Kansas Board of Regents has selected interim Kansas State University president Richard Myers as the school's next president.  Myers is a retired four-star U.S. Air Force general and the former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving under President George W. Bush.  Myers was born in Merriam, Kansas, and graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School in 1960. He graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1965.  He's been serving as K-State's interim president but has now been hired as the school's permanent president.

(earlier version of this story)

Regents to Vote on New President for Kansas State 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents is meeting today (TUE) to choose a new president for Kansas State University after a months-long search. The regents are gathering on Kansas State's campus in Manhattan to vote on approving a new president for the 24,000-student university. Former president Kirk Schulz announced in March he was leaving the university after seven years to become Washington State University's president. Kansas State alumnus Richard Myers, a retired four-star general and the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, has been interim president since Schulz's departure. Earlier reports indicated the committee tasked with selecting a permanent president had narrowed the 81-applicant field to 15 candidates.

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K-State Leader Opposes Concealed Guns on Campus 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — New Kansas State University President Richard Myers has reiterated his opposition to allowing concealed weapons on state college campuses starting next year. Myers told reporters Tuesday that it will be up to the Legislature to decide whether they rescind the policy, but he's voiced his disapproval of the idea. Kansas law will require state universities to start allowing anyone 21 or older to carry concealed weapons into buildings that don't have their own security measures, such as metal detectors. The policy will take effect in July 2017. The Republican-dominated Legislature enacted the policy in 2013, with supporters arguing that it would allow law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves. The 74-year-old retired Air Force general and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman moves from interim president to president on Sunday.

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Authorities: Man Accused in Somali Bomb Plot Is Escape Risk 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man accused in a bomb plot targeting Somali immigrants in Kansas tried to use another inmate to sneak out of jail a letter that identified a confidential informant. That detail emerged in a hearing Tuesday for Patrick Stein. Authorities say he's an escape risk. Law enforcement officials testified that they searched Stein's cell at the Butler County jail and found papers with references to "a small man team" overtaking the jail and cutting power to it. The hearing came amid defense concerns that the searches scooped up confidential attorney-client communications. Stein is one of three men accused of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex where 120 Somali immigrants live in the meatpacking town of Garden City. All three men have pleaded not guilty.

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KDOT Postpones 24 Road Projects Due to State Budget Uncertainty

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Budget uncertainties have forced the Kansas Department of Transportation to postpone two dozen road projects that were scheduled to start next summer.  The Wichita Eagle reports an estimated $32 million in projects were to be put up for bid in December before KDOT learned last week that the state faces a $350 million budget gap.  The 24 projects now are delayed indefinitely.  Transportation Department spokesman Steve Swartz says the affected paving and resurfacing projects were not emergencies, adding that some could still be done if funds are available.  Governor Sam Brownback has swept more than $1 billion from the state's highway fund since 2011 to make up for budget shortfalls. KDOT announced in April the delay of 24 projects that were set to begin this or next fiscal year.

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U.S. Supreme Court Won't Review Lawsuit on Kansas Science Standards

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review a nonprofit group's lawsuit claiming that science standards for Kansas public schools promote atheism.  The high court rejected a petition Monday from a nonprofit Kansas group calling itself Citizens for Objective Public Education. The group sought a review by the high court after a ruling in April by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver affirmed a federal judge's dismissal of the lawsuit.  The group challenged standards adopted in 2013 by the Kansas State Board of Education that treat evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts.  The appeals court agreed with U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree that opponents of the standards had no standing to sue because they could not show an injury.

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Wichita Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts in Kansas Gun Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A jury in Wichita has found two Kansas men guilty of federal firearms violations in a case that repudiates a Kansas law that purports to prevent federal prosecution of anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state.  A jury Monday evening convicted Shane Cox on eight counts for illegally making and marketing firearms. Jeremy Kettler was found guilty on one count for the purchase of a gun silencer from Cox. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten told jurors the case would likely be appealed because of the issues involved with the state law. Marten says he can't change the law at this level, but he anticipated the U.S. Supreme Court might eventually review the case.  Cox, the owner of a gun store in Chanute, is accused of illegally making and marketing illegal firearms.  Kettler testified Monday that he bought an unregistered gun silencer after Cox showed him a copy of the state gun law signed by Governor Sam Brownback.  

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Pittsburg Man Arrested in Connection with Murder of Two Relatives

PLEASANTON, Kan. (AP) - A 31-year-old man is accused of killing two relatives in Pleasanton in eastern Kansas. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Linn County Sheriff's Office say David McNabb of Pittsburg is charged with second-degree murder, criminal desecration of a body, and interference with a law enforcement officer. McNabb is accused of killing his 65-year-old uncle, Kenneth McNabb, and that victim's mother, 87-year-old Betty McNabb. Betty McNabb and her son were reported missing by relatives Friday. The KBI says the investigation is ongoing.

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Turnover Among Kansas Prison Guards Rises to 33 Percent

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The top Kansas corrections official says the annual turnover rate among uniformed officers at state prisons rose to 33 percent this year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood told a joint legislative committee that the turnover rate rose for the sixth consecutive year. The corrections secretary said the turnover presents a "considerable challenge" to the Department of Corrections. Norwood said that corrections officers have received recent pay raises but those raises have been outpaced by rising health insurance costs. As an example, Norwood said a corrections officer making $31,000 a year saw an annual salary increase of $769 in June. But the employee's health insurance costs rose $1,134 for a net annual pay loss of $365.

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Federal Judge Dismisses Former AG's Suit Against Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a former Kansas attorney general's lawsuit against the state Supreme Court over its indefinite suspension of his state law license. The ruling was issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays, of Kansas City, Missouri, against former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. The anti-abortion Republican was disciplined over allegations of misconduct arising from investigations of abortion providers as attorney general from 2003 through 2007 and Johnson County district attorney in 2007 and 2008. Kline has strongly denied wrongdoing. Kays ruled that issues in Kline's case can't be reviewed by lower federal courts because it challenges a decision of a state's highest court. Kays said only the U.S.Supreme Court can review state Supreme Court decisions. The nation's highest court refused in 2014 to consider Kline's case.

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Stormont Vail to Team with KU Med for Cancer Treatment

TOPEKA, Kan.  —The University of Kansas Hospital is teaming up with Topeka’s Stormont Vail to provide radiation oncology services in the capital city. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that the two health care providers have signed a partnership agreement that will begin early next year. Stormont Vail officials say the relationship with the University of Kansas Hospital will offer options that cancer patients currently don’t have in Topeka. Many cancer patients from the Topeka area have had to travel to Kansas City for some radiation oncology treatments. 

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Former Kansas City Postal Carrier Admits to Drug Distribution Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former Kansas City, Missouri, postal carrier pleaded guilty Monday in a conspiracy to distribute PCP through the mail. 65-year-old Carol Barfield faces up to 20 years in prison. Co-defendant Michael Garrett, of Victorville, California, pleaded guilty in September to his role and to using a telephone to distribute PCP. Prosecutors say Garrett mailed packages of PCP from Victorville to addresses on Barfield's postal route. Prosecutors allege that Barfield marked the packages as delivered but kept them and diverted them to recipients elsewhere. PCP is a hallucinogenic drug also called "angel dust." Barfield told investigators that Garrett bought her clothes, fixed her car and provided her with spending money. Barfield's sentencing date hasn't been set.

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Kansas State Treasurer Hires Members of House Speaker's Staff

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes has hired two members of outgoing House Speaker Ray Merrick's staff. Estes announced Monday that he has named B.J. Harden as assistant state treasurer and Rachel Whitten as communications director. Harden has served as Merrick's deputy chief of staff and legal counsel. Whitten has been Merrick's communications director. Both Estes and Merrick are Republicans. Merrick is from Stilwell and did not seek re-election to the House this year after serving four years as speaker. Estes was first elected state treasurer in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Harden replaces former Assistant Treasurer Derek Kreifels after Kreifels became president of a nonprofit free-market advocacy group. Whitten replaces Ashley Murdie after Murdie took a job with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

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Kansas City Man Charged with Wounding Pregnant Girlfriend 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 21-year-old Kansas City, Missouri man has been charged with wounding his pregnant girlfriend in a shooting that the victim described as accidental. Jackson County prosecutors announced Monday that Devante Williams is charged with second-degree assault and armed criminal action. The victim who is 6 months pregnant told police that the shooting happened Saturday while she and Williams were "play fighting." Court records say another woman and a 1-year-old were nearby when a bullet struck the victim in the groin. The injury wasn't life threatening and the unborn baby wasn't harmed. Williams told police the weapon "went off" when he shoved it under a pillow where he keeps it. Police say he discarded the gun and magazine in bushes afterward.

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Missouri Jury Awards $37.5M to Man Paralyzed by Crash 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri jury has awarded a $37.5 million judgment to a man left a paraplegic after a 2014 accident involving a vehicle and a tractor-trailer. The Kansas City Star reports that the Jackson County (Missouri) jury sided with Steve Holdeman during a trial last week. The newspaper says Holdeman was driving on Interstate 435 in February 2014 when he slowed in order not to hit Philip Stratman's stalled car in the middle of the highway in front of him. Stratman had shifted his car into neutral to preserve his car brakes when his vehicle stalled, and Holdeman's vehicle then was hit by a tractor-trailer. Holdeman sued Stratman and tractor-trailer's driver, though the jury found Stratman 99 percent at fault.

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Police Investigate Deadly Kansas City, Kansas Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a fatal shooting outside a Kansas City, Kansas, apartment building. Police said in a news release early Tuesday that a man in his 20s was dead when emergency crews responded. The name of the man wasn't immediately released. Police are urging anyone with information to report it.

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Kansas Woman Gets Life Term in 7-Year-Old Stepson's Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of her 7-year-old stepson, who prosecutors say died of chronic abuse and whose remains were found in the family's pigsty. Heather Jones won't be eligible for parole for 25 years under the life sentence imposed Monday for first-degree murder in the killing of her stepson, Adrian Jones, or A.J. She was sentenced to an additional 5 years and 8 months in prison on two child abuse charges. Her husband, Michael Jones, has pleaded not guilty and is due to stand trial in February. District Attorney Jerome Gorman called the crime scene "one of the worst" investigators had seen.

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Kansas City Health Care Technology Company Uses Employee DNA in Pilot Program

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Cerner, a health care technology company with offices in Kansas and Missouri, has launched a pilot DNA program that aims to build systems to share data among patients, doctors and hospitals, and two of its employees have become research subjects.  The Kansas City Star reports that Jennifer and Eric Geis sent saliva samples to a personal genetics testing company and then gave the results to their employer. They are two of 82 Cerner employees who voluntarily turned over their DNA profile to the company.  Cerner says the DNA profiles will be used to give participants individualized information that will help them make health-oriented decisions.

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Microsoft to Use Kansas Wind Farm for Data Center 

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Microsoft has announced that it will purchase 178 megawatts of production from a wind farm under construction near Dodge City. The Wichita Eagle reports that the purchase from Bloom Wind will be a portion of the 237 megawatts of alternative energy Microsoft is buying to supply through the grid to its Cheyenne, Wyoming, data center. The wind farm will consist of 54 towers across 15,000 acres of privately-owned land about 20 miles south of Dodge City in Ford and Clark counties. Capital Power will operate the wind farm and has contracted the facility's output to a subsidiary of Allianz, which plans to sell the power to Microsoft for 10 years.

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Police: Woman Struck by Vehicle, Killed in Topeka 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say a 59-year-old woman was killed after being struck by a vehicle. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Connie Johnson was crossing a street Saturday night when she was struck. Lieutenant Shane Hilton says Johnson was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An investigation is ongoing.

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Kansas Businessman Gets Prison Term on Sex Charge 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas businessman who once was a backup quarterback at Kansas State has been ordered to spend two years and eight months in prison for improper sexual contact with a former high school student. WIBW-TV reports 38-year-old Zach Burton was sentenced Tuesday in Riley County after telling the judge that his actions were "selfish," and that he never coached or had the female student in class. Authorities have said the female student went to Riley County High School, where Burton was an assistant boys' basketball coach and substitute teacher. Burton pleaded guilty in September to one count of unlawful sexual relations. He owns a business called Fieldhouse Development Inc.

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Carmike Shareholders Approve Sale to AMC Theatres 

NEW YORK (AP) — Shareholders of Carmike Cinemas approved the movie theater operator's sale to Chinese-owned AMC Theatres, cementing the buyer's stature as the largest movie theater operator in the world. The deal includes $585 million in cash and $250 million in AMC's Class A common stock. AMC is also assuming about $367 million in debt in the deal. Carmike shareholders can take $33.06 per share or 1.0819 AMC shares for each share of Carmike. The cash offer is $3.06 more per share than AMC's prior bid in March. AMC, based in Leawood, Kansas, was bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group in 2012. AMC bought European movie theater operator Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group in July, making it the world's largest movie theater operator. Carmike, based in Columbus, Georgia, expects the deal to close late this year or early next year.

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Missouri Man Accused of Deadly Shooting into Stranded Car 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City, Missouri, man is accused of shooting into a stranded vehicle occupied by four women, killing one of them and injuring the other three. Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutors charged 24-year-old Deandre Jackson of Raytown with 10 felony counts, including second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, assault and armed criminal action. Court documents allege that police dispatched Saturday to a reported shooting found the four victims. One of them, Maryanna Pennington, died. Investigators say the vehicle had become disabled because of a broken front axle, and that the victims were waiting for assistance they had summoned.Witnesses said Jackson has argued with one of the victims the day of the shooting. Prosecutors have requested a $500,000 bond against Jackson. Online records don't show whether Jackson has an attorney.

 

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