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Headlines for Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ex-Kansas Lieutenant Governor Mann Running in 1st District

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Lt. Governor Tracey Mann says he plans to run for the state's 1st District seat in Congress.  Mann, who was lieutenant governor for former Governor Jeff Colyer, announced his candidacy Monday.  The announcement comes two days after the 1st district's two-term incumbent, Republican Congressman Roger Marshall, announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senator Pat Roberts, who is not seeking re-election.  Mann, of Salina, said he is running to protect "Kansas values" and to take the state's voice on agriculture to Congress. He said he is anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment and supports President Donald Trump's efforts to build a wall to curb illegal immigration.  The 1st district is one of the largest in the nation, encompassing 69 counties in western and central Kansas.

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Amanda Adkins Kicks Off Run for Congress in Kansas

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas business executive with political ties to former Republican Governor Sam Brownback has officially kicked off her campaign to challenge freshman Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids.  Amanda Adkins made the announcement Monday. It was expected after she filed paperwork last week with the Federal Election Commission creating a campaign committee for a run for the GOP nomination in the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District.  Her move sets up a contested GOP primary for the right to challenge Davids. Former National Down Syndrome Society CEO Sarah Hart Weir opened her campaign in July.  Adkins is a vice president for the medical computer systems firm Cerner Corporation.  She managed Brownback's successful U.S. Senate re-election campaign in 2004 and was Kansas Republican Party chairwoman when Brownback was elected governor in 2010.

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Kansas Confirms State's First Death Linked to Vaping

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials say they have confirmed the first death in the state related to an outbreak of a lung disease linked to vaping. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release Tuesday the recent death involved a Kansas resident over the age of 50 who had a history of underlying health issues. The unidentified patient was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly. Health officials said they do not have detailed information on what specific e-cigarette products were used by the deceased Kansas patient. The state has had six reports associated to the national lung disease outbreak, including three which they believe to be confirmed or probable cases. The remaining three are still under investigation. KDHE Secretary Lee Norman says it is time to stop vaping.

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KBI Investigating Shooting Death in Rooks County

PLAINVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the shooting death of a 56-year-old man in Plainville as a homicide. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Rooks County Sheriff's Office say a relative found Mark Reif dead inside his rural Rooks County home Monday morning. Deputies who responded to the scene discovered Reif died of gunshot wounds. No further information was immediately available. Plainville is about 25 miles north of Hays.

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Indiana Man Dies from Shock at Kansas Grain Bin

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Federal officials are investigating the death of an Indiana man at a northeast Kansas grain processing plant. The Atchison Globe reports that Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie says 26-year-old Angel Silas-Deleon, of Logansport, Indiana, died from an electrical shock Friday at the CargillAg plant in the Cummings area. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the death. Laurie said Silas-Deleon was working on a grain bin with a contractor crew from CCSGroup of Seward, Nebraska. The company said another employee is recovering from injuries suffered by the shock. That employee's name and condition were not released Tuesday. Laurie said the shock is considered accidental.

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Earthquake, 2 Aftershocks Reported Sunday in Rooks County

PLAINVILLE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Geological Survey reports an earthquake and two aftershocks were reported in Rooks County during the weekend. The organization says a 3.7 magnitude quake was recorded Sunday morning about 9 miles west of Plainville. That was followed Sunday night be aftershocks of 2.4 and 2.2 magnitude. The Wichita Eagle report s Geological Survey data shows 49 earthquakes have been reported this year in the northwest Kansas county. The strongest was a 4.8 magnitude on June 22. The Kansas Corporation Commission currently is investigating about a dozen earthquakes near Hutchinson in Reno County, including several in mid-August. Two quakes with a magnitude of 4.2 were recorded three days apart in the county, where 31 quakes have been reported this year. The investigation is focusing on injection well activity in the county.

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New York Giants Player Testifies at Murder Suspect's Hearing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — New York Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine has testified at a preliminary hearing about a shooting in Kansas that killed his best friend and former Washburn University teammate as they stood outside a party where they were celebrating Ballentine being drafted. Ballentine's testimony at a preliminary hearing Monday came a day after he made his debut with the Giants, who drafted him in the sixth round on April 27 just hours before the shooting. He was wounded and 23-year-old Dwane Simmons, a defensive back who would have been a senior this year for Washburn, was killed. Three other Washburn players in the group were not injured.

Francisco Alejandro Mendez, 18, is charged in Shawnee County with first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder and seven counts of aggravated robbery in the shooting, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported . After the hearing, Mendez was bound over for trial, with an arraignment scheduled Sept. 26.

Ballentine, 23, missed the Giants rookie camp as he recovered from his injuries. He made the team as a cornerback and kick returner and on Sunday, he returned two kickoffs for 46 yards for the Giants in their season opening 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

He testified that he and friends spent the day celebrating his draft selection and ended up at an off-campus house party. As the Washburn players were leaving the party they stopped outside to discuss plans for the next day when Ballentine said he noticed a car with no lights turning onto the street. The car slowed and stopped near the group and someone in the car asked the players their names. When one of the football players said, "Don't worry about all that," the car pulled forward about 20 feet and stopped. Then Ballentine heard gunshots, he said. Investigators said about 20 shots were fired at the five football players. Ballentine said he realized as he was running that he was shot but he kept running to a friend's nearby house. He tried to call Simmons "but he didn't pick up" and then called another Washburn teammate to get a ride to the hospital. He didn't realize until later that Simmons had been killed, he said. Ballentine said the bullet that ended up in his buttocks near his pelvic bone is still there.

Alan Martinez, deputy district coroner for Shawnee County, testified that Simmons died from a single gunshot wound to the forehead. Mendez has been jailed since his arrest May 1 in connection with three robberies allegedly committed a day before the shootings. He is being held on $1 million bond.

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Wichita Woman Given 6 Months' Probation in Dog's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has been sentenced to six months of probation after her dogs attacked a neighbor's dog, which had to be euthanized. Carlett McPherson pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The Sedgwick County District Attorney said McPherson's dog got into a neighbor's yard on November 2018 and attacked a dog named Smokey. When McPherson called for help, an unknown man came into the yard and hit Smokey with a tire iron while breaking up the fight. Prosecutors say McPherson never struck Smokey or told the man to strike the dog. When she returned from calling 911, two more of her dogs got into the yard and attacked Smokey. Smokey was later euthanized after his bites became infected. Police continue to search for the man with the tire iron.

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Woman Pleads Guilty to Starving, Caging 11-Year-Old Girl

ALBANY, Mo. (AP) — A northwest Missouri woman who handcuffed an 11-year-old girl to a cage and starved her for a more than a year will be sentenced in October after pleading guilty to two counts of kidnapping and two counts of child endangerment.  Jennifer Reed, of Albany, pleaded guilty Friday. She was originally charged in July 2017 with 42 counts.  The St. Joseph News-Press reports court documents say Reed and Raymond Burks had guardianship of the girl between July 2017 and July 2018. The couple allegedly handcuffed the girl to a cage, withheld food, beat her and used a stun gun on her.  The documents do not explain why the couple became guardians of the girl, who survived.  Burks and Reed's boyfriend, Lonnie Johnson, are charged with helping Reed abuse the girl. They are scheduled to appear in court October 10.

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Lawsuit: Inmate Could Die Without Opioid Addiction Treatment

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas and Missouri affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union have sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons on behalf of an inmate they claim could die without a drug used to treat his opioid addiction.  A hearing is set for Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, on whether to order officials to continue the medication buprenorphine for Leaman Crews. The Bureau of Prisons policy denies non-pregnant inmates access to that medication as a treatment for opioid use disorder.  The ACLU contends in a filing Friday that withholding medication violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment as well as federal statutes.  Crews reported to the federal prison at Leavenworth September 4 to begin a 36-month sentence. The ACLU says he became addicted to opioids after a car accident.

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Wichita Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Death of Her Son

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has pleaded not guilty in the death of her toddler son.  KSN-TV reports that 23-year-old Brandi Marchant appeared in court Monday. A trial date was set for November 12.  Marchant and Patrick Javonovich are both charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the April death of 2-year-old Zaiden Javonovich.  Police say Zaiden had been dead for days when his body was found in a crib in the family's mobile home. An autopsy report ruled that the child found bound in pajamas died of dehydration and starvation, and his brain tested positive for methamphetamine.  Patrick Javonovich is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.  Zaiden's 4-month-old brother was initially hospitalized. That child has been removed from the home.

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About 25 People Forced to Leave Lawrence Homeless Shelter

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Homeless advocates in Lawrence say they did what they could for people forced to leave city's only overnight homeless shelter but they are concerned that some of them had nowhere to go.  About 25 people left the Lawrence Community Shelter after shelter officials said financial difficulties forced them to drop the number of people it could serve.  The shelter announced in early August that it would reduce its capacity from 125 to 65 people on September 6.  It stopped accepting new guests on August 8 and found alternate arrangements for others, leaving 25 people with no housing plans.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Assistant Director Kenny Yates said some of the guests were given camping equipment, toiletries and snacks that were donated by some Lawrence organizations.

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Advocacy Group Criticizes Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An advocacy group for people sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests is criticizing the bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese for not naming more people on a list of credibly accused clerics.  Bishop James Johnston Jr. released a list on Friday of 19 clerics who had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children against them. Another 11 former clerics were named in different categories.  On Monday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the bishop's list was incomplete because it didn't include priests who lived in the Kansas City area in the past but who were accused of sexual abuse in other dioceses.  A diocese spokesman said it would be impossible to research every priest who may have worked or lived in the Kansas City area but who wasn't assigned to the diocese.

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Wichita Police Shoot at Vehicle During Chase

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say three people are in custody after an officer fired shots at a stolen car. Police spokesman Paul Cruz says when officers responded to the report of a stolen Jeep at a McDonald's drive-thru Tuesday morning, the driver tried to run over an officer, who fired several times at the vehicle. The Jeep crashed into another vehicle, causing minor injuries to the car's driver. Cruz says the Jeep eventually continued on and eventually hit a tree, and a female suspect was arrested. Two male suspects ran and one carjacked another vehicle. Sedgwick County deputies saw that vehicle and pursued it until it stopped in a field. The driver was arrested with an injured arm. The second male suspect was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg.

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Trailer with $100,000 in Fossils Reported Stolen in Colorado

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A trailer containing fossils worth more than $100,000 has been reported stolen from a Colorado parking lot.  KCNC-TV reports the sliver-toned trailer was taken Sunday from the Crowne Plaza Convention Center and Hotel lot in Aurora.  Officials say the 20-foot-long trailer contains 13 fossils including at least four valued at more than $10,000 each.  Officials say the items belonging to fossil and mineral supply company GeoDecor Inc. include a 92-million-year-old fossil shark specimen valued at $50,000.  The fossilized skull of a giant predatory fish from Kansas is valued at $20,000, while a fossil garfish is valued at $18,000.  A stingray and fish fossilized in limestone from Wyoming is believed to be 51 million years old.  Details of the stolen items have been circulated to fossil dealers.

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Parole Absconder Arrested After Wichita Chase Ends in Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A parole absconder has been arrested after a Wichita chase ended in a crash.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 26-year-old Brian James Scovel drove off Friday when authorities attempted to arrest him. Police say he ran a stop sign a couple minutes into the chase and collided with a sport utility vehicle, causing the SUV to overturn. Police say Scovel, a passenger and the driver of the SUV were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.  Scovel is now jailed without bond on suspicion of aggravated battery, driving with a suspended license, fleeing and eluding and several traffic-related offenses.  Kansas Department of Corrections records say he was released from the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in June and absconded last month. He had prior convictions for aggravated assault, drugs, forgery and theft.

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Report: Kansas Wheat Planting Begins, Corn Harvest Picks Up

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers have begun planting their next year's winter wheat crops.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 1% of the winter wheat has now been planted in Kansas. That is near the average for this time of year.  The agency also reports that 4% of the corn in the state has now been cut. That is near the 8% average for this point in the season. About 28% of the corn has matured.  Other major field crops also are making progress as harvest nears in Kansas.  About 89% of soybean crops are setting pods and 7% are dropping leaves.  The government is also reporting that 3% of the sorghum in Kansas is now mature.

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Music Director at KC Symphony to Step Down in 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The longtime music director for the Kansas City Symphony will leave his position, but not for a few years.  The symphony on Monday announced that Michael Stern will step down at the end of the 2022-23 season. After that, he will become music director laureate.  A news release from the symphony also notes that Stern's contract has been renewed through the 2022-23 season.  Candidates to replace Stern will guest conduct during the 2021-22 season.  Stern began at the Kansas City Symphony in 2005.

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Coroner: Skeletal Remains Are Those of Missing Indiana Man

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Skeletal remains found last spring in a central Indiana park have been identified as those of a man who vanished more than a year ago. Madison County Coroner Danielle Noone says a DNA match obtained by Indiana State Police determined the skeletal remains are those of 52-year-old Ronald Mandrell, who had been an Anderson resident but was homeless when he died. Mandrell's cause of death and manner of death are undetermined, but Anderson police continue to investigate his death. Mandrell vanished in July 2018. Mushroom hunters found his remains in April at Anderson's River Bend Park. Amy Copeland of Kansas City, Kansas, tells The Herald Bulletin she and Mandrell have a now-adult daughter. Copeland hadn't spoken to Mandrell in years. She says his death "just makes me sad."

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