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Headlines for Tuesday, September 16, 2014


FBI Investigates Missouri Officer's Stun Gun Use

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - The FBI is investigating after a police officer in suburban Kansas City, Missouri, used a stun gun to subdue a 17-year-old during a traffic stop, leaving him hospitalized in critical condition. Police say an officer used a stun gun on Bryce Masters of Independence Sunday afternoon during a car stop.Officials said in a news release Monday that Masters was uncooperative and physically resisted after he was stopped because the car he was driving had a warrant attached to it. The officer has been placed on administrative leave. Masters' family issued a statement Monday seeking an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. They said information from witnesses and video of the stop was inconsistent with police statements. The FBI's Kansas City office will investigate whether the officer used excessive force.


Public Hearing in Topeka on Proposed Gun Signage

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials are holding a public hearing this week on proposed signs to be placed on buildings where firearms are prohibited. A state law that took effect July 1 legalized the open carry of guns across the state. But building owners may ban concealed firearms, openly carried guns or both from their premises if they post signs. Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office was put in charge of creating the signs and proposed the designs earlier this year. Temporary rules were approved by a state board and took effect July 1, but Kansas law requires a 60-day comment period and public hearing before the regulations become permanent. The hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Memorial Hall in Topeka. The proposed signs can be found on Schmidt's website.


Texas Governor to Campaign for Brownback

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Texas Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to be in Wichita next week to raise money for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's re-election campaign. Perry is scheduled to attend a reception September 24 at a bank office that formerly housed the Carnegie Library. An invitation on Brownback's campaign website requests donations of $500 to $4,000 for Brownback and his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. The two Republican governors have had a close relationship for years. Both are former state agriculture secretaries, and Brownback endorsed Perry's 2012 campaign for the GOP nomination for president. Brownback also attended a Houston prayer rally hosted by Perry in August 2011.


Brownback Staffer's Father Behind Taylor Motion

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A man who filed a brief asking the Kansas Supreme Court to keep Democrat Chad Taylor on the ballot in the U.S. Senate race is the father of a staffer for Governor Sam Brownback. David Orel, of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on Monday opposing Taylor's efforts to withdraw from the race against Senator Pat Roberts. He argued that Taylor's withdrawl would deprive Orel, a Democrat, of the right to vote for his preferred candidate. The Wichita Eagle reports Orel's son, Alexander Orel, is regional field director in the Kansas City area for Brownback's re-election campaign. The state Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday on a petition Taylor filed after Secretary of State Kris Kobach refused to remove Taylor's name from the ballot.


State Representative Defends Residency Status

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state representative says the nearly half-million-dollar condominium he owns in Lawrence is just where he stays during legislative sessions, while his official residence is at his sister's house in Salina. Republican Representative J.R. Claeys tells The Salina Journal that he blames Democrat Gary Swartzendruber for raising questions about his residency because his opponent can't win on the issues. Claeys acknowledges owning the Lawrence condominium, but says it's normal for lawmakers to rent an apartment or buy a place there to stay while the Legislature is in session. The Douglas County appraiser lists Claeys's condo as being valued for tax purposes at $433,400. Still, Claeys insists he spends most of the year living with his sister, her husband and their three children in Salina, in the district he represents.


Wichita Advocates for Lower Pot Penalties Get 2nd Chance

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A group of Wichita residents who want to reduce the punishment for possessing small amounts of marijuana will try a second petition drive. The first effort to get the issue on the November ballot fell less than 40 signatures short of the number required. Esau Freeman, president of Kansans for Change, says supporters will start collecting signatures again October 1, with a goal of getting the issue on the April ballot. The proposal would reduce the fines for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The first effort sought to reduce the penalty for possessing marijuana from the current maximum of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine to a $25 fine with no jail time. The exact language of the second initiative is still being considered.


Police: Kansas Teens Charged in Party Bus Robbery

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita police say they've charged four teenagers in the armed robbery of a party bus and the beating of its driver. Lt. James Espinoza tells the Wichita Eagle the boys are 14-17 years old. He says they robbed four people of cellphones, wallets and money on September 5 and that one boy was armed with a shotgun. The driver was knocked out and suffered "numerous fractures to his face." An update on the driver's condition wasn't released. The teens are each charged with four counts of aggravated robbery and one count of battery. They haven't been identified. A spokesman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office says it hasn't been determined if any of them will be tried as adults.


Kansas Police Chief Calls for Stricter Animal Laws

BEL AIRE, Kan. (AP) - The Bel Aire police chief has called for tougher animal control regulations after a teenager was hospitalized in a bull terrier attack. Chief Darrell Atteberry says the dog bit the 13-year-old boy last week on the arms, stomach and genitals while visiting a friend. He says police previously responded to two separate attacks by the same dog in 2012 when the family lived in Wichita. Atteberry says the boy needed stiches and there have been unspecified medical complications because of the injuries. No charges have been filed. He says city regulations need to change to better protect people and should coincide more closely with stricter county laws. The dog was turned over to animal control where it was being observed for 10 days.


Construction Worker Electrocuted In Arkansas City

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Police in a southern Kansas community say a 34-year-old man was electrocuted when a boom on a truck touched an overhead power line. The accident happened Monday morning at the Arkansas (ar-KAN'-zuhs) City headquarters of KanPak, an international maker of cold and frozen beverages, containers and dispensers. The man worked for a local concrete company involved in KanPak's ongoing expansion project. Police said a boom that delivers cement from a concrete truck touched a power line. The worker was in contact with the truck when it became energized. The man's name has not been released. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Sentencing for Former Lawmaker Pushed Back Again

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Sentencing has been pushed back for a former Kansas state legislator who pleaded guilty in May to defrauding a Colby bank out of more than $400,000. 40-year-old Trent LeDoux of Holton was scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, but his attorney filed for a continuance because LeDoux is having surgery on Thursday. The former Republican state representative now will be sentenced on November 17 in federal court. It's his second continuance after his attorney earlier filed for one pushing back his previously scheduled August 11 sentencing date. LeDoux applied for three loans and told a bank he was going to use all of the money to buy cattle, but instead used some of it to pay off debts and make contributions to his campaign account.


Pittsburg State Labs Stalled by Project Delay

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - More than 1,000 Pittsburg State University students are unable to take laboratory classes so far this semester because of delays in a renovation project. Crews have been working to replace heating, air-conditioning and exhaust systems at Heckert-Wells Hall. The project was supposed to be completed by August 29. University officials say Corvus, a subcontractor doing mechanical work, walked off the job the Friday of Labor Day weekend and never returned. Pittsburg State officials say it's unclear why the workers left. The Joplin Globe reports two mechanical contractors have taken over the project. It is now expected to be completed by September 29. In response, faculty members are working to design their lab classes so the material is compressed into a shorter time frame.


Kansas Farmers Planting Wheat, Harvesting Corn

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Some Kansas farmers have begun planting next year's winter wheat while others are busy harvesting corn and sorghum. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 5 percent of the state's wheat crop is seeded. That's about average for mid-September. Corn harvest has progressed to the 18 percent mark but remains behind the average of 23 percent. Corn condition is rated as 16 percent poor to very poor, 29 percent fair, 42 percent good and 13 percent excellent. About 2 percent of the Kansas sorghum crop has now been cut, about average for this time of year. A cold front last week dropped temperatures across the state, with light frost reported in isolated areas of north-central and northwest Kansas.


Wichita Man Gets 2 Years for Printing Fake Money

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for counterfeiting more than $3,000. A federal prosecutor said Monday that 25-year-old Billy Antrobus was sentenced for one count of manufacturing counterfeit currency. He pleaded guilty in June. Authorities say he used a computer and a printer to create $100, $50 and $20 bills. They also seized four sheets of uncut $20 bills. One co-defendant was also sentenced to two years in prison. A third co-defendant is scheduled for sentencing in October.


Topeka Crash Kills 85-Year-Old Motorcycle Rider

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police have released the name of an 85-year-old motorcycle rider who was killed in a chain-reaction crash. The man was identified Monday as Harold Eulert, of Topeka. Eulert was riding a motorcycle on a Topeka bridge Friday afternoon when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The impact pushed the motorcycle into another truck. Eulert was critically injured and died at a Topeka hospital.


Kansas City Airport Officials Promise Better Wi-Fi

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials at Kansas City International Airport say they've heard the complaints from travelers about spotty Wi-Fi service and they're working to make it better. The Kansas City Star reports that the city's Aviation Department plans to spend $250,000 to completely upgrade Wi-Fi service and make other technological improvements. The airport started offering Wi-Fi about a decade ago. Overland Park-based Sprint Co. agreed to pay for and install the necessary infrastructure. Customers paid $9.99 for up to eight hours. When the agreement with Sprint expired, the Aviation Department took over the service and made it free. Officials say that there have been upgrades since, but not enough to keep up with sharply increased demand as more people travel with computers and phones and want to access the Internet.


Couple Sentenced in Nearly $4 Million Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A northern Missouri couple was sentenced to federal prison after the woman embezzled nearly $4 million from a company where she worked and she and her husband filed false income tax returns. Federal prosecutors say 61-year-old Donna Preszler was sentenced Monday to five years and 10 months in prison without parole. Her husband, 64-year-old Terrance Preszler, was sentenced to three years without parole. The couple, formerly from Chillicothe, also was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution to Burdg, Dunham & Associates Construction Corp. and $1.2 million to the Internal Revenue Service. They also must forfeit a nearly $4 million money judgment, vehicles, several trust accounts and two residential lots. Donna Preszler was an accounts manager at the construction firm in Hamilton.


Police Investigate Vandalism at Andover Stadium

ANDOVER, Kan. (AP) - Andover police are searching for vandals who damaged the football field at the Andover District Stadium before a rivalry game. The vandals sprayed a large, blue "A'' on the field sometime overnight last Friday. That is the Andover High logo and the incident occurred before Andover High and Andover Central played Friday night. The district spent $2,000 on a chemical treatment to remove the paint from the artificial turf. That didn't completely remove the paint, so school officials are considering other options. Replacing the damaged part of the turf would cost about $40,000. The vandals could face felony charges because the damage exceeded $1,000. Officers are currently following up on leads, including video surveillance from the field.


Missouri Education Commissioner to Resign

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's top education official says she will resign at the end of this year. Missouri's State Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro, announced her departure Monday. She has served as head of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since 2009. Over the past year, Nicastro had been criticized by some state legislators and officials for her handling of high-profile issues. An audit released last month faulted the department's process for hiring a consultant for a potential overhaul of the Kansas City School District. Some state lawmakers also have been upset with the way the department has handled a student-transfer law for unaccredited districts in the St. Louis area. During Nicastro's tenure, the department implemented the Common Core educational standards, which some lawmakers oppose. It also adopted a new school accreditation system.


Iwig Dairy Making a Comeback

TECUMSEH, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas dairy that filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 is rebounding. The Iwig Dairy Farm now has 100 cows near Tecumseh and sells its milk, ice cream and butter at stores in Lawrence and Topeka. The family farm, which has been raising cows since 1910, expanded into processing and bottling milk and selling it in retail stores in 2005. Then a long drought began, driving up feed prices for the farm's animals. Two years ago, the farm filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, which was designed for financially distressed family farmers. Owner Tim Iwig told The Topeka Capital-Journal that he has considered producing other dairy products, such as yogurt and sour cream, but will focus on the farm's best sellers for now.


Royals Rally to Beat White Sox in 9th Inning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Pinch-runners Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore scored in the ninth inning as the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night. Mike Moustakas doubled with one out in the ninth. Dyson ran for him, stole third and came around to score as Chicago's Jake Petricka threw a wild pitch. After Nori Aoki doubled with two outs, Gore ran for him and scored from second on Lorenzo Cain's infield single. Reliever Wade Davis worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the victory, extending his scoreless streak to 31 and 2/3 innings. The Royals face the White Sox for two more game in Kansas City.



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