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Headlines for Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Series of 2.8 to 3.8 Magnitude Earthquakes Rattle Kansas

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A series of three earthquakes have rattled portions of south-central Kansas. The Kansas Geological Survey says the strongest measured 3.8 and struck around 2:40 a.m. Monday in Chase County. Another trembler with a 3.6 magnitude was reported around 10 am Monday in Marion County, and a third with a magnitude of 2.8 was reported around 10:30 a.m. Sunday in Reno County. The threshold for damage usually starts at 4.0. Kansas began seeing a spike in earthquakes in 2014 that were blamed on wastewater injection wells from oil and gas production. The number of quakes began tampering off after oil prices dropped and regulations were enacted. But a dozen recent reports of quakes in Reno County have led the Kansas Corporation Commission to analyze injection well activity.

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GM Contract Talks Continue; Strike Affects Auto Workers in Kansas City, Elsewhere  

DETROIT (AP) — Contract talks aimed at ending a strike by 49,000 auto workers against General Motors extended into late Monday afternoon. United Auto Workers spokesman Brian Rothenberg says he hasn't received any report about whether negotiators are making progress. Earlier he said both sides had agreed on about 2% of the contract language, leaving 98% left to negotiate. Talks broke off during the weekend but resumed Monday. Workers went on strike just after midnight, bringing more than 50 GM factories and parts warehouses in the U.S. to a standstill.

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Kansas Boy Dies when Pony Flips onto Him

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — A 7-year-old Kansas boy has died after the pony he was riding flipped over on top of him. KSN-TV reports that Max Henderson of Winfield died Sunday at a hospital. He was a second grader at Country View School, where counselors were on hand to help grieving classmates and staff. Students in the school were encouraged to show support for Max by wearing a western outfit. Max's family said in a statement that he was at home roping a calf sled when his pony flipped over on him. He died after emergency surgery. Winfield is about 40 miles south of Wichita.

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Shawnee Mission District Adopts LGBTQ Protections

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Johnson County school district has voted to add LGBTQ protections to its nondiscrimination policy. The Shawnee Mission school board voted unanimously Monday night to adopt the LGBTQ language. It joins nearby districts in Olathe, Blue Valley and De Soto, who have added the nondiscrimination language. The Kansas City Star reports the vote came after 10 residents spoke against changing the policy, while a handful of others supported the proposal. Board member Deb Zila said she believed the change reflected the district's practice of welcoming all children and trying to accommodate them as best it can. Opponents said they feared that schools are teaching students about sexuality at too young of an age, or that transgender students might be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

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Kansas City Man Accused of Killing at Family Cookout

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 21-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, man is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing a woman at a family cookout in a park. The Kansas City Star reports that Larry Dodds also is charged with armed criminal action in the August 31 death of Angela Banks. According to court records, Dodds and another man arrived while several family members were rapping to music. The court records say Dodds and the other man began to "trash talk," leading to an argument. Dodds and the other man allegedly began shooting. Banks was struck by the gunfire. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. A man also was shot and was treated at the hospital. Dodds was arrested Saturday and is jailed on $250,000 bond. He does not have a listed attorney.

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Death of Rural Kansas Homicide Suspect Ruled Suicide

PLAINVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in a western Kansas shooting death has killed himself after law enforcement interviewed him. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced Monday that 47-year-old Jon Flowers's death was a suicide. His body was found Saturday inside his home in the small town of Inman after he didn't show up at work or respond to relatives. He had been interviewed days earlier about the killing of 57-year-old Mark Reif, who was found dead September 9 inside his home in rural Plainville. The KBI says it is believed that Flowers "acted alone" and that there's "no indication that the violence was random." No details were released about a possible motive. Plainville is about 25 miles north of Hays and about 110 miles northwest of Inman.

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Suspect Arrested in Garden City Restaurant Owner's Death.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Garden City police say a 31-year-old suspect is facing a possible first-degree murder charge after a restaurant owner was killed. Police said in a news release Tuesday that Marcus William Roady was arrested in the death of 69-year-old Ernie Ortiz. Officers found Ortiz Thursday lying in the parking lot of the El Conquistador Restaurant in Garden City. He had been shot several times and died later at a hospital. Police have said the shooting could be linked to an attempted robbery. KAKE-TV reports Kansas Department of Corrections records show Roady is on parole for drug and criminal damage convictions in Sedgwick and Finney counties.

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Jurors Deadlock in Trial of Priest Accused of Molestation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Jurors have deadlocked in the trial of a suspended Kansas priest charged with molesting a child. The Wyandotte County prosecutor's office says jurors were unable to reach a verdict Monday in the case against the Rev. Scott Kallal. The 37-year-old was tried on two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He has pleaded not guilty. He was accused of inappropriately touching a girl in 2015 at a Kansas City, Kansas, church and at a graduation party in Bonner Springs. The girl was 10 at the time. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas said in a statement that Kallal will remain on leave and that it will resume its evaluation process after the legal process is completed. Prosecutors haven't said whether they will retry him.

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Man Jailed for Hatchet Attack in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 40-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly attacking another person with a hatchet in Topeka. WIBW-TV reports that the attack happened late Sunday at a home in south Topeka. The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment. The victim's name was not released. Police have not disclosed any details about what led to the confrontation.

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Former Treasurer of Kansas Town Sentenced to Federal Prison

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The former treasurer of a small Kansas town has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for stealing money from the town and spending taxpayer money at a casino. The U.S. Attorney's office in Wichita says 56-year-old Deborah Sell of Fontana was sentenced Monday. She had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Sell admitted embezzling more than $174,000 from Fontana, a town of about 220 people in eastern Kansas. Federal prosecutors say Sell issued city checks to pay personal expenses, withdrew cash using a city debit card for personal expenses, and deposited cash payments from customers into her personal account. Restitution is mandatory. Fontana is about 40 miles southwest of Kansas City, Missouri.

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University of Kansas Ending UKanTeach Program

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to close its Center for STEM Learning and a program designed to attract math and science teachers. Program director Steven Case said Friday that the center and the UKanTeach program will close at the end of the academic year because of budget cuts at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Lawrence Journal-World reports students in the UKanTeach program complete a science, technology, engineering or math bachelor program while also receiving a teaching license in math or some science programs. An email to students in the program said officials in the liberal arts and education departments are collaborating on a new program to continue the UKanTeach approach. The 112 students currently in the program will be allowed to obtain their teaching licenses.

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Third Round of Flooding in 2019 Likely Along Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal officials say the amount of water flowing down the lower Missouri River this year is approaching the 2011 record and a third round of flooding is expected this week after unusually heavy rains upstream. Heavy rains dumped more than four times normal in parts of Montana, Nebraska, North and South Dakota last week. That triggered flood warnings and forced the forecast for how much water will flow down the Missouri River to jump to 58.8 million acre feet. That will be second only to 2011's 61 million acre feet. The Corps of Engineers doesn't expect major problems or threats to cities with the latest flooding — provided the temporary repairs made to levees since the spring hold up. But communities along the river are bracing for problems.

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Eureka Football to Play First Home Game Since 2018 Tornado

EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — The Eureka High School football team will have the home field advantage for the first time in more than a year when it plays on Sept. 27. The team will play at home that night for the first time since an EF-3 tornado destroyed their field, more than 150 homes and close to two dozen businesses in June 2018. The team — called the Tornadoes — played every game last season on the road. KSNW-TV reports Justin Zimmers, a senior, said the game will be a true homecoming. Even though fans followed the team to away games last year, Zimmers said it will be exciting to play in front of hometown fans again. Eureka, about 60 miles east of Wichita, has about 2,400 residents.

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Border War Between Kansas, Missouri Isn't Quite Over Yet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There may be a cease-fire, but the economic "border war" involving the use of incentives to lure jobs across the state line in the Kansas City area isn't exactly over. The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri officials plan to award $62 million in incentives to the Overland Park, Kansas-based financial firm Waddell & Reed. The incentives are through the Missouri Works program, which offers payroll tax withholdings or tax credits in exchange for growing or retaining jobs. The company says it will invest about $90 million in its new Missouri headquarters and employ more than 1,000 workers. Average pay is $157,138. The announcement comes a month after Kansas and Missouri governors celebrated an end to the use of tax incentives to lure companies across the state line.

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Surgeon Banned from Operating Room at Wichita VA Hospital

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A surgeon accused of mishandling surgeries in Missouri is banned from the operating room of the Wichita Veterans Affairs hospital while his work is being reviewed. The Kansas City Star reports Veterans Affairs banned urologist Christel Wambi-Kiesse from doing surgeries at the Robert Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita after learning he faced disciplinary action in Missouri. Missouri's healing arts board found that Wambi-Kiesse performed robot-assisted surgeries beyond his abilities. A complaint before Missouri's Administrative Hearing Commission said his alleged mistakes contributed to a woman's death and caused dangerous complications for two men. Wambi-Kiesse will be allowed to see patients but cannot perform surgery at the Wichita VA hospital while he is under review. The federal agency said appropriate action will be taken based on the results of that review.

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Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal Lake of the Ozarks Boat Accident

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. (AP) — A 43-year-old St. Joseph man could face up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in a Lake of the Ozarks boating accident that killed a man. Cletus Barsch pleaded guilty on Sept. 10 to one count of boating while intoxicated resulting in a homicide and two counts of boating while intoxicated resulting in serious physical injury. Sentencing will be March 11. The accident happened during the 2018 Memorial Day weekend. Authorities said Barsch was driving a boat that struck another boat. A passenger in the second boat, 20-year-old Alec Potthoff, of Van Meter, Iowa, suffered a serious head injury and died in August 2018 at a care facility in Des Moines, Iowa. Barsch's 14-year-old daughter and two other passengers on the second boat suffered minor injuries.

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Assistant Education Secretary Visits Belton, Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The nation's assistant education secretary will be in Missouri this week to visit education programs aimed at meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Johnny W. Collett oversees the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. He is scheduled to be at Kentucky Trail Elementary School in Belton this (TUE) morning. He's also scheduled to appear at the University of Missouri-Kansas City later in the day (3pm) and speak with faculty and students about the Propel Program. The transition program for young adults with intellectual disabilities gives them opportunities to work and learn on a university campus.

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KCK Police to Try Out Body Cameras from Various Vendors

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, will be wearing body-worn cameras from different companies for the next month, and will report their experiences as part of a multi-vendor evaluation. The Kansas City Star reports that about 30 officers will try out the cameras after receiving training on how to use them. Police officials then expect to choose a company for purchase of body-worn cameras. The evaluation process began Monday and is expected to go on through October 16. Another Kansas City suburb, Overland Park, recently approved the police department's plan to spend $430,000 on body cameras without a bidding process.

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Nebraska Trial of Kansas Man Delayed; Case Involves Crash Deaths of 4 from Iowa

OGALLALA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska trial of a Kansas man charged with the collision deaths of four Iowa motorcyclists has been delayed again. The new trial starting date for 24-year-old Jeser Cisneros-Hernandez, of Liberal, Kansas, is December 3. Keith County District Court records say he pleaded not guilty in October 2017 to four felony counts of vehicular homicide, one misdemeanor count of reckless driving and one of failing to drive in his lane. The North Platte Telegraph reports that Cisneros-Hernandez's trial previously had been set to start in July 2018, then successively in April, August and October of this year. Prosecutors say Cisneros-Hernandez's vehicle hit two motorcycles carrying two people each on July 1, 2017, near Ogallala. Authorities say 54-year-old Sheila Matheny and 61-year-old James Matheny, from Bedford, Iowa. The other motorcyclists were 58-year-old Michal Weese and 59-year-old Jerolyn Weese, who lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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