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Headlines for Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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

Kansas Representative​ Yoder Tells Town Hall Meeting He Wants to Fix Private Health Market

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder says he wants to fix broken private health insurance markets rather than moving the U.S. toward expanded government health coverage. Yoder also called for greater bipartisanship in Congress during a town hall meeting Tuesday night sponsored by The Kansas City Star. Yoder said overhauling health care should not be about scoring political points but ensuring that Americans have affordable private coverage and choices in health care. Yoder spoke to about 100 constituents at the city hall in Olathe. Many people in the crowd clapped at the mention of moving toward government-run universal health coverage. But Yoder said he's opposed to forcing people to use government coverage and believes it will lead to less choice for consumers. Yoder also told the group that he saw Donald Trump as "presidential" in outlining his strategy for the war in Afghanistan but said the president still needs to sell his policies because Americans are war weary. Yoder said Congress has an important oversight role and must make sure money and resources are used wisely. About 80 people have gathered outside the town hall meeting holding signs that both supportting him and criticizing his positions on health care. The forum was Yoder's first face-to-face town hall meeting with constituents since Trump's election in November. 

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Uncounted Kansas Ballots Fuel Fears About Kobach's Voting Proposals

WICHITA, Kansas (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is co-chairman of President Donald Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. He is the architect of policies requiring voter ID and proof of citizenship. But new data suggests that Kobach oversees a Kansas election system that threw out at least three times as many ballots as similarly sized states did. That is fueling concerns about massive voter suppression should Kobach's practices become the national standard. Data collected by the bipartisan U.S. Election Assistance Commission shows only six states — all among the top 10 in population — discarded more votes during the 2016 election than the 33rd-largest state of Kansas. Kansas rejected 13,717 ballots which even topped the 13,461 rejected in Florida, which has about seven times as many residents. 

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Kansas Man Drowns as Responders Rescue More Than a Dozen from Flood Waters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities rescued more than a dozen stranded drivers after heavy rains soaked parts of Kansas City, Missouri, and its suburbs on both sides of the state line. The National Weather Service says as much as 9 inches of rain fell in some areas while others saw between 4 and 6 inches of rain. In Overland Park, the fire department says it responded to more than 16 water assist calls as drivers found themselves stalled in high waters. Authorities in eastern Kansas say a 56-year-old man drowned after his car was swept away by floodwaters. The Miami County Sheriff's Office said that the body of Robert Dean Schoenhals of Pleasanton was found about 2 1/2 hours after Schoenhals tried to drive through high standing water on a highway shortly before 4:50 a.m. The car was washed off the road and entered a ditch with deep, rushing water. The Sheriff's Office says the car was found unoccupied about 45 minutes. Schoenhals's body was found about 7:20 a.m. Tuesday.
  
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Grandmother: Church Played Role in Disputed Kansas Firing 
 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The grandmother of a woman suing over her 2013 firing from the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office has testified the woman's failure to go to church was a factor in her dismissal.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Margie Canfield also told jurors Tuesday in Topeka that Kobach's chief deputy, Eric Rucker, asked her to do the firing of granddaughter Courtney Canfield. Margie Canfield says that's even though she didn't work in that office and hadn't hired her granddaughter.Rucker countered he decided to dismiss Courtney Canfield at the deputy assistant secretary of state's behest after she was sent home from work because of an office "altercation." Rucker says he asked Margie Canfield to deliver the news to her granddaughter about her firing to avoid creating an office scene.

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Funeral Services Set for Off-Duty Officer Killed in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Funeral arrangements are set for an off-duty police officer who was killed in a shooting at a restaurant in Kansas City's Westport entertainment district. The services for Officer Thomas Orr will be held tomorrow (THUR) morning at Abundant Life Church in Lee's Summit. Orr was killed and a woman was shot in the arm Sunday on the patio of Californos after an argument broke out between patrons. Orr wasn't involved in the dispute. The 30-year-old was a school resource officer for the police department in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit. Before taking the job with Lee's Summit in March 2015, Orr had worked for the police department in Marshall, Missouri. Lee's Summit Police Sergeant Chris Depue says Orr will be buried in his hometown outside of Chicago.

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Computer Programmer Sentenced to 25 Years for Lottery Scam

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ A judge has sentenced a lottery computer programmer to up to 25 years in prison for rigging a computer program to enable him to pick winning numbers in several lottery games over six years. Eddie Tipton pleaded guilty earlier this summer to ongoing criminal conduct, and on Tuesday he received the prison sentence.  Judge Brad McCall also ordered Tipton to repay more than $2 million that the scheme paid Tipton and others.  Tipton's brother, Tommy Tipton, is serving a 75-day jail sentence on a theft charge. A friend of Eddie Tipton's, Robert Rhodes, of Sugar Land, Texas, will be sentenced Aug. 25 on a computer crime charge. Tipton worked for the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa. He fixed lottery games in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma between 2005 and 2011. 

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Ex-Cashier Pleads Guilty in Kansas to Theft from Navy Base in Japan 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Filipino woman has pleaded guilty in Kansas to stealing nearly $100,000 from a U.S. Naval base in Japan. The prosecutors announced Monday that Cynthia Lopez Creseni pleaded guilty Friday to theft of public money. She stole $99,068 from the Morale Welfare and Recreation Center at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. At the time of the thefts, Creseni was lead cashier of the game/slot room. Prosecutors said Creseni was placed on administrative leave after reporting the funds missing when she returned from a U.S. vacation in February 2015. She sold her home and returned to the Philippines. Agents learned she entered the U.S. in July 2015. She was arrested in January 2017 in Overland Park, Kansas, for overstaying her visa. Sentencing is scheduled for January 4.

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Sheriff's Office Identifies Remains in Kansas Lake as Those of Missing Man

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities have identified the human remains found at a lake near downtown Kansas City, Kansas, as those of a missing man. The Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office says the remains of 61-year-old William Boyd Jr. were found on Aug. 11 at Big Eleven Lake. The sheriff's office says it is still investigating the circumstances, but no foul play is suspected. Barry Bennett, Boyd's brother-in-law, says the family received the official word about Boyd's death on Monday. Boyd, known as "Bucky," lived nearby and was known to frequently visit the lake. Bennett says the family was "somewhat prepared" but "still praying it wasn't him."

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2 Escaped Inmates Sought in Northwest Oklahoma 

1:35 p.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —  An Oklahoma sheriff says two escaped inmates who stole a prisoner transport van may be armed even though one of the guards escorting the inmates says he didn't have a gun. Major County Sheriff Steve Randolph says 32-year-old Andrew Foy and 37-year-old Darren Walp escaped Tuesday morning by overpowering two officers with Inmate Services Corporation. The van was later found about 13 miles from where it was stolen, with an empty gun holster inside. Randolph says the guard told investigators he didn't have a gun, but authorities are investigating whether he was being truthful. Officials with the Arkansas-based transport company didn't return a message seeking comment from The Associated Press. Authorities say Foy was being transported from Pennsylvania to Wyoming, and Walp from Tennessee to Kansas, both to face charges for nonviolent offenses.
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11:50 a.m.

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) —  Authorities say two inmates who escaped a transport van in Oklahoma were being taken to other states to face charges for nonviolent offenses. Investigators in Oklahoma's Major County say 32-year-old Andrew Foy and 37-year-old Darren Walp overpowered two transport officers Tuesday morning and took the van. The search Wednesday focused on a neighboring county where some of the inmates' personal belongings were found. The sheriff's office in Laramie County, Wyoming, says Foy was being transported from Pennsylvania to face burglary, forgery and fraud charges in Wyoming. Walp was being taken from Tennessee to Seward County, Kansas, where the sheriff's office says he faces burglary charges. Oklahoma authorities say the inmates may be armed. They say the van was found about 13 miles from where it was stolen, with an empty gun holster inside.

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Kansas Festival Brings Tourists to Giant Shovel Attraction
 
WEST MINERAL, Kan. (AP) — An annual festival in southeast Kansas is bringing crowds in to see a giant electric coal-mining shovel that has turned into a tourist attraction. The Joplin Globe reports the Polka Fest will be held Saturday at Big Brutus near the town of West Mineral. Big Brutus Museum Manager Betty Becker says the 16-story electric shovel was built in the early 1960s. It was shut down about a decade later when coal prices declined and has been a mining museum since 1985. It was also designated a Regional Historical Mechanical Engineering Landmark in 1987. Becker says the festival brings in about 30,000 visitors a year to see Big Brutus. The festival will also include polka music and dancing, as well as a beer garden and a variety of food.

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Kathleen Sebelius Heads to Ohio to Support 'Obamacare' 

CINCINNATI (AP) — A former Barack Obama administration Cabinet member is returning to her native state to rally opposition to Republican efforts to repeal his health care overhaul. Cincinnati-born Kathleen Sebelius (suh-BIL'-yuhs) is joining a bus tour campaign for press conferences Wednesday in Cincinnati and Dayton. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both Democrats, are among officials joining her in their cities. The former secretary of Health and Human Services says Republicans should stop trying to "sabotage" Obama's Affordable Care Act and work with Democrats to improve it. She and two Republicans who also headed HHS say President Donald Trump and Congress should make stabilizing health insurance marketplaces their immediate goal. Sebelius is the Democratic former governor of Kansas. Her late father, Democrat John Gilligan, served as Ohio's governor.

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Bank Robbery Charges Filed Against 'AK-47 Bandit' Suspect 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Robbery charges have been filed in Nebraska against a man suspected of being the "AK-47 bandit," who investigators believe robbed banks in five states. Court records show 39-year-old Richard Gathercole was indicted Tuesday for an August 2014 bank robbery in Nebraska City, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Omaha. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Wednesday from The Associated Press. FBI officials have been looking for years for the man they believe robbed banks in California, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and Washington state typically while carrying an AK-47 rifle. Gathercole, of Montana, was arrested June 20 near Lexington, Nebraska, after a sheriff's deputy spotted a pickup truck that Kansas authorities had reported stolen by a man who fired at a state trooper. Gathercole also faces weapons charges.

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Remembrance Service Set for Gorilla That Died at Topeka Zoo 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A 49-year-old lowland gorilla that died last weekend at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas will be remembered during a ceremony. The zoo says it will host the remembrance event in Tiffany's honor from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. Attendees won't be charged admission to the zoo. Tiffany died Sunday after tests revealed she had late-stage ovarian cancer that had spread. She had undergone surgery four days earlier for constipation. During an operation Sunday, surgeons found that the cancer had spread to the gorilla's abdominal wall, and they decided to not awaken her. Tiffany died a short time later. Tiffany was born in 1968 at the Kansas City Zoo and has spent much of her time since then at the Topeka Zoo.

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KC Holds Off Rally by Rockies to win, 3-2 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Danny Duffy and four relievers combined on a two-hitter, helping the Kansas City Royals hold off the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Tuesday night. Duffy took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and retired the first two batters before walking DJ LeMahieu and allowing a homer to Nolan Arenado. The Rockies star third baseman squared up a 1-1 pitch and hit it out for his 28th home run. Duffy (8-8) was removed after six innings and 88 pitches. He walked three and struck out seven. Duffy walked Arenado in the first and Trevor Story in the fifth for the only other baserunners he permitted. Scott Alexander got his first career save with two pitches. The Rockies' Jon Gray (5-3) gave up three runs, two earned, and six hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking one. He dropped to 4-12 in 27 career road starts.
 

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