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Headlines for Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Judge Dismisses Suit over Kansas Science Standards

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that science standards for Kansas public schools promote atheism and violate the religious freedoms of students and parents. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled Tuesday that a nonprofit group challenging the standards did not claim specific enough injuries to allow the case to go forward. The State Board of Education last year adopted standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council. The guidelines treat both evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts. The lawsuit was filed by Citizens for Objective Public Education, a group based in the small town of Peck, Kansas. Judge Crabtree noted that even with the standards, local school districts still control what's taught in classrooms.


Few Kansas Welfare Applicants Tested for Drugs

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Drug testing of welfare applicants in Kansas is off to a slow start. After four months, only 20 applicants have been tested, with four testing positive and five refusing the tests. State officials concede early numbers are low. But they predict testing will increase as staffers grow more comfortable in referring welfare applicants for drug testing. A spokeswoman for the state's children and families department, which administers the drug-testing program, says it's important to note that this is the first year. Missouri has been testing applicants since last March. It has conducted 655 tests so far. Almost 70 tested positive, but about 700 refused the test and were disqualified for benefits. 


Abortion-Referrals Case Back Before Kansas Board

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas board is considering whether to continue barring a physician from practicing medicine after scrutinizing her referrals of young patients for late-term abortions and finding that she kept inadequate records. Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus of Nortonville will be back before the State Board of Healing Arts next week. She successfully challenged a 2012 board ruling that she conducted substandard mental health exams in 2003 for 11 patients aged 10 to 18. Her opinions about patients' mental problems allowed the late Dr. George Tiller's clinic in Wichita to terminate their pregnancies. A judge earlier this year overturned the board's revocation of Neuhaus's license but agreed that she kept inadequate records. The judge sent her case back to the board.


KCK Names New Police Chief

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Kansas City, Kansas has promoted its assistant police chief to the department's top job. The city announced Assistant Chief Terry Zeigler's appointment on Tuesday. The Kansas City Star reports that Zeigler replaces Ellen Hanson. She is a former Lenexa police chief who was the Kansas City, Kansas interim chief for a year after the retirement of former chief Rick Armstrong. Zeigler, who led the department's operations bureau, was one of five finalists for the position. The police department has about 460 civilian and uniformed employees.


Kansas City Couple Acquitted in Child Abuse Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas City, Missouri couple accused of locking a malnourished 8-year-old girl in a bedroom has been acquitted of assault and child endangerment. Jackson County Judge Robert Schieber determined Tuesday that prosecutors hadn't proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jeffrey and Michele Kraft had intended to injure the girl. He said the couple did what they could. Prosecutors charged the Krafts in 2012 after authorities found the girl in her bedroom, which had been locked from the outside. Police reported she was scrubbing the floor with bleach "because she had to urinate in the room.'' The defense said the girl was skinny, not malnourished, and speculated the case was handled aggressively because it came on the heels of the discovery, in another case, of a 32-pound 10-year-old.


Fire at Lawrence Kennel Causes $60K in Damages

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A weekend fire that led to the evacuation of more than 20 dogs from a Lawrence pet care business also caused $60,000 in damages. The Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical department has deemed the fire accidental. In a press release, the department confirmed the fire at Christal K-9 was caused by an electrical malfunction of a box fan. Twenty-one dogs were saved from the building when emergency responders arrived. Officials said one dog died at the scene and a second dog died from its injuries on Sunday. Several other dogs remain in treatment. The business provides grooming, training and boarding services for pets.


Driver Pleads in Hutchinson Homicide

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A Hutchinson man who drove two other people to the home of a woman who was killed has pleaded no contest in the case. District Judge Tim Chambers on Tuesday found Billy Joe Craig Jr. guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with the death of 27-year-old Jennifer Heckel. Prosecutors alleged Craig drove the other men to Heckel's home in June 2011 to commit a robbery. Heckel was killed in what investigators say was a case of mistaken identity. The Hutchinson News reports the men meant to rob Kayla Rodriguez. Craig's plea was for conspiracy to kill Rodriguez. Another suspect, Charles Logsdon, was convicted of murder in November 2012. A third suspect, whose name has not been released, has not been charged.


Man, Woman to Be Tried in Girl's Abduction, Rape

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A judge has found sufficient evidence to try a man and woman in the abduction and rape of an 8-year-old girl in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 28-year-old Jeremy Lindsey and 23-year-old Michelle Harris were bound over for trial Tuesday in Shawnee County District Court. The girl vanished for about six hours in September, setting off a search that ended when she was found walking along a road about two miles from her home. Lindsey will be tried on 10 charges, including rape, aggravated kidnapping and unlawful administration of a substance to the child. Harris was accused of transporting Lindsey and the girl to an abandoned house. She will be tried on charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated child endangerment. Lindsey and Harris pleaded not guilty.


Gold Coins Boost Wichita Holiday Collections

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ For nearly a decade an anonymous Wichita donor has arranged for gold coins to be delivered during the holiday season to local nonprofit groups. The Wichita Eagle reports two gold coins were presented Monday to the Lord's Diner. The coins will go into a vault for the auction the Lord's Diner hosts each fall to raise money. The coins are valued at $1,300 each. Guadalupe Clinic provides health care for those in need, and it too received a gold coin on Monday. Wichita Community Foundation says in a news release that the first set of coins was distributed in 2005 to five local organizations. The donor has established a $100,000 endowment known as the Gold Coin Society Fund so that the gifts can continue long after he has died.


KU Offers Biotechnology Degree in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ The University of Kansas says it will start offering a bachelor's degree in applied science in biotechnology. Classes for the new degree will begin in the spring semester at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park. It will be the university's first bachelor of applied science degree. The university said in a news release Tuesday that the new degree program will prepare students for careers in life-sciences by bridging the gap between biology, biochemistry and clinical laboratory sciences. The university says the Monthly Labor Review report forecasts that jobs in life, physical and social science occupations will increase by 15 percent by 2020. Kansas City is home to 200 life-science companies, including 90 contract research organizations. 


Kansas Teen Critically Injured in Crash

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) - Wichita-area authorities say a teenager has been critically injured in an SUV rollover crash. The Butler County Sheriff's Office says the Valley Center teenager lost control of the SUV Tuesday night. The vehicle rolled at least twice and landed in a row of trees. The driver was flown to a Wichita hospital after being freed from the wreckage by emergency responders. The driver's name hasn't been released. It's unclear what caused the crash.


Lawrence Man Charged in Home Burglaries

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence police have arrested a 53-year-old man who they say stole video game systems and three pounds of chicken during a series of home burglaries. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Ricky McConnell was being held at the Douglas County jail on Wednesday morning. He is charged with three counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of attempted theft. Officers caught McConnell in a Lawrence home on Tuesday hiding behind a door with three video game consoles, 42 video games and the bag of chicken. Police say McConnell is linked to other burglaries in the area. He is being held on $40,000 bond.


Kansas State Runs Away from Omaha 84-66

MANHATTAN, Kansas (AP) - Kansas State beat Nebraska-Omaha 84-66 in the first-ever meeting between the two schools on Tuesday night. It is already the fourth 80-point game for the Wildcats (4-3). They only surpassed the mark twice during the previous season. Nebraska-Omaha (3-3) overcame two nine-point leads just after halftime, but K-State pulled ahead with 10 points in the second half and never allowed the Mavericks to close that gap through the remainder of the game.


Chiefs Sign Gordon, Waive Supernaw

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Richard Gordon and waived Phillip Supernaw in a swap of third-string tight ends heading into Sunday's game at Arizona. Gordon played in two games for the Chiefs last season and had appeared in three games for Tennessee this season. The former Miami standout has only caught four passes for 14 yards while being used primarily as a blocker. Supernaw began his season in Baltimore and had spent the past three games with the Chiefs, catching his only pass two weeks ago against Oakland.


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