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Headlines for Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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

Five Dead in Fiery Crash on I-70 Near Bonner Springs

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say five people have died in a fiery six-vehicle wreck that temporarily closed a stretch of Interstate 70 on the western edge of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The Kansas Turnpike Authority says the crash happened Tuesday afternoon when a tractor-trailer crested a slight hill and failed to slow for traffic that was stalled because of construction. The westbound rig rammed three slowing passenger vehicles, including a car, before crashing into a stopped tractor-trailer. The car was forced under the stopped tractor-trailer, which then rear-ended a pickup truck. Both rigs and the car caught on fire. Another vehicle landed in a ditch. The victims included a retired chemistry professor at Washburn University in Topeka. One of the victims wasn't discovered until authorities were clearing the wreckage.

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Feds Stop Requiring Bi-Weekly Kansas Reports on Medicaid 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal officials are no longer requiring Kansas to file bi-weekly reports on a large backlog of applicants for the state's privatized Medicaid program. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was notified last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that the state can discontinue the reports it has been sending since early 2006. At the time, Kansas had more than 7,000 backlogged applications that had been pending for more than 45 days for its Medicaid program, called KanCare. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports health department spokeswoman Angela deRocha said the federal agency was satisfied with the progress and results the state has achieved. The CMS said it will still periodically ask Kansas for updates on its eligibility processing.

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Suspect Fatally Shot as Kansas Officer Investigates Theft 

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an officer has shot and killed a suspect in northeast Kansas while investigating a vehicle theft. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation identified the man killed as 47-year-old Antonio Garcia Jr. of Leavenworth. The release said the officer fired at Garcia on Tuesday night after an "altercation" and that he was pronounced dead after emergency responders were called to the scene. A woman was arrested during the investigation on suspicion of interfering with law enforcement, criminal damage to property and concealing, destroying or altering evidence. Leavenworth police Chief Patrick Kitchens said the officer was at the scene about 10 minutes before reporting that shots had been fired. The officer wasn't hurt. Neither Kitchens nor the KBI offered any other details about what led up to the shooting.

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Concealed Carry Applications Fall in Kansas 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says applications for concealed carry licenses dropped to a record low last fiscal year after the state stopped requiring the permits. Schmidt's office announced Tuesday that it received 5,119 new applications for concealed carry licenses in the fiscal year ending June 30. That was the fewest applications received since the program began in Kanas in 2006. In 2015, the Legislature eliminated a license requirement for Kansas gun owners. However, those who apply for the license can carry weapons in the 38 other states that recognize the Kansas license. Schmidt said those who already have licenses continue to apply for renewals. He said the state received more than 21,000 renewal applications during the 2017 fiscal year. More than 83,000 Kansans have active concealed carry licenses.

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Woman Sentenced, Man Pleads in Tax Fraud Scheme 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A woman was sentenced and a co-defendant pleaded guilty to creating fictitious companies to fraudulently collect income tax refunds.  Federal prosecutors say 44-year-old Raquel Odegbaro, of Olathe, was sentenced to just over six years in prison Tuesday and ordered to pay more than $894,000 in restitution. She had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud. Her co-defendant, 33-year-old Abdirizak Aden, of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The two admitted to setting up several fictitious companies and filing tax returns for people who didn't work for the companies. They also used stolen Social Security numbers to apply for unemployment benefits.  Another defendant is awaiting sentencing and a fourth is awaiting trial.  

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Hearing Postponed in Topeka Triple Homicide Case 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A preliminary hearing for three suspects in a triple homicide in Topeka has been delayed until September, after defense attorneys asked for more time to prepare. The preliminary hearing for three of four suspects in the March 12 killings at a north Topeka home was scheduled for Tuesday. But Shawnee County District Court Judge Nancy Parish granted the motion and rescheduled the hearing for September 25. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Brian Flowers, Joseph Lowry and Shane Mays are charged in the slayings of 19-year-old Matthew Leavitt, 38-year-old Nicole Fisher, and 20-year-old Luke Davis. A fourth defendant, Joseph Krahn, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. On Monday, Krahn's public defenders withdrew, citing the possibility that Krahn might be charged with capital murder.

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Bobcat Responsible for Kansas Power Outage 

LAKIN, Kan. (AP) — A power outage in southwest Kansas was found to be caused by a bobcat. The Wichita Eagle reports that a crew from Wheatland Electric found the bobcat atop a 35-foot utility pole on Tuesday near Lakin. The animal came into contact with a pair of electrified lines and died immediately. The line crew had used a bucket truck to take the dead bobcat and evaluate the electrical equipment for any further damage. Wheatland had contacted the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office in Pratt once power had been restored. The department has dispatched a game warden from Deerfield to assess the electrification.

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US Winter Wheat Forecast Improves, Still Below Year Ago 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government has updated its forecast for winter wheat production now that harvest is under way across the nation's breadbasket. The National Agricultural Statistics Service projected on Wednesday that U.S. growers would bring in 1.28 billion bushels of winter wheat. That is up 2 percent from last month's forecast, but is still down 23 percent from last year. Its estimate is based on an estimated 49.7 bushels per acre with nearly 26 million acres expected to be harvested across the country. The agency also had a more optimistic forecast in Kansas compared to just a month ago. It is now projecting the Kansas wheat harvest to come in at 324.3 million bushels. Average yields are 47 bushels per acre. Kansas farmers are expected to cut 6.9 million acres of wheat.

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Hutchinson Man, Texas Teen Killed While Changing Tire in Oklahoma 

DAVIS, Okla. (AP) - Authorities say two people were struck and killed while changing a vehicle's tire along an Interstate 35 in southern Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 47-year-old Shane Miller of Hutchinson, Kansas and a 17-year-old boy from Killeen, Texas died Tuesday afternoon near Davis, about 70 miles south of Oklahoma City. According to a preliminary report, the car with a flat tire was parked on the shoulder of the northbound I-35 lanes, partially blocking the inside lane of traffic. The highway patrol says the two were changing the car's flat tire when they were struck by an oncoming SUV. The driver of the SUV suffered an arm injury and was treated and released from a nearby hospital.

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Western Kansas Men Sentenced to 30 Years in Deadly Shooting 

COLDWATER, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in a fatal shooting. The Kansas attorney general's office said in a news release that the sentence was imposed Tuesday for 44-year-old Frank Domingo Asebedo, of Coldwater. He pleaded no contest in March to second-degree reckless murder in the October 2015 killing of 43-year-old Lelyn Betts in Comanche County. Asebedo was arrested five days later in the town of Protection. Asebedo has prior convictions for aggravated assault and drug possession out of Ford County.

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Kansas Police Recover 'Tiny' Home Stolen in Missouri

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Police in Pittsburg, Kansas have recovered a so-called tiny home that was stolen over the weekend in Missouri. The Joplin Globe reports that Missouri resident Lisa Stubblefield left the house in a roped-off area in Springfield last week for the Food Truck Showdown. When she arrived for the festivities Saturday morning, the house was gone. The building is 13 feet tall and looks like a small house, complete with a covered porch. Police found the house on Sunday in Pittsburg, Kansas, about 100 miles west of Springfield. No arrests have been made.

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Child Shot During Lenexa Hotel Altercation

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) - Police say a 5-year-old child was shot in the leg as two adults argued at an extended-stay hotel in Lenexa. Police said in a news release that the shooting happened Tuesday at Crossland Economy Studios in the Kansas City suburb. The release said the child was taken to a hospital and is expected to make a "full recovery." A male suspect was later found in Topeka and taken to the jail in Johnson County. The man's name and his relationship to the child haven't been released. Police continue to investigate and are asking anyone with information to come forward.

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Wichita Eagle Names New Publisher 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Eagle has named as its new publisher a man who started his career with the newspaper. Fifty-nine-year-old Kelly Mirt will return as publisher and vice president of adverting for the Eagle and Kansas.com. The Wichita Eagle reported Wednesday that Mirt comes from another McClatchy Company newspaper, the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. He has been vice president at the Observer since January 2012. He brings 35 years of experience as an advertising executive at nine newspapers in seven states. His first job after graduating in 1980 from the University of Kansas was at the Eagle. Over five years he worked his way up from advertising representative to assistant retail sales manager. Mirt begins his Wichita job in late July. He replaces Roy Heatherly, who left in April.

 

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