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Headlines for Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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

Kansas U.S. Senators Divided over GOP Health Care Overhaul 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The two Kansas Republican U.S. senators are split over a GOP plan for overhauling health care that has been shelved. Senator Jerry Moran said Tuesday he was pleased by a delay of the Senate's debate on the bill. He said it "missed the mark for Kansans" and did not have his support. Senator Pat Roberts said Kansas "fared well" under the measure. Roberts said he's open to further improvements but said Congress must pass legislation as soon as possible. Both issued statements Tuesday after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a debate would not occur until at least next month. The GOP bill would roll back much of former President Obama's signature 2010 health care law. A congressional analysis of the proposal Monday said 22 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026.

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Kansas Commerce Chief Resigns to Return to Private Sector 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave is resigning to pursue private business opportunities. Governor Sam Brownback's office said Tuesday was Soave's last day as top administrator for the state's economic development programs. Soave has served as commerce secretary since December 2015 and was the CEO of an international business consulting firm before joining the administration. Brownback said former Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan will serve as interim commerce secretary. Soave's resignation is the administration's second high-profile departure this week. Deputy Chief of Staff Kim Borchers plans to step down Friday for a job with the conservative-leaning nonprofit Foundation for Government Accountability. Borchers started as Brownback's appointments director in 2011 and has been a key adviser.

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KDHE Investigates Abuse Allegations at Wichita YMCA Day Care 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The state is investigating allegations of physical abuse against toddlers at a YMCA day care center in Wichita. Matt Keith, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, confirmed the agency is investigating allegations against a teacher at the South YMCA Early Learning Center but said he couldn't provide details. The Wichita Eagle reports a mother of a 2-year-old boy at the day care said she was told by the Kansas Department for Children and Families that her son and two other children were allegedly shaken by a teacher. DCF spokeswoman Theresa Freed said she couldn't confirm the agency's involvement in an investigation. Shelly Conrady, spokeswoman for Greater Wichita YMCA, said the organization is cooperating fully with the state investigation and is also conducting its own investigation.

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Kansas Federal Prosecutor Leaves Office over Recorded Jail Calls 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal prosecutor in Kansas who said in court last year that she never listened to attorney-client phone calls at the Leavenworth Detention Center has left the U.S. Attorney's Office after admitting to her supervisor that she did listen to the calls. The Kansas City Star reports court documents filed June 19 show that Erin Tomasic told her supervisor she listened to the recorded phone conversations of two inmates and their attorneys. The prosecutors notified a judge in May that Tomasic was no longer working for the U.S. Attorney. Days after Tomasic left her job, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson expanded an investigation into the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City, Kansas. The judge cited ongoing problems with the prosecutors' "inconsistent" statements and the destruction of "critical evidence."

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Former Kansas Patrol Trooper Indicted for Excessive Force 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper has been indicted on a charge alleging that he used excessive force. Federal grand jurors in Topeka returned the indictment Wednesday in the case against James Carson. The indictment says Carson "physically assaulted" and caused "bodily injury" to a person identified only with the initials R.T. It says the alleged June 2013 incident deprived R.T. of the civil right of due process. The U.S. Justice Department provided no other information about what happened and whether Carson has an attorney in a news release. The release says Carson faces up to 10 years in prison. The department didn't immediately respond to an email seeking more details. Patrol Lt. Adam Winters says Carson worked for the agency from July 2000 until August 2013.

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Women Testifies During Holton Rape Trial

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) _ Northeast Kansas jurors in the second trial of a man facing a string of sexual assault charges that have divided the small town of Holton heard testimony from one of his accusers. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the woman testified Tuesday against Jacob Ewing, detailing for more than an hour how he allegedly sexually attacked her in May of last year during a struggle after a party at his home. She said she told Ewing she didn't want to have sex. Another alleged victim was expected to testify today (WED). The trial involves allegations from two of the five women Ewing is charged with sexually assaulting. Additional trials are scheduled in August and October. During Ewing's first trial in April, he was acquitted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. 

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Kansas Divorce Rate Drops to Record Low

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The state of Kansas says its divorce rate has dropped to the lowest levels since it began keeping yearly records in 1966. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says last year's divorce rate fell to 2.6 per 1,000 persons. There were 7,198 divorces statewide in 2016.  The department says that for much of the 1970s and 1980s, the divorce rate was above 5 per every 1,000 population. The department offered no explanation for last year's decline.

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Colorado Announces Largest Pot Bust Since Drug Was Legalized

DENVER (AP) — Dozens of Coloradans are accused of running a marijuana trafficking ring in which they pretended to be growing weed for sick people but illegally shipped the drug out of state. A Denver grand jury has indicted 62 people and 12 businesses in a case that involved federal and state agents executing nearly 150 search warrants in 33 homes and 18 warehouses in the Denver area. The indictment was returned June 9 and announced Wednesday by state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Coffman says it is the largest illegal marijuana operation since Colorado legalized the drug. She says that "the black market for marijuana ... continues to flourish." Coffman says that the enterprise was producing more than 100 pounds a month of illegal pot for shipment to Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma.

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Kansas City Man Accused in Drug-Related Shooting Death 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City, Missouri, man is jailed on $150,000 bond after being accused of a drug-related shooting death of a man he says he thought was a demon. Jackson County prosecutors charged 30-year-old Prince Conrad with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in Monday's death of 45-year-old Willie Reaws III. Authorities allege in court records that Conrad shot Reaws in the head after they snorted methamphetamine. Investigators say Conrad told police he thought Reaws was a demon, took took a handgun out of Reaws' pocket and tried to shoot him, but Conrad shot himself in the leg instead. Authorities allege Conrad said he then shot Reaws at the victim's request. 

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Kansas Roofer Dies in Fatal Fall at Eastern Indiana Plant 

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — A coroner says a 23-year-old Kansas man died after he fell while working on a roof at an eastern Indiana animal feed plant. Wayne County Coroner Ron Stevens says Jacob Bugg of Hutchinson, Kansas, was working with a roofing crew about 1 p.m. Tuesday when he fell about 40 feet at Richmond's Purina Mills plant. Stevens tells the (Richmond) Palladium-Item it's not clear what caused the fall because no one witnessed it. He says Bugg was working on a lower section of the roof than the rest of his crew. Stevens says Bugg sustained blunt force trauma. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

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Alternative Funding Planned for Kansas City Arts Campus
 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — University of Missouri System officials are no longer counting on state funding to help build an arts campus in downtown Kansas City. The Missouri Board of Curators and System President Mun Choi said in a news release Wednesday the system will develop alternative funding plans for the $96 million University of Missouri-Kansas City arts campus. The details of the funding mechanism will be presented at the curators' meeting in September. Choi said the $96 million and $2 million operating costs will not rely on state funding. The Missouri Legislature passed a measure in April to issue up to $48 million in state bonds to cover half the art project's campus. The bill is awaiting Missouri Governor Eric Greitens's signature, but supporters are concerned he will not sign it.

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Detroit Tigers Beat Royals 5-3

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Tigers' J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera homered and Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings as the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 Tuesday night. Verlander (5-4) was down 3-0 before getting an out, but didn't allow another run as the Tigers won their second straight after an eight-game losing streak. He gave up three runs, nine hits and a walk, striking out six. Three relievers finished for the Tigers, with Justin Wilson pitching the ninth for his seventh save.  Royals' starter Matt Strahm (2-5) gave up five runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. The Royals got off to a quick start against Verlander. Whit Merrfield started the game with a ground-rule double over the 420-foot sign in center and the next four batters singled to give Kansas City a three-run lead with no outs in the first. But Verlander retired the next three batters to escape the inning without further damage. After the five hits to start the game, he got 21 outs while only allowing four singles.
 

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