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Headlines for Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Here's a summary of the day's AP news headlines for our area, mostly Kansas.

20 Inches of Snow Reported in Colby, Northwest Kansas

COLBY, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has issued a state declaration of emergency for sections of northwest Kansas hit by heavy snow. The National Weather Service says the heaviest snowfall was from Atwood to Colby, where about 20 inches of snow was recorded early Wednesday. Heavy snowfall was also reported in Sharon Springs, which got about a foot of snow, and Goodland, which recorded 7 inches of snow. The Kansas Department of Emergency Management said in a release Wednesday that Brownback issued the emergency declaration and is urging motorists to stay off area roadways until conditions improve. KDEM says the Kansas National Guard is helping patrol Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman and Thomas counties searching for stranded motorists Authorities say there've been several reports of cars sliding off roads, but no injuries have been reported.


3 Top Prosecutors: Don't Send Us Guantanamo Detainees 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Top prosecutors in three states reportedly being assessed as potential future homes for Guantanamo Bay detainees are imploring the Obama administration not to send the prisoners to their states. Attorneys general from Colorado, Kansas and South Carolina on Wednesday wrote to President Barack Obama, telling him that bringing detainees to their areas "will create imminent danger" and make "targets" out of the communities where they are placed. A Defense Department team recently finished surveying seven sites in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas that could be the next address for some of the 112 detainees currently housed at Guantanamo Bay. Closing the detention center has been a top priority for Obama. The effort has faced hurdles, including opposition among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The prosecutors are giving the administration until December 4 to respond.


Agency to Lower Evidence Standard in Child Abuse Claims 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas agency that investigates child abuse plans to lower the standard of evidence needed to substantiate a claim of abuse or neglect. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore told state lawmakers Tuesday that the agency will decrease the standard of evidence from "clear and convincing" to "preponderance of the evidence." The change will not constrain judges, who decide whether to remove a child from a home, but will make it easier for the agency to get individuals accused of abusing or neglecting a child onto a state registry. People placed on the registry are prohibited from working or living in a child care home or facility. State Senator Laura Kelly said she would like clear-cut examples of what difference the change in standard of evidence would have made in certain cases.


KU's Plan on Diversity Worries Some GOP Lawmakers 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A plan at the University of Kansas to require "inclusion and belonging" training for everyone on campus is drawing criticism from some Republican legislators. Several said Wednesday they worry the training will become an effort to squelch conservative thought. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said that won't happen and such training is common among businesses. Lawmakers' concerns could complicate the university's sometimes-rocky relationship with the GOP-dominated Legislature as it faces tough budget decisions and potential spending cuts. The university and the surrounding community of Lawrence are viewed across the state as liberal political bastions. Diversity training is among the demands from the student protest group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk. The university says it is creating an advisory team to produce an "action plan" by mid-January that will cover "mandatory education."


Kansas Panel Considers Whether Gays Make Good Foster Parents

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislative committee's chairman has raised questions about whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve as foster parents for abused and neglected children.  Senator Forrest Knox had the Special Committee on Foster Care Adequacy hear testimony yesterday (TUE) on "family structure considerations" in placing children in foster care.  The Altoona Republican said he scheduled the testimony because family environments influence how well children do in school and life.  Equality Kansas Executive Director Tom Witt called the hearing "reprehensible."   The study committee heard conflicting testimony on whether children of same-sex parents are at a disadvantage.  A Catholic priest and sociology professor said a study shows the children are at a disadvantage, while an official from the American Psychological Association said they are not.


Injuries Reported After School Bus Rolls in Northeast Kansas
HIAWATHA, Kan. (AP) — A school bus carrying nearly 40 students has rolled over in northeast Kansas, injuring students onboard. The Brown County Sheriff's Department told MSCnews that the accident involving the school bus from the Hiawatha school district occurred early Wednesday south of Hiawatha. Brown County Sheriff John Merchant says 22 students were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries. Merchant says the students' injuries don't appear to be life-threatening. He says the students range in age from elementary school to high school. Details of what caused the accident are still under investigation. Merchant also says several people arrived at the scene to help the students.


Environmental Group Sues Kansas City Amusement Park, Owner 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An environmental group alleges in a lawsuit that a Kansas City amusement park is discharging polluted water into Missouri River tributaries. The Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed the suit this week in federal court against Worlds of Fun and its owner, Sandusky, Ohio-based Cedar Fair. The suit alleges that the facility has violated its discharge permit for at least the past five years. The suit says discharges of substances such as chlorine, copper, and oil and grease "far exceed the limitations" allowed under its permit. The nonprofit environmental group says the substances are toxic to aquatic life. The group's attorney, Bob Menees, described the problems as "ongoing and egregious." Worlds of Fun's public relations staff didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.


Kansas Man Sentenced for Role in 3-Year-Old Girl's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man is sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for his role in the death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Evan Schuessler was sentenced to 165 months for second-degree intentional murder and 34 months for child abuse, the maximum he could have received.  Sedgwick County District Judge Steve Ternes rejected recommendations from state and defense attorneys for the two terms to run concurrently, saying the murder of a child deserves the maximum penalty allowed by law.  Emma Krueger was taken to Wesley Medical Center unresponsive and covered in bruises on June 2, 2014. She was pronounced two days later after being removed from life support.  Police have said Emma suffered beatings for perhaps a month before she was taken to the hospital.


Topeka Man Sentenced to 24 Years for Child Pornography

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man has been sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for producing child pornography.  WIBW-TV reports that 40-year-old Jonathan Kearn was convicted in May on counts of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography.  Homeland Security Investigators received information in April 2013 from authorities in Australia that an investigator had received emails that contained child pornography from Kearn.  The images included a child under the age of six.


1 Person in Custody After Alleged Threat to Benedictine College

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have taken a person into custody in connection with an online threat to Benedictine College in Atchison.  The St. Joseph News-Press reports that security was increased at Benedictine late yesterday (TUE) after an anonymous threat posted on the social networking site YikYak.  Atchison police Chief Mike Wilson says authorities arrested one person associated with the comments, but formal charges hadn't been filed early today (WED).  Benedictine spokesman Steve Johnson says security had been stepped up on the campus after the comments were posted. He says classes are being held as scheduled on the campus.  Recent threats on YikYak also led to arrests of students at Northwest Missouri State University and the Missouri University of Science & Technology.


Jewelry Store Owner Sentenced for Buying Stolen Jewelry 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 54-year-old Kansas jewelry store owner has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for knowingly buying jewelry that had been stolen in home invasions. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says John O. Dasher of Silver Lake pleaded guilty in June to one count of transporting goods. Dasher admitted the crimes happened from 2010 to 2013 while he owned the Diamond House in Topeka. Prosecutors say Dasher paid a fraction of the actual value of the jewelry, which he melted down to form scrap gold. He then mailed the gold scrap to gold wholesalers in Los Angeles. Dasher agreed to forfeit $130,000 as a condition of the plea deal. He was sentenced on Wednesday.


New Mexico Man Admits Taking Missouri Girl Out of State for Sex

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 56-year-old New Mexico man has pleaded guilty to transporting a 13-year-old Missouri girl across state lines to engage in sexual activity.  U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson says Raymond Vallia III of Albuquerque entered his plea Tuesday in Kansas City.  The Henry County, Missouri, Sheriff's Office responded to a Montrose residence on March 29 to investigate a report of a missing girl. Officers determined the girl met Vallia on the Internet and he had picked her up at her home.  New Mexico State Police saw a vehicle matching a description of Vallia's on Interstate 40 in New Mexico the next day and pulled it over. The girl was found in the vehicle and Vallia was arrested.  Vallia will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison under a plea agreement.


Sedgwick County Group Seeks Recall of County Commissioner 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A group of Sedgwick County residents have filed a request to recall a county commissioner over his proposal to restrict people who are in the U.S. illegally from participating in a federal nutrition program. The Wichita Eagle reports that the request was made Tuesday to recall County Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau. Organizers of the recall said in a news release that Ranzau has failed to fulfill his legal obligation to contract for the protection of public health in the county. Ranzau says he stands by his proposal regarding who can receive benefits from the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program. He asked the state to change its eligibility requirements. District Attorney Marc Bennett's office has five days to decide whether petitioners have legal grounds for a recall.


Kansas City Task Force to Focus on Reducing Violent Crime 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City has established a task force to seek ways to reduce violent crime after homicide totals rebounded from last year's dip. Mayor Sly James announced Wednesday that the citizen task force will gather information and make recommendations for addressing shooter situations, street crime, illegal weapons, domestic violence, child abuse and other violent situations. Task force members include a former judge, a councilwoman, a pastor, a prosecutor, a superintendent and nonprofit and business leaders. James said in a news release that he is "disheartened by persistent and senseless violence." Kansas City already has exceeded the 81 homicides it recorded in 2014 and is on pace to end the year with around 100. Last year's dip came after the launch of an anti-violence effort dubbed the "No Violence Alliance," or NoVA.


Man Charged with Murder in Death of 17-Month-Old Child

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's 17-month-old daughter over the weekend.  The Wichita Eagle reports  that 21-year-old Michael Ross was charged with murder and one count of child abuse Tuesday.  Police say Ross was supervising Grace Harris while her mother was at work. Police responded to a call that the girl had fallen. Police say she died after sustaining multiple bruises, internal injuries and a brain bleed.  Ross appeared in court over a closed-circuit monitor from the Sedgwick County Jail and said he didn't understand the murder charge against him and didn't have a chance to tell his "side of the story."  Ross is being held on a $500,000 bond and is set to appear in court November 25.


Kansas University: Action Plan Coming on Student Demands

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top official at the University of Kansas says it is creating a team to address demands from student protesters and expects to release an "action plan" by mid-January.  Provost Jeffrey Vitter released a statement Tuesday in response to demands made last week by the Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk group. They include increasing faculty diversity, forming a team of counselors for students of color and requiring "inclusion and belonging" training for all students and staff.  Elsewhere, a Wichita State University student protest planned for Wednesday at the Kansas Board of Regents meeting at the university was canceled Tuesday afternoon.  Student body president Joseph Shepard announced on his Facebook page that he had worked out an agreement with President John Bardo after a two-hour meeting.


Prosecutor: Destroy Oklahoma City Bombing Conspirator's Guns

DENVER (AP) — Federal prosecutors want more than a dozen guns belonging to Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols destroyed rather than turned over to his ex-wife.  Prosecutors said in court filings they're concerned that the rifles, handguns and shotguns would be sold and used in copycat crimes, given their owner's notoriety. They say the government should destroy Nichols' guns and apply their value to his restitution.  Nichols argued in July that the 13 weapons should be transferred to his ex-wife because he owes child support. The guns were seized from Nichols' Kansas home but had no part in the 1995 bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people.  Nichols was convicted of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and of involuntary manslaughter of eight federal agents.


Kansas City Area Woman Has Foot Amputated After Bulldog Attack

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — An Independence, Missouri woman has had her foot amputated after being attacked by her 110-pound American bulldog.  The Kansas City Star reports that 55-year-old Dora Pennington's condition worsened during an operation to remove a foot that was badly damaged. She remained in the hospital Tuesday.  During the attack, Jackson County Sheriff's Department deputies answered the call for help and killed the dog. They report the animal was still "actively aggressive" when they arrived at the scene.  Deputies say both of Pennington's feet were severely damaged, much of her hair was ripped out and most of her clothing was torn off. They used a tourniquet on one of her legs.  The dog's remains will be tested for rabies. Independence Animal Control officers say the dog bit two people previously.


Nebraska Water Districts OK Plan to Bolster Republican River Flow into Kansas

ALMA, Neb. (AP) — Two Nebraska natural resources districts have approved an operational agreement for diverting Platte River water into the Republican River, helping the state meet its obligations to Kansas and Colorado.  Last week, boards for the Lower Republican and the Tri-Basin natural resources districts approved the agreement, which will guide what they're calling the Platte to Republican Basin High Flow Diversion Project. That entity will be overseen by a board of directors that includes representatives from both districts.  The water will flow from the Platte to the Republican via an irrigation canal and Turkey Creek.  The three-state Republican River agreement allocates 49 percent of the river's water to Nebraska, 40 percent to Kansas and 11 percent to Colorado. Nebraska has faced lawsuits from Kansas in recent years for allegedly overusing its supply.


Man Sentenced for Abuse Caught on Nanny Cam  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 47-year-old suburban Kansas City man has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for sexually assaulting a toddler while recording the acts on his cell phone. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson says Jeffrey Laurence Treta of Blue Springs was sentenced Wednesday in Kansas City after pleading guilty in February to producing child pornography, producing child obscenity, possessing child pornography and obstructing justice. Prosecutors say Treta was babysitting a 21-month-old girl in January 2013 and didn't know a nanny cam had been installed in the master bedroom of the home where he was watching her. The nanny cam recorded Treta bringing the girl into the bedroom and sexually assaulting her. Investigators found hundreds of images of child porn that had been downloaded onto his cellphone and laptop computer.


Kansas City Goalkeeper Melia Voted MLS Comeback Player
NEW YORK (AP) — Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia has been voted Major League Soccer's Comeback Player of the Year. The 29-year-old did not appear in any league matches while with Real Salt Lake from 2010-11, then played in six matches with Chivas USA from 2012 until he was waived on July 10, 2014, with a career record of 0-4-1. Signed by Sporting Kansas City as a backup to Luis Marin, Chile's starter at the 2010 World Cup, Melia started the team's ninth league match this season and won the job. He had shutouts in six of his first nine starts and wound up starting 23 league games. Melia received 57 percent of a possible 300 percent in weighted ballots added from team, media and player votes, the league said Wednesday. Portland midfielder Diego Valeri was second with 52 percent and Columbus midfielder Wil Trapp third with 37 percent.


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