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Headlines for Wednesday, September 11, 2019

LaTurner Hires Former Watkins Campaign Manager for 2020 Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican congressional candidate Jake LaTurner has hired the former campaign manager of U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins, his opponent in the race for the GOP nomination in the 2nd District. LaTurner announced Wednesday that Pat Leopold will be a consultant for his 2020 election race. LaTurner dropped out of a campaign for the U.S. Senate last week and entered the 2nd District race to challenge Watkins. Former Gov. Jeff Colyer urged LaTurner to challenge Watkins, saying he was concerned Watkins could not win re-election in 2020. Leopold was U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins's chief of staff for a decade in Washington, D.C. He led Watkins's campaign to a close victory over Democrat Paul Davis in 2018. Bryan Piligra, a spokesman for the Watkins campaign, said Leopold's hiring by LaTurner was unimportant.

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ACLU: Settlement Allows Inmate to Get Opioid Addiction Drug 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas and Missouri affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union say they have reached a settlement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons which allows an inmate to receive a drug used to treat his opioid addiction. The ACLU said in a news release Wednesday that the settlement allows the federal prison in Leavenworth to give inmate Leaman Crews a drug used to keep life-threatening withdrawal symptoms at bay. A federal lawsuit filed on his behalf last week sought to compel prison officials to treat his addiction with buprenorphine. Kansas ACLU Executive Director Nadine Johnson says Crews was their primary concern, but the narrow agreement focusing only on him isn't sufficient. She says they look forward to seeing a prison policy that respects what doctors are recommending in these cases.

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Indiana Man Dies from Shock at Atchison County Grain Bin

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Federal officials are investigating the death of an Indiana man at a northeast Kansas grain processing plant.  The Atchison Globe reports that Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie says 26-year-old Angel Silas-Deleon, of Logansport, Indiana, died from an electrical shock Friday at the CargillAg plant in the Cummings area.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the death.  Laurie said Silas-Deleon was working on a grain bin with a contractor crew from CCSGroup of Seward, Nebraska. The company said another employee is recovering from injuries suffered by the shock.  That employee's name and condition were not released Tuesday.  Laurie said the shock is considered accidental.

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Wichita Toddler Injected with Enough Methadone to Kill Adult

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court records say a Wichita toddler who died at a motel had enough methadone in his system to kill an opioid-addicted adult.  The Wichita Eagle reports details were included in an affidavit released Tuesday in the case against 23-year-old Kimberly Compass. She's charged with first-degree murder in the May 31 death of her 2-year-old son, Zayden JayNesahkluah. He is among several children to die in the Wichita area after state welfare officials were contacted with concerns.  The affidavit says police found three empty or mostly empty bottles of methadone that had been prescribed to Compass in an unlocked child's Avengers pencil box. Compass told investigators she only had one of the bottles herself. She said she didn't give Zayden methadone, but fruit punch that she said he drank tested positive for the drug. Methadone is used to treat pain and narcotic drug addiction.

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KBI Investigating Shooting Death in Rooks County

PLAINVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the shooting death of a 56-year-old man in Plainville as a homicide.  The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Rooks County Sheriff's Office say a relative found Mark Reif dead inside his rural Rooks County home Monday morning. Deputies who responded to the scene discovered Reif died of gunshot wounds.  No further information was immediately available.  Plainville is about 25 miles north of Hays.

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Shawnee Mission District to Settle Sexual Assault Lawsuit

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ The Shawnee Mission School District will settle a lawsuit that alleged school officials didn't act when a male student was repeatedly accused of sexual offenses before he assaulted a student in a middle school classroom. The Kansas City Star reports the amount of the settlement was not disclosed. The lawsuit claimed an eighth-grade student at Westridge Middle School was accused of making unwanted advances toward three students before he assaulted a female student in 2017. The district says in court documents that it was investigating the reports of unwanted advances when it learned about 2017 assault. The student was expelled in March 2017 and the school resource officer filed a police report that month. The boy was convicted in December 2017 of three counts of battery and one count of aggravated liberties with a child.  
    
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Earthquake, 2 Aftershocks Reported Sunday in Rooks County

PLAINVILLE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Geological Survey reports an earthquake and two aftershocks were reported in Rooks County during the weekend.  The organization says a 3.7 magnitude quake was recorded Sunday morning about 9 miles west of Plainville. That was followed Sunday night be aftershocks of 2.4 and 2.2 magnitude.  The Wichita Eagle report s Geological Survey data shows 49 earthquakes have been reported this year in the northwest Kansas county. The strongest was a 4.8 magnitude on June 22.  The Kansas Corporation Commission currently is investigating about a dozen earthquakes near Hutchinson in Reno County, including several in mid-August. Two quakes with a magnitude of 4.2 were recorded three days apart in the county, where 31 quakes have been reported this year.  The investigation is focusing on injection well activity in the county.

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Kansas Confirms State's First Death Linked to Vaping

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials say they have confirmed the first death in the state related to an outbreak of a lung disease linked to vaping.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release Tuesday the recent death involved a Kansas resident over the age of 50 who had a history of underlying health issues. The unidentified patient was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly.  Health officials said they do not have detailed information on what specific e-cigarette products were used by the deceased Kansas patient.  The state has had six reports associated to the national lung disease outbreak, including three which they believe to be confirmed or probable cases. The remaining three are still under investigation.  KDHE Secretary Lee Norman says it is time to stop vaping.

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Wichita-Area School District Prepares to Sue over E-Cigarettes

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — Officials at a Wichita-area school district say they are preparing to sue the makers, distributors and sellers of electronic cigarettes and vaping products.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Goddard school board President Kevin McWhorter says the district has a responsibility to protect students from a "growing crisis." He discussed the issue at a news conference Tuesday, the same day that health officials announced the first death in the state related to an outbreak of a lung disease linked to vaping.  The board passed a resolution Monday that allows a Kansas City area law firm to sue on the district's behalf. McWhorter says the hope is that other schools and jurisdictions will file similar litigation targeting the e-cigarette and vaping industry.  Superintendent Justin Henry says the district doesn't intend to seek class action status.

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Man Admits Sexually Assaulting Young Student on School Bus

GIRARD, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old southeast Kansas man who was a school bus monitor has admitted to sexually abusing an elementary school student. Jacob Quentin Bryant, of Arma, pleaded guilty Tuesday to rape and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The Pittsburg Sun reports investigators determined that Bryant abused a Northeast Elementary School student on a school bus in November 2018. Bryant faces up to 19 year in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 31. Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso said his office worked with the victim's family on the plea deal and noted it will avoid requiring the child to testify at trial.

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Man Charged with Second-Degree Murder in Beating Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of beating another man in a Wichita grocery store parking lot has been charged with second-degree murder after the victim died from his injuries two weeks after the attack. Thirty-five-year-old Steven Speakman made his first appearance Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court. His bond was set at $250,000. He has been in custody since Aug. 21, when police say a fight broke out between Speakman and 33-year-old Haley Collins, of Bel Aire. When police arrived, Collins was unconscious. He died Sept. 5. Police say the two men knew each other.

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School Grabbing Suspect Arrested After McConnell Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man who is suspected of trying to grab children at a Wichita-area elementary school playground before stealing a pickup truck from McConnell Air Force Base and slamming it into a gate. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says 38-year-old Tyler DeBarea ran Tuesday after hitting barricades made of concrete-filled pipes at the base. Deputies later found him and took him into custody. He has been booked into jail on suspicion of kidnapping, battery and criminal threat. After the arrest, deputies returned to Wineteer Elementary, where they found five 7- or 8-year-olds who said DeBarea either swatted them on the arm or tried to grab their shirt. A spokesman for the Derby school district says staff was able to scare him away and move students inside.

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Body, Submerged Vehicle Found in Northeast Kansas Lake

HILLSDALE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a body and submerged vehicle in a northeast Kansas lake. The Kansas City Star reports that the Miami County Sheriff's Office and firefighters responded Wednesday morning to Hillsdale Lake after a fisherman reported seeing the body floating in the water. The body was pulled to shore, and divers found the vehicle underwater near a boat ramp. The sheriff's office says identification of the body is underway. No other details were immediately released.

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UPDATE: 3 Arrested After Manhunt in Which Police Fired at Vehicle

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say three people have been arrested after an hours-long Wichita-area manhunt that started when the driver of stolen vehicle tried to ram police at a McDonald's drive-through, leading an officer to open fire.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Officer Paul Cruz says that after coming under fire Tuesday morning, the driver of the stolen Jeep rear-ended a car, causing minor injuries to the car's driver. The Jeep's driver then sped off before wrecking. A woman was taken into custody, but two men got away.  Cruz says one man then stole a sport utility vehicle from an elderly couple. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says that when he was arrested after a chase, he had a broken arm that possibly was from a gunshot wound.  The third suspect was taken into custody later. He had been shot in the leg.

(-earlier reporting-)

Wichita Police Shoot at Vehicle During Chase

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say three people are in custody after an officer fired shots at a stolen car.  Police spokesman Paul Cruz says when officers responded to the report of a stolen Jeep at a McDonald's drive-thru Tuesday morning, the driver tried to run over an officer, who fired several times at the vehicle. The Jeep crashed into another vehicle, causing minor injuries to the car's driver.  Cruz says the Jeep eventually continued on and eventually hit a tree, and a female suspect was arrested. Two male suspects ran and one carjacked another vehicle. Sedgwick County deputies saw that vehicle and pursued it until it stopped in a field. The driver was arrested with an injured arm.  The second male suspect was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg.

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New York Giants Player Testifies at Murder Suspect's Hearing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — New York Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine has testified at a preliminary hearing about the fatal shooting of his best friend and former Washburn University teammate.  Ballentine testified Monday, a day after making his NFL debut. He was wounded April 27 in Topeka in the shooting that killed 23-year-old Dwane Simmons, just hours after the Giants drafted Ballentine.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Ballentine testified in a preliminary hearing for 18-year-old Alejandro Mendez, of Topeka, who is charged with first-degree murder and 11 other counts. He recounted how he, Simmons and others were standing outside a house when a car stopped nearby and began firing at the group.  Simmons, a defensive back who would have been a senior this fall, was killed. Ballentine was shot in the buttocks.  After the hearing, Mendez was bound over for trial.

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Wichita Woman Given 6 Months' Probation in Dog's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has been sentenced to six months of probation after her dogs attacked a neighbor's dog, which had to be euthanized.  Carlett McPherson pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor cruelty to animals.  The Sedgwick County District Attorney said McPherson's dog got into a neighbor's yard on November 2018 and attacked a dog named Smokey.  When McPherson called for help, an unknown man came into the yard and hit Smokey with a tire iron while breaking up the fight.  Prosecutors say McPherson never struck Smokey or told the man to strike the dog. When she returned from calling 911, two more of her dogs got into the yard and attacked Smokey.  Smokey was later euthanized after his bites became infected.  Police continue to search for the man with the tire iron.

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Amanda Adkins Kicks off Run for Congress in Kansas

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas business executive with political ties to former Republican Governor Sam Brownback has officially kicked off her campaign to challenge freshman Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids.  Amanda Adkins made the announcement Monday. It was expected after she filed paperwork last week with the Federal Election Commission creating a campaign committee for a run for the GOP nomination in the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District.  Her move sets up a contested GOP primary for the right to challenge Davids. Former National Down Syndrome Society CEO Sarah Hart Weir opened her campaign in July.  Adkins is a vice president for the medical computer systems firm Cerner Corporation.  She managed Brownback's successful U.S. Senate re-election campaign in 2004 and was Kansas Republican Party chairwoman when Brownback was elected governor in 2010.

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Wyoming Diocese Substantiates 3 More Sex Abuse Claims

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne in Wyoming says it has reported to police three new credible allegations of child sexual abuse against a retired bishop. Diocese officials said in a statement Tuesday the new complaints against Bishop Joseph Hart are in addition to three separate allegations previously determined to be credible. Cheyenne Police Officer David Inman told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle the department is aware of the new complaints. Police have recommended Laramie County prosecutors file charges over the previous complaints. The prosecutor has not commented and no charges have been filed against Hart in Laramie County. Hart, who led the Diocese of Cheyenne from 1976 to 2001, has consistently denied the allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct. The diocese in Kansas City, Missouri, says it has settled lawsuits in 10 cases involving Hart.

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