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Headlines for Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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

Teachers' Union Asks Kansas Supreme Court to Restore Tenure

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The largest teachers' union in Kansas is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a 2014 law that stripped public school teachers of guaranteed tenure. The court heard arguments Tuesday on the Kansas National Education Association's challenge to the law over how legislators included it in a larger education funding measure. A union attorney said that adding the anti-tenure provision to what was essentially an appropriations bill violates the state constitution's requirement that legislative bills have only a single subject. State Solicitor General Stephen McAllister said all of the bill's provisions fit under a single subject because lawmakers called it an education bill. The anti-tenure provision repealed a law that gave teachers who faced dismissal after three years in the classroom the right to an independent review.


Manning Ends Hunger Strike After Army Approves Treatment

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A transgender soldier imprisoned in Kansas for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks says she is ending a hunger strike because the Army has agreed to allow her to get medical treatment for her gender dysphoria. Manning began a hunger strike Friday to protest her treatment at Fort Leavenworth. The American Civil Liberties Union said in a news release Tuesday that Manning's treatment will begin with surgery that her psychologist recommended in April. Manning says in the release that she's relieved the military approved the treatment but frustrated that it took so long. Manning, who was known as Bradley Manning when arrested, was convicted in 2013 in military court of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents. Army spokesman Wayne Hall didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


Resentencing Date Set for Kansas Abortion Provider's Killer 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The man convicted of killing abortion provider George Tiller will face this fall a new jury, which will be tasked with deciding how long he must stay in prison before he is eligible for parole. Sedgwick County District Court records show resentencing procedures for Scott Roeder are set to begin Nov. 28. A status conference is scheduled Sept. 21. Roeder's life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years was among many vacated after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that juries, not judges, must decide whether to increase punishment. Jurors must decide whether to resentence him to at least 50 or 25 years before being eligible for parole. Prosecutors are seeking a second Hard 50 prison sentence, while the defense contends the lesser term is sufficient.


Feds: Suspect in Fatal Crash Had Previous DUI 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Federal authorities say a man charged in a crash that killed a Kansas deputy could face eventual deportation proceedings because of suspected immigration violations and a previous drunken driving conviction in California. Adrian Espinosa-Flores, of Kansas City, Kansas, is being held in Johnson County on $2 million bond after being charged in the drunken driving crash that killed Johnson County Sheriff's Master Deputy Brandon Collins. Collins was making a traffic stop Sunday when a pickup hit his stopped patrol car. The public defender for Espinosa-Flores didn't immediately return a call Wednesday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is seeking custody of Espinosa-Flores if he's released from custody in Kansas. ICE says he'd face deportation proceedings because of a 2001 DUI conviction in California. ICE isn't providing details on his immigration status.


Services Set for Kansas Deputy Killed During Traffic Stop 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A memorial service is scheduled for tomorrow (THUR) for a Johnson County sheriff's deputy who died when his car was hit by a vehicle during a traffic stop. Visitation for Master Deputy Brandon Collins will be this (WED) evening at College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe. The memorial service will be at 2 pm Thursday at the same church. He will be buried Saturday in Oilton, Oklahoma. Collins was killed early Sunday when a truck ran into his patrol car as he was conducting a routine traffic stop. Adrian Espinosa-Flores, of Kansas City, Kansas, is being held on $2 million bond after being charged with involuntary manslaughter in Collins's death. A memorial fund has been setup for the Collins family at any Mainstreet Credit Union location.


Former Lawrence Mayor to Change Plea in Embezzlement Case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former Lawrence mayor charged with stealing money from his old job as executive director at a food pantry plans to change his plea. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Jeremy Farmer has notified the court of his plans after pleading not guilty last week to one charge of interstate travel of embezzled funds. Defense attorney John Cowles said last week that Farmer had intended to plead guilty but wanted more time to consider his options. Prosecutors say Farmer, who was hired as executive director of Just Food in 2011, embezzled money from the nonprofit Lawrence food agency beginning in 2013 and ending in 2015. He is accused of taking more than $55,000 in funds. Farmer now lives in Kansas City, Kansas. A new hearing is scheduled for September 28.


Small Earthquake Reported in Ellis County, Kansas 

ELLIS, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a small earthquake in central Kansas. The USGS says the 3.5 magnitude earthquake was felt Wednesday afternoon in Ellis County. The earthquake was centered 4.3 miles north of Ellis. The Hays Post says no damage or injuries were reported. The agency says a quake of 3.5 magnitude causes weak to light shaking.


Bail Now $2 Million for Man Charged in Kansas Wal-Mart Shooting 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has doubled the bail for a man suspected in an attempted robbery and shooting at a suburban Kansas City Wal-Mart. The suspect, 27-year-old Arthur Fred Wyatt III, made his first court appearance Wednesday via closed circuit TV in Johnson County. The Kansas City Star reports his bail was increased to $2 million from $1 million. Investigators say he and another man attacked a woman Sunday in the parking lot of a Shawnee Wal-Mart. A man in the lot intervened and was shot several times. Shawnee police say another good Samaritan shot and killed one of the attackers, John Simmons of Kansas City. Police say Wyatt fled and was arrested Tuesday in Overland Park. Wyatt told a Johnson County magistrate judge Wednesday he would hire his own attorney.


Appeals Court Upholds Sentence for Hutchinson Bail Bondsman 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Hutchinson bail bondsman who prosecutors say forced women to perform sex acts after he bonded them out of jail. The appeals court this week rejected Dwight Jurgens's appeal of his sentence for aggravated human trafficking and other crimes. He is serving a 21-year sentence. The Hutchinson News reports that Jurgens was convicted of forcing four women he bonded out to perform sex acts or go back to jail. Jurgens's attorneys argued in the appeal that the evidence didn't support the convictions, his constitutional right to speedy trial was violated, and that the district court should have told the jury not to reach a verdict out of sympathy for the women. The appeals court rejected all of those arguments.


Bullets, Other Items Seized in Missing-Women Probe 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City area investigators looking into the disappearances of a woman and a teenager nine years apart say they've taken bullets and other items from the home of a man considered a person of interest in at least one case. Kylr Yust is charged with knowingly burning 21-year-old Jessica Runions's vehicle. She was last seen Thursday night. Investigators haven't said whether Yust knows Runions. Police say Yust is a person of interest in the 2007 disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, Kara Kopetsky. She was 17 when she vanished in 2007. Yust has also spent time in jail for assaulting a pregnant then-girlfriend in 2011. Court records show investigators with search warrants related to Runions's vehicle and a "missing persons investigation" seized two bullets from a home occupied by Yust, as well as clothing, hair, fingernail scrapings and swab samples from him.


Man Charged in Fatal 2014 Hit-and-Run  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County authorities have charged the suspect in a 2014 hit-and-run that killed a man near Clearwater. Fifty-four-year-old Cary Whitlock of Clearwater was charged Wednesday with failure to stop at an accident, resulting in great bodily harm. He is accused of hitting and killing Jeremy Napier as he was walking along a road in September 2014. Whitlock's preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 20. He's free from jail on $25,000 bond. No defense attorney is listed in court records.  Whitlock was arrested last week. Authorities have not detailed what led to his arrest after nearly two years.


Center for Student-Veterans Opens at Kansas State University 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A new, private center on the Kansas State University campus aiming to help veterans transition into student life has opened. The Manhattan Mercury reports that the Military Affairs Innovation Center opened Monday. Art DeGroat, director of the university's Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, says the center will work with other agencies and use the university's research into how veterans have transitioned into life after the military to help student-veterans. The center is also researching the life stories of 48 student-veterans who died while fighting in World War I. The Kansas State University Memorial Stadium will be dedicated to those students in April, which marks the 100th anniversary of the country's involvement in the war. The center is funded through two major donations from the Kansas Masonic Foundation and the David Woods Kemper Veterans Foundation.


KC Mayor Slams Missouri Legislators for Attempting to Override Gun Bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City, Missouri's mayor is accusing Missouri legislators of trying to "double down on stupid" in their push to override a veto of a measure that would broadly expand the rights of gun owners. Kansas City Mayor Sly James made the comments as the Legislature prepared to convene a short session today (WED) to consider overriding numerous vetoes by Governor Jay Nixon - including the guns measure and a photo ID requirement for voters. Nixon's status as the state's most-overridden governor is almost certain to expand. If the guns bill garners the necessary two-thirds vote to overturn the veto, people would be allowed to carry a concealed weapon most places in the state even without a background check or safety training. 


Kansas Governor Vows to Fight Effort to Reclassify Bird 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Oil and gas groups along with Kansas officials are vowing to fight an effort to relist the lesser prairie chicken as a federally threatened species. Found in pockets throughout the Great Plains, the grouse was removed from the threatened and endangered species list earlier this year following court rulings in Texas. Government lawyers decided not to pursue an appeal. Environmentalists are now pushing for federal biologists to review the bird's status and impose emergency protections. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said Tuesday that relisting the bird is unwarranted. He argued that drought caused a decline in the lesser prairie chicken's numbers and that the birds have come back now that the rain has returned. He says there's habitat for the bird. Oil and gas groups say a conservation partnership developed by states and private landowners has also helped to boost lesser prairie chicken numbers in recent years.


Judge Denies Self-Defense Claim in Kansas Gun Store Shootout

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ A judge has denied self-defense claims from one of four men charged in a fatal gunfight at a suburban Kansas City. De'Anthony Wiley, of Kansas City, Missouri, claimed that he was wounded and trying to surrender when Jon Bieker was fatally shot in January 2015 while defending his wife at the She's A Pistol gun store in Shawnee, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports District Judge Timothy McCarthy on Tuesday denied Wiley's self-defense claim. He said it was Bieker acting in self-defense when he fired at Wiley and three other men trying to rob the store. The four men are charged with attempted robbery and first-degree murder in Bieker's death.  


Former Kickapoo Tribal Employee Charged with Embezzlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A formal Kickapoo tribal employee has been charged with embezzlement. The U.S. attorney's office says 45-year-old Heath Hopkins, of Horton, was charged Tuesday with one count of theft from an Indian tribal organization. The indictment alleges that Hopkins wrote unauthorized checks to himself from the tribe's checking account while working as an accounting technician for the Kickapoo Tribe Housing Authority. The indictment says the thefts occurred from August to December of 2013 and involved about $2,800. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison. The case is the latest blow to the Kickapoo Tribe, whose 30-square-mile reservation is in Brown County, in northeast Kansas. Three former tribal leaders were charged earlier this year with misusing federal money.


Midwest Governors Send Letter to EPA Seeking Ethanol Changes 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Seven Midwest governors have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking regulation changes intended to increase sales of gasoline blended with a higher percentage of ethanol. The governors of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota sent a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting new standards that would allow stations to sell more gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol rather than the current standard of 10 percent ethanol. The letter says the current setup "is stifling the widespread adoption" of E15 ethanol blends. The governors — five Republicans and two Democrats — are all from leading ethanol-producing states. The letter was also sent to President Barack Obama. 


Man Pleads Guilty to Highway Shootings near Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Prosecutors say a man who pleaded guilty to a series of shootings on Kansas City-area highways in 2014 will be sentenced to 30 years in prison. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says that 30-year-old Mohammed Whitaker pleaded guilty Tuesday to 20 felony charges arising from the shootings. The random shootings in March and April of 2014 frightened drivers and injured at least two motorists. Shootings were reported in Kansas City, Missouri suburbs of Lee's Summit and Blue Springs and the Kansas suburb of Leawood. Tips from the public led officers to Whitaker. They arrested him in April 2014 in Grandview, Missouri.

Woman Charged with Fatal Stabbing of Kansas City Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a Kansas City woman in a fatal stabbing. The Kansas City Star reports that 35-year-old Clarisa Baldwin was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 40-year-old George Hamilton, of Kansas City. She is being held on a $150,000 bond. Hamilton was suffering from multiple injuries when police responded to a disturbance Monday night and found him on a sidewalk. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Court documents say witnesses heard arguing and saw Hamilton being stabbed several times. One witness said that when Baldwin was urged to leave the victim alone, she responded, "No, he took my phone."


A's Rally in 8th Inning to Beat Royals, 5-4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics' Yonder Alonso delivered a two-run double in the eighth inning as the A's rallied past Kansas City to win 5-4 Tuesday night. The Royals' Joakim Soria blew his seventh save in eight opportunities. He was summoned with two outs in the eighth and the Royals clinging to a 3-2 lead. On his second pitch, Soria gave up a double to Alonso over the head of center fielder Jarrod Dyson, scoring Brett Eibner and pinch runner Joey Wendle. Soria then yielded an RBI single to Marcus Semien. It was another key loss for the Royals. The defending World Series champions dropped to five games out of the wild-card race with only 18 regular season games left. 


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