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Regional Headlines for Friday, October 18, 2013


KS Supreme Court Suspends Former AG Kline's Law License

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has had his law license indefinitely suspended by the Kansas Supreme Court over allegations of ethical misconduct during his investigation of abortion providers. Friday's decision comes after repeated disputes between Kline and his critics over his tactics over alleged violations of state law. Kline was Kansas attorney general from 2003 to 2007 and Johnson County district attorney in 2007 and 2008. He is now a visiting professor at Liberty University in Virginia. A state disciplinary panel contends Kline repeatedly misled or allowed subordinates to mislead others — including a grand jury — to further his investigations. As attorney general, Kline pursued misdemeanor criminal charges against Dr. George Tiller over late-term abortions performed by his Wichita clinic. The case was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons.

FBI Investigating Threats to Wichita Water System

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The FBI is investigating a threat against water systems in four cities, including the city of Wichita. FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton confirmed on Friday that the FBI has not been able to substantiate any threats to the four cities. She would not name the other cities. Wichita spokesman Van Williams said security in the city's water system is being increased after an unspecified terrorist threat. He says the city's water is safe to drink. The Wichita Eagle reported that an internal city email it obtained Friday asked city employees to be vigilant during the next 30 days about anything hooked to a fire hydrant. Another e-mail advised plumbers in the city to call police if they see someone they don't recognize "messing with a fire hydrant or vent pipe."

Kansas Seeks Mental Health Records in Quadruple Killings

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — State prosecutors are requesting the mental health and prison records of an Ottawa man charged with killing four people on an eastern Kansas farm in May. The subpoenas were mentioned at a brief hearing Thursday for 28-year-old Kyle T. Flack in Franklin County District Court. Flack is charged with capital murder, first-degree murder, rape and criminal possession of a firearm in the deaths of Andrew Adam Stout, Steven Eugene White, Kaylie Kathleen Bailey and Bailey's 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh. Prosecutors filed subpoenas under seal for undisclosed business records. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that defense attorney Ron Evans said prosecutors were seeking mental health and prison records. A spokesman for the state's attorney general's office said the state wouldn't comments about motions filed under seal.

Board Asks KS AG to Defend Science Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The State Board of Education is asking Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to defend it in a lawsuit over its decision to adopt new science standards. Board members met with their attorney in executive session this week about the federal lawsuit filed last month by an anti-evolution group called Citizens for Objective Public Education. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that individual board members asked for the attorney general to represent them in court. The lawsuit names the board and individual members as defendants. It contends the new science standards promote atheism and violate the religious rights of students and parents. The standards were developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council. They treat evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Kansas Regents See Possible Attack on Tenure

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Fred Logan says the state's higher education system may face a legislative attack on tenure for professors. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Logan raised the issue during a board meeting Thursday and suggested issuing a statement supporting tenure. The board didn't act. Logan said he's heard talk of legislators trying to change tenure rules, though no proposal has become public. Conservative Republican legislators have demanded that the University of Kansas fire journalism professor David Guth over a tweet following September's shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington that left 13 dead. Guth is on indefinite paid administrative leave. His tweet said the victims' blood was on the hands of the National Rifle Association and "Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters."

Ft. Riley Soldiers Resume Training After Shutdown Ends

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — Soldiers at Fort Riley will be able to resume normal training and education functions as the flow of federal money resumes to the nation's military. Activities had been curtailed for more than two weeks during the partial federal government shutdown. Major Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, says Thursday that soldiers would begin returning to regular activities once funding is available. Fort Riley also will be able to resume normal community relations functions, such as supporting local parades or other gatherings. Most of the civilian employees who were initially furloughed October 1st were already at work after being recalled by the Department of Defense. O'Donnell says any remaining furloughed employees would be returning to work.


Lawrence Journal-World to Outsource Its Printing

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas City Star is taking over printing the Lawrence Journal-World. The Lawrence newspaper reports that its parent company, The World Company, announced Thursday that the current production plant will close in January, eliminating 33 jobs. The World Company co-presidents, Dan Simons and Dolph C. Simons III, said several factors led to the change. One is that The Gannett Company has notified The World Company it will end its 30-year USA Today printing relationship with the Journal-World in January. The statement says the changes aren't expected to affect the newspaper's delivery. The World Company's four weekly newspapers — The Shawnee Dispatch, Tonganoxie Mirror, Baldwin City Signal and the Chieftain of Basehor and Bonner Springs — will be printed at The Examiner printing facility in Independence, Missouri.


Ex-Volunteer Firefighter Gets Probation for Arson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A former volunteer firefighter has been sentenced to a year of probation for setting three Reno County grass fires amid severe drought last fall. The Hutchinson News reports that 19-year-old Cody Knox apologized Friday in Reno County District Court. Knox was initially charged with setting 14 grass fires from October 16 to November 27, 2012. Prosecutors dropped 11 counts last month in exchange for his guilty pleas to three of the charges. Knox used a cigarette lighter to set the fires, all of which occurred near Arlington. No structures, fences or livestock were threatened. At the time of the fires, Knox was studying fire science at Hutchinson Community College. He now works on a farm and could be sent to prison if he violates the terms of his probation.


2nd Reno County Resident Dies of West Nile Virus

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Reno County officials say a second county resident has died after contracting the West Nile virus and they are investigating other cases. The Hutchinson News reports the wife of 75-five-year-old Jim Hendrickson says he died Tuesday after more than four weeks in the hospital. The other known victim, 67-year-old Jim Geesling of Turon, died October 3 at a Wichita hospital. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said this week Reno County had three confirmed West Nile cases as of Tuesday. The number of confirmed cases statewide is up to 45, with two confirmed deaths. The Reno County Health Department says it's investigating new cases this week but declined to give a specific number.


Traveling CA Minister, Pilot Die in KS Plane Crash

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a traveling California minister and his pilot are dead after a small-Texas bound plane crashed soon after taking off from a Kansas airport. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter identified the victims as 72-year-old Edward Dufresne and the pilot, 49-year-old Mitchell Morgan. He says witnesses reported seeing debris falling from the twin-engine Cessna before it crashed around 10:15 am Friday in a field about 20 miles southeast of Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro says the plane was bound for New Braunfels, Texas. According to the itinerary on his website, Dufresne spoke Thursday night at a Wichita church and was scheduled to speak at a Schertz, Texas, church Friday night. Dufresne ran the World Harvest Church in Murrieta, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles.


Teen Accuser in MO Rape Case Writes 1st-Person Account

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri teen who says she was raped by an older boy at her high school has written an account of her ordeal for an online woman's magazine. In the article posted Friday on, Daisy Coleman writes that the 2012 incident sent her into a spiral and she twice tried to commit suicide. Mandy Stadtmiller, deputy editor for the website, says she asked Daisy to provide the first-person account after reading about her story. Felony charges against two teens were dropped after the prosecutor in Maryville said the witnesses refused to cooperate. On Wednesday, the prosecutor asked for a special prosecutor to re-examine the evidence. The Associated Press doesn't generally name sexual assault victims but is naming the girl because she and her family have been granting public interviews.


Appeals Court to Allow MGP Stockholders Meeting

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Court of Appeals says MGP Ingredients in Atchison can have a stockholders meeting, which had been delayed for months by a fight between the company's board members. The appeals court this week lifted a stay it had placed on the stockholders meeting, effective next Tuesday. The appeals court placed the stay on the meeting so it could consider the case. The Atchison Globe reports six MGP board members and the company's CEO, Tim Newkirk, have delayed the stockholders' meeting as they try to sell at least part of the company. Two other board members, Cloud Cray Jr. and Karen Seaberg, who have ties to the company's founders, want to remove Newkirk and replace two board members. They say selling the company would not be in stockholders' best interests.

2 Dodge City Men Convicted of Gang Crimes

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two Dodge City men have been convicted of several gang-related crimes, including murder. A federal jury on Thursday convicted 27-year-old Pedro Garcia and 28-year-old Gonzalo Ramirez for crimes committed in 2008 and 2009. The men are both members of the Norteno street gang. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom's office says each man faces sentencing January 6 on nine counts, ranging from racketeering to murder. Ramirez also will be sentenced on four other counts, including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were convicted of the fatal shooting of Israel Peralta at a Dodge City trailer park, a home robbery and an assault of people the men believed to be members of a rival gang. Prosecutors said the crimes were committed to intimidate rival gang members and the public.

Spokeswoman: Adult Son of KC Mayor Dies

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A spokeswoman for the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri says the mayor's adult son has died after a prolonged illness. Joni Wickham, spokeswoman for Mayor Sly James, said Thursday that Eric James died Tuesday in Springfield, where he lived. Wickham said Eric James was in his early 40s. Wickham did not disclose the cause of death, but said James had been ill for a while. Funeral arrangements were pending. On his Twitter account Thursday, the mayor thanked people for their "kind words and wishes" and said he "may be a bit out of touch over the next few days."


Ex-MO Woman Admits Filing False Tax Returns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former western Missouri woman has admitted filing 36 false claims for nearly $158,000 worth of federal income tax refunds for herself and others. The U.S. Attorney's office says 34-year-old Kelsey R. Jones pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to filing a false claim. Jones formerly lived in the Kansas City suburb of Grandview. She now lives in Houston, Texas. In her plea, Jones admitted recruiting people to file federal income tax returns under their own names. Jones entered inflated income and revenue figures on the returns before filing them, resulting in larger refunds than her customers deserved. Prosecutors said she sometimes had part of the undeserved refunds directly deposited into her own bank accounts without her customers' knowledge. Those diversions totaled about $17,000.


Topeka Teacher Honored with Milken Award

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka high school art teacher has won a prestigious teaching award. Washburn Rural High School fine arts teacher Brad LeDuc was named a recipient of the Milken Educator Award for Kansas. The Kansas State Department of Education said in a news release that LeDuc was told about the award Thursday in a surprise ceremony at the school. The Milken award also comes with a $25,000 prize. LeDuc has been an educator for about 12 years. Governor Sam Brownback and state education commissioner Diane DeBacker were among those attending the ceremony Thursday at the high school.

Corps Opening Recreation Sites in KS, MO, NE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The end of the partial federal shutdown means the reopening of several campsites and recreational facilities in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Kansas City planned to open visitors' centers, boat ramps and other facilities Friday at the 18 lakes it manages in the three states. In Missouri, the corps operates campsites Truman, Pomme de Terre and Stockton lakes. Kansas campsites managed by the agency are located at Clinton, Kanopolis, Melvern, Milford, Perry, Pomona, Tuttle Creek and Wilson lakes. Also reopening is the corps-managed campsite at Harlan Lake in Nebraska.

Kansas Man Gets Nebraska Jail Time for Fatal Crash

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — A Kansas truck driver has been sentenced for vehicular homicide stemming from a crash in south-central Nebraska. The Hastings Tribune reports that 47-year-old Victor Allende was given 270 days in jail and fined $500 last week. He'd pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge. A court affidavit says Allende, of South Bend Township, Kansas, was eastbound on U.S. Highway 6 east of Hastings on April 24 and was following too closely behind another truck when the other truck stopped for a train crossing. The affidavit says Allende's semi rammed the other truck, pushing it into the path of an oncoming pickup driven by 52-year-old Neal Sahling. Sahling, of Wood River, was killed.


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