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Regional Headlines for Friday, October 25, 2013


MO Man Charged in 4-City Water Threat

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 69-year-old Kansas City man has been charged with trying to extort $10,000 from the FBI in exchange for helping avert a purported plot to contaminate four public water supplies in Kansas and Missouri. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson announced the charges Friday against Manuel Garcia, who was arrested and placed in federal custody pending a detention hearing. Dickinson says there was no evidence of a credible threat to the water supplies in St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, Topeka and Wichita. Prosecutors allege Garcia called the FBI and other agencies this month claiming two acquaintances planned to put some kind of dangerous chemical into the communities' water supplies. Investigators say Garcia offered to try to locate the two men in exchange for $10,000 and a grant of immunity.


Google Fiber to Bypass Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Google Fiber is bypassing Overland Park for now after the Kansas City suburb hesitated to sign a deal. The Kansas City Star reports that the tech giant negotiated a tentative deal that would open the way for it to sell its 1-gigabit-per-second Internet connections and cable-style TV service there. It sought no direct subsidies and asked for some access to rights of way in return for free Internet service to public buildings such as schools and libraries. But the city council decided in September to put off a vote for a month. After receiving assurances about an indemnification clause, the council was ready to approve the agreement this month. But by then, Google was moving on. Company spokeswoman Jenna Wandres says "Speed matters."


KS Supreme Court Upholds Murder Conviction

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has affirmed the felony murder conviction of an Emporia man who was present when an acquaintance shot and killed another man. The justices returned the 4-3 decision Friday. In the ruling, the majority rejected Samuel Llamas's arguments that he was only a bystander to the crime. They found there was sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that Llamas had helped the shooter track Omar Flores. Prosecutors said Llamas was with the shooter when Flores was shot at least 10 times outside an Emporia motel in September 2009. Witnesses said Flores was killed because he refused to pay for a bad batch of methamphetamine.


KS DCF Agency Reviewing Ties with Faith Builders Organization

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families says her agency wouldn't place children at foster homes operated by a non-profit until a review of concerns raised by a state lawmaker is completed. The Wichita Eagle reports that Phyllis Gilmore wrote a letter to state legislators dated Thursday saying she had instructed the agency's contractors and subcontractors to do no further placements with Faith Builders. Wichita state Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau contacted DCF staff in August with questions she and others had about the agency's interactions with Faith Builders. Gilmore received the review earlier this month and says more work needs to be done to address DCF's association with the organization.

Man Sentenced for Role in Northeast KS Homicide

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A 23-year-old northeast Kansas man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in a January shooting death. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Lloyd Wabaunsee of Mayetta was sentenced Friday in Jackson County (Kansas) District Court for second-degree murder. He pleaded no contest to the charge in September after the prosecution agreed to recommend the sentence. Because of his criminal history, Wabaunsee normally would have faced a sentence ranging from about 18 ½ to 20 ½ years. Wabaunsee was found hiding in the trunk of a car in a grocery store parking lot in Urbandale, Iowa, about a week after 29-year-old Kevin Stanley was shot at his Mayetta home. After the discovery, Wabaunsee and three others were arrested. Wabaunsee was the last defendant to be sentenced.


Deal Expected in KS County Theft Case

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas prosecutor says she expects to reach a plea agreement with a woman accused of stealing $16,000 from the Jackson County (Kansas) agency where she worked. KNZA-AM reports that 40-year-old Janette Fund, of Delia, waived her preliminary hearing Thursday and was bound over for arraignment in November. County Attorney Shawna Miller says a plea agreement is likely. Fund was arrested in September and faces 90 counts each of theft and entering false accounting information. She worked from April 2011 to July of this year for the county's Noxious Weed, Landfill and Recycling Department. The Jackson County sheriff says Fund was caught in July with missing cash that should have been deposited in the agency's accounts. The thefts allegedly went on for two years.


KS Gov Calls for '50-Year Vision' on Water

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has ordered five state agencies and a council of economic advisers to begin work on what he's calling a "50-year vision" for water policy in Kansas. Brownback announced Thursday that he's directed the agencies and his economic advisers to deliver their blueprint for long-term water policy by November 1st, 2014. The governor announced his actions at the start of a two-day conference in Manhattan on water issues. Brownback says the persistent drought in the western half of the state shows the importance of water to the Kansas economy. He directed the Kansas Water Office and its planning counterpart, the Water Authority, to work on the 50-year vision, along with the state departments of Agriculture, Health and Environment, and Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

KS Women's Prison Receives $25K Dental Grant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state prison for female inmates in Kansas has received a $25,000 grant for its denture manufacturing lab from a nonprofit organization. The Kansas Department of Corrections announced Thursday that the Topeka Correctional Facility had received the grant from the Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation. The agency says the prison's dental lab will use the money buy equipment and supplies that will increase its productivity and improve its training of inmates in denture-making. Dentures made in the lab go to health clinics that serve needy Kansans. The foundation was set up in 2003 by Delta Dental of Kansas, the largest administrator of dental benefits in the state.

KS Board of Ed Member Criticized for Biz Promotion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State Board of Education member is receiving criticism for passing out brochures for his tutoring business at a meeting. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that board member Steve Roberts refers to himself as "Mr. X, Mentor of Mathematics." Earlier this month, he distributed cards to dozens of high school guests from Topeka. The cards directed the students to an Internet website where clients can subscribe to a math instructional program for $15 per month. The site, but not the cards, say Kansans can access tutorials for free. Several fellow board members are objecting, including chairwoman Jana Shaver. She says a board meeting isn't the proper forum for Roberts to make students aware of Mr. X services. Roberts says handing out the marketing materials was a spur-of-the-moment calculation.

EPA to Host KS Session on Climate Action Plan

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Federal environmental regulators plan to hold a listening session in northeast Kansas next month on President Obama's Climate Action Plan. The Environmental Protection Agency says the November 4 session is among 11 being held nationwide. The goal is to solicit ideas from the public about the best approaches under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants. The four-hour Kansas meeting will be held at the EPA's regional office Lenexa and starts at 4 pm. Comments can also be sent to until November 8.

Wichita Police 'Impostor' Was Sheriff's Deputy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Wichita say a man suspected of impersonating a police officer and stopping a motorist was actually a Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy. The Wichita Eagle reports that a woman called 911 Monday evening saying she'd been stopped by someone in an unmarked car. The woman said the man took her personal information but did not issue a citation. But Sheriff's Lieutenant David Mattingly said Thursday it turns out the man was a sheriff's detective who stopped the woman for speeding and having an expired tag. Mattingly says the detective used his discretion and did not issue a citation. Mattingly also says the detective told him he had shown the woman his badge, immediately identified himself to her and was wearing a jacket with the word "sheriff" on it.

KS Man Wanted in Rape Case Arrested in Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service says a Kansas man charged with giving a girl drugs and raping her has been caught in Delaware. Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal William David of the District of Delaware says 19-year-old Edwin Ramirez of Johnson County was sought by the Overland Park Police Department in Kansas on an outstanding warrant charging him with rape, sexual battery and contributing to a child's misconduct. Officials say Ramirez provided drugs to two teenage girls, then raped one of them in January. After deputies developed information that placed Ramirez in Delaware, David says deputies and Wilmington police raided a Wilmington home this week and arrested Ramirez as a fugitive from justice.


Anti-Gay Message Left for Overland Park Restaurant Server

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A server at an Overland Park restaurant who got an anti-gay note instead of a tip from a couple he waited on has been getting support online. The Kansas City Star reports that a couple who ate at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Overland Park recently left a message for their waiter instead of a tip. Their message read in part: "Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD." Friends of the waiter spread word of the note on social media. Marvin Baker, with Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, went to Carrabba's Thursday for lunch with his partner to show support for the waiter.


New Penguin Exhibit Opens at Kansas City Zoo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new $15 million penguin exhibit is opening its doors at the Kansas City Zoo. KCTV reports that visitors can see the black-and-white animals starting Friday. More than 40 penguins are housed in the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, and the zoo hopes to add more to the 2,800-square-foot habit in coming years. The flightless birds eat up to 50 pounds of fish per day. Kansas City Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff says he couldn't be happier with how the exhibit turned out.

Burglary Suspect Crashes Truck into Wichita House

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A burglary suspect is jailed after fleeing from authorities and crashing his pickup truck into the house he'd just broken into. Lieutenant Jason Gill of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department says that when officers responded Thursday night to a burglary call, the suspect was still at the home. KAKE reports that the suspect fled, leading to a three-minute chase. The chase ended when the truck crashed through the front door of the house where it all began. The suspect knows the person living at the house, and Gill said they had been having "domestic issues." No one was hurt.


Father and Daughter Die in KCMO Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A father and his 14-year-old daughter have died in a Kansas City crash. Police said the crash happened Thursday when a driver apparently lost control of his vehicle. Witnesses reported that the driver was speeding before swerving and rear-ending another car. Police said that after the initial crash, the speeding car went off the side of the road and hit a tree. Police identified the victims Friday as 32-year-old Justin D. Williams and his daughter, Jazmine J. Harris. The driver's 5-year old-daughter and a 13-year-old girl were in the back seat. Police said the two girls were transported to an area hospital and are reported to be stable.


KC-Area Priest Pleads Guilty to More Child Porn Charges

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City priest who was sentenced last month to 50 years in federal prison for child pornography has received an additional 21 years in Clay County (Missouri) for similar charges. The Reverend Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty Friday in Clay County Circuit Court to three charges of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to seven years for each. The Kansas City Star reports the sentence will run at the same time he serves his federal term. The 48-year-old has admitted taking lewd photographs of young children. His case resulted in a misdemeanor criminal conviction against Bishop Robert Finn for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse to the state. The photos came to light in December 2010 after a computer technician found several suspicious images on Ratigan's laptop.


Supporters Applaud Lawyer Re-Examining MO Rape Claim

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Supporters of a Missouri girl who says she was raped as a 14-year-old by an older schoolmate who wasn't prosecuted are applauding the selection of a Kansas City attorney who is tasked with re-examining the case. Daisy Coleman's backers and lawyers who have worked with Jackson County (Missouri) prosecuting attorney Jean Peters Baker say her experience handling high-profile cases and as a victims advocate make her a good choice for special prosecutor in Daisy's case. Baker says her review of the case will be fair and thorough. The Nodaway County prosecutor determined that there wasn't sufficient evidence to justify charges. Daisy says an older boy got her drunk and sexually assaulted her in January 2012. He says the sex was consensual.


Ex-MO Officer Accused of Stealing Drugs, Jewelry

RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) — A former western Missouri police has been charged with stealing prescription painkillers and jewelry from his department's evidence room. The Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutor on Friday charged 35-year-old Justin M. Pool with three felony counts of theft of a controlled substance and two felony counts of property theft. Pool formerly worked as an officer with the Raytown Police Department, where the thefts allegedly occurred on five separate occasions in January of this year. A Missouri Highway Patrol investigator wrote in court documents that in each instance, Pool checked out an evidence bag, removed pain pills or jewelry and replaced the items with nonprescription drugs or cheap jewelry. Online court records did not list an attorney for Pool, and a phone number for him could not be found.


MO Man's Body Recovered from Collapsed Trench

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — Crews have recovered the body of a worker killed in the collapse of a trench being dug to connect a sewer line to a house under construction in suburban Kansas City. Forty-nine-year-old Brian D. Allen, of Windsor, was buried in dirt and clay when the trench — about 10 to 15 feet deep — collapsed Thursday afternoon in Lee's Summit. Lee's Summit firefighters worked more than 24 hours before recovering Allen's body Friday afternoon. The rescuers had reached the body overnight, but additional shoring had to be installed to keep the sides of the trench from collapsing again. Police Sergeant Chris Depue says Allen and another man working with him were employed by a local plumbing company that was working for the builder.


KC Schools Superintendent Gets 5-Year Contract Extension

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City, Missouri school board wants to keep its superintendent around for another five years. The board decided Thursday to sign Superintendent Steve Green to a new contract paying him $250,000 a year after the district showed improvements. The Kansas City Star  reports that the contract would retain Green through June 2018. The coming years promise to be fraught with challenges. Because the district is unaccredited, it soon could be forced to begin paying to allow its students to transfer to accredited school systems. A legal challenge has been holding up the transfers. The 59-year-old Green already has worked in the district two years. If he sticks around for all seven years, that would make him an exception. Green is Kansas City's 20th superintendent in the last 31 years.

Salina Woman Accused of Craigslist Scam

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina woman is accused of scamming sellers on Craigslist by sending fake money orders for purchases. The Salina Journal reports the 51-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of multiple felonies. Police Lieutenant Jim Norton says an investigation turned up at least eight victims with total losses of more than $5,000. The victims had advertised items for sale on Craigslist, including a guitar, silverware set, an electric dryer and a set of animal traps. Norton says investigators seized a stack of fake Western Union MoneyGrams made out for $975 each from the suspect's apartment. Authorities believe the woman would send the seller a fake MoneyGrams and then make calls seeking repayment by claiming an assistant had sent the wrong one. The victims wired back money.



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