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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, October 15, 2013


UPDATE: Double Homicide Suspect Still at Large

EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Attorney General's office says a man wanted in connection with a double-homicide in southeast Kansas wasn't located during a search in a small town. Authorities on Monday evening closed roads and evacuated homes near a laundry in Eureka where they were searching for Kevin Robert Welsh, who's being sought in the Oct. 2 shooting deaths of 52-year-old Sheila Kriesel and 54-year-old Keith Kriesel. Another woman was injured in the shootings. Welsh hasn't been charged in the shootings, but the state is offering a $5,000 reward for his capture. Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office said in a statement Tuesday that Welsh was not located in the Monday evening searches in Eureka. The attorney general's office also says Welsh is believed to be in the Eureka area and considered armed.


KS Senator Had $1.8M for Campaign at End of September

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A report from Kansas Senator Pat Roberts's re-election campaign shows it had more than $1.8 million in cash on hand at the end of September. The figure was disclosed by the Republican incumbent ahead of Tuesday's reporting deadline. Campaign co-chairman Dave Murfin said it signals that Roberts has strong support throughout Kansas. The report shows nearly $522,000 in contributions to Roberts from July through September, including nearly $258,000 from political action committees. Leawood radiologist Milton Wolf is challenging Roberts in next year's Republican Senate primary. Wolf has become known in conservative and tea party circles for his vocal criticism of the federal health overhaul, and he launched his campaign last week. Wolf's spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.


In KS 2nd District, Jenkins Has Big Lead in Fundraising

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — New Kansas campaign finance reports show Republican congresswoman Lynn Jenkins with a big fundraising lead over her Democratic challenger in the 2nd Congressional District. Jenkins's re-election campaign said Tuesday it ended September with more than $1.4 million in cash on hand after receiving nearly $258,000 in contributions during the previous three months. Democrat Margie Wakefield's campaign said it received almost $110,000 in contributions during the same period and ended September with almost $96,000 in cash on hand. Her campaign manager, Mark Sump, said Wakefield is pleased with the numbers and believes people are contributing because they're frustrated with the budget stalemate in Washington. Jenkins is part of the House GOP leadership team.


Body Found in Yard of Home Near Augusta

AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) — The Butler County Sheriff says a woman is in custody after a decomposing body was found in the backyard of a house southwest of Augusta. Sheriff Kelly Herzet say officers found the body after a neighbor called asking for a welfare check at the home. The homeowner was later arrested and is facing charges of voluntary manslaughter, criminal desecration and two counts of obstructing the legal process. Herzet says the body is so badly decomposed that investigators are unsure if it's a woman or man, but he believes it is an adult. The body was not buried but efforts were made to hide it. The sheriff says deputies have been to the home many times on domestic violence complaints. The victim's identity has not been released.


Kansas State School Board Reviews USDA Snack Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education is reviewing proposed changes in federal rules for the quality of snacks available in public schools. The board heard Tuesday from Cheryl Johnson, director of the state education department's nutrition programs. Johnson said the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the new standards this summer. The USDA is proposing that all food sold in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program meets healthy snack requirements beginning next July. The rules include items sold in vending machines, but exempt sports concession sales and events such as food sales after school. The USDA has said it's trying to fight childhood obesity and related health problems. But its standards on school lunches have been criticized as being too strict and resulting in meals that kids won't eat.


Zebra Mussels Found in Clinton Reservoir Lake

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas reservoir has become the state's 22nd lake with a confirmed population of zebra mussels. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said Tuesday that samplings of various locations in Clinton Reservoir found a widespread adult population of the nuisance mollusks. The 7,000-acre lake west of Lawrence is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, while the state manages its fishery. Other reservoirs in northeast Kansas with zebra mussel infestations include Milford, Perry, John Redmond and Melvern. Zebra mussels multiply rapidly and threaten native wildlife while also clogging water-supply intakes. They're often introduced into lakes by attaching themselves to boats. Kansas officials are repeating their advice to boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats and equipment between uses.


Kansas National Guard Members to Help Rebuild Colorado Highways

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — About 75 engineers from the Kansas National Guard are heading to Colorado this week to help rebuild highways damaged by massive flooding. The Kansans expect to leave for Boulder on Wednesday and remain in Colorado for 18 days. The units supplying Kansas Guard members include the 891st Engineer Battalion based in Iola, the 226th Engineer Company from Augusta and the 242nd Engineer Company of Coffeyville. Also participating are members of the 772nd Engineer Company based in Pittsburg, the 190th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron from Topeka and the 184th Intelligence Wing Civil Engineering Squadron in Wichita. The Kansas National Guard has sent personnel to other states in past years to battle forest fires and help with hurricane recovery.

Missouri AG Says Can't Reopen Notorious Teen Assault Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri attorney general's office says it has no power to reopen an investigation into allegations that two teenage girls were sexually assaulted by some boys at a party in 2012. The case is drawing renewed attention after The Kansas City Star on Sunday published the results of a seven-month investigation into the case in Maryville. Melinda Coleman says justice was denied when Nodaway County authorities dropped charges in 2012 against the boys who her 14-year-old daughter claimed had sexually assaulted her and a 13-year-old friend. County officials say the case against the boys fell apart because the Colemans would not cooperate. Coleman denies that. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Koster said Tuesday that Koster's office lacks the authority to review a local prosecutor's decisions in particular cases.


Mom: Family Cooperated in MO Rape Investigation

MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman says she and her family never stopped cooperating with investigators in the alleged sexual assault of her daughter, despite a county prosecutor's statement to the contrary. Melinda Coleman says her 14-year-old daughter was plied with alcohol in January 2012 and raped by a 17-year-old acquaintance in the northwest Missouri town of Maryville. The girl's 13-year-old friend says she was forced to have sex with a 15-year-old at the same house, while another 17-year-old allegedly recorded the incident on a cellphone. Prosecutors dropped felony charges against the 17-year-olds in March 2012. They later dropped a misdemeanor endangerment charge. Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice issued a statement Tuesday saying the charges were dropped after the accusers refused to testify. But Coleman told The Associated Press that's not true.


Veterans Memorial to Be Dedicated in Leavenworth 

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A new memorial to military veterans will be dedicated in Leavenworth on the anniversary of a local soldier's death in Iraq. The Leavenworth Times reports that the ceremony will be held Thursday, seven years after Army Corporal David Unger and four other soldiers were killed in Baghdad by an improvised explosive device. Unger was a 2003 graduate of Leavenworth High School. His mother, Diana Pitts, chairs the committee that raised money for the Leavenworth Veterans Memorial. But Pitts emphasizes that the memorial honors all U.S. military veterans, not just those killed in war. The memorial is located near the main entrance to the Eisenhower VA Medical Center and will be donated to the facility. Pitts said about $70,000 has been raised for the memorial since the effort began in 2008.


Sedgwick County: Restore Funding for Juvenile Crime Prevention 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County corrections official says fewer youths are being locked up but that the number could rise if Kansas doesn't restore funding for early intervention programs. County corrections department director Mark Masterson spoke Monday to a group of Kansas lawmakers touring county facilities. The Wichita Eagle reports the number of Sedgwick County youths sent to juvenile prisons and other out-of-home placements dropped to 145 in the 2012 fiscal year from 400 in 1999. But Masterson fears that could change. He says the amount of state funding for prevention programs has dropped from an annual high of $6 million to $1 million this year. Republican House member Jim Howell says he arranged the tour to get a better feel for how the county's detention systems operate.


Topeka Cafe Manager's Service Dog Injured

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A visually impaired man who manages three cafeterias in Topeka is missing one of his best workers. Bill Dain's says his 5-year-old golden retriever, named Kirkcaldy, makes it possible for him to be independent. Dain manages cafeterias in the Landon State Office Building, the Docking State Office Building and the Westar building. He says his dog helps him navigate between the buildings. But Kirkcaldy recently had to have surgery on a torn ligament and is out of commission for at least five weeks. The surgery cost $3,200. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that an account to pay the dog's expenses has been established at CoreFirst Bank and Trust in Topeka. Co-workers and other state employees have held bake sales and made donations but only one-third of the costs have been covered.


AP Report: Kansas Abortion Lawsuits Cost $913K

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two private law firms have been paid more than $913,000 to help the state of Kansas defend anti-abortion laws enacted since conservative Republican Governor Sam Brownback took office. The attorney general's office disclosed the figures in response to requests from The Associated Press. The payments included $126,000 for the defense of new restrictions enacted earlier this year. President and CEO Peter Brownlie of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri called the spending "a travesty." But Mary Kay Culp of Kansans for Life says it's ridiculous to blame abortion opponents for the spending when abortion providers are filing the lawsuits. Since Brownback took office in January 2011, legislators have approved regulations specifically for abortion providers and tighter limits on late-term abortions. They've also restricted private health insurance coverage for terminating pregnancies.

KU to Break Ground on Business School Site

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas breaks ground this week for a $66 million building to house the School of Business. University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Governor Sam Brownback and business school leaders are scheduled to attend the ceremony Friday afternoon. The six-story, 166,000-square-foot building will replace Summerfield Hall, which will eventually be used for other purposes. Most of the funding for construction comes from private gifts. Friday's event will take place across the street from Allen Fieldhouse on the Naismith Drive tennis courts, where the new School of Business will be located. The courts will be moved to another location on campus.

Rebuilt Stretch of I-70 Opens in NW Kansas

GOODLAND, Kan. (AP) — A three-year project to improve a stretch of Interstate 70 in far northwest Kansas has been completed. The Kansas Department of Transportation marked the milestone with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Travel Information Center west of Goodland. Crews rebuilt 12 miles of eastbound and westbound lanes of I-70 from the Colorado border east into Kansas. The $48 million project was funded by T-WORKS, a transportation program approved by the Kansas Legislature in 2010 to create jobs and preserve highway infrastructure.


Court: Anti-Missouri Tigers License Plate OK

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A state appeals court says a Missouri man who roots for the University of Kansas Jayhawks may keep his personalized license plate expressing disdain for the University of Missouri Tigers. The Administrative Hearing Commission last year rejected an effort by Missouri's Revenue Department to recall Toby Gettler's plate, which reads "MZU SUX." The Revenue Department had issued the plate, but tried to recall it on the ground that "SUX" is obscene. Gettler presented evidence, including a dictionary definition, that the word has gained common usage as slang for "subpar or inadequate." The Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District on Tuesday upheld the hearing commission's decision in Gettler's favor. The appellate court said there is evidence to support the commission's determination.


Ex-NBA Player Joe C. Meriweather Dead at 59

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Former NBA player Joe C. Meriweather, who later coached women's basketball at Park University in Missouri, has died in Columbus, Georgia. He was 59. Park athletic department spokesman Steve Wilson says Meriweather, of Phenix City, Alabama died unexpectedly Sunday. The cause of death was unknown. Wilson said Meriweather is the most successful women's basketball coach in Park University history. He led the team to its only NAIA national championship tournament in the 2005-06 season. The 10-year NBA veteran played for the Houston Rockets, the Atlanta Hawks, the New Orleans Jazz, the New York Knicks and the Kansas City Kings. He also had played in Italy and Spain. The 6-foot-10 Meriweather was the 11th pick in the 1975 NBA draft out of Southern Illinois and is in its hall of fame.

Man Sentenced for Shooting Granddaughter, Man

MINNEAPOLIS, Kan. (AP) — A 72-year-old Kansas man was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for shooting his granddaughter and her husband in November 2012. Johnnie R. Kilpatrick was sentenced Monday for two counts of aggravated battery. He originally was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the November 2012 shootings of Emily Ramos-Powell and Jesse Powell. The Powells were seriously injured in the shooting at their home. The Salina Journal reports that court records say Kilpatrick went to the Powells' home and argued with them about where her 4-year-old son should live. Jesse Powell and another apartment resident were able to disarm Kilpatrick and hold him until officers arrived.


Lawyer Pleads Not Guilty in Dad, Woman's Deaths

CAMDENTON, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City attorney accused of killing her father and his girlfriend has pleaded not guilty in their deaths. Susan "Liz" Van Note is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the October 2010 deaths of 67-year-old William Van Note and 59-year-old Sharon Dickson. She entered her pleas Friday during an arraignment in Camden County Circuit Court. The couple was shot at their vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks. Dickson died at the scene and William Van Note was hospitalized. Prosecutors allege Susan Van Note forged durable power of attorney documents, leading doctors to remove her father from life support. Prosecutors did not file charges in Dickson's death until last September. The case was transferred to Camden County last month. No trial date has been set.


Victim Returns to Nebraska School After Attack

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The 17-year-old victim of an attack at a Lincoln, Nebraska high school has been warmly greeted as she returned to classes. The Lincoln Journal Star says Ellen Kopetzky got a standing ovation Tuesday morning when she entered the gym at Pius X High School. In brief remarks to teachers, administrators and fellow students, Kopetzky said it was "great to be back." She was attacked October 7 in a school bathroom by another student. Kopetzky was released from a hospital the next day, after facial surgery. The 16-year-old suspect fled the school and was found on October 8 in southeast Kansas. She's since returned and is charged as an adult. The Associated Press is not using the girl's name because the AP generally doesn't identify juveniles accused of crimes.




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