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Weekend Headlines for August 5-6, 2017

Feds Investigating KC IRS Incident

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a suspicious package that sickened several people at an IRS building in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, smelled like ammonia. Local officials say about 10 people reported feeling sick after the package was delivered to the building Friday. Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Lucy Martinez says seven people were treated at local hospitals. She says several people reported feeling ill with "watery eyes." Some people reported vomiting and nausea. Martinez says the envelope involved smelled like ammonia, but no other details were released about the envelope's contents or where it may have originated. The investigation has been taken over by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The Federal Protective Service, a division of Homeland Security, also is involved. The building wasn't evacuated and business returned to normal about two hours after the incident began.

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Consultant: Kansas City Jail in Staffing Crisis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A consultant says the Jackson County jail in Kansas City, Missouri, is in a crisis meriting swift action because it can't retain enough corrections officers to control a dangerous situation. The Kansas City Star reports that CRA Inc.'s Jim Rowenhorst's assessment to county legislators Thursday comes as one corrections officer was in charge of 130 inmates, and when two corrections officers were overseeing 190 inmates. The county last year raised wages to $12.60 an hour, which hasn't kept the lockup from running below minimum staffing. As Jackson County Circuit Court's presiding judge, John Torrence says the situation is so bad that judges and lawyers cannot count on defendants getting to court for legal proceedings because there is no one to escort them to the courthouse.

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Truman Med Center Worker Charged with Abusing Patient

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An employee of Truman Medical Centers is charged with sexual crimes against a patient in long-term care who cannot speak. The Jackson County prosecutor's office announced Saturday that 49-year-old Luis Soliz was charged with first-degree sodomy and sexual misconduct. Prosecutors say Soliz was charged after a nurse reported seeing him sodomizing a female patient in the long-term care unit of Truman Medical Centers' Lakewood campus. The prosecutor said the patient cannot speak and has limited ability to use her arms and legs. Bail for Soliz was set at $75,000. It was not immediately clear if Soliz has retained an attorney.

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Misspelling on Wichita Water Tower Corrected

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A spelling mistake on a water tower in Wichita that drew national attention and a lot of laughs has been corrected. The water tower on Wichita State University campus carried the name Wichita Staty Universite" for a few hours on Friday before it was corrected. Alan King, the city's public works and utilities director, said the incorrect words went up late Thursday as workers continued a project to add layers of protective paint to the tower. The Wichita Eagle reports workers from an Ohio construction company contracted to do the work had individual templates for each letter and somehow inadvertently switched the last letters of "State" and "University." The contractor's supervisor noticed the error early Friday and it was fixed by noon.

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Ark City Police Investigate Pedestrian's Death

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Arkansas City Police Department is investigating the death of a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle. Police have not released the name of the 77-year-old woman who died in the accident Friday evening. Police say she was walking in the road when she was struck by a car driven by a 21-year-old woman. Neither alcohol nor drugs are thought to have played a role in the accident.

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KBI Investigating Shooting near Fort Scott Cemetery

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating an officer-involved shooting near Fort Scott National Cemetery. The KBI says a Bourbon County sheriff's deputy shot at a pickup late Thursday. The vehicle wrecked but the driver was not hit by gunfire. A preliminary investigation found the incident began when a Bourbon County deputy tried to stop a pickup after it ran a stop sign. The trooper and Fort Scott police officers gave chase but eventually pulled back. The KBI says when the truck was spotted later, the driver struck a Fort Scott police vehicle and drove toward the Bourbon County Sheriff's deputy, who was outside his vehicle. The deputy fired toward the truck, causing the wreck. The suspect, a 51-year-old man from Nevada, Missouri, is being held in the Bourbon County jail.

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Parole Denied for Man who Wounded Two Topeka Officers in 1985

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man serving a Kansas prison sentence of 20 years to life for wounding two Topeka police officers with a shotgun in 1985 has been denied parole. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Prisoner Review Board rejected 75-year-old Ithiel Lawton's parole. The inmate at the maximum-security Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility will next be eligible for release in August 2019. Lawton wounded Topeka police officers Pat Reed and Randy Horn with a shotgun as they responded to a reported dispute between Lawton and his father. The shooting led to a five-hour standoff. Reed required reconstructive surgery to rebuild his left ear. Horn and Reed both left the department soon afterward. Lawton claimed he heard voices from his television set telling him to protect himself from the officers.

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GOP Leader: Kansas Prison Problems 'Disturbing'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Republican says reports of staffing shortages and other problems at state prisons are "very disturbing." But Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita stopped short of endorsing a special session of the Legislature to increase pay for corrections officers. Wagle said she is seeking more information from the Department of Corrections and will wait for answers before asking GOP Governor Sam Brownback to call lawmakers into special session. Lawmakers adjourned for the year in June and aren't set to reconvene until January. The maximum-security prison in El Dorado has seen several inmate disturbances in recent months. Corrections officials blame a high employee turnover rate there and at other prisons on low pay for officers. Republican Representative J.R. Claeys has called for a special session by September.

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Kansas Police Officer Loses Job after Blogger Complaint

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas police officer is out of a job in the wake of a government watchdog's complaint to regulators about a 1995 conviction in a California misdemeanor domestic violence case. Marion Police Officer Michael A. Stone's last day on the job is Saturday. The city says he worked there since September 2012, and it appreciates his many contributions. Stone declined comment, saying in a Facebook response to The Associated Press that he wants to move on. A July 5 complaint filed by blogger Lee White with the state Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Trainings alleges the California conviction disqualifies Stone from serving as a police officer or even from legally possessing a gun. His ex-wife also filed a protection from abuse petition in 2006 in Kansas that was dismissed.

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Priest Accused of Child Sex Crimes Returned to Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Catholic priest has been returned from Maryland to face Kansas charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with children. The Kansas City Star reports that 35-year-old Scott Kallal was processed Thursday night at the Wyandotte County Detention Center in Kansas City, Kansas, where he is jailed on $250,000 bond. Kallal was arrested in Maryland last month after being charged in Wyandotte County with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Prosecutors allege that misconduct took place in 2015. Kallal has been suspended from his duties at Overland Park's Holy Spirit Church and St. Patrick Church in Kansas City, Kansas. It's unclear if Kallal has an attorney.

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Kansas Man Charged in Nebraska Fatality Crash

OGALLALA, Neb. (AP) — A 22-year-old Kansas man has been charged with vehicular homicide for the crash deaths of four Iowa residents in western Nebraska. Authorities say a car driven by 22-year-old Jeser Cisneros-Hernandez, of Liberal, Kansas, crossed the center line on U.S. Highway 26 south of Lake McConaughy on July 1st, striking two motorcycles carrying two people each. Authorities say 54-year-old Sheila Matheny and 61-year-old James Matheny, from Bedford, Iowa, were on one motorcycle. The other riders were 58-year-old Michal Weese and 59-year-old Jerolyn Weese, who lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Court records don't list an attorney for Cisneros-Hernandez, who remained in the Keith County Jail on Friday. He'd told investigators that he'd had little rest the day of the crash while driving from his workplace in Sidney, Montana, home to Kansas.

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Oklahoma Man Sentenced to 'Hard 50' for Kansas Murder, Arson

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — An Oklahoma man has been sentenced to at least 50 years in prison for killing his estranged wife's boyfriend. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release that 33-year-old Thad Christopher Green, of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, was sentenced Thursday in Montgomery County to life without eligibility for parole for 50 years in the death of Cameron Wawrzyniak. Wawrzyniak's body was found inside a burning house near Independence, Kansas, in December 2015. Green also was sentenced to four years and five months for other charges arising from the crime. He was found guilty in May of first-degree murder, arson and aggravated burglary.

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Kansas Unveils New 'Real ID' Drivers Licenses, 3 Years Early

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has unveiled a new driver's license design meant to comply with federal identification requirements for airport security purposes. The new licenses will contain either a gold circle with a white star cutout proving the holder is lawfully in the U.S. and that it is acceptable federal identification, or the words "not for federal ID." The revamped licenses come three years before they are required. Anyone seeking the "Real ID" credential must provide Social Security number documentation, and their birth certificate or valid U.S. passport. People without such documents can get the "not for federal ID" card, which will not be acceptable identification for boarding domestic flights or entering designated federal sites after September 30th, 2020. Those cards still will be valid as state identification or as a driver's licenses.

 

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