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Headlines for Friday, August 24, 2018

Kansas Governor's Task Force Supports Medicaid Expansion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A task force created by Governor Jeff Colyer is recommending that the Kansas Legislature expand Medicaid to include an estimated 150,000 uninsured Kansans.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Thursday's vote by the task force would expand Medicaid with a focus on helping people with substance abuse problems.  Senator Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican, says an estimated one-third of people eligible for expanded Medicaid have addiction issues.  The Legislature voted last year to broaden eligibility for Medicaid but then-Governor Sam Brownback vetoed it. Colyer, who replaced Brownback, also opposed expanding Medicaid.  Colyer lost the GOP primary for governor to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who said Thursday he also opposes expanding Medicaid.  The Democratic nominee for governor, Laura Kelly, and independent gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman support increasing Medicaid eligibility in Kansas.

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GOP Group Attacks 3rd District Congressional Candidate for Stance on ICE

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican super PAC is attacking Democratic 3rd District congressional candidate Sharice Davids for comments she made on a podcast last month in support of abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The Congressional Leadership Fund is starting ads online and on television in the Kansas City area featuring Davids saying she'd vote to abolish the federal government's chief immigration enforcement agency. The ads, in support of Republican incumbent Congressman Kevin Yoder, attempt to contrast Davids' ICE position with Yoder's votes in favor of military raises and increased defense spending and against transferring terrorism suspects to Fort Leavenworth from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay.  After Yoder's campaign ran ads with similar attacks this week, Davids' spokeswoman told the Kansas City Star that Davids does not support abolishing ICE.

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Kansas Independent Greg Orman's Aide Expects Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Independent candidate Greg Orman's campaign manager says he expects Democrats to file a lawsuit to remove Orman from the ballot in the Kansas governor's race.  Campaign manager Tim Phillips said Thursday he would be shocked if a lawsuit wasn't filed after a state board rejected most claims in an objection to Orman's candidacy filed by a Democratic legislative leader's chief of staff.  The board's decision Thursday means Orman remains on the ballot.  Attorney Pedro Irigonegary represented the legislative aide and said a lawsuit is possible but a decision has not been made.  The objection questioned how Orman's campaign collected at least 4,000 signatures on petitions for his spot on the November 6 ballot. He needed 5,000 from registered voters, and the secretary of state's office validated more than 7,700.

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Lawrence Police Officer Charged in Man's Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence police officer is being charged after shooting a man during what started as a traffic stop.  Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announced Thursday that he charged officer Brindley Blood with aggravated battery in the May 29 shooting of Akira Lewis.  Lewis is also charged with four counts, including battery on a law enforcement officer.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Lewis was pulled over by officer Ian McCann during a seat-belt enforcement campaign. Branson said Lewis would not cooperate and Blood responded when McCann called for backup.  Lewis allegedly began hitting McCann and during the confrontation, Blood discharged her weapon, hitting Lewis.  Blood is on administrative leave. The Lawrence police department says it's conducting an internal review to determine if any department policies were violated.

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Lawrence Repeals Old Law on Alcohol Sale Restriction

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials have repealed a restriction on alcohol sales that dates back to Prohibition. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the ordinance restricted alcohol sales within 400 feet of a school or church. The rules had rarely been enforced in recent years, , but getting around them required city leaders to go through a time-consuming review process each time a request for a waiver was made. On Tuesday, the City Commission finally struck the provision. City Clerk Sherri Riedemann says the restriction's concept dates back to the end of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. When the ordinance was in effect, the commission had to hold public hearings before waiving the rules. Affected churches and schools rarely objected. Since 2013, the city has held 33 waiver hearings. In every case, the commission granted the waiver.

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Kansas Couple Reunited After Lawmaker's Help

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina man has been reunited with his wife after a Kansas congressman helped her become a permanent U.S. resident. The Salina Journal reports that 71-year-old Carl Hardesty thanked U.S. Representative Roger Marshall Thursday for helping return 49-year-old Maria Hardesty to the United States. Maria Hardesty was born in Mexico. Marshall's office says Carl Hardesty spent more than $10,000 in legal fees over four years attempting to get legal status for his wife without success. Maria returned to Mexico in April to pursue legal status, but she wasn't allowed to return to the U.S. Carl Hardesty's daughter told Marshall's office about Maria's immigration status, and staff worked with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department to resolve the case. Maria returned Aug. 13 and hopes to eventually become a U.S. citizen.

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KBI Joins Search for Kansas Woman Not Seen Since July

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has joined the search for a southern Kansas woman who hasn't been seen since early July. Liberal police requested the KBI's help this week in the search for 24-year-old Shaila Schlenz. She was last seen in Liberal on July 3 and her and mother received a text message on July 5. KAKE-TV reports her family says she left home with only $20 and the clothes she was wearing. Schlenz is white, 5-foot-2 inches and weighs 115 pounds. She has red hair and brown eyes. She also has a homemade tattoo that looks like a wing on the inside of her lower arm.

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6 Arrested in Wichita in Child Sex Trafficking Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have arrested six people in an alleged child sex trafficking case. Police and federal officials executed a search warrant early Friday at an address in southwest Wichita. Officer Charley Davidson said a 15-year-old girl led them to the address. Davidson said two of the six people have been booked into jail and four were arrested at the home. All face possible child sex crime charges. The investigation is ongoing.

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Woman Sues over Crash, Blaming Drive Playing 'Pokemon Go'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman alleges in a lawsuit that she was struck and injured by a driver playing "Pokemon Go" not long after the game's release. The Wichita Eagle reports that Angeligue Farris is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from David Cardona. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office detention deputy contends in the lawsuit that Cardona was "hunting Pokemon" in August 2016 in an area of downtown Wichita that is considered a hotspot for finding them when he turned into her vehicle. She had been heading home from work and suffered injuries to her left arm, neck, back and hip. Cardona declined to comment about the lawsuit. He was cited for failing to yield right of way to another driver as he made a left turn and paid a $122.50 ticket.

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Plans to Tear Down Verruckt Water Slide on Hold

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Plans to demolish a water slide where a 10-year-old Kansas boy died might be delayed. In July, attorneys for KC Waterpark Management said they were ready to demolish the Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, shortly after Labor Day. The Kansas City Star reports the demolition might be delayed because of disagreements over which parts of the slide should be preserved as possible evidence in criminal cases filed after Caleb Schwab was decapitated on the ride in August 2016. The state has asked that experts be allowed to inspect the slide one more time. The water park's attorneys filed a response Wednesday, questioning the need for another inspection of the slide. A court hearing on the issue is scheduled for next week.

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Coach Bill Self Won't Go 'Over the Edge' for Charity

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas basketball fans hoping to see coach Bill Self rappel over a seven-story building this weekend will be disappointed. Self announced in May that he would go "Over the Edge" of a downtown Lawrence building to help raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. Instead, staff members Kurtis Townsend and Jeremy Case will participate in Saturday's event in Self's place. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Self said in a statement Friday that he's been sidelined by a minor hernia repair. He says doctors told him to wait a few weeks before jumping off any buildings. Self says he plans to watch the event and will come through with his pledge to raise $10,000 for the charity. Former Kansas guard Jeff Hawkins also will participate in this weekend's event.

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Convicted Killer Arrested on Suspicion of Raping 8-Year-Old

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man convicted in a woman's strangulation death has been arrested on suspicion of repeatedly sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl whom he had been baby-sitting. The Wichita Eagle reports that 56-year-old Clifford Eugene Cox was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on Monday on suspicion of child rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecencies with a child. Cox pleaded guilty in 1984 to strangling 23-year-old Cathryn Kessinger, of Winfield, with a rope. Kansas Department of Corrections records show he was sentenced to life but was let out of prison on parole in 2006. Police say the 8-year-old was only one of several children Cox baby-sat, including the girl's three siblings and Cox's children. The girl's father says the family wasn't aware of Cox's criminal record.

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Mother Charged with Sex Trafficking Disabled Teen Daughter

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri mother has been charged with accepting money and cocaine in exchange for letting men sexually assault her 14-year-old daughter who authorities say has cerebral palsy and the mental capacity of a 2- to 3-year-old.  The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that 49-year-old Renee Collins, of Columbia, was charged Tuesday with second-degree trafficking of a child and first-degree child endangerment. Her boyfriend, 44-year-old William Thomas Jr., of Rocheport, is also charged with first-degree rape. They are jailed in Boone County. No attorneys are listed for them in online court records.  Court records say the girl also has autism, is partially deaf and uses corrective leg braces. She was taken into protective custody in July 2017 and told authorities that her mother would "loan" her to men.

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Convicted Felon Charged in Deadly Kansas City Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a convicted felon with fatally shooting another man at a Kansas City home.  KMBC-TV reports that 66-year-old Marshall Celestine faces one count each of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful possession of a firearm in the death of 66-year-old Morris "Mack" Clay. Bond is set at $100,000 cash. No attorney is listed for him in online court record.  Witnesses told police they heard shots and saw Clay staggering out of a home. They then saw the suspect shoot the victim again before going back into the house. Celestine later was arrested in Overland Park in a vehicle spotted leaving the scene of the shooting.   Court documents say Celestine was convicted in 1975 in Sedgwick County, Kansas, of multiple counts of robbery and kidnapping.

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2 Teens on Horseback Critically Hurt When Hit by Tow Truck

AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says two teenagers who were riding horses were critically injured when they were hit by a tow truck.  The collision happened Wednesday evening near Augusta.  KAKE-TV reports the patrol says the 70-year-old tow truck driver didn't see three people on horseback as he was crossing the Walnut River Bridge and struck two of them from behind.  Eighteen-year-old Joshua Quezada and 14-year-old Piper Arnold are hospitalized in Wichita.  Another 18-year-old on horseback and the truck driver were not injured.

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Woman Charged in Crash that Killed 3 After Football Win

SABETHA, Kan. (AP) — A Nebraska woman has been arrested in a head-on crash that killed the mother, sister and uncle of two Kansas high school football players as the family returned home from watching the boys' team win a state football championship.  KMBC-TV reports that the Jackson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office says Maria Perez-Marquez is awaiting extradition to Kansas. She was arrested Thursday in Omaha on an involuntary manslaughter warrant in the November 2017 deaths of 42-year-old Carmen Ukele, 11-year-old Marlee Ukele and 62-year-old Stephen Ukele.  Coach Garrett Michael says brothers Tanner and Carson Ukele were pulled off the Sabetha High School football team bus after a celebratory dinner. A trooper later told them their father had been hurt and the others had died. Perez-Marquez was passing another vehicle before the crash.

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St. Louis Archdiocese Agrees to Open Files to AG's Office, Will Kansas City be Next?

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says the Archdiocese of St. Louis has agreed to open its files for an investigation of potential clergy abuse.  Hawley told reporters in a teleconference Thursday that he is asking the three other Catholic dioceses in Missouri to similarly open their files. Representative of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Diocese of Jefferson City pledged cooperation with any investigation by the attorney general.  A message seeking comment from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was not immediately returned.  Hawley's announcement came amid renewed concerns that followed the release of a report in Pennsylvania citing abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests since the 1940s, along with cover-up by church leaders.

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Fire Damages Kansas City Police Property and Evidence Site

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are working to determine what was lost when a fire damaged one of the department's property and evidence buildings.  The fire was reported at the Kansas City Municipal Services building early Thursday.  Kansas City police spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina says a few shelves with items were burned and other evidence might have been damaged by smoke and water. The building itself was not damaged.  No one was injured.  The items in the warehouse are recovered property from as long ago as the 1970s.  Becchina says staff is processing the inventory and it will take time to determine how much damage was done.  He says the cause of the fire is unclear but there are no apparent signs of foul play.
 
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Federal Judges Says U.S. Government Owes Kansas $142 Million

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge says Kansas is owed $142 million and five other states millions more for costs paid to help finance former President Barack Obama's health care law.  But Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement Wednesday that Kansas shouldn't count on getting the money soon because an appeal is likely.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the case involves a fee that the federal government levies on insurance companies to subsidize the cost of discount insurance provided through federal and state exchanges. States were exempted, but private insurers that administer Medicaid programs in states like Kansas weren't.  Kansas and the other five states challenged a requirement that they reimburse the managed care contractors by building the cost of the fee into the rates paid to the companies.

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Former Company Operator Sentenced in Kansas City for 'Rent-A-Vet' Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who operated a construction company was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison without parole for participating in a "rent-a-vet" scheme to obtain millions of dollars in federal contracts.  Fifty-three-year-old Jeffrey Wilson, of Belton, was sentenced Thursday and ordered to forfeit about $2.1 million to the government.  Prosecutors say Wilson managed the operations of Patriot Company, a construction company. Wilson, who is not a veteran, and a co-defendant, 57-year-old Paul Salavitch, of Kansas City, falsely claimed that Salavitch, a disabled veteran, was involved in the daily operations of the company. That certification made the Patriot Company eligible for federal contracts.  The company obtained 20 government contracts worth more than $13.7 million.  Salavitch has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of making a false writing and awaits sentencing.

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Man Accused of Up-the-Skirt Photography also Filmed Unsuspecting Females at Church, Mall

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court records say a Wichita State University student who's accused of taking more than a dozen up-the-skirt videos of women on campus also filmed unsuspecting people at a church and in a shopping mall parking lot.  The Wichita Eagle reports that a Sedgwick County judge released the affidavit Tuesday in the case against 29-year-old James Dayvault.  He's charged with six criminal counts, including sexual exploitation of a child. His defense attorney couldn't immediately be reached for comment.  The affidavit says Dayvault came under police scrutiny last summer after he was spotted placing his cellphone "inches away" from the buttocks of a bikini-clad girl who was playing with her cousin in a north Wichita neighborhood. The children were 5 and 7.  A search of Dayvault's cellphone and computer led to charges.

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Kansas and other States Take Interest in Legal Fight over Coal Terminal

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — Six states have lined up in support of Washington state in a legal battle over its decision to block a proposed coal-export terminal on the Columbia River.  The Daily News reports attorneys general from California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Oregon filed a "friend-of-the-court" brief this week arguing in support of Governor Jay Inslee's administration in its defense against the federal lawsuit brought by Utah-based Lighthouse Resources.  Lighthouse Resources claimed Washington state officials violated federal laws in denying approvals for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project — a proposed $680 million facility in Longview, Washington, that would be the largest coal shipping terminal in North America.  Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska and Washington's Cowlitz County have previously filed amicus briefs in support of project backers.

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Salina Catholic Diocese Installs New Bishop

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina officially has a new bishop.  The Most Rev. Jerry Vincke was installed Wednesday as the 12th bishop of the Salina Diocese. Pope Francis appointed Vincke to the position in June, when Vincke was pastor of Holy Family Parish in Grand Blanc, Michigan.  Vincke succeeds Bishop Edward Weisenburger, who became bishop in Tucson, Arizona last September.  He will oversee 31 counties in north-central Kansas that include 86 parishes, 11 Catholic elementary schools and five Catholic high schools. The diocese's Catholic population is more than 44,300.  In response to recent revelations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, Vincke told The Salina Journal that it's important to acknowledge what happened, support the victims and work hard to ensure it doesn't happen again.

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