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Headlines for Friday, February 14, 2020

 

McClatchy, Publisher of Kansas City Star & Miami Herald, Files for Bankruptcy

UNDATED (AP) - The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers nationwide is filing for bankruptcy protection. McClatchy said Thursday it will continue to run normally as it pursues approval of its restructuring plan under Chapter 11. Its 30 newsrooms, including The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer in Raleigh, and The Star-Telegram in  Fort Worth, will continue to operate as usual. McClatchy expects fourth-quarter revenue of $183.9 million, down 14% from a year earlier. Its 2019 revenue is anticipated to slide 12.1% from the previous year. The publisher's origins date to 1857 when it first began publishing a four-page paper in Sacramento, California, following the California Gold Rush. That paper became The Sacramento Bee.

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McClatchy Has 30 Papers in 14 States, Operations Continue

UNDATED (AP) - McClatchy, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, operates 30 newspapers in 14 states. Its papers include The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee. The company says the newspapers will continue to operate as it reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The newspaper industry has been devastated by changing technology that has sent the vast majority of people online in search of news. McClatchy's origins date to 1857 when it began publishing a four-page paper in Sacramento, California, following the California Gold Rush. That paper became The Sacramento Bee.

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Kansas GOP Leader Decries Attempts to Tie Abortion, Medicaid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A top Republican lawmaker in Kansas is disputing what has become a key talking point for GOP colleagues who are blocking a bipartisan plan to expand the state's Medicaid program. Abortion opponents argue that expansion could lead to taxpayer funding of elective abortions.Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning sent an email to senators Friday decrying what he called "inaccurate verbal and written statements" used to justify opposition among abortion opponents to Medicaid expansion. They're trying to block expansion until a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution saying it does not "secure" a right to abortion gets on the ballot. 

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Democrats Sue over Kansas Delay in Start of 'Vote Anywhere'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas and national Democratic Party groups have sued the Republican official who oversees the state's elections. The lawsuit filed Friday accuses Kansas Secretary Scott Schwab of violating voters' rights by delaying implementation of a law designed to make voting on Election Day more convenient. The lawsuit was filed in state district court in Topeka. Schwab says his office will need another year to draft regulations needed for counties to take advantage of a 2019 state “vote anywhere” law. The law permits counties to allow voters to cast their ballots at any polling place within their borders on Election Day.

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Kansas Supreme Court Denies Request to Withdraw Murder Pleas

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal) — The Kansas Supreme Court has rejected a man's motion to withdraw guilty pleas in a Topeka homicide case. Thirty-year-old Coty Ryland Newman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the October 2010 shooting death of 20-year-old Matthew Mitchell and to attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Treshawn Wynne, then 17 on the campus of Topeka West High School. The court on Friday upheld a 2014 decision to reject Newman's attempt to withdraw his pleas. The court did overturn a 2014 order requiring lifetime post-release supervision for Newman after he completes his prison sentence. 

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Reports: Jail Altercation in Kansas Sparked by Mealtime Rule

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Reports show an altercation at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility lasted two minutes from the time the first punch was thrown to when inmates began following orders and the situation was deemed “controlled.” Twenty inmates were involved and five officers were injured. Documents obtained by The Associated Press obtained through an open records request portray a large disturbance on Feb. 4 which unexpectedly erupted, but which was quickly contained without any inmates injured and without damage to the facility. It was sparked when guards tried to cuff inmates who refused to leave the chow hall until they had finished eating.

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Georgia Nursing Home Company Banned from Kansas for 10 Years

IOLA, Kan. (AP) — A Georgia nursing home company will not be able to do business in Kansas for 10 years and must pay a $100,000 fine for not protecting patient and employee records. Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the penalty Friday for AltaCare Corp., of Alpharetta, Georgia. The company did business as Pinecrest Nursing Home in Humboldt. The company also was ordered to destroy all Pinecrest records or modify them so personal information can't be read. Schmidt alleged in a lawsuit filed in 2017 that the company didn't have reasonable procedures to protect records or to destroy the records when they were no longer needed. 

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Number Hurt After School Bus Overturns Grows to 27

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) - The number of children hurt when a bus overturned on a slush-covered Kansas highway has climbed to 27. The Wichita Eagle reports that the injury count increased Thursday based on a more detailed report by the Kansas Highway Patrol. It also said that one of the injured included an 11-year-old boy who sustained a suspected serious injuries. Early reports from state troopers and Wichita Public Schools about Wednesday's crash said 17 were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after the bus skidded off the side of the Kansas Turnpike about 14 miles south of Emporia. 

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18-Year-Old Woman Jailed in Fatal Shooting of Her Boyfriend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say an 18-year-old Wichita woman has been arrested in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend. The Wichita Eagle reports that Rina Han Nguyen, is jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder and criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied dwelling in the death of her boyfriend, 22-year-old Amare Holt. Her bond is set at $300,000. It wasn't immediately known if she had an attorney. Wichita police Lt. Jeff Gilmore said the two got into an argument before 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Nguyen's apartment. Gilmore said Holt was walking out the front door of the apartment when Nguyen pulled out a handgun and started shooting. 

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Man Pleads Guilty to Having Child Porn on Cell Phone, Which He Lost

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 39-year-old Missouri man who lost a cell phone containing child pornography has pleaded guilty in the case. Christopher Lee Caven, of Belton, pleaded guilty Thursday to receiving child pornography over the internet. His phone was found in March 2017 at the Flying J Truck Plaza in Peculiar. The person who found it tried to reset the phone for his own use but called authorities when he found a large amount of child porn in a folder. Prosecutors say investigators found 402 video files and 302 images of child porn on the phone. Many of the children were toddlers.

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KC Man and Woman Charged; Hundreds of Animals Removed from Couple's Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City couple is facing three municipal charges of animal cruelty after nearly 270 small animals were removed from their home.  Authorities charged 24-year-old Mikabel Montero and 21-year-old Natasha Acosta Thursday with failing to adequately care for the animals. Most of the animals removed Monday from their duplex were rats. The city's  Neighborhood and Housing Services said it was one of the worst animal hoarding cases the agency has investigated. The Kansas City Star reports Montero said Thursday he would fight one of the violations but he accepts he's guilty for anything that went wrong and acknowledged he had too many animals.

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Teen Accused of Planning Explosion in Ohio and Hoax Threat at Kansas School Indicted

CLEVELAND (AP) — A teenager who authorities say wanted to set off an explosive device at an Ohio high school and telephoned police about a hoax hostage situation at a Kansas elementary school has been indicted on federal charges. Prosecutors in Cleveland on Friday said 18-year-old Allen Martin Kenna has been charged with attempted use of an explosive device and interstate communication of threats. An FBI agent's affidavit details excerpts from Kenna's electronic diary in which he discusses plans to build bombs, and his desire to commit mass shootings and kill family members and politicians, including President Donald Trump. Court records don't indicate whether Kenna has an attorney.

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Owner of Closed Boonville Hospital Files for Bankruptcy

BOONVILLE, Mo. (KCUR-FM) — The owner of a Boonville hospital that closed abruptly in January has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Court filings show Pinnacle Healthcare System owes between $10 million and $50 million to between 200 and 1,000 creditors. The Boonville hospital closed Jan. 15, less than two years after Pinnacle Healthcare bought it. A statement from Pinnacle CEO Joe Conigliaro said the Boonville hospital will be reopened but he did not say when. A Pinnacle hospital, clinic and medical practices in Overland Park, Kansas, will remain open during the restructuring. 

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NWS: More Flooding Expected this Year Along Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The National Weather Service says there's an elevated flood risk along the eastern Missouri River basin this spring. That's because the soil remains wet and significant snow is on the ground in North Dakota and South Dakota.  Communities along the lower Missouri River already were bracing for the prospect of more flooding this spring because many of their levees remain in poor shape after last year's massive flooding.  The National Weather Service says nearly every place that flooded last year in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri is at some risk to flood again, because of the extensive damage to levees.  

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Gun Maker Files for Bankruptcy Following Kansas City Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Nevada-based gun manufacturer filed for bankruptcy after Kansas City sued the company over weapons trafficking last month. KCUR Radio reports that Jimenez Arms filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on February 10. It's bankruptcy petition listed assets of less than $50,000 and outstanding liabilities surpassing $1 million. This could pose a challenge for the city should it successfully recover compensation in its lawsuit. It alleges the gun trafficking created a public nuisance in Kansas City, which has one of America's highest homicide rates. Mayor Quinton Lucas says it's the first such lawsuit filed against the gun industry in more than 10 years.

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Wichita Police: 25-Year-Old Man Fatally Shot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting in Wichita.  Police responded Wednesday evening to the scene in southeast Wichita where they found a 25-year-old man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. Police didn't immediately release the name of the victim or a motive.

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Missouri Couple Accused of Keeping Autistic Girl in Cage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two women have been charged with locking a 9-year-old autistic girl in a cage in their filthy and roach infested home in northwest Missouri.  The girl's mother, 35-year-old Katrina England, and her wife, 39-year-old Debra England, were charged this week with child abuse and child endangerment.  Court records don't list attorneys for either of the women, who are free on bond. The DeKalb County sheriff's office says deputies and child welfare workers went to the family's home in Maysville on Tuesday to investigate abuse allegations.  They found a bunk bed that had been modified with boards to keep the girl from escaping and animal droppings and cigarette butts all over the floor.

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Judge: Kansas City Officer Justified in Death of Unarmed Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A judge says a Kansas City police officer used reasonable force when he fatally shot an unarmed man because the officer believed the man was armed and posed a threat.  Officer William Thompson shot and killed Ryan Stokes in July 2013. The victim, Stokes, was black.  The officer, Thomson, is biracial.  24-year-old Ryan Stokes was falsely accused of stealing a cellphone when a foot chase ensued and the officer killed him.  U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes issued a ruling this week in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from Stokes' mother. Her attorney plans to appeal.

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Former Kansas Researcher Accused of Experimenting on Patients with Intellectual Disabilities in Iowa

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP / KPR) - A child psychologist who formerly worked at the state hospitals in Osawatomie and Parsons is under fire in Iowa, where he's facing a federal lawsuit.  Jerry Rea (Ray) is accused of conducting sexual arousal experiments on vulnerable residents at an Iowa center for people with intellectual disabilities.  Rea conducted similar research in Kansas while running the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center.  The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services says its initial investigation of sexual arousal research in Kansas suggests ethics guidelines and proper protocols were followed.  Six former employees of the Glenwood Resource Center in Iowa filed the federal lawsuit this week, alleging they were fired or forced to resign because they questioned Rea's activities.  They also claim Rea didn't get consent from the center's residents before conducting his research experiments.

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Iowa Governor Won't Discuss Center's Sexual Arousal Research

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds isn’t commenting on accusations made against state officials in a federal lawsuit involving sexual arousal experiments performed on residents of a state care center for people with intellectual disabilities. Two doctors and other former employees of Glenwood Resource Center sued a state agency and several officials this week, alleging conspiracy to silence complaints about sexual arousal research conducted by Jerry Rea, the former superintendent of the center. Reynolds says she can't comment on the lawsuit. She wouldn't answer questions about when she learned of experimentation on patients and how much of Rea’s background was checked before he was hired.

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Ambulance Driver Crashes on Slushy Kansas Highway

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an ambulance has crashed on a slushy stretch of Interstate 35 near El Dorado in central Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the driver lost control around 10:30 am Wednesday as the area was under a winter weather advisory. The crash report says the driver then overcorrected and struck the barrier wall and the guard rail. The ambulance driver went to a hospital with a suspected minor injury. No mention was made in the report of a patient in the ambulance. The patrol says a tractor-trailer also was involved in the wreck. That driver had no apparent injury.

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Bill Would Let Kansans Buy Fireworks All Year Long

TOPEKA, Kan.(KPR/KNS) - State lawmakers might let Kansans buy fireworks all year long.  A bill in a Senate committee also extends the calendar for seasonal fireworks sellers to set up shop.  Brent Aiello (EE-low) sells fireworks seasonally in southeast Kansas. He says the state is losing tax revenue to Missouri, where sales can start earlier.  Under the proposal, local governments would still be able to regulate the sale and use of fireworks.  Dodge City officials oppose the bill, telling lawmakers it could mean more injuries and more work for police and firefighters.

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6 Kansas City Employees Plead Guilty to Overtime Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Six Kansas City public works employees have admitted taking part in a conspiracy to fraudulently collect overtime pay. Federal authorities say the six conspired to claim $58,000 in overtime they didn't earn between January 2013 and November 2016. The city calls in employees on overtime to replace or repair essential signs, such as stop signs or yield signs. Prosecutors say the six employees admitted that they reported damaged signs on evenings or weekends in order to be called out to fix them. They then submitted time sheets and work orders to indicate they had fixed the signs when they hadn't done so.

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Sedgwick Sheriff: 8 Deputies Suspended for Illegal Steroids

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says eight jail deputies have been suspended in connection with the sale and possession of illegal steroids. The activity had been going on for a year and apparently took place outside the facility. It does not appear any illegal steroids were introduced into the jail. Seven men and and one woman have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of any charges. Three of them are believed to have sold the illegal steroids. The officers include two corporals, range in ages from 27 to 48. No charges have been filed.

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Wichita Woman Admits to Getting Paid to Care for Jailed Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicaid by claiming she was caring for a man when he was in jail. The Kansas attorney general's office said in a news release that 52-year-old Gretta Elaine Smith entered the guilty plea Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court. The release said an investigation found that she fraudulently collected money by claiming to be providing in-home personal care to 65-year-old Joe Ross Mitchell last year when was incarcerated on unrelated charges. The release said Smith put at least some of the money and possibly all of it in Mitchell's jail commissary account.  

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Lawsuit: Missouri Firefighter Accuses Coworkers of Sexual Harassment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A lawsuit says a firefighter in Missouri is accusing her coworkers of sexual harassment, including watching pornography at the station and showing her nude photos. The Kansas City Star reports that Dana Osborne, the first firefighter in the Nixa Fire Protection District, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Western District Court of Missouri. The lawsuit states Osborne was hired in 2017 and almost immediately was treated differently and critiqued on a different basis than her male colleagues. It also includes accusations that Osborne was denied training and female-appropriate equipment

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Gay Missouri Cop to Finish Career on His Own Term After Lawsuit

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis County police lieutenant who was passed over for promotion 23 times said he has no plans to leave the department after he settled a discrimination lawsuit for $10.25 million. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Keith Wildhaber says he's happy with his new job as commander of the department's new diversity and inclusion unit. He was named to that unit after jurors awarded him $20 million. Both sides entered into settlement talks about the verdict. The 47-year-old Wildhaber says he wanted to finish his career on his own terms.

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