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Headlines for Monday, December 2, 2019

Here's the latest Kansas and regional news from the Associated Press, compiled by KPR staff.

Seven Small Earthquakes Rattle Kansas Over the Weekend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Seven small earthquakes have rattled Kansas since Saturday, with all but one of them clustered near Wichita. The Kansas Geological Survey reports that six of the tremblers were centered in southwest Sedgwick County. They ranged in magnitude from 2 to 3.1. A seventh earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 was reported in Rooks County in the north-central part of the state. The threshold for damage usually starts at 4.0. The Wichita Eagle reports that the earthquakes hit as the Kansas Corporation Commission is investigating the cause of a swarm of 17 earthquakes in five days in the same area of central Kansas in August. The regulatory agency's investigation is focused on the underground disposal of oilfield waste that has been blamed for quakes elsewhere in southern Kansas.

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Lawrence Man Sentenced to 17 Years for Shooting at Officer

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 36-year-old Lawrence man who shot at a police officer has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. Abdul Jalil Hussein was sentenced Monday after he shot at an officer in June 2018 at his home in northwest Lawrence. Several cases against him were resolved when he pleaded no contest to attempted murder and aggravated burglary. Hussein was accused of exchanging gunfire with the officer outside his home. Neither man was injured. He also had been charged after an hours-long police standoff in December 2017 and violent incidents at his mother's home. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Hussein’s mother, Grace Torko, said Monday the family tried unsuccessfully to get help for him from mental health groups and the police in the months before the shooting.

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Settlement Clears Way for Return of Man Banished from Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A deal has been struck that clears the way for the return to Kansas of a man who had been banished from the state as a condition of a criminal plea deal. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas said Monday it has reached an agreement with Montgomery County that dismisses the lawsuit it brought on behalf of Bo Dana Rupert in exchange for an amended plea agreement.

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River Watchers Already Wary About 2020 Spring Flooding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - After a year that has seen some of the worst flooding ever in parts of the Midwest, concern is already rising that the spring of 2020 may bring more high water to places that still haven’t fully recovered. Flooding ravaged much of the Missouri and Mississippi River basins earlier this year, reaching record levels in many places. Eight months later, parts of the Missouri River are above flood stage at a time of the year when river levels traditionally run low. Conditions are only slightly better on the Mississippi River. High river levels aren’t the only worry. National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs cites two other factors: Soil is extremely saturated in several upper Midwestern states, and the long-range forecast offers a strong possibility of a wetter-than-normal winter.

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Man Dies from Injuries After Fire at Topeka Nursing Facility

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials say a 64-year-old man injured in a fire at a Topeka nursing facility has died. Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin said Alvie McCluskey was injured in the fire at Rose Villa on Saturday. His death was announced Monday. Martin said in a news release that fire crews arriving at the building found smoke in the hallways. Nursing staff led firefighters to McCluskey, who was taken to a Topeka hospital. The blaze was contained to the room where it started and was out when firefighters arrived. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a preliminary investigation indicated the fire was accidental and likely caused by careless use of smoking materials. The building was not damaged. Martin said smoke detectors in the building worked as designed.

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Flooding at Kansas Parks Costing State Millions

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The toll of massive flooding in Kansas is proving to be high for the agency that operates state parks. Officials at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism say the agency will lose millions of dollars due to park closures, property damage and washed out park roads. In much of the state, heavy rains began in early spring and flooding was widespread into the summer. High water levels at reservoirs, where many state parks are located, inundated campgrounds, boat docks and roads. Parks Director Linda Lanterman says the timing was especially bad because May through August are the "Million-Dollar Months," when revenue is usually at its highest. This year, state park revenue fell short in those four months. In June, revenue was $568,743 compared to nearly $1.6 million in June 2018. 

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Woman Arrested in Death of Her Husband in Salina

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a woman in the killing of her husband in Salina. Sixty-year-old Melani Grubbs was booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of her husband, 52-year-old Phillip Grubbs Jr. Police say emergency crews found him dead Saturday while responding to an emergency call.

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Ex-Garden Plain Water Operator Sentenced for False Report

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The former operator of the water system in Garden Plain was sentenced to a year of federal probation for submitting a false report about the quality of the city’s drinking water. Federal prosecutors say 64-year-old Arthur Wolfe, of Norwich also was ordered Monday to pay a $1,000 fine. Wolfe pleaded guilty in September to making a false statement in a report to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that was required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The original indictment accused Wolfe of claiming water samples came from four homes in Garden Plain, when the samples actually came from the city’s water treatment plant. Garden Plain, a town of about 900 residents, is about 29 miles west of Wichita.

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Bystander Wounded in Club Shooting Dies of Injuries

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a bystander who was wounded in a shooting at a Wichita club has died. KWCH-TV reports that police identified the victim Monday as 19-year-old Sonja Brown, of Wichita. She was in the club early Sunday when two men got into a fight. One of the men then opened fire, scrambling the crowd. Capt. Brent Allred says Brown was among those running for cover when she was struck.

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Woman Dies in Wichita Fire After Being Trapped Upstairs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman died in a house fire after she became trapped on the home’s second floor. Fire Marshal Stuart Bevis said the woman’s husband discovered the fire when he came home Monday but was unable to make it up the stairs because of the smoke and fire. Firefighters got the woman out of the house but she was pronounced dead at the scene. Bevis said the woman had mobility issues and wasn’t able to leave the house on her own. He said smoke alarms were going off when firefighters arrived. The cause of the fire is under investigation but Bevis said oxygen tanks may have contributed to the blaze.

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Sister Seeks Justice for Man Who Died After Drunken Argument

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The sister of a Wichita man who died after a drunken argument says she wants investigators and prosecutors to take another look at his death now that it has been ruled a homicide. The Wichita Eagle reports that Rocio Rosales says her family wants “some kind of justice” for her brother, Raul Rodriguez.

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Survey Suggests Economy Slowing Down in 9 Midwest States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey of business leaders suggests the economy is slowing down in nine Midwest and Plains states as the U.S. trade war with China continues. The overall index for the region slipped into negative territory at 48.6 in November from October’s 52.6.

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Fetus Found in Wichita Died of Stillbirth/Miscarriage

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a human fetus found near a river in Wichita in November died from stillbirth or miscarriage. The Wichita Eagle reports an autopsy report filed last month in Sedgwick County District Court found the fetus, which was estimated to be about three months gestation, was not capable of living or developing outside the womb. The report said the fetus showed no evidence of genetic malformation or disease. A 57-year-old woman found the fetus Nov. 3 by the Arkansas River in south Wichita. It was wrapped in a baby blanket in a black shoe box. When the fetus was fund, authorities said they did not believe a crime had occurred. Officer Charley Davidson said Monday authorities were able to talk to everyone involved in the case.

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One Dead, One Injured in Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One man is dead and another hospitalized after a shooting in south Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the shooting happened around 5:45 a.m. Saturday at a home on South Main. A 24-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. A 25-year-old man was shot once in the arm and drove himself to the hospital. Police say his injuries are not life-threatening. Names of both men have not been released. A 20-year-old man at the home was taken into custody. Officer Paul Cruz says the men knew each other. Police believe the shooting was drug-related.

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Sedgwick County to Pay Wichita Officer After Police Dog Bite

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County has agreed to pay $37,500 to a Wichita police officer who was bitten by a deputy’s police dog. The Wichita Eagle reports that documents it obtained through an open records request show the K-9 bit police officer Nathan Toman in the testicle, thigh and wrist during a November 2017 burglary call. His attorney says the officer also suffered a fractured wrist. Ironically, the dog’s handler — Sedgwick County Deputy Sarah Sinnett — is the same deputy who successfully sued the city of Wichita for $67,000 after she was bitten by a Wichita police K-9 in 2014. In the latest case, the county reached a settlement without a lawsuit being filed in court.

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Vandalism at Historic Site Focusing Attention on Preservation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Discussions following vandalism at a historic site linked to abolition and the Underground Railroad may help generate support for preservation efforts there. The vandalism was discovered earlier this month at a statue honoring abolitionist John Brown in Kansas City, Kansas. Part of his hand and a scroll he'd been holding were missing. The statue marks the entry point to the historic Quindaro Ruins, stone foundations and caves with archaeological artifacts linked to the activity of abolitionists and the Underground Railroad. Media reports about the latest vandalism and community outrage over it are focusing attention on the site. Energy company Phillips 66 has gas lines in the area. A spokesman says the company wants to see what it can do to support preservation of the site. 
 
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Three Weekend Homicides Reported in Kansas City, Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police are investigating three weekend homicides in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City Police spokesman Jacob Becchina said one man was found shot inside an apartment Sunday. Two other victims were found lying in the street in separate incidents on Saturday. Becchina says one person is in custody in connection with the man found in an apartment near East 29th Street and Prospect Avenue, but no arrests had been made in the other two homicides. One man was found lying in the street near 38th Street and Monroe Avenue around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Another man was found near Gregory Boulevard and Flora Avenue with gunshot wounds around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The victims' names have not been released.

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Sister Seeks Justice for Man Who Died After Drunken Argument

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The sister of a Wichita man who died after a drunken argument says she wants investigators and prosecutors to take another look at his death now that it has been ruled a homicide. The Wichita Eagle reports that Rocio Rosales says her family wants ``some kind of justice'' for her brother, Raul Rodriguez. She says he ended up with a 3-inch cut on the back of his head in September when he was shoved and fell. She says paramedics bandaged him and tried to convince him to go to the hospital. But he said no and died the next day. The Sedgwick County district attorney declined to file charges, noting in part that pre-existing medical conditions, including chronic alcohol abuse, couldn't be ruled out as substantially contributing to his death.

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Alternative to Burial, Cremation May be in Kansas’ Future

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Death typically brings two options - burial or cremation - but a third option could be on the horizon in Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that something called promession, the creation of a Swedish biologist, would allow the body to be cryogenically frozen and vibrated into tiny pieces. Proponents say it holds the potential to make burial more environmentally-friendly. Promession has been used on pigs but so far has not been tried on humans. Still, the company pursuing the idea sees Kansas as fertile ground for the new method. That company, Promessa, has one of its few U.S. representatives based in Overland Park. Meanwhile, a state lawmaker may introduce a bill in 2020 to clear the way for the new method.

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Two Arrested on Suspicion of Murder, Kidnapping and Robbery

BEL AIRE, Kan. (AP) — Two Wichita men have been arrested in the death of a man whose body was found lying near a road near Bel Aire last week. Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Myers say 33-year-old Thomas Ray Armstrong and 30-year-old Efrain Daniel Arroyo II were arrested and booked into jail Saturday on possible charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. A passerby found the body of 30-year-old Christian Hernandez on Wednesday. The Wichita man had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene. Hernandez's death remains under investigation.

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Chiefs Dominate Raiders to Hold Division Lead 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs defense came alive yesterday as the Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders by a score of 40-9 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The much-maligned Chiefs defense set the early tone in the first half. Tyrann Mathieu came up with an interception on the Raiders' drive to open the game. Chiefs rookie Juan Thornhill also had an interception and returned it for a touchdown.  By halftime, the Chiefs had built a nearly insurmountable 21-0 lead.  The Chiefs are now 8-4 this season and, with yesterday's win, solidified their hold on lead in the AFC West division. The Chiefs have an AFC championship rematch next Sunday against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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Louisville Is New No. 1 in AP Poll; KU at No.2, Unranked Michigan Goes to No. 4

Louisville climbs to No. 1 in the latest reshuffling of The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, while Michigan has matched a record by going from unranked to No. 4. The Cardinals became the fourth No. 1 in five weeks this season following Duke’s home loss to Stephen F. Austin. KU is ranked No. 2, followed by Maryland, Michigan and Virginia. The Wolverines matched KU's feat in 1989 for the biggest jump from being unranked in the history of the poll that dates to 1949.

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KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.
 

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