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Headlines for Monday, December 23, 2019

After Deadly Crashes of Marquee Aircraft, Boeing CEO Steps Down

Boeing's CEO is stepping down with no end in sight for a crisis that has enveloped the manufacturer and its marquee aircraft, the Max 737.  The Chicago company said today (MON) that Dennis Muilenburg will depart immediately. The board's current chairman David Calhoun will become president and CEO on January 13. Boeing's Max has been grounded worldwide after two crashes: one in October 2018 off the coast of Indonesia and another in March 2019 in Ethiopia, which killed a combined total of 346 people. The company said the change in leadership is needed to restore confidence in Boeing.

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Changing Kansas Supreme Court Faces Wary GOP-Led Legislature

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas's new chief justice plans to push for changes aimed at helping veterans and the mentally ill, and she expects to press for a big budget increase. But the Kansas Supreme Court that Marla Luckert leads faces a Republican-controlled Legislature that's been sharply critical of the court. Luckert became the court system's top official last week, and her agenda includes expanding special courts that try to treat the underlying problems facing veterans, the mentally ill and drug abusers. But some lawmakers remain wary because of the court's past rulings protecting abortion rights and forcing increases in education funding.

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Kansas Mental Hospital Pledges to Address Inspectors' Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is promising to provide more treatment to some patients after federal inspectors found problems with care at a state hospital for the mentally ill and threatened to pull funding. The Wichita Eagle reports that Osawatomie State Hospital responded to a unannounced federal inspection in November by pledging to have clinical group leaders attempt to provide patients who miss group therapy sessions with more one-on-one contact. Federal inspectors had said treatment for some patients needed to be more frequent and intense. The hospital also addressed another inspection issue by telling federal officials that treatment plans will be individualized for each patient. 

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Delivery Driver Credited with 'Saving Christmas' from Fire

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) — A fire official says an eastern Kansas driver for the U.S. Postal Service “saved Christmas" after his delivery truck caught fire. The Wichita Eagle reports that firefighters in the town of Osawatomie on Sunday posted photos on the volunteer department's Facebook page of the smoldering and badly damaged engine compartment of the mail truck. The area of the driver's seat also appeared to be damaged. But several packages, including Amazon Prime shipping boxes, were removed by the driver and placed in a ditch a safe distance from the burning vehicle.

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32 Years After Body Found in Kansas, Victim Is Identified

LINCOLNVILLE, Kan. (AP) — More than three decades after a woman’s body was found in a rural area of Kansas, authorities have identified the victim. Michelle Carnall-Burton went missing in 1987. On Monday, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said DNA testing showed that a previously unidentified murder victim found in 1987 near Lincolnville, Kansas, was Carnall-Burton. The match was confirmed after Carnall-Burton's parents submitted DNA samples earlier this year. The body was found by a road crew on Sept. 21, 1987. The remains were too decomposed to identify at the time. Carnall-Burton was 22 at the time of her death.

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Judge Rejects Permits for Northwest Kansas Hog Operations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has invalidated two state permits allowing large hog production operations in northwest Kansas deemed too close to surface water by environmentalists. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson ruled earlier this month that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment violated state law. The permits were for four operations in Norton and Phillips counties in 2017 and 2018. The operations were under common management but organized as separate companies. KDHE allowed each facility up to 250 feet from surface water, half the distance for a single, larger facility. The Sierra Club sued in 2018. 

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First-Degree Murder Charge in Fatal Independence Shooting

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — A teenager is now charged in the fatal drive-by shooting of a woman in southeastern Kansas. The Kansas City Star reported Monday that 18-year-Benjamin Mason of Coffeyville, Kansas, was charged with first-degree murder. The shooting happened earlier this month. Authorities say 19-year-old Kimberly Meeks was shot to death as she walked with a man in Independence, Kansas, on Dec. 14. Witnesses said someone fired shots from a passing car. Mason was arrested a day after the shooting at his home in Coffeyville, about 20 miles south of the shooting scene.

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Man Killed, Teen Injured in Eastern Kansas Crash

BURLINGAME, Kan. (KAKE) - Authorities say a 20-year-old man died and an teenager was hurt in a car crash in eastern Kansas early today (MON).  According to KAKE TV, the crash happened at around 1:15 am on Route 56 in Burlingame. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Nicholas Swanson lost control of his 2006 Ford Mustang near Kansas street and left the roadway. The vehicle went into a yard and hit two trees before coming to rest in a creek bed.  Swanson, of Shenandoah, Iowa, died in the crash. His 16-year-old passenger, who is from Carbondale, Kansas, was transported to a Topeka hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  The patrol's online crash log states the man and teen were not wearing seat belts.

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Drunken Driver Hits KCK Patrol Vehicle, Injuring Officer

Authorities say a drunken driver has struck a Kansas City, Kansas, patrol cruiser and and injured an officer who was sitting inside and finishing up reports from a previous accident. Police said in a Tweet that the crash happened just before 3 am Saturday on Interstate 70. Police say the officer was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating.  

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Missing Woman's Body Found Near I-435 in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police in Kansas City say the body of a woman missing nearly a week has been found on the side of a road in the southeastern part of the city. Police say family members searching for 28-year-old Renita Thompson found her body Saturday just a block west of Interstate 435, in the Strupwood neighborhood. Police quickly identified the body as that of Thompson. Her cause of death has not been released but foul play is suspected.  Police are asking the public's help and are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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Years Later, Thief Sends County Money for Stolen Receptacle

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas county has an extra $75 in its coffers thanks to a former thief with a guilty conscience. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that someone anonymously sent the money to Shawnee County along with a letter dated Dec. 18. The letter states that the sender is in a 12-step program and working to make financial amends. It states that many years ago the writer stole a receptacle meant for cigarette ashes that was in front of the courthouse. County Commission Chairman Bill Riphahn says the letter was accompanied by three $20 bills, one $10 bill and one $5 bill.

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Police ID Man Struck and Killed Along Kansas City Highway

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities have identified a man who was struck and killed by a car while walking on a Kansas City highway.  Police ID the man as 23-year-old Craig A. Herden, of Kearney, Missouri.  The crash happened just before 2 am Saturday on Missouri Highway 152, just west of Liberty. Police say the driver of the car -- a 24-year-old man from Kansas City -- stopped at the scene. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

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Police: 1 Killed, Another Wounded in Leawood Shooting

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) - Police in Leawood are investigating a fatal shooting that left one person dead and another injured.  Officers were called to an apartment complex parking lot Friday night after receiving reports of gunfire.  A short time later, two people showed up at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Police say one of the victims, a man, died of his wounds. The other victim was taken to an area trauma center.  It was Leawood's first homicide of the year.

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Olathe Police: 68-Year-Old Woman Found Stabbed to Death

OLATHE, Kansas (AP) - Olathe police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a 68-year-old woman.  Police responded to an armed disturbance at an Olathe neighborhood just before noon on Friday, where they found the woman suffering from a stab wound.  She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name has not yet been released. Police say another woman -- a 38-year-old who knew the victim -- was also found at the scene and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  

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Gardner City Council's Move Against Local Newspaper Strikes Some as Retaliation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A growing community near Kansas City has decided this week to stop publishing its legal notices in its hometown newspaper. Some City Council members in Gardner, Kansas, describe the move as cost cutting, but the city is making the move after several officials publicly criticized the coverage the city was receiving. The council changed its "newspaper of record" following a staff report that the city would likely lower its costs 75% by going with another weekly publication. But critics see it as retaliation. Longtime Publisher Rhonda Humble says, "They're trying to shut me up." The newspaper stands to lose thousands of dollars a year by losing the city's business.

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Fewer Kansans Picked Insurance Plans from Federal Marketplace in 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Fewer Kansans are picking health insurance plans from the federal marketplace. Preliminary tallies show about 86 thousand Kansans picked plans this year.  That’s down by about 4,000 people over last year.  The decrease doesn’t surprise Linda Sheppard, an expert in health insurance at the Kansas Health Institute.  She says that's because an important navigator group lost its federal funding.  Navigators are the experts who help people understand their marketplace options.  This year, insurance companies offered more options in Kansas and some lower premiums.

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Man Fatally Shot at Apartment in Winfield

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — Police say the shooting death of a 32-year-old man at an apartment in Winfield is being investigated as a homicide. The Wichita Eagle reports that emergency crews were called to the Honor Apartments at Southwestern College shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday. The shooting victim, 32-year-old Gabriel Luna, was taken to a Wichita hospital. He died on Friday. No arrests have been made but police believe the shooting was an isolated incident with no threat to the public.

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Mailman Credited with Saving Christmas After Truck Fire in Osawatomie

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) - A U.S. postal employee rushed to rescue gifts after the engine of his mail truck caught fire in rural Kansas. The Osawatomie Fire Department said in a Facebook post Sunday that "Your Prime delivery may have just lost its Prime. The good news is, the mailman saved Christmas!" Photos show packages lined up long a country road just south of Osawatomie. The engine compartment of the truck was destroyed.

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Report: Decline in Rural Students Affects Overall Decline in Enrollment at K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - An analysis by a Kansas newspaper shows that declines in students from rural counties are playing a major role in an overall drop in enrollment at Kansas State University. Total enrollment from Kansas counties considered completely rural fell by more than 27% over the last five years, while enrollment from mostly urban counties dropped by 9.2%, according to an analysis by the Manhattan Mercury.  Enrollment from counties deemed mostly rural fell by 21%. The categories were based on U.S. Census Bureau definitions.  Enrollment at the university's Manhattan, Salina and Olathe campuses dropped to a 20-year low... (of 21,719 students this semester).  

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Native Kansas Broadcaster and KU Alum Bill Kurtis Gets Honorary Degree, So Does Former KU Artist Roger Shimomura

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Broadcaster Bill Kurtis is getting an honorary degree from the University of Kansas. The Kansas Board of Regents voted this week to give degrees to Kurtis and longtime KU faculty member Roger Shimomura. The university says Kurtis will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree...and Shimomura will receive a Doctor of Arts degree.  

Kurtis anchored the CBS Morning News and has hosted various A&E crime and news documentary shows.  He's also the announcer on the public radio show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."  Kurtis worked at KANU Radio (now known as Kansas Public Radio) at the University of Kansas in the early 1960s as a classical music announcer.  He also serves as an honorary member of the station's advisory board.  

Shimomura taught art from 1969 to 2004 at KU and creates art addressing the sociopolitical issues of Asian America.  

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No More Late Fees at Lawrence Public Library

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The Lawrence library is joining a growing number that are dropping fines for overdue books. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the library's board voted unanimously to make the change. Library patrons will still be charged for lost or damaged items.  Patrons will also be blocked from checking out additional books and materials once an item becomes two weeks overdue, but return of the overdue item would immediately restore access.  Earlier this year, the American Library Association officially came out against charging fines, citing concerns that fines create barriers to library materials and services.  

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Survey of Plains, Western Bankers Shows Waning Rural Economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey of bankers indicates a waning economy in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, and weakfarm income is hurting producers' ability to borrow money from banks. The Rural Mainstreet survey shows its overall index fell to to 50.2 this month from 54.2 in November. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey and says federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices kept the overall index from falling into negative territory. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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Gonzaga Becomes Season's 6th Team to Hit No. 1 in AP Top 25 College Basketball Poll 

Gonzaga is the latest No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll that has seen no stability on the top line. The Bulldogs moved up a spot to take over for Kansas, which lasted one week at No. 1. This is the first time there have been as many as six different teams at No. 1 before New Year's Day. The record for an entire season is seven, set in 1982-83. Ohio State climbed to No. 2, followed by Louisville, Duke and Kansas. No. 25 Iowa is the only new addition this this week's poll.

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