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Headlines for Monday, February 24, 2020

Ex-Kansas Governor Colyer Endorses Rep. Marshall in U.S. Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer has endorsed western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall for the state's open Senate seat. The announcement Monday came with some Republicans still fearing a repeat of Colyer's narrow primary loss in 2018 to polarizing conservative Kris Kobach. Colyer said during a news conference that “you're starting to see a consolidation of people” behind Marshall. Kobach defeated Colyer by 343 votes in a seven-candidate primary for governor in 2018 and lost the general election to Democrat Laura Kelly. That's sparked fears among some Republicans that Kobach could win the Senate primary and put a normally safe seat in play.

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Kansas Lawmakers Consider Changing Rules to Public Offender Registry

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering making changes to the criminal public offender registry system and cut back on penalties. The expansive system that publicly tracks convicted criminals long after they've served their time covers a particularly wide range of crimes beyond sex offenses. Kansas News Service reported some of the proposed changes would impact those convicted of crimes like drug distribution to face a five-year registration term instead of the current 15 years. The Kansas Sheriff's Association says the proposals go too far, but agrees some rules do need to be changed.

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Kansas Lawmakers Reject Lower Penalties on Pot Possession

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators aren't ready to declare that marijuana possession never should be a felony. A House committee rejected proposals Monday to lower penalties for third-time offenders and to release others from prison. The Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-4 against a bill to make possessing marijuana a misdemeanor, no matter how many times someone was convicted. Current Kansas law says a third conviction is a felony punishable by up to 14 months in prison, though offenders often receive probation. The bill also initially said offenders now in prison for marijuana possession would be released, but the committee removed that provision.

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Sheriff: Claim to be Kansas Boy Missing Since 1999 Is a Hoax

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A sheriff says social media claims that a man was a Kansas boy missing since 1999 are a hoax. On Saturday night, a person claiming to be Adam Herrman began tweeting and two videos appeared on YouTube. Herrman vanished from a mobile home near Towanda in 1999. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said Monday that 24-year-old Stephen Chadwick Smith made the posts. He worked briefly at the Butler County Jail a few years ago. The Wichita Eagle reports Smith refused to be interviewed by authorities. Herzet said the Butler County Attorney told him Smith cannot currently be prosecuted for a crime for his posts. 

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Court Awards $1.5 Million to Kansas Man Wrongfully Convicted

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit was granted more than $1.5 million in compensation under the state's mistaken-conviction statute. The Kansas attorney general's office said Monday that Lamonte McIntyre of Kansas City, Kansas, also received a certificate of innocence as part of a resolution of a mistaken-conviction lawsuit filed last year. McIntyre was 17 in 1994 when he was arrested for the killings of 21-year-old Doniel Quinn and 34-year-old Donald Ewing, even though no physical evidence or motive tied him to the crimes.

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Man Arrested in Rape of 18-Year-Old Foster Care Runaway

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been arrested in the rape of an 18-year-old after she ran away from a foster home with a 12-year-old. Police Officer Paul Cruz announced the arrest of 41-year-old Willie Green in a news release Sunday. He also was booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of contributing to a child's misconduct by sheltering and concealing a runaway. His bond is set at $200,000. It wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney. Police said that officers responded Tuesday night to an emergency call where the 18-year-old reported that she had been raped.

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Kansas Counties' Websites May Lack Security Against Hackers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Many Kansas counties' websites may be at risk as they lack basic protocols that make it easier for hackers to impersonate websites. Out of 105 counties, only eight of them have websites ending in .gov, a domain extension only government officials can control, and 60 counties' URLs start with "http" rather than the more secure "https." Security concerns have become more prominent as local governments have become frequent targets in ransomware, where hackers hold data hostage in exchange for money. According to the Kansas News Service, experts say it could be a serious concern for smaller governments during a time of increasing cyberattacks.

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Security Experts Question Reliability of Pricey New Voting Machines

UNDATED (AP) — Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. voters will cast ballots this year on devices that look and feel like the discredited paperless voting machines they once used, yet leave a paper record of the vote. Computer security experts are warning that these so-called ballot-marking devices pose too much of a risk. Ballot-marking machines were initially developed not as primary vote-casting tools but as "accessible" alternatives for the disabled. They print out paper records that are scanned by optical readers that tabulate the vote. They cost at least twice as much as hand-marked paper ballots, which computer scientists prefer because paper can't be hacked.

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18-Year-Old Arrested in Killing of 21-Year-Old Brother

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested an 18-year-old in the deadly shooting of his brother in Wichita. Records show that Idriys Norwood of Wichita has been booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder in the death of his brother, 21-year-old Isreal Norwood. Bond is set at $75,000. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney. Police said in a news release that Isreal Norwood was taken to a hospital February 16 with a gunshot wound and died. Idriys Norwood and a 17-year-old brother also were in the vehicle. Police said Idriys Norwood fled from the hospital on foot and was located later by officers. Police said family members had been uncooperative.  

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Police ID Woman Whose Body was Found in Bag in Northwest Missouri

FAUCETT, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in northwestern Missouri have identified a woman whose remains were found inside a duffel bag along a county road in Buchanan County. The Kansas City Star reports that the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office identified the woman as 21-year-old Arial Anne-Rae Starcher, of Independence. Her body was found in the bag Tuesday by deputies after a Missouri Department of Transportation worker noticed the bag in a ditch just west of Faucett near Missouri 371. The sheriff’s office initially said it believed the body belonged to a woman in her 40s or 50s. Authorities have not said how Starcher died. No arrests have been reported.

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KC Police Investigate Death of Man Found Unresponsive

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police are investigating the death of a man who was found unresponsive near a bus stop on the west side of Kansas City, Missouri.  Police say officers found the man shortly before 8 am Sunday near a bus stop in western Kansas City. The man was taken to a hospital where he later died. Police did not immediately release any details about what caused the man's death. Homicide detectives are looking into the death and searching for any witnesses.

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Kansas City Police: Man Crushed to Death Under Car

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a man who was working under a car was killed when the car fell on him. The Kansas City Star says the incident happened Friday morning in downtown Kansas City. First responders were called to the scene around 11 am and learned the man had been taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The man's identity had not been released by midday Saturday. A police spokesman, Officer Doaa El-Ashkar, says the circumstances of the fatal incident remain under investigation.

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Wichita Police Post Reward in Case of Homeless Man Beaten to Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are now offering a reward for information in the case of a homeless man who was beaten to death. The body of 59-year-old Bernard Woodard was found under a Wichita bridge on Feb. 10, and police still have no suspects in the killing. Television station KSNW reports that the Wichita Police Department is now offering an $800 reward to help find the person or people who killed Woodard. The department's Homeless Outreach Team has also put up flyers in the community to try to get some leads in the case.

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U.S. Army Corps Closes Missouri River Levee Break in Northwest Missouri

ROCK PORT, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Omaha District says work crews have closed the final breach of a Missouri River levee in the far northwest corner of Missouri that broke open during massive flooding last year. The break just southwest of Rock Port was one of several along the levee section that saw thousands of rural acres submerged and a section of Interstate 29 and other roads in the region damaged and closed to traffic. The Corps says crews will continue restoring the levee section to its pre-flood height. Crews have been scrambling to make repairs ahead of spring and the likelihood of renewed flooding along the river in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.

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Small Fire in Cooler at K-State Stadium Causes $10,000 in Damage

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a small fire in a cooler inside Kansas State University's Bill Snyder Family Stadium caused an estimated $10,000 in damage to food stored there. The Capital-Journal reports that the fire broke out Friday evening and was quickly contained. No one was injured. The Manhattan Fire Department says the cause of the fire is under investigation. The stadium, built in 1968, is home to Kansas State University Wildcats football team.

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Kansas Lawmakers Considering Ban on Raw Milk or Requiring Warning Labels

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering blocking the sale of raw milk or requiring farmers to include warning labels on packaging after the state abandoned a law prohibiting farmers from advertising raw milk outside their farm. The Wichita Eagle reports that the state stopped enforcing the ban after Shepherd's Gate Dairy operators Mark and Coraleen Bunner filed a lawsuit in opposition of the 1967 law in October. Pasteurized milk undergoes a heating process to kill pathogens. The Food and Drug Administration says raw milk that comes straight from a cow or goat is much more likely to carry salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria.

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Kansas Business Groups Mobilize to Stop Local Plastics Bans

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas business groups have mobilized to snuff out a budding movement among a few cities to ban single-use plastic bags and straws. Their efforts are frustrating environmentalists who can't get the Republican-controlled Legislature to tackle climate issues. The GOP-led House commerce committee on Friday approved a bill that would prevent cities and counties from enacting policies for the next five years to either ban single-use plastic products or impose fees on them. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and groups representing grocers, restaurants and convenience stores argue that businesses could face a patchwork of local rules that raise costs and create headaches for chains.

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KU Back Atop Top 25 as Baylor Slides to No. 2 After Loss

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is back on top of the college basketball world after knocking off Baylor. And the Bears dropped to No. 2 in The Associated Press men's poll following the close loss. The Jayhawks took over the No. 1 ranking for the second time this season following a week there in December. The Bears fell to second after their 23-game winning streak ended. Gonzaga was No. 3 after a loss to BYU. And Dayton leapfrogged San Diego State for No. 4 following the Aztecs' first loss of the season. They were followed by Florida State, Duke, Kentucky, Maryland and Creighton in rounding out the top 10. Every team in the top 10 found itself in a new position from last week.

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