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Headlines for Monday, February 26, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Kobach Invites NRA to Hold Convention in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is urging the National Rifle Association to bring its annual convention to Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that the Republican gubernatorial candidate tweeted over the weekend that he's reached out to the NRA to urge the group to bring the gathering to Kansas. Kobach earlier tweeted that "Kansas is the most pro-gun state in America." This year's NRA Annual Meeting of Members is being held May 5 in Dallas. But the city's mayor pro tem said last week that the organization should reconsider coming to Dallas after the February 14 deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school. Kobach wrote in a column last week advocating for arming teachers "provided they obtain a concealed carry permit and take appropriate training."


Lawsuit: Same Kansas Trooper Involved in 2 Fatal Pursuits

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The family of a woman killed by a driver fleeing from a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper is suing the state of Kansas. The lawsuit alleges the same trooper involved in the 2016 chase that led to the death of 66-year-old Janet Elmer was involved in another fatal pursuit on the same Kansas City, Kansas street in 2007. The Kansas City Star reports David Wayne Colvin fled when the trooper tried to pull him over, eventually hitting a car Eimer was in. Colvin is awaiting sentencing for involuntary manslaughter. The lawsuit, filed Friday, says the same trooper, who is not named, started another chase in 2007 on the same street. The driver in that chase struck a car, killing 38-year-old Kristin Saragusa. A highway patrol spokesman says the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.


Colyer, Kobach Jockey to Become New Face of Kansas GOP

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The fight to become the next face of the Republican Party in Kansas is heating up following the departure of Governor Sam Brownback.  The Kansas City Star reports that Secretary of State Kris Kobach has long been seen as the GOP front-runner. But the man he wants to replace, Governor Jeff Colyer, is trying to change that and is making strides on the fundraising front.  Campaign finance reports from 2017 showed that Colyer had far outraised Kobach, even after Donald Trump Jr. held an event for Kobach's campaign.  Bob Beatty, a political scientist at Washburn University, citing a recent poll, said the two are "battling it out." Others seeking to become the party's torch-bearer include previous nominee Jim Barnett, former state lawmaker Mark Hutton and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.


Kansas Doctor Fined After Improperly Prescribing Opiates

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas medical board has fined a doctor $2,500 and put his license on probation after an investigation revealed improper and potentially dangerous opioid prescribing. The Kansas City Star reports that the Kansas Board of Healing Arts released its order this month saying its investigation into Overland Park doctor Joseph Baker began after a complaint from a pharmacist. Investigators found that Baker violated guidelines in prescribing controlled substances to at least seven patients in two years. Baker acknowledges how much he prescribed but says the patients "tolerate it extremely well." He currently works at Vein Clinics of America. The company's national medical director says the incidents outlined in the board's order happened before he was hired, but that the company is supporting him during his probation.


Kansas Man Gets 3 Life Sentences for Child Molestation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 35-year-old Kansas man is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced for molesting three young girls.  A Jackson County, Missouri, judge sentenced Jesus Garcia, of Kansas City, Kansas, on Friday to three life sentences, plus 15 years, all to be served consecutively.  Garcia was convicted in December of statutory rape of a victim younger than 12, child molestation, attempted statutory rape and statutory sodomy of a victim younger than 14.  Court documents say the mother of two of the girls told a social worker in 2016 at Children's Mercy Hospital that Garcia had been sexually abusing them from 2014 to 2015.


Stepmother of Missing Wichita Boy Charged with Endangerment 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The 26-year-old stepmother of a missing Wichita 5-year-old is now criminally charged with endangering a child. Emily Glass, stepmother of Lucas Hernandez, was charged Monday and will be held on $50,000 bond. She said during a brief court hearing that she would hire her own attorney before her next court appearance March 13. Glass was originally booked into jail February 21 on two counts of child endangerment, with police saying the counts related to Lucas and a 1-year-old child. It wasn't immediately clear Monday if the child endangerment charge was related to Lucas or the other child. She reported the boy missing February 17. She told investigators he was in his bedroom when she showered and took a nap. Police have said they found no evidence the boy was abducted.​


KanCare Leaves Seniors Struggling with Medicaid Coverage

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Advocates for seniors in Kansas say that several changes made to streamline the Medicaid application and renewal process have actually made it difficult for the state's elderly population.  The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas moved to a new computer system in 2015 for applying for Kansas Medicaid, otherwise known as KanCare. The state then funneled applications and annual reviews previously handled in regional offices into a singles "KanCare Clearinghouse" in Topeka.  Since then, the number of seniors covered by KanCare for in-home nursing help has decreased, as well as the number being covered for nursing home beds.  The director of the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging says that seniors get frustrated trying to get onto Medicaid, and eventually become defeated by the process and give up.


Changes to State Criminal Registry Under Consideration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Sentencing Commission is considering ways for the state to reduce the number of people listed on criminal registries in the state.  Kansas News Service reports nearly 20,000 people are listed in a database that provides names and addresses of people who have committed a variety of crimes.  Supporters of reducing the number of people on the list say it has become so large it is almost unusable. They also note the list groups people who have served time for violent crimes such as murder with others who have relatively minor drug offenses.  Law enforcement agencies want to the keep the registry as it is. They contend it helps people know if someone with a criminal record is living in their neighborhoods or near their schools.


Wichita Man Shot to Death on Saturday, Suspect Arrested

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 22-year-old man is jailed on suspicion of murder after a fatal shooting in southeast Wichita during the weekend. Police on Monday identified the victim of the shooting Saturday as 25-year-old Deontae Mitchell. He was found dead at the scene. Wichita police spokesman Charley Davidson says there was a disturbance at a house party and Mitchell was shot several times as he was leaving. Davidson said the shooting was not a random incident, and it is not gang related. Police say Douglas Pete III was being held on $300,000 Monday. He has not been formally charged.


Kansas City Police Identify Man Killed Friday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have identified a man killed in what detectives are investigating as a homicide.  
Television station KMBC reports that police have identified the man as 46-year-old John McKenzie.  Officers were called to a home around 4 p.m. Friday for a disturbance and found McKenzie unresponsive on the floor. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.  Witnesses say they saw a man fleeing the area after the disturbance.  Police have not said how the victim died, but say a person of interest in the case turned himself in Saturday morning.


No Charges in Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Kansas 

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have determined that no charges will be filed in a fatal officer-involved shooting in southwest Kansas. Officers fatally shot 29-year-old Cristino Umana-Garcia last October in rural Finney County. Undersheriff John Andrews says officers shot Umana-Garcia after he became aggressive and threatened them. Garden City Police Chief Michael Utz said Monday he found the officers didn't violate local policies and procedures, federal law or state law. The Haskell County Attorney says all reports from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and video footage from the case showed no charges were warranted against the two officers involved in the shooting. Authorities say all available evidence suggests that both officers reasonably believe that they were in danger when they fired the shots.


Report: Nearly Half of Parched Kansas Wheat Crop Struggling 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new government report estimates that nearly half of the winter wheat crop in Kansas is struggling for lack of adequate moisture. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 49 percent of the wheat is in poor to very poor condition. It rated the remaining crop as 39 percent fair, 11 percent good and 1 percent excellent. That assessment comes amid estimates that topsoil moisture supplies are running short to very short across 74 percent of Kansas. Subsoil moisture levels were faring only slightly better with 71 percent rated as short to very short.


Man Sentenced in String of Arsons in Horton

HORTON, Kan. (AP) — A 27-year-old man was sentenced to 6.5 in prison for setting several arson fires at homes and cars in Horton.  Dustin McCulley, of Horton, was sentenced Friday for the arsons last May. He pleaded no contest in January to nine felonies.  The St. Joseph News-Press reports McCulley was arrested May 9, several hours after three homes and several vehicles were set ablaze in the same area early that day in Horton.  Authorities also received calls of a possible break-in at a nearby apartment complex, along with reports of several vehicles on fire in the complex parking lot.


Veggie Burger Manufacturer to Expand Plant in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence-based veggie burger manufacturer plans to expand and add about a dozen new employees.  Hilary's Eat Well, which makes organic, plant-based foods, is planning a nearly $1.5 million expansion. It will add new production equipment to its current building and lease new space for its warehouse operations.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the city commission this week approved a $10,000 grant for the project. Douglas County and several local economic development organizations plan to each add $10,000 grants.  The company was founded in 2005, when Hilary Brown created the veggie burger recipe. Several investment groups now own the company, which also produces veggie sausages and salad dressing.  It currently employs 40 people, including providing jobs to people who have been in prison, struggled with addictions or have been homeless.


Naked Man on ATV Leads Police on Chase in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a naked man has been arrested in Missouri after fleeing on an all-terrain vehicle and driving the wrong way on an interstate.  Police say the man is suspected of being under the influence of drugs during the Sunday afternoon chase in northern Kansas City.  The chase began with the man eluding officers in a field. After finding a break in a fence, the man made his way onto Interstate 435, where he occasionally drove into oncoming traffic. He was captured after exiting the interstate.  One witness told KMBC-TV that she thought she was "dreaming" when she saw the spectacle unfold while returning from a basketball tournament with two boys in her car.  Captain Will Akin of the Clay County Sheriff's Office acknowledged it "might be comical" but stressed it a was "very dangerous" incident.


Rare Identical Triplets Born at Kansas City Hospital

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas couple is celebrating after become parents to a rare set of identical triplets. Dr. Josh Petrikin says the boys are "doing wonderfully" while under observation in Truman Medical Center's neonatal intensive care in Kansas City, Missouri. Researchers say identical triplets occur only about once per 20 million to 30 million deliveries. The boys — Ron, Elkanah, and Abishai — were born Thursday. The Kansas City Star reports their parents, Nicole and Caleb Choge, already have a 2-year-old son. The father says he, his wife and their toddler prayed for another child and that "God answered everybody's prayer: one, two and three." Until recently, the family lived in Kenya, where Caleb Choge is from and was working as a pilot. They moved to Ottawa, Kansas, to be closer to Nicole Choge's family.


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