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Headlines for Monday, January 13, 2020

Weekend Winter Storm Leaves Icy Roads Behind, Shuts Down Some Schools

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A winter blast that left a blanket of snow and ice in parts of eastern Kansas Friday has now moved out of the state.  But a number of school districts, including USD 501 in Topeka, remain closed today (MON) due to icy road conditions.  The storm system left roads icy and caused several crashes in northeastern Kansas, including a semitrailer that crashed just south of Topeka.  The heaviest weekend snowfall was generally confined to an area south and east of Interstate 35, where up to 4 inches total accumulation could be seen. Officials warned motorists in those areas to take it slow.  Get the latest from the National Weather Service in Topeka.

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Moran Signs onto Proposal on Dismissing Impeachment Articles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran has joined other Republicans in cosponsoring a resolution that would allow senators to dismiss the House's articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Moran announced Monday that he is cosponsoring the resolution with Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley. Fifteen other Republicans also are cosponsors, and they include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The resolution is Hawley's response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's delay in sending the two impeachment articles to the Senate for a trial after the House approved them last month. Pelosi sought to pressure senators into calling witnesses but plans to send the articles in coming days.

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Kansas Adjutant General Stepping Down After Nine Years

TOPEKA, KAn. (KPR) - Governor Laura Kelly has announced the planned resignation of Kansas Adjutant General Major General Lee Tafanelli.  Tafanelli has served as the state’s Adjutant General since January 8, 2011.  He will step down from his current post on March 31.  The Adjutant General is the principal military advisor to the Governor. Tafanelli oversees the activities of the Adjutant General’s Department, which includes the Kansas Army and Air National Guard. He also serves as the director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and director of Kansas Homeland Security. For budgetary and administrative purposes, he is responsible for the Civil Air Patrol.  Tafanelli also served in the Kansas House of Representatives.  “I want to thank Major General Tafanelli for his outstanding service to the people of Kansas and our nation, and for his steadfast leadership of such a critical part of our government operations,” Governor Kelly said.  Tafanelli also thanked the governor for her leadership and support.  The Governor will release details on a succession plan later this month.

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Dole Endorses Kansas Congressman Marshall in U.S. Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Political icon and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole has endorsed the congressman for western Kansas in the state's GOP Senate primary.  Congressman Roger Marshall's campaign announced Dole's backing today (MON).  Dole tweeted that Marshall is "a true friend" to Kansas. Dole's endorsement came a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would not run for the Kansas seat. Many Republicans fear that a polarizing conservative candidate, former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, will emerge from a crowded GOP Senate field after losing the 2018 race for Kansas governor. Four-term GOP Senator Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election.

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UPDATE: Kansas Lawmakers Open Session, See Big Big Debates over Taxes and Medicaid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have returned to the Statehouse to open their annual session expecting big debates on tax cuts and Medicaid expansion. Both the House and Senate are set to officially convene at 2 pm today (MON).  Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature planned to push again this year for income tax cuts after Democratic Governor Laura Kelly vetoed two bills last year. Expanding the state's Medicaid health coverage for as many as 150,000 additional people is a key priority for Kelly. She is scheduled to give the annual State of the State address Wednesday and release details of her proposed state budget Thursday morning.

(–earlier reporting–)

Kansas Lawmakers Open Session Anticipating Fight over Taxes, Abortion and Maybe Marijuana

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers expect a push to overturn a state Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights during this year's legislative session. They're also anticipating a contentious debate over income tax cuts and some bipartisan harmony on Medicaid expansion. The GOP-controlled Legislature convenes Monday. Lawmakers may also tackle medical marijuana. The session will open with a deal between Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and the Senate's Republican majority leader on expanding Medicaid that has bipartisan support, making passage likely. All 165 legislative seats are on the ballot in November, and politics will shadow lawmakers' work. So will layoffs in the aviation industry.

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Kansas GOP Hopes to Stymie Ban in Reversing Abortion-Rights Ruling

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Kansas Republicans want to head off any push for an abortion ban in the state even as they make overturning a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that protects abortion rights a top priority. The GOP-controlled Legislature expects to consider a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution during the annual 90-day lawmaking session that starts today (MON).  It's a response to the high court's ruling in April that the state's Bill of Rights makes access to abortion a fundamental right. Abortion opponents are being pragmatic. They worry that even if a ban could get through the Legislature, it would fail in the required statewide vote afterward.

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Lawrence Woman Charged with Hurting Baby Said She Was Intoxicated

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A Lawrence woman who is charged with hurting a relative's 4-month-old told police she regretted agreeing to care for the baby because she knew she was intoxicated. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the probable cause affidavit that was recently released in the case against 33-year-old Shannon Crank said she told police she didn't remember exactly what happened but that it was possible she had dropped the boy or fell on top of him. Crank was charged in November with aggravated child endangerment and aggravated battery. Her defense attorney, Michael Clarke, didn't immediately respond to the Journal-World's email seeking comment.

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Fire Officials: Man Critically Injured in Wichita House Fire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Wichita say a man is in critical condition after being pulled from a house fire on Saturday. Television station KAKE reports that the fire was reported around noon Saturday in the southwestern part of the city. Arriving firefighters found the home and a car engulfed in flames, and crews soon found a man who had suffered burns. The man was taken to a Wichita hospital with critical injuries. Investigators are trying to find out what caused the fire.

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Former TV Meteorologist Wins Kansas Senate Seat

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas City area TV meteorologist has won a Kansas Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of one of the Legislature's most conservative members. Mike Thompson, who served as chief meteorologist for WDAF until he retired in 2018, was chosen Saturday to replace retiring Republican Mary Pilcher-Cook. Thompson, of Shawnee, plans to fill the remainder of Pilcher-Cook's term and then run for a chance at a full four years in November 2020.  Two other candidates — Republican state Rep. Tom Cox and Shawnee City Councilwoman Lindsey Constance, a Democrat — have said they planned to run for the seat.

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Wichita Woman Arrested in Case of Dog Left in Dumpster

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 26-year-old Wichita woman is facing possible animal cruelty charges after a dog was found locked in a kennel inside an apartment dumpster. Police said Monday they arrested Raykesha Hardyway. Officer Charley Davidson said in a statement that tips and witness interviews led to Hardyway's arrest but provided no other details. The dog, named Bowie, was found in the dumpster Wednesday and taken to an emergency vet. The pit bull mix is believed to be about 2. The Wichita Animal Action League, an animal rescue group, said that Bowie was taken to a foster care home on Monday. 

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Planned Parenthood Challenges Missouri Payment Cutoff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is challenging Missouri's denial of claims for Medicaid payments for a second time in two years. KCUR reports that Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in Overland Park, Kansas, appealed Missouri's cutoff of their fiscal 2020 funding last week in Jackson County, Missouri, after an administrative law judge ruled against them last month. Meanwhile, an appeal of the cutoff of 2019 funding is pending before the Missouri Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood attorney Charles Hatfield described the situation as a “continuation of the same old song and dance.”

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Police: Woman Found Shot to Death Inside Kansas City Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a woman has been found shot to death inside a home on the eastern side of the city. Police say officers were called to the home around 11 pm Friday on reports of a shooting and found the woman inside. She was declared dead at the scene. Police had not released her name by mid-morning Saturday. A news release from police says detectives were canvassing the area for witnesses, but no arrests had been reported. Police are asking that anyone with information contact the homicide unit or CrimeStoppers. Information leading to an arrest could land the tipster a reward of $25,000.

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Wichita Man Arrested in Alleged Abuse of 2-Month-Old Twins

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 22-year-old man is in jail on suspicion of abusing his 2-month-old twins. KAKE-TV reports jail records show Marlin Williams of Wichita was booked into jail Friday night after officers went to his home and found a baby boy not breathing. Capt. Brent Allred said Monday the child remains hospitalized in critical condition, with internal injuries. Police say the investigation found he had previous injuries. His twin sister had a healing broken femur and remains hospitalized. Williams faces possible charges of aggravated battery. Two other toddlers in the home are in protective custody. Allred said the mother wasn't at home when officers arrived.

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Newman University Professor Awarded $840,000 in Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A jury has awarded $840,000 to a former Newman University professor who claimed she faced discrimination and retaliation because she is a woman. The jury also ruled on Monday that Cindy Louthan, a former assistant professor of elementary education, should be reinstated. Louthan argued in the lawsuit she filed in June 2018, that a supervisor was hostile toward women and treated her differently because of her sex. She accused the Roman Catholic university of failing to investigate her concerns and punishing her for for speaking out. The university said in a statement that it was disappointed in the verdict and is considering its appeal options.

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Kansas Woman Pleads Guilty to Role in Son's Death

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2018 death of her baby. Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said 32-year-old Catherine Smith, of Leavenworth, pleaded guilty Friday to manslaughter, child endangerment and obstruction of law enforcement. She had been previously charged with second-degree murder in her son's death. Prosecutors say the boy died of hyperthermia when his body temperature got too high. The temperature in the home was set to 75 degrees, and the child was dehydrated at the time of his death.

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Report: Kansas Farmers Plant Same Amount of Wheat Acreage

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers seeded an estimated 6.9 million acres into winter wheat. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that this winter wheat acreage is equal to the area planted a year earlier in Kansas. Winter wheat is planted in the fall for harvest the following year.

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KC Chiefs Rally from 24-0 Hole to Beat Houston Texans by 20 Points in Playoffs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs overcome a 24-0 hole early in the second quarter to beat the Houston Texans 51-31 on Sunday and return to the AFC championship game. Patrick Mahomes led the comeback, which at one point included 41 unanswered points, by throwing for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Travis Kelce and Damien Williams scored three times apiece for Kansas City, which needed the biggest comeback in franchise history to continue its pursuit of its first Super Bowl trip in 50 years. Deshaun Watson had 388 yards passing and accounted for three touchdowns for the Texans.  Kansas City now returns to the AFC championship game for the second consecutive season.

In Sunday's game, the Chiefs (13-4) became the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 20. They matched the fourth-biggest comeback in playoff history while winning a postseason game in back-to-back seasons for the first time. Travis Kelce and Damien Williams scored three touchdowns apiece, joining the 49ers' Jerry Rice and Ricky Waters in Super Bowl 29 as the only teammates to score that many times in a postseason game.
Meanwhile, Mahomes led by example.  He finished with 321 yards passing, becoming the first player in postseason history with at least 300 yards passing and five touchdowns while running for at least 50 more yards.

Now, after losing to the Patriots in overtime in last year's conference title game, the Chiefs are back on the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years. They will host Tennessee next Sunday in a rematch from earlier this season after the Titans upset Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.

Kansas City lost lost 35-32 at Tennessee in Week 10.  

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Former KU Player Kicked Off New Mexico's Basketball Team After DWI Arrest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexico forward Carlton Bragg Jr. has been dismissed from the Lobos basketball team following his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and marijuana possession. In a statement Sunday, coach Paul Weir said Bragg needs to focus on his personal well-being. The arrest comes nine days after the 24-year-old Bragg was reinstated to the team. He had received a three-game suspension while university officials investigated sexual misconduct allegations against him by another student. Bragg was arrested at a sobriety checkpoint in Albuquerque Sunday, hours after the 15-and-3 Lobos beat Air Force.

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Gonzaga Stays at No. 1, Baylor Climbs to No. 2, KU Drops to No. 6 in Top 25 Poll

UNDATED (AP) — Baylor climbed to No. 2 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll after resounding road wins over Texas Tech and Kansas last week. Gonzaga maintained the top spot after breezing to a pair of victories while Duke dropped to third and unbeaten Auburn rose to fourth. Butler rounded out the first five, followed by the Jayhawks and another unbeaten in San Diego State. Oregon, Florida State and Kentucky rounded out the top 10.

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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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