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Headlines for Monday, July 29, 2019

Kansas Senator Returns to GOP After Working for Independent Candidate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state senator is back with the Republican party after leaving it to join independent Greg Orman's campaign for governor. The Wichita Eagle reports Sen. John Doll, of Garden City, changed his party affiliation a few weeks ago. He had been an independent since March 2018, when he became Orman's running mate in their unsuccessful bid for the governor's office. Doll lost all his committee assignments after he became an independent under a Senate rule that strips senators of committee spots if they change parties. Senate President Susan Wagle's office said Doll will again receive committee assignments. Doll said he has never voted along strictly party lines. He hasn't decided whether he will run for re-election in 2020. His decision gives the Republicans a 29-11 majority in the Senate.


Longtime KU Broadcaster Max Falkenstien Dies at 95

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Max Falkenstien, the affable and silver-tongued "Voice of the Jayhawks" who brought University of Kansas football and basketball into the homes of fans for six decades, died Monday. He was 95. The school announced his death in a statement. No cause was given. Falkenstien did his first broadcast of a Kansas basketball game during the 1946 NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, where the Jayhawks played Oklahoma A&M. He took over as the play-by-play voice the following spring, and would hold the job for 39 years before switching to the commentator's role in 1984. He retired from Jayhawk Radio Network broadcasts after the 2005-06 basketball season. Falkenstien is survived by his wife of 70 years, Isobel. The couple had two children, Kurt and Jane, along with three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.


Topeka Police: 16-Year-Old in Custody in Killing of Another 16-Year-Old

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 16-year-old who was wanted for questioning in a deadly Topeka shooting has turned himself in to police.  Police say the teen was taken into juvenile custody after surrendering Saturday. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.  Police began searching for him after last week's deadly shooting of 16-year-old Joaquin AJ McKinney in what appeared to be a drive-by shooting. McKinney was found in a car in the southeast part of the city and pronounced dead at a hospital.  After the shooting, police asked the public to be on the lookout for a small, blueish four-door passenger car. Police haven't released a motive.


25-Year-Old Dies in Motorcycle Crash After Fleeing Lawrence Police

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died in a motorcycle crash after fleeing from Lawrence police.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that police say the 25-year-old motorcyclist fled early Sunday after an officer attempted a traffic stop. Police say the officer terminated the pursuit a short time later and left the area after losing sight of the motorcyclist.  Several hours later a motorist saw what appeared to be a jogger in distress and called authorities. Responding officers spotted a crashed motorcycle whose driver was dead. The driver's name wasn't immediately released.  The officer involved in the pursuit has been placed on administrative leave, per department policy. Lawrence police have asked the Douglas County Sheriff's Office to investigate.


1 Arrested in Shooting that Killed Airman, Wounded 2 Others in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 25-year-old man has been arrested in a Kansas shooting that wounded an airman for McConnell Air Force Base and injured three others.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Markeithen McClaine is jailed on $500,000 bond in the death of 20-year-old Chancelor Williams, of Spartanburg, South Carolina. No criminal charges were immediately filed.  Wichita police Officer Kevin Wheeler said in a news release that a man fired a gun into a crowd early Saturday after a disturbance broke out during a party. Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. Among the three who were wounded, only one of them remained hospitalized Sunday. Police say she is expected to survive.  Colonel Richard Tanner, commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, said in a statement that the base "is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our airmen."


Driver Investigated After Striking, Killing Bicyclist in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating whether a driver who struck and killed a bicyclist in Kansas City was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  KMBC-TV reports that police say the driver went off the side of a road around 1 am Sunday and hit the cyclist who was riding on the shoulder. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the screen. His name wasn't immediately released.


US Rep. Davids Draws First GOP Challenger in Kansas District

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The former leader of a national disability rights group has become the first Republican candidate seeking to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas. Sara Hart Weir kicked off her campaign Monday in the 3rd Congressional District in the Kansas City area. She served more than four years as president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society before stepping down earlier this year. The 37-year-old Weir touted her work on legislation in 2014 to create savings accounts with tax advantages for the disabled and their families. Davids is the only Kansas Democrat in Congress. She ousted Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder last year and gained national attention as a Native American and LGBTQ lawmaker. Former Kansas Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Adkins also is considering running for the seat.


US Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Calls for Impeachment Inquiry

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri is joining other Democrats in calling for an inquiry into whether President Donald Trump should be impeached. Cleaver on Monday issued a statement saying a special report and testimony before two House committees last week by special counsel Robert Mueller convinced him the president committed one or more instances of obstruction of justice while in office. Cleaver, a Democrat from Kansas City, said Congress has a constitutional responsibility to further investigate evidence presented by Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cleaver didn't support drafting articles of impeachment against Trump but said he hoped Congress would enforce subpoenas for more information. An Associated Press survey on Friday found about 100 Democrats in the 435-member House favor opening an impeachment inquiry.


3rd Kansas Man Sentenced in Shooting Death in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A third Kansas man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the death of a Joplin, Missouri, man during a robbery. Twenty-one-year-old Azaiah Forester, of Columbus, Kansas, was sentenced Monday in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Taven Williams in January 2017. The Joplin Globe report s Williams was killed when the three suspects and a fourth unidentified person went to the Joplin home of Paul Haney to rob Haney of marijuana. Williams was shot when he tried to help Haney, who survived a gunshot wound to the shoulder. Two other defendants from Columbus, 21-year-old Brock Robinson and 24-year-old Erik Jones, were each sentenced previously to 15 years in prison. Robinson claimed it was Jones who shot and killed Williams.


Kansas City Police: Woman Killed When Car Hits Scooter with No Headlight

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a woman is dead and a man seriously injured when the unlit motorized scooter they were driving was hit from behind on the Heart of America Bridge at night.  Police tell the Kansas City Star that the man was driving the scooter without working lights on the bridge around 10:40 pm Friday. Police say the driver of a car didn't see the scooter and drove over the back of it, throwing the driver and a woman who was a passenger.  The woman landed on the roof of the car, while the driver landed in the street.  The woman was pronounced dead on the way to a hospital. Her name had not been released by Saturday afternoon. Police say the man suffered life-threatening injuries.  The car's driver was not injured.


Ex-Kansas City Officer Charged in Fatal Crash Outside Arrowhead Stadium

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Kansas City police officer has been charged months after he was involved in a fatal crash outside the stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs play.  The Kansas City Star reports that 34-year-old Terrell Watkins has been charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault and a misdemeanor count of careless and imprudent driving.  Court records say Watkins was off-duty and driving a Kansas City Police Department Ford E350 van on Interstate 435 when he slammed into the back of a car on October 21. The driver of the car, 17-year-old Chandan Rajanna, was killed, and his father and sister, who were passengers, were seriously injured.  Witnesses told police the van had been speeding and making numerous lane changes as it passed other vehicles. Investigators say at the time of the crash, Watkins was late for a moonlighting job as a security officer for Chiefs.


Washburn University Professor Sues School over Fluorescent Lighting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Washburn University professor alleges in a lawsuit that officials required her to teach in a room illuminated by fluorescent light despite knowing she had a neurological disability triggered by that type of light.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the suit filed earlier this month in federal court is Leslie Reynard's second against the school, where she teaches in the communications department. Her other lawsuit alleges that the university retaliated against her after she filed a sex discrimination complaint.  In the second suit, Reynard seeks damages in excess of $75,000. The university has declined to comment.


Man Who Shot 2 Topeka Police Officers in 1985 Paroled

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man who shot two Topeka police officers in 1985 is expected to be released from prison sometime around August 1.  Ithiel Lawton shot officers Randy Horn and Pat Reed during a family dispute at Lawton's home. Both officers survived but left the department soon after being injured.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Lawton said at the time that voices from his television told him to protect himself from the officers.  Before the shootings, Lawton was hospitalized 20 times in the previous 16 years for paranoid schizophrenia.  Family members told the Kansas Parole Board in recent years that Lawton's mental health has improved.  The review board recently granted parole to Lawton, who is now 77.  Lawton is serving 20 years to life in prison at El Dorado Correctional Facility.


Brothers Who Sold Deadly Cantaloupe Face Kansas Hemp Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two Colorado brothers whose contaminated cantaloupe killed 33 people in 2011 are facing felony drug charges in Kansas related to industrial hemp production.  Eric and Ryan Jensen grow industrial hemp — a non-intoxicating cannabis plant — at a farm in Holly, Colorado, where the crop is legal. But they are now accused of shipping marijuana through Kansas.  The Jensens pleaded guilty in 2013 to causing a nationwide outbreak of listeria through infected cantaloupe grown at their farm. They were sentenced to home detention and ordered to pay thousands in restitution.  The Wichita Eagle reports that in January 2017, industrial hemp from the Colorado farm went to a FedEx warehouse in Liberal, Kansas, for shipment to California. The Kansas Highway Patrol seized the shipment.  In January, the brothers were charged with four drug offenses, including three felonies.  It is unclear why it took two years to charge the brothers.


Teen Probation Program Gives High-Dollar Incentives

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Some teens on probation in Sedgwick County receive high-priced items such as iPads, Xboxes and Amazon gift cards as rewards in an after-school program meant to keep them from reoffending.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the incentives are funded with public dollars and are not in line with state recommendations that call for incentives of limited financial value.  The incentives are part of a system that encourages youth to make positive choices. County and state officials say their cost is small compared to the cost of locking up young lawbreakers. It's part of a national trend toward emphasizing rewards for good behavior over punishment for bad. Kansas changed its juvenile justice approach in 2016 to focus on keeping youths out of detention when possible.


Newly Renovated Eisenhower Museum Reopens in Kansas

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A museum honoring President Dwight Eisenhower in his childhood home in Kansas has reopened after undergoing a massive, yearlong renovation. Visitors got their first glimpse Monday of modernized exhibits in the 25,000-square-foot museum. They feature new graphic panels, display cases, theater experiences and digital interactive stations. The original schedule was to open in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in early June, but the federal government shutdown delayed the timeline. During the work, museum exhibits were moved to the library portion of the 22-acre complex. It also includes the home in which the future president and supreme commander of the Allied forces during World War II spent most of his childhood. The formal dedication is planned for Oct. 12 to coincide with Ike's birthday weekend.


One-Time Wichita Icon Finds New Home at Scout Camp

SEDAN, Kan. (AP) — A 15-foot wide fiberglass eagle that perched for 21 years atop a rotating sign at The Wichita Eagle's former building is getting a new home at a Boy Scouts of America camp.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the eagle was removed during a 1988 attempt to modernize the exterior of the building, which later was demolished. From there it went to Camp Tawakoni near Augusta where it honored the highest rank in Scouting — The Eagle Scout.  But when the camp was sold in 2004, it wound up in storage at the Quivira Scout Ranch, where it was rediscovered this year when staff needed the shelf space it occupied.  Ranger Paul King says the southeast Kansas camp plans to mount the bird on a pole or pedestal to greet future visitors.


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