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Headlines for Monday, June 17, 2019

Woman Dead, Man Arrested After 5-Hour Standoff in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a suspect in the death of a woman is in custody after a five-hour standoff with Topeka police. The standoff began Sunday about noon when police responding to a call found a woman dead at a home. Topeka police on Monday identified the woman as 69-year-old Kyong "Carol" Wood, of Topeka. They did not say how she died. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a tactical team negotiated with 45-year-old David Wood Jr., of Topeka, for about five hours before sending tear gas into the home. A naked Wood then walked out of the home and surrendered. Shawnee County District Court records show Wood was charged last month with felony drug possession and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. He also pleaded guilty to felony charges of domestic battery 2017 and 2016.


Topeka Native Gary Woodland Captures First U.S. Open Title

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Topeka native Gary Woodland has captured the U.S. Open, overcoming the back-nine pressure at Pebble Beach to hold off two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka for a three-shot victory. Woodland all but sealed his first major title when he chipped off a tight lie on the green on the 17th hole to tap-in range at a pin tucked in the back left. His par there preserved the two-shot lead. Then, he made it a three-shot edge when he knocked in a 30-foot birdie putt on 18. It pushed him to 13-under 271 — beating by one shot the score Tiger Woods posted during his 15-shot victory at Pebble in the 2000 U.S. Open. Woodland shot 2-under 69 to become the fifth player to break 70 in all four rounds of the U.S. Open.  Woodland is an alumnus of the University of Kansas and Washburn University.  (Read more here.)


Rural Symphony Event Cancelled After Storms Damage Tents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Organizers have cancelled this year's annual Symphony in the Flint Hills performance because storms did extensive damage to the tents and other equipment for the event. The group that planned the performance doesn't plan to offer refunds for the tickets that sold for between $50 and $95. Past events attracted roughly 7,000 people to rural Kansas.  Organizers initially delayed Saturday's planned performance from Saturday to Sunday, but later decided that the damage from a Friday-night storm was too extensive. Sunday's forecast also called for the possibility of more severe weather.  The event would have featured a performance by the Kansas City Symphony. The ticket sales raise money to help educate people about tallgrass prairie and preserve it.


Topeka Police Apologize for Father's Day Tweet

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police is apologizing for a Father's Day tweet that encouraged people to turn in fathers who have outstanding warrants. The Kansas City Star reports a screenshot of the tweet sent Sunday shows it says, in part, "Want to give him a Father's Day he'll never forget? Call TPD and we'll help your family make a memory that will last a lifetime." The tweet apparently was deleted shortly after it was posted. In a statement Monday, the department said the tweet was sent by someone on its social media team and was meant to be lighthearted. Instead, the statement said, it upset some people. The department called the incident a "learning experience" that shows words can be hurtful even if they are intended to be humorous.


2 Kansas Men "Collateral Damage" in Gun Control Dispute

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man who relied on a state law that purports to shield from prosecution anyone owning firearms and accessories made in Kansas says he may sue the state after the U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to hear his appeal of his federal gun conviction.  Jeremy Kettler says he was "collateral damage" in the dispute between the federal government and Kansas. President Donald Trump's administration had asked the court to stay out of the case and leave the convictions in place.  Kansas and seven other states had urged justices to hear the appeals. State firearm nullification laws, or firearms freedom acts as they are sometimes called, have been signed into law in nine states. Other states with similar measures include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.


Kansas Boy Very Lucky to Survive Knife Impaling His Face

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 15-year-old Kansas boy got a large knife to the face, and doctors say he's extremely lucky. Jimmy Russell says her son, Eli Gregg, was playing Thursday outside of their home in Redfield, about 90 miles south of Kansas City, when she heard him scream. She found him with a 10-inch knife jutting out from below his eye and called 911. The knife was embedded in his skull and extended to just under his brain. The tip, meanwhile, was pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood. Dr. Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the blade's extraction, says he doesn't think Eli would have survived if it had stabbed him any harder. The surgery was successful and Eli was due to be discharged Monday.


Man Sentenced to Nearly 18 Years for Topeka Shooting Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man has been sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison for the July shooting death of another man.  The Capital-Journal reports that 33-year-old Tony Lee Foster was sentenced Friday. A Shawnee County jury found him guilty in March of second-degree murder and a weapons count in the July 9 fatal shooting of 36-year-old David Payne, of Topeka.  Officers responding to report of a shooting at a home in the northern part of the city found Payne with a gunshot wound to his torso. He was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.


Garden City's Big Pool Loses $1,000 of Water Every Day

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials in a western Kansas city are sweating over a nearly century-old swimming pool that leaks about 200,000 gallons of water every day.  The Kansas News Service reports that Garden City water resource manager Fred Jones says the water loss at the Big Pool is excessive, even for a pool that holds around 2 million gallons.  Assistant city manager Jennifer Cunningham says refilling the Big Pool costs $1,000 a day, and that the city spends up to $800,000 on repairs, staff and water for the pool every summer.  She says recoating the deep end of the pool with concrete would cost $750,000, but that it wouldn't be cost-effective. Concrete expands in heat and contracts in the cold, so it breaks down as the seasons change.  She supports replacing the pool with a sturdier option.


Nebraska Woman Sentenced to Prison for Fatal Kansas Crash

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A Nebraska woman has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for a November 2017 head-on crash in northeastern Kansas that killed four members of a Sabetha family who were returning home from a state championship football game.  The Capital-Journal reports that 49-year-old Maria Perez Marquez, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced Friday to four years and one month in prison. She pleaded no contest to aggravated battery and three misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide for the crash that killed 42-year-old Carmen Ukele, her 11-year-old daughter, Marlee Ukele, and her brother-in-law, 62-year-old Stephen Ukele. Carmen Ukele's husband, 60-year-old Lee Ukele, initially survived the crash but died last month of his injuries.  Investigators say the family was returning home from watching the Sabetha High School football team win the state championship when Perez Marquez crashed into their minivan while trying to pass another vehicle. At the time, two of Lee Ukele's sons played on the team.


Regents Mull Boosting Homegrown Enrollment at Kansas Schools

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Higher education leaders say the percentage of Kansas high school graduates attending state universities is falling.  The Kansas Board of Regents says 55% of high school graduates enrolled at a state higher education facility in 2010, but that fell to 50.3% in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that board officials say economic growth means more jobs are available for people with high school diplomas but no degree, and that rising tuition costs can be a deterrent for students considering higher education. They say shifting demographics in the state may be a factor.  Regents suggest that the schools should try to enroll more out-of-state students so their higher tuition rates can offset a decrease in tuition for Kansas students.


Topeka Gears Up After Flooding Moves Music Festival

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka is gearing up for a major music festival that had to be moved there because of flooding.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the 24th annual Kicker Country Stampede will be held from June 20-22 at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka. It typically is held at Manhattan's Tuttle Creek State Park, but water levels have been high this spring. Plans for one Topeka area road project and one highway project have been revised to ensure they don't conflict with the expected rush of visitors. The event typically draws more than 170,000 people.  Meanwhile, Shawnee County Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Stallbaumer says the sheriff's office is working with event staff on personnel needed for staffing the event. This year's performers include Old Dominion, Jason Aldean and Jake Owen.


1 Person Dies After Driver Crashes into Kansas Home

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person has died after a driver crashed into a suburban Kansas City home. Johnson County Med Act says the crash happened around 4:20 p.m. Monday in Shawnee. The cause is unclear, and it wasn't immediately clear whether the person who died was the driver or was inside the home.


Wolf Center Names Pup in Honor of Blues Victory

EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — They named her Gloria because the nearly 8-week-old American red wolf is rare and worthy of celebration. Gloria is one of a litter of seven pups born April 23 at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a volunteer suggested they name a pup Gloria in honor of the St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup victory. American red wolves are the world's most endangered wolf. They were declared extinct in the wild in 1980. The following year, the center was the first to successfully breed them in captivity. Regina Mossotti, the center's director of animal care and conservation, says there are fewer than 30 American red wolves left in the wild and about 200 in breeding programs. Forty-five of those have been born at the Eureka facility.

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