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Headlines for Monday, November 25, 2019

Special Prosecutor Appointed to Kansas State Senator’s DUI Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A special prosecutor will decide whether to pursue a DUI charge against Kansas Sen. Vic Miller of Topeka. The Topeka Capital Journal reports a special prosecutor is an attorney appointed to investigate, and potentially prosecute, a case in which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay says he had assigned Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones to fill that role. Kagay says prosecutors in his office who would handle the case had appeared before Miller during his time as judge for Topeka Municipal Court. Kagay says his office also routinely requests legislative changes which involve dealing with him. Topeka police arrested Miller in May after finding him inside his crashed vehicle in the ditch. Police said he wasn't injured but appeared intoxicated.

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Olathe Police Shoot, Wound 16-Year-Old

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Olathe say police shot and wounded a 16-year-old while investigating a robbery.  Police said in a Facebook post that the shooting happened just after midnight Monday in Olathe. Officers were conducting a follow up on a previous home burglary in which handguns were taken when they spotted two people who were armed. The post says the situation "escalated," and officers fired their guns.  The wounded teen was taken to a hospital for treatment. Police arrested the second person. The shooting is under investigation. No other details were immediately released, including the name of the wounded teen or what he was doing before he was shot.

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Kansas Community College Hopes to Grow Wine Industry Within State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A community college in Kansas hopes to promote the winery industry in the state.  Highland Community College at Wamego opened a wine incubator called 456 Wineries last month. Director Scott Kohl says Highland received a federal grant in 2016 to start it.  Kohl says 456 Wineries is part of the school's viticulture, grape-growing program and enology, wine-making program.  Kohl notes the idea is that the wineries move in, pay rent, work on their craft, and then move out to start their own winery.  The Manhattan Mercury reports the facility has a tasting room and space for six winemakers. It also has a laboratory, where things like sugar and acid levels can be tested.  Kohl says he hopes those new, small wineries working closely together will help them grow.

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Kansas Colleges are Slashing General Education Requirements

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas universities are reducing general education requirements to ensure more students can graduate on time and create more room for classes in their majors.  Wichita State University became the latest school to slash the numbers of general ed classes their undergraduates are required to take.  Schools are hoping students can learn skills such as ethical reasoning from an engineering course by scrapping philosophy and history requirements in favor of specific goals.  But KCUR Radio reports that some liberal arts professors warn the change will remove an essential aspect of what a university education offers — a widespread knowledge of the world.  Wichita State's general education cuts were largely spurred by a Kansas Board of Regents mandate to reduce students' credit hours.

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Missouri Senator Seeks Probe into Housing Complaints

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is pushing for federal investigations into uninhabitable conditions at some public housing serving mostly low-income residents in Missouri.  The Kansas City Star reports that Hawley announced Friday he has sent letters to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Attorney’s Office urging investigations. That followed reports of mold, rodent infestations, a lack of heat or water and other uninhabitable conditions in homes managed by T.E.H. Realty, a landlord with a major presence in both Kansas City and St. Louis.  Hawley asked in the letter that HUD work with local housing authorities to provide relief to tenants affected by the conditions.  Attempts by The Associated Press to reach T.E.H. Realty by phone Saturday were unsuccessful.

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Feds Seek to Keep More than $300,000 in Suspected Drug Money Seized in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeking to keep $173,000 that was seized from a driver in Kansas as he headed to Colorado to buy marijuana.  The Wichita Eagle reports that it's the largest of the civil asset forfeiture cases filed this month in federal court in Wichita involving suspected drug money. The seizure happened during a September traffic stop on Interstate 70 in eastern Kansas' Wabaunsee County.  An affidavit says the driver told investigators that he and a passenger were traveling from Asheville, North Carolina, to Denver, where they planned to buy the marijuana. Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012.  In an unrelated case, the Kansas Highway Patrol found nearly $127,000 during an interstate traffic stop in Russell County. A third case was investigated by the Postal Inspection Service and involves nearly $45,000.

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AP Adding 14 Statehouse Reporters in Several States Under New Partnership

The Associated Press is adding 14 statehouse reporters for 18-month jobs through a collaboration with Report for America, a group dedicated to local reporting.  Report for America is part of a growing effort to help local media. In rural areas and even many cities, papers are shrinking and shutting down while coverage peters out. The media group GroundTruth Project, which supports younger journalists globally, launched the initiative in 2017.  Report for America recruits reporters and pays part of their salaries, putting them to work at existing news organizations. It has funded reporters at newspapers, online publications, radio and TV outlets, and other news organizations such as the AP.  The initiative is one of many designed to support local news. Other efforts to fund local reporting have come from journalism foundations; tech companies like Google, which has a partnership with newspaper publisher McClatchy; and media organizations like the investigatory nonprofit website ProPublica.

AP's new reporters will be in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. They will be joined by a data journalist covering all 50 states. They will report on state politics and policy, as well as issues such as voter access, health care and state budgets.  "An investment in AP at the statehouse is an investment in the health of an entire state news ecosystem," Noreen Gillespie, AP's deputy managing editor for U.S. news, said in a statement.  Reporters' stories will be available to AP's customers and other news outlets in those states. AP will also distribute stories by other Report for America journalists.  "One of the most important crises facing our democracy is the alarming shortage of local news coverage about state government, which determines much of the public policy affecting the lives of Americans," Report for America President Steven Waldman said in a statement.

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Prosecutor: Kansas Deputy Acted in Self-Defense in Fatal Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have found that a Kansas deputy acted in self-defense when he fatally shot a man who brandished an airsoft gun that resembles an actual firearm but shoots only nonlethal plastic pellets.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennet said Friday in a 22-page report that the shooting happened in January after 55-year-old David Michael Bosiljevac threatened to hurt his ex-girlfriend's roommate if she didn't meet him at a storage unit. The woman instead tipped off a bondsman that Bosiljevac would be there because he had failed to appear in court on a probation violation hearing for a drug-related case and she had cosigned his bond. The bondsman contacted deputies.  One of the deputies said that during the arrest attempt, Bosiljevac pointed the airsoft pistol. The deputy then fired 16 shots, hitting Bosiljevac at least nine times. A toxicology report found that he tested positive for meth.

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Kansas Man Admits to Swindling Buyer of Online Pharmacy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Kansas man has admitted swindling the buyer of an online pharmacy business. The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that 37-year-old Jeffrey P. Wilson of Olathe pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wire fraud. Wilson admitted in his plea that he placed an ad on Craigslist offering to sell an online pharmacy. He then made false statements and sent fabricated bank records for the business to a Texas man who responded to the ad. He falsely claimed the business was grossing $15,000 to $40,000 a month. The victim paid Wilson $120,000 before learning the business had virtually no revenue and the website had been shut down after he failed to pay for monthly maintenance and hosting. Sentencing is set for Feb. 18.

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Judge Rules Against Family in Missouri Vaccination Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has ruled that it isn’t unconstitutional for Missouri health officials to encourage families to vaccinate their children in a form they must complete to get a religious exemption. KCUR reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs wrote in Friday’s ruling that the state’s freedom to advocate vaccination as governmental policy is “well settled.” The lawsuit was filed by Linus Baker, who is the grandfather of a student at Crossroads Academy in Kansas City. He also is representing families from Bates, Christian and Miller counties. Baker says he disagrees with the ruling. Sachs deferred the ruling until Dec. 16 to give the Bakers a chance to secure an exemption. Baker also has sued in Kansas to keep from having to vaccinate his son. That case is pending.

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Police: Wichita Man Stabbed Roommate Because She Wouldn’t Leave

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Wichita man stabbed his roommate to death because she wouldn’t move out. Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred says the 44-year-old man wanted Devin Cook to leave, but the 28-year-old woman refused to go. The Wichita Eagle reports that police went to the home twice early Saturday morning. Allred says officers who went to the home at 4:10 a.m. told the man that they couldn’t make Cook leave because she had “established residency there.” They told him he had to use legal avenues like eviction or petitioning the court for a protective order. Officers returned to the address after a physical fight started and found Cook inside with several stab wounds. She died later at a hospital. Cook had lived at his home for about a month.

(– earlier reporting –)

Wichita Police: Woman Found with Multiple Stab Wounds Dies

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a 28-year-old woman has been stabbed to death.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the woman, whose name has not yet been released, died Saturday morning at a Wichita hospital.  Police say officers were called just after 4 am Saturday to a home for a report of a cutting. Responding officers found the woman inside with multiple stab wounds.  Police say a 44-year-old man who was at the home was being interviewed by detectives.  No arrests had been reported by midday Saturday, but police say the killing was not a random act.

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Kansas City Police: Woman Fatally Shot, Man in Critical Condition

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a man has fatally shot a woman who was in a car with him in a fast-food restaurant parking lot, then turned the gun on himself.  Police say in a news release that the shooting happened Saturday afternoon outside a Wendy’s restaurant. The man, who was driving the car, was taken to an area hospital in critical condition. The woman, who was in the passenger’s seat, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Kansas City Police spokesman Tim Hernandez told the Kansas City Star that the car had been sitting near the restaurant’s drive-thru for some time before the shooting.

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Police Investigate Fatal Shooting Outside Wichita Hotel

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating a fatal shooting that happened in a hotel parking lot.  Police said the shooting happened around 5:15 am Sunday at the Countryside Inn on South Broadway. Officers responding to the incident found a 55-year-old man with a gunshot wound in his upper body.  The man was taken to a Wichita hospital where he later died.  Police say the victim was involved in a confrontation with a group of people in the hotel parking lot before the shooting.  No arrests were immediately reported on Sunday.

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Police: Fire at Kansas College Apartment Started by Boiling a Candle

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Police say a fire at a Kansas community college apartment started by boiling a candle. The Wichita Eagle reports emergency responders were called at around 7 p.m. Sunday to an apartment fire on the campus of the Garden City Community College. Police say firefighters extinguished the flames in a kitchen area after college staff had been unable to put it out. The investigation found the resident had boiled a candle in a pot of water on the stove, which caught fire to the stove and surrounding area. The resident forgot the candle was on the stove when he left the apartment. No residents were in the building at the time. An adjacent apartment complex was evacuated as a precaution. The passerby's minor injuries were treated at the scene by paramedics. 

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Texas, Nevada Leaving State AGs Suit vs T-Mobile-Sprint

The coalition of state attorneys general suing to stop the $26.5 billion merger of Sprint and T-Mobile has lost two more states, Texas and Nevada, two weeks before the trial is scheduled to begin. Both Texas and Nevada said Monday that they made their own settlements with T-Mobile. The coalition of state attorneys general, led by New York and California, goes to trial Dec. 9, arguing that the T-Mobile-Sprint deal will raise prices and be bad for competition. Mississippi and Colorado left the coalition in October, but 13 states and the District of Columbia remain. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that the merger is bad for consumers and she remains committed to the litigation. Texas said T-Mobile won’t raise wireless prices in the state for five years and that it will build a next-generation 5G network in Texas. Nevada said T-Mobile will provide low-cost plans for six years, build a 5G network in most of Nevada and also provide $30 million for small businesses owned by women and minorities and funding for broadband improvements for Native Americans. T-Mobile has already promised federal regulators that it will build a national 5G network and keep prices steady for three years. They have approved the deal.

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Wichita Lands $14.2 Million Federal Grant for Bus Transit Center

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The federal government has awarded Wichita a $14.2 million grant to build a new bus transit center. The Federal Transit Administration announced Monday in a news release that the Kansas project is among $423 million in transit infrastructure grants awarded nationwide that aim to bolster the safety and reliability of bus systems. The Wichita Transit building will connect 17 bus routes, four trolley and commuter transit in the west bank area of the Arkansas River.

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Missouri Man Charged with Shooting His Child’s Grandfather

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been charged with fatally shooting his child’s grandfather during a weekend custody dispute.  The Kansas City Star reports that Jackson County prosecutors say the shooting happened around 8:30 am Saturday in south Kansas City, Missouri, during a confrontation between the man and his child’s grandfather.  Prosecutors say the man went to his child’s grandparents’ house because of the custody dispute. The grandfather, 49-year-old Benson Lewis of Kansas City, went outside to talk to the man.  Prosecutors say family members looked outside a short time later and saw Lewis on the ground and the man back in his car.  Lewis was driven to a hospital where died.  The man was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. He told police he shot Lewis in self-defense.

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Woman Charged in Wichita with Murder in Shooting Death of Boyfriend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman accused of fatally shooting her boyfriend has been charged with intentional second-degree murder.  Wichita station KSNW reports that 45-year-old Stacey Peters, of Haysville, made an appearance Friday in Sedgwick County Court. She's being held on $125,000 bond.  She was arrested following the fatal shooting of 41-year-old Robert Duvaul early Tuesday morning in Wichita. Duvaul died at the scene from a single gunshot wound.  Police say they're found a gun they believe was used in the shooting.

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Kansas City Death Classified as Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police are investigating as a homicide the death of a man whose body was found inside a Kansas City home.  Police say the body of 39-year-old Jonathan Martinez was found Friday night in a home in the East Blue Valley neighborhood.  Officers were called to the home after medics were dispatched there.  Police have not said how Martinez died, but say his death is suspicious.  No arrests have been reported.

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Missouri Authorities: Man’s Body Found Along Interstate 435

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found alongside Interstate 435 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Officers responded to the area near Interstate 435 and Bannister Road Sunday morning after a driver reported finding the body along northbound Interstate 435.  Few details were immediately released about the man’s death. The Kansas City Star reports that police are waiting on a medical examiner to determine how the man died.

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19-Year-Old Wichita Man Killed in 3-Vehicle Crash Friday

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old Wichita man has died in a three-vehicle crash on a Dickinson County road.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the crash happened around noon Friday when a pickup truck left the roadway, went into a ditch and overcorrecting into oncoming traffic.  Investigators say the truck hit a car and other vehicle. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a passenger in the car, Jacob Alexander Aguilera, died in the crash.  The drivers of the truck and the car were treated for serious injuries at a local hospital. The driver of the third vehicle was not injured.

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Officer Fires at Man Who Rammed Police Cruiser with Car

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a 25-year-old man who allegedly rammed into a parked police car in Lenexa, Kansas, before fleeing in his vehicle.  Lenexa Police say the Kansas City, Kansas, man hit a police officer's parked car and injured the officer Saturday afternoon, and the officer fired at the suspect as he fled.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says that while police were chasing him, the suspect's vehicle ran through a red light and struck a Ford Explorer that slid into a minivan.  The suspect was arrested after the crash and taken to a hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound. His injuries are not considered life threatening.  The Lenexa officer who fired his weapon was not seriously hurt in the initial crash. No other injuries were reported.

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Greensburg's "Green" Rebuild Considered a Mixed Success

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A dozen years after a tornado nearly wiped out Greensburg, city leaders acknowledge that the decision to rebuild as "the greenest community in America" has been a mixed success.  The May 4, 2007, E-5 tornado killed 11 people and destroyed most of Greensburg. The town has about 850 residents, 600 fewer than when the tornado hit.  The Kansas News Service reports the decision to rebuild in an environmentally friendly way started the night after the tornado. The green rebuilding plan was considered a way to set the small town apart from other rural communities, which were dwindling.  City Administrator Stacy Barnes acknowledges some expectations at the time were unrealistic. But she says the town continues to work on projects and she remains optimistic about the town's future.

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Duke Solidifies No. 1 in AP Top 25; KU at No. 4

The Duke Blue Devils (6-0) solidified their tight grip on the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press men’s basketball poll Monday. They received 53 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel that regularly covers college basketball. The University of Louisville Cardinals held steady at No. 2 in the poll, receiving seven first-place votes. Michigan State was third with four No. 1 votes and Kansas was fourth, setting up a showdown between the two heavyweights if they advance to the finals of the Maui Invitational. Maryland jumped North Carolina to round out the top five, while Virginia received the only other first-place vote and was seventh. Gonzaga, Kentucky and Ohio State filled out the top 10.

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