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Headlines for Monday, September 17, 2018

Kansas Deputy and Suspect Fatally Shot During Arrest

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  A man with a history of drug convictions has been identified as the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Kansas sheriff's deputy. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office announced Monday that 29-year-old Robert Greeson tussled with Deputy Robert Kunze Sunday afternoon about 20 miles west of downtown Wichita. The deputy was shot once and died at a hospital. Greeson was found dead at the scene with two gunshot wounds. Kansas Department of Corrections records show Greeson had convictions for selling and distributing drugs and for aggravated battery. While incarcerated, he had multiple disciplinary infractions, including for fighting. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says the shooting happened as Kunze responded to a report about a man in a stolen black truck who was lurking around two all-terrain vehicles and another pickup.
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7 a.m.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas sheriff's deputy and a suspect were killed after a fight broke out as the suspect was being arrested in a rural area of Wichita.  Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Deputy Robert Kunze was shot Sunday afternoon after receiving a call about a black truck that had been stolen.  When Kunze arrived at the scene about 20 miles west of downtown Wichita, he found the hood open on the black vehicle. Easter says Kunze patted down the suspect's waistband and found a 40-caliber handgun. According to the Wichita Eagle, the gun was placed away from the two of them, but a fight ensued when Kunze tried to handcuff the suspect.  Easter says Kunze's service weapon was discharged, but investigators don't know if the suspect's handgun was fired too. Kunze was able to use the emergency button on his portable radio to summon help. Another deputy arrived about a minute later, and two witnesses hiding nearby said shots had been fired. The deputy found Kunze and the suspect on the ground. A 40-caliber handgun was found next to the suspect, whose name hasn't been released.  Kunze had been shot once in his upper torso above his ballistic vest, Easter said. The suspect was shot in his upper torso and waist. Kunze died at a hospital, while the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooting is under investigation. Easter said the deputy's vehicle was equipped with a dash camera but that footage was not yet available.  He said the suspect has been linked to several crimes in the area that took place Sunday — the theft of a 40-caliber weapon, a silver vehicle and the black truck. He said there are no other suspects in Kunze's death, but that there may be more suspects in the other cases.  The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office posted a badge covered with a blue and black mourning band on its Facebook page to remember Kunze. Easter described the deputy's death as a "tragedy," saying Kunze "worked with great pride, loved and encouraged the people who worked with him, but most of all he loved his family." Kunze had a wife and child.

(earlier report)

Kansas Deputy Shot and Killed During Suspicious Person Call

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas sheriff's deputy has been shot and killed while responding to a call about a suspicious person.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Deputy Robert Kunze was shot Sunday about 20 miles west of downtown Wichita after arriving at the scene and seeing a person who matched the description of the suspicious individual. The sheriff's office said Kunze activated the emergency button on his portable radio shortly before 2 pm.  Easter said another deputy responded and found Kunze on the ground along with the suspect, whose name wasn't released. The deputy was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead just before 3 pm.  The suspect died at the scene but details on the cause weren't immediately released.  The 41-year-old Kunze joined the department in 2006.

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Moran, Roberts Want Review of Allegations Against Kavanaugh

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas's Republican U.S. senators are backing plans to examine sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Senator Pat Roberts released a statement Monday saying he agreed with the plan to investigate the allegation. He also said he thinks Democrats have made the nomination process partisan, which he called unfortunate. Professor Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school 30 years ago. Kavanaugh denies the allegations. Roberts say neither Kavanaugh nor Ford have been treated appropriately by the Democrats. Senator Jerry Moran said people who come forward with allegations of abuse or misconduct deserve to be heard. He said he appreciates that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley plans to hear directly from Kavanaugh and Ford.

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1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured when Car Goes into Kansas Creek

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Atchison County authorities say a Missouri teenager has died and another teenager from Texas is in critical condition after a car they were in went into a creek in northeast Kansas during the weekend. Three other teens were able to escape without serious injury.  Undersheriff Toby Smith said 16-year-old Zachary Armontrout, of Rushville, Missouri, died Monday at a Kansas City hospital. Sixteen-year-old Regan Moger, of Houston, Texas, remains in critical condition.  The Atchison Globe reports the vehicle they were in hit an object on a bridge and went into Independence Creek two miles north of Atchison Sunday afternoon. Investigators believe the car was submerged for about 30 minutes before first responders extracted it.  The five teenagers are all students at Maur Hill-Mount Academy, a Catholic boarding school in Atchison.

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Firefighter Charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Child

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A 33-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, firefighter has been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after he allegedly solicited sex from someone he thought was 15.  The Wyandotte County District Attorney's office says Devin Rich turned himself in and is being held in the Wyandotte County jail on a $100,000 bond.  Prosecutors say the person Rich solicited was actually an undercover FBI agent.  A court date has not been set.  The fire department said in a statement that Rich was an eight-year veteran of the department and has been suspended without pay since April.

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Topeka Homicide Trial Ends in Hung Jury

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to retry a Kansas man for a deadly shooting after his first trial ended in a hung jury.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that jurors announced Friday that they couldn't reach a verdict on first-degree murder and aggravated robbery charges in the case against Luqman Keys. Shawnee County District Court Judge Mark Braun says Keys was acquitted of the one other charge he faced, which was aggravated burglary.  The charges stem from the June 2017 shooting death of 18-year-old Arden King. Topeka police say King and at least one other person had been in an apartment when King was fatally shot.  Keys was the only person arrested in King's death. He pleaded not guilty.

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Topeka Police Chief Pledges More Transparency After Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka's police chief says a man's shooting death by two officers last year has transformed law enforcement in the city. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Topeka Police Department would now handle the aftermath of a police shooting differently compared to the case of Dominique White. The 30-year-old was shot by two officers September 28. The officers didn't face any criminal charges. Police Chief Bill Cochran says the department would like to be in contact with the agency investigating the case to increase transparency with Topeka residents. The department is collaborating with other eastern Kansas law enforcement agencies and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on handling police shootings. Cochran says Topeka police want to be more responsive and accessible to the public in the future.

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Police: Man Fatally Stabbed Early Saturday in Wellington

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) - A south-central Kansas man has died after being stabbed in the chest, and another person has been arrested.  Officials say the stabbing happened around 2:30 am Saturday in Wellington.  Police say officers who arrived on the scene found a 26-year-old man with chest injuries. He was taken to a Wichita hospital, where he later died.  Police say a woman was arrested in connection with the stabbing.  No names or other details of what led to the stabbing have been released.

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Riley County Officer Named Hutchinson's New Police Chief

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A longtime officer of the Riley County Police Department will become Hutchinson's new police chief. The Hutchinson News reports Jeffrey Hooper, who is currently a captain in Manhattan, will take over the chief's job on Oct. 22. He succeeds Dick Heitschmidt, who retired. Hooper has been with the Riley County Police Department for 27 years, including the past 14 as a captain. He has also been an officer, detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. The Riley County Police Department is a combined law enforcement agency for the city of Manhattan and Riley County. Hooper has a bachelor's degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Kansas State University and is a graduate of the 213th FBI National Academy.

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Paying Kids to Attend School?  Yes, in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City-area school district plans to use money as an incentive to get students to attend class every day.  The Kansas City Star reports that students at Hickman Mills School District's four secondary schools will have the chance to win $100 each month if they have perfect attendance.  Ruskin High, the Freshman Center, Smith-Hale Middle School and the Crittenton Center students with perfect attendance each week will be entered into a monthly drawing. Each school will then draw a winner's name at the end of the month.  The district's elementary school students will be eligible to win $50 each month and a new bike at the end of the year.  The funds for the incentives come from the district's educational foundation and school fundraisers.

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Haskell to Celebrate Native Americans Vets of World War I

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Haskell Indian Nation's University's Cultural Center and Museum is planning to celebrate Native Americans who served in World War I.  The center's director, Jancita Warrington, said 415 Haskell students, faculty and alumni enlisted in the war, even though they could not claim citizenship until six years after the war ended.  The celebration, "Keeping Legends Alive," will be held September 21 and 22, hosted by Haskell Indian Nations University and the city of Lawrence.  The event will include a celebration of veterans, a powwow and several other activities. It also will remember the 1926 dedication of Haskell Memorial Stadium, which was one of the biggest events in the city's history.  At the time, Haskell Institute was a boarding school for Native American children. It became accredited in 1927.

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Vietnam Vets Honored this Week in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Vietnam veterans will be honored at a ceremony in Kansas City this week.  Humana, a health insurance company is holding a pinning and proclamation ceremony Thursday at its Humana Community location in Kansas City. All veterans who served between November 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, are eligible to participate in the ceremony.  Humana is a partner in a federal program called the Vietnam War Commemoration and Thursday's ceremony will conclude a veterans' appreciation week at the Kansas City location.  The Vietnam War Commemoration program began in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and to thank and honor Vietnam veterans. Thousands of organizations across the country to conduct pinning events and activities that recognize Vietnam veterans and their families.

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Ex-Kansas City Bank Teller Pleads Guilty to Theft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City bank teller accused of helping steal nearly $400,000 over five years has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.  The Kansas City Star reports that federal prosecutors say 46-year-old Stacey Lyn Crail and another unnamed teller at the Central Bank of Kansas City stole packaged $100 bills and hid the thefts by replacing them with $1 bills.  Officials say Crail and the accomplice worked together because bank rules required that at least two employees enter the vault together.  Investigators say that to cover their tracks, Crail and her accomplice falsified balance sheets for their teller drawers.  Prosecutors say the pair took about $390,000 from 2012 until May 2017 before the thefts were discovered.  No sentencing date has been set.

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Shortage of Truckers Has Industry Considering 18-Year-Olds

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A nationwide shortage of truckers has some industry officials and national lawmakers supporting a plan to allow 18-year-olds to become long-haul drivers.  But some industry officials, like Jeffrey Steinberg, director of the APEX CDL Institute in Kansas City, Kansas, thinks that's a bad idea, even though the institute trains truckers and would likely see an increase in enrollment.  The Kansas City Star reports bills are before both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate that would allow under-21 holders of commercial drivers' licenses to take cargo across state lines. The Senate bill was co-sponsored by Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas.  The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, headquartered in Grain Valley, Missouri, agrees with Steinberg. It has joined more than a dozen traffic safety groups in protesting to a congressional committee that will consider the idea.

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Change Urged Amid Spike in Deadly Semi, Big Truck Crashes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tractor-trailers and other large trucks aren't required to have crash-avoidance technology, despite thousands of crashes annually.  The Kansas City Star reports that federal data shows more than 4,300 people were killed in accidents involving semis and other large trucks in 2016, a 28 percent increase over 2009.  Despite the risk, The Star found that the National Highway Traffic Safety has largely ignored repeated pleas from the National Transportation Safety Board to take action that would prevent trucks from rear-ending other vehicles.  Only a small percentage of semis on the road today have collision avoidance technology. The NHTSA says in a written statement that it's still studying the technology.  Lobbying associations for the industry generally recommend that trucking companies voluntarily adopt advanced safety technologies, but don't want it mandated.

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Different County Policies Could Impact Kansas Voting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The chances of a Kansas voter's ballot being counted might depend on which county he or she lives in - especially if the vote comes in by mail.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports different counties use different standards to decide whether a ballot should be counted.  In the August primary, Johnson County rejected 153 advance mail-in ballots because the signature on the envelope used to mail the ballot to the county didn't match the voter's signature on file in the county election office.  But Douglas and Shawnee county election officials say they didn't reject any ballots in August because of mismatched signatures.  The issue came up last week at a State Objections Board meeting, when Davis Hammet objected to Republican Kris Kobach winning the GOP primary for governor, in part because he said inconsistent standards could have influenced the outcome.

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Flint Hills Center Opening Exhibit Highlighting the Buffalo

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - After a summer dedicated to the dinosaur, the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan is turning its attention to the buffalo.  "Bison: The Great American Icon," a National Endowment of the Humanities-sponsored exhibit, opened to the public Saturday and runs through January 13.  To coincide with the exhibit, the center is planning a celebration of National Bison Day on November 3.  Center director Susan Adams told The Manhattan Mercury the exhibit highlights an animal that was historically significant in the Flint Hills and across the country.  The exhibit has displays showing the history of the bison, and includes 27 quilts depicting the Flint Hills from the Konza Prairie Quilters Guild.  The center also will be showing a "Wolves and Wildlands" exhibit from the International Wolf Center.
 
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Licenses to Grow Industrial Hemp Could be Ready by Spring

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Agriculture hopes to start issuing licenses for farmers to grow industrial hemp in time for next year's spring planting season.  Agency spokeswoman Heather Lansdowne told the Lawrence Journal-World on Friday that proposed rules and regulations were submitted earlier in the week to the Department of Administration. That's the first step in a long process required to establish an industrial hemp program in Kansas.  The program will initially allow growing hemp only for research. But officials said in an economic impact statement that a successful research-based pilot program may lead to the eventual legalization of commercial industrial hemp.  Kansas lawmakers in April authorized the agriculture department to issue licenses allowing industrial hemp for research, and for other businesses to research potential commercial uses of the crop.
 
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Families of Duck Boat Victims Oppose Delay in Lawsuits

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The families of some of the 17 people who died after a duck boat sank in Missouri say federal prosecutors might delay their efforts to get answers about the July 19 crash.  The Kansas City Star reports that federal prosecutors have asked a judge to halt the civil lawsuits related to the crash on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, until their criminal investigation is complete.  Attorney Gerald McGonagle says this motion would just delay the families' lawsuits. He is representing the daughters of a Higginsville couple who died.  No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the duck boat crash, so it's not clear how long the federal investigation could take.  Ripley Entertainment and the five other businesses involved in operating the duck boats have declined to comment on the lawsuits.

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Kansas City QB Mahomes Sets NFL Record as Chiefs Beat Steelers 42-37

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-37 Sunday, in Pittsburgh and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is off to a record-setting start.  Mahomes threw for six touchdowns and now has 10 touchdown passes through two games, the most ever through the first two weeks of the season.  Pittsburgh's defense rarely slowed the Chiefs down and looked a step behind while giving up six touchdown passes for the second time in the franchise's 86-year history.

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