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Headlines for Saturday, October 19, 2019

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Kansas Commission Names Three Court Possibles; One Opposed by Kansas for Life

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas trial-court judge opposed by an influential anti-abortion group is among three finalists to fill a vacancy on the state's highest court. A state nominating commission on Friday named Shawnee County District Judge Evelyn Wilson as a potential appointee for Democratic Governor Laura Kelly to consider. Kelly's appointee will go on the court without any review by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Kansans for Life announced its opposition this week to her candidacy, citing her husband's political contributions to Kelly and other abortion-rights supporters. She has declined to comment, but he said she steers clear of politics. Commission members said they were unaware of the group's opposition. The commission also selected Deputy Kansas Attorney General Dennis Depew and Assistant Kansas Solicitor General Steven Obermeier as finalists for Kelly to consider.


Wichita Lawyer Gets Parole for Stealing from Elderly Client

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita lawyer who stole more than $900,000 from an elderly client with dementia was sentenced to probation. Larry Toomey was given two years of probation, with an underlying sentence of 26 months, on Friday. He pleaded guilty in April to felony theft. The Wichita Eagle reports Toomey's attorney, Steven Mank, told the court Toomey was entitled to the money because of a gift memo drafted by the 104-year-old client. Prosecutors say Toomey spent nearly $962,000 from the woman's bank accounts, including for a gambling addiction. Under his sentence, Toomey was ordered to be evaluated for a gambling addiction and follow the recommended treatment. Prosecutors alleged Toomey stole from the women for seven years, while she was living in a Wichita nursing home.


KC T-Bones Get New Owner, Will Stay in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas City T-Bones have a prospective new owner and a plan to stay in Kansas City, Kansas. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/ Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday approved an agreement to use $1 million in tax revenues to help the team stay in the area. The county evicted the independent baseball team on Monday from its publicly owned stadium because it owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts. The new agreement must be approved by the American Association of Professional Baseball. The Kansas City Star reports the new majority owner will be Mark Brandmeyer, whose family sold Enturia, a Leawood company that made medical devices, for $490 million in 2014. New team president Mark Perry said the ownership group plans to invest heavily in the stadium and offer entertainment options besides baseball.


Wichita Mayor Won't Face Charges over Gifts

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett says he will not file charges against Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell over gifts the mayor received from companies involved in building the city's new water treatment plant. Bennett said he has asked Longwell to report gifts he received in the past from Professional Engineering Consultants and Wildcat Constructors. The Wichita Eagle has reported Longwell received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts such as meals, travel and golf outings from the companies while the bid for the water plant was under consideration. Bennett said Thursday he didn't pursue changes because state law doesn't clearly define what constitutes "financial interactions" between local office holders and the public. Longwell has said the presidents of the two companies are friends and their golf outings and dinners were not related to city business.


Former ICE Agent Pleads Guilty in Foiled Kansas Escape Plot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has pleaded guilty to helping an inmate try to escape from a Kansas jail by impersonating an immigration officer. Forty-two-year-old Andrew Pleviak pleaded guilty Wednesday in Kingman County District Court to making false information and attempted aiding of escape. He's also charged in federal court with false impersonation of a federal officer. Prosecutors say he falsely identified himself as an ICE agent in a foiled attempt last month to free an inmate from the Kingman County jail, about 45 miles west of Wichita. He allegedly provided a sheriff's deputy a memorandum on ICE letterhead falsely claiming the inmate was an important confidential informant and saying ICE would drop the detainer on him. Sentencing is set for November 20th.


Kobach Fires Senate Campaign Aide

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Kris Kobach's campaign for the Senate in Kansas says it has fired an aide after learning he regularly posted hateful comments about Jews and racial minorities on a white nationalist website. The latest campaign finance report filed by Kobach's campaign shows it paid Joe Suber of Olathe $500 for field coordinating services in September. The Kansas City Star reports that Suber also filed paperwork with the state in August making the campaign a limited liability company. The newspaper said Suber has a history of making anti-Semitic and racist comments on The UNZ Review, a website with white nationalist and anti-Semitic content. Kobach called Suber's views "abhorrent" and repudiated them. His campaign said Suber ran errands and did other small tasks. Suber suggested some of his posts "might be humor."


Douglas County Won't Press Charges in Some Marijuana Cases

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson says his office will no longer file criminal cases for simple marijuana possession. Branson said Thursday that Douglas County citizens should not be criminally charged when citizens in Lawrence and surrounding communities face little or no penalty in such cases. And he said he hopes the decision will allow county courts and law enforcement to focus on more serious issues. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Lawrence city officials this year reduced fines to $1 for first and second convictions for marijuana possession, for people 18 and with 32 grams or less of marijuana. The city did not change municipal court fines for drug paraphernalia possession, and additional court and diversion costs could still apply. Possession is still illegal in most Kansas communities, and under state and federal law.


Ex-Teacher, Council Member Enters Plea in Student Sex Encounter

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A former high school teacher and Shawnee City Council member pleaded no contest to having a sexual encounter with a student. Justin Adrian, who taught social studies teacher at Olathe East High School, pleaded Thursday to aggravated battery and misdemeanor sexual battery. He will be sentenced January 8th. KMBC-TV reports Adrian, who is 33, began talking to the Olathe East student through an online dating apps. The sexual encounter occurred in a classroom at Olathe East High School. The student was 18, but it is illegal in Kansas for a teacher to have sexual contact with a student at the same school. Adrian resigned from the Shawnee City Council but resigned when the allegations surfaced.


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