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Headlines for Sunday, March 17, 2019

 

Governor Declares State of Emergency for Doniphan County Due to Flooding

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for Doniphan County, which has been affected by flooding this week.  The state declaration may be amended to include any additional counties that may experience flooding. The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.  The Kansas Division of Emergency Management has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to a partial level and is working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service to provide support to Doniphan County.  KDEM has sent three regional coordinators to assist Doniphan county emergency management officials.  Other state agencies that have reported to the SEOC are State Fire Marshal's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol and Department of Children and Families.  The Kansas State Animal Response Team has been requested to deploy to assist with sheltering of evacuated pets.

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Downstream Missouri River Prepares for Flooding

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — As rivers and creeks in flooded eastern Nebraska and western Iowa crest Saturday, officials have begun looking downstream at likely flooding further south along the Missouri River.  The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports Missouri Gov. Mike Parson met with emergency management team members Friday to review and update flood-response plans. The Missouri Highway Patrol is preparing additional equipment, and swift water rescue personnel are on standby. The Missouri National Guard also has temporarily relocated the 139th Airlift Wing's C-130s from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph as a precaution.  Some flooding of low-lying areas around the river in northwest Missouri had already been reported Saturday.  The National Weather Service says the Missouri River at St. Joseph reached nearly 26 feet on Saturday, about a foot below what's considered major flooding at the northwest Missouri city. But it's expected to crest Wednesday or Thursday at 29.3 feet — more than two feet above major flooding level.

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Mega Millions Lottery Ticket Sold in Kansas City Worth $50 Million

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Missouri Lottery players who buy their tickets in Jackson County should check those tickets very carefully.  According to KCTV, a $50 million Mega Millions ticket from the March 12 drawing was sold at QuikTrip, 6641 E. Truman Rd., in Kansas City.  The lucky ticket matched all six numbers drawn: 10, 12, 16, 49, 57 and a Mega Ball of 18.  The jackpot is estimated to come out to $30.2 million in cash.  The winning ticket is only the second Mega Millions jackpot ever won in Missouri. The first was in 2015 when the winner claimed a $25 million prize.  The winner has until September 8 to claim their prize.  

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Investigators Probing Cause of Kansas Church Fire

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Investigators are trying to determine the cause of an overnight fire that destroyed a church near downtown Hutchinson.  The Hutchinson News reports that crews battled until 4 a.m. Friday the blaze at the Foundation of Life Church Ministries, also known as McGee Chapel. A police officer on patrol spotted the fire in the second story shortly before midnight.  Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer says investigators from the Kansas Fire Marshal's Office were on the scene. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also asked to respond.  Church officials told investigators that the last time the building was occupied was Wednesday night.  The fire chief says they don't know what may have started the fire.  Extensive damage was reported to the church and a nearby building.

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3 Men Sentenced in Torture of Missouri Man over Drug Debt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three men have been sentenced this week for the kidnapping and torture of a man over a drug debt.  The U.S. Attorney reports 54-year-old Randal Holmes was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison without parole. And 43-year-old Michael Borrusch, of Lakewood, Colorado, was sentenced to three years and 10 months without the parole.  Forty-year-old Jeremy Bond, of Independence, was sentenced Wednesday to 2½ years without parole.  Prosecutors say the victim was assaulted with a hammer and tin clippers while the men tried to make him disclose the location of a duffel bag of money intended for drug trafficking between Kansas City and Colorado.  Police rescued the victim at a rural home in Edwards after tracing a call he was forced to make to his father.  Two other men have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

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Affidavit: Sheriff's Charges Stem from Girlfriend's DUI Stop

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — Charging documents say a Kansas sheriff who's charged with two misdemeanors tried to interfere in the drunken driving arrest of his then-girlfriend.  The affidavit released Thursday in the interference and witness intimidation case against Montgomery County Sheriff Robert Dierks says the woman was stopped in January 2018 after dispatch received a report that she was driving recklessly. She then called the sheriff, who said he would pick her up.
Before he got there, the deputy headed to jail with the woman. The affidavit says Dierks called and asked if he could make the deputy change his mind and then asked the deputy not to attend the woman's court hearing. Dierks told investigators the woman broke up with him for not helping her get out of the DUI.  Dierks' attorney didn't immediately return a phone message.

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Police: Wichita Strained by Number of Parolees, Offenders

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say the concentration of registered offenders and parolees in the area is straining resources and posing risks to public safety.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County has the largest number of parolees and registered offenders in Kansas, with many coming from other counties or states.  The Kansas Department of Corrections released 1,269 people under parole supervision to Sedgwick County last fiscal year, which ended June 30. Just 360 parolees were released to Johnson County, which has a bigger population.  Sedgwick County had 2,819 people on the state's offender registry for certain violent, sex or drug crimes last fall, according to Wichita police. It's more than three times the number of registered offenders in Johnson County.  Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said he was surprised by how many offenders have convictions in other counties or states.  Part of the trend can be explained by Wichita being the state's largest city, with many job opportunities and resources.  Wichita Deputy Police Chief Jose Salcido said sending more registered offenders to Wichita creates a "hyper-concentration" that results in increased crime.  "It's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy," Salcido said.  Federal statistics show parolees are likely to commit a serious crime after being released from prison, Salcido said.  He said it's costing the Police Department time and money, and putting strain on its homeless outreach team. The unit responds to 911 calls and calls for service involving homeless people, and allocates one-quarter of its resources to homeless parolees, Salcido said.

The department has also been working with state corrections officials to better track violent offenders and provide treatment and prevention, according to Salcido.  Democratic Rep. John Carmichael said Wichita gets a disproportionate number of parolees partly because it has the only work release facility in the state. Men can work jobs in the community as they finish their sentences, which Carmichael said results in many staying.  Some settle in the area because Wichita has mental health and drug treatment programs, he added.  He said the state could face heightened pressure to release more parolees to Wichita because the state's prison population is growing and the prison system is understaffed.  Carmichael said the disproportionate number of parolees "imposes a burden on law enforcement and the citizens and taxpayers in Sedgwick County."

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Bardo's Funeral Procession to Wind Through Wichita State

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University is planning a special goodbye for President John Bardo, who died earlier this month.  The university said in a news release Friday that the funeral procession for Bardo will wind through the campus before his burial on Monday.  Bardo, who was Wichita State president since 2012, died Tuesday after battling a chronic lung condition since November.  The university says the procession will make five brief stops on campus, including Neff Hall, where Bardo met his wife in 1974. The procession will include Bardo's wife, other members of his family and a police escort.  Monday's funeral service is private. A date for a public celebration of life event is expected to be announced later this spring.

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3 Kansas Students Credited with Rescuing Boy in Florida

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three University of Kansas fraternity brothers on a spring break trip to Florida are credited with rescuing a young boy from a riptide.  The Kansas City Star reports that Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers Jared Cox, of Overland Park; Connor Churchill, of Olathe; and Cole Firmature, of Omaha, Nebraska, went to a beach on March 11 in Destin, Florida. They were at a beach bar when they heard a woman cry out for a lifeguard and point to the water.  There was no lifeguard patrolling the beach at the time and the three men sprinted to the water.  They spotted a young boy drifting on a boogie board 40 yards out into the ocean.  The three men swam out and brought the child to shore by pushing him on the board.

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Missouri Representative: Bill Requiring AR-15 Ownership Makes "Point on Mandates"

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker says he knows his legislation requiring every 18- to 35-year-old in the state to own an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle has no chance of passing.  But Republican state Representative Andrew McDaniel, of Deering, says he hopes that it and another bill he introduced help to "make a point on mandates in general." The second bill would require adults who can legally possess firearms to do so. Both bills would offer tax credits.  McDaniel says it "points out the absurdity of the opposite side," and their proposals to "add more requirements and barriers for law-abiding citizens." The former sheriff's deputy says he decided, "let's get back at them."  No hearings on the bills are scheduled. McDaniel says if anything moves forward, he would focus on tax credits and strip out the other elements.

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Judge Tosses Ex-Wichita Officer's Discrimination Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former Wichita police officer who alleged she was discriminated against after a hit-and-run crash.  Tiffany Dahlquist sued the city and two Wichita police officials last year. She said she was treated differently because of her gender after a teenager reported that Dahlquist hit her car and didn't stop in September 2016.  The Wichita Eagle report s Dahlquist denied sideswiping the girl's car. She wasn't charged after prosecutors cited lack of evidence.  The department fired her in February 2017 but she as reinstated four days later.  Dahlquist eventually resigned. She said her work environment became hostile after the Eagle reported allegations that the department covered up details of the collision.  U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree dismissed the case Tuesday, saying Dahlquist's complaints didn't show a plausible claim for relief.

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Governor Nominates Southeast Kansas Judge for Appeals Court

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has nominated a southeast Kansas judge who previously served in the Legislature for a seat on the state Court of Appeals.  Kelly announced Friday that she selected Labette County District Judge Jeffry Jack for the state's second-highest court. His appointment requires Senate confirmation.  Jack would replace retired Judge Patrick McAnany on the 14-member appeals court.  The 57-year-old Jack has served as a trial court judge since 2005 and was appointed to the bench by then-Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius.  He represented a Parsons-area district in the Kansas House as a Republican from 2003 until becoming a judge.  Kelly said Jack's legislative experience was an important factor in his selection. The other two finalists for the position were attorneys Sarah Warner of Lenexa and Marcia Wood of Wichita.

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Dodge City Region Searching for Access to 4-Year College

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dodge City officials say the Kansas town's recent economic growth is endangered by the lack of a four-year college.  The city anchors a 28-county region in western Kansas without a four-year college. In recent years, the city completed $86 million in renovations and expansions to its schools, an addition to the Boot Hill Museum, a new $12 million waterpark and several new businesses.  The Kansas News Service reports city officials believe the lack of a four-year college forces students to leave to pursue higher education. That, in turn, means many middle-class jobs such as teaching or health care go unfilled.  Joann Knight, head of economic development, says the city would welcome a satellite campus for universities based elsewhere that could build on the area's community college programs.

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