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Headlines for Thursday, August 16, 2018

Moderates are Key to Kansas Governor's Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Democrats in Kansas might be cheering that President Donald Trump's pick for governor — Secretary of State Kris Kobach — has emerged from a fiercely contested primary. But they face considerable challenges as they look to take back the governor's mansion after eight years of Republican control.  Democrat Laura Kelly, a longtime state senator, will have to navigate the popularity of Trump among state Republicans and the prospect of an independent candidate who could pick off the moderates and independents she needs to defeat Kobach in November.  Kobach, who has earned a national reputation for his tough stance on illegal immigration and voting rights, also has challenges as he looks to maintain Republican control of the governor's mansion. He must unify Republicans after his razor-thin win over Governor Jeff Colyer.  Colyer has endorsed his former Republican rival.  He did so Tuesday night, after conceding the race to Kobach in a surprise announcement.  It came a week after a neck-and-neck primary finish.  The close vote threatened to send the race to a recount.  A review of some provisional ballots from most Kansas counties failed to find enough votes for Colyer, who was trying to avoid becoming the first Kansas governor to lose a primary since 1956.  Kobach, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, has been a lightning rod for controversy. He will face Democrat Laura Kelly, and is likely to face independent candidate Greg Orman, in the November general election in the decidedly conservative state.  Libertarian candidate Jeff Caldwell and independent candidate Rick Kloos are also running for governor.  

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National Republican Super PAC Targets 2 Kansas Districts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican super PAC is deploying workers and attention to two Kansas Congressional districts. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Congressional Leadership Fund recently set up offices in Kansas's 2nd and 3rd congressional districts. In the 2nd District, Democrat Paul Davis faces Steve Watkins, a GOP newcomer. In the 3rd District, Representative Kevin Yoder is facing Democratic newcomer Sharice Davids. Each CLF office will have a full-time employee working with volunteers to determine important local issues and encourage targeted voters to go to the polls in November. Michael Byerly, a CLF spokesman, said the offices are part of the group's effort to protect the Republican majority in the U.S. House. Democratic leaders say the move indicates the GOP is concerned about losing the two Kansas districts.

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Storms Blamed for Deaths in Kansas, Damage Roads in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A strong storm system moving across the central Plains left a father and son dead in Kansas, damaged roads in Oklahoma and led to several water rescues in both states.  Montgomery County, Kansas, Sheriff Bobby Dierks said Wednesday that 72-year-old Dennis Clark Catron Sr. and 39-year-old Dennis Clark Catron Jr., both of Elk City, drowned Tuesday night when their vehicle was swept off a road into an overflowing creek. Their bodies were found inside the vehicle.  "They had apparently stopped their car and put it in park, then were swept off" the road, Dierks said.  Rains also damaged the shoulder of Interstate 44 in southwestern Oklahoma City, according to Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lisa Shearer-Salim, and officials in the college town of Norman said a portion of the city's Main Street buckled due to the rain.  "It's all part of the same general (storm) system, but multiple clusters of storms," said meteorologist John Hart with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.  

The storm in Oklahoma produced 5.06 inches of rain at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, breaking the record of 4.62 inches set on August 11, 2008, according to forecaster Vivek Mahale with the National Weather Service.  "Since 1890, when records started, we haven't gotten 5.06 inches on any one calendar day in August," Mahale said.  Meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser in Wichita, Kansas, described the storms as similar to a tropical storm, about 30,000 feet in height, as opposed to the typical storm in the Plains states that are 50,000-70,000 feet in height.  "It was very short in height, and because they're short, they're very, very efficient rain producers," Kleinsasser said.  Kleinsasser said 7 to 11 inches of rain fell in parts of southeastern Kansas, but it wasn't immediately known if any rainfall records were broken.  Officials in both states also reported dozens of people were rescued from vehicles stranded in high water, but no additional deaths.

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2 Kansas City Men Sentenced to Life for Kidnapping, Murder

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two Kansas City men were sentenced to multiple life prison terms for the murder of another man.  Twenty-seven-year-old Raynal King and 23-year-old Howard Ross III were sentenced Wednesday for the September 2016 carjacking, kidnapping and death of Jaime Patton.  Federal prosecutors say Patton was returning home from visiting a hospital when King and Ross kidnapped him and stole his 2014 Jeep Patriot. They drove him to ATM machines and tried to force him to provide his PIN number for his debit card.  When Patton wasn't able to provide the PIN number, he was shot in the leg. Eventually, Patton jumped out of the Jeep and was shot several times and was left to die.  Prosecutors say King planned to sell the Jeep to get money to make payments on a vehicle he recently purchased.

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Man Charged with Murder in Stabbing of Kansas Victim

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A 49-year-old Paola man is charged with first-degree murder in a fatal stabling last week in Shawnee. Vincenzo Lucasta is charged in the Aug. 8 killing of 57-year-old David J. Paterno, who was found dead at his home. Lucasta, who is also known as Morgan Lee Speakman, was arrested Monday in Kansas City. He is being held on $2 million bond in the Johnson County jail. The Kansas City Star reports Lucasta has a lengthy criminal record. He spent prison time in both Kansas and Missouri, including a 15-year sentence for armed robbery in 2001.

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Arkansas Police Say Fake Carnival Mafia Ritual Sparked Kansas Killings

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Kansas carnival worker posed as a member of a fictitious mafia group and ordered fellow workers to kill a couple as part of an initiation ritual, police in Arkansas alleged in filing charges related to dumping the bodies. Carnival workers Kimberly Younger, Michael Fowler, Rusty Frasier and Christine Tenney were charged this week in Crawford County Circuit Court, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported . The charges include abuse of a corpse, theft by receiving and tampering with physical evidence in the deaths of Alfred "Sonny" Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter. Younger allegedly posed as a carnival mafia member named "Frank Zaitchik" and texted others last month to kill the Carpenters on the fairgrounds at Great Bend, Kansas, where the couple were vendors, according to Van Buren, Arkansas, police. Detectives discovered Younger had a Facebook page in the name of Frank Zaitchik while examining her phone, according to police reports. Police said Fowler told investigators that Frasier stabbed Alfred Carpenter before Fowler shot him. Fowler then went into the couple's camper and shot Pauline Carpenter, according to police reports. Fowler told investigators that the killings were initiation into the carnival mafia, police said. Asked whether there was even such a thing as a carnival mafia, Van Buren police spokesman Jonathan Wear said in an email that was something the woman "definitely made up." Zaitchik also told texted others to clean the inside of the camper and to dispose of the bodies, Fowler allegedly told investigators. The four suspects loaded the couple's bodies into the camper and dumped them in a creek bed north of Cedarville, Arkansas, according to police reports. Tenney's sister-in-law told authorities Tenney called and said she was kidnapped by three others who had murdered an elderly couple and that she's being held against her will, police said. Authorities found the suspects at an apartment complex. Younger, Fowler and Frasier are being held on $1 million bond. Tenney is being held on $250,000 bond. All have pleaded not guilty. No charges had been filed in Kansas as of Wednesday, according to the Kansas attorney general's office. The Barton County sheriff's office, the Great Bend Police Department and the Barton County attorney's office are conducting the investigation, according to the attorney general.

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Interstate Near Lenexa Closed for Hours After Fatal Crash

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 435 died when his truck collided with a semi-trailer truck.  The patrol says the Ford truck was going north in the southbound lanes early Wednesday near Lenexa when it collided nearly head on with the tractor-trailer.  The Ford was torn in two by the force of the collision and the driver was killed. The driver's name was not released.  The patrol says lanes of Interstate 435 were closed for nearly seven hours after the collision but have now reopened.

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Board Member of KC Area Lacrosse Team Admits to Sexual Misconduct

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — A board member of a Kansas City-area lacrosse team who offered to be a "sex coach" for a female player has pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct.  Prosecutors in Platte County, Missouri, say 61-year-old James McEnerney, of Overland Park, pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual misconduct, a misdemeanor.  McEnerney was an on-site coordinator and board member for the lacrosse club. He sent sexually suggestive comments to a 17-year-old female player on the team.  He pleaded guilty July 24.  Prosecutors Eric Zahnd says McEnerney told the girl he would pay for her to play college lacrosse. She rejected several advances from him.  McEnerney faces a maximum of 15 days in the jail. No sentencing date has been set.  Zahnd said he is asking state lawmakers to pass legislation to impose harsher penalties for such crimes.  

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Mom "Depressed" Before Driving into Kansas River with Kids

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman who's charged with killing her 5-year-old daughter and critically injuring her 1-year-old son by intentionally driving into the Kansas River told authorities she wanted to die and didn't want anyone else to have her children.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the affidavit released Wednesday says Scharron Renea Dingledine of Columbia, Missouri, told police she'd been voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital for several hours on August 2, one day before plunging into the river near downtown Lawrence.  After being released, her boyfriend agreed to take her to a shelter. She said that when he stopped at a store, she drove off in his car, with the children inside. She says she later stole another vehicle and was "feeling depressed and worried about the consequences of her actions."

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Fatal Shooting Under Investigation in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a fatal shooting in Kansas City, Kansas.  Police said in a news release that officers responded to the shooting around 5 pm Wednesday. The release says a male victim was taken to a hospital, where he later died of his injuries. The victim hasn't been identified. Police also haven't released information about a suspect or a motive.

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Juvenile Facility Guard Placed on Leave After Teen Injured

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a guard at a northeast Kansas juvenile detention facility has been placed on leave after a teen was injured so severely that his mother said he required emergency brain surgery.  Franklin County juvenile services director Ken Halliburton told The Associated Press that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was asked to investigate after the juvenile was rushed to a hospital Saturday morning. The KBI said in a statement that the juvenile sustained critical injuries Friday at the county's juvenile detention center.  The juvenile wasn't identified. But KCTV reports that Jennifer Davis says a guard slammed her 15-year-old's son to the ground, leaving the boy with a skull fracture, bruises and cuts.  Halliburton says the county is "cooperating fully" and "awaiting the outcome of the investigation." The guard isn't charged.

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Kansas Nurses Sue to Overturn Midwife Law

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Two nurse midwives are trying to overturn a Kansas law prohibiting them from practicing without physician oversight after they lost the ability to deliver babies at a hospital.  The Kansas City Star reports that Kara Winkler and Julie Gorenc have filed a federal lawsuit that says requiring nurse practitioners to practice under a physician is unfair because it allows doctors to control the health care market. Winkler and Gorenc are part of Midwife Partners in Women's Wellness in Lenexa.  The women allege they lost 25 clients who were planning to give birth at Shawnee Mission Medical Center after Dr. Janetta Proverbs ended her collaborative practice agreement with them. No other Shawnee Mission physicians would take them on.  Proverbs calls the allegations "unfounded." Kansas is one of 19 states requiring nurse midwives to sign such agreements with physicians.

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Andover Golf Course Worker Dies Following Pillar Collapse

ANDOVER, Kan. (AP) — An employee at an Andover country club has died days after a brick pillar fell on him. Andover police say 27-year-old Jeff Williams died Wednesday from injuries he suffered on Sunday at the Terradyne Country Club. Williams was an assistant superintendent at the golf course. KAKE-TV reports Williams and another worker were in a hole repairing a water line when thepillar fell on him. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

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Heavy Rains Damage Roads, Lead to Rescues in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Up to 5 inches of rain fell in parts of Oklahoma overnight, damaging roads and leading to numerous high water rescues.  There are no reports of deaths as a result of the Tuesday night and Wednesday morning rains.  Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lisa Shearer-Salim says the rain caused buckling in the shoulder of Interstate 44 in southwest Oklahoma City that will force the closing of one lane while repairs are made.  Officials in Norman on the south edge of Oklahoma City report a portion of the city's Main Street also buckled due to the rain and is closed.  Oklahoma City Fire Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says the fire department responded to 32 calls of vehicles in high water, but there were no injuries.

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Kansas Family's Insurance Didn't Pay for Broken Sculpture

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An Overland Park official admits he was mistaken about who paid for a $132,000 sculpture at the city's community center that was damaged by a young boy.  City spokesman Sean Reilly said in July that the insurance company for the family of a 5-year-old boy who damaged the sculpture paid for the damages.  The Kansas City Star reports Reilly said Tuesday he misunderstood. He says the city's insurance company paid $107,000 for damages to the sculpture at the Tomahawk Community Center. That amount paid for all but the $25,000 deductible in Overland Park's policy.  Surveillance video showed the boy trying to hug the glass sculpture in May, when it was part of an art show. He then tried unsuccessfully to stop the sculpture from falling to the floor.

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Moran to Speak About Global Security on 9/11 Anniversary

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is speaking at Kansas State University about global security on the 17th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.  Moran's appearance is part of the Landon Lecture series. The series is named for former Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who was the 1936 Republican nominee for president. The series was established in 1966 to bring in speakers to discuss issues facing business, politics and international relations.  Moran will talk about how the terrorist attack shaped his priorities. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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Woman Sent to Prison for Wichita Student's Killing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman convicted of killing a Wichita high school student has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Twenty-year-old Terasha Diane Presley-Dupree pleaded guilty in July to voluntary manslaughter and criminal discharge of a firearm in the October 2015 death of 18-year-old Debrylan Bell, who was shot at least six times while he sat in his car outside of Woodgate Apartments. The Wichita Eagle reports witnesses reported Presley-Dupree and Dennis Saquan McGaugh III speeding away from the apartment complex after 20 to 30 rounds were fired into Bell's car. Bell was a senior at Wichita North High School. McGaugh was sentenced in June to nearly six years in prison. Prosecutors say Bell's killing was not a random act but the exact motive remains unclear.

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Report: Weak Farm Economy Leading to Fewer Farm Loans

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More farm loan applications are being rejected in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states in reaction to weak farm commodity prices and income. The latest Rural Mainstreet survey says nearly one-third of bank CEOs reported rejecting a higher percentage of farm loans, while nearly 55 percent indicated their banks had raised collateral requirements in the face of weak farm prices and income. The region's economic index rose to 54.8 in August from 53.8 in July. That score still suggests growth because it is above 50, while any score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the recent trade disputes have weakened "already anemic grain prices." Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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Man Charged with Sexually Abusing Kids at Kansas Day Care

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 70-year-old man has been charged with molesting five children at a day care in Johnson County. The Kansas City Star reports Lennie Amlin Jr., of Spring Hill, is facing five felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The criminal complaint says the alleged victims ranged in age from about 5 to 11. The charges allege that between March 2017 and January 2018, Amlin engaged in lewd fondling or touching of five different children. A family member of Amlin's owns the licensed day care in Spring Hill. The business's license was suspended in March after the allegations against Amlin were raised. Amlin is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Friday.

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Trial in 1984 Missouri Teenager's Death Moved to New County

TUSCUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The trial of a 59-year-old man facing a capital murder charge in the 1984 death of a Missouri teenager has been moved to a different county. Martin Priest's trial in the death of 15-year-old Tammy Sue Rothganger of Eldon has been moved from Miller to Laclede County. Rothganger disappeared while walking to school in May 1984. A friend reported seeing the girl getting into a car with an unidentified man and Priest, who was her mother's boyfriend. Her remains were never found. Priest was charged in 2016 while serving a life sentence in Kansas for a different murder. The Camdenton Lake News Leader reports in the early to mid-1980s, authorities in Missouri and Kansas linked Priest to five deaths, but prosecutors gained only one conviction that was upheld.

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