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Headlines for Thursday, December 12, 2019

 

Kansas City, Kansas, Police Say Burned Body Found in Barrel

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police say a badly burned body was found inside a barrel near a cemetery. Police spokesman Jonathon Westbrook says the body of a man was found Wednesday after a passerby told police a human limb was sticking out of the barrel. Westbrook said it appeared someone tried to burn the body but it was recognizable. The person has not been identified. The case is being investigated as a homicide. Police think the body was at the site for less than a day.

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University of Kansas Trades KC-Based Roasterie for Starbucks

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Coffee drinkers at the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence might have to change from Kansas City-based Roasterie to Starbucks. The university said Wednesday its contract with Pepsi prompted it to replace Roasterie locations with Starbucks, beginning in July. Pepsi has all rights to canned and bottled goods on campus. David Mucci, the director of the Memorial Union, said more people are buying coffee in cans and bottles. Mucci said the Starbucks locations on campus would serve only drinks. The change does not affect the KU Medical Center.  

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New Kansas City Airport Will Include 2 All-Gender Bathrooms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City's new airport will include two all-gender bathrooms, as well as other bathrooms designed to be inclusive and convenient. The city's aviation department said Wednesday the airport also will include changing rooms, rooms for nursing mothers and larger stalls with room for passengers' luggage. Justin Meyer, a city aviation official, says the all-gender restrooms will not only help transgender people but families with children of both genders, or someone with an elderly parent of the opposite gender. Kansas City currently is demolishing its three-terminal airport. The new airport is expected to open in 2023.

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Walmart Chooses Topeka for Distribution Center with 300 Jobs

A new Walmart distribution center will be built in Topeka, bringing 300 full-time jobs to the city. Walmart announced plans Wednesday to invest $200 million to erect its largest distribution center in Kansas to Topeka. The announcement came at a meeting of the city's Joint Economic Development Organization, which voted to provide up to $1.87 million in incentives to Walmart. The company said Topeka's central location in the U.S. was a key factor in the decision. A timeline for hiring the new employees has not been set.

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Kansas Judge Admits Cursing, Says He Didn't Mistreat Staff

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has acknowledged during a disciplinary hearing that he frequently cursed in his conversations with employees and attorneys and was sometimes unprofessional in his conduct. But District Judge F. William Cullins of Montgomery County in southeast Kansas testified Thursday that he didn't abuse court staff or direct vulgar and sexist terms at female workers. Cullins is facing three complaints that accuse him of violating judicial ethics and was the last witness to testify during four days of hearings before state Commission on Judicial Conduct panel. He apologized for his behavior but his attorneys contend it didn't prevent him from being impartial. 

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Construction on American Royal Complex in KCK to Start Next Year

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The American Royal plans to begin construction on its new complex in Kansas City, Kansas, next year. Royal officials announced Tuesday the organization has acquired 115 acres in Wyandotte County near the Kansas Speedway. The organization's headquarters has been in Kansas City, Missouri, since 1899. The estimated price of the new complex will be between $220 million and $250 million. About $80 million of that will come from Kansas sales tax revenue bonds, with the rest through private fundraising. An organization official says construction is expected to begin next summer, with significant work completed by December 2021.

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Kansas State Board of Education Asks Districts to Pass Strict Vaping Bans

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education has voted to encourage school districts to pass strict vaping bans. The Kansas City Star reports that the policy approved unanimously Tuesday calls for districts to enact policies prohibiting students and staff from using, possessing or promoting any tobacco products, including vape pens, while on school property, in school vehicles or at school activities. The board also wants districts to bar parents, volunteers, contractors and vendors from using any tobacco products and e-cigarettes "in any district facility, in school vehicles, at school-sponsored activities, programs or events, and on school owned property at all times."

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Wichita School Board Member Resigns then Changes his Mind After LGBT Vote

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita school board member who quit after a vote to expand protections for LGBTQ students and staff has rescinded his resignation. Vice President Mike Rodee brought up concerns about potential litigation in voting against a statement that said the district would not discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation. After it was passed 5-2 Monday night, Rodee announced his resignation from the board. He then submitted a statement Tuesday afternoon in which he asked board members to continue to consider him an active member of the board. He also said that he remained "committed to serving Wichita students.

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Judge Denies Request to Vacate Man's Sentence in Hepatitis C Case

A federal judge in New Hampshire has dismissed a request to vacate the 39-year prison sentence for a traveling medical technician who infected patients in multiple states, including Kansas, with hepatitis C through tainted syringes. The judge agreed with prosecutors Wednesday that David Kwiatkowski waited too long to ask. Kwiatkowski was sentenced in 2013 for stealing syringes filled with painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled ones tainted with his blood. In January, he asked to be released, saying his former lawyer was ineffective.  Forty-six people in four states were diagnosed with the same strain of the hepatitis C virus he carries, including a woman who died in Kansas.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Likely Killed Girl, Documents Say

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Carbon monoxide poisoning is the apparent cause of death for a 4-year-old Nebraska girl, whose Kansas grandfather is charged with first-degree murder. The Topeka Capital-Journal on Thursday cited court records related to the death of Brandy Funk. Testing found a carbon monoxide level more than six times above a lethal level in the girl's blood. Brandy, of Beatrice, Nebraska, died in July. Court documents say Timothy Wayne Funk Sr. acknowledged he left a generator running in the garage of his Silver Lake, Kansas, home with its door shut while watching the girl and another granddaughter. The other child survived.

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2nd Suspect Arrested in Kansas Bar Shooting That Killed 4 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A second man is in custody in  connection with a shooting at a Kansas bar that killed four people and injured five others. Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman Jonathon Westbrook said Thursday that law enforcement arrested 29-year-old Hugo Villanueva-Morales. He is a suspect in the shooting in October at a Tequila KC bar. Westbrook could not immediately provide details about the arrest.  Villanueva-Morales and another man, 23-year-old Javier Alatorre, are charged each with four counts of first-degree murder, with bond set at $1 million each. Alatorre was arrested shortly after the shooting. 

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Missouri School District Vows to Crack Down After Racist Incidents

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — Leaders of a school district located just north of Kansas City are vowing to push for tougher discipline after a string of racist incidents. The Kansas City Star reports that Platte County school district Superintendent Michael Reik sent a note to parents emphasizing that the district “does not tolerate acts of racism” after a noose made out of white shoestrings was found hanging in a boys bathroom last week. The incident comes one month after a hate-filled rant that repeatedly used a racial slur was shared among more than 200 students and staff. Last year, paper nooses were discovered stuck to the high school's walls.

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Plainville Man Convicted in Wife's Death in 2018

A Plainville man has been convicted of killing his wife in March 2018. A Rooks County jury found 37-year-old Alifonso Eduardo Garcia guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday. His wife, 24-year-old Alexis Garcia, was found dead in their Plainville home. Officials have not said how she died. Garcia's sentencing was scheduled for January 17.

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Man Who Escaped Lansing Correctional Facility Sentenced

An inmate who escaped from the Lansing Correctional Facility in January has been sentenced to 10 more years in prison. Cal Henry Green was sentenced Wednesday for aggravated escape from custody, theft and burglary of a motor vehicle. Authorities say Green was on a work assignment when he took a state-owned dump truck and left the prison without permission. He was arrested three days later in Independence, Missouri. Green is serving a prison sentence for an aggravated battery charge from Wyandotte County.

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Kansas Ag Department Offers Website for Stressed Farmers

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers and ranchers who are stressed over finances or emotional issues have a new place to turn for help. The Kansas Department of Agriculture, along with several other partners, is now providing a website that offers farmers, ranchers and their families resources and support. The department announced the website, kansasagstress.org, on Tuesday. The site offers several topics, including the Kansas Suicide Prevention Line and the Crisis Text Line. The site comes during a time when the suicide rate for farmers and ranches is climbing across the nation.

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Missouri Highway Patrol Recovers Man's Body at Lake of the Ozarks

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Highway Patrol says divers recovered a man's body in the Lake of the Ozarks. The man disappeared Tuesday after a canoe he and another man were fishing from flipped in the lake. The other man was able to swim to safety. The man's body was found Wednesday afternoon. Neither man has been identified.

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Driver Who Intentionally Hit Somali Boy Near KC Mosque Enters Alford Plea to Murder Charge

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man who intentionally drove into a Somali boy outside a Kansas City mosque in 2014 has entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder. Jackson County prosecutors say 39-year-old Ahmed Aden entered the plea earlier this week in the killing of 15-year-old Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein, whose legs were nearly severed after he was hit when he left the Somali Center of Kansas City in December 2014. Aden told investigators that he was looking for men who had threatened him earlier when he intentionally hit the teenager because he mistakenly thought he was one of the men.  

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Only Kansas Democrat in Congress Supports Impeaching Trump

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The only Kansas Democrat in Congress supports impeaching President Donald Trump. Freshman Rep. Sharice Davids announced Tuesday that she will vote for both articles of impeachment drafted by fellow Democrats over Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden. Davids said in a statement that the evidence against Trump is "overwhelming." The articles of impeachment accuse Trump of abusing his power as president and obstructing the congressional investigation by directing administration officials to defy subpoenas. Kansas' three Republicans in the House have all strongly criticized the impeachment process and suggested it is partisan.  

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Kansas Community College Denies Claims in Heatstroke Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for the parents of a 19-year-old football player who died of heatstroke after practice at a Kansas community college in August last year say negotiations with the school remain on track. The attorneys for Braeden Bradforth's parents downplayed the significance of the decision of the Garden City Community College trustees on Tuesday to deny the parents' claims totaling $50 million. Neither parents has yet filed suit. Bradforth, a defensive lineman, was found unconscious in an alley outside his dormitory on Aug. 1, 2018. The Newton, New Jersey, teenager died that night at a hospital. 

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Hot-Shooting Kansas State Cruises Past Alabama State 86-41

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Xavier Sneed scored 20 points, Antonio and Dajuan Gordon had 13 apiece and Cartier Diarra dished out a career-high 10 assists as Kansas State defeated Alabama State 86-41. It was the most assists in a game by a Wildcat since Marcus Foster in 2014.

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