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Headlines for Thursday, December 5, 2019


Johnson County Elections Chief Resigns

The top elections official has resigned in a populous Kansas county plagued in two recent elections with delays in reporting results. The Kansas secretary of state's office announced Thursday that Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker stepped down, but Metsker didn't give a reason in his resignation letter. Metsker had been commissioner since February 2016 and was appointed by former Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Johnson County is the state's most populous county and saw delays in reporting election results in November 2016 and August 2018. But a spokeswoman for current Secretary of State Scott Schwab said those problems were not why Metsker resigned. 


New Law School Approved for Washburn University

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Washburn University School of Law will be getting a new home. Washburn's Board of Regents on Wednesday approved the plan for a $33 million building on the Topeka campus. WIBW reports the university will begin working on the plans immediately. A completion date is not yet set. The current law school building dates back to 1968. The new building is part of Washburn's "150 Forward" campaign. The $13 million in private donations raised for the building is the largest amount for a single project in Washburn history. Washburn President Jerry Farley said declining enrollments nationwide prompted the school to project for 300 to 325 students, rather than 450. Farley says the biggest advantage of the new building will be technological upgrades that were not financially feasible in the current building. The current law building will be used for other university programs and offices.


Man Dies in Central Kansas Duplex Fire

MARION, Kan. (AP) —  Authorities are investigating a deadly fire at a duplex in central Kansas. Police in Marion say the west side of the duplex was fully engulfed in flames when officers responded shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday. Once the fire was under control, a man was found inside the structure. The man wasn't immediately identified. The Kansas State Fire Marshal was contacted to help investigate the blaze. Marion is located about 60 miles northeast of Wichita. 


Textron Aviation Announces Layoffs, Mostly in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Textron Aviation says the company is laying off an undisclosed number of workers, with most of the layoffs at its headquarters in Wichita. The company announced the layoffs Thursday but did not say how many employees would be affected. Company spokeswoman Stephanie Harder said in a statement the job losses would be mostly in engineering and business support. She said the layoffs won’t involve the direct workforce, such as hourly manufacturing and customer support. The layoffs will be effective Dec. 31. KAKE-TV reports Textron offered a voluntary retirement program for salaried exempt employees. Harder said Textron plans to continue hiring skilled advanced aviation manufacturing positions as they are needed. Textron Aviation employs nearly 10,000 people in Wichita.


Southeast Kansas School Bus Crash Injures Student, Vehicle Driver

RIVERTON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating after a southeast Kansas school bus was hit from behind while it was stopped on a highway picking up a student. Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said the Riverton school bus carrying 13 students was hit Tuesday morning on U.S. 166 about 3 miles east of Baxter Springs. The patrol says a 13-year-old male student on the bus and the driver of the vehicle were taken to Mercy Hospital in Joplin.


Kansas GOP Congressman Faces Probe of Voter Registration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Authorities plan to investigate whether a freshman Kansas congressman broke state laws by listing a UPS Inc. store as his address on a voter registration form and for  obtaining a mail-in ballot in a November election. Rep. Steve Watkins' spokesman said Wednesday that the Republican congressman's use of the UPS store's address in southwest Topeka was an inadvertent mistake that will be corrected.  But his actions raised a question  about the legality of Watkins' registration and the ballot he cast November 5. The local sheriff said he would investigate the matter at the local district attorney's request.  


After Long Debate, Olathe OKs Non-Discrimination Ordinance

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Olathe has approved a nondiscrimination ordinance to provide protections to LGBTQ residents. The city council's vote on Tuesday came after months of debate and before a packed meeting room. The ordinance prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It includes exemptions for educational, religious and political institutions. Olathe is the last of the major cities in Johnson County to adopt such an ordinance.


Kansas City Looking for New Homes for Some City Inmates

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City officials are searching for new places to house about 110 municipal inmates after a rehabilitation facility it was using to house them loses its insurance in January. The city has used Heartland Center for Behavioral Change as a jail since the Jackson County Detention Center stopped taking city inmates earlier this year. Heartland's chief executive told city and police officials that insurance carriers canceled the organization's liability and workers compensation policies, effective in January. Heartland provides substance abuse treatment and was not designed as a detention facility. 


Trump Would Talk to Pompeo About Running for Senate if Kansas GOP Risks Losing Seat

LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he would talk to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about running for an open Senate seat in Kansas if Republicans appeared at risk of losing it next year. Trump's comments to reporters Tuesday in London during a NATO meeting came as Pompeo dismissed speculation about his seeking the seat. Trump said if he thought Republicans might lose their first Senate race in Kansas since 1932, "I would have to talk to Mike."


Amount of Water Released into Missouri River Being Reduced

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water being released into the lower Missouri River is being reduced ahead of winter, so flooded areas along the river will see some relief. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the amount of water being released from the Gavins Point dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border has been reduced to 57,000 cubic feet per second, and it will be cut further to about 27,000 cubic feet per second by mid-December. The reductions will allow the river to fall below flood stage in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri by the end of this month.


Chiefs Running Back LeSean McCoy Reaches Settlement in Lawsuit Filed by Ex-Girlfriend

ATLANTA (AP) -- Court records show Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy has settled a lawsuit filed against him by his former girlfriend. Delicia Cordon had sued McCoy last year, saying he failed to protect her from a violent July 2018 home invasion at a house he owned just outside Atlanta. McCoy was not at the home during the attack. He played for the Buffalo Bills at the time. The parties notified the court last month that they had resolved the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement are not disclosed in online court records. A judge on Wednesday ordered the case closed.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.


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