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Headlines for Thursday, July 19, 2018

 

Carnival Workers Arrested in 2 Kansas Deaths

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A probable cause affidavit says a carnival worker has admitted to killing a Kansas couple at a county fair in central Kansas.  The suspect, Michael Fowler, told investigators that he shot Sonny and Pauline Carpenter of Wichita, at the Barton County Fair in Great Bend.  Investigators believe they were killed Friday. Their bodies were found Monday in a forest near Van Buren, Arkansas. Three suspects were arrested Tuesday in Van Buren.  According to the affidavit released today (THUR), Fowler told Van Buren police that Rusty Frazier and Kimberly Younger, also known as Myrna Khan, were with him when the couple was killed.  No charges have been filed in the Carpenters' deaths. The affidavit does not discuss a motive for the killings.  

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Kansas Man Admits Going to Philippines for Sex with Girls
 
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man who admitted that he traveled to the Philippines to have sex with minor girls has pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography.  Federal prosecutors say 55-year-old Anthony Shultz pleaded guilty this week.  He's scheduled to be sentenced in December.  Shultz, a helicopter pilot from Lindsborg, also admitted he videotaped sex acts with a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old and brought the videos back to Kansas.  In one of the videos, Shultz is seen giving the 15-year-old money after having sex with her.  Schultz also produced child pornography using an 8-year-old Philippine girl over Skype with the cooperation of the girl's mother.

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Mom Accused of Letting Men Rape her 2-Year-Old Daughter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City-area woman has been charged with letting men rape her 2-year-old daughter.  Twenty-five-year-old Azzie Watson, of Independence, Missouri, was charged Tuesday with child abuse and endangerment. Bond is set at $75,000. No attorney is listed for her in online court records.  WDAF-TV reports that court documents say Watson's boyfriend recorded Watson talking about repeatedly taking her daughter to a house where her daughter was raped about five times. She says on the recording that she watched.  Police were given the recording last month while responding to a rape report at a hospital. Court documents say Watson told detectives that what she said in the recording was a lie because she was scared of her boyfriend. Watson also said she didn't know how her daughter contracted a sexually transmitted disease.  

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Trump to Address VFW Convention Next Tuesday in Kansas City

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump will visit Missouri next week to deliver his first address as president to the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.  White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump will head to Kansas City on Tuesday to address the gathering.  Trump has made care for veterans a priority of his administration, although the Department of Veterans Affairs is currently without a permanent secretary. The full Senate has yet to vote on Trump's nomination of Pentagon official Robert Wilkie to lead the VA.  Missouri is also the scene of a closely watched U.S. Senate race pitting Republican state attorney general Josh Hawley against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. The president has endorsed Hawley.  Trump last addressed the VFW convention in 2016 as a candidate for president.

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Trump Endorses Kansas GOP Congressman Kevin Yoder in 3rd District

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump is endorsing Republican Representative Kevin Yoder in a Kansas district that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried in 2016.  Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Yoder has his "full and total endorsement!"  The president praised Yoder after House Republicans released a spending bill providing $5 billion next year for building Trump's proposed wall with Mexico. Yoder is chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee on homeland security.  Yoder is seeking his fifth term in is Kansas City-area district. Democrats are targeting him because Clinton received 47 percent of the vote there to Trump's 46 percent.  The Kansas Democratic Party quickly noted the endorsement in a fundraising email, calling Trump's agenda "divisive" and "corrupt."  But Trump said in his tweet that Yoder has been strong on crime, border security and gun rights.

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12 Horses Removed from Northeast Kansas Farm

HOYT, Kan. (AP) — Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse says 12 horses were removed from a farm this week after a veterinarian determined they were not receiving proper care.  Morse says the horses were taken Monday from a farm near Hoyt. Medical staff is caring for the four stallions, two colts and six mares.  He says some horses were not getting adequate water despite recent high temperatures and hay on the farm was old.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports another 35 horses were determined to be in adequate health and remained at the farm. Those horses will be checked daily.  Morse says the sheriff's office received complaints for almost 18 months about poor conditions at the farm but substantial evidence wasn't found before Monday despite repeated visits to the property.  The Jackson County attorney will determine if any charges are filed.

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Kansas Turnpike Toll Prices Increasing Beginning in October

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Drivers on the Kansas Turnpike will pay more beginning October 1.  The state announced Wednesday that tolls on the turnpike will increase about 5 percent for passenger vehicles with a K-TAG pass. Commercial vehicles with a K-TAG may see an increase because electronic fares will be rounded to the nearest nickel.  Fees for passenger vehicles paying cash will increase about 12.5 percent, while commercial vehicles paying cash will see a 10 percent increase. All cash fares will be rounded to the nearest quarter.  The turnpike authority says about 40 percent of customers pay cash, while 60 percent use an electronic system such as K-TAG.  State officials said the turnpike system is financially sound but the toll increases are needed to pay for preservation and modernization projects without issuing new debt.

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Topeka Crews Fight 8 Intentionally Set Fires in 1 Night

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka authorities have arrested one juvenile and are looking for two others after firefighters fought eight intentionally set fires overnight.  None of the fires caused serious damage, with many set in garbage, leaves, garages and one unoccupied home. Seven of the fires were reported between about 11:45 pm Tuesday and 12:24 am Wednesday. Another fire was reported about 3:30 am Wednesday.  No injuries were reported.  Police announced late Wednesday afternoon that one juvenile was in custody.  Damage from the first seven fires ranged from minimal up to $500.  The last fire at 3:30 am at a detached garage caused an estimated $10,000 damage.  Battalion Chief Mark Brannock says four of the fires were reported in one block, and neighbors reported seeking three young people running away from the scene.

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Manhattan Man Convicted in May 2017 Shooting Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A 39-year-old Manhattan man was convicted in the shooting death of one man and the attempted murder of another man.  Steven Harris has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old German Gonzalez-Garcia.  Prosecutors say Harris shot the two victims in May 2017 in Manhattan. German Gonzalez-Garcia died at the scene. The second victim, Adrian Ortega, was critically wounded. Harris was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in Ortega's death.  Harris was arrested along with his girlfriend in Wichita four days after the shooting when they tried to check into a Wichita hotel.  Harris had previously been convicted of attempted second-degree murder in Franklin County and was released from prison in 2015.  He will be sentenced August 27.

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Westar Customers May See Rate Drops Amid Settlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A settlement between Kansas agencies and Westar Energy may lead to utility customers seeing rate drops instead of previously expected increases.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the settlement reached Monday would reverse Westar's request for a $17 million rate increase and turn it into a $66 million rate cut. The settlement also drops Westar's effort to raise the basic per-month service charge.  The Kansas Corporation Commission must still approve the settlement, which could end what's been a hotly contested fight over rates that brought hundreds of angry customers and Kansas lawmakers to recent public hearings.  David Nickel represents the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, the small state agency for residential and small-business customers. He says regular electric customers would see a rate decrease of about $4 a month under the agreement.

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Man Killed by Kansas City Police Had Long Criminal Record

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An investigator says a man who was fatally shot by Kansas City police after wounding three officers had an extensive criminal record in Oklahoma.  Tulsa police Sgt. David Walker says 25-year-old Marlin James Mack Jr. was only 15 when he was first arrested for breaking into cars.  The detective tells The Kansas City Star that Mack's most violent crime came in 2011, when he robbed a woman at gunpoint in front of her three children. He was sentenced to five years in prison.  Kansas City police weren't aware of Mack until this month, when he became a person of interest in the shooting death of 25-year-old Sharath Koppu, a college student from India. Mack was under surveillance when he was fatally shot Sunday during confrontations with police.

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Kansas GOP Senator Loses Post on Panel for Backing Democrats

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Republican has stripped a fellow GOP senator of a committee leadership post for publicly expressing support for two Democratic candidates.  Senator Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills on Wednesday lost her position as vice chairman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee after endorsing Democrat Tom Niermann in the 3rd Congressional District race in the Kansas City area. Niermann is one of six Democrats hoping to challenge Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder.  Bollier previously said she would support Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka for governor if Kelly wins the August 7 primary.  Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita accused Bollier of betraying fellow Republicans and called the endorsements "embarrassing."  Bollier told The Topeka Capital-Journal that she is considering leaving the GOP to become an independent.

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Civil Rights Flyer Sparks Dustup in Kansas Governor's Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is defending a flyer it mailed comparing the civil rights records of the leading Republican candidates for Kansas governor, calling it voter education.  Secretary of State Kris Kobach pointed to the flyer in seeking to portray Governor Jeff Colyer as the ACLU's "man" during a Tuesday fundraiser.  Colyer's campaign distanced itself from the civil rights group, calling it a dirty trick to help Kobach and ensure that Democrats and the ACLU have an easy opponent to defeat in the general election just as they've defeated Kobach in the courtroom.  The ACLU has won several lawsuits against Kobach over voting rights.  Kobach is mounting a threat from the right to unseat Colyer in a Republican primary in which the candidates seek to burnish their conservative credentials.

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Trump Endorses Kansas Congressman Yoder in 3rd District

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - President Donald Trump is endorsing Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in a Kansas district that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried in 2016.  Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Yoder has his "full and total endorsement!"  The president praised Yoder after House Republicans released a spending bill providing $5 billion next year for building Trump's proposed wall with Mexico. Yoder is chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee on homeland security.  Yoder is seeking his fifth term in is Kansas City-area district. Democrats are targeting him because Clinton received 47 percent of the vote there to Trump's 46 percent.  The Kansas Democratic Party quickly noted the endorsement in a fundraising email, calling Trump's agenda "divisive" and "corrupt."  But Trump said in his tweet that Yoder has been strong on crime, border security and gun rights.

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University of Kansas Starts Addictions Research Center

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A center that will study addictions and how to treat them is being created on the University of Kansas campus.  The university says in a news release that graduate Daniel Logan and his wife, Gladys Cofrin, donated $2 million to start the Cofrin-Logan Center for Addiction Research & Treatment.  Logan is a professor in the Addiction Medicine Division at the University of Florida's College of Medicine, and Cofrin is a retired therapist. The university says both Cofrin and Logan are in recovery from addictions themselves and know the importance of making effective treatment options more available and accessible.  Logan says in the release that the "essence of treating addiction is about giving people hope." Programs will focus on various addictions, including to alcohol, drugs, gambling and eating disorders.

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U.S. Deporting Crime Victims While They Wait for Special Visa

Immigrants applying for a special visa awarded to victims of crime on U.S. soil are being detained and deported by President Donald Trump's administration.  Under past presidents, people who were here illegally but qualified for so-called "U visas" were typically allowed to wait stateside until their petitions were approved. But now ramped-up immigration enforcement means some of them are getting swept up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement before they have a chance to legalize.  Congress established the U visa program in 2000 to encourage immigrants to report crimes to law enforcement. The visas are given to victims of crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence and obstruction of justice.  Advocates say recent deportations undermine the protection's spirit.

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Man Dies After Utility Vehicle Collides with Semitrailer

PROSSER, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a man driving a utility vehicle died after it collided with a semitrailer in south-central Nebraska.  The accident was reported around 2:40 pm Tuesday, about a mile southwest of Prosser in northwest Adams County.  The Adams County Sheriff's Office says 19-year-old Alexander Williams was trying to cross a rural road when his vehicle and the truck collided. Williams died after being flown to a Kearney hospital. He lived in Prosser.  Authorities say the truck driver wasn't injured. He's been identified as 20-year-old Ethan Woerner, of Burr Oak, Kansas.

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Wichita Attorney Indicted in Alleged Cyberattacks

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita lawyer and a computer software engineer have been charged in a federal indictment alleging they plotted cyberattacks on websites with information criticizing the attorney's work.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister told The Wichita Eagle that Wichita lawyer Bradley Pistotnik, 62, and VIRAL Artificial Intelligence Co-Founder David Dorsett, 36, were charged Tuesday with computer fraud and conspiracy. Pistotnik, who's locally known for his commercials in which he rides a bull while advertising that he's an accident attorney, is also charged with making false statements to the FBI.  The indictment alleges that Pistotnik and Dorsett are responsible for cyberattacks on Leagle.com, Ripoffreport.com and JaburgWilk.com in 2014 and 2015. The indictment also accuses Dorsett of filling website inboxes with threats.  "One of the emails read: 'Remove this page and we stop' and 'if you don't remove it we will begin targeting your advertisers,'" the statement said.  Pistotnik's attorney, Steve Robison, denied the allegations. Dorsett couldn't be reached for comment.  Computer fraud carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and an up to $250,000 fine on each count, according to McAllister's statement. Conspiracy carries up to 10 years in prison along with an up to $250,000 fine. The men face five counts of computer fraud and two counts of conspiracy.  The penalty for making false statements can be up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Pistotnik faces three counts.

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Trade Tensions Weigh on Outlook for Rural Parts of 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Weak economic growth is expected to continue in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, but all the recent trade disputes may shrink profits.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the new tariffs are hurting grain prices, which were already weak.  The overall economic index for the region declined to 53.8 in July from June's 56.1.  That score still suggests growth because it is above 50, while any score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.  Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.  The bankers say they're concerned about the ongoing trade tensions with China and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The confidence index fell to 42.7 in July from June's 48.8.

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Wichita State to Have Marching Band Starting this Fall

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita State University plans to start a marching band this fall.  The university said in a news release that the band, which will be called the "Shocker Sound Machine," will include brass, saxophone and a drum line.  Tim Shade, director of bands at the school, says the new band will feature high-energy performances. It will perform mostly at Wichita State basketball games and major student events.  The school hopes the band will eventually have about 200 members.  Band members will pay a minimal fee in the first year. In the second year, students will have to enroll in a 1-credit course to participate. Scholarships for up to 100 students will be available in the 2019-20 school year.

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