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Headlines for Thursday, June 27, 2019


Ex-Kansas City Chiefs Player, Businessman Runs for U.S. Senate in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas City Chiefs player and now businessman who has served on local and state government boards is running for the U.S. Senate in Kansas.  Dave Lindstrom, who lives in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, plans to launch his bid for the Republican nomination with an event Thursday in Goodland in northwestern Kansas.  Four-term GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election in 2020. At least 15 potential candidates have expressed an interest in running, and most are Republicans.  Lindstrom says supporters have encouraged him for months to consider running.  State Treasurer Jake LaTurner is actively campaigning for the GOP nomination. Other potential Republican candidates include western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and ex-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.


Vaccine Foes Contest Kansas Plan to Require New School Shots

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Vaccination opponents in Kansas have mobilized against a plan from the state health department to require more immunizations for children in school and daycare. The Wichita Eagle reports that dozens of them packed a hearing on a regulation drafted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. They appeared to outnumber supporters 3-to-1, judging by the applause for comments. The new rule would require children in school and daycare to be vaccinated against meningitis and hepatitis A. Required immunizations already include polio, measles, whooping cough, mumps and chickenpox. The change could take effect later this year. Opponents said it would give state government too much power. The new rule would put Kansas in line with recommendations from the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, which guides vaccine use in the U.S.


Man Pleads Guilty in 2016 Rape, Killing of Kansas Woman

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A 25-year-old Kansas man pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing a woman who he left to die in woods in suburban Kansas City.  Korrey Raine White Rinke, of Ottawa, had been charged with capital murder and rape in the 2016 death of 46-year-old Julianna Pappas of Overland Park.  Under a plea deal announced Tuesday, Rinke pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. He faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years when he is sentenced September 12.  In 2018 prosecutors planned to seek the death penalty against Rinke.  The Kansas City Star reports court documents say Rinke told prosecutors he raped and beat Pappas after she refused to have sex with him. Her body was found about a week after she disappeared in August 2016.


Pharmacist Sentenced to Probation in Medicaid Billing Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City pharmacist has been sentenced to three years of probation after he was caught in a $9.5 million Medicaid billing scheme.  The Kansas City Star reports that 67-year-old Steven Baraban also agreed Tuesday to pay about $125,000 in restitution. That's in addition to the $2.2 million that he paid to resolve his role in a whistleblower suit brought by a Lenexa, Kansas, pharmacist who worked under Baraban while he was in charge of a Stark Pharmacy that rented space from Research Medical Center.  Prosecutors said they agreed to a plea deal that gives Baraban no prison time because of the amount of money he has paid and because he agreed to surrender his Missouri pharmacist license. His Kansas license expires on Sunday.


Owner of Topeka and Lawrence Massage Parlors Sentenced to Probation for Conspiracy

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 54-year-old woman who operated massages parlors in Lawrence and Topeka has been sentenced to three years of federal probation.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release that Weiling Nielsen was sentenced Wednesday for conspiracy. She pleaded guilty in February. She was ordered to pay a $650,000 judgment.  She owned Naima Asian Massage and Serenity Health Spa in Lawrence, along with Jasmine Massage in Topeka.  In her plea, Nielsen admitted that customers at the massage parlors could pay cash for sex.  The services were advertised on the Internet. Nielsen and her husband deposited cash into various bank accounts and deposited money orders in bank accounts in California.


Man Charged in Underground Shooting Threat in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man accused of threatening to shoot people in an underground business complex in Kansas City is charged with making a terrorist threat.  Clay County prosecutors charged 45-year-old Kevin Becknal on Wednesday.  Becknal, of Orrick, had been fired days earlier from one of the businesses at the Hunt Midwest SubTropolis, which is a massive subterranean network of businesses in old limestone mines.  The Kansas City Star reports that court records say Becknal returned to the complex Tuesday and told a former co-worker to call a supervisor. He said he had 45 bullets to "shoot people around here."  Becknal drove off about 10 minutes later but police didn't know, so they closed the caves and told workers to remain in their offices.  Becknal was arrested later in Prairie Village, Kansas.


Kansas Parks Department Employee Dies in ATV Accident

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas parks department says an employee died when his all-terrain vehicle overturned and rolled down an embankment at the Milford Wildlife Area.  The agency said in a news release that 48-year-old Mark Jackson, of Milford, died Tuesday when he was pinned underneath the ATV.  Jackson was a seasonal employee of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. He was spraying weeds when the accident occurred.  Parks Secretary Brad Loveless said Jackson made a favorable impression on his co-workers in the short time he worked for the agency.


Teen Pleads No Contest to Bringing Gun to Lawrence School

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A teenager has been convicted of bringing a handgun to Lawrence High School in his backpack.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a judge convicted the teen after he pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor, juvenile charge of criminal use of a weapon. As part of the plea, a property damage charge was dismissed.  Prosecutor Bryant Barton says the gun was found in the teen's backpack in February after he was sent to the office when he tossed his school-issued laptop computer at a door. The impact broke a window in the door. Records show the teen was born in 2004, making him either 14 or 15.  School officials said previously that no students or staff members were threatened with the gun.  The teen's sentencing is set for July 29.


Parents of Slain Kansas City Man Sue Gun Maker, Dealer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The parents of a slain Kansas City man are suing the manufacturer of the weapon used in the shooting and the dealer accused of selling it to a former fire captain who is charged with knowingly supplying firearms to felons.  The Kansas City Star reports that Alvino and Beverly Crawford filed the wrongful death lawsuit this week in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of their son, Alvino Dwight Crawford Jr. Two men are charged in the 29-year-old's July 2016 killing.  The defendants include manufacturer Jimenez Arms, dealer Green Tip Arms and the former fire captain, James Samuels. Phone messages that The Associated Press left with the companies and Samuels weren't immediately returned.  Lawyers with Everytown for Gun Safety, a group backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, are representing Crawford's family.


Kansas Abortion Ruling Prompts New Attack on Death Penalty

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling declaring that the state constitution protects access to abortion has opened the door to a new legal attack on the death penalty.  Attorneys for five men convicted of capital murder argue that the abortion decision means the courts can enforce the broad guarantees of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights.  The lawyers contend capital punishment violates the men's "inalienable" right to life.  They include Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., a white supremacist convicted of shooting three people at two Jewish sites in the Kansas City area in April 2014.  Defense attorneys launched the new attack on capital punishment in legal filings less than two weeks after the abortion decision.


Officer Charged with Helping Woman with Outstanding Warrant

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita police officer has been charged with helping a woman with an outstanding warrant avoid being located.  Officer Charley Davidson, a police spokesman, said in a news release that Officer Matthew Powell was placed on unpaid administrative leave Wednesday after he was charged in Sedgwick County District Court. Powell faces one misdemeanor count of obstructing apprehension or prosecution and two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct.  The release says Powell helped the woman in May, but it offered no details about what type of assistance he provided or the type of warrant the woman faced. Powell had been with the department for seven years.  The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office investigated the allegations at the request of police.


Kansas Boys State Governor Proposed Eliminating Women's Vote

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The organization sponsoring a mock state legislature for boys is apologizing after this year's teenage governor proposed eliminating women's right to vote.  The American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy said in a statement that the student's pretending to issue an executive order repealing the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote does not reflect the organization's values.  The Boys State Legislature voted down the proposal in both its Senate and House of Representatives.  The Kansas City Star reports the teenager from Leavenworth made the proposal in the final moments of his term during the annual Boys States gathering at Kansas State University on June 2-7.  Spokesman Brad Biles says the student ignored staff members who told him not to introduce the executive order.


Body Found Inside Badly Burned Central Kansas Garage

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a body inside a badly burned central Kansas garage. KAKE-TV reports that the fire was reported before 1 p.m. Thursday just southwest of the Butler County town of El Dorado. Butler County dispatchers said the detached garage was on fire. There were multiple explosions from propane tanks stored in the garage. There is no word on the identity of the person found in the garage. El Dorado is 30 miles northeast of Wichita


Driver Arrested Going 100 MPH with Toddler in Her Car

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman who was stopped in Wichita going more than 100 mph with a 2-year-old in her car has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Police said in a tweet that the traffic stop happened Wednesday on the heavily traveled Kellogg Drive in the western part of the city. KAKE-TV reports that the 28-year-old remained jailed Thursday morning in the Sedgwick County Jail. Police say she also is suspected of speeding, reckless driving and child endangerment.


Cat Found After Nearly 3 Years; Kansas Owner 'in Shock'

GARDNER, Kan. (AP) — A cat named Meow has been reunited with her suburban Kansas City owners after she went missing nearly three years ago. The Kansas City Star reports that Meow escaped after Taylor Jezik moved to a new apartment complex in Gardner, Kansas. Jezik searched for Meow in her old neighborhood, posted pictures on Facebook, called animal shelters and looked along roadsides for dead cats. She says her young son, Charlie, was devastated. Then Tuesday, she received a text message saying her cat had been found. Gardner police said the cat was spotted outside after a rainstorm and taken to an animal hospital, where employees scanned Meow's microchip. Jezik recalled that she "instantly started crying" when an animal control officer sent her a picture of Meow. She says she's "still in shock."


Kansas Lottery Launches Program for Vending Machine Sales

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Lottery is launching a pilot program to test vending machine sales.  Lottery officials announced Wednesday that four self-service vending machines will be installed at retailers in Topeka.  The first pilot site was installed Wednesday, with the other three sites set to become operational next week.  The Kansas Legislature passed a law in 2018 allowing the lottery to sell traditional lottery tickets through vending machines.  The Kansas Lottery plans to install 272 machines at retailers across the state beginning in July.  An expected net profit of up to $8 million from the machines is earmarked for mental health programs in Kansas.


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