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Headlines for Thursday, June 7, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Kobach Pushes Tax Cuts After Rollback of Kansas Experiment

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican candidate Kris Kobach has made promises to cut taxes a cornerstone of his campaign for Kansas governor. He's chiding other candidates for not joining him in signing a pledge not to raise taxes. His GOP rivals include Gov. Jeff Colyer. Kobach says he'll push to lower income and sales tax rates and hold down on local property taxes. He's making those promises a year after Kansas legislators rolled back income tax cuts championed by former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback because of budget woes. Colyer's campaign says the governor will work with lawmakers to ease taxes. His aides also question Kobach's tax-cutting promises by noting a 2000 vote Kobach made as an Overland Park City Council member for raising a tax paid by developers. Kobach called the criticism deceptive.

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Environmental Groups Can Intervene in Westar Rate Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two environmental groups will be allowed to intervene in a rate case involving Westar, which wants to impose higher fees on customers who install solar panels on their homes. The Kansas Corporation Commission on Thursday said the Sierra Club and a group called Vote Solar may intervene in the case but must consolidate their testimony and evidence. They also cannot submit repetitive testimony or briefs. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Vote Solar, a nonprofit that promotes solar energy, says it has 82,000 members nationwide, including about 80 in Westar's service area. Westar will soon merge with the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light. It is seeking a $17.6 million rate hike, partly from extra charges for customers with solar panels and other alternative devices for electricity.

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Fleeing California Man Among 3 Killed in Kansas Chase

WINDOM, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified the three people killed in a Kansas police chase as a fleeing California driver, his passenger and the driver of the vehicle they struck. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the pursuit began Wednesday when police in the town of Little River began pursuing the car that 29-year-old Miguel Casas, of El Monte, California, was driving on U.S. 56. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Casas crossed the center line for unknown reasons and struck another car near Windom. Casas was rushed to a hospital, where he later died. His passenger, 28-year-old Sara Morales, of Rosemead, California and the driver of the other vehicle, 73-year-old Gerald Mindrup, of Windom, were pronounced dead at the scene. Trooper Ben Gardner says Casas was driving erratically prior to the crash.

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Kansas Man Killed in Crash of 2 Trains in Arizona

TRUXTON, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man killed and another man injured in the crash of two trains in northwestern Arizona.  Mohave County Sheriff's officials say a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train collided Tuesday afternoon with a Herzog Railroad Services train pushing maintenance equipment in a remote canyon near Truxton 103 miles west of Flagstaff.  Sheriff's officials say 63-year-old Walter Erickson of Lenexa, Kansas, was pronounced dead at the scene. They say another Herzog employee — 26-year-old Matthew Thompson of Salem, Missouri — was airlifted to a Nevada hospital with serious injuries and is listed in stable condition.  Authorities say all occupants of the BNSF train were accounted for and no other injuries were reported.  BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent says the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash, which left the BNSF freight train with significant front-end damage and derailed several cars on the Herzog train.

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Indictment: Message Parlors Were Fronts for Prostitution

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal indictments say massage parlors in Topeka, Lawrence and Salina generated millions of dollars from prostitution.  Prosecutors announced Tuesday in a news release that the indictments name four operators — Lian Hua Li, Ma Li Vanskike, Weiling Nielsen and Erik Nielsen — along with a worker, Michael Mills. The Wichita Eagle reports that they were charged separately with several counts, including conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering and bank fraud.  Mills is accused of transporting female sex workers from an airport to massage parlors. Prosecutors say he also assisted Li with laundering cash from prostitution. The indictments say money was laundered through casinos in Kansas and Missouri.  The bank fraud charges carry the largest penalties upon conviction: up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million.

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Kansas Man Killed in Arizona by Federal Officer Tested Negative for Drugs

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Toxicology results indicate the Kansas man shot and killed by a federal officer in Arizona tested negative for a range of illegal and prescription drugs and had a blood alcohol level within the legal limit.  The Arizona Daily Sun reports 51-year-old Tyler Miller, of Hutchinson, was shot twice in the abdomen by a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer while he walked along a highway, bloody and naked in early January.  Miller was on his way to a spiritual retreat in Sedona. He had crashed his pickup truck and began walking along Highway 89A in Oak Creek Canyon, according to authorities.  The report from the Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office found that Miller tested positive only for nicotine, analgesics and Naloxone, the drug used to reverse opioid drug overdoses.

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Man Accused of Campus Sex Assault Takes Plea Deal

FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Kansas man accused of raping a fellow student in a Waldorf University dorm in northern Iowa has taken a plea deal.  Court records say 18-year-old Sean Perkins, of Olathe, signed the deal filed this week in Winnebago County District Court.  The agreement includes a one-year deferred prosecution on the charge of serious misdemeanor assault, which had been lowered from felony sexual abuse. The agreement says that if Perkins were to violate the agreement, the guilty plea would be used against him. But the charge would be dropped if he were to meet the agreement's terms.  County Attorney Kelsey Beenken says there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute Perkins for rape. Beenken says the woman involved believes the agreement, which includes a no-contact order, will help her start the healing process.

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Kansas Officials: Measles Outbreak Over

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials say the state's worst measles outbreak in almost 30 years is officially over.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday a measles outbreak that began at a Johnson County daycare in March has ended. It eventually spread to Miami and Linn counties. In total, 22 people in the three counties were infected.  It was the most measles cases in one year in Kansas since 1990.  A measles outbreak is considered over when no new cases have been identified and two separate 21-day incubation periods pass.

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Centrist Third Party Falls Short on Signatures in Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A group of Kansans hoping to form a third party with moderate candidates didn't collect enough signatures to get candidates on this year's ballot.  Scott Morgan of Lawrence, one of the primary proponents of the Party of the Center, said organizers will keep working to get candidates on the 2020 ballot.  The Kansas News Service reports Morgan left the GOP after losing a 2014 primary challenge to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He says he still believes enough Kansans are fed up with the current Republican and Democratic parties to make a third party viable.  Morgan said poor planning contributed to the failed effort to gain enough signatures before a June 1 deadline. Organizers hope to get the rest of the necessary signatures to formally register the party by later this summer.

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Kansas Man Sentenced in High-Speed Crash

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to prison for leading police on a high-speed chase in a Lawrence residential neighborhood that resulted in injuries to two people. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a judge sentenced 45-year-old Justin Crawford on Wednesday to nearly 3.5 years in prison, with credit for 10 months already served. The Topeka man will also serve two years' probation and pay more than $5,800 in restitution to a crime victim compensation fund. Crawford pleaded no contest to felony aggravated battery for seriously injuring two women in the car he hit Sept. 7, 2012. Prosecutors say he had been driving at high speeds after being given pain medication from several hospitals earlier that day. Crawford's attorney says he accepts responsibility for the crash and injuries.

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Family: Kansas City, Kansas Homicide Victim Was Pregnant

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Relatives say a woman who was fatally shot in Kansas City, Kansas, was 12 weeks pregnant. The Kansas City Star reports that the body of 23-year-old Jocelyn Ybarra was found Saturday night after a neighbor reported hearing a scream and gunshots. The vehicle Ybarra was in rolled downhill through the neighborhood and came to rest in a driveway, where it was found still running with three doors left open. Her family said she treated her nieces as her own children, using what little money she had to buy them paint materials, dance shoes and clothing — even as she struggled with homelessness and addiction. Her mother, Clara Morales, says her daughter was a "better mom" than she was. Her older sister, Yesenia Ibarra, described her as "patient" with her children.

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Kansas City Crash Sends $25,000 in Coins onto Highway

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say a crash involving an armored truck sent thousands of dollars in coins spilling across a highway. The accident Thursday when the armored truck stopped at an intersection in northern Kansas City was hit from behind by a truck. KCTV reports the force of the collision dumped about $25,000 in coins onto Missouri Highway 152. The highway was closed for about four hours as employees from the armored car company used shovels, brooms, leaf blowers, and then vacuums to clean it all up. The driver of the truck was critically injured. The armored truck driver was not injured.

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Sheriff: 5-Year-Old Wounded in Accidental Kansas Shooting

ISABEL, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a sibling has accidentally shot a 5-year-old girl in her left arm in southern Kansas. Pratt County Sheriff James White says the shooting happened Wednesday morning in the southeast part of the county. The Wichita Eagle reports that the girl was flown to a Wichita hospital.  No other details were immediately released. The sheriff's office is investigating.  

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New Clinic Brings First Medical Detox Program to Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new center in Wichita will be the first in the city to offer medically monitored detox for people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. The Fieldview at Holland treatment center will offer medically monitored detox, with staff available at all times to provide medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Currently, Wichita organizations offer only social detox, which focuses on therapy and counseling and doesn't use medication. The Wichita Eagle reports Fieldview will offer 64 beds of detox and residential treatment, making it Wichita's largest residential treatment facility. Executive director Diane Peltier says the privately-owned center hopes to start accepting patients next week. It already has a waiting list. Besides, medication, residents will be offered behavioral therapies, outpatient therapies and help with mental health disorders.

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Kansas Man Doesn't Regret Giving Up $1 Million Ticket

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who returned a $1 million lottery ticket to a customer who left it on a store counter says he has no regrets about giving up the prize money.  The Salina Journal reports a longtime customer of the Pit Stop convenience store in Salina went to the store in March to check three tickets he bought earlier in Lincoln, Kansas. He accidentally left one of the tickets on the counter.  When clerk Andy Patel realized the ticket was a $1 million winner, he called Kal Patel, the son of the store's owners. Kal Patel knew from the description who the customer was and drove around his neighborhood until he found the man and gave him the ticket.  The lucky winner has chosen to remain anonymous.

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Kansas Newspaper Editor, Publisher Dick Buzbee Dies at 86

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Dick Buzbee, a former editor and publisher of The Hutchinson News and the Olathe Daily News, has died from brain cancer. He was 86.  Daughter-in-law Sally Buzbee, executive editor of The Associated Press, said he died Wednesday morning in a Wichita hospital. He began a 35-year career in journalism with the Harris Enterprises group after leaving the Navy.  He worked in Chanute, Olathe, Hutchinson and in Burlington, Iowa.  Richard Edgar "Dick" Buzbee was born August 16, 1931, in Fordyce, Arkansas. After graduating from the University of Missouri, he served aboard a battleship, a cruiser and an attack transport.  He served as chairman of the Hutchinson and Olathe chambers of commerce.  He married his wife, Marie, in 1955, and they had four sons.

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Woman Allegedly Sets Small Fires at Kauffman Stadium

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say they arrested a woman who allegedly set several small fires while wandering around Kauffman Stadium.  Royals spokesman Toby Cook says none of the fires caused any significant damage at the stadium.  Police arrested 36-year-old Bridget DePriest early Wednesday and issued her a summons for trespassing and openly burning.  The Kansas City Star reports a stadium security guard called police after he noticed her on the field with a flashlight about 4:30 am Wednesday.  She told security she had been at the stadium since early Tuesday but Cook said surveillance video indicated she wasn't in the stadium that long.  Cook says Royals officials are trying to determine how the woman got into the stadium.

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2 Lawsuits Allege Inmate Sexual Assault by Missouri Guard

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A second lawsuit has been filed against a guard at a Missouri women's prison alleging sexual assault of an inmate.  The Kansas City Star reports the lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Chillicothe Correctional Center officer Edward Bearden of sexually assaulting inmate Lynnsey Betz. The lawsuit also names two of Bearden's superiors and the Missouri Department of Corrections official responsible for preventing prison rape.  It follows another lawsuit filed by former inmate Karen Keil, who alleges Bearden raped her repeatedly from 2012 to 2015. Keil's lawsuit also alleges she reported the rape to a prison mental health counselor, who then assaulted her too.  The counselor, John Thomas Dunn, has since pleaded guilty to illegal sexual contact with another inmate.  Corrections Department spokeswoman Karen Pojmann says Bearden is still employed but will retire soon. She declined comment on the lawsuit.

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