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Headlines for Thursday, May 17, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Former Emporia State University Day Care Teacher, Director Faces Charges

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A former teacher at an Emporia State University campus day care has been charged with child endangerment and the former director has been charged with failing to report suspected abuse or neglect.  The charges were filed last month against former teacher Kimberly Schneider and former director Keely Persinger. They worked at the university's Center for Early Childhood Education until May 2017. Their attorneys didn't immediately return a phone message.
The affidavit is sealed, but they were named in a lawsuit filed in August in Lyon County. It alleged that four toddlers were abused at the daycare starting in 2016. The families claim the children were restrained with straps, had their arms "aggressively yanked and pulled," and were yelled at in a "derogatory manner." The university has declined to comment on the litigation.

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University of Kansas Seeks 3 Percent Hike in Tuition and Fees

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is seeking a 3 percent hike in tuition and fees that would make one semester of undergrad education cost nearly $5,600.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the university presented the plan Wednesday to the Kansas Board of Regents. The board could change the amounts before it votes next month on final tuition and fee schedules for each school.  Under the plan, the university would no longer offer a four-year "compact" rate that allowed incoming students to lock in one price for four years, although it will honor those agreements already in place.  University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod told the Regents that the increases were necessary to keep up with rising costs, and that the proposed rate hikes won't even cover all of that.

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Kansas Lawmakers Question Cargill Incentives Package

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some Kansas lawmakers have expressed discomfort with the Commerce Department's operations and authority to reward companies without proving the value of taxpayer investments.  The department crafted an economic incentives package in 2016 to keep a food products supplier's headquarters in Wichita. Cargill is receiving funding from the package to retain and grow jobs while starting and ending with the same employee total.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that some lawmakers say they were unaware of those terms. Republican Senator Molly Baumgardner says the Cargill agreement is the kind that would warrant a legislative audit.  The Commerce Department describes fluctuating job figures as part of the natural rhythm of business operations. The department also calls the deal necessary for a company that contemplated moving out of Kansas.  Democratic Representative John Carmichael calls the department "absolutely ineffective."

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New Kansas Mural Celebrates Brown v. Board of Education

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Statehouse is getting a new mural commemorating Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, a case that struck down racial segregation in public schools.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the mural was publicly unveiled Thursday on the 64th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision. The mural by Michael Young is the result of nearly a decade of effort by Kansas lawmakers and the state's Capitol Preservation Committee.  The 22-feet-wide (8-meters-wide) mural is composed of three sections depicting the passion and controversy related to the 1954 decision, and its legacy today.  Kenya Cox is the executive director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission. She says it's important for Kansas to honor one of the most significant legal decisions in U.S. history.

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Wichita Store Clerk Traps Robbery Suspect Inside Store

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a convenience store clerk who was stabbed during an attempted robbery was able to escape and trap the suspect inside.  When officers were called Wednesday night to a Circle K, they found the 24-year-old victim outside holding the door shut. He told police the suspect had thrown a drink at him and during a confrontation, the clerk suffered minor stab wounds.  Officer Charley Davidson says while the clerk was holding the door, the suspect was inside the store damaging property.  KAKE-TV reports the 26-year-old suspect was booked into jail on several possible charges.  Kansas Department of Corrections records show the suspect has a lengthy criminal record and has been in and out of prison from November of 2015 until February of this year.

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Another GOP Lawmaker Jumps into Race for 2nd District Congressional Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A fourth conservative state legislator has jumped into the crowded race for the Republican nomination in an eastern Kansas congressional district.  State Senator Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha announced Wednesday that he will run in the 2nd District.  Incumbent Republican Lynn Jenkins is not seeking re-election.  Pyle has served in the Senate since 2005 and tried unsuccessfully to unseat Jenkins in the Republican primary in 2010.  State Sens. Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth and Caryn Tyson of Parker and state Representative Kevin Jones of Wellsville also are running.  Four other candidates are in the GOP race. They are former Army Ranger and defense contractor Steve Watkins of Topeka, Marine veteran Tyler Tannahill of Leavenworth, ex-Kansas House Speaker Doug Mays of Topeka and Basehor City Council member Vernon Fields.

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Kansas Governor Hopeful Picks Ex-Army Pilot as Running Mate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic candidate Joshua Svaty has picked a former Army helicopter pilot and current local school board member as his running mate in the Kansas governor's race.  Svaty introduced Katrina Lewison of Manhattan as his choice for lieutenant governor Wednesday as he kicked off a two-day, 11-city tour at the Statehouse.  Lewison served in the Army for 15 years and rose to the rank of major. She led a helicopter platoon in Iraq and an aviation company in South Korea.
She is a director of a company providing communications software to local governments and was elected to Manhattan's school board last year.  Svaty is the first major Democratic candidate to name a running mate. The other two are state Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka and former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.

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Kansas City's Bartlett and Co., Utah Conglomerate to Merge

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City-based Bartlett and Company is merging into a Utah-based conglomerate.  The companies announced the merger Wednesday but the terms weren't released.  The Kansas City Star reports the merger will fold Bartlett, which formed in 1907, into Savage Companies, based in Salt Lake City. The transaction is expected to be completed in August.  Savage provides services to such industries as oil refinery, power generation and chemicals. Bartlett is involved in the grain merchandising, cattle feeding and milling industries. The merger doesn't include Bartlett's cattle-feeding operations, for which it is seeking alternatives that could involve a separate buyer.  The announcement said employees of both companies will continue to work at their current locations.  Bartlett recently settled federal action stemming from a 2011 explosion at a grain elevator in Atchison that killed six workers.

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Fourth Man Guilty in Shootings that Left Several Cows Dead

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old Kansas man has admitted being part of a group that shot and killed several cows in Leavenworth County.  Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson says Christopher Wright, of Overland Park, pleaded no contest Wednesday to criminal damage to property and animal cruelty.  The Kansas City Star reports Wright was one of four people who have been found guilty in the shootings. Twenty-year-old Marcel Timmons, of Manhattan, and two others whose names were not released because they are juveniles, pleaded guilty last year.  Investigators say the shootings occurred in August 2016 in rural Leavenworth County.  Several cows on two separate properties were found dead of gunshot wounds.  The damage was estimated at more than $16,000.  Police say the four admitted to shooting the cows but offered no justification.

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Sheriff's Sergeant Saves 4 in Wichita Creek Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A sheriff's sergeant didn't expect while running errands at work to save four people from a car that had crashed in a Wichita creek, but he says he's happy he did.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County Sgt. Clayton Barth was driving Tuesday toward Southeast High School when he saw people running across the street. He says he drove closer to eventually find a car about halfway underwater in a creek behind the Parklane Shopping Center in Wichita.
A video posted to the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office Facebook page says Barth saw children in the back seat and "immediately emptied out his pockets and jumped into the water to help them."  The sergeant brought two children back to the embankment, and then returned to save two women before other first responders arrived. He says there were no injuries.

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Jury Acquits Stepmom in Kansas Child Endangerment Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The stepmother of a 5-year-old Wichita boy who has been missing since February has been acquitted of child endangerment in an unrelated case involving her own daughter.  A jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning the not guilty verdict Wednesday in the case of Emily Glass. The Wichita Eagle reports Glass has been on trial this week for reportedly smoking marijuana and then driving with her 1-year-old daughter.  Prosecutors argued Glass admitted smoking weed in law enforcement interviews. The defense argued there was no physical evidence proving she had smoked spot or that it affected her driving.  Glass has not been charged in the February 17 disappearance of her stepson, Lucas Hernandez. Glass told police the boy was gone from his bedroom when she woke from a nap.

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Wichita State University Gets $12 Million Donation

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University says a Wichita couple is donating $12 million, representing in the single largest cash gift to the school.  The university said in a news release Wednesday that oil producer Wayne Woolsey and his wife, Kay, committed to a lead gift of $10 million to build a new home for the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State.  Wichita State said it will name the building the Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, a move approved Wednesday by the Kansas Board of Regents.  The couple also plans to donate $2 million to the university's geology department for the petroleum geology program and field camp experiences for students.  Wayne Woolsey is chairman of Woolsey Companies, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company he founded in 1978.

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Kansas Woman Struck by Deputy Settles Lawsuit for $40,000

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman who was injured when a deputy crashed into her car while rushing to an accident at a motorcycle race course is settling her lawsuit for $40,000.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the Sedgwick County commission approved the settlement Wednesday with Ashley Parker.  Court records say the crash happened in April 2015 as a deputy was headed to the Jeeps Cycle Club accident, where someone had suffered a broken leg. Records say the deputy was going more than 100 mph, even though other emergency responders already had responded.  County Counselor Eric Yost says both the woman and deputy have recovered. The county said in court papers that Parker ran a stop sign and failed to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle as required by law.

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Kansas Coach Bill Self to Rappel Down Building for Charity

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas basketball coach Bill Self is planning to help charity by dropping down a 7-story building this summer.  Self will rappel down the 888 Lofts building in Lawrence on Aug. 25 to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.  Self said in a news release Wednesday that he has never done anything comparable to rappelling. He says he hopes his participation will generate interest.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the only requirement to join in is that participants must weigh between 100 and 300 pounds.  Self and his wife, Cindy, have been longtime supporters of the Boys & Girls Club. Coach Self says he has seen many players who were involved — and sometimes saved — by the work of the group.

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Survey: Economy Improving in Rural Parts of 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers shows that the economy is slowly improving in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says that while commodity prices have improved recently, they remain below breakeven for a large share of grain farmers.  The overall Rural Mainstreet index slipped slightly to 56.3 in May, up from 53.5 in April. It's the highest level since July 2013. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.  Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.  More than one-third of bank CEOs identified rising regulatory costs as the top economic challenge to their operations over the next five years.

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