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Headlines for Thursday, May 31, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Former GOP State Senator Jim Barnett Picks Wife as Running Mate in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican running for Kansas governor has named his wife as his running mate.  Former state Senator Jim Barnett has announced that Rosemary Hansen is his choice for lieutenant governor. She and the previously divorced Topeka physician married in September.  Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist, says he knows of no other instance of spouses on the same ticket in Kansas.  Hansen has served 26 years as a foreign service agent for the U.S. State Department, including in Washington and embassies in Germany, Bosnia, and Afghanistan.  Barnett says Hansen has traveled 70,000 miles with him in Kansas over the past 22 months, starting before his campaign launched.  She holds a master's degree in public administration. Barnett says her knowledge will help them make state government more efficient.

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Judge: Kansas Law Bars Out-of-State Candidates for Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state court judge has ruled that Kansas law bars out-of-state residents from running for governor even if there's not a specific prohibition. Shawnee County District Judge Teresa Watson ruled Thursday in lawsuit filed by Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Schmidt sued Secretary of State Kris Kobach to obtain a declaration that Kobach's office cannot allow non-Kansans to file for governor. Kansas law doesn't explicitly ban out-of-state residents from running for governor if they pay the full filing fee of $2,207 instead of gathering signatures from registered voters. Watson said that's likely an oversight and other statutes presume candidates will live in the state. New Yorker Andy Maskin filed for the Republican nomination for governor earlier this month, saying he would move if elected. The state's candidate filing deadline is Friday.

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Kansas Tuition Law for Immigrants Debate in Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Kris Kobach is attacking a Kansas law that helps young people living in the U.S. illegally to go to state colleges. He's appealing to families frustrated by ever-rising tuition and his party's conservative base in a tough GOP primary race. The policy allows some young immigrants to pay the lower tuition rates reserved for legal Kansas residents. The law has split Republicans since its enactment in 2004. The only other major gubernatorial candidate supporting its repeal is GOP Governor Jeff Colyer. Democratic and independent candidates said the law helps young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Kobach is secretary of state and previously built a national profile as an advocate of tough national, state and local policies against illegal immigration. He also has advised President Donald Trump.

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Suit Alleges Free Speech Violations by Kansas District

SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district faces a lawsuit alleging violation of students' free speech rights during a nationwide protest of gun violence. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas filed suit Thursday against the Shawnee Mission School District. Some students from the district participated in a nationwide walkout protesting gun violence in April. High school students said they were given a script for their 17-minute walkout and an associate principal took cameras away from student journalists. At the middle school, students complained their event was cut short because officials had not approved language about gun control or gun violence. The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the violation of students' rights. A district spokeswoman says the district continues efforts to ensure that students' free speech rights are respected and that they remain safe and secure.

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2 Maintenance Workers Charged in Kansas Water Park Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two maintenance workers at a Kansas water park where a boy was killed have been indicted in the case.  The indictments unsealed Wednesday charge David Hughes and John Zalsman with obstruction of justice. Both men pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Wyandotte County Court.  Hughes was maintenance supervisor at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, and Zalsman was on the maintenance staff.  Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab was killed while riding the 17-story Verruckt waterslide in August 2016.  The Kansas City Star reports the indictment involves whether a brake mat meant to slow the rafts on the Verruckt was repaired after it fell off days before Caleb was killed.  The men allegedly told Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents the brake mat never existed but the indictment says a video showed it had been on the ride.

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Police: Lawrence Officer Shoots Man Fighting with Officer

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police in Lawrence say an officer shot a man who was pulled over for a suspected seat belt violation.  The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says in a news release that the man was uncooperative with a Lawrence police officer and refused orders to get out of his vehicle Tuesday afternoon.  Investigators say a struggle between the driver and an officer ensued and that the driver began beating the officer. Officials say that's when a second officer shot the driver once.
The driver was taken to hospital and is in stable condition.  The Johnson County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting.

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Lawsuit Alleges Shawnee County Holding Immigrant Too Long

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka attorney has filed a lawsuit alleging Shawnee County is violating the rights of an inmate being kept in custody on an immigration detainer. David Alegria contends the county has held Elidio Perez-Ramirez longer than allowed by law. He is seeking Perez-Ramirez's immediate release and unspecified compensation. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the lawsuit names the county corrections department, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Shawnee County counselor Jim Crowl said Wednesday the federal government gave the corrections department valid documentation directing it to hold Perez-Ramirez. The lawsuit says Perez-Ramirez was convicted in May of two misdemeanors involving sexual battery and sentenced to probation. Although he was ordered released May 14, jail official said they will detain him indefinitely until federal officials pick him up or release him.

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Kansas Man Charged in Wellington Woman's Death

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man is charged with murder in the death of a woman who was the father of his son. KAKE-TV reports 32-year-old Bradley Aue is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree reckless murder in the May 24 death of Sierra Craft-McGee in Wellington. A criminal complaint alleges Aue hit Craft-McGee several times and pushed her into a window, severing an artery and causing cuts throughout her body. He also allegedly didn't obtain timely medical attention for the victim. Police said officers found Craft-McGee unresponsive, and she was pronounced dead after medical interventions were unsuccessful. A small child in the home was taken into protective custody.

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Police: Man Killed in 4-Vehicle Crash on I-70 in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The driver of a pickup truck has died in a four-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 in Kansas City.  Television station KMBC reports that the crash happened early Wednesday morning. Police say the pickup had stalled in the eastbound lanes of the interstate when it was hit from behind by a car, forcing it down an embankment. The car was then rear-ended by a sport utility vehicle. Police say a fourth car hit debris from the wreckage and the pickup driver's body.  Police said they didn't know if the pickup driver was thrown from his vehicle in the crash or was outside it when the crash happened. He died at the scene.  The driver one car was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The other surviving drivers were not hurt.  

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Authorities Unsure of Boat Driver in Crash that Killed 3

CAMDEN, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas man who initially was said to be the driver of a boat that crashed on the Lake of the Ozarks — killing three of his friends — was not the driver.  The Camden County prosecutor's office said Wednesday Hayden Frazier of Overland Park, Kansas, was a passenger when the boat hit a rock bluff on the Lake of the Ozarks May 19.  The Kansas City Star reports the prosecutor's office would not provide information on who was driving the boat.  The Missouri State Highway Patrol also changed its accident report to say the boat's driver is unknown.  Those killed were 23-year-old Joseph LeMark and 24-year-old Daniel Lewis, both of Overland Park, and 21-year-old Hailey Hochanadel, of Olathe.  Frazier and 21-year-old Ashley Lamb, of Olathe, were injured.

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Kansas Woman Sentenced in Stabbing of Grandfather, Mother

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman has been sentenced to 10 ½ years in prison for a knife attack that severely injured her 90-year-old grandfather and an attack on her 52-year-old mother. The Wichita Eagle reported Thursday that 26-year-old Kerri Telford pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in the February 2017 attack on her mother. She pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder in the August 2017 stabbing of her grandfather. Authorities say Telford was living with her grandfather when she assaulted him with a kitchen carving knife with a six-inch blade. A police affidavit says she blamed "the voices" for the attack. Telford was released from a mental health treatment center a few days prior to the attack.

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Prosecutors Plan to Retry Woman in Topeka Double Homicide

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say they will retry a woman whose convictions in the 2002 shooting deaths of her ex-husband and his fiancee were overturned earlier this year by the Kansas Supreme Court.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay announced plans Wednesday to retry Dana Chandler.  Chandler was convicted in 2012 of killing Michael Sisco and Karen Harkness in Topeka. But the state's high court ruled in April that Chandler was convicted after Shawnee County prosecutors falsely claimed Sisco had taken out a protection from abuse order against her before the killings. The justices wrote that prosecutors used the false claim and circumstantial evidence to support its theory that Chandler was dangerous.

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Prosecutor: No Charges Yet Filed in Death of Kansas Boy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A prosecutor says the stepmother of a 5-year-old Kansas boy whose body was found three months after he was reported missing is expected to be released from jail without charges.  Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying no charges have been filed in the death of Lucas Hernandez, whose body was found under a bridge May 24 on a gravel road in Harvey County.  Within hours of the discovery, the boy's stepmother, Emily Glass, was arrested and has been held since on suspicion of obstruction and interference of a law enforcement officer. Police had said Glass led a private investigator to Lucas' body.  Glass reported Lucas missing from their home on February 17.  Bennett said investigators will continue to "follow up on newly developed leads" and that final autopsy results — including those from toxicology tests — are not yet available.

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Wichita's Homicide Rate Nearly Doubled So Far This Year

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The homicide rate in Wichita so far this year is double that from the same time period last year.  The Wichita Eagle reports 16 people were killed in Wichita between January and April. Three more people have been killed in May. Last year, eight people died from January through April.  District Attorney Marc Bennett said recently that Wichita could be on track to record 55 to 60 homicides this year. Last year, 38 people were killed.  Police say in most cases, the victims and suspects know each other. The homicides are frequently tied to drugs and many of the killings come after arguments that are often fueled by social media.  At least four of this year's cases were walk- or drive-by shootings. Fourteen of the homicides were shootings.

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Driver Dies when Truck Hits Downed Power Lines in Kansas

SATANTA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Texas man died when his semi-trailer truck hit downed power lines in southwest Kansas.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says 42-year-old Louis James Torres died Tuesday afternoon on a rural road about 17 miles north of Satanta in Haskell County.  The patrol says Torres was driving on a road that had been closed when his tractor-trailer hit the power lines.  KAKE-TV reports Torres, of Midland, Texas, was pronounced dead a short time later.

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5 Kansas Siblings Whose Case Drew National Attention Adopted

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Five Kansas siblings whose request to be adopted together drew thousands of inquiries from around the world are officially a family.  The three boys and two girls, ranging in age from 3 to 12, were officially adopted Wednesday by Jeff and Toni Whaley, who live in Douglas County.  A Kansas City Star about the children drew nearly 7 million online readers and thousands of offers to adopt them from as far away as Ireland and New Zealand.  The number of inquiries crashed the state-contracted Adopt Kansas Kids website the day after the story was published.  The Whaleys said they saw a state-produced video about the family before the story was posted. They say they feel fortunate to have applied to adopt the children before the flood of inquiries began.

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Kansas Sees Dozens of Births by Jailed Women in Past 4 Years

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas jails are facing a rising likelihood of births behind bars amid a nationwide increase in women's incarceration.  The Hutchinson News reports that the Kansas Department of Corrections saw more than 45 babies delivered by women in its custody in the past four years. That comes as the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. has been increasing at a rate 50 percent higher than men since 1980.  Eight states have nursery programs allowing new mothers to raise children while serving time. Columbia University researchers found mothers participating in such programs had lower recidivism rates.  But in Kansas, new mothers behind bars must give up their babies to the Department of Children and Families and can only see them on visitation days. The agency has recently been scrutinized for missing children.

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University of Kansas to Slash Budget by $20 Million

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to cut $20 million from its Lawrence campus during the next fiscal year.  The university announced Tuesday that the reductions will mean about a 5.9 budget decrease for all Lawrence campus units and departments. The cuts take effect July 1.  It was not immediately clear if the reductions would lead to layoffs.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports interim Provost Carl Lejuez said in a news release that the university remains committed to keeping tuition increases as low as possible, and to revising annual merit raises.  University officials said the budget reductions were necessary because of long-term commitments and investments that have exceeded revenue.  The university's announcement comes just weeks after Kansas State announced it would reduce its budget by $15 million.

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Baseball Star Satchel Paige's Former Home Burns; Is Arson to Blame?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Investigators say a fire that destroyed the former Kansas City home of baseball legend Satchel Paige might have been arson.  The Kansas City Star reports investigators found evidence an accelerant was used in the fire Tuesday at the home where Paige lived until he died in 1982. The house has been vacant for years.  The Hall of Fame pitcher starred in both the Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball.  Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, said baseball legends often visited Paige's home. Kendrick said he and others wanted to do something with the home to honor Paige but there was never enough money.  The current owner, Brian Cushon, said Tuesday he had intended to renovate the home.

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Azubuike Withdraws from Draft, Set for Junior Year at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The national title aspirations of Kansas got a big lift on Wednesday.  A 7-foot, 280-pound lift.  Udoka Azubuike announced he was withdrawing from the NBA draft shortly before the deadline, choosing to return for his junior season with the Jayhawks rather than risk not getting selected.  The big man from Nigeria started 34 games last season, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds, and shot a nation-leading 77 percent from the field. But Azubuike is a traditional back-to-the-basket big man, and many scouts have wondered how his skillset transfers to the NBA.  The league's up-tempo pace and the value placed on big men who can shoot from outside go against his strengths, and developing any kind of outside shot will likely be Azubuike's emphasis next season.  "I received good feedback from many sources around the NBA over the last month but in the end, after discussing with my family and coaches, we decided it would be in my best interest to return," Azubuike said in a statement. "I want to thank the people in the NBA who gave me this opportunity. I believe it was an important step as I chase my dream to play basketball at the highest level."

The Jayhawks lost their top three scorers in Devonte Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman from the team that won its 14th straight Big 12 title and reached the Final Four last season. They also lost junior guard Lagerald Vick, who like Newman declared for the draft and signed with an agent.  Azubuike did not hire representation, allowing him to withdraw by Wednesday's deadline.  His return is important given the uncertain status of Silvio de Sousa, whose name has been connected with the FBI investigation into adidas. Even though Kansas has not been named in the investigation, nobody is quite sure whether there will be any discipline handed down in the case.

Despite all the losses from last season, Kansas is expected to be a national title contender given their stellar recruiting class and a bevy of high-level transfers that sat out last season.

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