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Headlines for Thursday, September 12, 2019

ACLU: Settlement Allows Inmate to Get Opioid Addiction Drug

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas and Missouri affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union say they have reached a settlement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons which allows an inmate to receive a drug used to treat his opioid addiction.  The ACLU said in a news release Wednesday that the settlement allows the federal prison in Leavenworth to give inmate Leaman Crews a drug used to keep life-threatening withdrawal symptoms at bay.  A federal lawsuit filed on his behalf last week sought to compel prison officials to treat his addiction with buprenorphine.  Kansas ACLU Executive Director Nadine Johnson says Crews was their primary concern, but the narrow agreement focusing only on him isn't sufficient. She says they look forward to seeing a prison policy that respects what doctors are recommending in these cases.


Kansas Officers Seize $884,000 in Suspected Drug Money

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have filed four cases seeking to keep more than $358,000 in suspected drug money recovered by Kansas officers in separate traffic stops on Interstate 70 in August and September. The U.S. Attorney's office filed the four cases involving traffic stops in Ellis, Ellsworth, Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties. In the most recent case filed Wednesday, a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper reportedly found $98,600 during a stop in Ellis County. The money was wrapped in rubber bands inside vacuum-sealed plastic bags hidden in a quarter panel. The Wichita Eagle reports federal prosecutors filed four similar cases in June in Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Ellsworth and Chase counties. The eight cases filed since June total about $884,000 in suspected drug money seized by law enforcement officers on interstate highways in Kansas.


State Rejects Westar Proposal, Saving Customers Millions

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — State utility regulators have rejected a request by Westar Energy to pass along the cost of buying 8% of the Jeffrey Energy Center. The Wichita Eagle reports the request would have cost electric customers an estimated $93 million during the next 15 years. The Kansas Corporation Commission's order, released Thursday, said Westar doesn't need the extra power to meet customer demand. Westar purchased the 8% share of Jeffrey Energy Center, near St. Marys, from its previous owner, in a deal that closed in August. The remaining 92% of the plant is owned by Westar and Kansas City Power & Light, which have merged. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said the company is evaluating the commission order. She said Westar disputes the estimate that the purchase would cost customers $93 million.


Senate Approves Trump Nominee Bowman for Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee Michelle Bowman to serve a full 14-year term on the seven-member Federal Reserve board. Bowman was approved on a 60-31 vote, winning the support of 49 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Only one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, joined Democrats voting no. Bowman has held a spot on the Fed board designated for a community banker since November 2018, filling a vacancy on the panel that had a term ending on Jan. 31. Trump, who has been highly critical of the Fed over the past year, renominated her for a full 14-year term. Before joining the Fed, Bowman served as state bank commissioner of Kansas and had been an executive of a community bank in the state. The Fed board still has two other vacancies. Trump said in early July that he planned to nominate conservative economist Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller, head of research at the Fed's St. Louis regional bank, for the two spots.


Forecast: Kansas Farmers to Harvest Record Corn Crop

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new report forecasts that Kansas farmers will harvest a record 816 million bushels of corn this this year.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Thursday that the anticipated corn production, if realized, would be up 27% from a year ago. Kansas growers are expected to cut corn off 6 million acres, up 20% from last year. Average yields at 136 bushels per acre are also higher by 7 bushels from a year ago. Production of other major fall crops in the state is expected to be down this season. The anticipated sorghum harvest of 197 million bushels is down 16% compared to last year. The projected soybean production fell 2% from a year ago to 200 million bushels. Forecasts are based on crop conditions as of Sept. 1.


Ex-ICE Agent Accused of Impersonating Officer to Free Inmate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been accused of impersonating an immigration officer during a foiled attempt to help an inmate escape from a local jail in Kansas. A criminal complaint made public Thursday charges 41-year-old Andrew J. Pleviak with attempted aiding of escape, false impersonation, forgery, making a false information and interference with a law enforcement officer related to the escape attempt last week from the Kingman County jail. Pleviak does not yet have a defense attorney representing him. He is accused of falsely identifying himself as another man who is an actual ICE agent in an effort on Sept. 3 to free an inmate who is being held on local charges and on an ICE detainer. Pleviak was arrested Sept. 3 at the jail.


Mother Testifies in Trial of Priest Charged with Molestation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A mother has testified in the trial of a suspended Kansas priest charged with molesting her daughter that she was raised to hold priests in high regard and didn't know how to respond when she became concerned. The Kansas City Star reports that the mother said Wednesday that she waited months to come forward after seeing the Rev. Scott Kallal chase her daughter into the bathroom of Kansas City, Kansas, church, go in after her and carry her out. The mother testified that said she didn't see him touch her daughter's breast, as the girl later reported, and feared her concerns would be "swept under the rug." Her daughter also says Kallal touched her inappropriately at a graduation party earlier in 2015. She was 10 at the time. Kallal is being tried on two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He's pleaded not guilty.


Man Admits Sexually Assaulting Young Student on School Bus

GIRARD, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old southeast Kansas man who was a school bus monitor has admitted to sexually abusing an elementary school student.  Jacob Quentin Bryant, of Arma, pleaded guilty Tuesday to rape and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.  The Pittsburg Sun reports investigators determined that Bryant abused a Northeast Elementary School student on a school bus in November 2018.  Bryant faces up to 19 year in prison when he is sentenced October 31.  Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso said his office worked with the victim's family on the plea deal and noted it will avoid requiring the child to testify at trial.


Man Suspected of Trying to Snatch Children Arrested After Pickup Crash at McConnell AFB

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man who is suspected of trying to grab children at a Wichita-area elementary school playground before stealing a pickup truck from McConnell Air Force Base and slamming it into a gate.  The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says 38-year-old Tyler DeBarea ran Tuesday after hitting barricades made of concrete-filled pipes at the base. Deputies later found him and took him into custody. He has been booked into jail on suspicion of kidnapping, battery and criminal threat.  After the arrest, deputies returned to Wineteer Elementary, where they found five 7 or 8-year-olds who said DeBarea either swatted them on the arm or tried to grab their shirt.  A spokesman for the Derby school district says staff was able to scare him away and move students inside.


Shawnee Mission School District to Settle Sexual Assault Lawsuit

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The Shawnee Mission School District will settle a lawsuit that alleged school officials didn't take action when a male student was repeatedly accused of sexual offenses before he assaulted a student in a middle school classroom.  The Kansas City Star reports the amount of the settlement was not disclosed.  The lawsuit claimed an eighth-grade student at Westridge Middle School was accused of making unwanted advances toward three students before he assaulted a female student in 2017.  The district says in court documents that it was investigating the reports of unwanted advances when it learned about 2017 assault.  The student was expelled in March 2017 and the school resource officer filed a police report that month.  The boy was convicted in December 2017 of three counts of battery and one count of aggravated liberties with a child.


Wichita Toddler Injected Enough Methadone to Kill Adult

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court records say a Wichita toddler who died at a motel had enough methadone in his system to kill an opioid-addicted adult.  The Wichita Eagle reports details were included in an affidavit released Tuesday in the case against 23-year-old Kimberly Compass. She's charged with first-degree murder in the May 31 death of her 2-year-old son, Zayden JayNesahkluah. He is among several children to die in the Wichita area after state welfare officials were contacted with concerns.  The affidavit says police found three empty or mostly empty bottles of methadone that had been prescribed to Compass in an unlocked child's Avengers pencil box.  Compass told investigators she only had one of the bottles herself. She said she didn't give Zayden methadone, but fruit punch that she said he drank tested positive for the drug. Methadone is used to treat pain and narcotic drug addiction.


Body, Submerged Vehicle Found in Northeast Kansas Lake

HILLSDALE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a body and submerged vehicle in a northeast Kansas lake.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Miami County Sheriff's Office and firefighters responded Wednesday morning to Hillsdale Lake after a fisherman reported seeing the body floating in the water. The body was pulled to shore, and divers found the vehicle underwater near a boat ramp.  The sheriff's office says identification of the body is underway. No other details were immediately released.


Wyoming Diocese Substantiates 3 More Sex Abuse Claims Against Former KC Area Priest

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne in Wyoming says it has reported to police three new credible allegations of child sexual abuse against a retired bishop.  Diocese officials said in a statement Tuesday the new complaints against Bishop Joseph Hart are in addition to three separate allegations previously determined to be credible.  Cheyenne Police Officer David Inman told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle the department is aware of the new complaints. Police have recommended Laramie County prosecutors file charges over the previous complaints.  The prosecutor has not commented and no charges have been filed against Hart in Laramie County.  Hart, who led the Diocese of Cheyenne from 1976 to 2001, has consistently denied the allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct.  The diocese in Kansas City, Missouri, says it has settled lawsuits in 10 cases involving Hart.  In 2008, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese paid a $10 million settlement to a group of 47 victims who cited Hart among 12 other clergymen responsible for their abuse.


Woman Convicted in Shooting Death of Kansas Boyfriend

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old woman has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend in Kansas. Gregoria Elizabeth Baez, who was convicted Thursday. She was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Felix Florez of Manhattan, who was a Geary County correctional officer, but the jury convicted her of the lesser charge. The Manhattan Mercury reports Florez was shot in September 2018 at a home he shared with Baez. She claimed they were joking around and pulled guns on each other when she accidentally shot Florez. She will be sentenced Nov. 12.


Wichita-Area School District Prepares to Sue over E-Cigarettes

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — Officials at a Wichita-area school district say they are preparing to sue the makers, distributors and sellers of electronic cigarettes and vaping products.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Goddard school board President Kevin McWhorter says the district has a responsibility to protect students from a "growing crisis." He discussed the issue at a news conference Tuesday, the same day that health officials announced the first death in the state related to an outbreak of a lung disease linked to vaping.  The board passed a resolution Monday that allows a Kansas City area law firm to sue on the district's behalf. McWhorter says the hope is that other schools and jurisdictions will file similar litigation targeting the e-cigarette and vaping industry.  Superintendent Justin Henry says the district doesn't intend to seek class action status.


Jake LaTurner Hires Steve Watkins' Former Campaign Manager for GOP Congressional Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican congressional candidate Jake LaTurner has hired his GOP rival's former campaign manager.  LaTurner faces Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins in the race for the GOP nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.  LaTurner announced Wednesday that Pat Leopold will be a consultant for his 2020 election race. LaTurner dropped out of a campaign for the U.S. Senate last week and entered the 2nd District race to challenge Watkins.  Former Governor Jeff Colyer urged LaTurner to challenge Watkins, saying he was concerned Watkins could not win re-election in 2020.  Leopold was Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins' chief of staff for a decade in Washington, D.C. He led Watkins' campaign to a close victory over Democrat Paul Davis in 2018.  Bryan Piligra, a spokesman for the Watkins campaign, said Leopold's hiring by LaTurner was unimportant.


Man Shot by Police in Independence, Missouri, Indicted on Federal Weapons Charge

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — A suspected prowler who was shot in the leg after allegedly attempting to ram an officer with a stolen truck has been indicted on a federal weapons charge.  The U.S. attorney's office says the indictment was returned this week in the case against 27-year-old Isaiah Fulson-Dewberry.  Court records say an officer fired 10 rounds into the truck that Fulson-Dewberry was driving after he repeatedly slammed into the officer's vehicle September 1 at an apartment complex in Independence, Missouri. The officer was outside his vehicle, and said he feared for his life when Fulson-Dewberry swerved at him.  Officers arrested Fulson-Dewberry when he spun out at a ditch at an Interstate 70 ramp. The affidavit says he was in possession of a loaded handgun despite previous felony convictions for drug possession and theft.


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