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Headlines for Thursday, September 27, 2018

Trump Plans October 6 Rally in Topeka to Boost GOP Candidates

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump is coming to Kansas's capital city next week for a rally aimed at boosting the campaigns of Republican candidates in tight races for governor and Congress. Trump's re-election campaign announced Thursday that the rally will be at 6:30 p.m. on October 6 at Topeka's largest arena, the Expocentre. Trump endorsed the GOP nominee for Kansas governor, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, just ahead of his narrow August primary victory over Governor Jeff Colyer. Kobach was the most prominent Kansas early supporter of Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign and vice chairman of Trump's now-defunct commission on voter fraud. Trump also is campaigning for Steve Watkins, the GOP nominee in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas. Retiring Republican Representative Lynn Jenkins holds the seat, and Democrats hope to flip it.

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Commission OKs New Westar Rates That Would Lower Some Bills

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas utility regulators approved rates for Westar Energy that will lower many customers' monthly election bills. The rates scheduled approved Thursday by the Kansas Corporation Commission would lower monthly bills for residential customers by about $3.80 a month. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the rate decrease will not apply to most people who have installed solar panels or other self-generating devices. Those customers will be charged additional fees that Westar says are necessary so those customers pay their fair share of maintaining the power grid. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said those customers could still potentially see about a 30 percent decrease when they install solar, meaning they still have potential for savings under these new rates.

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University of Kansas Budget Cuts Involve Buyout Program

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to cut $20 million from its budget by leaving many vacant faculty positions unfilled and implementing a buyout program for older faculty members. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that KU Interim Provost Carl Lejuez presented budget cuts at a town hall meeting Wednesday. He says a new voluntary retirement program that was adopted in August would work in tandem with the university's decision not to fill many vacant positions. Lejuez says 45 faculty members have applied for the program, which offers a buyout option to tenured and tenure-track faculty who are 62 or older. He anticipates that 50 more faculty members will sign up by the program's October 5 deadline. Lejuez says the program gives the university flexibility to either refill or eliminate the positions.

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Teen Says She Was Assaulted as She Slept at Kansas Welfare Office

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 13-year-old says she was sexually assaulted inside a child welfare office in Kansas as she slept in a conference room.  The Kansas City Star reports that the newly released affidavit says the teen told authorities that Michael Anthony Hamer climbed under a blanked with her in May at the KVC Behavior Healthcare office in Olathe and began touching her. She later told a worker and authorities that she had been assaulted.  Hamer, who turned 19 Wednesday, was charged earlier this month with rape and aggravated indecent liberties of a child.  A KVC spokeswoman says the social worker had gone to get supplies and had only left the two unsupervised for "five minutes or less." The two teens were at the office awaiting placement in a foster home or facility.

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Man Sentenced in Drug-Robbery Related Homicide in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An 18-year-old was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison for a June 2017 shooting death in Topeka.  Lamero Dunstan was sentenced Tuesday in the death of Justice Mitchell in the parking lot of a Church's Chicken.  Dunstank also was to pay more than $3,800 in restitution related to medical expenses and nearly $16,000 for funeral expenses to Mitchell's mother.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports after he serves his time, Dunstan must register as an offender for 15 years.  Mitchell and a friend, Ernest Williams, arranged a marijuana sale and at the Church's Chicken.  Investigators say a 16-year-old, Shayden Byrd, recruited Dunstan to rob Mitchell.  Byrd was sentenced in December to serve five years in prison plus six months of aftercare.  Williams was acquitted of murder.

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Man Charged in Drive-By Shooting, Home Invasion in Kansas

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have linked a drive-by shooting suspect to an armed home invasion near Atchison.  The Atchison Globe reports that 19-year-old Marcell Bailey made his first appearance Wednesday on 13 felony counts, including attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault. He is jailed on $500,000 bond after the U.S. Marshals Service arrested him Tuesday in Topeka. He doesn't yet have an attorney.  Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie says Bailey is suspected of being among the armed men who stormed into a house with children inside last month. The intruders are accused of demanding a safe containing at least $500 in cash and other valuables before fleeing. Bailey also is accused of firing into a pickup truck with five people inside on September 5 in Atchison.  No one was hurt in either incident.

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Mother Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Death of 2-Month-Old

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A mother has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment after one of her 2-month-old twins died after a week of heavy drinking with the babies' father at a Wichita hotel.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 39-year-old Christy Rollings entered the plea last week. Police said in the affidavit that Rollings told officers she awoke on Aug. 30 to find her son, Patrick Kempton, not moving or breathing while snuggled against the chest of his father, 34-year-old Kyle Kempton. Rollings told investigators that she heard Kempton say "I must've rolled over on him." He's also charged with manslaughter.  Police found the couple drunk two days earlier and took the twins to Rollings' mother. But Rollings picked the babies up the next morning and returned to the hotel.

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Man Pleads Guilty in Heroin Ring Linking Kansas and Mexico

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A 45-year-old man involved in a heroin distribution network that allegedly connected an Overland Park couple to Mexican drug cartels has pleaded guilty.  Julian Felix-Aguirre pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine and other charges.  He was one of 24 people indicted in the drug ring, which distributed at least 30 pounds of heroin and large amounts of methamphetamine in the Kansas City area.  Prosecutors say the investigation into the ring began in late 2015 after officials received a tip that an Overland Park couple was receiving shipments of drugs from Mexico.  The couple was seen meeting with Felix-Aguirre.  The Kansas City Star reports the court documents don't include details about the alleged cartel connections in Mexico.

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Retrial of Woman Charged with Killing 2 in Topeka Delayed

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The second trial of a woman charged with killing her ex-husband and his fiancée in 2002 has been delayed until January 29.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports 58-year-old Dana Chandler's trial was scheduled to begin Monday.  Chandler was seeking a 60-day continuance because several motions remain unresolved. Chief deputy district attorney Dan Dunbar said the 60 days would put the trial too close to the holidays.  Chandler was convicted six years ago for the 2002 murders of Michael Sisco and Karen Harkness. The Kansas Supreme Court overturned her conviction in April because of misconduct by the prosecutor.  The next motion hearings are scheduled for October 22 and 30.

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Douglas County Deputy Charged with Sex with Jail Inmate

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Douglas County sheriff's deputy assigned to the jail is charged with having sexual relations with a female inmate.  A complaint filed in Douglas County District Court says Mario Godinez says he had sexual relations with a woman at the jail on January 12.  Douglas County Sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Kristen Channel says Godinez was a deputy at the time. She says he resigned in April after being placed on administrative leave with the incident was  investigated.  The Lawrence Journal-World reported the Johnson County Sheriff's Office investigated the allegations and turned its investigation over to the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, which filed the charge.  Godinez, who is not in custody, made his first appearance Wednesday. The judge ordered Godinez to be jailed before the end of this week.

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Police: Fatal Wichita Shooting May Have Been Self-Defense

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a man who was fatally shot was demanding money from the shooter after a road rage confrontation.  Lt. Todd Ojile says 23-year-old Jose DeLeon was shot to death Wednesday night after DeLeon and an 18-year-old step-brother pulled in front of a truck. He says DeLeon got out of his vehicle and began demanding money from the 39-year-old male driver of the truck.  The Wichita Eagle reports Ojile says after a brief verbal confrontation, DeLeon began smashing the truck's back window with a golf club.  Ojile says the driver of the truck then shot DeLeon with a handgun and called police. The truck driver stayed on scene and was interviewed by police.  The Sedgwick County District Attorney will decide if the shooter will be charged.

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Ethics Officials Fine Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle $100 for Kris Kobach Endorsement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle's endorsement of Republican Kris Kobach before the August primary election in the governor's race will cost $100 because one of her employees distributed the endorsement using government equipment.  The state ethics commission on Wednesday imposed a $1,000 fine but waived $900 if Wagle's campaign paid the $100 and if Wagle arrange ethics training for her staff.  The Wichita Eagle reports Wagle spokeswoman Shannon Golden acknowledged in a legal document that she sent Wagle's endorsement while working as a state employee. Golden said Wagle was unaware she was going to send the endorsement on a state computer. She also said she didn't know using the government computer for endorsements was an ethics violation.  Golden said Wagle's office reported the situation to ethics officials as soon as questions were raised.

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Video Shows Use of Force by Officer that Led to Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police have released body camera footage of a Topeka police officer taking a man to the ground and breaking his jaw in a confrontation that has led to a federal lawsuit.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that it obtained the recording of 35-year-old Timothy Harris' arrest through an open records request.  Harris alleges that constitutional rights were violated in January after the officer approached as he was sitting in his car. After Harris gets out of his car, the officer then is heard saying that he didn't tell Harris to do so. The officer takes him to the ground moments later and tells Harris to stop trying to get up several times.  Harris was convicted of parallel parking too far away from the curb and interference with a law enforcement officer.

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Kansas Teacher Arrested on Sex-Related Charge

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A man who abruptly resigned from the Shawnee City Council after being placed on leave from his teaching job has been arrested and charged with having sexual relations with a student.  Thirty-three-year-old Justin Adrian was arrested on Tuesday, after he was charged on Friday with unlawful sexual relations with a student.  Adrian left his teaching position at Olathe East High School and resigned from the Shawnee City Council earlier this month.  Fox4KC reports court documents say the alleged incident occurred with an Olathe East student older than 16 at the school September 7.  He was a social studies teacher at the high school.  Adrian's next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Girl Struck, Killed While Riding Bike in Kansas City Suburb

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say an 11-year-old girl has died from injuries suffered when a pickup truck struck her as she was riding her bicycle in suburban Kansas City.  KMBC-TV reports that Addisen Snyder died Tuesday at a hospital. She was rushed there Saturday after the truck hit her in Liberty. The 41-year-old man who was driving the truck remained at the scene and is cooperating with the police investigation.

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2 Parks Workers in Liberty, Missouri, Hurt When Train Hits Truck

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Two parks workers in suburban Kansas City were injured when their truck was hit by a train.  Liberty police Captain Andy Hedrick says the workers in Liberty stopped at a gravel road near a double train track in the city. The crossing doesn't have lowering arms or traffic signals.  The Kansas City Star reports the truck had stopped on the side of the crossing to let a westbound train pass. The truck began to cross when the train cleared but another Norfolk Southern train was going in the opposite direction and hit the truck.  That train hit the truck. The truck driver was extricated and taken to a hospital in critical condition. The passenger was able to get out of the truck but was hospitalized with serious injuries.

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Man Sentenced for Role in Kidnapping of Missouri Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 23-year-old Independence man was sentenced to eight years in prison without parole for his role in a kidnapping conspiracy. Justin Watson was sentenced Thursday for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime. Watson admitted that he and his co-conspirators kidnapped a victim identified as "N.J." in March 2017. They drove to Colorado and used the victim's credit card in stops across Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that during the drive west, the conspirators discussed killing the victim. Instead, they stopped near Russell, Kansas. They left the victim, bound and gagged, and then drove away, leaving the victim in the field. The victims removed his bindings and went to the Russell police department. Watson was arrested in March in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Victims' Group Pressures Review of Missouri Clergy Abuse Concerns

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A victims' support group is putting pressure on Missouri's governor to intervene in a state investigation of potential clergy abuse, but Governor Mike Parson's office says he doesn't have the authority to act at this point.  Missouri leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in a Wednesday letter asked Parson to order Attorney General Josh Hawley to conduct a full criminal investigation.  That's because while Hawley's office is currently investigating, he doesn't have subpoena power to force Catholic dioceses to provide information. He could issue subpoenas in a criminal investigation.  But Hawley spokeswoman Mary Compton says local prosecutors have not asked for help investigating potential abuse. Parson's spokeswoman Kelli Jones says until that happens, the governor doesn't have the authority to force further action.

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Douglas County Raises Age Limit on Tobacco Products to 21

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Douglas County Commission has raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products in the county's unincorporated areas from 18 to 21.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the commission approved the change Wednesday and it will take effect in 30 days.  The measure includes all products that include nicotine, such as the liquids used in electronic cigarettes. Currently, only four stores in the county's unincorporated areas would be affected by the resolution.  A Topeka ordinance raising the age to 21 was struck down in court in March.  Douglas County commissioners said they are not worried about lawsuits because the county's legal counsel reviewed the resolution.

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