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Headlines for Tuesday, August 28, 2018

UPDATE: 2 Kansas Sheriff's Deputies Wounded, Suspected Gunman is Dead

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) —  Two sheriff's deputies have survived a shooting at a sheriff's office in north central Kansas but the shooting suspect is dead.  One Jewell County sheriff's deputy has already been released from a local hospital. The second deputy remains at a Salina hospital, but is out of surgery and is now in stable condition.  Jewell County Sheriff Don Jacobs says in a news release that investigators are working to determine exactly what happened this (TUE) morning at its office in Mankato.  Authorities said earlier that there was a disturbance before a man shot the two deputies and fled.  A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper chased the suspect's vehicle and the suspect was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The suspect, identified as 40-year-old Jason Lee Whitson of Mankato, was pronounced dead at an area hospital.  Both deputies are expected to recover from their injuries. The Jewell County Courthouse will be closed for the remainder of the day and is expected to reopen tomorrow (WED).

(-Earlier version-)

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) — A man shot and critically wounded two deputies at a sheriff's office in north-central Kansas, then shot himself. Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Melissa Underwood says the suspect entered the Jewell County Sheriff's Office in Mankato around 8 a.m. Tuesday. There was a "disturbance," the man shot the deputies and fled. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a trooper spotted the suspect's vehicle about 45 minutes later, 35 miles southeast of Mankato, near Glasco. He drove another 20 miles before letting out passengers, then took off again. A trooper performed a "tactical vehicle intervention" at 9:11 a.m. The suspect lost control of the vehicle. Troopers found him inside the vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities have not released the condition of the deputies or the suspect.

(-Related-)

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) — A man shot and critically wounded two deputies at a sheriff's office in north-central Kansas, then shot himself.  Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Melissa Underwood says the suspect entered the Jewell County Sheriff's Office in Mankato around 8 o'clock this (TUE) morning.  There was a "disturbance" and the man shot the deputies.  She says the man fled and law enforcement officers chased him. He then shot himself.  Underwood didn't describe the nature of the disturbance in the sheriff's office or provide details about the chase. She declined to release the names of the deputies who were wounded. The suspect, identified as Jason Lee Whitson, was rushed to a hospital. No information has been released on his condition.  Mankato is located in north central Kansas, about  150 miles north of Wichita.

(-Related-)

KSNW TV: Two Sheriff Deputies Critically Injured After Shooting in North Central Kansas

MANKATO, Kan. (KSNW) -  According to KSNW TV in Wichita, two deputies were critically injured after a shooting this (TUE) morning at the sheriff's office in the Jewell County Courthouse. It happened around 8 am.  KSNW News has confirmed the suspect, Jason Lee Whitson, walked into the sheriff's department and an altercation occurred. Two deputies were shot.  At 8:46 am, a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper encountered the suspect's vehicle on U.S. Highway 24 near Glasco. The suspect continued east at approximately 70 mph. At 9:09 am, just south of Minneapolis, the suspect stopped his vehicle in the roadway and let out passengers. He then continued, southbound, onto U.S. Highway 81.

At 9:11 am, on U.S. 81, a  trooper performed a tactical vehicle intervention on the suspect's vehicle. The suspect lost control of his vehicle and stopped on the roadway. Troopers located the suspect in the vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was transported to Salina Regional Health Center in critical condition. The KBI said the suspect was not an inmate as previously reported.  Area schools were placed on lockdown during the incident.  Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer tweeted that he is, "praying for a full recovery for the two Jewell County deputies shot in the line of duty earlier this morning. We appreciate the service rendered by all law enforcement officers, and thank them for their bravery."

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Woman Dies, Man Injured in Shooting in Central Kansas

SEWARD, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Stafford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting death in a small central Kansas town. The KBI says the sheriff's office received a call Tuesday morning about a shooting in Seward. Authorities found the body of 35-year-old Adrianne Martin at the home. She died of gunshot wounds. Authorities say a male acquaintance of the woman was at the home suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. No further information was released. Seward is a town of about 60 residents about 65 miles west of Hutchinson.

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Skeletal Remains Discovered in Neosho County

NEOSHO COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office in an investigation into human skeletal remains discovered Monday morning.  A farmer who was mowing in the area discovered the remains near the intersection of Ford Road and 50th Road in Neosho County.  They were taken to the Shawnee County Coroner’s office for examination and possible identification.  The investigation is being treated as a suspicious death.  Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office or call 1-800-KS CRIME.

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Review Recommended of Kansas Privatized Child Welfare Model

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are recommending a review of the state's privatized child welfare model to decide whether it's in the state's best interest. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Child Welfare System Task Force received the request Monday from two working groups it created to examine the system of programs operated within the Kansas Department for Children and Families. The 1996 privatized model involves the department contracting with outside nonprofits to manage placing children into homes. Some lawmakers suggest privatization makes it difficult for the state to properly oversee the child welfare system, which has been scrutinized in recent years because of children who died in custody. Department Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel says the agency's challenges aren't due to privatization. The task force is expected to make final recommendations to the Legislature at the end of the year.

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Kansas Didn't Inform Residents of Contaminated Water

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials allowed hundreds of residents in two neighborhoods to drink contaminated water for years without telling them.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the state discovered dry cleaning chemicals had contaminated groundwater at a Haysville laundromat in 2011. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment didn't act for more than six years.  The state didn't test private wells less than a mile away, nor did it notify residents that their drinking wells could be contaminated.  The state also waited more than four years to notify more than 200 homes that officials discovered contamination near a Wichita dry cleaning site.  Dry cleaning chemicals can build up over time when consumed, potentially harming a person's nervous system, liver, kidneys and reproductive system.  The delays stem from a 1995 state law that places more emphasis on protecting the dry cleaning industry than public health.

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2 Convicted in Lawrence Fatal Shooting, 1 Mistrial Declared

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A jury found two men guilty in a fatal shooting at a Lawrence motel but could not reach a verdict on a third defendant.  The Douglas County jury on Monday found 20-year-old Tyrone Carvin and 23-year-old Ramone Singleton, both of Kansas City, Kansas, guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Cameron Hooks of Lenexa. A mistrial was declared for 19-year-old Shawn Smith, of Kansas City, Missouri. A new trial for him was scheduled for January 22.  Two other men were shot in the confrontation at a Motel 6 in September during a party involving at least nine people.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports prosecutors allege the three defendants shot Hooks during an attempted robbery.  Defense attorneys argued the three defendants fired shots in self-defense because others tried to rob them first.

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Woman Charged with Driving into River Deemed Fit for Trial

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A woman accused of intentionally driving into the Kansas River with her children in the car will stand trial on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges. The Lawrence Journal-World reports a mental evaluation of 26-year-old Scharron Dingledine, of Columbia, Missouri, found she was mentally competent to stand trial. Dingledine made a brief video appearance in Douglas County District Court Tuesday to learn the results of the examination. Her attorney, Carol Cline, said she would not contest the evaluation results. She is accused of driving into the Kansas River near Lawrence in August, killing her 5-year-old daughter and critically injuring her 1-year-old son. Children's Mercy Hospital said Tuesday his condition has been upgraded to serious. Dingledine's next court appearance is October 2. She remains in custody on $1 million bond.

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Ex-Colyer Chairman Backing Orman in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer's campaign chairman plans to become a campaign co-chairman for independent candidate Greg Orman instead of endorsing GOP nominee Kris Kobach.  Orman's campaign announced Monday that former Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus will be its first campaign co-chairman. Baccus is an Ottawa County farmer who served 12 years as Farm Bureau president before his retirement from the post in 2014.  Colyer endorsed Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, after Kobach won the GOP primary by 350 votes out of more than more than 317,000 cast. Colyer reiterated that endorsement Monday.  The Farm Bureau had backed Colyer in the GOP primary.  Orman and the Democratic nominee, state Senator Laura Kelly, of Topeka, are wooing Republican voters alienated by Kobach's in-your-face conservatism and advocacy of tough immigration policies.

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Faulty Software Blamed for Slow Election in Johnson County

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Officials say faulty software caused a 12-hour delay in tabulating Johnson County's election night results in the August primaries.  Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker said Monday the problem is fixed and he is confident it won't happen again in November.  The Kansas City Star reports Election Systems & Software, the county's election vendor, has rewritten part of the code that caused the delay. Company CEO and president Tom Burt says initial test of the new code were successful. The new software must be certified for use before the general election.  Johnson County spent $10.5 million this summer on new voting machines and software.  The county also experienced long lines at some polling places in August. Metsker says the county will use 2,100 machines in November to shorten the lines.

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Lawrence to Spend Hundreds of Thousands on Public Art

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence is planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for public art as part of several large-scale building and renovation projects.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a $5.3 million fire station renovation, $4.5 million new bus hub and $17 million new police headquarters building are in the works. A long-standing resolution allows the city to set aside up to 2 percent of a project's budget for public art. That amounts to about $450,000 for the three projects.  Commissioner Leslie Soden has been a proponent of putting more art into public places, such as parks. She says, "Creative pursuits are really important in Lawrence, so I think it's appropriate for city leaders to fashion creative engagement throughout our city with these public projects."

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Former Kansas Deputy Gets Diversion in Misconduct Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy has admitted to evidence destruction as part of a diversion agreement.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Justin Price will pay $353 and perform community service as part of the agreement he signed Thursday. Price was charged with a misdemeanor count of official misconduct in February.  In the agreement, he said he destroyed evidence three or four times to ensure the outcome he promised to suspects. Authorities began investigating in December after a driver involved in a narcotics investigation raised concerns.  The driver told an investigator that Price had said to her that "because she'd be cooperative at the stop that he would destroy the evidence he'd collected and not charge her."

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Minnesota Man Pleads Guilty to Having 471 Pounds of Marijuana

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Minnesota man arrested in central Kansas with 471 pounds of marijuana in his van has pleaded guilty to a drug charge. Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Mark Berg, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, entered the plea Tuesday to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper stopped Berg's van in December on Interstate 70 in Ellsworth, Kansas. Two other vehicles were traveling with the van. Berg told the trooper he had been in Las Vegas and drove through Denver on his way back to Minnesota. After a drug dog sniffed the van, investigators found the marijuana. Sentencing is scheduled for November 19. Berg faces up to 40 years in federal prison.

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Post Office Supervisor in Kansas Sentenced for Mail Theft

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A woman who worked as a supervisor in a Johnson County post office has been sentenced for stealing mail.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said 40-year-old Stacey Kampfer, of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Monday to a year on probation and ordered to pay about $785 in restitution.  Kampfer pleaded guilty to one count of mail theft. She admitted that while she was a supervisor of customer services she opened mail and stole gift cards and debit cards.  Investigators said she opened mail belonging to 214 people.

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Excessive Speed Blamed for Deadly Boat Crash at Lake of the Ozarks

CAMDEN, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are blaming excessive speed for a boat crash that killed three people from Kansas at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri State Highway Patrol released its crash reconstruction report more than three months after a 1991 Regal Runabout slammed into a rock bluff in the early morning hours of May 19. The report also said the "nighttime conditions" played a role, and noted that the boat lacked navigation aids, such as a chart plotter or GPS unit.  The crash killed 23-year-old Joseph LeMark, 24-year-old Daniel Lewis, and 21-year-old Hailey Hochanadel. LeMark and Lewis were from Overland Park; and Hochanadel was from Olathe. Two others were injured.  Toxicology and autopsy reports have not yet been released.

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Police: Man Stole Patrol Car in Missouri, Fled to Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man who is accused of stealing a patrol car in Kansas City, Missouri, and fleeing into Kansas City, Kansas. Police in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a news release that an officer first approached the man because he had been spotted walking in traffic. The release says that while the officer was trying to determine whether the man needed help, he jumped into the officer's patrol car and fled. Police pursued the vehicle into Kansas City, Kansas, where the man drove onto a road that was under construction. The release says the man then got out the car and ran from it before being taken into custody nearby. No one was hurt.

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Man Sentenced to 58 Years, 2 Months in Deadly Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 58 years and two months in prison for a deadly Manhattan shooting. KSNT reports that Steven Harris was sentenced Monday for second-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old German Gonzalez-Garcia, of Manhattan and attempted second-degree murder in the wounding of a second victim. Prosecutors say Harris shot the two victims in May 2017. Gonzalez-Garcia died at the scene. Harris was arrested along with his girlfriend in Wichita four days after the shooting when they tried to check into a Wichita hotel. Harris had previously been convicted of attempted second-degree murder in Franklin County and was released from prison in 2015. In the 2017 shooting, Harris also was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Man Killed in Hit-and-Run Eastern Kansas Crash

MORAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Missouri man has been killed in a hit-and-run crash in eastern Kansas.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says 26-year-old Billy Lee Montgomery, of Springfield, was found dead early Sunday in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 54 in Allen County. No details were released about the vehicle involved in the crash. Montgomery's death is under investigation.

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Planned Parenthood Faces Abortion Challenge in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas City that stopped providing medication-induced abortions when its provider left five months ago is facing licensing issues as it works to resume offering the procedure.  The license that allowed the procedure at the midtown clinic expired earlier this month, KCUR Radio reported. After its previous provider left, the clinic secured another one. But Planned Parenthood said state health officials want to start the licensing inspection process from scratch.  "It's hard for me to imagine how this isn't for purposes of delay," said Emily Wales, Planned Parenthood's general counsel and chief compliance lawyer. "We met our deadlines and submitted things to them as requested and, without any other information from the department, we hear that our license has expired, with no response to our application until after the date of expiration," she said.  The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services didn't immediately reply to a request for comment left Monday by The Associated Press.  

Because the midtown clinic's new abortion provider doesn't have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, it's unclear whether it would be able to offer abortion services even if its license is renewed. A lawsuit is being fought over an admitting privilege requirement.  Emily Miller, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates the midtown facility, said the clinic continues to provide reproductive and other health services to patients, and has been directing patients interested in an abortion to its Overland Park facility.  "When abortion patients are contacting us to schedule appointments, we're just talking with them about their alternatives," Miller said. "We can't keep people waiting around, so we're trying to meet the need with services at our Overland Park location if that's possible for people."  For patients who depend on public transportation, that may be inconvenient at best and, in some circumstances, not possible at all.  "For a lot of patients, this is a much more accessible location," Miller said. "So this is why we really feel like we need to restore care here."

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University of Kansas Won't Have Booth at Kansas State Fair

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — For the first time in decades, the University of Kansas will not have a booth at the Kansas State Fair.  University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the university decided to use more targeted efforts to attract people to the university.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the university does plan to join other universities for Team Spirit Day at the fair on September 15. It also will used digital marketing in Hutchinson during the fair, which runs from September 7 to September 16.  In the past, Kansas would spend about $2,500 to rent a booth space in one of the commercial buildings. Representatives would use the space to meet people and hand-out items meant to encourage people to attend or support the university.

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Museum Opens Exhibit on "Notorious" People in Kansas History

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A museum in central Kansas is launching a new exhibit showcasing controversial men and women who had a lasting impact on the state's history.  The Salina Journal reports that the "Notorious" exhibit opens Friday and runs through March 2 at the Smoky Hill Museum in Salina.  The exhibit features 13 historical figures with connections to Kansas that include con men, money launderers, serial killers and a famed bank robbing duo. The individuals are profiled under three categories: "Legend vs. Reality," ''How Passage of Time Alters Perspective" and "Lasting Impact on Society."  Jennifer Toelle is the curator of collections and research at the museum. She says being labeled "notorious" doesn't necessarily someone was a bad person, but rather they were well-known or contributed to history.

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