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Headlines for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Kansas Federal Judge Reprimanded over Harassment Resigns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas who was publicly reprimanded for sexually harassing female employees and having an extramarital affair with an offender has resigned. U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia submitted his resignation letter Tuesday. He said the resignation will be effective April 1. In his letter, Murguia, who is based in Kansas City, Kansas, said it has become clear that he could no longer serve effectively on the federal court. He was reprimanded in September for his sexual improprieties, as well as for being habitually late to court proceedings and meetings. He was appointed to the judgeship in 1999. 

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Kansas Considers More Disclosure on Officer-Involved Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering measures to require the public disclosure of information from investigations when a law enforcement officer kills someone and isn’t charged with a crime over the death.  But law enforcement officials expressed strong reservations about two disclosure bills during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday. Critics said requiring disclosure could endanger witnesses or make them less likely to cooperate fully and could allow private or embarrassing information about the deceased or their families to circulate. The bills were inspired by the fatal shooting by police of a Kansas City-area teenager in January 2018 and his mother called for greater transparency. 

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Topeka Man Arrested in Human Trafficking Investigation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says a 54-year-old Topeka man has been arrested after an eight-month investigation into human trafficking. The KBI said  Michael Anderson was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery. Formal charges are pending. KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said in a news release the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected. No further details were released.

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Topeka Police: Man Hit by Vehicle and Killed Near Walking Trail

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say a man was run over and killed in a field near a walking trail. Lt. Manny Munoz said witnesses reported hearing an argument Monday afternoon before seeing a vehicle run over a person and drive away. Munoz says officers found an adult male suffering from injuries near the Soldier Trail. He died at a Topeka hospital. Munoz says the driver was located a short time later and is being questioned. WIBW reports the names of the victim and the driver have not been released. It wasn't immediately clear what the argument was about.

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Olathe Police: Man on Foot Killed by Truck in Parking lot

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A person has been killed in a business parking lot in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kansas. Police say a truck hit a man who was on foot in the parking lot just before 2 a.m. Monday. The names of those involved and other details about what happened haven't been released. Olathe police are investigating.

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University of Kansas to Close Older Oliver Residence Hall

LAWRENCE, Kan. (Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World) — The University of Kansas plans to close an old residence hall rather than spend millions of dollars to renovate it. University officials say Oliver Hall, which was built in 1966, will not reopen. The hall has been closed since the end of the last school year. Chancellor Douglas Girod told The Lawrence Journal-World it didn't make sense to put $25 million to $40 million into the hall. He said projections show there would not be a demand for living space in Oliver if it were renovated. University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson says the school's nine other residence halls are about 95% full. 

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Police Call Shooting at Kansas Vape Store Accidental

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have determined that a shooting at a suburban Kansas City store that sells e-cigarettes was accidental. Police in Shawnee say officers responded to the scene around 8:30 pm Monday.  Officers determined there was an accidental discharge of a firearm and that the victim was struck by the stray round. Police say there wasn't an altercation before the gun went off. The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for a non-life threatening injury. The victim's name and age weren't immediately release. A news release about the incident didn't indicate whether the shooting happened in or near the store.

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Crossing Guard Hit and Killed in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police say a crossing guard died after being hit by a car while pushing children out of the way of an oncoming car near an elementary school. Police spokesman Jonathon Westbrook says the guard was hit early Tuesday near the Christ the King Parish school. The guard was employed through the city. Government officials said in a news release witnesses reported the guard was hit while he was pushing children out of the way. No children were injured. The driver of a black sedan that hit the guard was taken to a hospital. 

(– related –)

Principal: Crossing Guard Fatally Struck by Car Saved 2 Kids

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An elementary school principal says a crossing guard who died after being hit by a vehicle in Kansas City, Kansas, saved the lives of two children before the impact. Police spokesman Jonathon Westbrook says the guard was hit early Tuesday near the Christ the King Parish school. School principal Cathy Fithian said two students were getting ready to cross the street when the crossing guard yelled at them to stop, preventing them from being in the car's path. No children were injured. The driver of a black sedan that hit the guard was taken to a hospital. 

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Trial Delayed in Washburn Football Player's Fatal Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal) — The trial will be delayed for a man charged with killing a Washburn University player and wounding a player who went on to play in the NFL. Eighteen-year-old Francisco Alejandro Mendez was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday but it was postponed while he is tested to determine if he is competent to stand trial. He is charged with first-degree murder in the April 2019 death of Dwane Simmons. He is also charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Corey Ballentine, who played for the New York Giants this year. Authorities say the shooting occurred in Topeka just hours after Ballentine learned he had been drafted.

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Attorney General: Frontenac Violated Open Records Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has found the city of Frontenac violated the state's open records law when it sought to charge a reporter $3,500 to receive public records. The reporter, from KOAM-TV, was seeking public records involving the firing of three city employees in September. Schmidt said the city's fee and a request for $225 per hour for its attorney to work on the request were unreasonable. The attorney general ordered Frontenac officials to undergo training on the Kansas Open Records Act and establish procedures to avoid violating the law in the future.

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Kansas Marine Killed During Island Battle in WWII Identified

SILVERDALE, Kan.  (AP) — The remains of a Kansas Marine who died in World War II fighting in the Gilbert Islands have been identified. The Wichita Eagle reports that U.S. Marines Corps Reserve Pfc Raymond Warren was 21 when he was killed in 1943 during the Battle of Tarawa. After his burial site was discovered in 2015, his nephew, Warren Cooper, of San Diego, and his niece submitted mouth swabs.The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced this month that his remains had been identified, in part through DNA.

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Man Changing Flat Tire Killed by Semi on Kansas Interstate

OTTAWA, Kan. (The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle) — A 73-year-old Wichita man who was changing a flat tire died when he was hit by a semi-trailer truck on a Kansas interstate. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports the truck drove away from the crash early Tuesday on Interstate 35 in Franklin County. The driver was later stopped by law enforcement officers near Gardner, about 15 miles from the crash scene near Ottawa. Troopers said the truck driver drove over the edge line in the right lane and struck and killed Sidney Leroy Huff. A 23-year-old passenger in the car was not injured. 

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Case for Kansas Priest's Sainthood Could Soon Advance
 
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An effort to have a Kansas priest who died in a North Korean prison camp reach sainthood could take an important step forward next month. The Wichita Eagle reports that a panel of archbishops and cardinals will meet March 10 to vote on whether Emil Kapaun is worthy of the title of "Venerable," which is the second step in the process toward sainthood in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis will make the final determination. Kapaun was named a "Servant of God," the first step towards canonization, by the church in 1993. If the Venerable title is bestowed, the church would begin the process of investigating alleged miracles attributed to Kapaun.

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Kansas Secretary of State's Election Security Plan Causes Local Unease

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top elections official in Kansas is pushing to make the state's central voter registration database more secure by changing how counties tap into it. Some local officials are nervous about what they see as a big project in an unusually busy election year. Secretary of State Scott Schwab has told county election officials that he wants them to use dedicated tablets, laptops or computers not linked to their counties' networks to access the state's voter registration database. He is promising to use federal funds to cover the costs. But some county election officials are nervous about such a huge undertaking in an election year.

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Missouri Farm Awarded $265 Million in Lawsuit Against BASF and Bayer

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — A jury has awarded $265 million in punitive damages to a Missouri peach grower who sued Bayer and BASF over damage to his orchards that he says was caused by the weedkiller dicamba drifting onto his trees. The award Saturday came a day after the jury awarded $15 million in actual damages to Bill Bader, of Campbell. Bader says dicamba drifted onto his peach trees from other farms. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the jury agreed with the lawsuit's contention that Bayer and BASF committed negligence and conspired together. Bayer's attorneys said the company will appeal.

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Missouri Opioid Tracking Bill Still Faces Roadblocks

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri is the only state without a statewide database to track prescription opioids, and it's unclear when, or if, that will ever change. Supporters are hopeful this could be the year. House lawmakers on Monday advanced a bill to establish such a system. Republican Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin said she and other members of the Conservative Caucus are prepared to stand and speak against the bill for hours. She says the measure raises privacy concerns and wonders if it would actually stop overdose deaths.

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Former Missouri Trooper Dismisses Lawsuits He Filed over Losing His Law Enforcement License

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, who was driving a boat when an Iowa man fell out and drowned, has dismissed three lawsuits he filed over losing his law enforcement license. The Missouri Attorney General's Office says Anthony Piercy voluntarily dismissed lawsuits against the patrol, the state Department of Public Safety and the department's director. He will receive more than $200,000 in back pay for agreeing not to be reinstated to the patrol or to protest his peace officer's license being revoked. Brandon Ellingson, of Clive, Iowa, died in May 2014 at the Lake of the Ozarks after he fell out of a boat while handcuffed after Piercy arrested him.

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Man Gets 15 Years in Missouri Prison for Fatally Driving Car into Friend

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A man who killed a friend when crashing a car into a house has been given 15 years in prison. The Kansas City Star reports that Jacob Mustoe was sentenced last week in Clay County Circuit Court in Liberty. He'd pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the June 2017 death of Jake Wehmeyer. Authorities say both were 17 then. The two got into a fight during a party at Wehmeyer's home. Mustoe told police he was high on psilocybin mushrooms when he left, got into his car, drove it toward Wehmeyer's house and hit him before crashing into a garage door.

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Top of AP Poll Steady as Baylor and KU Head for Weekend Match

UNDATED (AP) — Baylor and KU just keep winning. That sets up a monumental showdown Saturday between the top-ranked Bears and No. 3 Jayhawks that could help decide not only the Big 12 title but the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. The two teams were separated once again by Gonzaga in the latest college basketball poll from The Associated Press on Monday. The Bears (23-1) had 48 first-place votes from the 63-member media panel, while the Bulldogs (26-1) had 14 first-place nods and the Jayhawks (22-3) had the only remaining first-place vote.

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KU Hires Air Force Assistant Wallace for Special Teams

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The University of Kansas has hired Jonathan Wallace to coach special teams and running backs, completing an overhaul of coach Les Miles's staff as the Jayhawks head into Year 2 of the former national championship-winning coach's regime. Miles announced the hiring in a statement Tuesday. Wallace spent last season coaching tight ends at Air Force, and he spent the previous season at Bethel, a Division III school in Minnesota where he worked with recently promoted offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon.

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