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Headlines for Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Court Awards $1.5 Million to Kansas Man Wrongfully Convicted

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit was granted more than $1.5 million in compensation under the state's mistaken-conviction statute. The Kansas attorney general's office said Monday that Lamonte McIntyre of Kansas City, Kansas, also received a certificate of innocence as part of a resolution of a mistaken-conviction lawsuit filed last year. McIntyre was 17 in 1994 when he was arrested for the killings of 21-year-old Doniel Quinn and 34-year-old Donald Ewing, even though no physical evidence or motive tied him to the crimes.

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Kansas Lawmakers Reject Lower Penalties on Pot Possession

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators aren't ready to declare that marijuana possession never should be a felony. A House committee rejected proposals Monday to lower penalties for third-time offenders and to release others from prison. The Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-4 against a bill to make possessing marijuana a misdemeanor, no matter how many times someone was convicted. Current Kansas law says a third conviction is a felony punishable by up to 14 months in prison, though offenders often receive probation. The bill also initially said offenders now in prison for marijuana possession would be released, but the committee removed that provision.

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Former Kansas Governor Endorses First District Congressman Roger Marshall for U.S. Senate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas GOP Governor Jeff Colyer has endorsed western Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall in the race for U.S. Senate.  Colyer made the announcement Monday.  Some Republicans fear a repeat of Colyer's narrow primary loss in 2018 to polarizing conservative Kris Kobach, who's also running for the open . Colyer said during a news conference that "you're starting to see a consolidation of people" behind Marshall. Kobach defeated Colyer by 343 votes in a seven-candidate primary for governor in 2018 and lost the general election to Democrat Laura Kelly. That's sparked fears among some Republicans that Kobach could win the Senate primary and put a normally safe seat in play.

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Kansas Moves to Junk Local Tax Lid in Favor of Transparency

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is moving toward eliminating limits on local property taxes in favor of a proposal aimed at requiring officials to be more transparent about upcoming levies. Many lawmakers don't think current limits are effective, the Senate voted 39-0 on Tuesday to approve a bill described by supporters as a local tax transparency measure. It goes next to the House. The bill would repeal a local tax lid pushed through the Republican-controlled Legislature by conservative lawmakers in 2015. Cities and counties would be required to send notices to all taxpayers if they intend to raise more money from property taxes in the coming year.

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Butler County Sheriff: Man's Claim to be Missing Kansas Boy Is a Hoax

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A sheriff says social media claims that a man was a Kansas boy missing since 1999 are a hoax. On Saturday night, a person claiming to be Adam Herrman began tweeting and then appeared in two videos on YouTube. Herrman vanished from a mobile home near Towanda in 1999. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said Monday that 24-year-old Stephen Chadwick Smith made the posts. He worked briefly at the Butler County Jail a few years ago. The Wichita Eagle reports Smith refused to be interviewed by authorities. Herzet said the Butler County Attorney told him Smith cannot currently be prosecuted for his social media posts.

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Heavy Snow Causes Partial Closure of Interstate in Kansas

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Heavy snowfall is causing traffic disruptions in parts of central and north central Kansas. The highway patrol reports one person died in a multi-vehicle crash south of Lindsborg early Tuesday. State transportation officials closed westbound Interstate 70 between Salina and Kansas 14 for several hours to respond to accidents near the Saline and McPherson county line. The highway was reopened about 11 a.m. Other highways in north central Kansas were snow and ice covered. The National Weather Service reported snowfall amounts of up to 9 inches near Sylvan Grove and Agra.  

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'A World of Hurt': 39 States to Investigate Juul's Marketing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A lecturer at Harvard Law School says an investigation by 39 states leaves Juul Labs with little choice but to change its marketing practices. James Tierney said Tuesday that “when you see these kinds of numbers, it means they’re in a world of hurt." Attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Texas say they will lead the multi-state investigation into San Francisco-based Juul. The company also is facing lawsuits from teenagers and others who say they became addicted to the company's vaping products. Juul says it has halted television, print and digital advertising and eliminated most flavors. Other states investigating include Kansas, Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina and Virginia. 

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McPherson Man's Death Investigated as Homicide

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — The death of a man whose body was found inside his mobile home in McPherson is being investigated as a homicide. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and McPherson police on Tuesday identified the victim as 63-year-old Kelly Peterson. Investigators said the death is being investigated as a homicide but said there is no threat to the public. The news release provided no further information. Peterson was found dead Monday. 

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English Woman Wins Annual Pancake Race with Kansas

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — A woman from England has claimed victory in an annual trans-Atlantic pancake-flipping race against competitors in a Kansas city. Katie Godor, from Olney, in Buckinghamshire, ran the 71st International Pancake Day race with a time of 1 minute, six seconds. That just beat the time of Whitney Hay, who ran the Liberal, Kansas, race in a time of 1 minute, nine seconds. Contestants must carry a pancake in a frying pan and flip it at the beginning and end of the 415-yard (380 meter) race. The event began in Olney in the 15th century. In 1950, Liberal challenged Olney to an international competition.

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Sedgwick County Deputy Allegedly Shoved and Slapped Inmate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County authorities say a sheriff's deputy is facing charges of mistreating an inmate after he allegedly shoved and slapped him while he was in handcuffs. Sheriff Jeff Easter says 47-year-old Matthew Stineman was charged last week with mistreatment of a confined person. Easter says the inmate was awaiting a courthouse hearing when he began rubbing the handcuffs against the wall and ignored orders to stop. Stineman allegedly went into the cell and pushed and slapped the inmate. He was placed on restricted duty after the Jan. 30 incident. Easter says Stineman has been a deputy for about 13 years and the allegations are out of character for him. 

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Ex-ICE Agent Sentenced for Impersonating Officer in Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a former agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in prison for impersonating an immigration supervisor in a foiled effort to free a Mexican immigrant from a Kansas jail. The U.S. attorney's office says 42-year-old Andrew J. Pleviak of Topeka pleaded guilty in December to falsely claiming to be an officer of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations. Pleviak identified himself as another man who is an actual ICE agent in an effort on Sept. 3 to get an acquaintance out of the Kingman County jail. 

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Man Arrested in Death of Southwest Kansas 3-Year-Old Boy

ULYSSES, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been arrested in the death of a 3-year-old southwest Kansas boy. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says 26-year-old Uraquio Arredondo was arrested Monday night at his home in Ulysses. He was booked into the Grant County Jail on possible charges of first-degree murder and child abuse. His bond was set at $500,000. The KBI says he is a suspect in the death of Carlos Valenzuela III of Ulysses in February 2019. Emergency personnel went to the boy's home after receiving a report of an unresponsive child. Authorities say Arrendondo was in a relationship with the boy's mother. 

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KC Police Seek Witnesses in Case of Man Found Unresponsive Who Later Died

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police are investigating the death of a man who was found unresponsive near a bus stop on the west side of Kansas City, Missouri.  Officers found the man shortly before 8 am Sunday near a bus stop in the western part of Kansas City. The man was taken to a hospital where he later died. Police did not immediately release any details about what caused the man's death. Homicide detectives looking into the death are still searching for witnesses.

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Man's Death in Kansas Mobile Home Investigated as Suspicious

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a man's death in a Kansas mobile home as suspicious. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that police in McPherson received a 911 call Monday after someone found the body. Police responded to the scene around noon and asked the KBI to assist about an hour later. The man's name wasn't immediately released. The KBI says an autopsy is planned.  

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Wichita Police Arrest 18-Year-Old Accused of Killing His 21-Year-Old Brother

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested an 18-year-old in the deadly shooting of his brother in Wichita. Records show that Idriys Norwood of Wichita has been booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder in the death of his brother, 21-year-old Isreal Norwood. Bond is set at $75,000. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney. Police said in a news release that Isreal Norwood was taken to a hospital Feb. 16 with a gunshot wound and died. Idriys Norwood and a 17-year-old brother also were in the vehicle. Police said Idriys Norwood fled from the hospital on foot and was located later by officers. Police said family members had been uncooperative.  

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Wichita Man Arrested in Rape of Teenager Who Ran Away from Foster Care

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been arrested in the rape an 18-year-old after she ran away from a foster home with a 12-year-old. Police Officer Paul Cruz announced the arrest of 41-year-old Willie Green in a news release Sunday. He also was booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of contributing to a child's misconduct by sheltering and concealing a runaway. His bond is set at $200,000. It wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney. Police said that officers responded Tuesday night to an emergency call where the 18-year-old reported that she had been raped.

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Police in Missouri Shoot, Wound Suspect at Golf Course

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Police shot and wounded a person during a shootout at an Independence golf course. Police said in a statement officers were called after witnesses reported seeing a suicidal person Monday morning near an Independence middle school. When officers arrived, the person, armed with a rifle, jumped out of a vehicle and fled to the Rockwood golf course. Police said gunfire was exchanged and the person was wounded, although no age or condition were released. No officers were wounded. A nearby elementary and middle school were briefly locked down during the incident.

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Fired School Worker in Kansas City Blames Bosses for Faked Data

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A fired Kansas City Public Schools secretary who was among seven employees accused of falsifying attendance data in a bid to help the district regain accreditation said she and her co-workers were following orders from top administrators. Former Central Middle School secretary LaQuyn Collier told The Kansas City Star that she gave administrators “exactly what they said they needed." She and another fired employee have hired an attorney in an attempt to get their jobs back. District officials say they stand by the disciplinary actions they took. Spokeswoman Kelly Wachel said the district has taken steps to make sure this type of meddling never happens again.

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Kansas Counties' Websites May Lack Security Against Hackers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Many Kansas counties'websites may be at risk as they lack basic protocols that make it easier for hackers to impersonate websites. Out of 105 counties, only eight of them have websites ending in .gov, a domain extension only government officials can control, and 60 counties' URLs start with "http" rather than the more secure "https." Security concerns have become more prominent as local governments have become frequent targets in ransomware, where hackers hold data hostage in exchange for money. According to KCUR-FM, experts say it could be a serious concern for smaller governments during a time of increasing cyberattacks.

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Corps Increasing Water Flowing into Lower Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water being released into the Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam will be increased again to free up more space in the reservoirs upstream before spring. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that the amount of water flowing out of Gavins Point on the Nebraska-South Dakota border will be increased later this week to 41,000 cubic feet (1160.99 cubic meters) per second. That is up from the current 35,000 cubic feet (991.09 cubic meters) per second. The Corps is working to clear out as much space as possible in the reservoirs ahead of what is expected to be another wet year.

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