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Headlines for Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Kansas Judge Rules Telemedicine Abortions Can Continue

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A judge ruled Monday that Kansas cannot stop telemedicine abortions, thwarting the latest attempt by state lawmakers to prevent doctors from providing pregnancy-ending pills to women they see by remote video conferences. District Judge Franklin Theis ruled that a law barring telemedicine abortions and set to take effect in January has no legal force. During an earlier hearing, Theis derided the law as an "air ball" because of how lawmakers wrote it. That law was challenged in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Trust Women Wichita, which operates a clinic that performs abortions and provides other health care services. Theis also ruled that other, older parts of the state's abortion laws that could ban telemedicine abortions are on hold indefinitely because of a separate lawsuit challenging them that's still pending.


Kansas Extends Medical Board's Regulations to Telemedicine

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas has extended the state medical board's existing regulations for health care providers to the practice of consulting with patients through video conferencing. The State Rules and Regulations Board has unanimously approved three temporary regulations drafted by the State Board of Healing Arts to cover telemedicine under a new law taking effect in January. The new law encourages the use of telemedicine for patients in areas with a shortage of health care providers by ensuring that health insurance covers such services.  The seven-member Rules and Regulations Board decides whether an agency can impose temporary regulations immediately without a public hearing. Temporary regulations remain in effect for four months. The Board of Healing Arts is proposing similar permanent regulations and has scheduled a public hearing on them for March 5. 


Union Pacific Employee Killed in Western Kansas

OAKLEY, Kan. (AP) — Union Pacific Railroad says an employee died in a "train-related Incident" in western Kansas. Spokeswoman Hannah Bolte said the employee died Sunday night in Oakley, the county seat of Logan County.The employee's name was not released. Bolte said no other details were available Monday because the investigation into the death is continuing.


St. Joseph, Missouri Man Dies After Police Confrontation

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - Police in St. Joseph, Missouri are investigating the fatal shooting of a 42-year-old man after he clashed with officers over the weekend. The man was fatally wounded Saturday after threatening officers with a firearm. The police were at the home to serve an arrest warrant. The St. Joseph Police Department says two officers fired at the man and struck him several times. He died later at a hospital. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave as the Missouri State Patrol investigates their actions.


18 Seek Kansas Court of Appeals Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Eighteen attorneys and district court judges have applied for a soon-to-be vacant seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Governor-elect Laura Kelly's office has released a list of the applicants. Kelly also appointed a bipartisan, nine-member committee to screen the applications and name three finalists. Her choice must be confirmed by the state Senate. Applicants include former Secretary of State Chris Biggs and District Judges Daniel Cahill of Wyandotte County, Jeffry Jack of Labette County and Teresa Watson of Shawnee County. Kelly's appointee would replace Judge Patrick McAnany. He is retiring January 14th, when Kelly becomes governor. State law does not require a governor to have a committee screen applications or conduct public interviews as Kelly plans. Former Republican Governor Sam Brownback refused even to release applicants' names.


Self-Defense Pushes Wichita's Homicide Totals Past Last Year

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita amassed more homicides in 2018 than in any year since 1995, in part because of an increase in self-defense killings. At least 43 people died by homicide in Wichita over the past year, up five from 2017, The Wichita Eagle reported . Police said the five-person increase can in part be attributed to self-defense killings, which increased by five, from three to eight. Kansas is among numerous states where citizens have no legal obligation to retreat from an attacker if they are lawfully present in a place. Before the stand-your-ground law was approved in Kansas in 2007, a person couldn't use force before trying, if there was a chance, to escape violence or retreat. A homicide is justifiable in Kansas when a person "reasonably believes" that the use of deadly force is "necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm" to that person or a third party. In the past three years, Wichita police have worked five times as many justifiable homicides as during the first six and a half years of the stand-your-ground law, according to numbers provided by police. From 2006 to the middle of 2012, Wichita police worked three justifiable homicide cases, police said at the time. From 2016 to 2018, there were 15. Nationally, police shootings account for the majority of justifiable homicides. Prosecutors can't file charges against someone in Kansas in a self-defense killing unless the state can establish — beyond a reasonable doubt — that a person didn't act in self-defense, said Marc Bennett, Sedgwick County's district attorney. Prosecutors must first decide whether a person believed he or she had to act when using deadly force. Then, prosecutors consider if that person's belief was sensible under the facts known to that person at the time of the killing. Bennett said charges can be dropped if evidence doesn't show beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted in self-defense.


Two Dead After a Vehicle Fire at McConnell Air Force in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say two people are dead after a vehicle fire at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. A base official says a ``fatal vehicle accident'' happened around 11:00 last (SUN) night at the west gate of the base. Base fire personnel responded and found two people dead. The base says it is working with Wichita police and the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office to investigate. No other information was immediately released, including the names of the victims. 


Kansas Man Dies After Sliding into Ditch in Freezing Cold

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man was found dead near his vehicle in western Kansas after it became stuck in a ditch in freezing temperatures. Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir says 68-year-old Ronald Reuber, of Nickerson, apparently became lost Friday and drove onto a minimally maintained rural road that was filled with freezing water from a snowstorm that hit three weeks earlier. Reuber then slid into a ditch. His body was found Saturday. Bellendir says it appears hypothermia contributed to his death.


Nell Hill's Home Store Founder Sells Kansas City Business

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The founder of Nell Hill's home store is selling the business she started nearly four decades ago to a Kansas City couple. The Kansas City Star reports that the deal closed late Friday. Brandon and Katie Laughridge have been in negotiations since this spring with the store's founder, Mary Carol Garrity, who has written nine books on home decorating and has a blog and syndicated column. The purchase price wasn't disclosed. Garrity's original store in Atchison, Kansas, became a popular day trip destination for people from the Kansas City area. In 2007, she opened an 18,000-square-foot, two-story showroom in Kansas City, Missouri. The Atchison location closed two years ago. Garrity says she considers herself "one of the luckiest humans" to have gotten to do something she loves for so long.


$1 Million Powerball Winner Bought in South-Central Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The new year is starting out great for someone who bought a Powerball ticket in Kansas. The Kansas Lottery said Monday someone bought a $1 million Powerball ticket for Saturday's Powerball drawing in south-central Kansas. The winning ticket numbers were 12-42-51-53-62. The winner has 363 days to claim the prize. The jackpot for Wednesday's Powerball drawing is an estimated $53 million, with a $32 million cash option.

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