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Headlines for Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Kansas Senator Signs onto Proposal Dismissing Impeachment Articles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran has joined other Republicans in cosponsoring a resolution that would allow senators to dismiss the House's articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Moran announced Monday that he is cosponsoring the resolution with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. Fifteen other Republicans also are cosponsors, and they include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The resolution is Hawley's response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's delay in sending the two impeachment articles to the Senate for a trial after the House approved them last month. Pelosi sought to pressure senators into calling witnesses but plans to send the articles in coming days.

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UPDATE: DHS Briefs Kansas Lawmakers on Business, Agriculture Threats

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators say they have been told in secret briefings that foreign governments are trying to get proprietary information about business and agricultural assets in the state. Participants in the first briefing Tuesday said the extraordinary events involved a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official. Lawmakers also said they were warned to be careful about opening emails from foreign sources. But they also said they did not hear about immediate threats. Legislators saw the briefings as highly unusual because they were conducted on a former Air Force base south of Topeka. Reporters and legislative staffers were not allowed to attend. 

(– earlier reporting –)

DHS Gives Kansas Legislators Secret Briefings on Security

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is giving Kansas legislators extraordinary private briefings about undisclosed security issues. Kansas House members boarded National Guard buses Tuesday for a briefing at a former Air Force base south of Topeka involving DHS and arranged by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office. Democrats had their briefing first, followed by Republicans, separately. Reporters and staff members were not allowed on the buses before they left the Statehouse. Deputy Attorney General Jay Scott Emler said in a letter to the Kansas House speaker that the briefings should be given to lawmakers in closed party caucuses. 

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Rival GOP Hopefuls in Kansas Senate Race Both Talk to Trump

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Rival Kansas Senate candidates Kris Kobach and Rep. Roger Marshall have talked to President Donald Trump as some Republicans hope Marshall can keep the polarizing conservative Kobach from winning the GOP nomination. Marshall's campaign confirmed that the western Kansas congressman met Monday with Trump in the Oval Office. His campaign said in a statement Tuesday only that, “It was a positive meeting.” Kobach said Tuesday that Trump called him Monday from Air Force One to talk to him about the Senate race and immigration issues. Kobach has advised Trump regularly about immigration issues since Trump's campaign for president in 2016.

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Moody's Downgrades Debt Rating for Largest Boeing Supplier

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the debt rating for Spirit AeroSystems to junk-bond status after the major supplier of fuselages for Boeing's troubled 737 Max announced massive layoffs last week. Monday's downgrade comes after Spirit announced on Friday that it was laying off 2,800 workers in Wichita and that it planned smaller workforce reductions later this month at its plants in Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma. Spirit produced about 70% of the 737 Max, including the fuselage and other major components. Contracts with Boeing for the Max represents more than half of Spirit's annual income. 

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Kansas, Other States Part of $200K PayPal Charity Settlement

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The attorneys general of Nevada and 20 other states have reached a $200,000 agreement with PayPal Charitable Giving Fund Inc. to settle complaints over its handling of charitable contributions through the company's online fundraising platform. Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said Tuesday PayPal's charitable arm agreed to pay the money to the National Association of Attorneys General to deposit in its charities enforcement and training fund. The non-profit company also agreed to better inform donors that it sometimes redirects their contributions to other organizations with similar purposes. Ford says the new settlement ensures that every donor's wishes will be honored. The settlement also includes Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Iowa.

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New Plates in Kansas Will Emphasize Renewable Energy

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will begin issuing new personalized license plates Wednesday that emphasize the state's growth in using renewable energy. The plates will feature wind turbines profiled against a sunrise. Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Mark Burghart says Kansas has become a leader in alternative energy. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a report last year said Kansas was the nation's top producer of wind energy, with more than 36% of total electricity coming from wind power. Residents can order the “Powering the Future” plates through their county treasurer’s office for $45.50, plus normal registration fees and taxes.

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Woman Admits Bringing 60 Pounds of Meth Through Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 46-year-old California woman has admitted to bringing 60 pounds of methamphetamine through Kansas. Federal prosecutors say Maria Alvarez-Buenrostro pleaded guilty Monday to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Kansas troopers stopped her car Feb. 12, 2019, in Ellis County for a lane violation. A trooper found the drugs in 33 heat-sealed bags hidden in rear quarter panels and in both rear doors. According to the plea agreement, Alvarez-Buenrostro admitted she was taking the drugs to a dealer to sell. She will be sentenced April 16. She is facing at least 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $10 million.

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Prosecutor: Officers Who Shot at Teens Were Justified

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A prosecutor has ruled that two suburban Kansas City police officers were justified in shooting at a pair of teenagers and wounding one of them. The Kansas City Star reports that Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said Monday in announcing his finding that the Olathe officers had fired in self defense in November. A news release said an officer encountered two 16-year-olds while investigating possible car burglaries. Both teens face charges in the struggle.

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Truck Hauling Cattle Overturns in Thick Kansas Fog

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a truck hauling cattle has overturned in thick fog in Kansas. The crash happened around 3:20 am today (TUE) on U.S. Highway 54, less than 10 miles east of El Dorado. The Butler County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that loose cattle are being corralled and taken offsite. Other than cattle, there are no known injuries.

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Kansas Adjutant General Stepping Down After Nine Years

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Governor Laura Kelly has announced the planned resignation of Kansas Adjutant General Major General Lee Tafanelli.  Tafanelli has served as the state’s Adjutant General since January 8, 2011.  He will step down from his current post on March 31.  The Adjutant General is the principal military advisor to the Governor. Tafanelli oversees the activities of the Adjutant General’s Department, which includes the Kansas Army and Air National Guard. He also serves as the director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and director of Kansas Homeland Security. For budgetary and administrative purposes, he is responsible for the Civil Air Patrol.  Tafanelli also served in the Kansas House of Representatives.

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Dole Endorses Kansas Congressman Marshall in U.S. Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Political icon and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole has endorsed the congressman for western Kansas in the state's GOP Senate primary.  Congressman Roger Marshall's campaign announced Dole's backing Monday. Dole tweeted that Marshall is "a true friend" to Kansas. Dole's endorsement came a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would not run for the Kansas seat. Many Republicans fear that a polarizing conservative candidate, former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, will emerge from a crowded GOP Senate field after losing the 2018 race for Kansas governor. Four-term GOP Senator Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election.

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Kansas Lawmakers Open Session, See Big Debates over Taxes and Medicaid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have returned to the Statehouse to open their annual session expecting big debates on tax cuts and Medicaid expansion. Both the House and Senate officially convened at 2 pm Monday.  Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature plan to push again this year for income tax cuts after Democratic Governor Laura Kelly vetoed two bills last year. Expanding the state's Medicaid health coverage for as many as 150,000 additional people is a key priority for Kelly. She is scheduled to give the annual State of the State address Wednesday and release details of her proposed state budget Thursday morning.

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Russell Stover to Cut Jobs in Some Areas, Add Jobs Elsewhere

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Russell Stover Chocolates plans to close some facilities and cut 400 jobs, which will be offset by new hires in some states. The company announced Tuesday it will close plants in Butler, Missouri, and Cookeville, Tennessee. The lost jobs will be offset by about 300 new jobs created by expansions in Abilene and Iola, Kansas, and Corsicana, Texas. Russell Stover also will close its Montrose, Colorado, location in 2021 and several low-traffic stores during the next year. The longtime Kansas City company was purchased by Switzerland-based Lindt & Sprungli in 2014. The company says the changes are part of a consolidation process began in 2018.  

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A Place for Mom to Hire More Than 600 Employees in Kansas

UNDATED (AP) — A Place for Mom, a senior care referral service, plans to hire more than 600 employees and open a new Overland Park office. The Seattle-based company says hiring is already underway and will occur over five years. It plans to open a temporary office next week and then build a new office in Overland Park. The firm will receive about $12 million in state incentives. The Kansas Department of Commerce awarded the economic development incentives through seven state programs. A Place for Mom helps families find nursing homes and senior care services for elderly family members. 

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Man Asks Judge's Leave for Sword Battle with Ex-Wife, Lawyer

HARLAN, Iowa (AP) — A Kansas man has asked an Iowa judge to let him engage in a sword fight with his ex-wife and her attorney so that he can “rend their souls” from their bodies. David Ostrom, of Paola, Kansas, said in a Jan. 3 court filing that his former wife and her attorney had destroyed him legally. The Ostroms have been embroiled in various disputes. His filing says the U.S. has never explicitly banned trial by combat. Her attorney asked the judge to reject the request. The judge says he won't be issuing any decisions soon, citing irregularities with both sides' motions and responses.

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Lawrence Woman Charged with Hurting Baby Said She Was Intoxicated

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A Lawrence woman who is charged with hurting a relative's 4-month-old told police she regretted agreeing to care for the baby because she knew she was intoxicated. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the probable cause affidavit that was recently released in the case against 33-year-old Shannon Crank said she told police she didn't remember exactly what happened but that it was possible she had dropped the boy or fell on top of him. Crank was charged in November with aggravated child endangerment and aggravated battery. Her defense attorney, Michael Clarke, didn't immediately respond to the Journal-World's email seeking comment.

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Wichita Woman Arrested in Case of Dog Left in Dumpster

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 26-year-old Wichita woman is facing possible animal cruelty charges after a dog was found locked in a kennel inside an apartment dumpster. Police said Monday they arrested Raykesha Hardyway. Officer Charley Davidson said in a statement that tips and witness interviews led to Hardyway's arrest but provided no other details. The dog, named Bowie, was found in the dumpster Wednesday and taken to an emergency vet. The pit bull mix is believed to be about 2. The Wichita Animal Action League, an animal rescue group, said that Bowie was taken to a foster care home on Monday.

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Police: Woman Found Shot to Death Inside Kansas City Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a woman has been found shot to death inside a home on the eastern side of the city. Police say officers were called to the home around 11 pm Friday on reports of a shooting and found the woman inside. She was declared dead at the scene. Police had not released her name by mid-morning Saturday. A news release from police says detectives were canvassing the area for witnesses, but no arrests had been reported. Police are asking that anyone with information contact the homicide unit or CrimeStoppers. Information leading to an arrest could land the tipster a reward of $25,000.

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Wichita Man Arrested in Alleged Abuse of 2-Month-Old Twins

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 22-year-old man is in jail on suspicion of abusing his 2-month-old twins. KAKE-TV reports jail records show Marlin Williams of Wichita was booked into jail Friday night after officers went to his home and found a baby boy not breathing. Captain Brent Allred said Monday the child remains hospitalized in critical condition, with internal injuries. Police say the investigation found he had previous injuries. His twin sister had a healing broken femur and remains hospitalized. Williams faces possible charges of aggravated battery. Two other toddlers in the home are in protective custody. Allred said the mother wasn't at home when officers arrived.

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Suspect Jailed as Police Search for Body of Missing Man 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A 53-year-old Wichita man is jailed on suspicion of second-degree murder even as police continue to search for the alleged victim's body. Wichita police Captain Brent Allred says Jeffrey Hill was arrested Monday. He says a man reported that Hill was involved in a homicide in December and the victim's body was buried somewhere outside Wichita. Allred says investigators determined the victim was 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones of Hutchinson, an acquaintance of Hill's. KAKE-TV reports evidence and witness statements led police to Hill. Allred says police are trying to determine a motive for Jones' death.

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Newman University Professor Awarded $840,000 in Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A jury has awarded $840,000 to a former Newman University professor who claimed she faced discrimination and retaliation because she is a woman. The jury also ruled Monday that Cindy Louthan, a former assistant professor of elementary education, should be reinstated. Louthan argued in the lawsuit she filed in June 2018, that a supervisor was hostile toward women and treated her differently because of her sex. She accused the Roman Catholic university of failing to investigate her concerns and punishing her for for speaking out. The university said in a statement that it was disappointed in the verdict and is considering its appeal options.

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U.S. Mail Truck Driver Ordered to Pay $3,000 in Restitution

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man who pleaded guilty to stealing mail while working as a contract driver for the U.S. Postal Service has been ordered to pay more than $3,000 in restitution. The U.S. attorney's office says 51-year-old David Logan, of Fort Scott, also was sentenced Monday to two years of federal probation for two counts of mail theft. Logan was originally indicted on 15 counts of mail theft, alleging he had stolen cash, gift cards and jewelry between November 2017 and August 2018 in Chanute.

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Planned Parenthood Challenges Missouri Payment Cutoff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is challenging Missouri's denial of claims for Medicaid payments for a second time in two years. KCUR reports that Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in Overland Park, Kansas, appealed Missouri's cutoff of their fiscal 2020 funding last week in Jackson County, Missouri, after an administrative law judge ruled against them last month. Meanwhile, an appeal of the cutoff of 2019 funding is pending before the Missouri Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood attorney Charles Hatfield described the situation as a “continuation of the same old song and dance.”

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Title Defenders: No. 2 Baylor Women on Roll into Big 12 Play

WACO, Texas (AP) — The No. 2 Baylor women are rolling and they have standout senior post Lauren Cox back healthy.. The preseason AP All-American has played in four games after missing eight with a foot injury. The 13-1 Lady Bears can match their own record with their 44th consecutive Big 12 regular-season victory Wednesday night at Kansas. Baylor also has a national-best 47-game home winning streak after snapping then-No. 1 UConn's 98-game home winning streak last week. 

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