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Headlines for Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Pilot Escapes Injury when Plane's Wing Hits Windmill in Southwest Kansas

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a pilot escaped injury when a crop duster plane's wing hit a windmill tower and crashed in southwest Kansas.  Emergency crews were called to the scene about 6 miles east of Liberal Monday morning.  Troopers said in a report that the fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft was flying north when its right wing struck a windmill tower. The aircraft then hit the ground and slid to a stop.  The patrol says the pilot, 61-year-old Craig Stratton, of Meade, had no apparent injuries.  The Wichita Eagle reports Federal Aviation Administration records show the 1997 Air Tractor turboprop is owned by Stratton's company, Crop-Serv Inc., which is also known as Bringham Flying Service.


Kansas City Voters Cast Ballots for New Mayor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two candidates with vastly different life stories but several comparable political views are on today's (TUE) ballot to become Kansas City's next mayor.  Quinton Lucas, a 34-year-old black man, and Jolie Justus, a 48-year-old gay woman, are both attorneys with similar voting records during their first terms on the city council. During the campaign, both said their top priorities were reducing crime, increasing affordable housing and spreading development projects across the city. Although the election is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats.  The winner will take office in August, replacing Mayor Sly James, who could not run again after serving two four-year terms.  Voters today (TUE) will also elect all 12 members of the city council. Under Kansas City's council-manager system, the mayor oversees council meetings and represents the city in other arenas but a city manager handles daily municipal operations.  (Read more about Kansas City's mayoral race.)


Kansas Boy Very Lucky to Survive Knife Impaling Face and Skull

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 15-year-old Kansas boy got a large knife to the face, and doctors say he's extremely lucky.  Jimmy Russell says her son, Eli Gregg, was playing Thursday outside of their home in Redfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Kansas City, when she heard him scream. She found him with a 10-inch (25-centimeter) knife jutting out from below his eye and called 911.  The knife was embedded in his skull and extended to just under his brain. The tip, meanwhile, was pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood.  Dr. Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the blade's extraction, says he doesn't think Eli would have survived if it had stabbed him any harder.  The surgery was successful and Eli was due to be discharged Monday.


1 Person Dies After Driver Crashes into Kansas Home

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person has died after a driver crashed into a suburban Kansas City home.  Johnson County Med Act says the crash happened around 4:20 pm Monday in Shawnee. The cause is unclear, and it wasn't immediately clear whether the person who died was the driver or was inside the home.


Woman Dead, Man Arrested After 5-Hour Standoff in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a suspect in the death of a woman is in custody after a five-hour standoff with Topeka police.  The standoff began Sunday about noon when police responding to a call found a woman dead at a home.  Topeka police on Monday identified the woman as 69-year-old Kyong "Carol" Wood, of Topeka. They did not say how she died.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a tactical team negotiated with 45-year-old David Wood Jr., of Topeka, for about five hours before sending tear gas into the home. A naked Wood then walked out of the home and surrendered.  Shawnee County District Court records show Wood was charged last month with felony drug possession and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. He also pleaded guilty to felony charges of domestic battery 2017 and 2016.


Kansas Man Spared Prison in Gambling Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  A federal magistrate has spared a Wichita businessman prison time after he pleaded guilty for his role in concealing the transfer of betting information from illegal poker games. Brandon Steven was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service. He also forfeited nearly $1.1 million as part of a plea deal on one misdemeanor count of being an accessory after the fact to the transmission of wagering information. Prosecutors say Steven assisted a person prevent apprehension, trial or punishment related to illegal gambling. Defense attorney James Hobbs told the judge his client would not disappoint the court. Steven and his brother are partners in health clubs, auto dealerships and other enterprises in Wichita.

(–earlier reporting–)

Federal Prosecutors Charge Prominent Wichita Businessman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A prominent Wichita businessman has been charged with a misdemeanor count of transmission of wagering information. The case against Brandon Steven was unsealed Tuesday just hours before a plea hearing in federal court in Wichita. Prosecutors had filed a sealed criminal information last week accusing Steven of assisting a person, only as D.F., in order to prevent apprehension, trial or punishment. His defense attorney did not immediately return a message. Steven and his brother are partners in health clubs, auto dealerships and other enterprises. He told the Wichita Eagle last year he was the subject of a federal inquiry into his playing of high-stakes poker and his involvement in trying to open a Kansas casino. It is unclear whether the misdemeanor charge he now faces relates to that gambling probe .


Topeka Police Sorry for Father's Day Tweet in Poor Taste

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police have apologized for a Father's Day tweet that encouraged people to turn in dads who have outstanding warrants.  The Kansas City Star reports that the tweet sent Sunday says, in part: "Want to give him a Father's Day he'll never forget? Call TPD and we'll help your family make a memory that will last a lifetime."  In a statement Monday, the department says the tweet was sent by someone on its social media team and that it was meant to be lighthearted and humorous but ended up being hurtful.  The department says it quickly deleted the tweet.  Calling the incident a "learning experience," the department offered thanks to all who reached out to say how the tweet made them feel.


2 Kansas Men "Collateral Damage" in Gun Control Dispute

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man who relied on a state law that purports to shield from prosecution anyone owning firearms and accessories made in Kansas says he may sue the state after the U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to hear his appeal of his federal gun conviction.  Jeremy Kettler says he was "collateral damage" in the dispute between the federal government and Kansas.  President Donald Trump's administration had asked the court to stay out of the case and leave the convictions in place.  Kansas and seven other states had urged justices to hear the appeals.  State firearm nullification laws, or firearms freedom acts as they are sometimes called, have been signed into law in nine states. Other states with similar measures include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.


Rural Symphony Event Cancelled After Storms Damage Tents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Organizers have cancelled this year's annual Symphony in the Flint Hills performance because storms did extensive damage to the tents and other equipment for the event.  The group that planned the performance doesn't plan to offer refunds for the tickets that sold for between $50 and $95. Past events attracted roughly 7,000 people to rural Kansas.  Organizers initially delayed Saturday's planned performance from Saturday to Sunday, but later decided that the damage from a Friday-night storm was too extensive. Sunday's forecast also called for the possibility of more severe weather.  The event would have featured a performance by the Kansas City Symphony. The ticket sales raise money to help educate people about tallgrass prairie and preserve it.


Garden City's Big Pool Loses $1,000 of Water Every Day

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials in a western Kansas city are sweating over a nearly century-old swimming pool that leaks about 200,000 gallons of water every day.  The Kansas News Service reports that Garden City water resource manager Fred Jones says the water loss at the Big Pool is excessive, even for a pool that holds around 2 million gallons.  Assistant city manager Jennifer Cunningham says refilling the Big Pool costs $1,000 a day, and that the city spends up to $800,000 on repairs, staff and water for the pool every summer.  She says recoating the deep end of the pool with concrete would cost $750,000, but that it wouldn't be cost-effective. Concrete expands in heat and contracts in the cold, so it breaks down as the seasons change.  She supports replacing the pool with a sturdier option.


Pup Fostering Gives Genetic Boost to Wild Mexican Wolves

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A dozen Mexican gray wolf pups are being raised by wild packs in Arizona and New Mexico as biologists mark another season of playing matchmaker to bolster the genetics of the endangered species. The foster program involves placing captive-born wolves into the dens of established packs as part of an ongoing effort to return the wolves to their historic range in the American Southwest. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Maggie Dwire says this marks the most pups to be fostered in a single season since the technique was first used in 2014. A zoo in Kansas and breeding programs operated by conservation centers in Missouri and New York helped this year. For fostering to work, the timing has to be just right. The pups are usually less than two weeks old when they're placed with a surrogate pack.


Mother Accused of False Father's Day Claim Arrested

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a woman who is accused of making false accusations about her daughter's father that prompted a search for him on Father's Day. The Wichita Eagle reports that 34-year-old Ronetta Ann Clement was arrested Monday and booked into Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of interference with law enforcement and providing false information. Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said Tuesday at a news conference that Clement reported Sunday that the father of her 2-year-old daughter was refusing to return the girl and making homicidal and suicidal statements. Police asked for help locating the two before determining that the girl's father didn't make those statements. Police spent 117 hours on the investigation. Allred said the child has been located with her grandmother and appeared to be fine.


Netflix Announces 2 More Seasons of 'Queer Eye,' Featuring Some Shot in KC Area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Netflix's show "Queer Eye" is bringing fabulousness to the masses for two more seasons. The streaming service announced Tuesday that season four will debut July 19. The eight episodes were shot in the Kansas City area, where last season the stars revamped a prison guard, a children's camp program director and two sisters who own a barbecue joint. Netflix also says that production will begin soon in Philadelphia on season five, which will be released next year. The show features resident fashion expert, Tan France, along with food guru Antoni Porowski, hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness, culture expert Karamo Brown and home designer Bobby Berk. The Emmy-winning show is a reboot of the 2003 series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."


Oklahoma High Court to Hear Challenge on Medicaid Expansion

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A group seeking a public vote on whether to expand Medicaid to tens of thousands of low-income Oklahomans first must clear a legal challenge spearheaded by a conservative think-tank that has long opposed the idea.  A hearing is scheduled Tuesday before the Oklahoma Supreme Court on whether the group can proceed with gathering the nearly 178,000 signatures they will need to get the question on the ballot.  The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs think-tank is challenging the proposal, arguing the proposed ballot language doesn't accurately describe what the measure does.  Supporters say the plan will infuse nearly $1 billion annually into the state's health care system and provide coverage to low-income Oklahomans. Opponents argue the state's share of the 9-to-1 federal match is too costly and could be increased later.  In Kansas, Republican legislative leaders and the Democratic governor have also been at odds over Medicaid expansion.  Democratic Governor Laura Kelly has been pushing for expansion while GOP leaders have so far resisted the idea.


Security Assigned to Threatened, Black Superintendent

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — A security detail has been assigned to a black suburban Kansas City school district superintendent who received racist threats after proposing racial equity training. The Kansas City Star reports that Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté devised the plan to protect Lee's Summit school leader Dennis Carpenter and his family, even though the city's police investigated the threats and said they were unfounded. No arrests were made. Carpenter is the first black superintendent of the predominantly white district. The school board approved an equity plan four months ago but, under pressure from the community, rejected two attempts to hire a firm to lead the training. Carpenter became so frustrated at one point that he suggested that board members buy out his contract and hire someone they trust to operate the district.


Teddy Allen Dismissed from Wichita State Basketball Team

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State has dismissed Teddy Allen after he was arrested last week following a disturbance at a woman's home. Athletic director Darron Boatright said Tuesday he and Coach Gregg Marshall wished Allen well but decided his dismissal was best for the basketball program. Allen was arrested last Thursday after a woman accused him of causing a disturbance at her home, destroying her iPhone and stealing keys before fleeing on foot. He was later charged with domestic violence property crime and petty theft, both misdemeanors. He faces a July 29 arraignment. Allen, a 6-foot-5 forward, transferred from West Virginia and sat out last season after the NCAA denied his request for a waiver to play immediately. Nicknamed "Teddy Buckets" for his scoring ability, Allen was expected to start this coming season. The Wichita Eagle reports Marshall said in a statement that he was disappointed and regretted that he couldn't help Allen more.


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