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Headlines for Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Report: Kansas Winter Wheat Harvest Way Behind Normal

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new government report shows just how far behind the Kansas winter wheat harvest is from normal.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that just 5% of the wheat in the state has been cut. That is far less than the 48% that was harvested at this time a year ago and the 36% five-year average.  Widespread rains have left many fields too soggy to cut, but the wheat itself is also developing more slowly than usual. The agency reports that only 47% of it has matured, well behind the 82% that had matured by this time last year.  Wheat condition was rated 4% very poor, 12% poor, 28% fair, 43% good and 13% excellent.  Planting of soybeans, sorghum and sunflowers are also running slower than normal in Kansas.


Kansas to Allow Trans Residents to Change Birth Certificates to Reflect Gender Identity

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will allow transgender people to change their birth certificates so that the documents reflect their gender identities under a legal settlement ending a federal lawsuit.  LGBTQ-right advocates said Monday that Kansas now will have a policy on birth certificates in line with most other states' policies.  U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree signed an order Friday to make the agreement binding on Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials. The department issues birth certificates.  Four transgender individuals and the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project sued last year over the health department's policy of not allowing transgender residents to change the sex listed on their birth certificates after changing their names legally.  Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly applauded the agreement and called the old policy "outdated." She took office in January.  

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to show that not all of the transgender individuals who filed the lawsuit still live in Kansas.


More Tips Sought on Third Anniversary of Woman's Killing

ASSARIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are asking for more information about the killing of a Kansas dog breeder on the third anniversary of her death. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that it's followed up on hundreds of leads in the slaying of 57-year-old Lori Heimer. She was found dead on June 25, 2016, in her home in Assaria in rural Saline County. She operated a dog breeding business there called Lori's Poodle Patch. Authorities continue to seek information from anyone who had contact with Heimer through the business in the month of June 2016. The KBI says that callers may remain anonymous.


No Charges in Fatal Shooting at Overland Park Cellphone Store

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A clerk at a suburban Kansas City phone store will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a man who police say was trying to rob the store.  Fox4KC reports the Johnson County District Attorney's office announced Monday that the June 10 shooting at a Boost Mobile store in Overland Park was self-defense.  Police say DeShawn Brim, of Raytown, Missouri, was armed with a handgun when he tried to rob the store.  The store clerk pulled out a handgun and shot Brim as he jumped over the counter toward the employee.  Prosecutors say the employee feared for his life and the life of a co-worker when he shot Brim.


Ex-Worker Who Threatened Shooting in Caves Now in Police Custody

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have apprehended a fired worker who is accused of threatening a shooting in Kansas City's massive subterranean network of businesses housed in old limestone mines. Police said Tuesday in a tweet that they found the worker in Kansas City, Kansas, and lifted the lockdown at Hunt Midwest SubTropolis in Kansas City, Missouri. No other details were immediately released about the capture, including the worker's name. Police said earlier that security spotted the worker entering the cave system after he said he would "shoot the place up." Numerous federal, state and local agencies helped search while workers were told to stay inside their locked offices. Many of the businesses in the cave system specialize in storage or warehousing because they are protected from extreme weather and boast stable temperatures and humidity year-round. 


Leader of Wichita Drug Ring Sentenced to 15 Years

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 54-year-old Wichita man who admitted he led a drug ring has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.  Federal prosecutors announced that Daniel Nicholson was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  Nicholson admitted in his plea that he bought methamphetamine outside of Kansas and used a network of subordinates to store and distribute the drugs in Wichita.  Investigators found 27 pounds of methamphetamine when they searched Nicholson's home. They also found $31,952 in cash.


Sedgwick County Searching for Driver Who Injured Deputy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office is searching for a woman who injured a deputy while fleeing after being stopped.  Sgt. Justin Maxfield says the deputy was dragged about 100 feet and the vehicle ran over the deputy's foot during the stop Sunday. The deputy was taken to a hospital but is expected to recover.  Maxfield says the driver took off when the deputy asked her to get out of the vehicle. The deputy's was dragged when some equipment was caught on the car.  Maxfield says the driver was Melissa Heinzman. She was driving a white 1999 Ford Explorer with license plate tag number 317 GMM.  She is wanted on felony and misdemeanor warrants. Her felony warrant out of Sedgwick County is for violation of the offender registration act.


Longtime Kansas Congresswoman Jan Meyers Dies at Age 90

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Longtime Kansas Congresswoman Jan Meyers, the first Republican woman elected to the U.S. House from Kansas, has died.  Meyers died Friday at the age of 90 at a nursing home where she was living. The cause of death was not announced.  A native of Nebraska, Meyers lived in Overland Park, Kansas, while representing the state's 3rd Congressional District from 1985 to 1997. Before that, she served in the Kansas Senate from 1972 to 1984.  Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Monday ordered flags flown at half-staff at the Capitol complex to honor Meyers.  Kelly said in a statement she respected and admired Meyers, whom she called "a groundbreaking public servant."  Senator Pat Roberts called Meyers a trusted colleague who set a great example for future generations.  Funeral services are pending.


Man Convicted in Shooting That Killed 3 in Downtown Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man has been convicted in a shooting that killed three people in a popular downtown area of a Kansas college town. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that jurors found 22-year-old Anthony Roberts Jr., of Topeka, guilty on Tuesday of two counts of first-degree felony murder and second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. Prosecutors said Roberts opened fire in October 2017 as people were leaving bars, concerts and other events on the main downtown Lawrence street. Roberts's attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense after a confrontation. The shooting killed 22-year-old Leah Brown, of Shawnee; 20-year-old Colwin Lynn Henderson, of Topeka; and 24-year-old Tre'Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, of Topeka. Two others were wounded but survived. A second defendant was convicted previously of attempted voluntary manslaughter, and a third of misdemeanor battery.


4-Seat Plane Lands on Its Belly at Wichita Airport

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say no one was hurt when a pilot landed a four-seat plane on its belly at a Wichita airport. The Wichita Eagle reports that emergency crews were called around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday after the 1966 Mooney M20C landed wheels up at Jabara Airport. The Kansas Highway Patrol said the pilot had been doing "touch and go" landings — a maneuver in which pilots land on a runway and take off again without coming to a full stop. The patrol says that after the first landing, the pilot forgot to retract his landing gear. When the pilot attempted a second landing, he thought he was extending the landing gear but was actually retracting it. The rough landing closed the runway, which will have to undergo an inspection.


Sheriff: Mom Abused Her Children, Committed Extreme Animal Cruelty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman is facing charges she beat and tortured her children and forced them to watch her kill their pets. Martha and her husband Timothy Crouch of Aztec, New Mexico, were arrested Monday. Court records show they have not been assigned public defenders yet. Documents also say they had prior complaints in Missouri, Alaska, Kansas and Montana. The investigation began after a San Juan County sheriff's deputy arrested an adult child of the Crouches on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Court documents say one daughter told authorities stories of physical and emotional abuse. She said her mother boiled puppies and poisoned a kitten as punishment. Martha Crouch was charged with child abuse and extreme cruelty to animals. Timothy Crouch is facing an obstruction charge.


Missouri Abortion Clinic License Fight Continues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic is taking a battle over its abortion license to a state panel.  Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood's Dr. Colleen McNicholas in a Monday statement said the St. Louis clinic will continue its fight through the Administrative Hearing Commission.  A St. Louis judge on Monday had ruled that the clinic had not yet exhausted its options outside of court.  Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer also on Monday extended a preliminary injunction to allow the clinic to continue performing abortions through Friday. That gave Planned Parenthood time to take the issue up with the Administrative Hearing Commission.  McNicholas says abortion access in Missouri will be gone if the commission doesn't act by Friday.  Republican Governor Mike Parson's spokesman Steele Shippy says the judge's ruling affirms the state's contention that the licensing dispute should be heard by the state commission.


Sedgwick County Deputy Loses License for Bad Traffic Stops

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Sedgwick County deputy sheriff has lost his law enforcement certification for conducting illegal traffic stops and searches.  A state board revoked Joel Sutherland's certification last month, citing more than 30 unnecessary traffic stops or searches.  The Wichita Eagle reports the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training says in the first six months of 2015, Sunderland stopped vehicles for violations that hadn't occurred and then conducted searches that weren't legal.  Sheriff Jeff Easter says Sunderland's job with the sheriff's office ended in 2015 but his license wasn't revoked until after federal prosecutors decided not to file charges amid an FBI investigation.  Sunderland was sued for excessive force in 2013, when he was accused of beating a drunken driver. The county settled the lawsuit for $75,000.


Lawsuit Could Halt Spread of Video Gambling Terminals

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A western Missouri prosecutor's lawsuit against a gambling machine provider could halt the proliferation of video gambling terminals in the state.  Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd is accusing Kansas-based Integrity Gaming LLC of installing illegal machines in two Parkville convenience stores.  Police seized five video poker-like devices from the stores in October 2018. Both store owners say Integrity Gaming set up the machines.  Company officials say their terminals aren't considered betting devices since the result of each game is predetermined.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the court will consider the issue in December.  The case has garnered attention after Missouri lawmakers disagreed on whether to legalize sports betting and slot machines in a recent session.  The U.S. Supreme Court lifted a ban on states allowing gambling on sports last year.


Hutchinson Zoo Gets Fundraising Support After Flooding

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — When a nonprofit group asked for donations to help the Hutchinson Zoo recover from flood damage, it hoped to raise $10,000 in a month or two.  Supporters passed the goal in five days.  A Facebook fundraiser organized by Friends of the Hutchinson Zoo started June 18 and passed the $10,000 goal Saturday.  The Hutchinson News reports the zoo has been closed since May 21 because of flooding. The animals are safe in temporary housing but playgrounds and five buildings were damaged.  Zoo director Ryan VanZant says staff hasn't been able to estimate the cost of repairs because the water that forced the zoo to close is still standing in the buildings.  The Facebook fundraiser continues to accept donations and a new goal might be set when damages are calculated.


Kansas Man Sentenced to Nearly 49 Years in Toddler's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been ordered to spend nearly 49 years in prison in the fatal beating of his girlfriend's toddler who died several months after state welfare officials received reports that he was being abused. KSNW-TV reports that 26-year-old Lucas Diel of Wichita was sentenced Tuesday for second-degree murder in the May 2018 death of 2-year-old Anthony Bunn. He died two days after he was found unresponsive in his Wichita home. Anthony's grandfather, Zak Woolheater, described Diel as a "monster" and recalled the horror of sitting next to the dying toddler's hospital bed. Woolheater's attorney said in a court document filed last year that the state was aware of a previous abuse report involving Anthony and didn't follow procedures. The boy's mother, Elizabeth Woolheater, also has been charged with murder.


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