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Headlines for Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Kansas Governor Becomes 1st to Have Appeals Judge Rejected

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a nominee for the state's second-highest court whose political tweets offended lawmakers. The vote Tuesday was 38-0 against confirming Labette County District Judge Jeffry Jack's nomination to the Court of Appeals. Democrat Laura Kelly became the first Kansas governor to have an appeals court nominee rejected. Yet the Republican-controlled Senate's vote also allowed Kelly to name a second nominee. Kelly herself had urged senators to reject Jack after trying to withdraw his nomination in March. The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that a 2013 law didn't allow her to withdraw Jack's nomination. That forced Tuesday's vote to keep Jack off the appeals court. Jack's nomination was doomed by tweets in 2017 that included vulgar language and criticism of President Donald Trump and other Republicans.

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Rejected Nominee Says Vote Discourages Service

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  A Kansas Court of Appeals candidate whose nomination was rejected by the state Senate says its actions and members' comments about him will discourage qualified people from serving the state. Labette County District Judge Jeffry Jack also said Tuesday that he is happy to put his record up against the Senate's record. The Senate voted 38-0 against Jack's nomination to the state's second-highest court. His nomination was doomed by political tweets he made in 2017 criticizing President Donald Trump and other Republicans. He's also facing a call for the state Commission on Judicial Conduct to review his behavior and consider whether he has violated judicial ethics. Jack says he intends to remain as a trial-court judge and "apply the law to the facts without personal bias or partisan advantage."


No One Believed to Still be Missing After Water Rescue in Lyon County

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say no one is believed to still be missing after three people were rescued from a flooded vehicle in east-central Kansas.  Lyon County Undersheriff John Koelsch says the three people who were rescued early Saturday told deputies that there were initially five people in the car. They said two of them left to get gas for the stalled vehicle because they thought it was out of fuel. They never returned, and the three who were rescued after the car floated into a ditch didn't know their full names.  Koelsch says the area was searched and no one else was found.  Authorities also arrested a man on a bicycle who ignored officers' commands to stay put and attempted to go into the water to rescue the stranded motorists.


Court: Kansas Bars Can't be Sued by Drunken Driving Victims

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says victims injured by drunken drivers can't sue the bars that served them.  The high court's ruling on Friday comes in the case of Jeff Kudlacik, who was placed in a medically induced coma and faced months of rehabilitation following a car accident involving a drunken driver in 2015.  The driver who hit Kudlacik, Michael Smith, had a blood alcohol content of nearly 0.18, which is more than twice the legal level of impairment in Kansas.  Kudlacik sued the two bars that served Smith before the accident.  But the Supreme Court says it's bound by a 1985 case that found Kansas doesn't have a law allowing victims of drunken driving accidents to hold alcohol vendors accountable for their patrons.  The court says it's up to the Legislature to change the rule.


Kansas State School Board Concerned About Students Vaping

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education is concerned enough about e-cigarette use among high school and middle school students that it is reviewing the issue.  The 10-member elected board is scheduled to have a presentation on vaping Tuesday, during its regular monthly meeting.  The board plans to get a briefing from a Kansas Department of Health and Environment official who oversees efforts to reduce youth tobacco use and a presentation from the Blue Valley school district in Johnson County about its efforts to reduce vaping.  The federal Food and Drug Administration says e-cigarette use among high school and middle school students nationally jumped 78 percent between 2017 and 2018. The state school board said a 2017 survey showed that more than one-third of high school students had tried e-cigarettes.


Details Emerge in Case Against Dental Instructor at Topeka Prison

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A court document reveals lurid details of sexual abuse allegedly committed against inmates by a former dental lab instructor at the Topeka Correctional Facility.  The suspect, 73-year-old Tomas Co, is facing seven charges of unlawful sexual relations with seven different inmates at the women's prison. The affidavit is based on interviews with 25 inmates during an investigation by a Kansas corrections department special agent. It says Co flaunted his authority over inmates, touched them inappropriately and removed the pockets of his pants to allow one inmate to touch him sexually.  A judge made the affidavit public Friday after The Topeka Capital-Journal asked for its release.  Co taught inmates to make dentures in a program designed to teach them a marketable skill. He was fired in December.  His attorney, Chris Joseph, said no one has independently verified the women's stories.


Rains Slow Fieldwork for Row Crops Across Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Spring fieldwork at farms across much of Kansas has stalled after days of widespread rains and flooding.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that growers had a little more than a day this past week that was suitable for fieldwork.  Corn planting in Kansas is behind with just 46% of this season's crop now seeded. Usually by this late in the spring about 67% of the corn has been planted.  Soybean plantings are at 7%, also behind the 16% typically seeded by this time.  About 1% of the sorghum and sunflower crops have been planted.  The agency reported that 35% of the winter wheat is headed, behind the 64% average.
It rated wheat condition as 56% good to excellent, 33% fair, and 11% poor to very poor.


Task Force Effort Brings 219 Arrests in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement officials say 219 people were arrested and 583 warrants were cleared during a crime-fighting initiative in Kansas City, Kansas.  The effort involving local, state and federal agencies was called Operation Lateral Storm.  Police Chief Terry Zeigler said Monday the task force ran from March 1 until the end of April and targeted gang, drug and gun activity. Officers concentrated on five districts with the most crime in the city.  The Kansas City Star reports Zeigler said this type of operation has a long-term impact on crime because it targets the worst criminals and results in them getting long prison sentences.  The initiative had a budget of $60,000 to cover overtime for officers. It falls under the U.S. Marshals' nationwide crime reduction initiative called Operation Triple Beam.


4th Person Dies from Crash Near Holton that Followed State Football Win

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A fourth person has died from injuries suffered in a Kansas crash that happened more than a year ago as they returned home from watching two family members play in a state football championship.  Popkess Mortuaries says Lee Fred Ukele, of Sabetha, died Wednesday at the University of Kansas Hospital. He was critically injured in a November 2017 crash that killed his wife, his 11-year-old daughter and his brother.  They were returning home from watching the Sabetha High School football team win the state championship when 49-year-old Maria Perez Marquez, of Omaha, Nebraska, crashed into their minivan while trying to pass another vehicle north of Holton. At the time, two of Lee Ukele's sons played on the team.  Marquez is scheduled to be sentenced in June on three misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide and one felony count of aggravated battery.


Former Sports Medicine Clinic Employee Alleges Harassment

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A former employee of a suburban Kansas City sports medicine clinic alleges in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed by a surgeon.  The Kansas City Star reports that the former medical assistant at the Kansas City Spine and Sports Medicine Center in Overland Park, Kansas, sued last month. The suit says she complained to management multiple times that Dr. Glenn Amundson regularly made sexual comments and touched her inappropriately in front of other employees, including management.  The medical assistant says that when she spoke to human resources, the department determined that she should transfer. The suit described the conditions as "intolerable."  Amundson declined to discuss the allegations with The Star. The Kansas City Spine and Sports Medicine Center says Amundson is no longer with the company.


Kansas Man Sentenced in Fatal Joplin Shooting During Robbery

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A 21-year-old Kansas man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a fatal robbery at a Joplin home in 2017.  Brock Robinson was sentenced Monday for second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree assault. He is the second of three men from Columbus, Kansas, sentenced in the fatal shooting of  21-year-old Taven Williams and the wounding of another man.  The Joplin Globe reports a sentencing hearing for 21-year-old Azaiah Forester is scheduled for June 10. The third defendant, 23-year-old Erik Jones, was sentenced in November to 15 years in prison.  Police say Williams was killed in January 2017 when he tried to stop the three men from robbing another man of a large amount of marijuana. The target of the robbery was wounded.


Hutchinson Woman Alive After Being Hit by Train

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old Hutchinson woman is alive despite being hit by a train as she walked home from work. Hutchinson police Lt. Rob Rowe says Anais Saulters suffered deep cuts and a broken arm when she was hit Monday night — apparently by the train's cow guard. The Hutchinson News reports Saulters told police she heard the train behind her but didn't realize how close she was to the tracks. Rowe said the BNSF Railway train was traveling about 25 mph when Saulters was hit. She was knocked over by the collision and crawled under the train to go to a nearby business to call 911. Rowe says Saulters didn't appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when she was hit. She could be charged with misdemeanor trespassing.


Killing of 14-Year-Old in Kansas City Ruled Accidental

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say the death of a 14-year-old boy has been ruled an accidental shooting. The boy was shot early Tuesday at an apartment complex in northern Kansas City. Capt. Tim Hernandez said in a news release that two juveniles were playing with a firearm while other family members were sleeping. An accidental shot hit the victim in the head, causing fatal injuries. Police say six children and two adults were inside the townhome at the time. The teenager's name hasn't been released.


2 People Arrested After Missing Wichita Man Found Dead

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police says two people are in custody after a man who was reported missing on Saturday was found stabbed to death. Police Lt. Jeff Gilmore said 25-year-old Royce Thomas and 24-year-old Micaela Spencer, both of Wichita, were arrested Monday. They were booked into jail on possible charges of murder and possession of stolen property. Gilmore says Sedgwick County deputies found Thomas and Spencer inside a stolen trailer and connected recreational vehicle and they were arrested without incident. The officers then found 50-year-old William Callison, of Wichita, dead inside the RV. Gilmore said he suffered several stab wounds. Callison had been reported missing on Saturday.


13-Year-Old Arrested for Threat Toward Garden City School

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Garden City police say a 13-year-old middle school student has been arrested after making threats toward the school. The boy was arrested Monday night after police received a report of a possible threat toward Horace Good Middle School. This is the fourth threat made toward Horace Good Middle School in the past month. KAKE-TV reports police said in a news release that an investigation found the student made several verbal threats toward the school. The student is being held in the Southwest Kansas juvenile detention center.


Missouri Man Charged with Killing, Dismembering a Kansas Man

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas City, Missouri, man has been charged with fatally shooting another man, dismembering his body and then setting the remains on fire. Thirty-year-old Colton Stock was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and three other felonies in the death of 35-year-old Matthew Calkins, of Gardner, Kansas. No attorney is listed for him in online court records. Bond is set at $1 million cash only. Police arrested him May 5 while responding to report of gunfire at a home where Calkins's remains were found. The Kansas Citty Star reports that police Sgt. Richard Sharp said investigators have not found all of Calkins's remains. An autopsy determined that Calkins was shot twice before his body was dismembered and burned. Sharp said Stock and Calkins had a "drug relationship."


Man Charged with Sexually Assaulting 3 Teens at YMCA Pool

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been charged with sexually assaulting three teenage girls in the pool area of YMCA in downtown Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports 31-year-old Keith Magoon was charged Monday with one count of rape and four counts of aggravated sexual battery. His bond was set at $150,000. Wichita police say two 16-year-old girls and a 17-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted in the indoor pool area by a man they didn't know. Magoon described himself as homeless and unemployed in court documents. His next court appearance was scheduled for May 30, and he will be appointed a public defender. Last month, a former YMCA worker was sentenced to 27 1/2 years in prison for molesting two young girls in the downtown YMCA's daycare.


Wichita Man Pleads Guilty in Death of 2-Year-Old Boy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 26-year-old Wichita man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son. District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a news release that Lucas Diel accepted a plea deal Monday in the death of Anthony Bunn. The boy was found unresponsive in a home in May 2018. Police say he suffered severe head injuries. Under the plea deal, Diel is expected to be sentenced to nearly 49 years (584 months) in prison when he is sentenced June 25. The district attorney says the sentenced is based on Diel's criminal history. The boy's mother, Elizabeth Woolheater, has been charged with murder in his death. She is scheduled for a motions hearing later this month.


Wichita Officer on Leave, 2 Women Jailed After Gun Incident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say an officer is on leave after firing shots at a car when a woman pointed a gun at him. Lt. Jason Stephens said no one was injured in the incident that began late Monday when officers responded to a domestic violence call. He says when an officer shined a flashlight toward a vehicle, one of two women inside pointed a handgun at the officer. The officer fired two shots and struck the vehicle. One woman was arrested on charges of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, being a felon in possession of a handgun and outstanding warrants. The other woman was arrested on an outstanding warrant. The officer, a 23-year police veteran, is on paid administrative leave, which is protocol for officer-involved shootings.


Keystone Dam Water Released After Levels Reach 21-Year High

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to release the largest amount of water to run through Keystone Dam in 21 years after torrential downpours soaked the Arkansas River drainage basin in northeastern Oklahoma.  The Tulsa World reports that on Monday, the corps will release 85,000 cubic feet of water per second from the dam, which is located about 24 miles (38 kilometers) northwest of Tulsa. The rate's equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool flowing into the Arkansas River every second.  Volunteers filled over 4,000 sand bags on Saturday to help prevent flooding.  Storms dumped up to 9 inches of rain in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma last week, with some runoff in the Arkansas River basin ending up in Keystone Lake, popular for boating and fishing and camping.


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