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Headlines for Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Kelly Picks Veteran, Bipartisan Group to Lead Transition

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelly has named a veteran, bipartisan group of four people to lead her transition team. Kelly announced the appointments Tuesday. The team includes Jordanna Zeigler, the manager of the incoming Democratic governor's campaign. The group also includes Joyce Allegrucci. She served as chief of staff to former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and worked on Sebelius's transition after the 2002 election. Kelly also appointed Natalie Haag, general counsel and chief of staff to Republican Gov. Bill Graves. He was governor before Sebelius. The team also includes Duane Goossen, who advised the Kelly campaign. He is a former Republican legislator who served more than 12 years as state budget director under Graves, Sebelius and Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson. Goossen and Haag also worked on the Graves-to-Sebelius transition.

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Suspect in Fatal Kansas Hoax Call Pleads Guilty

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  A California man has admitted making a hoax call that ultimately led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between online gamers over $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game. Twenty-six-year-old Tyler R. Barriss pleaded guilty to making a false report resulting in a death, cyberstalking and conspiracy related to the deadly swatting case in Kansas. The deal with prosecutors will send him to prison for at least 20 years, if the judge accepts it. He had previously pleaded not guilty in Kansas. As part of the plea agreement, Barriss pleaded guilty to a total of 51 charges that included similar charges initially filed in California and the District of Columbia. Barriss is accused of falsely reporting a shooting in December 2017 following a dispute over a $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game between two gamers. Wichita police responded and Andrew Finch was fatally shot at his Wichita home. Sentencing was set for January 30.

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Light Snow Causes Several Accidents, 2 Deaths in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A light but persistent snow caused two deaths and numerous accidents in Kansas City, and caused several school closings in mid-Missouri.  The Missouri Highway Patrol reported at noon Monday that it had responded to 86 crashes, including two deaths and 10 injuries.  The Kansas City Star reports one person died on Interstate 49 at Missouri 291 in Harrisonville and the other died along Missouri 52 in Henry County. Details of the crashes were not immediately available.  Many schools in central Missouri let students out early Monday and some colleges canceled evening classes.  The snowfall was moving east Monday afternoon and the National Weather Service put the entire St. Louis metro area under a winter weather advisory.  

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Kansas Domestic Violence Deaths in 2017 Highest in 2 Decades

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas recorded more domestic violence related homicides in 2017 than it had in more than two decades.  A Kansas Bureau of Investigation report shows the 38 domestic violence deaths in 2017 was twice as many as 2016.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the agency says 20 of the deaths were female and 18 were male. Also, 33 of the suspects were male while five were female. And firearms were used in 26 of 38 cases.  KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood says 2017 was the second highest number of domestic violence-related deaths since records began in 1993, with 41 deaths.  Erin Reazin, a victim services coordinator for Topeka's YMCA, says society needs to changes the culture from telling females they are responsible for reducing their risk to finding only the perpetrator at fault.

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Restaurant Owner Sentenced for Claiming to Pay Minimum Wage

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The owner of a suburban Kansas City restaurant was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for falsely claiming he was paying his workers minimum wage. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister announced Tuesday that 39-year-old Yong Lin, of Overland Park, was sentenced for falsifying records submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor. Lin owns the China Garden restaurant in Merriam. A federal investigation determined Lin was not complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act because he did not pay employees overtime after 40 hours. In his plea agreement, Lin admitted he said he was paying employees back wages but instead paid servers with paychecks to bring their hourly pay up to minimum wage. He then required the servers to cash their payroll checks and give the money back to him.

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Undersheriff Charged in Beanbag Shooting Death Untrained

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court documents say a Kansas undersheriff who shot and killed a man with a beanbag round hadn't been trained on how to properly use the weapon.  The Wichita Eagle reports that a police expert says in a report for the prosecution that the lack of training led 60-year-old Virgil "Dusty" Brewer to aim at the wrong part of Steven Myers's body as Myers left a Barber County shed. Authorities tracked Myers to the shed last year after he was accused of threatening people with a gun outside a bar in Sun City, about 110 miles west of Wichita.  An instructor on use of force and less lethal weapons wrote in the report that Brewer also didn't use the right kind of round. Brewer is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

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Fifth Lawsuit Filed Against Opioid Maker, Kansas Doctor

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A fifth lawsuit has been filed in Kansas against an opioid maker and a doctor accused in a prescription kickback scheme.  The Kansas City Star reports that Timothy Farquhar filed the lawsuit last week in Johnson County against his former doctor, Steven Simon, and Insys Therapeutics. He alleges that Simon prescribed him unnecessarily high doses of opioids, including the fentanyl spray Subsys, for pain related to a spinal injury and cyanide poisoning. Farquhar says he wasn't informed of the risks of addiction and become dependent.  The federal government has alleged that Insys illegally used its physician speaker program to pay kickbacks, based on how much Subsys they prescribed. Simon was the top-paid Subsys speaker in Kansas.  Simon has said previously that the prescriptions were based solely on clinical judgment.

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Exam Ordered for Man Accused of Attack in Welfare Office

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ordered a mental competency examination for a 19-year-old man charged with sexually assaulting a girl in a child welfare office. Michael Anthony Hamer is charged in Johnson County with rape and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Prosecutors allege Hamer assaulted a 13-year-old girl in May while they were at a KVC Health Systems office in Olathe. They were both in the state foster care system at the time. The Kansas City Star reports defense attorney Courtney Henderson sought the evaluation because he thinks Hamer doesn't fully understand the gravity of the charges against him and would not be able to effectively help in his own defense. District Judge Brenda Cameron granted Henderson's request. A hearing on the competency issue is scheduled for Jan. 10.

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Man Convicted in 2013 Salina Homicide Dies in Prison

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A man who helping to beat a Salina woman with a chain before strangling and drowning her has died. The Kansas Department of Corrections says 30-year-old Joel Heil died Sunday. Hiel was in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the 2013 death of 27-year-old Kristin Tyler. Corrections department spokesman Samir Arif confirmed Heil's death but said he was not in state custody and couldn't provide details about Heil's death. The Salina Journal reports Heil was incarcerated at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility but was taken to Leavenworth County last Thursday for a court hearing. Tyler's battered body was found in May 2013. Prosecutors say she was killed because Heil and another man, Dane DeWeese, thought she had stolen money and drugs and suspected her of being a police informant.

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Jackson County Won't Prosecute Most Marijuana Possession Cases 

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says her office will not prosecute most marijuana possession cases.  Voters last week overwhelmingly approved amending the Missouri constitution to allow medical marijuana. Peters said Tuesday voters spoke loudly on the issue, noting three out of four Jackson County residents approved the measure. She says the office has also noted changing attitudes toward marijuana from juries. The Kansas City Star reports the exceptions will include selling or distributing marijuana without proper authority and possession of items associated with illegal sales, such as individual packaged bags of the drug. Another exception would be when large amounts of cash or firearms are found in conjunction with drug cases. The office also will prosecute cases involving drugged driving or when marijuana results in a child being harmed. 

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Man Arrested in Wichita Shootout Paroled in July

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Records show that a man arrested in a deadly Wichita shootout had been paroled just a few months earlier for a 2008 killing. The Wichita Eagle reports that 28-year-old Aubrey Montez Oliver was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. He was arrested after a man was killed and another person injured in a southeast Wichita shootout early Saturday. Police said Tuesday the victim was 43-year-old Ray Nunley. He was shot while trying to calm down people at a nearby apartment who were fighting and shooting at each other. Kansas Department of Corrections records show Oliver was released from prison in July and placed on parole for killing Kenneth "Landy" White in Hutchinson. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in exchange for testifying against two other defendants.

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Kansas State Student Who Returned Scholarship Honored

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State student who gave back a scholarship he didn't need is being honored with a new scholarship named for him. Justin Schmutz, a senior in biological systems engineering, had twice earned a $12,000 4-H Vanier Family Scholarship. The Manhattan Mercury reports Schmutz returned this year's scholarship after deciding he could graduate debt free without it. He told the Kansas 4-H Foundation and the Vanier family in May that he thought someone else could use the money more than him. Mary Vanier says family members were so touched by Schmutz's decision they decided to endow a Justin Schmutz 4-H Scholarship. The family surprised Schmutz with a presentation last week at his fraternity. The Vanier Family 4-H Scholarships go to students who have overcome challenges to pursue their educational goals.

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Kansas Senator Pat Roberts Isn't Ruling Out a Run for Senate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts is working to get a farm bill approved to prove he's still a viable candidate for 2020.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the 82-year-old survived a primary challenge against a political newcomer in 2014 with less than 50 percent of vote. He then needed a flood of national money to win his general election campaign. The farm bill is crucial because it's unlikely he'll be able to avoid another primary challenge in 2020 if he runs.  One of the main points of conflict between the House and Senate versions of the farm bill involves proposed reforms to food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  House-passed legislation significantly tightens existing work requirements for aid recipients. But the Senate version makes only modest changes.

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Man Arrested in Wichita Shootout Paroled in July

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Records show that a man arrested in a deadly Wichita shootout had been paroled just a few months earlier for a 2008 killing.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 28-year-old Aubrey Montez Oliver was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. He was arrested after one person was killed and another person injured in a southeast Wichita shootout early Saturday. The slain person hasn't been identified.  Kansas Department of Corrections records show that Oliver had been released from prison in July and placed on parole for the killing of Kenneth "Landy" White in Hutchinson. Oliver pleaded guilty in that case to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against two other defendants.

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Police Investigating Murder-Suicide Near Eastern Kansas Park

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a possible murder-suicide near a suburban Kansas City park.  Police say in a Facebook post that two bodies were found Sunday near Riverfront Park in western Shawnee, Kansas. The discovery was made while officers were responding to a request from Kansas City, Missouri, police to check on the welfare of a person thought to be endangered.  The names of the two people who were found dead weren't immediately released. Their deaths are under investigation.

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Woman Found in Burning Kansas Home Dies from Injuries

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman has died after she was pulled from a burning suburban Kansas City house fire.  The Kansas City Star reports that 67-year-old Leanora Marks was rescued Sunday night from the basement of an Overland Park, Kansas, home. Fire officials said in a news release that she was rushed to a hospital, where she later died.  Fire crews say it appears the fire started in the basement, but the majority of the damage was to the home's upper level. The blaze was brought under control about a half four after fire crews responded. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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U.S. Colleges Attracting Fewer New Students from Abroad

A new report finds that fewer international students are heading to U.S. colleges.  The number of newly arriving foreign students fell by 7 percent in fall 2017, marking the second year of declines after at least 12 years of growth.  The findings come from the Institute of International Education and the State Department.  Officials behind the study primarily blame sharper competition from other countries including Australia and Canada.  But some schools contacted by The Associated Press say the political climate in the U.S. has made students abroad feel unwelcome.  Most of the losses come from Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Mexico, while China and India continued to send large numbers.  Although new enrollment fell, the total number of international students grew slightly as more stayed for temporary jobs after graduation.

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Democratic Wins Could Mean State Action on Health Care, Guns

Democratic gains in the 2018 elections could lead to a push for expanded health coverage, gun control and recreational marijuana in some states.  Democrats won complete control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers in six new states — Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico and New York. Leaders there already are making plans for an aggressive leftward agenda.  All told, Democrats gained seats in 62 of the 99 partisan state legislative chambers and also picked up seven governors' seats.  Yet the overall outcome of the election was a continued trend toward unified control of state governments. Republicans could hold trifecta control in as many as 22 states. Democrats will have unified control in 14.  The number of politically divided state governments is near its 60-year low point.

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Regents Approve New Program at Kansas States

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State will offer a new bachelor's degree in education studies beginning in August.  The university announced Thursday the program will require 120 hours to complete through the College of Education.  The Manhattan Mercury reports the program doesn't offer a license for K-12 teachers. It offers specialized education courses for people not wanting to teach in a traditional classroom, with courses such as pop culture and educational psychology.  Currently, 12 Kansas State faculty members are scheduled to teach the program. Each student would have an internship before graduation.  The university also announced that it will begin an online Kansas insurance certification for undergraduates in spring 2019. The program offers a stand-alone credential for those with a bachelor's degree, or can be a path to the university's online bachelor's degree in personal financial planning.

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Duke Leapfrogs Kansas for No. 1 in Latest AP Top 25 Poll

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke changed everything about who AP Top 25 voters considered to be the nation's best team with a single dominating performance against a marquee opponent.  It also gave the Blue Devils yet another milestone under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski: a record number of appearances at No. 1.  The Blue Devils jumped from fourth to first Monday in the first regular-season poll, leapfrogging Kansas at the top after a blowout win against then-No. 2 Kentucky last week. That allowed Duke to set a record with its 135th week at No. 1, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most top rankings in poll history.  The 34-point win against the Wildcats in the Champions Classic to open the season marked the program's most lopsided win against a top-5 opponent. Duke was practically flawless behind star freshmen RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and that created a buzz about the team's already lofty potential being somehow even higher than anyone anticipated.  Granted, it was one game. And Duke (2-0) didn't look nearly so dazzling Sunday at home against Army . But that one performance caused a major voting shift, even with now-No. 2 Kansas earning a quality win of its own against then-No. 10 Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic.  Kansas was a solid preseason No. 1 by earning 37 of 65 first-place votes, followed by 19 for Kentucky and four for Duke. But Duke now has 48 first-place votes, claiming the top spot for all 19 voters who had Kentucky as preseason No. 1 while also causing 23 voters to switch from Kansas in the preseason Duke this week.  Duke also prompted switches from the lone voters who had Gonzaga and Villanova at No. 1 in the preseason.  

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