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Headlines for Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Another Suburban Kansas City School District Sues E-Cigarette Maker Juul

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Another suburban Kansas City school district plans to sue a leading e-cigarette maker as the number of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. climbs to about 1,300 cases.  KMBC-TV reports that the school board for the Shawnee Mission School District voted Monday to join a national lawsuit against Juul. The district is the third-largest in Kansas with more than 27,000 students.  The district says its students are being targeted with faulty advertising that puts their health at risk. It says that vaping increased by 48% among middle-schoolers and 78% among high-schoolers in the district from 2017 to 2018.  Several other school districts also are suing, including the nearby Olathe school district. Juul has said it doesn't market to youth and its products are meant to be an alternative to smoking.


State Lawmaker Running for Western Kansas Seat in Congress

RUSSELL, Kan. (AP) — A prominent Republican state legislator has launched a campaign for the western Kansas seat in Congress. State Rep. Troy Waymaster of Bunker Hill announced his candidacy Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District. Waymaster has been chairman of the Kansas House Appropriations committee since 2017 and is a key player in budget debates. Waymaster said he's a conservative running partly because "socialists" in Washington "are tearing our country apart." He is a farmer who was first elected to the Legislature in 2012. Former Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann of Salina and Finney County Commissioner Bill Clifford also are seeking the GOP nomination. Garden City teacher Kali Barnett is running as a Democrat. Two-term Republican Rep. Roger Marshall announced last month that he's running for the U.S. Senate.


Only Democrat Running for Kansas 2nd Seat Drops out of Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The only Democratic candidate running for an eastern Kansas congressional seat has dropped out of the race. Abbie Hodgson announced Tuesday that she was ending her campaign in the 2nd District. WIBW-TV reports that Hodgson said she didn't have a "viable path" for winning the seat now held by freshman Republican Rep. Steve Watkins. Hodgson was a one-time speechwriter for former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and a former staffer for Kansas House Democrats. She worked two years in Washington for the Pew Charitable Trusts. Watkins is a former Army officer and military contractor who emerged from a crowded Republican primary in 2018 and narrowly won the general election. State Treasurer Jake LaTurner is challenging Watkins in the Republican primary, arguing that he's vulnerable to losing to a Democrat next year.


Anti-Abortion Group Opposes Kansas Supreme Court Candidates

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An anti-abortion group is opposing two candidates for a Kansas Supreme Court vacancy before a state commission selects finalists for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Kansans for Life announced Tuesday that it opposes state Court of Appeals Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge and Shawnee County District Judge Evelyn Wilson. The move comes as conservatives seek to overturn a Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights and to require state Senate confirmation of the justices. A nominating commission is set to interview 20 applicants Thursday and Friday. After it picks three finalists, Kelly will appoint one, with no role for legislators. Kansans for Life objects to Standridge because of a 2016 appeals-court ruling favoring abortion rights. It opposes Wilson because of her husband's past political contributions to Kelly and other abortion-rights candidates. Neither judge responded immediately to the group's criticism.


Hallmark Cards to Close its Home and Gifts Business

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hallmark Cards says it plans to close its home decor and gift products business by the end of the year. The Kansas City-based company said Monday that Hallmark Home and Gifts will close because of changes in the retail industry. KSHB-TV reports company spokesman Andy DiOrio said 60 employees will be affected by the closure. He said some will be offered a chance to apply for other Hallmark positions, while others will move to other parts of the company. The company said in a statement that it will continue to offer gifts through its Retail and Hallmark Greetings businesses. Hallmark Home and Gifts is one of the company's six businesses.


Diversion Possible for Kansas Girl in Finger Gun Case

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys are considering offering diversion to a 13-year-old Kansas girl who was arrested last week for pointing a finger gun at classmates. The Kansas City Star reports diversion was discussed Tuesday during a juvenile court hearing for the Overland Park eighth-grader, who is charged with felony threatening. Another court hearing was scheduled for Dec. 17. The girl's mother told The Star last week that on Sept. 18, a boy asked her daughter who she would kill if she could kill five classmates. The girl reportedly made a gun with her fingers and pointed at four students, then herself. The Associated Press is not identifying the mother to protect the girl's identity.Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez confirmed the mother's story but said there are more facts that he could not disclose. Under diversion, the charge would be dismissed if the girl successfully meets certain conditions set by authorities. The most serious sentence for felony threatening would be a year of probation, unless the girl violated the probation requirements, which could result in her being sent to juvenile detention.


Kansas Man Gets Prison Term for Threats to Operation Rescue

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man who admitted threatening workers of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has been sentenced to federal prison. The U.S. attorney's office in says 22-year-old Christopher M. Thompson was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day on one count of making a threat. Operation Rescue Vice President Cheryl Sullenger says that Thompson threatened to rape her and her daughters and then murder her family. She says in a news release she takes no pleasure in his incarceration, but believes it is a just sentence. Sullenger says this is a step toward restoring the sense of security he took from families. His attorney says Thompson never intended to carry out the threats, which were sparked a 2005 story he found online that Operation Rescue had written about his grandmother.


Kansas City Woman Shot to Death; Suspect Arrested

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say a man is in custody after fatally shooting a woman and then waiting for officers to arrive at the scene.  Police Captain Tim Hernandez said the woman was shot Monday morning in eastern Kansas City and died by the time officers arrived.  He says the alleged shooter remained at the scene and police are not looking for more suspects.  Investigators are working to determine a motive for the shooting.  The woman's death was the fourth fatal shooting in the Kansas City area since Saturday. The city has recorded 119 homicides this year.


17-Year-Old Killed in Rolling Gunbattle in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a 17-year-old has been killed in a rolling gunbattle in Kansas City.  The Kansas City Star reports that Leighlan Fleming was found fatally shot Saturday afternoon in the driveway of a home.  Police spokesman Captain Tim Hernandez says the gunbattle spanned several blocks. Officers found shell casings at multiple locations within a two-block radius.  Hernandez says Fleming may have been chased. No suspect information has been released.  Fleming is among 25 teenagers who have been killed by gunfire this year in the Kansas City area. Dozens of others have been shot and survived.


Kansas City Area Homicide Suspect Arrested After Hours-Long Standoff

RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a Kansas City area homicide suspect after an hours-long standoff.  The Kansas City Star reports that the shooting was reported around 1:15 pm Sunday at a home in Raytown. Police say the victim was found dead outside the home near a truck.  Police say the suspect ran to his nearby home and barricaded himself inside. He was taken into custody around 7 pm.  The victim hasn't been identified, and the shooter wasn't immediately charged.  No details were released about what led up to the shooting.


Man Jailed in Wichita Shooting that Wounded 2 Homeless People

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man jailed in the shooting of two homeless people in downtown Wichita was having "a mental health crisis" and thought he was gunning down cartel associates.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 45-year-old Dexter Solomon is being held on suspicion of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of being a felon in possession of a gun. His bond is $200,000.  Captain Brent Allred says methamphetamine may have played a role in the Sunday morning shooting. He says a woman is hospitalized in "very, very critical condition" after she was struck once in the back. He says a man, who was struck five times in the legs and arms, was treated and released.  Allred says investigators have turned up nothing that indicates any cartel was after Solomon.


Wichita Lawyer Spared from Prison for Role in Cyberattacks

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Wichita lawyer has admitted to paying a software engineer who launched cyberattacks on websites that criticized the attorney's work. Court filings show 63-year-old Bradley A. Pistotnik pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of being an accessory after the fact to online extortion threats. He was immediately sentenced to pay a $375,000 fine and $55,200 in restitution as agreed in a plea deal with the government that spares him from prison. His co-defendant, VIRAL Artificial Intelligence co-founder David Dorsett , has a change-of-plea hearing set for Monday. Federal prosecutors allege they are responsible for cyberattacks on, and in 2014 and 2015. The indictment accuses Dorsett of filling website inboxes with threats. An email purportedly demanded that a webpage be removed or the hackers will target advertisers.


High Court Considers Whether States Can Prosecute Illegal Immigrants

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Donaldo Morales caught a break when federal prosecutors declined to charge him after he was arrested for using a fake Social Security card so he could work at a Kansas restaurant. But the break was short-lived. Kansas authorities stepped in and obtained a state conviction that could lead to Morales's deportation.  On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether states can prosecute illegal immigrants like Morales who use other people's Social Security numbers to get a job.  The 51-year-old Guatemalan immigrant says what he did was to earn money honestly to support his family.  The Kansas Supreme Court overturned the convictions of Morales as well as Mexican immigrants Ramiro Garcia and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara after concluding the state was seeking to punish immigrants who used fake IDs to work.


Records: Members of Suspended Fraternity Slapped, Spat and Urinated on New Members

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Newly released documents say that members of a now-suspended University of Kansas fraternity struck, urinated and spat on some new members who were suspected of cooperating with an investigation into hazing.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that it obtained the heavily redacted documents about Delta Upsilon after filing a records request.  In July 2018, the university found the fraternity guilty of endangering new members during the fall 2017 semester. The documents show that the chapter's counsel didn't fight the hazing allegations during a hearing but argued that it wasn't as big of a deal as the university was making it out to be.  The hearing ended with the university suspending the fraternity from campus through the fall semester of 2023. At the time, the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity had been planning to close the chapter and restart it later.


8-Year-Old Boy Struck, Hurt While Crossing Highway on Bike

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an 8-year-old boy on a bicycle was seriously hurt when a sport utility vehicle crashed into him as rode across a highway in central Kansas.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says the boy was struck around 6:40 p.m. Sunday while crossing U.S. 56 in Ellinwood. The boy and the bike weren't in the crosswalk at the time of the wreck.  The crash report says the boy was taken to a hospital with a suspected serious injury. The driver of the SUV wasn't hurt.  Ellinwood is about 100 miles northwest of Wichita.


Struggling Kansas City T-Bones Locked Out of Stadium

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas City T-Bones are officially locked out of their stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.  The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, changed the locks and padlocked the gates to the stadium Monday because the team has failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts.  The government issued an eviction notice in August after the T-Bones accumulated more than $760,000 in back rent and utility payments. The team was given a one-month reprieve in September after making a $50,000 payment.  The Kansas City Star reports team owners have said they are working to sell the team but no deal has been reached.  The T-Bones played in an independent league and have no Major League Baseball affiliation.


Suspect in Lawrence Islamic Center Theft Scheduled for Plea Hearing

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Court records say a man charged with breaking into the Islamic Center of Lawrence and stealing donations boxes was in possession of almost $1,200 in cash when he was arrested in a Kansas City suburb several days later.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the affidavit in the case against 32-year-old Amadou Oury Bah says the August 13 burglary happened shortly after the holiday Eid al-Adha. One leader estimated that between $1,000 and $2,000 was stolen.  Police in Overland Park, Kansas, arrested Oury Bah on an unrelated incident on August 25. He was released from jail the next day and then arrested again August 27 in Omaha.  Bah is scheduled Wednesday for a plea hearing in the Lawrence case. He is charged with burglary, theft and criminal damage to property.


Kansas Man Sues After He Was Hurt in Branson Go-Kart Crash

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man is suing after he was injured while driving a go-kart in the Missouri tourist town of Branson.  The Springfield News-Leader reports that Ryan Landie, of Lenexa, Kansas, filed the lawsuit Saturday in federal court. It alleges that the operators of The Track Family Fun Parks in Branson were negligent in failing to prevent the May 2018 crash.  It happened as Landie was riding with his young son, who was ready to stop after several laps. The lawsuit says Landie was told to pull over to the staging area, where they were rear-ended.  The lawsuit says there were no employees around to help. Landie also claims the operators refused to provide medical attention or call an ambulance for Landie, who underwent surgery on his shoulder.


Kansas Game Warden's Dog Died in Hot Patrol Vehicle that Stalled

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas game warden's dog died when the handler's patrol vehicle stalled and an emergency system that's designed to turn on fans and lower windows if the cabin gets too hot wasn't engaged.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism called the August 6 death of the Labrador retriever named Tibbie a "tragic incident" after an investigation was completed Friday.  The agency says the handler left Tibbie locked in the patrol vehicle with the engine running as the game warden "conducted business that did not require K-9 assistance."  The investigation "determined the game warden had not checked that the heat-alarm system was in working order" that day. The agency says it's making changes to prevent something similar from happening again.


8 Kansas Counties Urged to Upgrade Voting Equipment

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A handful of Kansas counties are being urged to upgrade their voting machines to a voting system that creates a paper record of each vote.  The Topeka Capitol-Journal reports the American Association for the Advancement of Science urged Geary, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Harvey, Sumner, Wallace and Wilson counties to upgrade to newer voting machines.  Those eight counties currently use voting machines that record voter choices electronically without creating a paper record.  Katie Koupal with the Kansas Secretary of State's office says fewer than 10 of the state's 105 counties use election equipment that doesn't create a paper trail. She says several counties are planning to buy new equipment before next year's presidential elections.


Federal Prosecutors Seek to Keep $180,000 in Suspected Drug Money Seized in Northeast Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors want to keep $180,000 in suspected drug money that was found during a Kansas traffic stop.  The Wichita Eagle reports that court records say the money was uncovered in July when a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper pulled over a pickup truck on Interstate 70 in Wabaunsee County for a traffic violation. The driver said he was traveling from Chicago to Denver to visit his sick mother, but a vehicle search turned up seven bundles of cash wrapped in duct tape.  Documents say the driver then told law enforcement that he was being paid to take the money to a Denver hotel. A drug dog detected the odor of controlled substances coming from the currency.  Prosecutors filed last week for the cash to be forfeited to the government.


Suspect in Shooting of Washburn Players Gets New Attorney

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man charged in the shooting death of a former Washburn University football player and the wounding of current New York Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine has a new attorney.  The Capital-Journal reports that KiAnn Caprice was appointed this week to defend 18-year-old Francisco Mendez, who faces 12 charges after the April 28 shooting that killed Dwane Simmons. The appointment came after Mendez's previous attorney withdrew from the case.  Last month, Mendez pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and seven other counts. Simmons, Ballentine and three other Washburn players were shot at as they celebrated after Ballentine was drafted by the Giants earlier in the day.  Investigators have said at least three guns were used in the shooting.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.

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