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Headlines for Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pompeo Plans to Visit Wichita for Event with Ivanka Trump

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to visit Wichita this week for an appearance with Ivanka Trump. It's Pompeo's fourth visit to Kansas this year, again creating speculation about whether he plans to run for the Senate. Pompeo is a former Wichita-area congressman and many Republicans see him as an ideal candidate to replace retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts next year. The Wichita Eagle reports that both the White House and Republican Rep. Ron Estes confirmed Pompeo's plans to visit Thursday. Estes's office said the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board will have a round-table discussion on workforce development featuring him and Pompeo. The board advises the federal government on improving skills-based education. It is co-chaired by Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a White House adviser.

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Kansas GOP Leader's Medicaid Plan Would Boost Tobacco Taxes

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The legislative leader spearheading an effort to pass a GOP plan for expanding Medicaid in Kansas has drafted a proposal that would raise tobacco taxes and that does not include a work requirement for program participants.  The proposal outlined Monday by Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning differs significantly from an expansion plan backed by Governor Laura Kelly and fellow Democrats. It includes provisions designed to keep some working-class Kansans in private health plans rather than providing them with state Medicaid coverage.  The tax on a pack of cigarettes would rise by $1, to $2.29.  The Senate's GOP leaders blocked Medicaid expansion earlier this year but pledged to draft a Republican alternative. Denning provided details in an interview and a legislative committee was set to review them Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Great Bend Couple Killed in New Mexico Plane Crash

ANGEL FIRE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas couple has been killed in a plane crash in New Mexico.  Fire officials in the town of Angel Fire said in a Facebook post that the plane went down Sunday morning in a field between a restaurant and hardware store. Fire officials identified the victims as 65-year-old Richard Schenk and Anne Schenk, of Great Bend.  The post described Richard Schenk as an experienced commercial-rated pilot. He was chief executive officer of Community Bank of the Midwest in Great Bend.  The cause of the crash hasn't been determined. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.  Angel Fire is about 20 miles east of Taos.

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Deadly Stabbing Under Investigation in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been fatally stabbed during a fight in Lawrence.  Police said in a news release that officers responded around 5 p.m. Sunday and found 40-year-old John Minoglio lying in the grass in an area about 1 mile south of the city's popular bar and entertainment district. Emergency crews attempted to save him, but he died at the scene.  Police say a man who fought with Minoglio was detained at the scene and questioned. He has since been released pending the completion of the investigation.

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3 Killed After 2 Pickup Trucks Collide Near Hutchinson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say three people were killed when two pickup trucks collided near Hutchinson.  The Reno County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that deputies responded just before noon Sunday. Fire crews had to extricate the victims from the heavily damaged vehicles. They were pronounced dead at the scene.  The names of the victims weren't immediately released. The post says the accident is under investigation.

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After 8-Year Hiatus, KU-MU "Border War" Rivalry Resumes Next Basketball Season in Kansas City

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Border War is returning to college basketball.  The acrimonious rivalry between Kansas and Missouri, once the longest continually played series west of the Mississippi River, will resume next season in Kansas City. The schools have agreed to play six times, with four of those matchups taking place on their respective campuses.  "Having coached a lot of games versus Missouri in my time in Kansas, I could not be more excited to start this series up again," Jayhawks coach Bill Self, who had been among the biggest reasons the teams never played, said in a statement announcing the series Monday night.  

The series began in 1907 with a pair of wins by Missouri in Lawrence. The schools went on to play 269 times over 105 years. The last meeting was on February 25, 2012, when the No. 4 Jayhawks rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to beat the No. 3 Tigers in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse.  The reason the series ended can be traced to Missouri's decision to depart its longtime home in the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. During a period of chaotic conference realignment, the Tigers moved to what they considered a more lucrative league — even though it made far less geographic sense — and in doing so left the Big 12 scrambling for its very survival.

Many coaches and administrators at Kansas not only took umbrage with their decision but held a grudge for years. Among them was Self, who was asked periodically over the years if he could envision playing the Tigers again, and was usually steadfast in his refusal to schedule them.  Tensions finally cooled enough that on October 22, 2017, the schools agreed to play an exhibition game in Kansas City dubbed "The Showdown for Relief" to raise money for hurricane relief efforts.
Kansas won 93-87 in their first meeting in five years.

The thousands of fans who turned up for the game, coupled with the buzz it generated on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border, piqued the interest of new Kansas athletic director Jeff Long. He was not part of the conference realignment mess and harbored no ill will toward Missouri, making him the ideal figure to help patch up relationships and ultimately resume the rivalry.  "One of the best aspects of college athletics is rivalries," Long said. "We have quietly sought input from fans and supporters on the renewal of this series and we believe the overriding sentiments are that this historic rivalry should resume."

After the initial game scheduled for December 12, 2020, at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, the schools will alternate between Allen Fieldhouse and Mizzou Arena for the next four games. The final scheduled matchup will return to Sprint Center, though it's possible the series continues.  It's also possible that the basketball matchups are just the beginning.  "Hopefully, this renewal on the hardwood will lead to more opportunities down the road in other sports," Tigers athletic director Jim Sterk said. "Rivalries make college sports great, and there is no question that when Missouri and Kansas face off in any sport, it's important to a lot of people."

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Farmer Pleads Guilty to Crop Insurance, Bankruptcy Fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say they plan to seek more than $2.1 million in restitution from a Kansas farmer who pleaded guilty to crop insurance and bankruptcy fraud. The Wichita Eagle reports that Kevin Struss, of rural WaKeeney, entered the guilty plea Monday in federal court. Struss admitted in the plea that he underreported the total bushels of corn and milo that he harvested as part of a scheme to fraudulently collect crop insurance benefits. The crop insurance fraud charge stems from false reports in 2015, although prosecutors say the false reports continued in 2016 and 2017. Struss also admitted that when he filed for bankruptcy in April 2018, he lied about transferring $470,000 to someone three months earlier. Sentencing is set for Jan. 15.

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Wichita Driver Arrested in July Crash that Killed Passenger

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita driver has been arrested in a crash that killed a passenger.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County Jail booking reports show that 21-year-oldEric Lane Turner Jr. was taken into custody Saturday. He had a warrant for charges of reckless involuntary manslaughter, failure to stop at the scene of an injury accident and driving while suspended in the crash that killed 21-year-old Leon Turner. He also is being held on a warrant alleging that he violated probation in a 2018 case.  Wichita Police Department spokesman Officer Kevin Wheeler says Eric Turner was driving a car that struck two parked and unoccupied vehicles around 8:25 am on July 5. Leon Turner was pronounced brain dead two days later.  Wheeler says he doesn't know the relationship between the two men.

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Computer Programmer Admits Role in Wichita Area Cyberattack Threat

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say a computer software engineer has admitted threatening cyberattacks against websites that criticized a Wichita attorney's work.  VIRAL Artificial Intelligence co-founder David Dorsett pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of making extortionate threats via the internet. The 37-year-old Wichita man admitted in his plea he contacted lawyer Brad Pistotnik in 2014 offering "reputation management services."  The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release  that Pistotnik wanted negative postings removed, including a Kansas Supreme Court disciplinary opinion.  Dorsett sent an email barrage to Leagle.com and Ripoffreport.com demanding they remove the information and threatening to target advertisers.  Prosecutors say Dorsett billed Pistotnik for sending the threats and Pistotnik paid him the same day.  Pistotnik was sentenced to pay a $375,000 fine and $55,200 in restitution. Dorsett's sentencing is January 6.

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Ex-AMC Exec in Kansas City Alleges She Was Fired for Seeking Equal Pay

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former female executive of the Kansas-based movie theater company American Multi-Cinema Inc. alleges in a lawsuit that she was fired in retaliation for asking for equal pay.  The Kansas City Star reports that Tonya Mangels, of Kansas City, Missouri, contends that as vice president of product marketing, she performed the same work as several other men in vice president roles. But she says in the lawsuit filed last week in federal court that she was paid between $117,000 and $149,000 per year less than them.  After a failed pay-focused mediation session, AMC fired her last month, alleging that she tipped off her team about impending layoffs. Mangels contends she had no prior knowledge of the job cuts.  An AMC spokesman said Monday that AMC typically doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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California Trucker Sentenced in Kansas City for Stealing Load of Meat

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a California trucker working for a Kansas freight brokerage has been sentenced to federal prison for stealing a load of meat valued at more than $160,000.  The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release that 37-year-old Gegham Avetisyan of Valley Village, California, was sentenced Monday to 15 months in prison. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud.  Prosecutors say Avetisyan contracted with a business in Olathe to deliver the meat to three places in California. He faxed documents to the company using the name Robert Ivanov.  Avetisyan picked up the meat at a packing plant in Omaha but didn't deliver it.

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Kansas Farmers Make Progress Planting Next Year's Wheat Crop

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government snapshot shows Kansas growers making progress planting next year's winter wheat and harvesting fall crops.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that winter wheat planting was 77% complete, near the five-year average for this time of year in Kansas. Nearly half had already emerged.  Kansas farmers had also cut about 62% of their corn, along with 32% of the soybeans and 27% of their sorghum crops.

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Kansas Man Dies After Jumping from Moving Car

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 36-year-old Kansas man is dead after he jumped from a moving car, according to police. KSNW-TV reports that Chad Lee of Wichita died Monday night. Police say Lee was the passenger in a Ford Fusion driven by a 32-year-old woman. Officer Charley Davidson says the two were arguing and Lee apparently jumped from the car as it was going about 35 mph. Arriving officers found Lee in the roadway, unresponsive. An investigation continues.

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Military IDs Remains of Korean War Soldier from Kansas

SEDGWICK, Kan. (AP) — The remains of Korean War soldier from Kansas have been identified nearly seven decades after his death. A Defense Department agency that's tasked with accounting for missing troops announced Tuesday in a news release that the remains are those of Sgt. James Ernest Smith Jr. of Sedgwick. He was reported missing in November 1950 after enemy forces attacked his unit near Kujang-dong, North Korea. Several returning American POWs said Smith died several months later at a temporary prisoner of war camp. He was just 21. Last year, North Korea turned over 55 boxes of purported human remains. And in August, scientists identified Smith's remains, in part through a DNA analysis. The release says Smith's remains will be buried at Arlington Cemetery, although the date hasn't been determined.

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Missouri Agency Apologizes for Editing "Trump" from Photos

LOUISIANA, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Transportation has apologized for posting an edited photo that cropped out a boy's "Trump 2020" shirt and appeared to blur part of his "Trump 2020" cap.  KSDK-TV reports that Mitchel Lemons of Nebo, Illinois, won a raffle to push the detonator for a controlled explosion to remove an old Mississippi River bridge at Louisiana, Missouri, on Friday. The Champ Clark Bridge was recently replaced.  MoDOT posted on social media a photo cropped so the shirt didn't show. The word "Trump" appeared blurred on the cap.  MoDOT apologized within hours for "the error in judgment," and posted the unedited photo. The agency says the edits were originally made so it wouldn't appear to be "campaigning."

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Woman Accused of Slashing 18 Police Car Tires

RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, woman is accused of slashing the tires on eight police vehicles one day after her arrest. The Kansas City Star reports that 46-year-old Eunice A. Fisher is charged with first-degree property damage. A caller told police at 3 a.m. Sunday that a burglary was in progress at a bank. It turned out to be a hoax, but Raytown officers who responded to the call found out a total of 18 tires were flat on eight police vehicles. Damage is estimated at around $2,500. Police say surveillance video shows Fisher damaging the tires. The officer reviewing the video recognized Fisher — he had arrested her the day before. Fisher does not have a listed attorney. She is on probation for drug, motor vehicle tampering and burglary convictions.

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