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Headlines for Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Payless Positions Cut; Topeka Headquarters to be Auctioned Online

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Topeka headquarters of Payless Shoesource will be auctioned online this week, after more jobs were eliminated by the company.  The company on Friday eliminated 35 merchandising positions in Topeka as part of what it calls a new merchandising structure. The jobs will either transfer to Dallas or not be filled.  The online auction of the nearly 307,000-square-foot headquarters will be held Monday through Wednesday, with a starting bid of $1.25 million.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Payless officials haven't said exactly how many jobs have been eliminated in Topeka or if any divisions will be left here. At least 350 employees have been laid off, but more positions were moved to Dallas.  Payless has been restructuring after emerging from bankruptcy. It is relocating most of its corporate headquarters to Dallas.

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Statue Honoring Dwight Eisenhower Dedicated on Kansas Statehouse Grounds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A statue of President Dwight D. Eisenhower has been unveiled on the Statehouse grounds.  Governor Jeff Colyer praised Eisenhower at the dedication Monday as a man who "changed the face of America forever." He noted Eisenhower's role as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and then later his presidential accomplishments, which included creating the interstate system.  The privately funded 7-foot tall bronze statue depicts Eisenhower speaking to a group of U.S. soldiers preparing to parachute into Normandy in June 1944.  Eisenhower was born in Texas but was raised in Abilene, Kansas. He also is honored at the Statehouse with a folk-art statue in the second-floor rotunda and a smaller one in the basement visitor's center. His portrait hangs outside the governor's second-floor office.

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Chain Reaction Crash Kills 1 Near Arrowhead Stadium

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a 17-year-old from Kansas died and three people were hurt when an off-duty police officer hit the car the teen was driving near Arrowhead Stadium.  The Shawnee Mission school district identified the victim as Chandan Rajanna.  Police spokesman Captain Lionel Colon says the officer was driving a department van Sunday and ran into the teen's car as traffic slowed to turn into the stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs were playing.  The impact caused the car to hit a sport utility vehicle, which hit another SUV.  Rajanna's father and older sister were seriously hurt. Police say the officer sustained injuries that weren't life threatening.  The Kansas City Star reports police staff often are on-call and use police vehicles while off-duty so they can quickly respond if needed.

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Jurors Shown Video of Chained-Up Boy in Kansas Abuse Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Jurors deciding the fate of a man accused of killing a 3-year-old boy found encased in concrete were shown photos and video of the child chained up in the basement of his rental home in Kansas. The judge sent the jury home Tuesday evening without a verdict after deliberations began that afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of 41-year-old Stephen Bodine. He's accused in the May 2017 death of Evan Brewer. The Wichita Eagle reports prosecutors called dozens of witnesses and presented more than 550 pieces of evidence over six days, including what's left of the concrete tomb found in the rental home where the boy lived with his mother and Bodine in Wichita. The defense rested its case without calling witnesses. Bodine faces charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment, along with other crimes related to a threat against the boy's biological father.

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Jury Convicts Kansas Doctor in Drug Distribution Conspiracy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal jury has convicted a Kansas doctor accused of unlawfully prescribing pain medication blamed in one patient's death. The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release that 57-year-old Steven R. Henson of Wichita was convicted Tuesday of unlawfully distributing methadone and alprazolam, the use of which resulted in the death of a victim on July 24, 2015. The doctor was also convicted of conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs outside the course of medical practice, unlawfully distributing various prescription drugs, presenting false patient records to investigators, obstruction of justice and money laundering. Prosecutors alleged at trial that Henson wrote prescriptions in return for cash, post-dated prescriptions and wrote prescriptions without a medical need or legitimate medical exam. Sentencing will be set at a later date.

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Authorities: 2 Charged in Kansas Road-Rage Shooting of Boy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man and woman have been charged in a road rage shooting that wounded a 4-year-old boy in Wichita.  Nineteen-year-old Tylin Atkinson and 21-year-old Ramonyka Smith, both of Wichita, were charged Monday with criminal discharge of a firearm. Atkinson also faces an aggravated assault charge and is jailed on $250,000 bond. Smith is jailed on $100,000 bond.  Their attorneys didn't return phone messages seeking comment.  Police say Atkinson got out of a car last week and fired two shots at a sport utility vehicle in which six children were riding, striking the 4-year-old once in the abdomen. Police say Smith was driving the car.  The child was in stable condition shortly after the shooting. Police didn't return phone calls Monday seeking an update on the boy's condition.

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Wichita Woman Sentenced for Taking Guns to Pay Drug Debt

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Wichita woman was sentenced just over nine years in federal prison for stealing handguns from a store to pay off a drug debt. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release that 28-year-old Chaelyn Nichole Aaron was sentenced Monday for theft of firearms. In her guilty plea, Aaron admitted that in March she pried open a display case at an Atwoods store and took seven handguns before leaving. Court documents indicate she gave the guns to a drug dealer to pay off her debt.

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Woman Freed from Prison Early over Calls Recorded in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Texas woman serving time in federal prison has been released early because a former prosecutor listened to recorded phone calls between her and her attorney. The Kansas City Star reports that 37-year-old Michelle Reulet is one of potentially dozens of defendants who could be affected by a pending federal court case over recorded calls at a privately run detention center in Leavenworth, Kansas. Reulet left prison Monday after U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in Kansas City, Kansas, ordered her release. She was serving a five-year sentence for mail fraud and was not due for release until September 2020. Defense attorneys allege federal prosecutors regularly obtained recordings of attorney-client phone calls in violation of their clients' constitutional rights. Prosecutors contend there were a few isolated instances such as Reulet's case.

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Nebraska Woman Arrested in Kansas Crash That Killed 3

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a woman involved in a collision that killed three people in Kansas has been captured in Nebraska. Jackson County, Kansas, Sheriff Tim Morse says in a news release that 49-year-old Maria Perez-Marquez, of Omaha, was arrested by U.S. Marshals Tuesday in Nebraska. Details of where she was arrested were not immediately released. Perez-Marquez is charged in Kansas with three counts of involuntary manslaughter after a crash in November near Holton that killed the mother, sister and uncle of two Kansas high school football players shortly after the family watched the boys' Sabetha team win a state football championship. Two other people were injured. Perez-Marquez failed to appear in Jackson County District Court in October. Morse says Perez-Marquez is being held in Omaha awaiting an extradition hearing.

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Wichita Bird Lovers Oppose Stray Cat Ordinance Proposal

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A proposed Wichita ordinance that would make it easier for residents to maintain feral cat colonies is ruffling the feathers of the city's bird lovers. The Animal Control Advisory Board proposed an ordinance that would set policies allowing residents to establish and care for colonies of stray and feral cats at their homes and businesses. The cats would be trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and released back into the community to a caregiver, who would be responsible for the cats' food, water, shelter and veterinary care. The board recently decided that caregivers would have to register themselves and any cat colonies they supervise, but it is still debating other issues, such as how many cats would be allowed in a colony. Wichita Audubon Society President Tom Ewert told the board last week that the ordinance would be bad for birds and other local wildlife, the Wichita Eagle reported.

"It's documented that cats kill up to 40 birds per year, and if you have eight or 12 (cats), that's unlimited numbers of birds that are being killed, not to mention the rabbits and other wildlife," Ewert said. Ewert said that board members primarily consulted the group Friends of Felines when making decisions on the ordinance. He said that board's leadership didn't call on others for input in public meetings and that the process has been unfair. Resident Richard Ruth also expressed concern that the board was favoring cat backers.

"Having the Friends of Felines as being the primary person(s) to give guidance on this issue with ferals ... is kind of limiting where you can go with this," Ruth said. "Opening it up to other voices, maybe you'll be able to arrive at something that's a little more workable." The board is expected to finish drafting the proposal on Nov. 28. The proposal would then go to the City Council.

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Man Dies After Shooting at Wichita Motel; Suspect Sought

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are searching for a suspect after a fight at a motel left one man dead.  Police say the victim was in a fight at a west Wichita motel early Monday before the shooting.  KFDI reports the victim, a man in his 40s, died at a hospital.  Police have not issued a description of the suspect and other details were not immediately released.

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Man Struck, Killed in Driveway in Kansas City Suburb

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a driver has struck and killed a 26-year-old man while backing up in the driveway of a suburban Kansas City duplex.  The Kansas City Star reports that the crash happened around 9:20 am Monday in Shawnee.  The man's name wasn't immediately released.  Police say the 51-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, woman who was driving the vehicle is cooperating with the investigation.

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Western Kansas Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Selling Gun to Felon

NESS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas sheriff has pleaded guilty to selling a .45 caliber pistol and ammunition to a convicted felon and has agreed to resign.  The U.S. attorney's office says Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple entered the plea Monday. As part of the deal, the 48-year-old also agreed to surrender his law enforcement certification. The prosecution will recommend that he be sentenced to probation. Sentencing is set for January 17.  Whipple initially faced three wire fraud charges alleging that he faxed reports falsely certifying that deputies had received training. But those charges were dismissed.

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Shooting Death of Kansas Woman Turned over to Prosecutors

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says an investigation into the shooting death of a 41-year-old woman has been presented to prosecutors.  The Wichita Eagle reports Lisa Trimmell was shot in June 2017 at her home near Andover.  Investigators have said Trimmell's two sons, ages 14 and 22, were visiting when she was shot. A sheriff's report says evidence indicates one of the sons shot his mother.  The shooting occurred about a month after her husband filed for divorce.  The sheriff's office said Monday the case has been turned over to the county prosecutor's office but no arrests have been made. An autopsy concluded her death was a homicide.  The Eagle has previously reported that prosecutors are trying to determine whether the shooting was justified or a crime.

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Kansas Works to Speed Up Driver's License Renewals

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials say several changes should decrease the time people spend renewing their driver's licenses.  Starting Tuesday, people ages 21-50 can renew licenses through the Department of Revenue's iKan mobile app and online.  The department said in a news release Monday that people who want a Real Id must go into a driver's license office but the state plans to eventually make that process available through the iKan app.  The department also has updated its KanLicense software program, which should decrease processing time.  And most driver's license offices in Kansas will be open longer, starting next week. Most offices are adding Monday service and will be open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Offices will still have the option to open on Saturdays during peak times.

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Judge Upholds Monsanto Verdict, Cuts Award to $78 Million

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict finding Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed his $287 million award to $78 million.  San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled Monday.  A San Francisco jury's August verdict included $250 million in punitive damages, which the judge said was too high. She reduced the punitive damages to $39 million, matching the jury's underlying damage award.  Jurors found Monsanto purposely ignored warnings and evidence that its popular Roundup product caused DeWayne Johnson's lymphoma.  In a tentative ruling on October 11, Bolanos said she was considering wiping out the punitive damage award because there appeared to be no evidence presented at trial that Monsanto employees ignored evidence that the weed killer caused cancer.

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Missouri GOP Sends 10,000 Voters Wrong Ballot Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Republican Party says a miscommunication caused 10,000 voters in the state to receive mailers with incorrect information about when their absentee ballots are due.  Ray Bozarth is the party's executive director. He tells The Kansas City Star that there was a miscommunication between the party and the vendor that printed the postcards. The mailers say mail-in ballots must be returned by October 30, but they're not due until election day on November 6.  Bozarth says the mailers were sent to likely Republican voters as part of the party's get-out-the-vote efforts. He says mailers with corrected information will be sent out soon.  Bozarth says the party has in the meantime directed people to the secretary of state's website and a voter turnout webpage run by the Republican National Committee for the correct information.  

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Kansas Cotton Crop Faces Potential Rain Issues

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Recent heavy rain is threatening Kansas' cotton crop, which is ready or nearly ready for harvesting.  Rain can dislodge cotton lint from the plant and decrease yields, The Hutchinson News reported. Water can also cause color from the plant's stems or leaves to bleed onto the lint and damage the quality.  Rex Friesen, a consultant for Southern Kansas Cotton Growers, said the crop appears to be holding up despite the wet weather.  "It could be a problem, but it turns out the more I'm getting out into fields, the more impressed I am," he said. "Hard driving rain can knock cotton off the plant, but so far I haven't seen a lot of that happening."  Harvesting should resume this week if the weather remains dry, Friesen said.  About 77 percent of bolls have opened in Kansas, up from 70 percent this time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress and Condition Report. About 2 percent of cotton had been harvested earlier this month before rain halted work, the USDA said.  Parts of the southeastern U.S. have also been hit by rain from Hurricane Michael. Georgia, the second largest cotton producing state, had many cotton fields decimated. The Texas Panhandle has also seen its cotton crop suffer because of drought.  "You can't take that much cotton out of the system without it affecting the market," Friesen said. "We don't like to see that happening to producers in those states, but prices could potentially go up because of it."

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Medal of Honor Winner to Speak at Wichita Chamber Meeting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War will speak at this year's Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting.  President Barack Obama awarded Salvatore Giunta the nation's highest military honor for valor in November 2010. Giunta was honored for risking his life in 2007 to save two soldiers during an insurgent ambush in Afghanistan.  The Wichita Eagle reports Giunta, then an Army specialist, was a rifle team leader with a company from the Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at the time of the ambush. He was on his second combat deployment to Afghanistan.  Giunta later gave his medal to his brigade. He retired from active duty in 2011.  The Chamber meeting and dinner is scheduled for November 29.

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Man Whose Flatulence Ended Police Interview Pleads Guilty

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man whose excessive flatulence forced a police detective to cut shot an interrogation has pleaded guilty to federal gun and drug charges.  The Kansas City Star reports that 25-year-old Sean Sykes Jr. entered the plea Monday. The charges stem from a police traffic stop in September in Kansas City, Missouri, in which officers found a backpack with drugs and guns. Sykes was a passenger in the vehicle.  A detective reported that when asked for his address, Sykes "leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering." Court documents say Sykes "continued to be flatulent" and the detective was forced to quickly end the interview.  Sykes will be sentenced at later date, after a pre-sentence report is completed.

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2nd Largest Lottery Jackpot in U.S. History Hits $1.5 Billion for Tonight's Drawing

TOPEKA, KAN. – Mega Millions may have to change its name to Mega Billions! After 24 drawings with no jackpot winner, the jackpot for tonight’s (TUE) drawing is $1.5 billion.  The cash option is just short of a billion at $904.9 million.  Keep in mind, your odds of winning the jackpot are extremely low, just one in 302 million.  (You have better odds of being hit by lightning, repeatedly.)  Still, never in U.S. history has there been a Mega Millions jackpot of this size.  Combined with the current Powerball jackpot of $620 million with a cash option of $354.3 million, players have a chance to win $2.2 billion in this week's two big drawings.  The prior Mega Millions jackpot record was $656 million, which was shared by winners in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland. The Powerball record jackpot of $1.58 billion was shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee and stills stands for that game.  If a Kansas player hits the Mega Millions jackpot tonight (TUE), is the only winner and chooses the $904.9 million cash option, he or she would receive $643 million, after taxes. If a Kansas player hits the Powerball jackpot tomorrow (WED) night, is the only winner and chooses the cash option of $354.3 million, he or she would receive $251.4 million, after taxes.  One ticket in the October 10 Powerball drawing matched the first five numbers to win $1 million. Another ticket sold in the October 20 Powerball drawing matched four of the first five numbers and the Powerball to win $50,000. Neither ticket has yet been claimed.  In the October 19 Mega Millions drawing, one ticket matched four of the first five numbers and the Megaball to win $10,000. That ticket remains unclaimed as well.

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Restocked Kansas Nabs No. 1 Spot in AP Top 25 Preseason Poll

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self sees big holes when he looks at his roster after losing three starters, including Associated Press All-American Devonte' Graham.  The voters in the AP Top 25 poll see something different: a roster restocked so well that Jayhawks will start the season as the nation's top team.

Kansas checked in at No. 1 in the preseason poll released Monday, earning the top spot to start a season for the third time in program history, all under Self. The Jayhawks topped the ballot for 37 of 65 voters, nearly double that of No. 2 Kentucky.
"Obviously we lost a lot off last year's team with Devonte', Svi (Mykhailiuk) and Malik (Newman), so I'm a little surprised that the writers put us there this preseason," Self said in a statement to the AP. "It's definitely a spot we welcome and certainly know the goal is to be playing to that ranking by when it counts the most.

The Jayhawks return veteran starters in junior 7-footer Udoka Azubuike and senior Lagerald Vick from a team that reached its first Final Four since 2012. They're also adding transfer help from Memphis twins Dedric and K.J. Lawson as well as California's Charlie Moore — all double-digit scorers on their previous teams.

And yet, the previous two times the Jayhawks started at No. 1 didn't end well. The 2004-05 squad lost to Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And the 2009-10 team that held the top spot for 15 of 19 weeks overall and won 33 games lost to Northern Iowa in the second round.

The ranking comes as the program finds itself entangled in the federal corruption case tied to payments used to steer recruits to certain schools. Testimony during the recent first trials included references to Self and sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa , though Self isn't charged with wrongdoing and it's unclear if De Sousa's status will be affected.

CLEAR CHOICES
Voters established a clear top tier: Kansas, Kentucky, No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Duke. Those four teams appeared in some combination at the top of nearly half the ballots (32 of 65).

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Correction: Landon Lecture-Perdue Story

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — In a story October 17 about Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue delivering a Landon Lecture, The Associated Press erroneously reported that "Moran" will talk about lessons in public service that he learned on the farm. Perdue will discuss that. Senator Jerry Moran was the previous Landon Lecture speaker.   Moran in the last paragraph. It should have said Perdue.  A corrected version of the story is below:

Ag Secretary Perdue Speaks at Kansas State University Next Month

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue is speaking next month at Kansas State University.  Perdue's November 1 appearance is part of the Landon Lecture series. The series is named for former Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who was the 1936 Republican nominee for president. The series was established in 1966 to bring in speakers to discuss issues facing business, politics and international relations.  Perdue will talk about lessons in public service that he learned on the farm. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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