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Headlines for Tuesday, September 3, 2019

McPherson Hospital, College Announce Rural Health Initiative

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — McPherson College and McPherson Hospital are partners in a new health initiative to improve rural health care.  The two organizations announced last week that they will combine academic programs and community outreach.  As part of the project, McPherson College will offer a new health science degree beginning in the fall of 2020.  The McPherson Sentinel reports health science students will gain hands-on training with internships, field experiences and observation at McPherson Hospital.  McPherson Hospital CEO Terri Gehring says one goal of the project is to persuade some of the health science students to stay and work in McPherson after graduation. She says the hospital competes with several nearby organizations to recruit and retain employees.  A survey of all health-related opportunities for students in central Kansas is planned as part of the initiative.

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Executive with Brownback Ties to Run for Congress in Kansas

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas corporate executive with political ties to former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has launched a campaign to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids. Amanda Adkins filed paperwork last week with the Federal Election Commission creating a campaign committee for a run for the GOP nomination in the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District. Her move sets up a contested GOP primary for the right to challenge Davids. Former National Down Syndrome Society CEO Sarah Hart Weir opened her campaign in July. Adkins is a vice president for the medical computer systems firm Cerner Corp. She managed Brownback's successful U.S. Senate re-election campaign in 2004 and was Kansas Republican Party chairwoman when Brownback was elected governor in 2010. She then served as the Kansas Children's Cabinet's chairwoman for seven years.

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KU Linebacker Arrested at Lawrence Bar

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas linebacker Thomas Patrick Barrett has been arrested at a student bar on suspicion of contributing to a child's misconduct and displaying or possessing a fictitious or fraudulent ID card. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the 20-year-old from Cleveland posted $1,500 bond and was released from jail a couple of hours after his early Sunday arrest at the Jayhawk Cafe, which is commonly known as The Hawk. The jail booking log shows that Barrett will turn 21 this week. A statement from the football program says officials are "aware of the situation and are currently in the process of gathering information." The statement says the situation will be handled according to internal policies. Barrett was redshirted during his freshman season in 2017 and didn't see any game action in 2018.

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Kansas City-Area Schools Innovate to Fill Teacher Vacancies

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City-area schools are rehiring retired teachers and training counselors and coaches to teach due to a critical teacher shortage.  The Kansas City Star reports that last October the Kansas Department of Education logged a 19% increase in vacant teaching positions from a year earlier. About 11% of teaching positions are vacant in Missouri schools every year.  The shortage affects urban, rural and some suburban schools.  Kansas and Missouri education officials say low salaries don't help. The state education department says Missouri's average starting teacher salary is $31,842, while new Kansas teachers earn $34,883.  Ann Jarrett, director of teaching and learning for the Missouri National Education Association, says teachers' varied skills are in high demand and can land them jobs that pay more.

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Another Small Earthquake Rattles Hutchinson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Another small earthquake has rattled shelves and rattled nerves in the Kansas town of Hutchinson.  The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake occurred at 8:21 am Sunday and was a 3.1 magnitude. There were no immediate reports of damage.  Kansas regulators have been investigating the cause of about a dozen recent earthquakes in Reno County, where Hutchinson sits, including several in mid-August. The largest measured 4.2 and knocked down ceiling tiles and broke windows. That quake was felt as far away as Kansas City, Missouri, 200 miles to the east.  The Kansas Corporation Commission is analyzing injection well activity in the county.

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Man Convicted of Drug Crimes in Lyon County Dies at Larned

LARNED, Kan. (AP) — Kansas prison officials say a 29-year-old man convicted of drug crimes in Lyon County died at the Larned Correctional Mental Health facility. Michael Jared Fancher was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon. An autopsy will be conducted to determine Fancher's cause of death. Fancher was convicted in Lyon County in 2018 for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The Kansas Department of Corrections says he was transferred from El Dorado to Larned in February and would have been eligible for parole in July 2024. He had previous convictions for drug possession and drug sales. The corrections department and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation are conducting a joint inquiry into Fancher's death, which is normal protocol in such cases.

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Suspect Arrested in Fatal Topeka Stabbing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in a fatal Topeka stabbing.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Andrew Timothy Evans was booked into jail Monday night on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Raymond Lee Smith.  Police say Smith was found suffering from life-threatening injuries Sunday in a Topeka house. He was pronounced dead by medical personnel.  Evans initially was described as a person of interest in the stabbing. Police say he was seen leaving the scene on foot.

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Leavenworth Authorities Investigate Hit-and-Run Fatal

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office is seeking information about a hit-and-run accident that left a man dead. Undersheriff Jim Sherley says 34-year-old Emanuel Ross, of Lawrence, was found dead early Monday west of Lansing. The Leavenworth Times reports authorities believe Ross was hit at least once by an unidentified motorist, who then drove away from the scene. Investigators believe Ross was struck early Monday. Sherley said the incident occurred near the Suncatcher Lake RV Park.

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Court Documents: Man Shot by Wichita Police Said He Wanted to Die

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Recently released court documents say a Wichita police officer shot and wounded a man in July after he yelled "I wanna die" and pulled a pouch from his waistband that the officer believed was a gun.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the affidavit says Christian Joel Washington's mother told him he needed to leave after he showed up at his grandfather's house despite having a no-contact order and then called police. His aunt said Washington talked about eating drugs and said he'd "rather be dead" if he can't be with family.  The affidavit says Washington was shot in a nearby field when he drew his right hand out of his waistband. He's jailed on $100,000 bond on charges of felony criminal threat and violating a protection order.

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$1 Million Super Kansas Cash Winner Hails from Johnson County

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Johnson County resident has claimed a $1 million Super Kansas Cash jackpot. Lottery officials say the winner chose to remain anonymous. The winning ticket was sold Aug. 28. The player bought a $2 Quick Pick ticket with the winning numbers 2 - 3 - 15 - 23 - 26 with a Super Cash Ball of 12. The ticket was sold at a Casey's General Store in Lenexa. The store is eligible for a $1,000 selling bonus.

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Minivan Strikes, Kills 1-Year-Old in Missouri Driveway

LATHROP, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas toddler is dead after being struck by a minivan on the driveway of a rural Missouri home.  The Kansas City Star reports that 1-year-old Elijah Galloway of Overland Park, Kansas, was fatally struck Saturday evening on a private driveway east of the western Missouri town of Lathrop in rural Caldwell County.  The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a 32-year-old woman struck the child, who was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  Lathrop is 45 miles northeast of Kansas City, Missouri.

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Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Double Murder in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for a double homicide in Kansas.  The Kansas City Star reports that Jose Varela Jr. was given two life sentences for first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Fabian Arriaga and Jose Morales.  The charges stemmed from a 2017 triple shooting in Kansas City, Kansas.  The Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office says Varela must serve 25 years before he is eliglble for parole.

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Popularity of Vaping Among Kansas Students Raises Concern

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas schools are struggling to prevent vaping among students, even as growing cases appear nationwide of a mysterious lung disease related to the use of electronic cigarettes.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it knows of three cases of the unidentified disease. Nearly 200 U.S. cases have been reported and at least one person has died.  Health officials say the high nicotine content of e-cigarettes can harm developing brains and encourage cigarette use.  A Kansas Department of Education survey of 2,000 high school students in 2017 found that 32.2% had tried vaping. Department health consultant Mark Thompson tells The Wichita Eagle he's heard of students secretly vaping in class.  Thompson says raising the legal age for buying e-cigarettes to 21 could curtail vaping in schools.

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Survey Suggests Little or No Midwest Economic Growth in View

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new report says an August survey of business supply managers suggests slow or no economic growth over the next several months in nine Midwest and Plains states.  The report issued Tuesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions index dropped below growth neutral in August, hitting 49.3 compared with 52.0 in July. The index had remained above growth neutral for 32 straight months.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he blamed the slowdown on weak farm and manufacturing sectors, produced in part by tariffs and a global economic slowdown.  The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth. A score below that suggests decline.  The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Corn Harvest Now Underway in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government snapshot of crop conditions shows the harvest of corn is now under way in Kansas. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Tuesday that 1% of the corn in the state has been harvested, near the 4% average at this point in the growing season. The agency rates half of the corn out in fields in good to excellent condition, with 34% of the crop in fair shape. About 16% is in poor to very poor condition. Other crops are also making progress. About 83% of the soybeans in Kansas are setting pods, with 3% of soybean crops already dropping leaves. About 1% of the Kansas sorghum crop has now matured.

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Kansas City Zoo to Spend $10 Million on Elephant Exhibit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Zoo is planning a $10 million renovation of its elephant exhibit.  The project announced this week will include easier access to the pool for the elephants, as well as adding shade and softer ground for the animals to walk on.  Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff says the renovations will also improve visitors' views of the elephants, with additional seating and handicapped-accessible renovations.  The zoo is still waiting to announce final plans for a $75 million saltwater aquarium.  KCUR reports the delay is caused mostly by a $7 million contribution from Kansas City.  The city council directed City Manager Troy Schulte to try and find the money but a city spokesman said this week no funds have been identified to fulfill the request.

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