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Headlines for Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kansas Governor Concedes, Says He Will Endorse GOP Nominee

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer says he will officially endorse Republican nominee for governor Kris Kobach after conceding in the state's GOP primary.  Colyer accepted defeat in a surprise announcement Tuesday evening. It came a week after a neck-and-neck primary finish between him and Kobach — the current secretary of state — threatened to send the race to a recount.  A review of some provisional ballots from most Kansas counties failed to find enough votes for Colyer, who was trying to avoid becoming the first Kansas governor to lose a primary since 1956.  Kobach, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, has been a lightning rod for controversy. He will face Democrat Laura Kelly, and is likely to face independent candidate Greg Orman, in the November general election in the decidedly conservative state.


Democratic Nominee Immediately Launches Attacks on Kobach

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic nominee for Kansas governor Laura Kelly is launching attacks against Republican opponent Kris Kobach now that Governor Jeff Colyer has conceded the GOP nomination to him.  Kelly said Tuesday night that Kansas families suffered under former Governor Sam Brownback, who left office earlier this year for a position in President Donald Trump's administration. The state senator from Topeka slammed Kobach for his pledge to return to what she called Brownback's failed policies and Kobach's extreme partisanship and self-promotion.  Kobach, currently the secretary of state, is promising to push for lower income and sales tax rates and tighter controls on local property taxes a year after bipartisan supermajorities in the state Legislature rolled back past income tax cuts championed by Brownback.
Kelly said she would push for strong schools, good jobs, balanced budgets and steady leadership.


Man Gets Two Years in Prison for Hit-and-Run that Injured Kansas State Student

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old man convicted of aggravated battery after hitting a Kansas State student with his truck in Manhattan has been sentenced to about two years in prison.  Nicolas Blaha, of Platte City, Missouri, was sentenced Monday to 20 months for aggravated battery and eight months for failure to stop at the scene. The sentences will run concurrently.  The Manhattan Mercury reports Blaha hit 22-year-old hit Amber Wilhelm, of Horton, early April 14, 2017, and continued driving. He said he didn't remember hitting Wilhelm but later came forward and told police he recognized his truck in a video from the scene.  Wilhelm, who suffered a brain injury and several broken bones, said she spent months in rehabilitation and therapy. She returned to classes in January.  Blaha apologized to Wilhelm before sentencing.


Kansas Scientist Facing Deportation Gets Immigration Hearing

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who is fighting deportation to his native Bangladesh will be able to present his case to an immigration judge.  Attorneys for Syed Jamal, of Lawrence, announced Tuesday that the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled last week that he should be allowed to present his case to a judge in Kansas City, Missouri.  Jamal and his supporters have been fighting his deportation since Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him in January in front of his family's home in Lawrence. He was on a plane back to Bangladesh when attorneys secured a court order to remove him from the plane in Hawaii and bring him back to the U.S.  His attorneys say the decision means Jamal is able to seek any relief available under the law.  No date for the hearing was announced.


Man Who Confronted Guards at Federal Building Sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 32-year-old man who fought with and threatened security officers outside a federal office building in Kansas City has been sentenced to 15 years without parole.  James Everett Jr., of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Tuesday for threatening a federal law enforcement officer, resisting a federal law enforcement officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Prosecutors said in March 2016, Everett was yelling and threatening a judge when he approached the Richard Bolling Federal Building in downtown Kansas City.  Four officers from the Federal Protective Service confronted Everett in front of the entrance. He threatened to blow the officers brains out, began fighting, bit one officer's finger and spit on another. Two Kansas City police officers helped to subdue Everett.  A loaded handgun was later found in Everett's car.


Suspect in Wichita Nightclub Shooting Booked into Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 25-year-old man has been arrested in a deadly shooting at a Wichita nightclub.  The Wichita Eagle reports that jail records show that the suspect has been booked on suspicion of first-degree murder. He is accused in the early Sunday shooting of a 24-year-old man in the parking lot of Vixen's Erotic Sports Bar on the city's south side.  Lt. Todd Ojile told KAKE-TV there was an argument in the parking lot and a group of three or four men confronted the victim and another person. One person in the group pulled a gun and shot the victim, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Wichita Pharmacist Indicted in Opioid Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita pharmacist has been indicted in a scheme to unlawfully distribute tens of thousands of opioid tablets that has already ensnared a doctor.  The U.S. attorney's office says 45-year-old Ebube Otuonye, of Bel Aire, faces one count of conspiracy to unlawfully dispense prescription drugs, one count of unlawfully dispensing prescription drugs and two counts of health care fraud. Otuonye's attorney didn't immediately return an email Wednesday from The Associated Press.  The indictment says he unlawfully distributed 21,681 tablets of Oxycodone, 48,683 tablets of Methadone, 18,049 tablets of Hydromorphone and 7,890 tablets of Alprazolam. The prescriptions were written by Steven Henson, a Wichita doctor who is set for trial in October on charges of unlawfully prescribing prescription drugs. He is accused of over-prescribing pain medication blamed on one patient's death.


Kansas Nurses Sue to Overturn Midwife Law

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Two nurse midwives are trying to overturn a Kansas law prohibiting them from practicing without physician oversight after they lost the ability to deliver babies at a hospital. Kara Winkler and Julie Gorenc have filed a federal lawsuit saying that requiring nurse practitioners to practice under a physician is unfair because doctors have a financial interest, the Kansas City Star reported. "They're what we call a market competitor," said Keith Williston, an attorney for the midwives. "They both want to treat the same patients." Winkler and Gorenc are part of Midwife Partners in Women's Wellness in Lenexa. The women allege they lost 25 clients who were planning to give birth at Shawnee Mission Medical Center after Dr. Janetta Proverbs ended her collaborative practice agreement with them. No other Shawnee Mission laborists would take them on. Laborists are hospital-employed physicians who deliver babies for women who don't have a regular OBGYN. Proverbs has called the allegations "unfounded," and declined to say why she ended her agreement with Winkler and Gorenc. Kansas is one of 19 states requiring nurse midwives to sign such agreements with physicians. State-certified nurse midwives in Kansas pressed for legislation in 2015 and 2016 that would allow them to practice independently of doctors. After a lobbying group for Kansas doctors opposed such a bill, a compromise allowed midwives to practice independently only if they get a medical license from the state's nursing board and from the board that regulates doctors. Williston said such a law leaves midwives at the mercy of doctors who can restrict their practicing unless they give physicians a portion of the revenue. The defendants listed in the lawsuit include the president of the Kansas State Board of Nursing, Proverbs, four laborists and Adventist Health Mid-America, which is the parent organization of Shawnee Mission.


Juvenile Facility Guard Placed on Leave After Teen Injured

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a guard at a northeast Kansas juvenile detention facility has been placed on leave after a teen was injured so severely that his mother said he required emergency brain surgery. Franklin County juvenile services director Ken Halliburton told The Associated Press that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was asked to investigate after the juvenile was rushed to a hospital Saturday morning. The KBI said in a statement that the juvenile sustained critical injuries Friday at the county's juvenile detention center. The juvenile wasn't identified. But KCTV reports that Jennifer Davis says a guard slammed her 15-year-old's son to the ground, leaving the boy with a skull fracture, bruises and cuts. Halliburton says the county is "cooperating fully" and "awaiting the outcome of the investigation." The guard isn't charged.


Judge Won't Lower Bond for Kansas Woman Facing Retrial

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman facing a retrial in a double-homicide case will not be released on lower bond. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a Shawnee County judge on Tuesday rejected 58-year-old Dana Chandler's request that her bond be lowered from $1 million to $100,000. Chandler is charged with first-degree murder in the 2002 slayings of her ex-husband, Michael Sisco, and his fiancee, Karen Harkness in their Topeka home. The Kansas Supreme Court in April vacated Chandler's 2012 conviction in the deaths, citing prosecutorial misconduct in the first trial. District Attorney Mike Kagay announced in May that he would retry Chandler. A tentative trial date was set for October 1.


Interstate Near Lenexa Closed for Hours After Fatal Crash

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 435 died when his truck collided with a semi-trailer truck. The patrol says the Ford truck was going north in the southbound lanes early Wednesday near Lenexa when it collided nearly head on with the tractor-trailer. The Ford was torn in two by the force of the collision and the driver was killed. The driver's name was not released. The patrol says lanes of Interstate 435 were closed for nearly seven hours after the collision but have now reopened.


Father and Son Drown After Rain Sweeps Vehicle from Road

ELK CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a father and son drowned in southeast Kansas when their vehicle was swept off a road during a rain storm. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Department says 72-year-old Dennis Clark Catron Sr. and 39-year-old Dennis Clark Catron Jr., of rural Elk City died Tuesday night on a county road near the Elk City Reservoir. Their bodies were found inside their vehicle. The sheriff's office says in a news release that its deputies responded to several calls of stranded motorists during Tuesday's storms. In some cases, deputies and rural firefighters knocked on doors to warn people of high waters. Unofficial rainfall totals late Tuesday and early Wednesday ranged from 7 to 11 inches in parts of Montgomery County.


No Charges in 2 German Cyclists' Deaths on Historic Route 66

GALENA, Kan. (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed against the driver who struck and killed two German cyclists in Kansas while they rode on the historic Route 66 during a cross-country trip.  The Joplin Globe reports that Cherokee County Attorney Jacob Conard wrote in a letter released Monday that there's no evidence the 23-year-old driver from Shawnee, Kansas, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or operating her minivan in a "reckless or dangerous manner" before she struck the two from behind in May.  Seventy-four-year-old Harry Jung and 71-year-old Heinz Gerd Buchel died at the scene, just north of the Oklahoma state line.  But Conrad noted that the burden of proof is lower in civil proceedings, and urged the Kansas Highway Patrol to retain reports in case the families sue.


Robin Jennison Hired as New Manager of Kansas State Fair

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Robin Jennison, the head of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, will be the new general manager for the Kansas State Fair.  The Hutchinson News reports the selection was announced Tuesday by the State Fair Board in Hutchinson.  Jennison is a former state lawmaker and Speaker of the Kansas House. He ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for governor before becoming part of Governor Sam Brownback's Cabinet nearly eight years ago.  Jennison's annual salary as general manager will be $122,000, with no health insurance or retirement benefits. He will continue to live in Wichita.  He replaces Susan Sankey, who resigned in January to work for the Kansas 4-H Foundation.


Survivor of Duck Boat Sinking Urges Ban on Such Crafts

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana woman whose husband and three children died when a duck boat sank last month in Missouri says she hopes to save lives by backing an effort to ban the amphibious tourist boats.  Tia Coleman spoke through tears during a Tuesday news conference at her Indianapolis home, saying that the house no longer felt like a home without her family.  Seventeen people died when the boat sank during a July 19 storm near Branson, Missouri, including 40-year-old Glenn Coleman, 9-year-old Reece, 7-year-old Evan and 1-year-old Arya. Five other Coleman relatives also died.  Tia Coleman urged people to sign an online petition calling on federal officials to ban the boats.  Two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of other Coleman relatives against the boat's owners and operators.


Missouri Prosecutor Seeks Gag Order in Case Against Ex-Sheriff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A special prosecutor wants a gag order in the case against a former Missouri sheriff and a subordinate with whom he was having a romantic relationship.  KYTV reports that former Texas County Sheriff James Sigman and Lt. Deputy Jennifer Tomaszewski appeared in court Tuesday. They're charged with assault, robbery, child endangerment, unlawful use of a weapon, harassment and two misdemeanors. Allegations include that Tomaszewski hit a mentally disabled man and threatened to shoot another inmate.  The special prosecutor, Don Trotter, says Sigman and Tomaszewski's attorney, Jason Coatney, should stop trying the case "out in the open." Coatney says he has the right to defend his clients. He has said a video shows that evidence was tampered with and potentially destroyed.  The judge didn't immediately rule on the gag-order request.


Church Is Raising up to $1 Million for Organ Restoration

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita church has started raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore a pipe organ that was installed in the 1950s. The Wichita Eagle reports that the cost of renovating the organ at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament ranges from $250,000 to $1 million, depending on the extent of the repairs. The Kilgen organ was installed at the church around the time it was built. It only has a lifespan of about 50 years. Music director Rachel Dugan says congregation members want their "grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to walk down the aisle and be able to hear this great instrument." Dugan says the organ is the "instrument of the church" and is sued for all High Masses, feast days and weddings throughout the year.


Bicycle Rider Killed in Northeast Wichita Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a bicycle rider has been killed in a Wichita crash. The Wichita Eagle reports that a dispatcher says that emergency crews were called in an area in the northeast part of the city. The supervisor says the bicycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle wasn't hurt. The victim's name wasn't immediately released.


Kansas Family's Insurance Didn't pay for Broken Sculpture 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An Overland Park official admits he was mistaken about who paid for a $132,000 sculpture at the city's community center that was damaged by a young boy.City spokesman Sean Reilly said in July that the insurance company for the family of a 5-year-old boy who damaged the sculpture paid for the damages.The Kansas City Star reports Reilly said Tuesday he misunderstood. He says the city's insurance company paid $107,000 for damages to the sculpture at the Tomahawk Community Center. That amount paid for all but the $25,000 deductible in Overland Park's policy. Surveillance video showed the boy trying to hug the glass sculpture in May, when it was part of an art show. He then tried unsuccessfully to stop the sculpture from falling to the floor.


Board Member of Lacrosse Team Admits to Sexual Misconduct

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — A board member of a Kansas City-area lacrosse team who offered to be a "sex coach" for a female player has pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct. Platte County prosecutors say 61-year-old James McEnerney, 61, of Overland Park, Kansas, pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual misconduct, a misdemeanor. McEnerney was an on-site coordinator and board member for the lacrosse club. He sent sexually suggestive comments to a 17-year-old female player on the team. He pleaded guilty July 24. Prosecutors Eric Zahnd says McEnerney told the girl he would pay for her to play college lacrosse. She rejected several advances from him. McEnerney faces a maximum of 15 days in the jail. No sentencing date has been set. Zahnd said he is asking state lawmakers to pass legislation to impose harsher penalties for such crimes.

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