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Headlines for Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Kansas Teachers Union Backs Democratic Nominee for Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A teachers union has endorsed Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly in her bid for Kansas governor, casting her as an ally to education and warning her opponents will hurt schools. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the National Education Association's Kansas chapter released a list Tuesday of recommended candidates for statewide, congressional and legislative races. The chapter says it evaluated the candidates by interviews and voting record. Kelly has supported efforts to comply with state Supreme Court orders and provide adequate public school funding. Lawmakers lowered school funding in response to the 2008 economic recession and struggled to balance the budget after former Gov. Sam Brownback's tax policy. Her Republican opponent, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, opposed a plan lawmakers passed this year to phase in a $522 increase over the next five years.

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Judge Says Waterslide on Which Boy Died Can Be Torn Down

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge says crews can begin tearing down a 17-story waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was decapitated when his raft went airborne. The Kansas City Star reports that Wyandotte County District Court Judge Robert Burns said Wednesday that the preservation of the Verruckt slide "traumatizes everyone." The 2016 death of Caleb Schwab at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, led to criminal charges against the company that built the slide and five people, including Schlitterbahn's co-owner. Delays in taking down the slide had stemmed from disagreements over which parts should be preserved as possible evidence. Attorneys representing the owners of Schlitterbahn said preliminary deconstruction of Verruckt will start soon. The visible slide will likely start to come down by Nov. 1.

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Man Suspected of Shooting Two Deputies Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) — A man suspected of shooting two deputies at a sheriff's office in north-central Kansas has died and the deputies are recovering from their injuries.  One of the wounded deputies has been released from the hospital, and the other is out of surgery and in stable condition.  The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that 40-year-old Jason L. Whitson of Mankato walked up to the dispatch desk at about 7:53 am and requested to talk to a deputy. As a deputy approached to speak with him, he fired multiple times through a door that led to the dispatch room. No law enforcement officers fired their weapons.  A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper spotted his vehicle at 8:45 am about 35 miles southeast of Mankato and pursued him for another 20 miles. His vehicle stopped just south of Minneapolis where a woman and five minor children were allowed to exit before he took off again.  A trooper used a maneuver that forced the vehicle to stop, and troopers found him inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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Woman Dies, Man Injured in Central Kansas Shooting

SEWARD, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Stafford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting death in a small central Kansas town.  The KBI says the sheriff's office received a call Tuesday morning about a shooting in Seward. Authorities found the body of 35-year-old Adrianne Martin at the home. She died of gunshot wounds.  Authorities say a male acquaintance of the woman was at the home suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.  No further information was released.  Seward is a town of about 60 residents about 65 miles west of Hutchinson.

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Skeletal Remains Discovered in Neosho County

NEOSHO COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office in an investigation into human skeletal remains discovered Monday morning.  A farmer who was mowing in the area discovered the remains near the intersection of Ford Road and 50th Road in Neosho County.  They were taken to the Shawnee County Coroner’s office for examination and possible identification.  The investigation is being treated as a suspicious death.  Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office or call 1-800-KS CRIME.

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Man Sentenced to 58 Years, 2 Months in Deadly Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 58 years and two months in prison for a deadly Manhattan shooting.  KSNT reports that Steven Harris was sentenced Monday for second-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old German Gonzalez-Garcia, of Manhattan and attempted second-degree murder in the wounding of a second victim.  Prosecutors say Harris shot the two victims in May 2017. Gonzalez-Garcia died at the scene.  Harris was arrested along with his girlfriend in Wichita four days after the shooting when they tried to check into a Wichita hotel.  Harris had previously been convicted of attempted second-degree murder in Franklin County and was released from prison in 2015. In the 2017 shooting, Harris also was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Woman Charged with Driving into River Deemed Fit for Trial

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A woman accused of intentionally driving into the Kansas River with her children in the car will stand trial on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports a mental evaluation of 26-year-old Scharron Dingledine, of Columbia, Missouri, found she was mentally competent to stand trial.  Dingledine made a brief video appearance in Douglas County District Court Tuesday to learn the results of the examination. Her attorney, Carol Cline, said she would not contest the evaluation results.  She is accused of driving into the Kansas River near Lawrence in August, killing her 5-year-old daughter and critically injuring her 1-year-old son. Children's Mercy Hospital said Tuesday his condition has been upgraded to serious.  Dingledine's next court appearance is October 2. She remains in custody on $1 million bond.

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Deported 4 Times, Man with Violent Past Sentenced to Prison

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man who was deported to Mexico four times and has a history of criminal convictions has been sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison. Jorge Carrillo-Hernandez was sentenced Monday in federal court in Kansas to four years and nine months for unlawfully returning to the U.S. A federal judge added two years to that sentence because he returned while under probation for one of his criminal convictions. The Kansas City Star reports the 37-year-old Carrillo-Hernandez has three complaints for driving under the influence, and convictions for aggravated battery and domestic battery. Carrill-Hernandez entered the U.S. with his family when he was 8 months old. His attorney says he kept returning because the U.S. is where his family lives and he has no ties to Mexico.

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Lawrence Man Who Defrauded Payless Sentenced

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence architect has been sentenced to almost two years in federal prison for defrauding Payless ShoeSource. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 38-year-old Manuel Francisco Ruiz-Lacayo also was ordered Tuesday to pay $425,000 in restitution. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Proescutors say Ruiz-Lacayo worked as a project manager for store planning, designing exteriors and interior floor plans for new stores in Central and South America. Without Payless's knowledge, Ruiz-Lacayo told contractors that 3D renderings of storefronts were required for all projects. He directed them to use a firm based in Costa Rica. In reality, the address he gave was his mother's and no renderings were produced. Ruiz-Lacayo submitted invoices from the fictitious firm to Payless for payment.

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Farmer Finds Human Remains While Mowing in Southeast Kansas

GALESBURG, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a farmer has found human remains while mowing a field in southeast Kansas. Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nichole Hamm said in a news release that the remains haven't been identified. They were found Monday morning in Neosho County and have been taken to the Shawnee County Coroner's office for examination. The KBI says the investigation is being treated as a suspicious death.

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Review Recommended of Kansas Privatized Child Welfare Model

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are recommending a review of the state's privatized child welfare model to decide whether it's in the state's best interest.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Child Welfare System Task Force received the request Monday from two working groups it created to examine the system of programs operated within the Kansas Department for Children and Families.  The 1996 privatized model involves the department contracting with outside nonprofits to manage placing children into homes. Some lawmakers suggest privatization makes it difficult for the state to properly oversee the child welfare system, which has been scrutinized in recent years because of children who died in custody.  Department Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel says the agency's challenges aren't due to privatization.  The task force is expected to make final recommendations to the Legislature at the end of the year.

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Pennsylvania Man Returned to Kansas Charged with 150 Rapes

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A man arrested in June in Pennsylvania on a Dickinson County warrant involving 150 counts of rape is back in Kansas. The Hays Post reports 44-year-old Eric Millsap, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, arrived in Abilene on Monday. Dickinson County Attorney Andrea Purvis says he was extradited from the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A criminal complaint says Millsap faces 178 counts including the alleged rapes, which involved a single victim. The crimes allegedly occurred between 2006 and 2015 when he lived in Abilene and Dickinson counties. Millsap made a first court appearance Monday and remains jailed on a $1.5 million bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for September 10.

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Former Deputy Given Diversion After Destroying Evidence

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy who was charged with official misconduct has entered a diversion agreement.  The Wichita Eagle reports Justin Price admitted in a plea agreement that he destroyed evidence three or four times to ensure the outcome he promised suspects in the crimes.  He was a four-year veteran of the department when he was charged in February with official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Price is no longer working with the department.  Price signed a diversion program Thursday. He was ordered to pay $353 and perform community service as part of the diversion.

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Minnesota Man Guilty of Transporting 471 Pounds of Pot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Minnesota man arrested in central Kansas with 471 pounds of marijuana in his van has pleaded guilty to a drug charge.  Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Mark Berg, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, entered the plea Tuesday to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper stopped Berg's van in December on Interstate 70 in Ellsworth, Kansas. Two other vehicles were traveling with the van.  Berg told the trooper he had been in Las Vegas and drove through Denver on his way back to Minnesota.  After a drug dog sniffed the van, investigators found the marijuana.  Sentencing is scheduled for November 19. Berg faces up to 40 years in federal prison.

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Teen Bicyclist Struck, Seriously Injured in Wichita Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a driver struck and seriously injured a 14-year-old boy as he was riding a bicycle in southeast Wichita.  Police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says the boy was struck Tuesday afternoon as he entered a busy road, apparently from a side street. The Wichita Eagle reports that the boy was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent surgery. His injuries don't appear life threatening.  The driver who struck the cyclist is cooperating with the investigation.

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Excessive Speed Blamed for Deadly Boat Crash in Missouri

CAMDEN, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are blaming excessive speed for a boat crash that killed three people from Kansas at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri State Highway Patrol released its crash reconstruction report more than three months after a 1991 Regal Runabout slammed into a rock bluff in the early morning hours of May 19. The report also said the "nighttime conditions" played a role, and noted that the boat lacked navigation aids, such as a chart plotter or GPS unit.  The crash killed 23-year-old Joseph LeMark, 24-year-old Daniel Lewis, and 21-year-old Hailey Hochanadel. LeMark and Lewis were from Overland Park, Kansas; and Hochanadel was from Olathe, Kansas. Two others were injured.  Toxicology and autopsy reports have not yet been released.

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Police: Man Stole Patrol Car in Missouri, Fled to Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man who is accused of stealing a patrol car in Kansas City, Missouri, and fleeing into Kansas City, Kansas.  Police in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a news release that an officer first approached the man because he had been spotted walking in traffic. The release says that while the officer was trying to determine whether the man needed help, he jumped into the officer's patrol car and fled.  Police pursued the vehicle into Kansas City, Kansas, where the man drove onto a road that was under construction. The release says the man then got out the car and ran from it before being taken into custody nearby. No one was hurt.

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Man Accused of Raping 2 People at Regional Health Center

CRANE, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri man is charged with rape or attempted rape after authorities say he raped two mentally handicapped women at Ozark Mountain Regional Healthcare.  Stone County authorities say 43-year-old Paul Christianson, of Crane, committed the crimes while working at the center in Crane.  KYTV-TV reports that Christianson was arrested August 24 after one of the victims was interviewed. Court documents indicate he admitted to having intercourse and committing other sex crimes with two females at the residential home between June and August 2018. Investigators say the women's diminished mental capacity prevented them from being able to consent.  During an arraignment hearing Tuesday, Christianson's bond was set at $100,000, cash only.  Online court records do not name an attorney for Christianson.

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Missouri Man Guilty of Polluting Big Piney River

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri man who had employees dump grease from his grease-recycling business into a river has admitted violating the Clean Water Act.  Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Brian Dale Fleming, of Cabool, pleaded guilty Tuesday to knowingly discharging a pollutant into the Big Piney River without a permit.  Fleming owns BF Byproducts in Cabool. It collects used grease from hundreds of restaurants in Missouri, Arkansas and elsewhere. The grease is recycled for resale at the Cabool plant.  Prosecutors say Fleming directed employees to pump waste grease down a hill near the processing plant, where it entered a tributary that flows into the Big Piney.  Federal and local authorities searched the business in April 2015 after numerous residents complained about grease being found in ditches and tributaries near the river.

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Springfield Businessman Charged with Child Molestation

SPRNGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The founder of a Springfield-area event planning business is accused of molesting a child a decade ago.  The Springfield News-Leader reported Tuesday that a grand jury indicted 41-year-old Edward Amberg, owner of Amberg Entertainment, on two felony counts of child molestation. Investigators say the alleged offense occurred in December 2008 and involves a child under the age of 14.  Amberg has held leadership positions with the Boy Scouts of America, the YMCA and the Salvation Army in the past.  Amberg Entertainment rents such entertainment as bounce houses, rock walls, carnival-style rides and also organizes company picnics.  His attorney, Dee Wampler, says Amberg has an excellent reputation in the community.

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