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Headlines for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Wichita Stepmom Arrested in Boy's Disappearance

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The stepmother of a 5-year-old Wichita boy who has been missing since Saturday has been arrested. Sedgwick County authorities say 26-year-old Emily Glass was booked into the county jail this (WED) afternoon on two counts of child endangerment.  Authorities say 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez was reported missing on Saturday.  Despite extensive searches, the boy has not been found.  Officials say the two counts of child endangerment relate to Lucas and a 1-year-old child but they would not elaborate.  Investigators say they still hope the 5-year-old boy is found alive.
 
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Court: Kansas Can't Cut Medicaid Funds to Planned Parenthood

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court says Kansas can't cut Medicaid funds to a Planned Parenthood affiliate over videos anti-abortion activists secretly recorded in 2015.  The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision leaves in place a lower court's preliminary injunction that blocked Kansas from ending the contract. It is the fifth of six circuits to uphold the right of patients to receive health care from their preferred qualified provider.  The decision applies to Kansas' Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood of Great Plains, which has two health centers in Kansas and three in Missouri. However, the appeals panel sent back to the lower court a related injunction involving the state's effort to terminate its contract with Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, which serves some Kansas patients at its Joplin, Missouri, clinic.

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Kansas Woman Charged After Children Allegedly Given Meds

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe woman has been charged with one count of attempted capital murder after she allegedly gave her three children medication to try and kill them.  The Kansas City Star reports Johnson County authorities charged 37-year-old Therese Roever Wednesday. Her bond was set at $1 million.  Roever and her children were found needing medical attention in their home Monday. Police said Roever gave them information that made them believe she had given the children a substance meant to harm them.  Roever was taken to jail Monday night. The children remain hospitalized but their father said Wednesday in a statement that they are recovering and should be returning home soon.  Johnson County court records show Roever and her ex-husband have been involved in long-running litigation involving domestic issues, including child custody.

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Kansas Soldier Dies in Non-Combat Incident in Iraq

ARLINGTON, Kan. (AP) _ An Army Reserve soldier from Kansas has died in Iraq in a non-combat situation.  The Department of Defense announced Tuesday that 26-year-old Christina Marie Schoenecker, Arlington, died Monday in Baghdad, Iraq.  The department did not release any details about her death and said it is under investigation.  Schoenecker enlisted in the Army in May 2009 and was on her first deployment, which began last June. A human resources specialist, she was assigned to the 89th Sustainment Brigade out of Wichita.  She had received the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Service Ribbon, and the National Defense Service Medal. 

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13-Year-Old Boy Arrested in Kansas Middle School Threat

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a 13-year-old student accused of making a threat at the Junction City Middle School.  Police said in a news release that the teen made a first appearance Tuesday in Geary County District, where he faces criminal threat charges. He was turned over to juvenile authorities after his arrest Monday. Police said in the release that officers were present at the school Tuesday to "let students and staff know we take their safety seriously."  The teen's arrest came less than a week after a shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead.

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Kansas Proposal to Tighten Lobbying Law Allows Bigger Gifts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A bipartisan legislative proposal for strengthening Kansas lobbying laws would also allow state officials to take more expensive gifts from people seeking to influence them.  The Kansas Senate gave first-round approval today (TUE) to a bill that would require people seeking to promote contracts or influence actions by executive branch agencies to register as lobbyists and disclose some spending.  The Senate expected to take another, final vote tomorrow (WED) to determine whether the bill passes and goes to the House.  Current Kansas law requires lobbyists to report some spending when they seek to influence legislators or work for or against an administrative rule.  But the bill also increases the total value of small gifts that state officials can accept in a year from an individual... from $40 to $100.

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Effort Ends to Repeal Tuition Help for Undocumented Students

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas lawmakers are no longer discussing a proposal to end in-state tuition for  undocumented students, those who were brought into the U.S. illegally when they were children.  After two days of testimony, a House committee on Monday did not act on a bill to end in-state tuition for  undocumented graduates. The bill's sponsor, Republican Representative Kevin Jones of Wellsville, said he would not try to advance the bill.  Kansas law currently allows students who have lived in the state since they were young and who graduated from a state high school to pay in-state tuition, which is much lower than out-state tuition.  The Kansas Association of School Boards opposed repeal of the current tuition law.  Supporters of the repeal argue undocumented students are breaking immigration laws and shouldn't be allowed to pay less than American citizens.  

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Kansas Lawmakers Split on Response to Teen Governor Hopefuls

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More than a half-dozen candidates in the crowded Kansas governor's race are teenagers, and legislators are divided over whether it's a problem worth trying to prevent in the future.  The Kansas House advanced a bill Tuesday on a 73-43 vote to require candidates for governor to be 18 to run, starting next year. House members will take a final vote by Wednesday to determine whether the bill passes and goes to the Senate.  Kansas and Vermont are the only states without a minimum age.  Six Kansas teenagers have formed campaign committees for governor. Several out-of-state teenagers have joined the fray because Kansas lacks a residency requirement.  The bill's supporters argue candidates should be at least old enough to vote. Critics said the state shouldn't discourage young people's interested in politics.

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Drivers Would be Barred from Burning Rubber Under Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Wheel spinning and tire squealing would be banned under a bill that has won approval in the Kansas House.  The measure passed out of the House with an 82-40 vote Wednesday. The Wichita Eagle reports that the bill would set a $100 fine for violations, and apply to moving and stationary vehicles in normal road conditions.  Kansas law already prohibits "exhibition of speed or acceleration." But the definition of what that means is loose enough that the Kansas Supreme Court last year threw out a conviction for driving under the influence that began with a traffic stop made under the current law.  The bill now heads to the Senate.

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Bill to Protect Campus Speech Advances in Kansas Senate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has advanced a bill that would prohibit state colleges and universities from infringing potentially offensive speech on campuses.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the legislation would require colleges and universities to have policies that affirm that students and faculty have a constitutional right to free speech. The institutions also must be committed to giving student and faculty broad latitude to discuss any issue.  The legislation also would prohibit public colleges and universities from setting up areas that limit where protests and debates can occur, or revoking invitations to speakers based on an anticipated reaction to the speaker's message.  Institutions would be allowed to regulate the "time, place and manner" where speeches can occur.  The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee advanced the bill Monday.

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Ice Storm Hits Kansas and Western Missouri

Residents throughout much of Kansas and Missouri have been dealing with potentially dangerous weather conditions.  Freezing rain fell across parts of eastern Kansas Tuesday morning.  Several accidents were reported in both states and several flights were canceled or delayed at Kansas City International Airport.  Schools in some parts of Kansas and western Missouri were closed, extending the President's Day weekend to a fourth day. Another round of rain, sleet and ice come could Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Plans for Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer to sign a proclamation today (TUE) on the importance of being prepared for severe weather were canceled — because of severe weather.

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Woman Killed in Head-On Crash on Icy Kansas Highway

WAMEGO, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Highway Patrol says a 38-year-old woman died and two other people were injured in a collision on an icy highway.  The crash happened late Monday on U.S. Highway 24 east of Wamego.  The patrol says a pickup truck and another vehicle collided when both drivers lost control on a bridge.  A woman in the vehicle, 38-year-old Sarah Salinas of St. Marys, died at the scene.  Wamego Police Chief Michael Baker says Salinas was a 911 dispatcher for the department for the past 10 years.  The man and woman in the pickup were taken to a Topeka hospital for treatment.

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Lawrence Man Sentenced in Grandmother's Stabbing Death

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A Lawrence man who stabbed his grandmother to death has been sentenced to more than 48 years in prison.  Nineteen-year-old Jaered Long was sentenced Tuesday in the December 2015 death of 67-year-old Deborah Bretthauer at a Lawrence apartment where the two lived.  Lawrence police say Bretthauer was stabbed dozens of times with a bread knife while she was in bed.  Long was 16 at the time of his grandmother's death.  He was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and eventually pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.  One of Long's therapists testified earlier that she asked Bretthauer to consider residential treatment for her grandson's abusive behavior but Bretthauer didn't agree to the plan.  

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Investigators: Fatal Overland Park Police Shooting Justified

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say an officer who fatally shot an Overland Park teenager reasonably feared for his life and the shooting was justified.  Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said Tuesday he will not file charges against the officer who shot 17-year-old John Albers in January.  Howe released police dash cam video of the shooting, which shows the officer yelling at the teenager to stop before firing as a van backs out of the family's garage and then turns back toward the officer.  Officers were called to the home after receiving a call from someone who saw the teenager on FaceTime and believed he was suicidal. Albers' parents were not home at the time.  The officer was placed on administrative leave during the investigation and has since resigned for personal reasons.  

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2 Men Found Dead of Gunshot Wounds in Derby

DERBY, Kan. (AP) _ Derby police are investigating the deaths of two men whose bodies were found inside a home.  Police Chief Robert Lee says the bodies of 30- and 39-year-old men were discovered Monday. They appeared to have died from gunshot wounds.  Lee says investigators don't know the relationship between the two men.  He says there were no signs of forced entry on the home. The men are believed to have died during the weekend.

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Woman Killed While Stopped for Funeral Procession

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Wichita police say a 59-year-old woman died when a van hit the back of her vehicle after she stopped for a funeral procession.  Police have identified the woman as Karen Capps.  Capps had stopped her car Saturday in Wichita near a curb out of respect for the funeral procession. A van slammed into her car and she died at the scene.  Police say Capps had stopped at an appropriate place.  The district attorney's office is reviewing the case to determine if charges are warranted.  

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Charges Upgraded in St. Joseph Double Homicide

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) _ Charges have been upgraded against two of the suspects in a double homicide in St. Joseph.  The St. Joseph News-Press reports that Omar Martinez-Velez and Luis Omar Robles-Vargas now each face two felony counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action. They initially were charged with second-degree murder in the July 2016 shooting deaths of 22-year-old Kevin Villegas-Melendez and 25-year-old Raymond Gonzalez-Ortiz.  No attorney is listed for Martinez-Velez in online court records. The attorney for Robles-Vargas didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.  Three other people have entered guilty pleas in the killings. One person admitted to second-degree murder and two others to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.

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Kansas Doctor Sued in Woman's Fentanyl Overdose Death

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas doctor is facing a lawsuit that alleges he contributed to a woman's 2014 fentanyl overdose death.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012 approved Subsys, an opioid-based fentanyl spray for cancer pain. The drug is produced by Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was paying Overland Park doctor Steven Simon speaking fees to promote Subsys.  The Kansas City Star reports that the recent lawsuit by Bobby Ray Jordan says Simon treated his wife for back pain from 2013 until her death in January 2014.  Jordan alleges Simon never told him or his wife that Subsys was a fentanyl product only approved for cancer patients, that he was being paid to promote it, or that it could be fatal. Jordan also says his wife never had cancer, to his knowledge.  Simon's attorney declined to comment to the newspaper.

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Wichita Bank Sues After ATM Gave out $100s instead of $5s

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita bank is trying to get money back from a woman it accuses of making more than 50 withdrawals from an ATM that was spitting out $100 bills in place of $5s.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the Central National Bank sued last month in Sedgwick County District. It's demanding that Christina Ochoa return about $11,600 plus interest.  The bank contends the withdrawals stretched over a five-day period from January 13 to January 17. Most were made in the middle of the night.  Ochoa's mother, Christy Ochoa, is also named because she drove her daughter to the ATM. The Ochoas have denied any wrongdoing. Christy Ochoa said her daughter wanted $5 bills to craft a "money cake" as a gift for an acquaintance who'd just had a baby.

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Hesston Police Chief Awarded Medal of Valor

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder was among 12 law enforcement officers from across the country who were honored with a Medal of Valor.  President Donald Trump recognized Schroeder and others in a ceremony Tuesday at the White House.  He was honored for his response to a report of an active shooter at the Excel Industries plant in Hesston in February 2015.  Schroeder entered the lawn equipment factory alone and shot and killed the gunman, Cedric Ford, who had already killed three people and wounded 14 others.  Ford had been served a protection order hours before the shooting. Authorities said tests also indicated a high level of methamphetamine and alcohol in his system during the shooting

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Wichita State's New Business School Gets $1 Million Gift

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Fidelity Bank and its owners have donated $1 million toward of a new business school at Wichita State University.  The university announced the donation Wednesday from the bank, its foundation and bank's owners, the Bastian family. The donation brings total private donations for the building to $11.5 million.  Fidelity Bank's chairman and CEO Clark Bastian says Wichita State played an important role in his education.  The Wichita Eagle reports the new 136,000-square-foot business school will be built on Wichita State's Innovation Campus.  The university says about half of the building's estimated $50 million cost is expected to be raised privately with the remaining amount coming from university funds.  

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Keystone Foes Seek Details on Pipeline's Approval by Trump

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada are asking a judge to force the U.S. government to turn over emails and other documents related to President Donald Trump's approval of the project.  Environmentalists who have sued to stop the 1,179-mile TransCanada pipeline say the sought after documents could bolster their case that Trump's decision was arbitrary and therefore illegal.  Government attorneys say the disputed documents include internal deliberations that don't have to be made public.  Formal arguments in the matter are scheduled for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls.  If the environmentalists prevail, State Department officials estimate they would have to review more than 5 million pages of documents at a cost of more than $6 million.

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