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Headlines for Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Topeka Police Say 2 Shooting Deaths Were Homicides

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a teenager and a young man were killed in a shooting in Topeka. Spokeswoman Gretchen Koenen said 15-year-old Owen Hughes and 21-year-old Reginald McKinney Jr., both of Topeka, were shot to death Tuesday in southeast Topeka. Officers found one victim inside a home and another outside the home. No arrests or suspect descriptions were released early Wednesday. Police are looking for three or four men who were seen running from the scene.

(– earlier related reporting –)

2 People Dead After Shooting in Southeast Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a shooting in southeast Topeka left two people dead.  Topeka police Lt. Andrew Beightel said the shooting occurred Tuesday in the Highland Park community. One of the victims was found outside and the other was indoors. Both died at the scene.  He said police are searching for three or four males who witnesses said ran from the scene. No arrests have been made.  The victims' identities weren't immediately released.

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Riley County Police: Reported School Hostage Situation Was Fabricated

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man who reported a hostage situation at a Kansas elementary school apparently fabricated the story to gain notoriety.  Riley County police said in a Facebook post that the man called police shortly before 1 am today (WED) to say he was inside Lee Elementary School in Manhattan with a hostage. Police say the man also called TV news stations stating he had committed several felony crimes and was holding a person in the building at gunpoint.  Police set up a perimeter around the school before officers and Kansas Highway Patrol troopers entered the building around 6:50 am. The school is located less than 1 mile west of the Kansas State University campus.  Police say it appears that the caller wasn’t from the area.

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Suspect in Lawrence Bar Shooting Dies

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 30-year-old man who was a suspect in a shooting outside a Lawrence bar has died. Lawrence police say Wednesday that Terry Dean Scearce III, of Lawrence, died from a gunshot wound after a shooting early Sunday in the parking lot of Playerz Sports Bar. The Lawrence Journal-World reported investigators believed Scearce shot a man and a woman at the bar before he was found in a car suffering from a gunshot wound. Police spokesman Patrick Compton said the man and woman have been released from the hospital. He said the case remains under investigation and it is too early to release details of what occurred during the shooting.

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Trailer with Thousands of Meals for Homeless Vets Stolen

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Lenexa police are investigating the theft of thousands of meals intended for homeless veterans.  KMBC reports a trailer containing meals packed by bank employees last week was stolen last week. The meals were intended for Friends In Service of Heroes, a veteran service organization.  The trailer carried 12,100 meal packets, with each packet making eight meals — for a total of nearly 97,000 meals. The food was going to be delivered to the Kansas City VA Medical Center November 21.  Police say the 5-by-8 interstate trailer was parked at the Friends In Service Of Heroes headquarters in Lenexa when it was stolen between 8 p.m. Saturday and Monday morning. The trailer has two bumper stickers with the FISH logo and Johnson County, Kansas, license plate 133 KMA.

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Cerner Corporation Cuts 130 Jobs, Including 60 in Kansas City

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cerner Corp. has cut 130 jobs, including 60 in the Kansas City area.  The layoffs announced Tuesday come after the North Kansas City-based company laid off 255 workers in early September.  The Kansas City Star reports the health care information technology company said the job reductions comes as it looks for ways to diversify its current operations.  Cerner is the Kansas City area's largest private employer, with about 14,000 workers across the metropolitan area.  Cerner says it remains committed to creating jobs in Kansas City and has hired several thousand workers this year.  The company recently notified federal regulators that Chief Operating Office Mike Nill will step down at the beginning of next year. The 23-year veteran is among three top executives to leave in recent months.

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Woman Sentenced for Embezzling $547,000 from Foundation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 52-year-old Kansas City woman has been sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison without parole for embezzlement.  Kathleen Frederico was an accountant at Saint Luke's Foundation when she embezzled the money. During her sentencing Tuesday, Frederico was ordered to pay $546,603 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud.  Frederico admitted she engaged in two related embezzlement schemes during the 14 years she worked for the foundation. Prosecutors say an auditor found she embezzled $1.2 million but bank records from the earliest years were not available, leaving evidence that she took at least $546,603 from the foundation.  Her embezzlement occurred from June 2003 to March 2017. She used the money for shopping, travel, bills and purchases to support her drug habit.

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Authorities: Kansas Man Killed in Southeast Nebraska Crash

FAIRBURY, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas man died after a car he was in crashed off a rural road in southeast Nebraska.  The crash occurred Sunday, about 2 miles northwest of Fairbury. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says deputies found two injured people at the site. They'd been ejected.  One died later at a Fairbury hospital. He's been identified as Cody Craig, who lived in Hanover, Kansas.  The second, unidentified person was taken to a Lincoln hospital.  Investigators suspect alcohol consumption was a factor in the crash.

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GOP Kansas State School Board Member Running for U.S. Senate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican member of the Kansas State Board of Education who shares retiring GOP U.S. Senator Pat Roberts' last name is running to replace him in Washington.  Steve Roberts of Overland Park filed paperwork Tuesday with the state to claim a spot on the ballot in the August primary.  Pat Roberts is not seeking re-election after four terms.  Steve Roberts is a math tutor who developed his own online math course who has served on the state school board since 2013. Running for the Senate means he can't seek another term on the board in 2020.  Other Republicans running for the Senate include ex-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall, of western Kansas, Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and former Kansas City Chiefs player David Lindstrom.

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Texas Woman Sentenced to Probation in Kansas Death

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old Texas woman who said she accidentally shot and killed her boyfriend has been sentenced to three years of probation. Gregoria Baez, of Stamford, Texas, was sentenced Tuesday for involuntary manslaughter. She was convicted in September in the death of 21-year-old Feliz Florez in Manhattan, who died in September 2018. The Manhattan Mercury reports Baez testified during her trial that she and Florez pointed guns at each other while they were joking around. She said she accidentally disengaged the grip safety and shot Florez. Before sentencing, Baez apologized and said she still loved Florez. But Jennifer Florez, Felix’s mother, said the family would get some comfort if Baez was sentenced to prison. Baez will serve her probation in Texas, where she moved after the shooting.

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Kansas Teacher Gets Probation in Sexual Contact with Student

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former physical education teacher in Haysville has been sentenced to two years of probation for having sexual contact with a male student. District Attorney Marc Bennett said 36-year-old Shari Herrs, of Andover, was sentenced Wednesday for an amended charge of attempted unlawful sexual relations. If Herrs violates her probation, she could receive a 13-month prison sentence. Prosecutors say Herrs committed the acts with an 18-year-old student at Campus High School between April and May of 2018. Herrs has already registered as a sex offender and surrendered her teaching license.

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Temple Grandin to Receive Dole Leadership Prize

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Dole Institute of Politics says Temple Grandin will receive the 2019 Dole Leadership Prize.  Grandin is an animal science professor at Colorado State University and an advocate for people with autism. She will accept the award December 11 at the institute.  She is best known for her work to lessen the stigma around autism. She gives lectures about how autism makes her feel threatened by her surroundings and how dealing with that gave her a new perspective on improving the treatment of domestic animals.  The Dole Leadership Prize is awarded annually to a person or group whose public service inspires others. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, former Polish President Lech Walesa, and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

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Wichita Approves $35.5 Million in Incentives for Medical School

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council has approved a public financing package worth about a $35.5 million to subsidize the creation of a medical school. The Wichita Eagle reports that the package approved Tuesday will help create a campus for training osteopathic physicians. Called the Kansas Health Science Center, the new school will be built in the former Finney State Office Building. Once the center of state government in Wichita, the building was abandoned in favor of leasing privately owned office space across Wichita. Plans also call for three other buildings to be transformed — one into student housing, another into a dining hall and culinary center and the third into a boutique hotel. The bulk of the money for the development will come from tax abatements.

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Ex-Missouri Police Chief Who Rescued Baby Indicted

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a former northwest Missouri police chief accused of striking a handcuffed man after the chief helped rescue the man’s infant daughter from a pond. Federal prosecutors said 50-year-old Greg Hallgrimson, of Kansas City, was charged Wednesday with violating the man’s civil rights. The indictment identifies the man only as “J.Z.” but Hallgrimson had previously been accused of using excessive force against Jonathon Zicarelli. Hallgrimson resigned in June. Zicarelli told Greenwood police in December that he had tried to drown his 6-month-old daughter in a nearby pond. Hallgrimson and another officer rushed to the pond and rescued the child. The indictment alleges Hallgrimson struck J.Z. in the face with his fist while he was restrained in a chair on the same day the child was rescued. The Kansas City Star reports Hallgrimson’s attorney, Robin Fowler, said he will plead not guilty and go to trial.

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Kansas City Mayor Seeks Ideas from Public to Honor King

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is asking people interested in honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to submit ideas to the city's parks board within 90 days. Lucas's announcement on Tuesday comes a week after voters chose to restore The Paseo name to a boulevard named last year for King. Lucas said the Parks and Recreation Board will hold public meetings to evaluate ideas for a new way to honor the civil rights icon. The mayor said in a news release that last week's vote showed that voters were frustrated by the process used to name the street for King. Tim Smith, a spokesman with the group that led a successful campaign to restore The Paseo, praised Lucas's effort to gather input from the community on the issue. 

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Wellington Couple Donates $1.6 Million to Kansas State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The estate of a Wellington couple donated $1.6 million to establish scholarships for students in Kansas State's College of Business Administration.  The gift from Otis and Wanda Gilliland established the Gilliland Kansas State Family Scholarship. It creates match opportunities for 50 scholarships for business students.  The university announced Tuesday new gifts of $30,000 will be matched with $30,000 from the Gillilands' gift. And $10,000 will go into a scholarship fund to make $2,000 scholarships immediately available to students for up to five years. The remaining $50,000 will be in an endowment for future students.  Otis and Wanda Gilliland both graduated from Kansas State in 1949. Otis Gilliland was an engineer for Boeing in Wichita before retiring in 1985. Wanda Gilliland died in 2013, and Otis Gilliland died in July 2019.

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Apparent Meteor Flashes Across Night Sky in St. Louis Area

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An apparent meteor has brightened the night sky over St. Louis.  The National Weather Service posted a video of the flashing light streaking across the area Monday night with homes in the background. It was captured by a volunteer storm spotter in the suburb of O'Fallon.  Other videos posted on social media showed the Gateway Arch in the background. KSDK-TV Meteorologist Scott Connell says the odds of finding part of the apparent meteor are slim, because it most likely burned up completely.

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Cold Front Sets Record Lows in 6 Kansas Cities

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A cold front that froze much of Kansas set at least six records for low temperatures.  The National Weather Service reports Wichita, Salina, Russell, Dodge City, Garden City and Medicine Lodge set low temperature records early Tuesday.  The lowest temperature was in Garden City, which dropped to minus 1, breaking the record of 7 set in 2018. The highest temperature of the six cities was 8 in Wichita, which breaking the former record of 9.  Wichita, Salina, Dodge City and Medicine Lodge broke records set in 1911.  Much of Kansas experienced below freezing temperatures after an arctic air mass moved from the Rocky Mountains to northern New England Monday, with forecasters saying much of the affected region would see record-breaking cold temperatures Tuesday.

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