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Headlines for Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Kassebaum Supports Democrat Kelly in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, a longtime Republican star in Kansas, is endorsing Democratic nominee Laura Kelly rather than Republican Kris Kobach in the state's gubernatorial election.  Kassebaum said in a news release Tuesday that Kelly has displayed bipartisan leadership while serving in the Kansas Senate since 2004.  Kassebaum, who served three terms in the U.S. Senate, told The Kansas City Star that she believes Kobach has focused on ways to achieve his goals that are not best for Kansas.  Former GOP Gov. Bill Graves and more than two dozen other Republicans announced their support for Kelly last week.  In response, Kobach's campaign called Kassebaum part of a group of "tired has-beens" who are pretending to be Republicans but who actually left the party a long time ago.


Man Jailed After Shooting, Standoff in Northeast Kansas

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A man is in jail after a fatal shooting and standoff in northeast Kansas.  The Jackson County sheriff's office says deputies went to a home in Holton about 3 am Tuesday after a woman reported her son had shot her husband and she was barricaded in a bedroom.  Deputies were able to help the woman escape the home.  Sheriff Tim Morse said he spoke with the suspect for several hours but the man refused to leave the home. Morse said the suspect fired toward deputies before coming out of the home 8:30 am.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports 73-year-old Gaylen Bohnenkemper, of Holton, was found dead inside the house.  The arrested man was identified as 49-year-old Derrick Bohnenkemper, of Holton. He is being held in the county jail.


Recommendations Made on Bond, Fees in State Municipal Courts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A committee formed at the direction of the Kansas Supreme Court has made 18 recommendations to improve the bond system in municipal courts. Brenda Stoss, municipal court judge from Salina and New Cambria, led the committee. She said municipal courts should be able to consider factors that affect individuals' ability to pay when setting bond, rather than using a one-size-fits-all bond schedule. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports other recommendations include increasing credit for community service to satisfy court sanctions, alternatives to driver's license suspensions for traffic citation cases, allowing judges to modify mandatory minimum fines if a defendant isn't able to pay, and training and education on the rights of defendants and changes that are implemented. The implementation of the recommendations could involve minor tweaks to municipal systems or state legislation.


18-Year-Old Charged with Rape at Kansas Child Welfare Office

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An 18-year-old has been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old at a suburban Kansas City child welfare contractor's office where children have been kept overnight because of a shortage of beds.  Michael Anthony Hamer was charged last week with rape and aggravated indecent liberties of a child, The Kansas City Star reported. Bond is set at $500,000. His attorney didn't immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press.  Authorities have dealt with many troublesome issues at the KVC Behavioral Healthcare office in Olathe, where the rape was reported in May, according to Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe. He said his office and law enforcement are "extremely frustrated."  KVC spokeswoman Jenny Kutz said the agency takes "this situation very seriously."  

The Kansas Department for Children and Families, which oversees KVC's foster care contract with the state, has been under scrutiny for the past two years after high-profile deaths of children. Lawmakers have been raising safety concerns since learning last fall that foster care contractors had resorted to having youths sleep in offices overnight because of a shortage of foster homes and residential beds DCF announced in mid-May that it was increasing oversight of KVC, but the agency made no mention of the sexual assault.

In early June, The Kansas City Star asked DCF about the children who had been sleeping in offices. DCF said at the time that there were eight critical incidents that "involve a child getting hurt while at KVC offices" from Dec. 1 to early June. DCF said then that some instances involved children injured while playing, while others involved "youth who have escalating emotional and behavior challenges." The Star reported that it learned about the sexual assault only after requesting police calls for service to the Olathe office.

Senator Laura Kelly, a member of Kansas' child welfare task force and the Democratic nominee for governor, said the situation shows that transparency remains an issue.  "It sounds just like a nightmare," Kelly said. "As we peel one layer of the onion off, we just find more things."

DCF spokeswoman Taylor Forrest said the May 5 incident was "the only sexual assault to occur with youth in a KVC office." He said the staff member who was supervising the two teens and another youth is no longer employed with the contractor. Forrest did not say whether the employee was fired but did explain in an email that KVC was cited for regulatory violations.  Forrest said stopping the practice of children sleeping in offices is a "top priority" and that it has become rare since DCF increased oversight of KVC and added beds.


Former ICE Agent Back in Jail for Alleged Parole Violation

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who sent a Wichita television news anchor sensitive law enforcement material is back in jail after allegedly violating his parole. A prosecutor said Wednesday Andrew J. Pleviak is a danger to his former colleagues and the community. The magistrate granted the government's request for detention. Pleviak was sentenced in May to time served and a year of supervised release for exceeding authorized access to a government computer. He was later ordered not to contact current or former employees of the Department of Homeland Security. The government says Pleviak went to the home of his former supervisor on September 9 and banged on the door, but left before a sheriff's deputy arrived. His defense attorney says he has mental health issues.


Kansas Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Child Sex Crimes

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — A 28-year-old Kansas man has been sentenced to life in prison for sex crimes involving a child.  Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt say Timothy Russell Frobish, of Galena, was sentenced Tuesday to life without the possibility for parole for 25 years. Frobish was found guilty by a Cherokee County jury in January 2015 of several sex and drug-related crimes, with three of the counts subject to Jessica's Law, which allows the sentence Frobish received.  Frobish also will be subject to lifetime post-release supervision and electronic monitoring.  Prosecutors say the crimes occurred in February 2013.


Mom to Police: Drinking Preceded Death of Twin at Motel

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman says she and her boyfriend had been "been drunk for about a week" before one of their 2-month-old twins died in a Wichita motel room where mold and curdled-milk filled bottles were found.  The Wichita Eagle reports that an affidavit was released Tuesday in the case against 39-year-old Christy Rollings and 34-year-old Kyle Kempton. They are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Patrick Kempton, who was found dead on August 30 in a motel bed. His twin wasn't hurt.  Court records say investigators also found several empty liquor bottles in their room and papers for Alcoholics Anonymous.  Police found the couple drunk on August 28 and took the twins to Rollings's mother. But Rollings picked the babies up the next morning and returned to the hotel.


2nd Teenager Dies After Car Crashes into Creek Near Atchison

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — The second of two teenagers trapped inside a car that landed upside down in an Atchison creek on Sunday has died.  Sixteen-year-old Regan Moger, of Houston, Texas, died Tuesday at the University of Kansas Hospital, where she was flown after the wreck.  Moger was a passenger in the car driven by 16-year-old Zachary Armontrout, of Rushville, Missouri, who died Monday. Three other students in the car escaped serious injury when the vehicle went into Independence Creek.  All the teenagers were students at Maur Hill-Mount Academy Catholic High School in Atchison.  MSC Radio News reports the school confirmed Moger died Tuesday while surrounded by loved ones.  Atchison County Undersheriff Toby Smith said the vehicle crashed through a guardrail before landing in the creek.


Sheriff: Wounded Kansas Deputy Saved Lives Before Dying

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas sheriff says a wounded deputy managed to kill his attacker and save two witnesses before collapsing and dying.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Tuesday that he has no doubt that Deputy Robert Kunze "prevented loss of other life" when he shot 29-year-old Robert Greeson. Easter said Kunze was responding to a report about a man in a stolen black truck who was lurking around two all-terrain vehicles and another pickup about 20 miles west of downtown Wichita.  Two witnesses, an adult and teen, had followed Greeson and were present when shots rang out as the 41-year-old deputy was arresting the convicted felon. A bullet struck Kunze above his protective vest. Easter says he's "proud" that Kunze got up and fought.


Kansas Takes over Nursing Home that Couldn't Pay its Bills

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has taken over a nursing home after an inspector found that it was struggling to pay for food, medicine and utilities.  The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said the takeover was necessary to ensure the well-being of the 39 residents of Westview of Derby after the inspector found that the facility had hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.  Westview facility administrator told the department that the facility doesn't pay utility bills "until disconnect notices are received" and that he had used his personal credit card "as a back up to ensure the food and pharmacy services are not discontinued." The Wichita Eagle reports that the nursing is now being operated by Walnut Creek Management. Vice president of operations Michael Levitt says vendors have been notified.


ACLU Files Kansas Action Seeking Provisional Ballot Lists

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union has petitioned a court seeking lists of Johnson County voters who cast provisional ballots and lists of advance mail ballots rejected because signatures did not match their voter record.  Its petition under the Kansas Open Records Act was filed Monday in the name of a liberal activist who challenged Secretary of State Kris Kobach's listing as the GOP nominee for governor on the November ballot after he argued that hundreds of legal votes were not counted in the primary election.  It names Johnson County Elections Commissioner Ronnie Metsker as defendant. Election officials did not immediately return messages.  The ACLU says people should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting. It argues the public interest is in transparency.


Emporia's Zoo Moves Closer to Hitting $4.3M Fundraising Goal

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The zoo in Emporia is getting closer to raising enough money for a major update that will include adding and renovating several exhibits. The Emporia Gazette reports that $3.6 million already has been raised for the $4.3 million project. Once the campaign hits $4 million, the Capitol Federal Foundation has agreed to donate the final $300,000. The Capitol Federal donation will be used to renovate and rebuild the Waterfowl Pond and Gardens Exhibit.


Driver Charged in Crash That Broke Deputy's Leg

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A driver has been charged with running into a Kansas sheriff's deputy while intoxicated and breaking the deputy's leg. Sedgwick County sheriff's Lieutenant Tim Myers said in a release that the driver was charged Tuesday with two counts of aggravated battery while driving under the influence in the April 28 crash in east Wichita. His name won't be released until he makes a first appearance. The Wichita Eagle reports that an arrest warrant is pending. Myers says the driver struck the deputy's patrol car before striking the deputy as he was outside the vehicle conducting a traffic stop. A civilian with the Citizens Police Academy was a passenger in the patrol car and sustained a concussion from the impact. The suspect had minor injuries.


6-Year-Old Who was Hit by Softball Comes Home from Hospital

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) — A 6-year-old Kansas girl who was hit in the head by an overthrown softball has come home after spending two months in the hospital.  KOAM-TV reports that Paizlee Crumby, of Fort Scott, was rushed to Children's Mercy Hospital on July 14 after being knocked unconscious. Doctors removed the right side of her skull to remove a blood clot. They also operated twice to drain fluid from on her brain.  Now that Paizlee is home, she spends her time with her kittens and playing the game "Trouble." Paizlee says she wins "all the time." She is being homeschooled until she undergoes an operation to replace the right side of her skull. For now, a helmet protects the exposed part of her brain.  She also will need speech and physical therapy.


Dirty Kanza Bike Race Sold to Minnesota Company

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The founder of a popular gravel bicycle race in Kansas says the race has been sold to a Minnesota company.  Dirty Kanza co-founder Jim Cummins announced that the event, which begins and ends in Emporia, will be owned by Life Time Fitness, based in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The company operates athletic resort destinations and athletic events across the country, including other cycling events.  Cummins said he and the current operating board will continue to lead the race.  The Dirty Kanza race began in 2006, with 34 participants. By 2018, the event attracted so many riders that participation was capped at 2,750 riders. It offers participants a chance to ride four distances — 200, 100, 50, and 25 miles.


Woman Gets Probation in Jackson County Jail Smuggling Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 37-year-old Kansas City woman who helped smuggle contraband into the Jackson County jail will serve four months of home confinement as part of her probation.  Janikkia Lashay Carter was sentenced Tuesday in Kansas City for participating in a conspiracy to smuggle cellphones and other prohibited items into the jail.  The Kansas City Star reports federal prosecutors didn't oppose probation because Carter suffers serious health problems, which require her to use a wheelchair. But they argued she should get probation only if it included home confinement as a condition.   Prosecutors say a jail inmate, Carlos Laron Hughley, led the smuggling conspiracy, which also involved a female guard at the jail.  Hughley was sentenced to more than six years in prison. The guard also received probation.


Woman Claims Self-Defense in Boyfriend's Stabbing Death

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A 29-year-old Kansas woman who was arrested after her boyfriend was stabbed to death has been released from jail after she claimed the killing was self-defense. Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer says Ashley Pearson was arrested on suspicion of murder after her boyfriend, 25-year-old Kyle Hill, died Saturday morning at a home the two shared. Spencer says Pearson gave a statement two days later saying she acted in self-defense. He said Wednesday the investigation is continuing but her story fits the definition of self-defense under Kansas law. No further information was released. Kansas corrections records show Hill had convictions in 2013 of criminal threat, aggravated battery and aggravated assault.


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