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Regional Headlines for Sunday, August 12, 2012



Manhunt Continues for Escaped Kansas Inmate

NESS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- A convicted rapist was still on the run after escaping from the Ness County Jail in western Kansas on Friday night. The Kansas Highway Patrol and several law enforcement agencies were still looking for 37-year-old Benito Cardenas on Saturday evening. Cardenas was convicted last week of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy under Jessica's Law because his victim was under the age of 14. Because of that provision, he could be sentenced to life in prison. He is identified as 5-foot-11, 230 pounds, with tattoos on his arms and chest and a teardrop tattoo beneath his left eye. Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple says Cardenas is a former gang member who is probably still affiliated with gang members in the area. 


Two Dead After Shooting Saturday in KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- Two people are dead after an early morning shooting in Kansas City, Kansas Saturday. Kansas City police say officers responded to a report of shots fired at 2:45 a.m. Saturday and saw a man firing a weapon when they arrived. The man ran to a vehicle and fled the scene, but was apprehended in Riverside, Missouri without incident. Police say he is considered a person of interest in the shooting deaths of the two people who were found at the original shooting scene. Investigators were told there could be more victims and canvassed area hospitals, where they found two more people suffering from non-life threatening wounds. The names of the victims who died are not being released until they are positively identified and family members notified. 


Two Killed in Two Vehicle Crash in NE Kansas

HERINGTON, Kan. (AP) -- Two Junction City residents, including a two-year-old boy, have been killed in a two-car-crash south of Herington in northeast Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says six others were taken to hospitals with injuries from the collision that happened at 11:43 a.m. Friday on U.S. 56. The patrol says a 2010 Nissan Altima driven by 21-year-old Bryan Alfred of Junction City crossed the center line and struck a 2008 Chevrolet Silverago sport utility vehicle. The crash sent Alfred's car into the ditch where it overturned. Twenty-year-old Amber Alfred and two-year-old Josiah Alfred were killed in the crash. Bryan Alfred and a six-year-old passenger, Keith Johnson of Wichita, were injured. The SUV driver and three passengers, all from Herington, also were taken to a hospital for treatment. 


Kansas Dems Seek National Money for U.S. House Races

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Democrats plan to seek support from their national party for two congressional candidates who face long odds in trying to unseat Republican incumbents in the GOP-leaning state. Republicans hold all four Kansas' congressional seats, but Democrats are contesting only two:  the 2nd District held by Rep. Lynn Jenkins and the 4th District held by Rep. Mike Pompeo. To do even that, they say they will need financial assistance from the national party. Kansas Democratic Party chairwoman Joan Wagnon says, "It's the only way we're going to be competitive." The party is putting Topeka pastor Tobias Schlingensiepen up against Jenkins and retired court services officer Robert Tillman against Pompeo. Neither Tillman nor Schlingensiepen have held public office before, and both funded their primary compaigns largely with personal funds. 



Two-Year-Old Killed After Running Into Pickup's Path

PLAINS, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas Highway Patrol says a two-year-old southwest Kansas boy has died after running in front of a truck. Konnor Wilkerson ran into the middle of the street in Plains, a town of about 1,200 residents in Meade County just after 7 p.m. Saturday. Konnor was struck by a 2001 Ford pickup truck driven by 59-year-old John Lawrence of Florence, Colorado. The patrol says Konnor was pronounced dead at the scene. No additional details of the crash were available. 


Kansas Inmate Gets Parole 31 Years After Conviction

WICHITA, Kan. -- A Kansas prison inmate who was convicted of killing a Wichita man more than three decades ago has been granted parole. Fifty-seven year old Ronnie Rhodes was notified earlier this week of the decision after being rejected for parole eight times in the past. Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay says Rhodes will be released to a state-approved structured living facility.  He will remain at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility until plans are completed for that move. Rhodes was convicted of first-degree murder in the February 2nd, 1981 stabbing death of 48-year-old Cleother Burrell. Rhodes had insisted he was innocent. Washburn law school students in 2010 found serious flaws in the investigation that led to the conviction but were unable to get him released. 


65-Pound Catfish Among Dead Fish in Mall Aquarium

SALINA, Kan. (AP) -- A 65-pound catfish named Willie the Rivercat and several other fish in a 15,000-gallon aquarium at a Salina mall have died because of a high chloride level in the water. Central Mall spokeswoman Maggie Phelps declined to say how many fish died, and she didn't know how the chloride level got so high. Phelps says the mall was working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again. 


State Says Poker Runs, Charity Tournaments Illegal

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas gambling regulators say an increasingly popular fundraising activity is illegal in the state because gambling provisions don't include charitable exceptions. Racing and Gaming Commission spokesman Bill Miskell told The Garden City Telegram that poker runs and charitable poker tournaments are not allowed in Kansas. That prompted the newspaper to cancel a Texas Hold'Em tournament next week that would have helped to fund its Newspaper in Education program. Several poker runs - in which motorcycle riders pay an entry fee and drive to various locations to pick up playing cards - have taken place in Garden City this summer and in previous years. Miskell says it's up to the local county attorney to prosecute violators. Finney County attorney John Wheeler says that's not high on his priority list.


Wichita Chef Takes Lion Off Menu After Protests

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A Wichita restaurant won't be serving lion at a one-night-only dinner next week after animal rights groups protested its inclusion in the exotic meal. Jason Febres, a chef at Taste and See restaurant, acknowledged on his Facebook page that some people were shocked and disturbed about the proposed menu item. The restaurant still will be serving kangaroo, alpaca, crocodile and water buffalo at its $160 dinner Tuesday, which is sold out. The dinner plans rankled wild-animal advocate Born Free USA and led to petition on the social-action site calling for people to pressure Febres to cancel the dinner. Febres says he isn't canceling and added that some information about his dinner has been misleading. 

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