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Regional Headlines for Thursday, June 14, 2012



Children Found Blindfolded, Bound at Lawrence Walmart

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police say two children from suburban Chicago who were found bound and blindfolded outside a Lawrence Walmart are in temporary protective custody.  Lawrence police spokesman Trent McKinley says the presumed parents of the children have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and endangerment and will appear in court today (THUR).  Police found a 5-year-old boy yesterday (WED) sitting beside a large SUV with his hands tied and a blindfold over his eyes. A bound and blindfolded 7-year-old girl was inside the vehicle, along with three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15. All are in protective custody.  The family, from Northlake, Illinois, was heading to Arizona when the vehicle broke down Monday in Lawrence.  McKinley says officers are working with Illinois social services to determine where to send the children.


Man Faces Capital Murder in Topeka Girl's Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man will face trial in the sexual assault and beating death of an 8-year-old neighbor girl.  A judge ruled yesterday (WED) that Billy Frank Davis Jr. will be bound over for trial in the March death of Ahliyah Nachelle Irvin, who was taken from her apartment in March and later found dead in a clothes dryer.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that he is charged with first-degree murder, two alternative counts of capital murder and rape among other charges.  A detective testified during a preliminary hearing in Shawnee County District Court that Davis admitted kidnapping, choking and sexually assaulting Ahliyah before placing her in the clothes dryer.  The detective testified Davis said he was drunk, high on cocaine and suffering flashbacks from his military service at the time.

25 Charged w/ Conspiracy, Selling Marijuana in DG and JO Counties

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Twenty-five people from Kansas, California and other states are charged in federal court with taking part in a marijuana distribution ring.  The U.S. Attorney's office in Kansas City, Kansas announced the charges yesterday (WED), as federal agents served search warrants and made arrests in Johnson and Douglas counties.  Prosecutors said the 25 defendants were charged in a sealed complaint that was filed Monday. They're accused of conspiring from April 2008 until this month to distribute more than 1,000 kilos of high-grade marijuana in Johnson and Douglas counties.  The suspects include eight Lawrence residents, seven from the Johnson County cities of Olathe, Lenexa and Overland Park, and one from Kansas City.  Others are from California and Washington state.


Man Sentenced in KC Drug Trafficking Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for leading what prosecutors call one of the largest cocaine trafficking rings in the metro area.  The U.S. Attorney's office says 37-year-old Alejandro S. Corredor is the last of more than a dozen defendants sentenced as a result of an investigation dubbed Operation Blockbuster.  Prosecutors say the investigation uncovered evidence of an organization that was smuggling millions of dollars of cocaine from Mexico to distribute in Kansas City.  Corredor is a citizen of the South American nation of Colombia. He pleaded guilty in July 2010 to leading the conspiracy. He also admitted involvement in plans to assassinate two men in the Kansas City area. One of the men was wounded; another died.


New Abuse Claims Surface at Salina Military School

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More allegations of abuse at a Salina military boarding school been raised by parents of former cadets from California, Colorado and Texas.  Officials of St. John's Military School in Salina strongly deny the claims.  A motion filed Tuesday in federal court in Wichita seeks to add four more plaintiffs to the federal case against the school. The families also want to amend the lawsuit to add the school's president as a defendant, and to add a claim that evidence was destroyed after the lawsuit was originally filed.  St. John's issued a three-page statement Wednesday denying the latest allegations of abuse. The school also says claims that it destroyed evidence are false.  St. John's also argues that federal law prevents its president from being personally named in a civil lawsuit.


Two KCK Women Charged With Embezzling from Bank

A Kansas City, Kansas woman and her associate are charged with embezzling a total of $27,200 from the bank where she worked. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in September and October 2011 in Kansas City, Kansas.  Prosecutors say 22-year-old Brittney L. Crane and 20-year-old Cierra M. Clayborn, both of Kansas City, Kansas, are charged with 14 counts of embezzlement and four counts of aggravated identity theft. Crane, a teller at U.S. Bank made unauthorized withdrawals and gave the money to Clayborn.  If convicted, the women face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million on each embezzlement count and a mandatory two years served consecutively to other sentences on each count of identity theft. The U.S. Secret Service investigated.


Father and Son Both Seeking KS House Seats

MEADE, Kan. (AP) — A father and son are hoping to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives at the same time.  Ronald Ryckman Sr. and Ronald Ryckman Jr. are running for separate legislative seats this year.  The elder Ryckman lives in Meade and is seeking a second term in the 115th District. His son, who lives in Olathe, is seeking the 78th House seat, according to an article in The Hutchinson News.  The elder Ryckman faces Democrat Marjorie Gilbert in the November 6 general election.  His son has no challenger because Rep. Bob Montgomery, an Olathe Republican, moved after redistricting.


KS Democrats to File Elections Protest

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democrats are promising to file what they're describing as a formal elections objection aimed at protecting ballot access.  The office of House Minority Leader Paul Davis, of Lawrence, wasn't more specific before a morning news conference at the Statehouse today (THUR).  Under Kansas law, an objection is filed with the secretary of state's office, either to challenge an individual candidate's right to be on the ballot or a decision that a candidate isn't qualified.  The candidate filing deadline was Monday.  Such protests will be considered by the State Objections Board, which is scheduled to meet next week. The board is comprised of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all Republicans.


KU Seeks $30 Million for New Medical Education Building in KCK

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas will ask for $30 million in state funds to help erect a new medical education building.  KU says the building will cost an estimated $75 million. It will be built at the University of Kansas School of Medicine campus in Kansas City, Kansas.  The Board of Regents will consider the request along with other funding requests from all public universities at its June 21 meeting. The board will send its final budget request to Governor Sam Brownback by October.  Kansas officials say the current medical education building is too small and doesn't meet accrediting standards.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Kansas will provide $30 million in private funds and revenue bonds, and use $15 million from a medical resident refund.


KS Wooping Cough Outbreak Part of National Trend

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Health officials say Kansas and other parts of the United States are experiencing a cyclical peak in the number of cases of whooping cough.  Since the beginning of the year, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has recorded 56 confirmed cases of whooping cough. The respiratory illness is marked by its often severe and frequent coughing, especially among young children.  An epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says the United States is in the midst of another peak outbreak of the illness. The most pronounced outbreaks are happening in Washington state.  Health officials say the best prevention is to make sure young children are immunized between the age of 2 months and 6 years, with boosters during adolescence.


Gov Brownback to Lead Flint Hills Motorcycle Ride

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Sam Brownback will be leading the motorcycle pack this weekend during the first Flint Hills Freedom Ride from Topeka to Wamego (wah-MEE'-goh).  Riders will depart from the Statehouse grounds at 10am Saturday for a 70-mile trip that will partly follow the 48-mile Native Stone Scenic Byway. State Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts also plans to take part.  The trip is scheduled to end around 1:30pm at Wamego City Park with an event honoring all military veterans as well as Fort Riley soldiers and families.  Proceeds from the ride will benefit Fort Riley's Hearts Apart, Brothers in Blue Re-entry and the Native Stone Scenic Byway.  Motorcyclists can pre-register online until noon Friday or on the Statehouse grounds beginning at 8am Saturday.


Revenue Up for Kansas Star Casino in May

MULVANE, Kan. (AP) — Business continues to be good at the Kansas Star Casino near Mulvane.  The Kansas Lottery reports the casino collected a net of $15.1 million gambling revenue in May, an increase from $14.5 million in April.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the casino's best month since the casino opened last December was March, when it collected $16.8 million.  Lottery officials say the casino has generated $84.5 million in revenue since December. The state has received $18.6 million, or 22 percent, of that revenue.  The city of Mulvane and Sumner and Sedgwick counties each received $845,000 and another $1.7 million went to the state's gambling addiction fund.  The casino's manager, Peninsula Gaming of Dubuque, Iowa, made $61.7 million, or 73 percent.


KS Hall of Fame to Honor 6 Individuals, Railroad

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony tomorrow (FRI) night for new honorees, including 1936 presidential candidate Alf Landon, famed newspaper editor William Allen White and a major railroad.  The event is at the Great Overland Station Museum, a former railroad depot in north Topeka. The inductees include six individuals and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, a key institution in the state's history.  Cyrus K. Holliday, an early director of the railroad, is also among the honorees. He was one of the founders of Topeka.  Besides White, who edited the Emporia Gazette, and Landon, who served as governor, the inductees include Landon's daughter, former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker.  Also on the list are scientist and inventor George Washington Carver and actor Ed Asner.


Installation of Braille Flags in Wichita Honors Blind Veterans

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two bronze American flags embossed in Braille will be unveiled Saturday in Wichita before later being installed at entrances to the Robert. J. Dole Veterans Administration Medical Center.  The Wichita Eagle reports the Braille flags are a tribute to blind veterans of all wars.  The unveiling at West Douglas park will take place two days after the nation observes Flag Day. The ceremony, from 11am to 1pm, will feature guest speakers as well as presentations by two American Legion posts. It's free and open to the public.  President Woodrow Wilson officially established Flag Day on May 30, 1916. More than three decades later, President Harry Truman signed a measure designating June 14 as National Flag Day.



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