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Weekend Headlines for February 24-25, 2018

Kansas Criminal Registry Changes Under Consideration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Sentencing Commission is considering ways for the state to reduce the number of people listed on criminal registries in the state. Kansas News Service reports nearly 20,000 people are listed in a database that provides names and addresses of people who have committed a variety of crimes. Supporters of reducing the number of people on the list say it has become so large it is almost unusable. They also note the list groups people who have served time for violent crimes such as murder with others who have relatively minor drug offenses. Law enforcement agencies want to the keep the registry as it is. They contend it helps people know if someone with a criminal record is living in their neighborhoods or near their schools.

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Wichita Police: Man Arrested after Fatal Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 25-year-old has been shot to death in Wichita and another man arrested on suspicion of killing him. The Wichita Eagle reports that the shooting happened early Saturday morning, several blocks from the Kansas Turnpike in southeastern Wichita. Arriving officers found the 25-year-old man lying injured in the street. He died at the scene. Police say a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. Police had not released the names of either man by late Saturday afternoon. Investigators say the two men had been at a gathering inside a house when a fight broke out and shots were fired.

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KanCare Leaves Seniors Struggling with Medicaid Coverage

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Advocates for seniors in Kansas say that several changes made to streamline the Medicaid application and renewal process have actually made it difficult for the state's elderly population. The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas moved to a new computer system in 2015 for applying for Kansas Medicaid, otherwise known as KanCare. The state then funneled applications and annual reviews previously handled in regional offices into a single "KanCare Clearinghouse" in Topeka. Since then, the number of seniors covered by KanCare for in-home nursing help has decreased, as well as the number being covered for nursing home beds. The director of the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging says that seniors get frustrated trying to get onto Medicaid, and eventually become defeated by the process and give up.

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KCK Man Gets 3 Life Sentences for Child Molestation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 35-year-old Kansas man is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced for molesting three young girls. A Jackson County, Missouri, judge sentenced Jesus Garcia, of Kansas City, Kansas, on Friday to three life sentences, plus 15 years, all to be served consecutively. Garcia was convicted in December of statutory rape of a victim younger than 12, child molestation, attempted statutory rape and statutory sodomy of a victim younger than 14. Court documents say the mother of two of the girls told a social worker in 2016 at Children's Mercy Hospital that Garcia had been sexually abusing them from 2014 to 2015.

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Horton Man Sentenced in Series of Arsons

HORTON, Kan. (AP) — A 27-year-old man was sentenced to more than six years in prison for setting several arson fires at homes and cars in Horton. Dustin McCulley was sentenced Friday for the arsons last May. He pleaded no contest in January to nine felonies. The St. Joseph News-Press reports McCulley was arrested May 9th, several hours after three homes and several vehicles were set ablaze in the same area early that day in Horton. Authorities also received calls of a possible break-in at a nearby apartment complex, along with reports of several vehicles on fire in the complex parking lot.

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Topeka Capital-Journal Names New Publisher

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former intern at the Topeka Capital-Journal has returned to the city to become publisher of the newspaper. Gatehouse Media announced the appointment of Stephen Wade on Friday. As a young journalism student at the University of Kansas, Wade got journalism experience as an intern at The Capital-Journal. Wade was most recently general manager and president of The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. He previously worked as a picture editor in Los Angeles, and was publisher in Pittsburg, Kansas, Independence, Missouri, and Florence, South Carolina. Gatehouse regional vice president Grady Singletary says Wade also will be Kansas senior group publisher for the media company, which bought The Capital-Journal in October 2017. In that capacity, Wade will work with Gatehouse papers throughout Kansas.

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Topeka Man Sentenced in Gas Station Stabbing Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 37-year-old Topeka man was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for the stabbing death of another man during a confrontation at a gas station. Caleb John Kanatzar was sentenced Friday for voluntary manslaughter in the December 2015 death of 24-year-old Terrin Holloway. Holloway was stabbed in the parking lot of a Kwik Shop. His body was found in a car stopped in the middle of a Topeka street. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Kanatzar's attorney argued that he acted in self-defense, saying he saw that Holloway had a gun. Kanatzar testified earlier that before the stabbing, he was told Holloway fired shots during a drive-by shooting that wounded Kanatzar's cousin. The shooting apparently was over the theft of Holloway's lawn mower.

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Scared Elementary School Student Brings Weapons to Salina School

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a scared elementary school student brought a gun and knife to school in Kansas after seeing a threatening Facebook post the child thought was directed at the school. School officials said Friday that the student meant no harm to anyone at Stewart Elementary School in Salina. The weapons were immediately secured and the student was removed from the property. School district spokeswoman Jennifer Bradford-Vernon says the student was afraid after a Facebook post on Wednesday threatened a potential shooting against a school with the initials SHS. Investigators determined the threat was directed toward a school in Ohio. The Salina Journal reports that Bradford-Vernon didn't release the student's age or gender, or say whether how the weapons were discovered.

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Kansas Senate Approves Chicken House Expansion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allow industrial chicken farms to house more birds closer to homes and communities despite a public outcry last year over a proposed Tyson Foods chicken plant. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that senators on Thursday passed the bill that would increase the number of chickens a producer could have in a concentrated area by changing the formula for determining the number of birds allowed. Support for the bill was driven by lawmakers wanting to bring large-scale poultry producers and the jobs that come with them. Opponents argue the facilities harm the environment and communities. The bill comes after residents in northeast Kansas counties successfully beat back a plan Tyson proposed to build a $320 million facility processing 1.2 million birds weekly in Tonganoxie.

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Spirit to Pay Millions in Bonuses to Wichita Employees

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — About 11,500 Spirit AeroSystems workers in Wichita have all received bonuses. The Wichita Eagle reports that the employees received bonuses Thursday after the aircraft supplier reported a 13 percent year-over-year increase in profit on revenue of $7 billion last year. Spirit spokeswoman Debbie Gann wouldn't say exactly how much employees received in bonuses, but says "there will be millions of dollars infused into the Wichita economy through these payouts." The bonuses are awarded through the company's short-term incentive plan. Gann says the payouts are given annually only if Spirit meets or exceeds financial and operational goals set by its board. Friends University professor Malcom Harris says the fact that the city's largest employer is paying bonuses to its workers means Spirit executives feel good about the health of the company.

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Kansas Man Pleads Guilty in Wife's Death

LARNED, Kan. (AP) — A 27-year-old southwest Kansas man has pleaded guilty in his wife's death. Jacob Ohnmacht of Larned pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter in the December 2016 death of 21-year-old Kayla Parrett at their home in rural Pawnee County. He had originally been charged with second-degree murder and several counts of interfering with law enforcement. Hayspost reports Ohnhmacht said during his plea hearing that his wife had threatened to leave him. He had told law enforcement he found her hanging in an outside garden shed. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. In August 2017, Ohnmacht was convicted of trying to contaminate food by spitting on pizza he made for a police officer at Casey's General Store in Larned. As part of the plea, he agreed to waive an appeal of that conviction.

 

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