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Weekend Headlines for February 3-4, 2018

Kansas Residents Work to Prevent Deportation of Bangladeshi Instructor

(KPR)  A group of Lawrence resdients are working to prevent the deportation of a chemistry instructor from Bangladesh.  The Kansas City Star reports that more than 2,500 people have signed a petition in support of Syed Ahmed Jamal.  Jamal emigrated from Bangladesh thirty years ago to study biology at the University of Kansas, Rockhurt University, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  He has been teaching at Park University. He was arrested January 24th for overstaying his visa and is believed to be held at a jail in central Missouri.  Two events are being held in Lawrence Saturday to encourage people to sign the petition and write letters of support.


Body Found after Brown County Fire

FAIRVIEW, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a body has been found after a fire in northeast Kansas. Brown County Sheriff John Merchant says the fire was reported early Thursday near the town of Fairview. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that departments from several communities battled the blaze for several hours. Merchant says the state fire marshal's office was contacted and is investigating the cause of the blaze. The name of the person who died wasn't immediately released.


Family: Return Stolen Veteran's Medals

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Relatives of a Vietnam War veteran want back a piece of the man's legacy stolen from a storage unit in Kansas. The Hutchinson News reports that the family of Charles "Chuck" David Sankey is offering $12,000 to anyone with information that leads them to the Silver Star, Purple Heart and four Bronze Stars stolen from Hutchinson Self Storage. Sankey, 73, died in Wichita January 25th of complications caused by the wartime chemical Agent Orange. Bruce Sankey says his brother knew he was dying and wanted to put most of his belongings in the storage unit in November. But when the family went to clean out the unit, all they found was a lamp and a photo. Hutchinson police say the facility has cameras and that officers are following several leads.


Kansas Governor's 'New Day' Won't Change Key Policies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer is likely to keep some of former Governor Sam Brownback's most prominent policies, in spite of promising a "new day" when taking office this week.  Colyer was sworn in Wednesday after Brownback resigned to take an ambassador's post. He was Brownback's loyal lieutenant governor for seven years. Like Brownback, Colyer is a conservative Republican and a strong abortion opponent. The new administration is likely to continue supporting abortion restrictions. Colyer described himself in a Thursday news conference as a "Second Amendment guy," signaling no shift on gun-rights issues. He continued to defend the philosophy behind work requirements in social services programs and express doubts about expanding the state's Medicaid program. He's echoed Brownback's statements about tying additional funding for public schools to specific education policy goals.


Some Mental Health Providers Asked to Provide Patient Information

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Some mental health professionals say they are being pressured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to release notes from therapy sessions with their patients. The therapists say Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas and its subcontractor, New Directional Behavioral Health, are demanding the notes to limit expenses for patients who need long-term intensive counseling. The Kansas City Star reports the insurance company says its auditing only a few high-cost providers to determine if the services given to patients match what was billed. The company says it shields all therapy notes and other documents to follow medical privacy laws. Psychologist Susan Eyman of Lawrence says she refused to turn over her notes and was forced to pay back thousands of dollars in Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas reimbursements.


Topeka Man Arrested after Wielding Machete at Topeka Police Station

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say they've arrested a man who barged into the Topeka Police department wielding a machete and threatening officers. Television station WIBW reports that the man also announced in the station that he had a bomb. Police say the incident happened early Saturday morning when the man entered the front door of the police side of the Law Enforcement Center. Police say officer were able to get the man to leave the lobby and began negotiating with him outside for about an hour, with their weapons drawn. Police say when the man made a more toward officers, one officer used a stun gun to subdue him. The man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, criminal threat and other counts.


Father Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Son's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have arrested the father of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the August crash of a vehicle the father was driving. Television station KWCH reports that Daniel Juares-Lopez, of Wichita, was arrested Friday on charges of driving without a valid license and involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence. Police say Juares-Lopez was driving the sport utility vehicle the night of Aug. 10 when the SUV crossed the center line, overcorrected and hit a curb. The SUV then crossed to the opposite side of the road, hit another curb and rolled several times. Six-year-old Daniel Ware was thrown from the vehicle in the crash and died. Juarez-Lopez was also critically injured.


Funerals Set for Mother, Four Children Killed in Kansas Fire

PRATT, Kan. (AP) — Funeral services have been set for a Kansas mother and her four children who died in a house fire last month. Wichita television station KWCH reports that the funerals for 22-year-old Charee Wheatley and her four children — ranging in age from a few months to 6 years — will be held Wednesday morning at the First United Methodist Church in Pratt. The four children were killed in the January 25th fire. Wheatley was pulled from the home with burns and was flown to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, where she died two days after the fire. Pratt police say the family was trapped in the basement when the fire broke out. The Kansas Fire Marshal's Office says it's waiting on lab results to determine the cause of the fire.


Kansas Bill Would Lower State Sales Tax on Food

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposed constitutional amendment that would lower the state sales tax on food and ingredients. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Senate tax committee held a hearing on the proposal Thursday. The amendment would lower the state sales tax rate from the current 6.5 percent down to 2 percent in 2020. The amendment wouldn't require cities and counties to lower local sales tax rates. State lawmakers raised the rate to 6.5 percent in 2015 to help address the state's continuing revenue shortfalls at that  time. Democratic Senator Tom Holland says that Kansas residents pay one of the highest tax rates on food of any jurisdiction in the country when state and local taxes are combined. The Kansas Department of Revenue is calculating the fiscal impact.


KU Medical Center Accused of Abusing Animals

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An animal rights organization is calling for withholding of federal funds and the firing of a research administrator at the University of Kansas Medical Group, alleging abuse of research animals. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Stop Animal Exploitation Now says the abuse at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., included a mouse being set on fire. Medical Center spokeswoman Natalie Lutz says the center is committed to ethical and responsible academic research involving animals and maintains a stringent oversight process. The animal rights group says that from May 2015 to March 2017, dozens of animals died at the center. The group alleges that abuse involved rabbits, rats, mice and a gerbil.


Kansas Rejects Repeal of Concealed Carry on College Campuses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have rejected an effort to repeal a law that allows people to carry concealed firearms in most facilities at public colleges and universities in the state. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Kansas House voted 53-69 against Democratic Representative Barbara Ballard's repeal amendment Thursday. The House did vote to require students, faculty and staff carrying a concealed firearm on campus to receive gun safety training. Lawmakers also voted to allow 18-year-olds to carry concealed weapons. The previous age limit was 21. Ballard says the law is making it difficult for higher education institutions in the state to attract new students to their campuses. Opponents to the appeal argue that people have the constitutional right to bear arms for self-protection.


Authorities Say Domestic Dispute Led to Shooting Death

ALMA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it is assisting the Wabaunsee County Sheriff's Office investigate a shooting death in Alma. Sheriff's officers responding to a domestic incident call at around 11:50 p.m. Thursday found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to the local hospital where he later died. The KBI said in a news release Friday that the victim has since been identified as 36-year-old Chad Thomas-Buckbee of Alma. An autopsy is planned. The agency says preliminary information indicates people at the residence were involved in a confrontation that turned violent. It says there is no indication of any public threat as a result of the incident.


Remains of Kansas Soldier Killed in WWII Recovered

LARNED, Kan. (AP) — More than 74 years after his death, the remains of a Kansas Marine killed in World War II have been recovered. Jack Krieger of Larned is believed to have died on November 20th, 1943. The Great Bend Tribune reports that the Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Thursday that Krieger's remains have been accounted for. Krieger was part of a battalion fighting the Japanese on the small island of Betio of the Gilbert Islands. The Defense Department says about 1,000 Marines and sailors died and more than 2,000 were wounded during the battle. Krieger was 27 years old. His remains were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, where he was buried as an unknown. Burial services are pending.


Topeka Smoking Age Ordinance Stalled

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An ordinance banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 has been stalled from taking effect in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Court Judge Franklin Theis is weighing legal arguments after a hearing Thursday. The law increasing the minimum age to buy tobacco products was slated to take effect last month. But a business, Vape Bar and Puffs 'n' Stuff, sued, asking for a temporary injunction. Attorney R.E. "Tuck" Duncan says state lawmakers should be the ultimate authority on such laws. At least 17 cities or counties in Kansas have so-called "Tobacco 21" ordinances. Several state legislatures also have passed laws. Theis ordered attorneys on both sides to file additional briefs by next week, but didn't indicate when he would rule.


Kansas Bills Seek to Give Public Greater Input on Poultry Facilities

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two bills have been introduced in the Kansas Legislature to give the public more say about proposed large-scale poultry processing facilities in their communities. The legislation announced Thursday comes in the wake of outrage last year over a proposed Tyson Foods poultry plant near Tonganoxie. The legislation would allow protest petitions and public votes in communities where people oppose such developments. One bill would authorize that process for approval of poultry slaughter operations. The other would govern large-scale feeding and breeding facilities. Kansas already has similar laws for swine operations and e dairy operations. But there is currently no provision for protest petitions and public votes to approve poultry facilities. The bills have been introduced by Republican Representative Jim Karleskint of Tonganoxie and Democratic Senator Tom Holland of Baldwin City.


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