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Weekend Headlines for January 27-28, 2018

Mother Whose Four Kids were Killed in House Fire Dies

PRATT, Kan. (AP) — Hospital officials say the mother of four children who all died in a house fire in Pratt has died. Wichita television station KSNW reports that officials with St. Francis Hospital in Wichita confirmed that Charee Eggleston was taken off life support Saturday and died soon after. Eggleston suffered burns and was flown Thursday morning from Pratt to St. Francis Hospital. Her children, the youngest a baby, died after being trapped in the home's basement. Several other adults survived the fire. Authorities have not announced the cause of the fire. The state fire marshal launched an investigation the day of the fire. Pratt is about 80 miles west of Wichita.


Wichita House Fire Kills One Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died in a house fire in southwest Wichita. Firefighters were called to the house Saturday morning. Arriving firefighters saw smoke and flames from the front of the home. Once inside, firefighters found a man in his 60s in the hallway of the house. The man was later pronounced dead at the scene. Officials say the man was the only person in the house at the time of the fire. His name has not yet been released. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Wichita Officer Shoots Dog, Injures Girl, Gets Fired

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say an officer who fired a shot inside a house, injuring a 9-year-old girl, has been fired. The Wichita Eagle reports that Officer Dexter Betts was fired Thursday. Betts' attorney declined to comment to the newspaper. The shooting occurred in late December when officers were called to the house for a report of a man who was threatening to hurt himself. The family's four children and dog remained inside the house with officers, who were looking for a gun. While inside, an officer shot at the dog, saying it charged him, while the four children were in the room. The bullet broke into fragments, which hit a 9-year-old girl in the head. The girl was treated and released from a Wichita hospital.


Topeka Church Fire Injures One

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hospitalized after a fire started inside a Topeka church. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the fire was reported Friday afternoon at Divine Love Outreach Ministries Church in the eastern part of the city. Firefighters arriving at the scene found heavy smoke and flames coming from the rear of the church. Officials say a person found outside the church had sustained injuries from the fire was taken to a local hospital. Investigators determined the fire started in the church's kitchen. Fire officials estimated the damage of the structure somewhere between $25,000 and $90,000 and loss of contents at around $65,000.


Kansas Man Dies in Brown County Crash

HAMLIN, Kan. (AP) — A 40-year-old Morrill man has died in a crash about a mile east of Hamlin in northeastern Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Friday afternoon crash killed Ernest Reynolds III. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Reynolds was westbound on 280th Road and was speeding when he lost control. The patrol says the car left roadway and went through a barbed wire fence and telephone pole. The car then went airborne over a creek bed and came to rest in a pasture. Investigators say Reynolds died at the scene.


Kansas Lawmakers Deal with Dual Office-holding

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — At least 16 Kansas lawmakers have recently held or currently hold a second elective office. The Hutchinson News reports that the Kansas Constitution bars a member of Congress or U.S. government employee from serving in the Statehouse. A statute on county commissioners says "no person holding any state, county, township or city office shall be eligible to the office of the county commission." There's no identical language for city commissioners and school board members. The group of dual office-holding lawmakers includes Speaker of the House Republican Ron Ryckman Jr., whose term on the Olathe City Council ended this month. Republicans Rep. Larry Campbell and Kansas Education Board member John Bacon continue on the council. Some lawmakers in dual offices say they were more effective in both jobs because of what they learned from each role.


Kansas County to Offer Skills Program for Juvenile Offenders

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A county corrections department in northeast Kansas plans to offer a skills program for juvenile offenders to facilitate finding meaningful employment upon release. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to approve a contract between the corrections department and the Topeka Youth Project. The contract permits the department to pay the nonprofit $5,000 to administer the work life skills program this year. Corrections Director Brian Cole says the program will be financed through the department's wellness account, at no cost to taxpayers. Cole says that juvenile offenders will enter the 20-hour program while in custody. He says an individual can complete the class in the community at no cost if released before completion. Cole says the initiative can be discontinued if it's deemed ineffective.


KCK Man Wins $7.3 Million Missouri Lotto Jackpot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lottery officials say a Kansas man has claimed a $7.3 million Missouri Lotto jackpot. The lottery announced Friday that Charles Maybrier, of Kansas City, Kansas, bought the winning ticket for the Dec. 27 drawing at the Brooklyn Mart in Kansas City. Maybrier used Quick Pick to select the winning combination. The winning numbers were: 5, 11, 14, 30, 33 and 34. Brooklyn Mart received a bonus check for $5,000 for selling the winning Lotto jackpot ticket.


Kansas Senate Leader Critical of State Education Board

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle is criticizing the State Board of Education after it expressed full support for a top education official she had sought to have suspended. The Wichita Republican suggested Friday in a statement that the board sided with "bureaucrats" who've misspent millions of tax dollars rather than with taxpayers. The board voted 9-1 to express its full support for Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis in the wake of a state audit in December. The audit said Dennis and his staff were distributing transportation dollars to school districts using a calculation not authorized by state law. Dennis has said top lawmakers signed off on the calculation decades ago. Wagle and House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. sought to have Dennis and his staff suspended while an investigation was conducted.


Feds: Larned Hospital in Compliance with Federal Regulations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The federal government says it will not cut off funding for Larned State Hospital after a review found the mental hospital is now complying with federal rules and regulations. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said Friday federal regulators notified Bill Rein, administrator of the hospital in western Kansas, that the hospital passed a federal inspection conducted in December. Federal officials in October threatened to cut off funding for the 104-bed unit at Larned amid questions about its patient rights policies and safety concerns for patients. Larned is about 115 miles northwest of Wichita. Timothy Keck, secretary of the Kansas agency, said in October the department would spend about $1 million on renovations to respond to concerns from the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Doctor Claims Wichita Hospitals Conduct Unneeded Procedures

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A cardiologist has alleged a pervasive practice by some Wichita hospitals and doctors to fraudulently perform lucrative procedures not medically necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of heart patients. The federal lawsuit filed by Dr. Mazen Shaheen was unsealed Thursday after the Justice Department declined to intervene in the case. It names Via Christi Health, Inc.; Kansas Heart Hospital LLC; Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas and other physicians. Via Christi had no immediate comment. Kansas Heart Hospital declined comment and the others did not return messages. His complaint lists as examples 47 patients who underwent cardiac tests and procedures. He alleges their treatment deviated from medical standards and risked patient lives. He also contends Via Christi has a bonus program used to incentivize physicians to perform the procedures at its hospitals.


Transportation Officials Want Task Force for Kansas Roads

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are looking at the state's transportation needs after spending years sweeping highway funds to support a faltering state budget. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Senate Ways and Means Committee is taking on a bill that would create a 27-member task force assigned with looking at Kansas' progress on the state's transportation plan and making recommendations to the Legislature. The bill's initial hearing is Wednesday. Lawmakers have expressed concern over the condition of Kansas roads and highways. The Legislature has repeatedly using funds from the Kansas Department of Transportation to balance a state budget that struggled after income tax cuts by Governor Sam Brownback. Communities, builders and economic development organizations say the Transportation Department can help with local infrastructure projects that support economic development when it has funds.


Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Conviction in Lawrence Killing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and sentence of a woman in the brutal killing of a 52-year-old Lawrence man. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the state court on Friday upheld 23-year-old Sarah Gonzales-McLinn's conviction and Hard 50 sentence for killing Harold Sasko in 2014. The court sent the case back to Douglas County District Court for re-sentencing, saying the judge erred in ordering that she be under lifetime supervision upon release. Gonzales-McLinn, of Topeka, was convicted of first-degree murder in March 2015 of drugging and nearly beheading Sasko at his Lawrence home. Authorities say McLinn drugged Sasko, tied him up and inflicted deep cuts on his neck. She was arrested two weeks after the killing in Florida. Sasko was Gonzales-McLinn's supervisor at a Lawrence pizza restaurant.


Former Kansas Trooper Admits Using Excessive Force

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper will not work in law enforcement again after admitting that he used excessive force on a man he arrested. Federal prosecutors say James Carson, of Independence, Kansas, pleaded guilty Friday to violating the man's civil rights during an arrest in June 2013. According to court documents filed in federal court, Carson was arrested a man, identified only as R.T., and took him to the Labette County Jail. Prosecutors say the man's hands were handcuffed behind his back when Carson kicked his legs, causing R.T. to fall on his back. Carson admitted that he didn't have a legitimate law enforcement reason for using force against the man. As part of the plea, Carson surrendered his law enforcement credentials and can't be employed in a law enforcement job.


Ex-Lawrence Officer Gets Probation for Fatal DUI Wreck

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former Lawrence police officer will serve a year of supervised probation for driving under the influence during a wreck that killed a motorcycle driver. The Lawrence Journal-World reported Thursday that 51-year-old Robert Heafey, of Lawrence, was ordered to participate in a weekend alcohol/drug intervention program and pay about $1,300 in fines. Heafey pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI on January 12th. The 11-year police veteran resigned the day the charges were filed in September 2017. Investigators say Heafey and 56-year-old Jesse del Campo were riding their motorcycles in July 2017 when a deer ran in front of them. Heafey laid his bike down and del Campo to run over him. Del Campo died later of his injuries. Investigators said both men's blood alcohol levels were above the state's legal limit.


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