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Weekend Headlines for October 20-21, 2018

Kobach Supports Privatizing Kansas Mental Hospital

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach says he favors having a private company rebuild and operate the state mental hospital in eastern Kansas. Democratic challenger Laura Kelly and independent candidate Greg Orman say the state should set up smaller, regional care centers instead. Kobach is the Kansas secretary of state and raised the issue during a debate this week in Wichita. He said the Legislature has been "idling" when it should be moving forward with an existing plan to expand Osawatomie State Hospital. The plan has been in the works for more than a year at the state Department for Aging and Disability Services but has been put on hold by skeptical lawmakers. KDADS proposed having Tennessee-based Correct Care Recovery Solutions build and run a larger replacement for the hospital founded in 1866.

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Man Dies, Another Loses Arm when Crane Overturns in NE Kansas

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A man was killed and another lost an arm when a mobile crane overturned at a roofing job site in northeast Kansas. Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse says the men were in a lift basket 30 feet from the ground Wednesday afternoon when the crane toppled over in Holton. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 66-year-old John Zibell was killed. The surviving man was taken to a hospital about 80 miles away in Kansas City, Kansas. His arm was amputated. Morse says the workers were using the crane to access the roof of a three-story house. He says it was sitting on sloped ground that was soft from recent rains. Federal officials are investigating. Morse described what happened as "traumatic, grim and horrid."

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Coordinated Cleanup Underway at Pittsburg Contaminated Site

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and a southeastern city have partnered to clean up and repurpose contaminated property for use in future commercial development. The Joplin Globe reports that the coordinated cleanup that's underway in Pittsburg is targeting contaminated soil left behind by a former zinc-smelting plant, Weir City Zinc Works. The plant operated from around 1880 to 1920 and left concentrations of arsenic, cadmium and zinc on the property. Deputy City Manager Jay Byers says the cleanup is the first step for Pittsburg to put the land into productive use. After completion of the cleanup, the city hopes to build a roadway extension in the area to connect existing businesses in the city's tax increment financing district. Cleanup operations should finish in the next few weeks.

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Topeka Zoo Says Newborn Tiger Cubs Will Soon Be Named

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka Zoo officials have revealed that of the four rare Sumatran tiger cubs born there earlier this week, three are male and one is female. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the tiger cubs will soon be named. Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the female's name will be decided by zoo staff, docents, interns and volunteers, and one of the males will named by a family that has long supported the zoo. Another will be named by Blind Tiger Brewery, a zoo business partner. The last cub's name will be selected through a public voting contest. The public has until Oct. 27 to choose from the names Badar, Eka or Lestari. Hundreds of people watched as streaming webcams captured Sumatran tiger Jingga giving birth to the four cubs on Monday.

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Wichita to Sell Off Golf Course

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita city board has decided to put one the city's golf courses up for sale, but enthusiasts shouldn't get their hopes up for playing on their own private retreat. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Park Board voted Friday to seek proposals for the sale of the 146-acre MacDonald Golf Course in northeast Wichita, but with several conditions to ensure it remains a golf course open to public play. Under the proposal, if the buyer decided to close the course or redevelop it, the Park Board could buy it back for the original sale price. The money from the sale will be used to support other city courses. The decision to sell came after officials learned the city golf system could be $163,000 in the red this year.

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Authorities Searching for Man who Drove into River at KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities and rescue personnel spent part of Friday night searching for a person who drove a vehicle into the Kansas River. Police tell the Kansas City Star that the incident happened around 6:50 p.m. Friday at the Kaw Point Park boat ramp in Kansas City, Kansas, at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. Wyandotte County Sheriff's officials say someone reported seeing a vehicle go into the river. Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Terry Zeigler tweeted that a witness saw a man treading water before he went under and didn't resurface. The Star reports that rescue boats were sent out Friday night, but crews did not report finding anyone in the water. Officials had not released any more information on the incident by midday Saturday.

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Kansas City Mayoral Candidate Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City councilman who is running for mayor has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. 34-year-old Quinton D. Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested early Friday morning in Lawrence. He was released on bond and ordered to appear in municipal court in November on the misdemeanor charge. Lucas told The Lawrence Journal-World he had been drinking and decided he shouldn't drive back to Kansas City. But he says he never moved his vehicle from the public spot where it was parked and "dozed off" in his car. He says plans to contest the DUI charge. Lucas is a law lecturer at the University of Kansas, where he had previously been an associated professor. He was elected to the Kansas City council in 2015.

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Kansas Deputy Collides with 3 Horses in Hutchinson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Reno County sheriff's deputy driving a sports utility vehicle has suffered minor injuries after colliding with three horses. The Hutchinson News reports deputy John Hendricks was traveling Thursday evening in the department's 2017 Ford Explorer when he ran into three horses walking on the roadway in front of him. The area is nearly two miles east of Hutchinson and not well lit. Two horses rolled onto the SUV's windshield during the wreck and the third hit the front passenger side.The police report lists one horse in critical condition and another with multiple injuries.Captain Steve Lutz says he doesn't know if any of the horses were put down or died.He says the deputy was traveling within the 55 mph speed limit at the time of the wreck.

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Authorities: Kansas Inmate Attacks Two Deputies

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a female inmate attacked two Sedgwick County jail detention deputies, sending one to the hospital with potentially serious injuries. The Wichita Eagle reports deputies were preparing to transfer the inmate from booking to housing Thursday evening when she assaulted them. The woman had initially been arrested on a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass. Sgt. Lanon Thompson says the transfer procedure involves having the inmate showered, searched and issued clothing. That's when she became combative. One deputy suffered minor injuries. The deputy who had potentially serious injuries was admitted to a hospital and released the next day. That deputy is expected to return to work in a couple of weeks. The inmate was re-booked into jail on suspicion of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer.

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Second Man Convicted in Contract Killing in Salina Area

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Another man has been convicted in the contract killing of a Salina man whose battered body was found on a path near a popular fishing area in June 2017. The Salina Journal reports that Brandon St. Clair is scheduled to be sentenced December 21st for multiple counts, including felony murder and aggravated kidnapping, in the death of 29-year-old Brandon Lee Shelby. Charging documents say another man, Charles Rodgers, beat, choked and stabbed Shelby, expecting James Pavey to pay him with money or drugs. St. Clair and a fourth man, Austin Bott, were accused of helping. Pavey and Rodgers entered no contest pleas, although Rodgers since has filed a motion to withdraw his plea. Bott has pleaded to lesser charges of kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

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Lawrence Man Pleads No Contest to Molesting Girl with Disability

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence man has pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl with a mental disability. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 39-year-old Steven Capps entered the plea Thursday, and was convicted of two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties. He initially was charged with two counts of rape and one count of aggravated criminal sodomy. Charging documents say another adult caught Capps in a room with the girl and called police. The affidavit says the girl used anatomical diagrams to explain what happened and "indicated she was not a willing participant." The affidavit says Capps admitted to police that he removed the girl's clothing and touched her inappropriately but denied raping her. Sentencing is set for November 15th.

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President Trump Approves Kansas Disaster Declaration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration for eight Kansas counties hit by storms last month. The declaration issued Friday orders federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts for areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding from September 1st to September 8th. The counties named in the declaration are Barber, Clay, Kingman, Kiowa, Marshall, Pratt, Rice, and Riley. Under the declaration, municipalities and some nonprofits can apply for public assistance funds for emergency work and to repair or replace storm-damaged facilities.

 

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