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Headlines for Wednesday, October 9, 2019



Bar Shooting Suspect Got Probation Last Year

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A suspect in a weekend Kansas bar shooting that left four dead and five wounded was given probation last year for trafficking contraband while imprisoned for aggravated robbery instead of more time behind bars. The Kansas City Star reports that the same Leavenworth County, Kansas, judge that allowed Hugo Villanueva-Morales to avoid prison in the case also made news earlier this year when he reduced the sentence of a convicted sex offender because he said the 13- and 14-year-old girls who were victims in the abuse were actually "aggressors." Police continue searching for Villanueva-Morales. He and 23-year-old Javier Alatorre are charged with four counts of first-degree murder in Sunday's shooting at the Tequila KC bar in Kansas City, Kansas. Alatorre was arrested hours after the shooting in Kansas City, Missouri.


Police Search Homes for 2nd Suspect in Kansas Bar Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The hunt continues for a second suspect in a weekend Kansas bar shooting that left four dead and five wounded after officers searched two homes in the area without finding the fugitive.  The Kansas City Star reports that police looked Tuesday for 29-year-old Hugo Villanueva-Morales first at a duplex that's less than 1 mile away from the Tequila KC bar.  Gunfire erupted at the bar early Sunday about two hours after Villanueva-Morales got into an argument and was forced to leave. Police Officer Jonathon Westbrook says police also searched a second home before determining Villanueva-Morales wasn't there.  Villanueva-Morales and 23-year-old Javier Alatorre are charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Alatorre was arrested Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri. Police say Villanueva-Morales should be considered "armed and dangerous."


Judge Orders Extradition of Suspect in Kansas Bar Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge has ordered the extradition of a suspect in a Kansas bar shooting that left four people dead and five wounded, while the search continues for a second suspect.  Court records show that the judge issued the order Tuesday after 23-year-old Javier Alatorre waived his right to fight being returned to Kansas.  Alatorre and 29-year-old Hugo Villanueva-Morales are charged with four counts of first-degree murder.  Police say surveillance video shows Villanueva-Morales arguing with someone and being forced to leave the bar in Kansas City, Kansas, late Saturday. Police say gunfire erupted when he returned about two hours later with Alatorre, who was arrested later Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri.  Police provided no updates Tuesday on the search for Villanueva-Morales but have warned that he should be considered "dangerous."


Syphilis Cases and Newborns with the Disease on the Rise in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has seen a big jump in syphilis cases over the past five years and a spike in the number of infants born with the sexually transmitted disease.  The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that Kansas reported 152 cases of primary and secondary stage syphilis in 2018, compared with 60 in 2013. The increase was 153%.  The rate of cases per 100,000 residents grew to 5.2 in 2018 from 2.1 in 2013.  Kansas had eight cases of newborns being born with syphilis in 2018. The state had only a single reported case from 2013 through 2017.  Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman said babies born with syphilis may be developmentally delayed, have seizures or die if the infection is not treated during a pregnancy.


Kansas Man Faces 2nd Murder Trial over Infant's 2018 Death

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man accused of killing a 2½-month-old infant faces a second trial in January after his first trial resulted in a hung jury.  The Manhattan Mercury reports that D'Khari Lyons faces charges of first-degree murder and child abuse over the November 2018 death of Michael Calvert Jr. Authorities said the infant died from head trauma after sustaining severe internal injuries.  Riley County District Judge Meryl Wilson scheduled the start of a second trial for Jan. 13. The first was in September.  Wilson also lowered Lyons' bond to $100,000 from $500,000.  Defense attorney Cole Hawver said Lyons is not a flight risk and has no prior criminal history.  Prosecutors allege Lyons lashed out at the baby in momentary frustration at his crying while watching him for a girlfriend.


Jury Rules for Wichita Abortion Clinic Operator in Stalking Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal jury has sided with the operator of a Wichita abortion facility who contended she had reasonable grounds to seek a protection-from-stalking order against an abortion protester.  The verdict returned Tuesday follows a seven-day trial in the lawsuit filed by anti-abortion activist Mark Holick against clinic operator Julie Burkhart.  The lawsuit stems from anti-abortion protests in 2012 and 2013 in front of Burkhart's home and neighborhood. She got a temporary protection-from-stalking order against Holick that was dismissed two years later. He then sued her.  Jurors found Holick failed to prove his claim for malicious prosecution.  Burkhart says in a news release that she opened the clinic after Dr. George Tiller was killed for providing abortions. She says that's why she finds threats against her and her family "particularly chilling."


Kansas City Firm Makes $6.9 Million Bid for Rural Kansas Hospital

HILLSBORO, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, company that specializes in turning around financially-distressed hospitals is seeking to buy a rural central Kansas hospital that is in bankruptcy.  KCUR-FM reports that Rural Hospital Group is proposing to buy Hillsboro Community Hospital for $6.9 million. It appears to be the only bidder so far.  The 15-bed hospital about 50 miles north of Wichita was placed in receivership in January and then in bankruptcy in March after its previous owner defaulted on its bills and other financial obligations.  A member of a group that took over the hospital in 2017 has been charged in federal court in Kansas City with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The hospital was placed in receivership after it defaulted on a construction loan.


GM Talks Hit Snag over Job Security Guarantees

DETROIT (AP) — Talks between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have hit a snag over what the union says is GM's unwillingness to guarantee new products for U.S. factories.  Union Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) says in a letter to members Tuesday that a lack of commitment by GM to UAW-represented factories has weighed heavily on bargainers.  He says any pay gains will be meaningless without job security from new products. Dittes says he told the company that there is no job security when GM sells vehicles in the U.S. that are made in other countries.  The union went on strike against GM on September 16, halting production at U.S. factories. Parts shortages have forced the company to close one plant each in Canada and Mexico.  GM had no immediate comment.  GM's Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, employs more than 2,400 workers.


Missouri Prison Guard Wins $200,000 in Sexual Harassment Suit

KANASAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jurors have awarded $200,000 in damages to a former Missouri prison guard who alleged that she was sexually harassed by fellow guards.  The Kansas City Star reports that jurors also found last week in favor of Ana Barrios on her claims of gender discrimination and retaliation. But the jurors denied her claims of race and disability discrimination, as well as her request for punitive damages.  A spokeswoman for the corrections department declined to comment on the verdict, saying it doesn't comment on litigation.  Barrios was hired in September 2014 as a probation and parole assistant at the Kansas City Community Release Center. She was promoted to a corrections officer in September 2015, when the facility was renamed the Kansas City Re-Entry Center and turned into a minimum-security prison.


Overland Park Bans LGBT Discrimination

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The second largest city in Kansas has passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  The city council in Overland Park passed the measure Monday with a 10-1 vote.  The new ordinance prevents residents and employees from being denied housing, employment or services from businesses because of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Backers were overjoyed. Brett Hoedl, of Equality Kansas of Metro Kansas City, said it could create pressure for adoption of a statewide law. Nearly two dozen states outlaw discrimination against someone because they are LGBTQ. Missouri and Kansas aren't among them.  Council Member Dave White voted for the ordinance, but said he wanted more teeth in the legislation. The ordinance allows fines of up to $1,000.


Kansas Businessman Greg Orman: No Plans to Run for Office Again

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Greg Orman says he has no plans to run for political office "anytime soon" after unsuccessful campaigns as an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate and governor in Kansas.  The Kansas City-area businessman made the statement in an email to supporters Tuesday touting a column for the RealClear Politics website that decried what Orman views as political corruption involving both major political parties.  He quoted Mark Twain: "There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule."  Orman received 6.5 percent of the vote in last year's governor's race. But he received nearly 43 percent of the vote in a race for the Senate in 2014 against longtime Republican Senator Pat Roberts, with no Democrat running.  Roberts is not seeking re-election to the Senate in 2020.


Greyhound Apologizes to Texas Man Forced off Bus in Kansas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Greyhound Lines has apologized for forcing a Texas man off a bus in Kansas and for accusing him of being unruly and uncooperative.  Mohammad Reza Sardari was traveling from Dallas to Kansas City, Missouri, in November 2017 when he was thrown off a Greyhound bus at a bus station in Wichita, Kansas.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Sardari, who is Iranian, sued Greyhound in 2018 saying the bus driver discriminated against him after looking at his ticket and seeing his name.  In a statement last month, the bus company said Sardari wasn't unruly or uncooperative and that he was not removed from the vehicle by police as the company claimed in an earlier statement.  Greyhound apologized in the statement but maintains it didn't discriminate against Sardari.


Kansas Truck Driver Sues over Crash at Missouri Railroad Crossing

GREENFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas truck driver alleges in a lawsuit that two rail cars were "uncontrolled" when they struck his semi as he drove over a stretch of unmarked tracks in southwest Missouri in the dark.  The Springfield News-Leader reports that Brandan Bunnel's lawsuit against BNSF Railway was moved this month from state to federal court.  The suit says the collision happened in April 2018 as Bunnel left a Dade County grain elevator after unloading cargo there. The suit says he suffered "serious, life-altering injuries" and that his truck was damaged when the rail cars slammed into the vehicle's passenger side.  The suit says that at the time the crossing had no signs indicating the crossing was there, but that stop signs and "private railroad crossing" signs have now been placed there.


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