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Headlines for Thursday, October 27, 2022



Suspect in Kansas City Deaths of 2 South American Researchers Identified

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Prosecutors say two South American researchers found dead in Kansas City apparently were killed by a man who has since died in a murder-suicide. The Jackson County Prosecutor's office says a police investigation determined that Kevin Ray Moore likely killed a 24-year-old researcher from Argentina, Camila Behrensen, and a 25-year-old researcher from Chile, Pablo Guzman Palma, and then, set their apartment on fire. Their bodies were found October 1 in their apartment near the Stowers Institute, a biomedical research center in Kansas City. Prosecutors say police also determined that Moore died in a murder-suicide in Clay County on October 16. Prosecutors did not reveal a possible motive for the killings.


Kansas City Officer Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Black Teen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas City police sergeant has pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for putting his knee on the neck of a Black 15-year-old and pushing the teenager's face into the ground of a parking lot. After his plea Thursday, Matthew Neal was placed on four years probation and required to surrender his law enforcement license. Neal confronted the teen after a car pursuit in November 2019. Prosecutors say the teenager and an adult driving the car were not resisting when Neal pressed his knee into the teen's head and neck, making it difficult for him to breathe. He suffered bruising, broken teeth and a gash on his head. The victim was not arrested or charged with any crime.


Johnson County Middle School Teacher Charged with 6 Counts of Unlawful Sexual Relations

DE SOTO, Kan. (KCTV) - A Johnson County middle school teacher is facing multiple counts of unlawful sexual relations. KCTV reports that Keil Hileman has been charged with six counts of unlawful sexual relations. The school district said he teaches at Monticello Trails Middle School, which is in Shawnee. Each count states the victim was 16 or older. The first five counts involve the same victim. The sixth count involves a second victim. According to court documents, both were students at the time. The district, which is headquartered in De Soto, said they were first made aware of the allegations on October 6.  District officials say they acted immediately, removing Hileman from the classroom and school campus. He was then placed on leave. “Hileman will not be returning to the school district,” the district said in a statement. Due to “procedures regarding personnel matters,” the district will “take action on his employment at a future meeting.”

(Additional reporting...)

Kansas Middle School Teacher Faces Sex Charges

DE SOTO, Kan. (KCUR) - A middle school teacher in Shawnee, Kansas, charged with multiple counts of unlawful sexual relations made his first appearance in court Thursday. Keil Hileman, a teacher at Monticello Trails Middle School, was booked into Johnson County jail Wednesday. He’s charged with six counts of unlawful sexual relations occurring between June 2017 and October 2022. Court documents say the alleged crimes were committed against two students at the school, where Hileman was formerly employed. The USD 232 district said it was notified on October 6th of the allegations and immediately removed him from the school campus. It said he will not be returning. A public defender has been appointed to represent Hileman.


KCK Woman Gets Probation in Douglas County Child Pornography Case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - A woman has been sentenced to probation in Douglas County District Court for attempting to obtain hundreds of images of child pornography on a laptop shared with her husband. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 25-year-old April Caitlin Ticer, of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded no contest to two felony counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child in September for conducting an internet search for visual depictions of children under the age of 14 engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The crime is considered a low-level felony.

Ticer was originally facing three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor by promoting a sexually explicit performance of a child under the age of 14 and an additional 50 counts of exploitation but the additional charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. On Wednesday, Judge Sally Pokorny sentenced Ticer to 12 months on each count to run concurrently and then suspended the sentence to 24 months of probation. Judge Pokorny said that Ticer had no criminal history.

As previously reported by the Journal-World, the charges against Ticer and her husband, 38-year-old Brandon Michael Torneden, of Kansas City, Kansas, were filed after Lawrence police were tipped off that a laptop computer registered to the couple contained more than 600 images of children under the age of 8 engaged in sexual activity.
Torneden pleaded no contest to two felony counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child. He was sentenced in May to 24 months in prison that Pokorny then suspended to 24 months of probation, in accordance with sentencing guidelines. Both Ticer and Torneden are required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.


Construction Worker Killed in Missouri Bridge Collapse Identified

KEARNEY, Mo. (AP) _ Officials say one construction worker died and three others were injured when a bridge under construction collapsed in a rural area in northwest Missouri. Clay County officials identified the fatality victim as 22-year-old Connor Ernst of California, Missouri. Sheriff's officials initially said two people were injured when the bridge fell Wednesday but later said a third person was also injured on the bridge when it fell while concrete was being poured for its deck. Those three workers were able to extricate themselves from the rubble and suffered only minor injuries. The bridge spanned a creek in a rural area near Kearney, about 27 miles northeast of Kansas City.


KC Prosecutors Want Britt Reid to Serve 4 Years for Felony DUI

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KPR/KCUR) - Prosecutors are recommending a four-year prison sentence for former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid, the son of head coach Andy Reid. Britt Reid pleaded guilty last month to a felony drunk driving charge after an accident more than a year ago that left a child permanently impaired. In a memorandum filed with the court this week, Jackson County prosecutor Brady Twenter cited the case of Davon Powell-Terrill, who was driving while intoxicated four years ago and was involved in an accident that resulted in a permanent brain injury to a 7-year old child. Powell-Terrill was sentenced to four years in prison. Reid’s defense attorney, J.R. Hobbs, is asking that he be given probation, citing his remorse and his acknowledgment that he was criminally negligent. Reid was driving a pickup while under the influence of alcohol. The vehicle slammed into a car on an I-435 ramp, resulting in a traumatic brain injury to Ariel Young, who was then 5 years old.  Britt Reid is scheduled to be sentenced Friday afternoon.


7 People Hurt when Amusement Park Train Derails in Branson

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) _ Seven people suffered what were described as minor injuries after an amusement park train derailed in Branson. The derailment happened Wednesday evening at Silver Dollar City. Six patrons and one employee were taken to hospitals after the Frisco Silver Dollar Line Steam Train derailed. Stone County officials say three cars derailed, falling onto their side. No one appeared to have any broken bones or other serious injuries.


Kansas Voters Will Decide on Proposed Sheriff Amendment

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - A proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot in Kansas this fall may make it harder to remove a sheriff from office. A "yes" vote on the amendment means a sheriff can only be removed by the state’s attorney general or a local recall election. A "no" vote would continue to allow local prosecutors to conduct removal procedures and allow county officials to turn an elected sheriff position into an appointed job. Diane Minear is an attorney who formerly worked for several state offices. She says approving the amendment would mean less local oversight of sheriffs. “Because then it’s going to be up to the attorney general to expel a bad actor," she said. Supporters of the amendment say local residents should be able to elect their sheriff and they have oversight through the ballot box.


UPDATE: U.S. Marshals Shoot, Kill Escaped Inmate in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — U.S. Marshals shot and killed an escaped inmate while serving a warrant Wednesday in in the 3500 block of Bellefontaine in Kansas City, Missouri. KSHB TV reports that U.S. Marshals were working alongside Kansas City police officers while serving an arrest warrant around 2:30 pm. According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, officers spotted and approached the man, identified as 40-year-old Joshua Bailes, at a home in the area. Agents say they knocked on the door and then, the suspect allegedly approached them with a gun and pointed it at agents. Marshals fired a single-shot, killing the man. The man was a suspect in a shooting and aggravated robbery in Kansas City, Kansas. Bales had walked away from a half-way house in Leavenworth County and a warrant had been issued for his arrest in September. No law enforcement officers were injured.

(AP version)

Authorities: Armed Fugitive Killed by U.S. Marshal in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a U.S. Marshal shot and killed a man who had walked away from a halfway house in Kansas last month. Patrol spokesman Sgt. Bill Lowe says 40-year-old Joshua Bailes was shot Wednesday afternoon at a home in Kansas City, Missouri, after he pointed a gun at authorities who had tracked him down. Marshals were working with Kansas City police to serve a warrant when Bailes was spotted at a home in the area. Lowe says Bailes pointed a gun at them after agents knocked on the door. A marshal fired one round, killing Bailes. No officers were injured.

(Earlier reporting...)

U.S. Marshals Fatally Shoot Suspect in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The U.S. Marshals Service fatally shot a suspect while trying to arrest him in Kansas City. The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the shooting, which happened Wednesday afternoon in the 3500 block of Bellfontaine Avenue. KCTV reports the marshals were trying to serve an arrest warrant when the suspect presented a gun and was shot by one of the marshals. The 40-year-old ultimately died from his injuries. Marshals say the man was a suspect in a Kansas City, Kansas, shooting and aggravated assault case.


No One Hit Powerball Lottery, Jackpot Grows to $800 Million for Saturday Night

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — No one won an estimated $700 million Powerball jackpot, meaning the big prize will grow to an estimated $800 million for the next drawing, on Saturday night. The numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 19, 36, 37, 46 and 56. The Powerball was 24. No one has matched all six numbers and won the Powerball jackpot since August 3, allowing the prize to grow to the fifth-largest in U.S. history. That amounts to 36 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner. The new $800 million jackpot amount is for winners who take their winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners actually choose the cash option, however, which would be $383.7 million after taxes.


KCK Public Schools Consider Installing 1,600 Cameras

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCUR) - The Board of Education for Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools has decided to let the public offer more testimony on a plan to install 1,600 cameras in classrooms across the district. Members of the board and community voiced concern about the proposal at a meeting Tuesday night. They opposed introducing the idea after only minimal feedback from board members and the community. Board Member Rachel Russell says she’s frustrated by the lack of communication. “Many parents don’t even know this is a discussion item. It is my strongest belief that decisions like these should solicit intentional feedback," she said. The board will discuss possible dates for further public discussion during a meeting next week.


Man Dies After Being Pinned by His Own Semi Truck in Kansas

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KAKE) - A man was killed after being pinned between two semi trucks Wednesday morning. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Major Willie Washington was between his semi and the trailer of another semi when his truck began to roll forward. KAKE TV reports that Washington tried to get back in but was pinned between the two. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities have not reported why Washington's truck rolled forward with no driver.


Kansas Highway Patrol: Semi Ran over Honda in KCK, then Drove Away  

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating after a semi-truck ran over a Honda Accord in Kansas City and drove away. WIBW TV reports that around noon on Wednesday, emergency crews were called to the area of milepost 2.2 on southbound I-635, just south of Metropolitan Avenue, after receiving reports of a hit-and-run accident. When officials arrived, they found a 2007 Honda Accord driven by 29-year-old Stephen L. Henry, of Kansas City. Officials say Henry had been headed south on the interstate alongside a semi-truck. However, they say the semi changed lanes and ran into the Honda. As a result, Henry lost control of the Honda and hit the median barrier wall. The semi-truck continued on and did not stop. Henry and his passenger, 32-year-old Monique L. Henry, of Kansas City, were both taken to the University of Kansas Medical Center with suspected minor injuries. There was also a child present in the car, however, officials have not indicated if the child was injured.


Survey: About One Third of Kansans Feel Schools Are Unsafe

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW) - A new public opinion survey of Kansas residents shows widespread concerns about school safety. According to the Kansas Speaks survey from Fort Hays State University, about one third of Kansas adults feel schools in their communities are unsafe.  About two-thirds said they think schools are safe and secure.  Terri Moses is director of safety for the state’s largest district in Wichita. She says reports of school shootings and other violence elsewhere make people nervous about their own schools. “Unfortunately, the number of school shootings continues to rise. But then we continue to do more to ensure that our buildings are safe," she said. The Kansas Speaks survey also asked about parental oversight in schools. Less than half of Kansas adults said parents have the right amount of influence on public education. That comes as several Kansas lawmakers are pushing for more parental oversight of classroom lessons.


Kansas Poll Reveals Effects of Pandemic on Mental Health

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW/KNS) - The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many Kansans.  That's according to a new poll released by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University.  The annual poll surveyed 520 adults from across the state this fall. According to the poll, one in two Kansans say their mental health - or their family’s mental health - has been affected since the pandemic began.  Jessica Provines is a psychologist at Wichita State University. She says the disruption to routines and relationships during the pandemic is the likely culprit. "Going through such a national crisis as we did during the height of the pandemic, it really brought to the forefront how important mental wellness is in our overall health," she said. The poll also found 44% of Kansans have utilized mental health resources since the pandemic, or know someone who has.


Former Kansas City Mayor Charles Wheeler dies at age of 96

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Former Kansas City Mayor Charles Wheeler, who oversaw a period of rapid expansion in the 1970s, has died at age 96.  Wheeler died Tuesday night at a nursing home in Overland Park. He was Kansas City's mayor for two terms in the 1970s. The city's downtown airport is named after Wheeler.


Wisconsin Contractors Banned from Kansas, Ordered to Pay $230,000 for Violations

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Two Wisconsin men and their roofing company have been banned from doing business in Kansas and ordered to pay $230,000 in penalties for alleged violations of consumer protection laws.  Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made the announcement today (THUR), saying that Benjamin Thayer, of Cambridge, Wisconsin, and Ryan Metzker, of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and Copperhead Contracting of Milton, Wisconsin, have been banned from operating as roofing contractors in Kansas. A Shawnee County District Court judge approved the judgment and ordered the defendants to pay the $230,000 fine.  

Schmidt alleged that the defendants conducted door-to-door solicitations and entered into contracts with seven individuals and one business for roofing services following a hail storm in May 2018. Schmidt says the defendants failed to register with the state as required by law and failed to provide consumers with notices that they had a right to cancel the transaction, a violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

In a separate case, a Sherman County roofer and his business have been banned from performing roofing services in Kansas and ordered to pay $10,000 in penalties after being found in violation of consumer protection laws. Travis Hollingshead, doing business as Holly Enterprises, of Goodland, was banned from operating as a roofing contractor in Kansas. A Sherman County District Court judge approved the deal reached between Hollingshead and Schmidt’s office. 


After Abortion Vote, Kansas Lawmakers' Power Back on Ballot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KPR) — Kansas voters are being asked to give their legislators greater power over how state government operates. They will decide November 8 whether to approve a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to make it easier for the Kansas Legislature to overturn regulations imposed by state agencies. It would cover agencies under control of the governor but others as well. If lawmakers don't like a regulation now, they can complain and hope the agency backs off, or they can pass a bill that the governor can veto. The measure would allow lawmakers to overturn a regulation with a simple majority vote in both chambers. Critics see it as a legislative power grab.


Housing Assistance Still Available in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas has given out almost $25 million in federal homeowner assistance to help people catch up on their bills. And the Kansas News Service reports that funds are still available. The program has helped more than 2,000 Kansas homeowners in the last six months and homeowners can apply for the money if they own a home in Kansas, are at least 30 days behind on their mortgage and meet certain income requirements. The cash helps with mortgages, property taxes or utility fees. The program aims to keep people in their homes. Applications for the program are open until the remaining $30 million in funding runs out.


U.S. Sued over Lack of Protection Plan for Rare Grouse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ An environmental group is suing U.S. wildlife managers, saying they have failed to protect a rare grouse found in one of the country's most prolific areas for oil and gas development. A lawsuit filed Tuesday says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is nearly five months late in releasing a final rule outlining protections for the lesser prairie chicken. In 2021, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed adding a Texas and New Mexico population to the endangered species list and a separate population found elsewhere in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado to the threatened list. The Center for Biological Diversity claims decades of stalling by the government is threatening the bird and its habitat.


KU School of Music Celebrates 50 Years of Jazz

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — The University of Kansas School of Music celebrates a major milestone this month with a celebration and concert. The KU Jazz 50th Anniversary Celebration will commemorate 50 years of the “official” jazz program — and the “unofficial” bands that existed beforehand. The event will feature two concerts highlighting alumni of the KU Jazz Studies Program, both taking place at 7:30 pm at the Lied Center of Kansas on October 28 and 29.

October 28
Current performers for KU Jazz Ensemble I will present a tribute to saxophonist and woodwind artist Gary Foster, with guest soloists Steve Houghton (drums), Matt Otto and Paul Haar (saxophones), Ron McCurdy (trumpet), Jeff Harshbarger (bass) and others. Foster, a 1962 graduate of KU and a native of Leavenworth, is one of the most celebrated jazz and commercial music artists from the Los Angeles scene, with performance and recording credits including Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme along with a list of some of the most important jazz artists of the past 50 years. He also appears on more than 500 motion picture soundtracks.

October 29
KU alumni from the past 50 years will perform in big bands and a vocal jazz ensemble, and they will be directed by the program’s four directors—Robert Foster (the founder of the program in 1972), James Barnes, Ron McCurdy and Dan Gailey.

Tickets are available from the Lied Center

The KU Jazz Studies Program began its “official” existence in 1972, when Robert Foster, then KU director of bands, formed the first jazz ensemble within the curriculum. Since that time, the program has grown to include three big bands, 11 jazz combos, a vocal jazz ensemble, and numerous classes in jazz and commercial music. In addition to Foster’s direction, the program was led in subsequent years by James Barnes, Ron McCurdy and the current director, Dan Gailey. The program is now considered one of the premier college jazz programs in the nation. ( Read more.)


Kansas Not Planning to Require COVID-19 Vaccine for School Attendance, Despite CDC Recommendation

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) - Kansas officials say they have no plans to require the COVID-19 vaccine for school attendance, despite a move by federal officials to place the shots on the childhood vaccination schedule last week. The action, taken by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, does not compel Kansas or any other state to require the shots for school attendance, but many states follow the CDC's recommendations. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that anywhere from five to eight vaccines are required for school attendance, depending on the grade and age. That includes vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella, Hepatitis B, tetanus and chickenpox. There are no plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to that list, Matt Lara, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said in an email.

Governor Laura Kelly had previously said it was "premature" to have any discussions about the merits of requiring the COVID-19 vaccine until it was fully approved for all ages by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has granted full approval for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 years and older. There is no timeframe for full approval for younger age groups. Still, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is Kelly's Republican opponent in the governor's race this fall, said in a statement that "no Kansas student will ever be forced to receive a COVID vaccine in order to attend school — not on my watch.” He also took Kelly to task for vetoing Senate Bill 34, which would have barred the KDHE secretary from requiring any vaccine or test that had not received full FDA approval and Schmidt said he would support such a measure. It's likely that such a proposal will be considered when lawmakers return to Topeka in January.

Kansas Officials: No State Funds Used to Produce Drag Show

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Claims that Kansas used taxpayer dollars to produce a drag show have been swirling online. But it appears those claims are based on flyers for the drag show that mistakenly included a state agency logo. Republican nominee for governor Derek Schmidt blasted Democratic Governor Laura Kelly because of social media posts saying the state’s commerce department helped fund a drag show. A poster advertising the show was circulating online. It showed the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission logo. That led people to believe the state helped finance the show. But the studio that ran the drag show says it was a mistake to include the state logo and no tax dollars were used. The Kansas News Service reports that the state provided funding to that group for other arts programs, which is why the group had been using the logo, but that funding isn’t related to drag shows or used for them.


Help Wanted: Kansas Public Radio Seeks New Statehouse Bureau Chief

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio is seeking a new  Statehouse Bureau Chief. This position works primarily at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. Duties include managing all aspects of KPR’s capital news bureau, which provides broadcast and digital news reports to a number of radio stations in Kansas and Missouri. This position is primarily responsible for reporting on all aspects of state government. The KPR Statehouse Bureau Chief researches, writes, reports and produces spot news, digital stories and long-form audio features for KPR and its reporting partners.  Learn more about this position.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy.


No. 9 Oklahoma St Visits No. 22 K-State in Big 12 Showdown

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State hopes to know late in the week whether it will have Adrian Martinez under center when the No. 22 Wildcats play ninth-ranked Oklahoma State in a game that could help decide who plays in the Big 12 championship game. Martinez barely played last week at TCU, when the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1) blew a 28-10 lead in a loss to the Horned Frogs that left them fighting for second place in the conference race. They are tied with Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1), which also has lost to TCU, and that means the winner Saturday will have a big advantage in the race for a title-game rematch.


K-State QB Adrian Martinez Among Finalists for "Academic Heisman"

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez and Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell were among 15 players named finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, an award given to college football's top scholar-athlete. Finalists are chosen from all levels of college football by the National Football Foundation and earn an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The winner will be announced December 6 and receive an additional $7,000 scholarship. Other finalists include Auburn kicker Anders Carlson, Stanford offensive lineman Walter Rouse and UTSA offensive lineman Ahofitu Maka.


Kansas City Chiefs' Frank Clark Suspended 2 Games for Weapons Charges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP/KPR) — Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark has been suspended two games by the NFL after pleading no contest last month to two counts of misdemeanor possession of an assault weapon in Los Angeles. The league announced the suspension this week as the Chiefs head into their bye week. He will miss games against the Titans and Jaguars and will be allowed back with the team on Nov. 14 in time for that week's game against the Chargers. The three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher was sentenced to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service after he was arrested in March 2021, when an officer noticed a weapon in a car Clark was riding in and recovered two loaded firearms. Clark was arrested when he was pulled over while riding with another man in a vehicle that did not have a license plate. Three months later, Clark was pulled over for a code violation and officers discovered another gun in his vehicle.

Without Clark, the Chiefs will have to lean on first-round draft pick George Karlaftis and veteran Carlos Dunlap along with Mike Danna, who has struggled for several weeks with a calf injury but should be healthy after the bye. They also will need to get continued production from defensive tackle Chris Jones, who leads the team with five sacks.


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre, and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays, 11 am weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members.  Become one today. And follow  KPR News on Twitter.