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Headlines for Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Patrol: Several Injured in School Bus Accident Near Emporia

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says several children suffered minor injuries when a school bus rolled onto its side near Emporia. Patrol Lt. Dave Hundley says 36 students, two teachers, a chaperone and the driver were on the bus when it went into a ditch off a slushy Kansas Turnpike Wednesday morning about 14 miles south of Emporia. Seventeen children were taken to a hospital in Newton for treatment. The bus was carrying students from Park Elementary School in Wichita. The Emporia Gazette reports the students were on their way to a Topeka for a field trip.

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Kansas Connection to Lawsuit Against Iowa Center Accused of Exploitation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP/KPR) — A lawsuit, filed by former staffers, claims a medical care facility in Iowa exploited disabled patients in order to conduct research into sexual arousal.  Former director Jerry Rea, who was fired in December, is a child psychologist who used to work in Kansas.  According to allegations in the lawsuit, the problems at the Glenwood Resource Center began when Rea was put in charge as the new superintendent.  The former researcher at the University of Kansas was hired in 2017 to oversee the facility, which treats people with intellectual disabilities.  The AP reports that former staffers, including two doctors, accuse Rea of conducting medical experimentation on fragile and dependent residents - without their consent.  They claim Rea’s goal was to transform Glenwood “from a facility focused on patient care, into a research facility to further Rea's longstanding interest into research involving sexual arousal and sexual deviancy."

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Kansas's Elections Chief Sparks Own Voting-Rights Dispute

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top election official in Kansas says the state needs another year of preparations before trying to give voters a choice of polling places on Election Day. Secretary of State Scott Schwab's position has sparked a new fight over voting rights because it's been nearly 10 months since the Legislature enacted a law aimed at making voting more convenient. Even some of Schwab's fellow Republicans believe that at least the state's largest city of Wichita is ready to allow voters to cast their ballots at any of its dozens of polling places. Schwab says he's moving carefully to prevent big Election Day problems. 

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State and County Officials Investigate Death in Northeast Kansas Explosion

VERMILLION, Kan. (AP) — State officials are joining with Marshall County law enforcement to investigate the death of a northeast Kansas man after an explosion and fire. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday that 83-year-old Donald McLaughlin died at his home in Vermillion on January 24. Emergency crews found his body after extinguishing the fire. The investigation began after an autopsy was performed. The Marshall County Sheriff's office asked for KBI assistance Friday after it found the circumstances of the death suspicious. The State Fire Marshal also is helping with the investigation. Officials says there is no threat to the public related to this incident.

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Man, Woman Charged in Fatal Pizza Hut Shooting in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man and woman have been charged in the fatal shooting of a Pizza Hut employee during a robbery attempt in which the victim's coworkers hid in the freezer of the Kansas City, Kansas, restaurant. Wyandotte County prosecutors announced Tuesday that 33-year-old Gary Winters and 30-year-old Lacricia Leak-Myers are charged with first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery in the January 28 death of 25-year-old Laron Briggs. Charging documents say that Leak-Myers was the driver and that Winters went inside the restaurant to rob it. The robbery failed, although the documents provided no details about what scuttled it.

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Man Arrested After Standoff at Kansas Indoor Water Park

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been taken into custody at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, Kansas, after a standoff that led to a temporary lockdown at the indoor water park and hotel. Police said in a news release that officers responded shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday to reports of an armed disturbance when the man refused to leave. After efforts to negotiate with him failed, a special operations unit went into the room and took him into custody. During the standoff, the wing of the hotel where the man barricaded himself was evacuated. No one was hurt. The name of the man wasn't immediately released. 

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Lawrence Officials Consider Illegal Camping Ordinance Change

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials are looking into changing or possibly repealing ordinances that make it illegal to camp or sleep on public land, in city parks and in downtown Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that city commissioners discussed the issue Tuesday amid an increased focus on the homeless population after the city's shelter sharply reduced its capacity last year. Commissioners asked city staff to bring them back research regarding the effects of repealing the ordinances, as well as the effects of changing the ordinances to make them unenforceable if local homeless shelters are at capacity. 

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Sheriff: 8 Kansas Deputies Suspended for Illegal Steroids

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says eight jail deputies have been suspended in connection with the sale and possession of illegal steroids. The activity had been going on for a year and apparently took place outside the facility. It does not appear any illegal steroids were introduced into the jail. Seven men and and one woman have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of any charges. Three of them are believed to have sold the illegal steroids. The officers include two corporals, range in ages from 27 to 48. No charges have been filed. 

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Wichita Police Investigate Four Overdoses Last Weekend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating whether four overdose cases last weekend involve Oxycodone embedded with fentanyl. Police say a 19-year-old man died after ingesting the pills. Three other people, ages 16, 27 and 23, required medical assistance after taking the pills. Police say they are investigating several cases of counterfeit Oxycodone pills embedded with fentanyl. KSNW reports  Captain Jeff Allen says fentanyl can be 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. He says it is possiblesome drug dealers are not aware they are illegally providing counterfeit Oxycodone withs fentanyl.   

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Kansas City Man Convicted in Shooting that Killed Missionary

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been convicted of killing a Christian missionary from China and wounding two others while high on PCP. Jurors found 20-year-old Curtrail Hudson guilty Monday of second-degree murder and five other charges in the April 2018 shooting that killed 38-year-old Xindong Hao. Hao arrived in the city with his wife and four young children shortly before the shooting to join fellow missionaries at the International House of Prayer. The evangelical group's headquarters is near the scene of the shooting. Defense attorney Craig Napier says Hudson smoked a marijuana cigarette without knowing it had been dipped in PCP and was “in a state of psychosis."

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Wichita Police: Homeless Man Apparently Beaten to Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a homeless man whose body was found under a bridge in Wichita apparently was beaten to death. The body of a black man was found Monday afternoon under a bridge. The man appeared to be in his 60s. Capt. Jason Stephens says the man had blunt force injuries to his body. KSN reports Stephen says the man could have been under the bridge for as long as a day. This is the seventh homicide in Wichita this year.

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Former Wichita Teacher Charged with Sex Crimes with Teen

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A fired Wichita teacher and recent city council candidate has been charged with sex crimes with a teenage student. The Wichita Eagle reports that 39-year-old Rodney Wren made a first appearance Monday on three counts of having unlawful sexual relations with a student 16 or older in 2015. At the time, the girl was attending Wichita Collegiate School, where Wren taught debate and forensics. Police began investigating when the girl reported the allegations last month. He was terminated when the school learned of his arrest Friday.

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Man Accused of Attacking Shawnee County Guard Going to Trial

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 56-year-old man who is jailed for a 2012 attack at WIBW-TV will go to trial for allegedly attacking a Shawnee County corrections officer. Ray Anthony Miles' trial will start June 9 on charges of first-degree attempted murder, aggravated battery and battery against a corrections officer. Prosecutors say Miles attacked a female corrections officer in July 2019 and also tried to stab her several times with a pen. The officer was treated and released for injuries to her face and head. Miles has been in jail since November 2018 serving the remainder of a misdemeanor sentence related to the attack at WIBW-TV.

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Study: Kansas Educators Make Less than Peers in Other States

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A study reveals that Kansas universities pay their instructors less compared to schools of the same size with similar programs in other states. The latest figures from the Kansas Board of Regents show state university instructors, who are full-time and spend at least half their time teaching, made on average $13,796 less than instructors at comparable universities in the 2019 fiscal year. In other words, instructors made 86 cents for each dollar their out-of-state peers earned. The previous year, Kansas faculty made 84 cents for every dollar paid to their peers.

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U.S. Secretary of State's Wife Endorses GOP's Amanda Adkins in Kansas 3rd District Race

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's wife on Tuesday endorsed Republican candidate Amanda Adkins in the race for the Kansas congressional seat for the Kansas City area. Susan Pompeo said she's known and respected Adkins for nearly two decades. Adkins is a former Kansas Republican Party chairwoman, and she and Mike Pompeo together represented Kansas on the Republican National Committee when Adkins was a state GOP leader. Adkins is seeking the right to challenge freshman Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids in the 3rd Congressional District. Adkins is facing Adrienne Vallejo Foster and Sara Hart Weir in the August GOP primary.

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Kansas Trooper Finds Nearly $350,000 of Suspected Drug Money

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  Authorities say a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper found nearly $350,000 of suspected drug money hidden in the gas tank of a pickup truck after pulling over the driver on Interstate 70. The Wichita Eagle reports that federal prosecutors filed a civil asset forfeiture case Tuesday, asking a judge to give the money to the government. The money was found in December after a trooper pulled over the driver for a traffic violation. The affidavit says the cash was "rubber-banded" and "wrapped in vacuum-sealed plastic bags" hidden in the fuel tank. The driver told the trooper he was headed from Chicago to Pasco, Washington, but declined to answer questions about the money. He has a criminal history involving money laundering.  

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Judge Throws Out Lawsuit over Arrest at Kansas City Library

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against a former Kansas City police detective who arrested a man during an event at the Kansas City library. Chief judge Beth Phillips ruled the former detective, Brent Parsons, had probable cause to arrest Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, of Lawrence, Kansas, at the library in 2016. Rothe-Kushel contended in the lawsuit that his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested while questioning a speaker, diplomat Dennis Ross. A library employee also was arrested. The judge ruled Rothe-Kushel had a right to ask Ross questions but not to deprive others of asking their questions.

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Lawsuit: Firefighter Accuses Coworkers of Sexual Harassment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A lawsuit says a firefighter in Missouri is accusing her coworkers of sexual harassment, including watching pornography at the station and showing her nude photos. The Kansas City Star reports that Dana Osborne, the first firefighter in the Nixa Fire Protection District, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Western District Court of Missouri. The lawsuit states Osborne was hired in 2017 and almost immediately was treated differently and critiqued on a different basis than her male colleagues. It also includes accusations that Osborne was denied training and female-appropriate equipment

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Missouri Bill Would Ban In-State Tuition for Some Students

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri bill would ban public colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition discounts to students living in the U.S. illegally. Missouri schools now face losing state funding if they offer those students anything less than the tuition rate charged to international students. That's because of budget restrictions that state lawmakers have enacted in recent years. Suburban St. Louis Republican Senator Bob Onder's bill would enshrine that budget policy in law. Critics say the cost of international tuition creates barriers for those students to attend college and could push them to leave Missouri.

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Kansas Farmer Sentenced for Crop Insurance Fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 63-year-old Kansas farmer has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for federal crop insurance fraud and bankruptcy fraud. In addition, Kevin Struss, of Wakeeney, must pay $604,303 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in October 2019. Federal prosecutors say Struss under-reported his 2015 corn and sorghum crops by a total of about 54,730 bushels. The crops were insured with a federal subsidy, which mean Struss received crop insurance benefits he was not entitled to. He also lied on his later bankruptcy filing in 2018.

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