Headlines for Friday, July 22, 2022 | #computerhacking | #hacking


Triple Digits Expected this Weekend

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – A heat advisory takes effect at noon today (FRI) and will last through Saturday night for all of eastern Kansas. Forecasters say it will be sunny & hot this weekend with temps near 100 or higher. Some relief could come Sunday night when there’s a 50% chance of showers. (Get the latest weather from the National Weather Service office in Topeka.)


Court: Kansas Election Chief’s Software Change Violated Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled that the state’s top elections official violated the state’s open records law when he had office computer software altered so that it could no longer produce data sought by a voting-rights advocate. The decision directed a trial-court judge to order Secretary of State Scott Schwab to reverse the change so that the software can again produce a statewide report on provisional ballots. Those ballots are cast when election officials have doubts about whether someone is eligible to vote. The data was sought by founder Davis Hammet of the voting-rights group Loud Light. The appeals panel said Schwab’s action improperly concealed a public record.


Kansas Attorney General Issues Opinion on Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment Legalities

UNDATED (KC Star) –  The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion Friday stating that treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is not considered an abortion in Kansas. Schmidt is a Republican who is a candidate for Governor. In the opinion, he said that passage of a constitutitional amendment on the ballot in August would have no impact on treatments for ectopic pregnancies, stillbirths, or miscarriages. That is in line with statements made by groups promoting that amendment, which would remove the right to an abortion from the privacy protections written into the state constitution. Adoption of the amendment would open the door for legislators to pass new restrictions on abortion, including a total ban. The Star reports that the opinion focuses on the state’s legal definition of abortion, which specifically excludes treatment for miscarriages and stillbirths. However, the opinion is dependent on Kansas abortion law staying the same. A 2019 Supreme Court ruling determined that a state-level right to abortion keeps the Kansas Legislature from enacting laws that would restrict a woman’s access to abortion. If the proposed amendment passes, lawmakers could then pursue legislation that would change the state’s statutory definition of abortion, and could make laws putting restrictions or outright criminalization in place.  

Man Accused of Killing North Kansas City Officer Pleads Not Guilty; Funeral Next Week for Officer

UNDATED (KC Star / KPR) – A judge in Clay County, Missouri, has entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Joshua Rocha, the man accused of fatally shooting a North Kansas City police officer during a traffic stop. The Kansas City Star reports that Rocha made his first court appearance Thursday, where he was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for allegedly shooting and killing North Kansas City police officer Daniel Vasquez. Rocha could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted. Funeral services have been announced for officer Vasquez. A public visitation will be held Tuesday from 5 to 9pm at the Vineyard Church in Kansas City. Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning, also at Vineyard Church.


Teen Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder in Olathe

OLATHE, Kan. (KCUR) – A juvenile charged in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man in Olathe in May has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. KCUR Radio reports that the 14-year-old male entered the plea in Johnson County District Court on Wednesday. He had been charged with first-degree murder. He’s set to be sentenced on August 24th and faces up to eight years in juvenile detention. He was one of six teens charged in the death of Marco Cardino, in what appears to have been a marijuana deal gone awry at Black Bob Park. Court records indicate a second teen plans to enter a guilty plea on August 24th. A third, female teen is scheduled to go to trial on December 12th. (Read more.)


School Resource Officer ‘Likely’ Shot Principal in March Incident at Olathe East High School 

UNDATED (KC Star) – A report released Friday by the Johnson County district attorney’s office found that an assistant principal “was most likely shot” by a school resource officer in an altercation at Olathe East High School in March. The Kansas City Star reports that Jaylon Elmore, an 18-year-old Olathe East Student, pulled a handgun from his backpack and started firing. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe declined to file charges against officer Erik Clark, determining that Clark was justified in his actions, saying the officer “…believed that he was going to die” when the student began firing. Elmore, Clark and assistant principal Kaleb Stoppel were injured in the March 4, 2021 shooting.

(–AP Version–)

Prosecutor: Shooting at Kansas High School Was Justified

UNDATED (AP) – A prosecutor says a school resource officer who shot and wounded a Kansas high school student after the student shot him four times won’t face charges because he believed his life was in danger. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said in a report released Friday that school resource officer Erik Clark shot Jaylon Elmore at Olathe East High School after Elmore shot him four times inside an assistant principal’s office on March 4. The report says an assistant principal, Kaleb Stoppel, was wounded during the exchange, “most likely” by two bullets Clark fired. Clark and Stoppel were released from the hospital the same day. Elmore was hospitalized for weeks before he was jailed on an attempted capital murder charge.

Kansas AG Among GOP Attorneys General Asking Google Not to Limit Pregnancy Center Search Results

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Last month, some federal lawmakers urged Google to limit the appearance of anti-abortion pregnancy centers in certain abortion-related search results. Now, 17 Republican attorneys general are warning the company that doing so could invite legal action. Sometimes called crisis pregnancy centers, these offices are often religiously affiliated and counsel clients against having an abortion. Attorneys general in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and 13 other states signed a letter saying that suppressing search results about crisis pregnancy centers would squelch what they call “pro-life and pro-mother voices.”


Money Spent on Kansas Abortion Amendment Likely to Drive Turnout

EMPORIA, Kan. (KNS) – A Kansas political scientist says money flooding into a ballot question about abortion rights will matter most by driving voter turnout. The two main campaigns slugging it out for the vote on whether to strip abortion rights from the Kansas Constitution reported raising a combined $11.2 million.  Michael Smith, a political scientist at Emporia State University, says the spending could raise the profile of the election and draw more voters to the polls than a typical primary election. “Persuasion is a tough nut to crack when you’re dealing with abortion rights, and so a lot of it is the turnout ground game,” he said. Bob Beatty, a political scientist at Washburn University, says Kansans who are not affiliated with a political party are not used to voting in primaries. Yet their votes could make the difference in a close race. “If they are majority ‘No’ voters, their turnout is going to be possibly really important,” he said. Early voting has already begun and election day is August 2nd. All Kansas voters may cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation.


Conspiracy-Promoting Sheriffs Claim Vast Election Authority

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — There’s been no evidence of any widespread fraud or manipulation of voting machines in 2020. Yet the sheriff in the most populous county in Kansas says he’s investigating election fraud. Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden is not the only county sheriff in the U.S. claiming a role in elections. Promoters of baseless conspiracy theories that the 2020 president election was stolen from former President Donald Trump are now looking to sheriffs to pursue fraud allegations. They’re pushing a dubious theory that sheriffs have virtually unchecked power locally. Hayden’s actions prompted the county’s top lawyer to warn that he could be seen as trying to interfere with elections.


Royals’ Merrifield Says He ‘Poorly Articulated’ Vax Remarks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two-time All-Star Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals has apologized for what he called his “poorly articulated” comments about the COVID-19 vaccine after missing the team’s trip to Canada. Merrifield was among 10 Royals players who didn’t travel to Toronto because of their vaccination status for a four-game series against the Blue Jays before the All-Star break last week. The 33-year-old outfielder/second baseman has been a fan favorite in Kansas City. But backlash came quickly and harshly after Merrifield tried to explain his reasoning. Royals manager Mike Matheny said Merrifield has spoken to the team about his comments.


Lee’s Summit Businessman Pleads Guilty in Fraud Scheme – and It’s Not the First Time

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (KC Business Journal) – A Missouri-based aircraft supply company’s owner pleaded guilty to a $7 million fraud scheme involving a Connecticut investment firm.  The Kansas City Business Journal reports that Kyle Wine owned and operated several companies in the commercial aircraft supply industry, including JetPro International LLC, Nexus Aviation, and Turbotech Partners, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut. Based in Lee’s Summit, Wine is accused of defrauding investors in aircraft-related transactions between 2018 and 2021 by using investors’ money to buy aircraft airframes and engines, selling the airframes and engines while concealing the profits from his investors, and diverting invested money for his own use, according to a release from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri. A total of 13 people were victims of the scheme, which caused a little more than $7.15 million in losses. Wine entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud, which contains a 20-year maximum sentence, and one count of money laundering, which includes a 10-year maximum sentence. Wine is free on bail, and his sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

In 2010, Wine was found guilty of participating in one of Jackson County’s biggest mortgage fraud schemes. In a two-count federal indictment related to a $23 million mortgage scheme, Wine and co-conspirator Nathan Anderson pleaded guilty. Federal prosecutors had charged the two with using false and deceptive loan applications to coerce mortgage lenders into lending investors $23.3 million so they could purchase 350 residential homes. The two completed work for AMIC and Real Estate Holdings Inc. in addition to Wine’s brother Jeffrey Wine’s Sunrise Equities Inc. In 2007, Jeffrey Wine admitted to participating in related schemes, and as a result, he was sentenced to five years in prison without the possibility of release.


Wichita Police Officers Suspended over Offensive Messages

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW / KNS) – After reopening a case about racist text messages, Interim Wichita Police Chief Lemuel Moore suspended three police officers without pay. Two other officers received a written reprimand and must attend sensitivity training. Moore suspended the three officers for eight days. City manager Robert Layton added seven more days of unpaid suspension for two of those officers who sent racist memes. Layton says his added discipline is necessary to discourage racist and inappropriate behavior. “I am taking these additional steps to send a strong and clear message that those with these types of beliefs are not welcome in our police department or in any positions with the city of Wichita,” he said. The disciplinary action follows a March investigation that uncovered the racist and violent text messages and memes shared among the officers. The discipline announced Thursday is the most punishment the officers involved have received thus far. The city will hire a firm to undertake an independent investigation in the next several weeks.

(AP version)

3 Wichita Officers Suspended for Inappropriate Tweets

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Three Wichita police officers have been suspended for exchanging racist, homophobic or inappropriate tweets. City Manager Robert Layton ordered the officers be suspended for 15 days.  An investigation began after The Wichita Eagle reported in March about the messages and that no officers had been disciplined. The investigation found 13 Wichita police officers, three Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputies and two Wichita firefighters sent and received inappropriate text messages.


U.S. Disrupts North Korean Hackers that Targeted American Hospitals, Including One in Kansas

NEW YORK (AP / KPR) – The FBI recently disrupted the activities of a hacking group sponsored by the North Korean government and money laundering groups in China.  The hackers targeted U.S. hospitals — including some in Kansas and Colorado — with ransomware. An unidentified hospital in Kansas was hacked in May 2021, leaving healthcare workers unable to perform X-rays and diagnostic imaging. The hospital eventually paid about $100,000 in Bitcoin to get its system back up and running. The FBI was able to recover half a million dollars in ransom payments made by U.S. hospitals. Authorities encourage organizations hit by ransomware to report the crime to law enforcement so officials can investigate and so that they can help victim companies try to get ransom payments back.


Two Cowboys Accused of Rustling Cattle in Central Kansas

PAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (Hays Post) – Cattle rustling. It’s still a thing in Kansas. Two men have been arrested for trying to steal cattle from a feedlot in central Kansas. The men from Larned (42-year-old Ruben Lopez-Lupercio and 24-year-old Axel Elian Gomez-Saldana) are accused of stealing eleven heifers. The Hays Post reports that the two men appeared in Pawnee County District Court this week for a preliminary hearing. According to Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett, the men are charged with felony theft.


Let’s Learn Russian! Grant Will Help Kansas High School Students Do Just That

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) – More Kansas high school students will have a chance to learn Russian through a grant awarded to the University of Kansas. The program will also explore Russian culture and politics. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is one reason Ani Kokobobo wants more young people to learn about Russia. The head of KU’s Department of Slavic, German and Eurasian Studies says the online courses will give high school students deeper insight into current events. “There are things like this that are important for students to kind of keep at the forefront of their mind, and approach both the language and the culture with a critical mindset,” she said. The American-based U.S. Russia Foundation recently awarded KU $220,000 to offer free Russian language courses next school year. Any Kansas high school student can apply to participate by emailing slavic@ku.edu.


Sedgwick County to Launch New Eviction Resolution Program

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW/KNS) – Sedgwick County’s District Court will soon have an eviction resolution program. The court is the beneficiary of a $260,000 dollar grant that the state of Kansas received to strengthen eviction diversion efforts. Sedgwick County has the most eviction cases in the state. The grant will fund a program manager. The manager will connect landlords and tenants with legal help, rental assistance or educational resources about the eviction process. Judge Robert Woods oversees eviction proceedings in Sedgwick County. He says that tenants and landlords don’t understand the eviction process well, which the grant program should address. “The focus would be on education to help both landlords and tenants make well educated decisions as they go through that process,” he said. In about 50% of eviction cases statewide, tenants do not appear in court or file an answer to the eviction notice. When that happens, the landlord can proceed with eviction by default. State officials hope to expand the program to other district courts in Kansas.


K-State Women’s Hoops Coach Mittie Agrees to Extension

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie has agreed to a two-year extension that will pay him $2,745,000 in base salary over the next four years and includes several potentially lucrative bonus provisions. Mittie will be entering his ninth season with the Wildcats and is coming off his fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, but it also was just his third 20-win season in Manhattan and came on the heels of a 9-18 record during the 2020-21 season.


Jim Lynch, Member of Chiefs’ 1970 Championship Team, Dies at 76

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jim Lynch has died at the age of 76. Lynch’s family announced that he died Thursday but didn’t provide a cause. Lynch helped the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970 Super Bowl after a standout career at Notre Dame. He wound up playing 11 seasons in the NFL, all in Kansas City. He finished his career with 17 interceptions, 18 sacks and 14 fumble recoveries. Lynch was inducted into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame in 1990 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.


Kansas Public Radio Hosts Ice Cream Social

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas Public Radio, based at the University of Kansas, will host an ice cream social this month to show appreciation to its listener-member community. The public radio station will serve complimentary Hy-Vee ice cream treats while supplies last from 5-7 pm July 28 at Maceli’s in downtown Lawrence. Local artist Sky Smeed will perform live music.  This is a KPR member-exclusive event, and members will have the chance to claim their own KPR mug commemorating the station’s 70th anniversary. KPR will offer one mug per household, while supplies last. All listeners have the opportunity to become a member by contributing to KPR.


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.

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