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Headlines for Saturday, January 11, 2020

Spirit Aerosystems Announces Lay Off of 2,800 at Wichita Plant

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Problems for Boeing and its troubled 737 Max aircraft are beginning to ripple outward with a major supplier announcing that it will lay off more than 20% of its workforce in Kansas, where it is based. The announcement of 2,800 layoffs at a major employer in Wichita, the state's biggest city, come one day after documents became public showing that Boeing employees raised doubts about the safety of the 737 Max. The layoffs threaten to damage a state economy that's been solid for months, with low unemployment. Spirit produced about 70% of the 737 Max, including the fuselage. Contracts with Boeing for the Max represents more than half of Spirit's annual income.


Report: Kansas Farmers Hold Steady in Wheat Planted

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers seeded an estimated 6.9 million acres into winter wheat. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that this winter wheat acreage is equal to the area planted a year earlier in Kansas. Winter wheat is planted in the fall for harvest the following year.


New Kansas Proposal Breaks Impasse on Medicaid Expansion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' Democratic governor and a top Republican lawmaker have outlined a new proposal for expanding the state's Medicaid program. The deal between Governor Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning announced Thursday breaks an impasse that had allowed a handful of GOP leaders to thwart bipartisan legislative majorities. The plan would give Kelly the straightforward expansion of state health coverage that she has advocated and cover up to 150,000 additional people. Denning would get a version of a program that he has proposed for driving down private health insurance premiums to keep people from dropping existing private plans for Medicaid.


Kansas Teen Sentenced in Drug Deal That Turned Deadly

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas teenager has been sentenced to more than four years in juvenile corrections for his part in an $8 Xanax deal that led to another teen's shooting death. 17-year-old Rolland Kobelo was sentenced Thursday. He faces 10 years in adult prison if he doesn't successfully complete his time in the juvenile system. Kobelo was originally charged with felony murder in the March 2019 death of 17-year-old Rowan Padgett outside a home in Olathe. Police say Padgett was shot by a man who wanted to buy the drugs.  Kobelo was accused of helping to set up the drug deal that led to Padgett’s death.


Developer of Hotel near KU Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The developer of a seven-story hotel adjacent to the University of Kansas has pleaded guilty in a scheme to collect fraudulent tax refunds from the city of Lawrence. The U.S. attorney's office says 54-year-old Thomas Fritzel pleaded guilty Thursday to one county of criminal conspiracy. At issue is a Tax Increment Financing district that the city established to reimburse Fritzel for development costs for the Oread Hotel. The indictment alleges that Fritzel and others defrauded the city by seeking reimbursements for hundreds of transactions that were not generated within the redevelopment district.


Former Sheriff's Deputy Pleads Guilty in Wife's Beating

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A former Johnson County sheriff's deputy has pleaded guilty to aggravated battery after his wife was beaten in May. In his plea on Wednesday, 38-year-old Eric Leon Walker admitted he beat his wife in May. As part of the plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend that Walker be sentenced to probation. Walker was placed on administrative leave after his arrest and has not worked for the department since November 22nd. According to court records, Walker beat his wife and threatened to kill her during an argument at their home. Their son was home for part of the altercation.   


Emaciated Dog Found in Locked Cage in Wichita Dumpster

Authorities say an emaciated dog has been rescued after it was found in a locked kennel that was thrown in an apartment dumpster in Kansas. Lt. Brian Sigman, the Wichita Animal Control commander, said surveillance video obtained Thursday shows two suspects putting the male pit bull mix in the dumpster around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. A good Samaritan found the dog later that night and took it to an emergency veterinarian for treatment. Investigators are following up on information gleaned from the video. He weighs just over 20 pounds, less than half the amount a dog of his size should weigh.


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