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Arrest warrant served in relation to Goodland homicide…and more headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: January 9, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiJanuary 9, 2019

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation  and the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office served an arrest warrant related to the homicide of 21-year-old Zachary Chavez, who was shot to death on Dec. 20.  Jesus M. Soto, 21, of Goodland, had previously been in police custody at the Sherman County Jail. He is facing new charges that include involuntary manslaughter. Soto and Chavez were friends.

A driver and a child were hurt in a crash involving a school bus in western Kansas on Tuesday. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the bus was stopped on K 25 Highway in Kearny County 10 miles North of Lakin to turn left onto a county road when it was rear-ended by a semi.  Both vehicles came to rest in a field. The bus driver and 1 child suffered minor injuries. The driver of the semi was not hurt.

An incident involving a man kicking a toddler at a Wichita grocery store will not be investigated as a hate crime. The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office says the state of Kansas has no hate crime statute.  Thirty-one-year-old Trace Riff is accused of kicking a one-year-old African-American child while yelling racial slurs last month.  There is a federal hate crime law on the books, and the Wichita chapter of the NAACP has called for the case to be investigated as racially motivated.

The Kansas City Police Department is disciplining 17 officers following an internal investigation into  the Crimes Against Children unit.  The investigation identified 149 cases in the Crimes Against Children unit that did not get the attention they needed. The cases spanned from 2011 to 2016, and the investigation revealed no process to address detectives’ large case loads.  Seven of the 17 officers who were disciplined are no longer with the Kansas City Police Department.

Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelly is making appointments ahead of her inauguration.  Kelly has named Roger Werholtz as interim Secretary of Corrections.  Werholtz previously served as corrections secretary from 2002 to 2010.  Kelly is also retaining Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli on an interim basis to ensure a smooth transition in leadership of the Kansas National Guard.

In one of his final executive actions as Kansas governor, Dr. Jeff Jeff Colyer has rescinded the drought declaration he signed back  in September. The change comes following months of more-than-expected moisture helped much of the state gradually shed its “drought” status.

A settlement is reached following the drowning of a Kansas girl at a church party.  Eleven-year-old Shelly Cramb died in August 2017 while attending a lake party in the Wichita area. Cramb’s parents have reached a settlement with Pathway Church and the owners of the property where the child drowned.  Details of settlement were not disclosed.

Wichita State University’s School of Business is releasing its 2019 employment forecast. In 2019, Kansas total nonfarm employment is forecast to increase by 18,182 jobs, with an anticipated growth rate of 1.1 percent. The production sector is forecast to grow the fastest at 1.5 percent, adding approximately 3,500 new jobs. The service sector is projected to grow 1.1 percent, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector is expected to add more than 3,000 jobs with 1.2 percent growth. The government sector is projected to have the slowest growth, at 0.5 percent.

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