Emergency declaration expanded following flooding…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: May 14, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiMay 14, 2019

Kansas’ disaster emergency declaration is being expanded.  Governor Laura Kelly has added Butler, Kingman, Pottawatomie, Wilson and Lyon counties to the declaration.  Twenty counties are now included in the emergency declaration following this month’s severe weather and flooding.  The declaration allows state resources to be used to help county agencies with storm response and recovery efforts.

What is being called one of the largest and most ambitious drone-based investigations of meteorological phenomena ever is launching in Kansas today. More than 50 researchers and students are deploying a wide-ranging suite of instruments to collect data on supercell thunderstorms across the Great Plains during 2019 and 2020. The TORUS project, or Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells, aims at understanding the relationships between severe thunderstorms and tornado formation. It was unveiled at the Salina Municipal Airport Tuesday morning.

A teen was arrested after allegedly making threats towards a SW Kansas school. Police say a 13-year-oold was arrested after making several verbal threats towards Horace Good Middle School in Garden City. Authorities urge parents to be aware of their children’s social media activity, and to urge their children to always report any school safety concerns.

A man is accused of sexually assaulting three teenagers at a Kansas recreation center. 31-year-old Keith Magoon appeared in Sedgwick County Court yesterday and was charged with rape and sexual battery.  Prosecutors say Magoon sexually assaulted three girls, ages 16 and 17, in the swimming pool area at the WIchita Downtown YMCA last Wednesday.  Magoon was arrested at the YMCA without incident.

A Kansas man was sentenced Monday to a little over 10 years in federal prison for receiving and distributing child pornography. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $6,500 in restitution. 36-year-old Pedro Zamora, of Leavenworth pleaded guilty to one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography. In his plea, he admitted that investigators found 127 videos and 1,900 images containing child pornography on a computer in his home. He used file sharing programs to collect and distribute the images. Zamora told investigators he began searching for child pornography on the internet when he was in middle school.

Police are investigating after vandals broke into a Kansas church.  Someone entered the Great Plains Church in Wichita after this past Sunday’s services and caused widespread damage.  The suspects overturned furniture in the lobby and dumped syrup, barbecue sauce and laundry detergent in the kitchen.  The church is accepting donations to restock their pantry.

Kansas, along with 42 other states and Puerto Rico, has filed a lawsuit against 20 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition and unreasonably restrain trade for more than 100 different generic drugs,  The complaint alleges that industry executives met with each other at in-person gatherings and communicated via frequent telephone calls, emails and text messages about their illegal agreements. Throughout the complaint, defendants use terms like “fair share,” “playing nice in the sandbox,” and “responsible competitor” to describe how they unlawfully discouraged competition, raised prices and enforced an ingrained culture of collusion. The drugs at issue in the lawsuit account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States, and the alleged schemes increased prices affecting the health insurance market, taxpayer-funded healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid and individuals who paid artificially-inflated prices for their prescriptions drugs. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were greater than 1,000 percent. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court  seeks damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.

After a year’s absence because of safety concerns,  trams will again circle the grounds during the Kansas State Fair. The Fair removed its trolleys used inside the fairgrounds, which were pulled by tractors, last year due to safety concerns. The new trams are self-contained and offer a safe way to navigate fairgoers around the grounds. The 2019 Kansas State Fair is Sept. 6-15.

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