Higher fuel prices likely…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: September 17, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiSeptember 17, 2019

Higher gas prices are on the horizon.  Exactly how much higher remains to be seen following the weekend attack on Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil refinery.  That’s already jacked up the price of crude oil by ten-percent or more.  AAA Kansas says on the week, the national gas price average held steady at $2.56, with the Kansas average rising two cents to $2.35 per gallon, but motorists can expect volatility at the pump in the coming days and weeks.

A suspect in a recent Northwest Kansas murder has been found dead. According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, on Wednesday evening September 11th, and Thursday morning September 12th, KBI agents interviewed 47-year-old Jon Flowers of Inman who was identified in connection with a Rooks County homicide. Multiple search warrants were also served at Flowers’s residence at 2385 31st Rd. in Inman. Then, on Saturday, September 14th at approximately 7:25 p.m., deputies from the Rice County Sheriff’s Office responded to Flowers’s home for a welfare check when he did not show up to work or respond to contact from family. When deputies arrived, they discovered Flowers dead inside the residence. An autopsy was conducted, and the preliminary results indicate that Flowers’s manner of death was suicide. At this time, it is believed that Flowers acted alone in the murder of Reif, and there is no indication that the violence was random.

The former operator of the water system in Garden Plain, Kansas admitted to falsifying a report on the quality of the city’s drinking water. According to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister’s Office, 64-year-old Arthur Wolfe pleaded guilty to one count of a making a false statement in a report to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that is required by the Environmental Protection Agency. Wolfe certified a bacteriological report in falsely represented water samples taken at the water treatment plant as samples taken at other locations. He faces a penalty of up to a year in federal prison and a fine up to $100,000.

A former treasurer for the city of Fontana in Miami County, Kansas, was sentenced Monday to 12 months and a day in prison for embezzlement. According to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister’s Office, 56-year-old Deborah Sell pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. She admitted she used her position as treasurer to steal money from the city. She issued city checks to pay her personal expenses, withdrew cash using a city debit card for personal expenses, and deposited cash payments received from customers into her personal account. Sell embezzled a total of more than $174,000 from the city, including a debit card withdrawal of $414 at an ATM in a casino in Riverside, Mo. She admitted her 2016 tax return failed to include more than $94,000 in income she embezzled that year.

A mistrial is declared in the case of a Kansas Catholic priest accused of inappropriately touching an eleven-year-old girl.  A Wyandotte County jury deadlocked in the trial of Father Scott Kallal.  Kallal was suspended from his position at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park in 2017 after he was accused of sexually assaulting a girl at St. Patrick Catholic School in Kansas City, Kansas. Kallal remains on a leave of absence and cannot serve in active ministry.

A child is dead following a horse riding accident.  Authorities say 7-year-old Max Henderson was injured in the accident on Sunday at his home in rural Winfield.  Henderson was taken to a Wichita hospital where he died after undergoing surgery.

Sedgwick County law enforcement agencies are remembering a fallen deputy.  Deputies who worked with Deputy Robert Kunze wore black mourning bands over their badges yesterday.  Kunze was shot and killed in the line of duty on September 15th, 2018, while responding to the report of a suspicious person in the rural part of Sedgwick County.

Voters in Kansas will be able to cast ballots at any polling place within their home county.  Kansas Governor Laura Kelly visited Wichita yesterday for a bill signing ceremony for the measure, which changes the state’s election laws.  The measure was supported by Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman, whose department created an app where voters can view wait times at polling places on election day.  The new law takes effect in 2020.

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