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Headlines for Friday, August 22, 2014


KDOT Announces $1.2 Billion Transportation Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Transportation is planning $1.2 billion in improvements to the state's highways, bridges and other projects. Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King announced the plan Thursday for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the plan includes 464 highway projects and 194 bridge/interchange improvements involving about 1,600 miles of roads. The largest projects are a $116 million expansion of the Interstate 235/US 54 Highway interchange in west Wichita, and a $95 million expansion of Kellogg in east Wichita. Two large projects are scheduled for Interstate 70 in western Kansas - a $52.6 million improvements on 11.5 miles in Thomas County near the Logan County line and $43.4 million for nine miles in Gove County near the Trego County line.


Democrat Endorses Orman in Kansas Senate Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Democratic nominee in Kansas' 1st Congressional District has crossed party lines to endorse independent candidate Greg Orman for U.S. Senate. Former Manhattan Mayor Jim Sherow is challenging Republican Congressmen Tim Huelskamp in the sprawling U.S. House district of western and central Kansas congressional district. Sherow told The Associated Press on Thursday he believes Orman has the best chance to defeat Republican Senator Pat Roberts in November. Roberts also faces Democratic nominee Chad Taylor, but Sherow says many Democrats are supporting Orman because of his promise of bipartisanship. Sherow notes that 100 current and former Republican elected officials have endorsed Democrat Paul Davis for governor against GOP incumbent Sam Brownback. Sherow said strict party lines are breaking down in Kansas and a core middle ground is emerging.


Ousted KS House Member Plans Write-In Campaign

GRANDVIEW PLAZA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House member Allan Rothlisberg is planning a write-in campaign for November's election after losing his Republican primary race this month. KJCK-AM reports that the first-term lawmaker from Grandview Plaza says Democrats and Republicans alike have asked him to run. Rothlisberg lost the August 5 GOP primary in the 65th House District to Lonnie Clark, a political newcomer from Junction City. The Democratic nominee is Tom Brungardt, of Milford. Rothlisberg says he's been assured by Kansas ethics officials that it's legal to use campaign funds he's already accumulated for his write-in effort. Rothlisberg gained attention this year with a proposal to track the citizenship status of public schoolchildren. He said his goal was to calculate how much the state spends to educate children who are in the U.S. without legal permission.


Police: Pedestrian Death on I-70 Was Suicide

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Topeka have concluded that a pedestrian who was struck and killed on Interstate 70 took his own life. The man was identified Friday as an 18-year-old Topeka resident. Police said his name would not be released because the death was a suicide. Investigators said the man was pronounced dead at the scene around 6:30 am Thursday after stepping in front of an eastbound tractor-trailer.


Kansas Day Care Owner Arrested After Accident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The owner of a Wichita home day care where a toddler was critically injured by a lawn mower is out of jail. The 39-year-old woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment. KFDI-FM reports that she was released Friday on her own recognizance, pending the filing of any charges. Police said an 18-month-old girl suffered a deep cut to her leg Thursday morning from a lawn mower being pushed by the day care's owner. Five young children were playing in the backyard at the time. Investigators have not said exactly how the accident happened. The girl was taken to a hospital in critical condition, then moved to a hospital in the Kansas City area. The state has issued an emergency suspension of the day care's license.


Wichita Names Interim Police Chief

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita City officials have promoted a police department veteran to interim police chief. City officials announced Friday that Deputy Chief Nelson Mosley will serve as interim chief while a search for a permanent chief is conducted. The 49-year-old Mosley will replace Chief Norman Williams, who plans to retire September 5. Mosley began his law enforcement career in 1987 and rose through the ranks to become deputy police chief in 2009. City Manager Robert Layton is overseeing the search for a new permanent chief, as well as assessment of the police department's operations, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.


Former Massage Parlor Owner Gets 5 Years in Prison

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The former owner of Asian massage parlors in Wichita has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in a sex trafficking case. Gary Kidgell of Waltham, Massachusetts, shook his head as U.S. District Judge Monti Belot pronounced sentence Friday. He had choked back tears earlier in the hearing while requesting a sentence at the low end of the 51- to 63-month range. The prosecutor argued for the higher sentence, citing Kidgell's criminal history and tactics of subjugating women to his will. Kidgell pleaded guilty in May to obstruction of justice and harboring an immigrant living illegally in the United States. Prosecutors say the Kidgell and his wife recruited Chinese women to come to Wichita to work at massage parlors, then coerced them into prostitution.


75 Wild Horses Die in Western Kansas Corral

SCOTT CITY, Kan. (AP) - The owners of a corral in Scott County where 75 wild horses died last week defended their work with the animals. A preliminary investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management attributed the deaths of mostly older horses to stress after being moved from their original pastures. BLM spokesman Paul McGuire says some of the horses at the corral, managed by Beef Belt LLC, also might have been affected by changes in their food. The Hutchinson News reports the horses were transferred from a range managed by the BLM because a contractor asked to receive fewer horses than he had previously managed. The corral's manager, Steven Landgraf, says the horses that died were among 1,490 wild horses brought to the corral, and all of them were older.


Missionary's Son Says Mom Recuperating After Ebola

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The son of missionary Nancy Writebol says his mother is still recuperating after surviving Ebola. Jeremy Writebol said Thursday he is back home in Wichita after spending two weeks at an Atlanta hospital where his mother was in isolation. He left Atlanta just hours before she was discharged on Tuesday and says he hasn't had a chance to give her a hug yet. She is at an undisclosed location with his father. He says it's been a very traumatic experience in the lives of his parents, who are trying to consider their next steps and what they hope to do in the future. Writebol said his parents talk constantly about the need to pray and do everything possible to help people Ebola-stricken parts of Africa.


Inclusion Technologies to Locate in Atchison

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — A company that produces food ingredients for the industrial market plans to locate its headquarters and manufacturing plant in Atchison. Inclusion Technologies and Atchison officials announced Thursday the company would locate its plant in the site of the former Anacon Food Company. The St. Joseph News-Press reports Inclusion Technologies products include a line of nut-free ingredients. The company plans to start production later this summer and will eventually hire 17 employees for the next five years. Company officials also said in a news release that the plant will expand production in the future.


Dole Resuming Kansas Homecoming Tour

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole returns to Kansas next month for the latest of several planned trips to his home state this year. The 91-year-old Russell native lives in Washington, D.C., and is making the homecoming tour to greet longtime friends and supporters throughout the state. He spends an hour at each stop, chatting with fans and old acquaintances. The schedule for the first week of September will take Dole to 10 communities in southeastern and south-central Kansas, beginning September 4 in Independence. He'll be in Howard, Sedan, Winfield and Wellington the following day. On September 6, Dole is to make stops in Kingman, Pratt, Coldwater, Medicine Lodge and Anthony. He'll spend the afternoon of Sunday, September 7, greeting visitors to the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.


Kansas City Settles Discrimination Claim

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Council has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a discrimination complaint from a former water department manager. The council agreed to the settlement Thursday for Mable Ramey-Moore, who claimed she was discriminated against when she was laid off in May 2013 from the water department. The Kansas City Star reports the city has paid nearly $3.4 million to settle discrimination claims from city workers since July 2013. Ramey-Moore, a 62-year-old black woman who worked for the city for 17 years, was laid off after a reorganization of the water department and layoffs in other city departments. She had received positive evaluations throughout her career. The city's legal department recommended the settlement, saying a jury could believe race, age, and/or gender contributed to her dismissal.


Kansas Fights Labor Rule for Home Health Workers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he's not sure the federal government knows the unintended consequences of a planned labor overtime rule that aims to protect domestic service workers. Brownback met Thursday with home health care givers and their charges at the Independent Living Resource Center in Wichita to rally opposition to the regulation. Kansas contends the rule that takes effect next year would increase the cost of services for Kansans who receive home-based care. The state has asked U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez for an exemption or delay for disabled and elderly Kansans who direct their own care. The governor is asking the public to contact the Labor Department to voice their concerns. The rule is designed to ensure domestic service workers are protected by federal wage and overtime rules.


Economy Slowing Down in Rural Parts of 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy is slowing down in rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says falling crop prices have farmers spending less, and crop prices are expected to continue declining this fall. The overall economic index for the region fell into negative territory to 48.3 in August from July's 51.8. The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in the months ahead. Goss said bankers are not very optimistic about the next few months. The survey's confidence index dropped to 39.9 in August, from 42.9. Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.


State Told to Release More 'In Cold Blood' Files

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has ordered the state to turn over more documents to people fighting to write a book about the 1959 "In Cold Blood" murders. Judge Larry Hendricks issued the order Thursday after hearing arguments over case files kept at the home of a deceased Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who was part of the murder probe. The killings of Herb and Bonnie Clutter and two of their children became the subject of Truman Capote's novel "In Cold Blood." The state filed suit to recover the files, arguing the agent's family doesn't own the materials. Lawyers for the family contend the state has been refusing to turn over documents it needs to defend itself against the claim.


Police: Man Shot by Police Was Threatening Woman

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Haysville police say a man was holding a bleeding woman at knife point before an officer shot him to death. Police Chief Jeff Whitfield said in a statement Thursday that officers found 40-year-old Chad Leichhardt holding the woman at a Haysville apartment on Tuesday. One officer shot Leichhardt after he refused commands to drop the knife and continued to threaten the woman, who was bleeding from several cuts. The woman was treated and released at a hospital. The Wichita Eagle reports state prison records show Leichhardt was released from parole last Thursday after being jailed on a theft conviction. He also had several other convictions in Sumner and Sedgwick counties and escaped from work release for a few days last October while at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility.


Chiefs OT Stephenson Suspended for PEDs Violation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs offensive tackle Donald Stephenson has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Stephenson was a fill-in starter last season but was expected to anchor the right side of the line this year. He remains eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games, including Saturday night's game against Minnesota. Stephenson will miss games against Tennessee, Denver, Miami and New England, and be eligible to return to the active roster September 30. The Chiefs play San Francisco the following Sunday. The Chiefs were already without wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for the season opener after he was suspended by the league for an incident involving marijuana last November.





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