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Headlines for Friday, May 30, 2014

KPR-News-Summary


Kansas Legislature Formally Adjourns for Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have formally adjourned the 2014 legislative session after failing to override a governor's veto of a change in state ethics laws. The House concluded its work at 10:28 am Friday, followed by the Senate at 11 am. Legislators completed the regular portion of the session earlier in May but were required constitutionally to meet for one day to officially end the session. House members voted 96-5 to override Governor Sam Brownback's veto of a bill to change ethics laws regarding transfer of funds from campaign accounts to civic organizations, as well as eliminating a reporting requirement for lobbyists who spend less than $500. Senators made no effort to override the measure and the veto stands. Several legislators also announced plans to retire to pursue other ventures.

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Kansas Taxes Fall Short of Expectations for Second Month in a Row

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas collected $217 million less in taxes than it expected in May, but officials in Governor Sam Brownback's administration say it's the result of a temporary problem. The Department of Revenue release preliminary figures Friday showing the state collected about $389 million in taxes during May, when it expected to collect about $606 million. Tax collections also fell short in April, and the total two-month shortfall is nearly $310 million. The Associated Press obtained the figures shortly before their official release. The state expected to collect $5.2 billion in taxes from July through May but took in only $4.9 billion, a difference of 5.9 percent. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said the shortfall results from issues surrounding federal tax policy. He said he doesn't expect future monthly shortfalls.

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Kansas House Member Switches Party Affiliation 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member is leaving the Democratic Party to seek re-election as a Republican, citing what she calls Democratic hostility to her opposition to abortion and gay rights. Jan Pauls, of Hutchinson, announced her decision Friday as legislators formally ended the 2014 session. She was first elected to the House in 1992 and says she hasn't changed politically, but that Democrats have. Pauls cited the influence within the Democratic Party of Tom Witt, executive director of the group Equality Kansas. Witt once sought to have Pauls censured by party officials over her positions on gay rights. Witt says he will work to prevent her re-election to the House. Pauls was joined for her announcement by House Speaker Ray Merrick, other GOP legislators and state Republican Chairman Kelly Arnold.

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Kansas Again Gives Go-Ahead to New Power Plant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state regulator has again given the go-ahead for the construction of a $2.8 billion coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser on Friday approved changes in a 2010 pollution-control permit for the project for Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. The changes were mandated by a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last year in a lawsuit filed by environmentalists. Sunflower wants to build an 895-megawatt plant for generating electricity near Holcomb, where it already has an existing coal-fired power plant. Environmentalists have long fought the project. The decision comes only days before the federal Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue new, tougher regulations for power plants. Moser said the new plant would meet all current federal and state air-quality regulations.

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Kansas House Member Switches Party Affiliation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member is leaving the Democratic Party to seek re-election as a Republican, citing what she calls Democratic hostility to her opposition to abortion and gay rights. Jan Pauls, of Hutchinson, announced her decision Friday as legislators formally ended the 2014 session. She was first elected to the House in 1992 and says she hasn't changed politically, but that Democrats have. Pauls cited the influence within the Democratic Party of Tom Witt, executive director of the group Equality Kansas. Witt once sought to have Pauls censured by party officials over her positions on gay rights. Witt says he will work to prevent her re-election to the House. Pauls was joined for her announcement by House Speaker Ray Merrick, other GOP legislators and state Republican Chairman Kelly Arnold.

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Democrat Davis Files for KS Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - House Minority Leader Paul Davis has officially entered the race to challenge Kansas Governor Sam Brownback as the Republican governor seeks a second term. Davis, a Lawrence Democrat and attorney, filed the paperwork Thursday morning with the secretary of state's office. He was joined by running mate Jill Docking, a Wichita businesswoman. The pair is expected to be the only Democratic candidates to run for the nomination in the governor's race. Brownback and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer filed for re-election earlier this month. Brownback faces a primary challenge from Wichita landscaping business owner Jennifer Winn, who has already filed for the race. 

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Kansas AG Schmidt Files for Re-Election

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has filed for a second four-year term in office and so far has no competition in the August Republican primary. Schmidt, of Independence, was joined by his wife and two daughters as he submitted paperwork and paid the filing fee at the secretary of state's office. Schmidt served 10 years in the state Senate, including six as majority leader. He was elected attorney general in 2010 defeating Democratic incumbent Steve Six. One Democrat, A.J. Kotich of Topeka, has filed for his party's nomination for attorney general.

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Ex-US Rep. Tiahrt Enters Race in KS 4th

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Former Kansas congressman Todd Tiahrt is running again in the state's 4th Congressional District and will challenge incumbent Mike Pompeo in the Republican primary. Tiahrt entered the race with anannouncement Thursday at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita. He represented the south-central Kansas district from 1995 until 2011. Pompeo is seeking his third term and was elected in 2010 to succeed Tiahrt. Both are conservative Republicans. But Tiahrt said he had been asked for months to run. He told cheering supporters has a better track record than Pompeo and differs with the incumbent on foreign policy. Tiahrt gave up the House seat to run for U.S. Senate in 2010. He lost the Republican Senate primary to Jerry Moran, who went on to win the race that November.

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Educator to Run for State Board of Education

HAYS, Kan. (AP) _ A central Kansas educator has filed to challenge one of five members of the State Board of Education facing re-election this fall. Meg Wilson of Great Bend is the principal of Hoisington High School. She's running for the seat held by Sally Cauble of Dodge City. Three other incumbents are currently unopposed.

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Last Jet Leaves Boeing's Wichita Maintenance Site

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An era in Kansas aviation has come to a close with the departure of the last aircraft from a Boeing maintenance facility in Wichita, ending a 70-year relationship between the aircraft maker and the city. The Wichita Eagle reports that an EB-4 took off Thursday from Wichita bound for an Air Force base in Nebraska. Future work on the planes will be performed at a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas. Boeing had been in Wichita since 1927, employing as many as 40,000 workers at one time. Boeing sold its commercial business in 2004 to Onex Corporation, which formed Spirit AeroSystems. Boeing announced in 2012 that it would end defense work in Wichita. Former Boeing employees watched with sadness as the last jet left.

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Kansas Updates Toxic Algae Warnings for Lakes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials have issued a warning for people and animals to stay out of a north-central lake because of high levels of toxic blue-green algae. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Friday placed Old Herington Lake in Dickinson County under a toxic algae warning. The agency also said a previous warning for Barton County's Memorial Park Lake remains in place. The warnings mean people, pets and livestock should stay out of the lakes and should not drink their water. Toxic algae advisories remain in place for Lake Warnock in Atchison County, and Logan City Lake in Phillips County. Boating and fishing are allowed, but direct contact with the water is discouraged for people and animals.

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Worker Dies in Wichita Elevator Accident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a man working in a building being renovated has been killed in an elevator accident. KAKE-TV reports that emergency crews were called to the building in the city's Old Town section around 10:30 am Friday. Police Lieutenant E.J. Bastian says the 40-year-old worker was riding in an open-door, pulley-style service elevator when he fell, catching his head between the elevator door and a brick wall of the shaft. He was pronounced dead at the scene. One other construction worker was in the building at the time. The building is being converted to apartments. The victim's name has not been released. He worked for a subcontractor of Key Construction.

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Kansas Campaign Forces Kobach to Quit Radio Show

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he expects to give up hosting a Sunday night radio talk show while he campaigns for re-election.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports it's not Kobach's choice to drop out of his program on KCMO-AM; federal regulations allow Kobach's political opponents to demand equal time. Kobach recently asked his opponent in the August Republican primary, Scott Morgan, to sign a waiver that would have allowed him to continue hosting the talk show, but Morgan refused.

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Homeland Security Holding Event at Shooting Site

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Business leaders joined law enforcement agents, security leaders and Jewish organizations in an active-shooter workshop at the Jewish center in Kansas where a Missouri man opened fire in a rampage that left three people dead. Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., of Aurora, Missouri, is charged with capital murder in the April 13 shooting deaths of a 69-year-old man and his 14-year-old grandson at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. He's also charged with murder in the death of a 53-year-old woman at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center in Leawood. More than 150 people showed up Friday for the workshop at the community center. Todd Stettner, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, says the federal Department of Homeland Security initiated the training in response to the shootings.

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Hutchinson Man Re-Sentenced for Child Abuse

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson man convicted of sodomizing a 4-month-old child has been resentenced to about 14 years in prison. Michael Sherman pleaded guilty in 2012 to abusing the infant and was sentenced to life without parole for 25 years. The Hutchinson News reports the Kansas Court of Appeals ordered a resentencing because Reno County Senior District Judge William Lyle did not fully address his reasons for not granting Sherman a departure from the full sentence. Sherman was resentenced Thursday by Judge Trish Rose, who cited Sherman's lack of criminal history and the fact that Sherman turned himself into police after the abuse. Rose ordered Sherman to serve nearly 14 years, plus lifetime post-release supervision.

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2 Sentenced in Attempted Murder of Kansas Man

 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) -- Two people have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a plot to beat a 69-year-old Shawnee man to death. One of those sentenced Thursday, 23-year-old Nicole Rose Carter, was the victim's stepdaughter. She was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison. Twenty-four-year-old Adam Hersh of Kansas City was sentenced to 19 years and six months. They had pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The Kansas City Star reports Carter and her mother recruited Hersh to beat the man with a baseball bat. Denise Davey, Carter's mother and victim's wife, is serving 48 years in prison. Hersh's sister, Whitney Hersh, previously was sentenced to six years.

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Family Faults KC VA in Son's Shooting Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City family whose son was fatally shot by police says the Iraqi War veteran would still be alive if he had received prompt attention from the local veterans' hospital. Issac Sims was fatally shot Sunday after a five-hour standoff with police sparked by an argument with his father. The Kansas City Star reports officers were called to the 26-year-old former paratrooper's home after he started firing shots inside and outside of the residence. Adrian Sims says he informed officers that his son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and told them not to shoot him. Patricia Sims says her son was ordered by a court into treatment at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City but was told the hospital wouldn't have a bed for 30 days.

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Last of 5 Suspects Sentenced in Wichita Robbery

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The last of five defendants in a fatal robbery in Wichita has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. Twenty-six-year-old Francis Dupree was sentenced Thursday to 11 years and eight months for his role in the December 2011 shooting death of 19-year-old Markez Phillips. Police say Phillips was shot after five men forced their way into a home where he was visiting his girlfriend. Phillips died about two hours later at a Wichita hospital. The Wichita Eagle reports Dupree pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and robbery. Three other defendants were sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder. A fourth defendant was sentenced to 15½ years for second-degree murder.

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KS Lt. Gov. Colyer Helping in South Sudan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer is warning of a growing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, where he's spending two weeks as part of an international relief effort. Colyer is a plastic surgeon. Speaking by telephone Thursday from the African nation, Colyer said conditions are deteriorating as residents attempt to flee fighting between rebels and government forces. Colyer says residents are battling overcrowding in relief camps, heavy rains and lack of food. He says residents face risk of famine in the coming months in a region of the world that has been plagued by violence. The lieutenant governor is a member of the International Medical Corps, which provides humanitarian relief. Colyer has traveled extensively to Africa and the Middle East.

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Regulators OK Westar Prepaid Electricity Project

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas regulators have approved a pilot project that will let some Westar Energy customers pay for their electricity in advance. The Kansas Corporation Commission on Thursday approved the project, which will be limited to 1,000 customers at first, including 250 who are behind on their bills. The Wichita Eagle reports the prepaid option will be available in parts of Wichita and in the towns of Lawrence, Silver Lake and Rossville. Only those with digital meters will be able to participate. The plan approved on Thursday is the result of a deal between Westar and the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, which initially was concerned the utility would use it to force low- income customers in arrears on their bills to pay in advance.

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Drowning Victim's Body Recovered from Milford Lake

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The body of a 65-year-old Salina man who drowned at Milford Lake has been recovered after a four-day search. The Geary County Sheriff says a fisherman saw the body of Stephen Edwards after it surfaced Wednesday. The sheriff's office says Edwards drowned Sunday when he went into the water to retrieve a fishing pole and didn't resurface. He was fishing with a grandson and friend at the time. The Salina Journal reports the fishing pole was one given to Edwards by his father. The family says an underlying heart condition might have contributed to his death. Edwards worked in construction for many years and was planning to retire June 9.

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Wichita Couple's Rare Glass Auctioned

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Bidders from around the world took part in the auction of part of a Wichita couple's collection of rare glass pieces. Thursday's auction was the second of five auctions scheduled for hundreds of pieces collected by the late Dr. Ernest Rieger and his wife, Karen. They started collecting the pieces from around the world more than 50 years ago. Karen Rieger said she decided to auction the pieces after her husband died last September. KWCH TV reports the first auction brought in $1.3 million and Thursday's auction was expected to match that. The most expensive piece sold for $260,000. The couple has almost 400 pieces of high caliber glassware. Much of it is over 100 years old.

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Big 12 Schools Share Record $220M in Athletics Revenue

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Big 12 Conference schools will share record revenue of just more than $220 million for the 2013-14 school year. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Friday at the end of the league's spring meetings that the eight continuing members of the Big 12 will get about $23 million each. Those schools are Baylor, Iowa State, KU, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. Second-year league members TCU and West Virginia, who will become fully vested Big 12 members in two years, will get about $14 million each. The amount of distributable revenue, an increase from $198 million last year, was about $7.8 million more than expected. That $7.8 million will go into a reserve fund that could be used for legal or unforeseen expenses.

 

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