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Headlines for Friday, November 4, 2016

Here's what's happening in our area.

Judge: Kansas Secretary of State Has No Authority to Implement Dual Elections 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has permanently blocked a dual voter registration system in Kansas. Shawnee County Judge Larry Hendricks ruling Friday has no immediate impact on next week's election because the judge had already temporarily prohibited Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from implementing it. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged a move by Kobach to set up a system which allowed some Kansans to vote in federal races, but not in state and local races. Hendricks said Kobach "simply lacks the authority" to create the two-tiered system. The secretary of state's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ACLU attorney Sophia Lakin says the ruling is a victory for Kansas voters and a stinging rebuke of Kobach's repeated efforts to use his authority to obstruct ballot access.

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Abortion Foes Seek to Unseat Kansas Court of Appeals Judges 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents campaigning to oust Kansas Supreme Court justices also are trying to unseat four Kansas Court of Appeals judges in Tuesday's election. They're targeting the judges over a ruling in January in a lawsuit against a first-in-the-nation state law enacted in 2015 to ban a common second trimester abortion method. A Shawnee County judge temporarily blocked the law's enforcement. The Court of Appeals split 7-7 on whether the state constitution protects abortion rights independently of the U.S. Constitution, so that state courts could potentially reject restrictions upheld by federal courts. The case is before the Kansas Supreme Court. The targeted Court of Appeals judges are Karen Arnold-Burger, G. Gordon Atcheson, Steve Leben and G. Joseph Pierron Jr. Appeals judges face a yes-or-no retention vote every four years.

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Kobach Predicting Record 1.3 Million Voters in Tuesday's Election 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary of State Kris Kobach is predicting that a record number of Kansas voters will cast ballots in Tuesday's election. Kobach said Thursday that he is projecting that more than 1.3 million of the state's 1.8 million registered voters will participate. He said heavy advance voting is a sign. He is forecasting a 72 percent turnout. It would be the highest percentage since the 74.7 percent seen in 1996, when Kansas had far fewer registered voters. Kobach said high interest in this year's presidential race is driving turnout. The Republican secretary of state was an early supporter of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and believes Trump is attracting new voters. Kansas Democratic Party Executive Director Heather Scanlon said Trump is also turning out people to vote against him.

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Unaffiliated Numbers Grow More in Kansas Than Major Parties 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has seen faster growth among unaffiliated voters than among Republicans and Democrats. The secretary of state's office said Thursday that Kansas has a record 1.81 million registered voters for next week's presidential election. The figure is 2.3 percent higher than the 1.77 million voters for the last presidential election in 2012. The GOP remains the state's largest party. It has more than 805,000 voters, or 44.4 percent. GOP numbers grew by 1.9 percent in four years. Democrats have 449,000 voters, or 24.8 percent. Their numbers grew 0.7 percent. Kansas has 542,000 unaffiliated voters, or 29.9 percent of the total. Their numbers grew 3.9 percent. Libertarians had the biggest surge with their numbers up 36.2 percent. But with 15,500 voters, they're still less than 1 percent of the total.

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Attorney: Chelsea Manning Again Attempts Suicide in Prison
 
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — An attorney for Chelsea Manning says the transgender soldier imprisoned in Kansas again has tried to kill herself for the second time in recent months. Vincent Ward said Friday that Manning attempted suicide last month at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, though the attorney declined to divulge specifics. Manning also tried to take her own life in July. Wayne Hall, an Army spokesman, on Friday would not discuss the latest attempt, citing medical privacy laws. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence. She was arrested in 2010 as Bradley Manning and was convicted in 2013 in military court of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks. Manning was an intelligence analyst in Iraq at the time.

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Kansas Man Deemed Eligible to Vote After Topeka Hearing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man born in 1967 on a U.S. Air Force installation in Germany will be able to vote after he was certified as a U.S. citizen. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the state Election Board made the decision Wednesday after hearing from Dale Weber. It was the fifth time the board convened to sort out a citizenship challenge related to voting eligibility. The high-level examination process followed imposition of rigid standards tied to citizenship for people registering to vote in Kansas. Weber said he couldn't access personal records to demonstrate citizenship. But he was able to recite key details, including his mother's maiden name. A review panel also confirmed the parents' places of birth in Kansas. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said he was satisfied with the evidence presented.

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Spending Likely Hits $1 Million in Campaigns over Top Kansas Court 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A campaign to unseat a majority of the Kansas Supreme Court's members has likely prompted more than a $1 million in total spending by groups opposing and supporting the justices. Conservative Republicans, abortion opponents and critics of court rulings in death penalty cases are seeking to remove four of the court's justices in Tuesday's election. Data released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity showed groups on opposite sides of the campaign spent nearly $908,000 on television ad time through October. But the figure doesn't include radio ads, mailings, or other expenses. A PAC formed by an aide and former aide to Secretary of State Kris Kobach is running radio spots in the Kansas City area against retaining the justices. Anti-abortion mailers also have targeted the justices.

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Four-Lane Highway Project Completes Loop Around Lawrence
 
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas transportation officials will host two public events to celebrate the completion of a long-waited highway project nearly three years after the start of construction. The Kansas City Star reports that the Kansas Department of Transportation is scheduled to host a ribbon cutting and public walk-bike event Friday for the opening of the east leg of the Kansas 10 South Lawrence Trafficway. The 6-mile stretch of four-lane highway will complete a loop around the city of Lawrence and links Kansas 10 on the east side of Lawrence to a part of the highway that opened on the west side in 1998.

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KU Senate Wants Public Chancellor Search 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University Senate at the University of Kansas wants the school's search for a new chancellor to be more transparent. The board on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution seeking public presentations and question-and-answer sessions with each finalist for the chancellor's job. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the statement also urges the Kansas Board of Regents to include representatives of the university's peer-elected student, faculty and staff senates on the chancellor search committee. Regents representatives have previously said the selection process probably will be closed and the only name publicly announced will be when the chancellor is hired. Current Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little plans to step down next summer. She has been chancellor since 2009.

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Inmate Sentenced in Lansing Prison Escape 

LANSING, Kan. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 20 years for escaping from a Kansas prison and fleeing through Missouri as another escapee fired at pursuing officers. Thirty-four-year-old Allen Hurst was sentenced Thursday in Platte County, Missouri after entering a guilty plea. Hurst, Scott Gilbert and Randy Ridens escaped in May 2013 from the Lansing Correctional Facility. Hurst and Gilbert stole a pickup truck from a worker in Leavenworth and drove to Platte County, where officers began to pursue them. They were accused of attempting to kidnap the Edgerton, Missouri, mayor before barricading themselves inside an unoccupied residence. They surrendered after several hours of negotiations, and Ridens was caught in Kansas. Gilbert was sentenced to 128 years in prison, while Ridens was sentenced to 10 years and two months in prison.

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Some Emporia State University Students Oppose Guns on Campus 

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Students at Emporia State University are expressing their opposition to guns on campus. The Emporia Gazette reports that The Associated Student Government has released a resolution against guns on campus. The group's president Elijah Williams says a recent survey shows that an overwhelming number of students on campus are opposed to allowing guns on their school grounds. The Personal and Family Protection Act was approved by the Legislature, authorizing concealed carry in state and municipal buildings, including state university buildings. Universities have been given a period of time to prepare for the change, which will expire July 1, 2017. Emporia State University faculty members have also approved a resolution opposing guns on campus.

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Louisburg Mill: Business Not Source of E. Coli Outbreak 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The president and general manager of the Louisburg Cider Mill says products made at the mill are not the source of an E. coli outbreak. State health investigators have confirmed seven cases of E. coli that may have originated during the mill's Ciderfest in late September and early October. Mill president Josh Hebert told The Kansas City Star that state and federal investigators tested manufactured products, processing equipment and some retail items at the mill and all the samples came back negative. Herbert says it's the first time in 39 years of business that his mill has had such an issue. He told customers in a letter that the business will continue to help with the investigation to find out how the outbreak occurred and how to avoid it.

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Wichita Police: Stabbings Leave 1 Girl Dead, 2 Others Injured

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say they are still trying to piece together the how and why behind stabbings that left one girl dead and her younger sister and mother critically injured. Police responding to a call about an accident found the 6-year-old girl and her 24-year-old mother inside a Jeep that had crashed early this morning into an unoccupied van in the parking lot of a strip mall in Wichita. Both suffered multiple stab wounds, and the girl died. Her bleeding 4-year-old sister was found miles away wandering in a field near Valley Center. She too had been stabbed multiple times. The injured mother at the scene was able to identify a suspect. Police arrested the mother's 47-year-old uncle in Haysville on suspicion of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder.

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3 Hurt in Accident at Central Kansas Steel Fabrication Plant

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Three people have been hurt in an industrial accident at a steel fabrication supplier in south central Kansas.  The Reno County Sheriff's Office says a pressurized water tank exploded Thursday at Wifco Steel Products northeast of Hutchinson. The Hutchinson News reports that the most seriously injured man was in critical condition at a Wichita hospital.  A second man was in fair condition at a Wichita hospital, while the third man was treated at a Hutchinson hospital and released.  The company didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press early Friday seeking comment.

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Police: Truck Hits, Kills 62-Year-Old Pedestrian in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a truck has struck and killed a pedestrian in Topeka.  Police said in a news release that the 62-year-old man was hit Thursday. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. The name of the man wasn't immediately released.  Police are investigating. No other information was immediately available.

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Police Investigating Infant's Death in Seward County 

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — Police in Seward County are investigating the death of an infant that authorities say is suspicious. Liberal Police Department Captain Pat McClurg says a 19-year-old man called 911 while in route to Southwest Medical Center with his infant son on October 26. McClurg says the man told operators that his son wasn't breathing. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital. According to The High Plains Daily Leader, McClurg says a preliminary investigation and autopsy results indicate the death was suspicious. McClurg says an affidavit will be submitted to the Seward County attorney seeking first-degree murder and child abuse charges. The investigation is ongoing.

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Kansas Woman Gets 14 Years in Prison for Toddler's Death

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been sentenced to more than 14 years and four months in prison in the death of her 13-month-old son.  The Salina Journal  reports that 30-year-old Jessica Stinnett, of Enterprise, was sentenced Wednesday in Dickinson County for reckless second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of Maddox Jones. Stinnett pleaded no contest to the charges in September.  Dickinson County Attorney Daryl Hawkins says Stinnett indicated in court that her drug problem contributed to the toddler's death in May.  The boy died at a hospital where he was taken with bruising and obvious signs of trauma. He had been home with his mother at the time he was injured.

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Automaker Plans to Close Chrysler Museum in Suburban Detroit

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Fiat Chrysler plans to permanently close the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in suburban Detroit next month and convert it into office space.  The automaker tells The Detroit News the company will continue to preserve its historical vehicles and will showcase them at internal and external events, including displays around the Chrysler Technology Center and other FCA facilities in the U.S.  The museum opened in 1999. It was closed to the public for financial reasons since the end of 2012 with the exception of private events, but reopened again to the public in June. The company says December 18 will be the final day the museum is open to the public.  The collection shown at the Auburn Hills museum includes antique, custom and concept vehicles.  One of New York City's most iconic skyscrapers - the Chrysler Building - was built by and named for the Kansas-born automaker.  Chrysler was born in Wamego and raised in Ellis, Kansas.

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Man Gets Life Plus 30 Years for Kansas City-Area Drug Ring 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, man was sentenced to life plus 30 years in federal prison for coordinating shipments for a large drug trafficking organization in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Federal prosecutors say the drug ring distributed more than $39 million of methamphetamine and marijuana. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said Friday that 38-year-old Vicencio Olea-Monarez was sentenced for 21 drug- and weapons-related charges. Evidence at his trial indicated Olea-Monarez coordinated shipments of methamphetamine into Kansas City, Kansas. He also trafficked in cocaine and marijuana. He is the sixth of 10 defendants in the case who have been sentenced so far.

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Police: Teens Break into Dealership, Steal 4 Cars 

ST. PETERS, Mo. (AP) — Three teenagers from the Kansas City area are facing charges, and two more are being sought, after allegedly breaking into a suburban St. Louis car dealership and stealing four cars. KMOV-TV reports that the crime happened around 1:30 am Friday at the Napleton dealership in St. Peters. Officers saw four vehicles, a Dodge Challenger and three Dodge Chargers, driving on the lot at a high rate of speed before traveling onto Veterans Memorial Parkway. Three of the four cars crashed and were damaged. One of the Chargers is still missing. Three suspects ages 16 to 19 are charged with second-degree burglary, stealing a motor vehicle and other counts. Two more suspects remain at large. Police say the suspects broke into the dealership to steal the vehicle keys.

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First Phase of Dredging at John Redmond Reservoir Completed

NEW STRAWN, Kan. (AP) - The first phase of the dredging of John Redmond Reservoir has been completed.  The dredging of sediment from the bottom of John Redmond on the Neosho River began in mid-May.  The project was started after a study determined water supply needs in the region couldn't be sustained during a drought.  A total of 3,000,000 cubic yards of sediment was removed from John Redmond.  The sediment has been placed in confined disposal facilities on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land and private property.

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Fatal House Fire Reported in Ellis 

ELLIS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a fire broke out in a western Kansas home, killing one person. Ellis Police Chief Taft Yates told The Hays Post that emergency crews were called to the house fire in Ellis late Wednesday night. He says one person died, and another survived the fire. The victim's identity hasn't been released. Yates also says the cause of the fire is under investigation. Ellis is a town of about 2,000 residents and is located about 280 miles west of Kansas City.

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Change of Venue Granted After Mistrial in Kansas Killing 

NORTON, Kan. (AP) — A change of venue was granted in a murder trial in Kansas after a mistrial was declared last week. The Salina Journal reports the place and date for the next trial of 37-year-old Bobby Tallent hasn't been scheduled. Norton County Judge Preston Pratt last week declared a mistrial after a station in Kearney, Nebraska, showed footage of potential jurors waiting to be questioned. Tallent faces several charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of 47-year-old Joseph Sweet, whose body was found in March 2015 in a park in Norton, Kansas. Prosecutors allege Tallent shot at law enforcement officers in the park and as they drove near Norton. Tallent also is accused of stealing a vehicle and leading officers on a chase before he was arrested near the Nebraska border.

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EPA Proposes Expanded Use of New Herbicide, Enlist Duo 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed expanding the use a new version of a popular weed killer on genetically modified crops. Environmentalists are outraged with the proposal to increase the number of states that could use Enlist Duo from 15 to 34. The weed killer is a combination of glyphosate and an updated version of an older herbicide named 2,4-D. They note the EPA took steps to withdraw approval of Enlist in 2015 after receiving new information. But the EPA said in a statement this week that a review found Enlist doesn't "show any increased toxicity to plants." A senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety accused the EPA of "capitulation to the agrichemical industry." The Dow Chemical Company said in a statement Thursday that the company is "pleased."

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Group: Similarity Between Amelia Earhart and a Skeleton Found in 1940

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A group investigating the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart says it's uncovered another similarity between the pioneering pilot and a body found 76 years ago on a remote Pacific island.  But The International Group for Historic Aircraft Discovery says its finding doesn't prove the body is Earhart's.  The group says a forensic analysis of a photo of Earhart shows a match between the size of her bones and those of the skeleton found in 1940 on Gardner Island in Kirbati. A 1998 analysis found a general similarity between the bones and a female of Earhart's type.  Some critics insist the Pennsylvania-based group hasn't found anything tied to Earhart.  Earhart's plane vanished over the Pacific while she was attempting to fly around the world in 1937.

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Heritage College Closes 10 Vocational Sites, Citing Finances

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A vocational college with 10 campuses across several states has closed abruptly, citing financial problems and decreased demand for services from for-profit schools. A statement on Heritage College's website says its campuses are permanently closed. The campus locations included suburban Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Fort Myers and Jacksonville, Florida; Little Rock, Arkansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Oklahoma City; and Wichita, Kansas. Students at the Columbus campus found a note taped to the door announcing it had closed Tuesday. Student Kimi Boyce tells WBNS-TV she'd anticipated graduating on November 18 and that after spending $12,000, she's not sure if she'll even receive a diploma. The closure comes as some of the largest for-profit colleges have faced steep enrollment declines, growing competition and new regulation. Some of those schools have closed recently.

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Grandstand Ticket Sales at Kansas State Fair Wane 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The 2016 Kansas State Fair had its second best attendance in at least 40 years, but the number of people gracing the grandstand at the fairgrounds continues to wane. The Hutchinson News reports that nearly $360,000 people attended the state fair this year, but the fair lost a net $56,905 in grandstand tickets sales. That includes revenue from concerts, the demolition derby and the truck and tractor pull. Grandstand acts have collectively lost money six of the past eight years. Some numbers reported to state fair board members Wednesday were positive, including the number of young people who participated in the Kansas' Largest Classroom Program. The board also reported a record high of more than $257,000 for the fair's corporate club sponsorship.

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KU Football Players Shave Heads for Fan Battling Cancer

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Several University of Kansas football players have shaved their heads to support a 7-year-old Jayhawk fan with cancer. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the effort is the latest to support Cole Hayden. As the son of the team's academic and career counselor, Cole formed a bond with the team even before he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called undifferentiated sarcoma. Previously, members of the team have visited him in the hospital. And almost all of the KU football players and coaches wore wristbands emblazoned with #TeamCole during the team's August training camp. Junior linebacker Joe Dineen led the head-shaving charge in recent days despite setbacks of his own. Dineen was shut down for the season on Tuesday after battling with a nagging hamstring injury.
 

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