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Headlines for Friday, October 23, 2015

The top regional (well, mostly Kansas) stories from the Associated Press

Trump Will Be on Kansas Republican Caucus Ballot in March 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will be on the ballot for the Kansas GOP caucus in March. The real estate magnate has paid the $15,000 filing fee to be on the party's caucus March 5. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich are already on the ballot. Trump has led the GOP presidential race in most national polls for several weeks. His closest challenger is Ben Carson, who was visiting Topeka and Overland Park on Friday. Carson has not yet filed for the caucus.


Airplane Parts Company to Expand, Add 200 Jobs in Wichita 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A French-based airplane parts manufacturer has broken ground on a new addition as it prepares to move its North American headquarters to Wichita. Governor Sam Brownback joined Figeac-Aero officials Friday for the groundbreaking on a 70,000- square-foot expansion and a new structure at its northeast Wichita manufacturing plant. It plans to hire 200 more workers in the next five years. The estimated project cost is more than $20 million. It is expected to be completed by 2016. In Wichita, the company manufactures parts for Airbus, Bombardier, Triumph, Gulfstream, Embraer and Spirit AeroSystems. The Wichita Eagle reports the city and Sedgwick County have each approved $250,000 loans to the company. The city also approved a five-year property tax abatement and industrial revenue bonds to abate sales taxes for the project.


Kansas Joins Federal Lawsuit on Insurance Company Fees

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas and two other states are suing the federal government over fees imposed on insurance companies as part of the Affordable Care Act. In a news release issued Thursday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the state is seeking a $32.8 million refund from the federal government. The lawsuit, which was filed with Texas and Louisiana, also seeks to stop the collection of fees from insurance companies that manage the states' Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs. States are required to reimburse the private insurance companies for the costs of the fee. The lawsuit argues the Affordable Care Act did not give clear notice to states that they would have to reimburse the fee as a condition of receiving federal funds for their Medicaid and CHIP organizations.


Workers' Compensation Insurance Rates in Kansas to Decline 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer says about 65,000 businesses in the state will pay less for their workers' compensation coverage next year. Selzer announced Thursday that he approved lower rates proposed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The council is a national group that analyzes workers' compensation data and files proposed rates in a majority of states. Selzer said rates will decrease by 11.6 percent for Kansas businesses obtaining their insurance in the marketplace and 10.4 percent for companies that participate in a state plan for high-risk businesses. Insurance Department spokesman Bob Hanson said the decline in rates can be attributed to a drop in high-cost claims from businesses and greater awareness of their safety issues. Workers' compensation insurance covers businesses against costs associated with employee injuries.


Kansas Joins Group Filing Lawsuits over New Clean Air Rules 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas is among a group of states and industry groups dependent on fossil fuels lining up to file court challenges to President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A flurry of lawsuits was filed Friday at U.S. Court of Appeals as the Environmental Protection Agency published the final version of the new regulations. All but two of the 24 states filing challenges are led by Republicans. They deride the plan as an illegal overreach that will kill coal mining jobs and drive up electricity costs. The Obama administration and environmental groups counter that the rules are needed to cut carbon emissions while curbing the worst impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. They also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs.


Secretary of State Dismissed from Voting Machine Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The top election official in Kansas was dismissed as a defendant from the lawsuit filed by a Wichita mathematician seeking voting machine tapes after finding statistical anomalies in election counts. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a statement Thursday he was pleased but not surprised. The move leaves Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman, whose office actually has the tapes, as the only defendant in the case. Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson wants the tapes to do a statistical model by checking the error rate on electronic voting machines used at a Sedgwick County voting station during the November 2014 general election. Kobach says the law is clear regarding auditing procedures and contends he should have never been a party to the lawsuit in the first place.


Kansas Officials Consider Tougher Fines for Water Scofflaws 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are considering tougher penalties for people who chronically exceed water supply consumption limits or don't report how much water is pumped from wells. Susan Metzger, assistant secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, talked about changing penalties Thursday before an interim legislative committee. She said the $250 fine for not reporting water use wasn't much of a deterrent. She said overdrawing water for a year gets a written notice. Metzger said the department hasn't determined how much penalties would rise, or when it would take effect. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports talk of harsher penalties comes as western Kansas continues to deplete the underground Ogallala Aquifer. The agriculture department says irrigation accounts for 85 percent of water consumed in Kansas on average.


KS Congressman Questions Hillary Clinton on Benghazi Attacks 

WASHINGTON (AP) —A Republican member of the House Benghazi committee wanted to know Thursday why Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't fire anybody over the 2012 attacks that killed four Americans. Clinton was secretary of state at the time. Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas notes that no one lost a single paycheck over the attacks — and it was the first time an U.S. ambassador had been killed since 1979. Clinton said during Thursday's Capitol Hill hearing an independent review board did single out several State Department employees for what the board felt was inadequately carrying out their duties — but the board didn't find any breach or dereliction of duty. Four senior State Department officials were put on paid leave after the board said security at the Benghazi mission on the night of the attacks was "grossly inadequate." After a review, the department reassigned three officials to positions of lesser responsibility, and one official resigned.


Kansas Nuclear Contamination Lab Unstaffed

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas laboratory responsible for testing for contamination in the event of an accident at the state's only nuclear power plant hasn't been staffed for several weeks after its final two employees left in September. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says an Iowa lab is testing routine samples from the Wolf Creek nuclear plant, and that Kansas has several other agencies that would respond if there were an emergency. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports five people worked at KDHE's Radiochemistry Section in 2014 but two left before the end of the year. By July staffing was down to the two who left last month. KDHE says public health isn't endangered and the agency's ability to carry out its responsibilities doesn't rely on any individual department or worker.


KC Civic Leaders Call for Raise in Legal Age for Tobacco 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City civic leaders have announced a campaign to boost the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21. The Kansas City Star reports that the campaign is called Tobacco 21KC. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and other organizations announced the effort Thursday morning. The goal is to get every municipality in the metropolitan area to raise its legal age for buying tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Several cities, including New York, already have voted to increase the minimum tobacco age to 21. This year, Hawaii became the first state to do so. Chamber of Commerce president Jim Heeter said he didn't see a downside and that the public health evidence is "overwhelming."


Bank Inside Wichita State's Student Center is Robbed 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a bank inside the Wichita State University student center was robbed. A crime alert that the university sent to students, faculty and staff says a man walked into the Commerce Bank in the Rhatigan Student Center around 3 pm Thursday. The alert says bank staff members were threatened and that an undetermined amount of money was taken. The Wichita Eagle reports that a Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher says the man "tossed them a note" over the counter. The WSU alert said no one saw any weapons. No one was injured. Authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward.


Kansas Man Who Fled US Captured upon Return 
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service says a Kansas City, Kansas, man who fled the U.S. two years ago was arrested when he flew back to the country from Africa. Marshals say Wilson Tyler was arrested Thursday at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. He fled in 2013 after being charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and stealing $150. He was tracked to Sierra Leone. The Kansas City Star reports that Tyler was convicted as a teenager of second-degree murder in the 1980 killing of a Kansas City, Kansas, service station clerk. He was convicted of sodomizing another inmate while being held for the murder. Because of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Tyler will be held in a special unit in New York until he is cleared to return to Kansas.


University of Kansas to Raze and Replace Burge Union

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to raze Burge Union and replace it with a new union by the fall of 2018. The union project will be partially funded by a new student fee. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Student Senate on Wednesday approved a fee to be charged beginning next year through 2048. The move extends the current Student Union Renovation Fee — which would have sunset in 2020 — and increases it from $13.80 to $18.70. The fee will fund roughly two-thirds of the cost to rebuild the Burge Union and provide a revenue stream for several years. The new building will be built close to the existing Burge Union. The estimated cost is $8 million to $10 million, although construction plans aren't final.


Authorities ID 2 Men Found Shot to Death in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of the two men found shot to death earlier this month in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that the men were identified as 57-year-old Russell Taylor and 37-year-old Stanley Wright. Officers found them wounded October 11 while responding to a shooting. Both died at the scene. Police did not release any suspect information or details of what led to the shooting.


Computer Issue Delaying Processing of Kansas Vets' Claims

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas agency says its workers are locked out of a computer program, delaying them from processing veterans' claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs uses a computer program that allows them to process hundreds of claims each month and send them to the VA's regional office in Wichita. But commission workers have been locked out of the program lately. Without the program, the claims have to be faxed or mailed, which can take weeks. Wayne Bollig, a deputy director at the commission, says the outage began Tuesday, and if the issue isn't resolved soon, the agency will receive a flood of claims at the end of the month. The VA didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.


Topeka Man Charged with Murder, Weapons Violation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man has been charged in the fatal shooting of another man earlier this month. Shawnee County District Court records show that 26-year-old Daris Laron Holliday is charged with second-degree murder in the October 10 death of 43-year-old Keith Leon Reed. Twenty-eight-year-old Andrea Nichole Godfrey, of Topeka, Godfrey was charged with felony counts of obstruction of apprehension of Holliday and interference with a law enforcement officer. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Holliday and Godfrey were arrested October 11 after a foot chase. The charges against them were filed last week but didn't appear online until Thursday. Both remain jailed in Shawnee County. Holliday's attorney, Mark Bennett, said through a staff member that he has no comment. Godfrey's attorney didn't immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press.


Kansas Man Dies After Deputies Use Stun Guns 

OSAGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death of a Topeka man who collapsed after sheriff's deputies used stun guns on him during a domestic dispute. The Osage County Sheriff's Office says Kenneth Schick died during the confrontation early Tuesday at a home in the county. Deputies who went to the home encountered a domestic dispute that included a hostage situation. The sheriff's news release said deputies used stun guns and a disabling spray to gain control of Schick. He was taken to a Topeka hospital, where he died. The cause of death hasn't been released. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Osage County Sheriff's Office declined further comment until the KBI completes its investigation.


IS Director to Be Sentenced for Theft 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A former information systems director has been ordered to repay more than $1.2 million he stole from a company which owns assisted living centers in Kansas and Missouri. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten also sentenced on Thursday Brent Shryock of Augusta to three years in prison, as the parties had proposed in their plea deal. His ex-wife, Lori, faces sentencing Monday. Both pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Marten said he was troubled that Shryock stole the money not out of some need, but to finance his own lavish lifestyle. The indictment alleges the thefts occurred while Brent Shryock was employed as information systems director for Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America, where he was in charge of purchasing equipment. Prosecutors allege the couple created four fictitious companies to submit fraudulent invoices. 


Wichita Group Raises More Than $137K to Operate B-29 Plane 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita group plans to repair and fly a World War II bomber after hitting its fundraising goal for the project. The Wichita Eagle reports that the group was struggling to gain even half of the $137,000 it was seeking on fundraising website Kickstarter until Thursday. It ended up surpassing its target by more than $3,000, earning some extra cash for restoring the B-29 Superfortress known as "Doc." The group that owns the plane, Doc's Friends, plans to have the aircraft operating before the end of the year, making it the world's second airworthy B-29. Doc's Friends Chairman Jeff Turner says he hopes donations will continue coming in even though the group hit its goal. More than 750 people committed to donating money to the restoration project. The 30-day campaign will conclude on October 29.


Wichita Police Investigate Man's Death After Shooting Report 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a man found in wrecked car has died after a shooting was reported in the area. The Wichita Eagle reports that officers responded to an accident scene in which a car had veered off a road. Wichita police Ltieutenant.Dale Mattern says three men in the car were seriously injured and one of them later died. Mattern would not confirm whether the person died as a result of a shooting or other injuries. The two other occupants of the car were taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in critical condition. Mattern says police took a man in his 20s into custody at the scene for questioning.


Belton Man Charged with Impersonating Police Officer 

BELTON, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man is charged with claiming to be a police officer during a home break-in. Thirty-one-year-old Kenneth Bishop of Belton faces charges that include false impersonation of a law enforcement officer. No attorney is listed for him in online court records. Court documents say that Bishop banged October 2 on the front door of home with a newborn child inside while repeatedly shouting "KCPD, KCPD." The Kansas City Star reports that he's also accused of breaking out a front window and firing shots into the residence. When a resident didn't see a police vehicle outside, he retrieved his gun. The victim and the intruder traded gunshots. Police arrested Bishop five days later while investigating an earlier home-invasion robbery in Kansas City involving individuals impersonating police officers.


Longtime K-State Worker Claims School Violated Civil Rights 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A longtime Kansas State University employee has filed a lawsuit claiming the school discriminated against him because he is an Iranian-born Muslim who was in line for promotion to an associate vice president post. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Abdullah "Abe" Fattaey worked at Kansas State from 1971 until 2014. A federal lawsuit filed earlier this month claims he was terminated after a concerted effort by top university officials to get rid of him. Fattaey was the school's director of campus planning and facilities management when he was nominated in April 2013 to become associate vice president for campus planning and facilities management. He says that instead of the promotion he was given a "terminal contract" and was told he would be dismissed in 12 months.


Kansas City Charter School to Open 2nd Elementary Building 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A downtown Kansas City charter school announced plans Thursday to open a second elementary school next fall. The Kansas City Star reports that the University of Central Missouri, which sponsors the charter, approved opening a second school last week. Crossroads Academy spokesman Dean Johnson says the school had a wait list of 100 students for whom the school did not have room when classes resumed this fall. Johnson says a location for the second school has not been secured but that it is considering different options in the greater downtown area to accommodate 186 students in kindergarten through third grade. The academy is also considering a leasing space while it looks for a long-term site. Johnson says owning a building will "depend on the support of a capital campaign."


19-Year-Old Pleads Guilty to Receiving Child Pornography 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 19-year-old western Missouri man has pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving child pornography over the Internet. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson's office says Jacob Arnold of Smithville entered his plea on Thursday in Kansas City, admitting that he received child porn over the Internet on March 17. The Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force got a tip on April 29 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a video of child pornography that had been uploaded from Arnold's computer. Under the plea deal, Arnold agreed not to argue for a sentence less than 10 years in federal prison and prosecutors agreed to not seek a sentence greater than 15 years. A sentencing hearing has not been set.


Man Pleads Not Guilty in Deaths of Wichita Couple 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of two men charged with the shooting deaths of a Wichita couple pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other crimes. Steve Wade Edwards on Thursday also waived his preliminary hearing and asked for a jury trial. Edwards is charged with capital murder, or two alternative counts of first-degree premeditated murder, in the October 2014 deaths of Godofredo and Martha Moreno. He also faces four other charges. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told The Wichita Eagle that he won't seek the death penalty. Edwards is accused of shooting the Morenos while trying to collect a debt from the couple's son. The other suspect, Carlos Delacadena-Edwards, is scheduled for a November 30 jury trial on two counts of first-degree felony murder and one count of aggravated robbery.


Assistant UMKC Basketball Coach Connected with University of Louisville Stripper Scandal Resigns 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An assistant University of Missouri-Kansas City basketball coach has resigned, saying he can't do his job while battling what he called "false allegations" that he hired dancers to strip and have sex with recruits while he was a coach at Louisville. UMKC announced Andre McGee's resignation Friday. He had been on paid administrative leave since October 2, when the allegations surfaced. Escort Katina Powell has told ESPN that McGee paid $10,000 for 22 shows that took place in a Louisville dormitory from 2010 to 2014. Louisville coach Rick Pitino has denied any knowledge of such parties and said he will not resign. McGee played at Louisville before becoming a graduate assistant coach and director of men's basketball operations. He left the university last year to become an assistant at UMKC.


Chiefs' Maclin Clears Concussion Test, Returns to Practice 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has passed the league's concussion protocol and should be available for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maclin was hurt in last week's loss in Minnesota. He did not work out early in the week while undergoing tests, but returned to practice Friday on a limited basis. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Maclin "has passed everything. We just have to see tomorrow how he feels. But he did, he went through practice today and did a nice job with it." Maclin is the Chiefs' leading receiver with 39 catches for 531 yards and a touchdown. No other wide receiver on the roster has more than eight receptions.


Royals Host Game 6 of ALCS, Hoping to Reach World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals host the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series tonight (FRI). Toronto is facing its fifth elimination game of the postseason. The Blue Jays will start ace David Price who has a 7.02 ERA in three appearances in these playoffs, with his lone win coming in relief. The Royals go with Game 2 starter Yordano Ventura in an effort to reach the World Series for the second straight year.


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