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Headlines for Monday, April 24, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Officials Certify Special Congressional Election 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Ron Estes will take his seat in Congress Tuesday after Kansas officials certified his victory in the state's special election. Governor Sam Brownback, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker on Monday certified the results in the race for Kansas's 4th Congressional District seat. Estes will replace former Republican Representative Mike Pompeo, who was chosen by President Donald Trump to head the CIA. Totals released Monday show Estes defeated Democrat James Thompson by 6.2 percentage points, strong challenge by a Democrat in a historically GOP district. Pompeo was re-elected to the seat by about 30 percentage points in November. Estes was state treasurer before the election. Brownback nominated state Sen. Jake LaTurner to the post and he will be sworn in Wednesday.

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Federal Judge Stays Order for Kansas Secretary of State to Turn Over Voting Rights Documents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A magistrate judge has agreed to stay an order requiring Kansas' top elections official to turn over proposed changes to voting rights laws that he took to a meeting with President Donald Trump. The action Judge James O'Hara took Sunday gives Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach time to appeal to U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. At issue is whether Kobach will have to turn over two documents to plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring voters provide proof of their U.S. citizenship when registering. After examining the documents, O'Hara ruled last week that parts were relevant to the lawsuit and chastised Kobach for misrepresenting the contents.

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Kansas Legislative Panels to Resume Work on Budget Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two Kansas legislative committees are resuming their work on budget issues this week before all lawmakers return to the Statehouse. The House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees are scheduled to have a joint meeting Thursday morning. They plan to review a new fiscal forecast issued last week. The new forecast is more optimistic than one issued in November and boosted the state's projected tax collections. But Kansas still faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019. And the budget gaps don't include extra money for public schools following a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last month that education funding is inadequate. The committees also plan to have separate meetings Thursday and Friday to draft budget measures to consider after lawmakers return from their annual spring break May 1.

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U.S. Senate Confirms Sonny Perdue As Agriculture Secretary 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary. The vote Monday was 87-11. The owner of several agricultural businesses and the son of a farmer, Perdue will be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades. Perdue has assured nervous farm-state senators that he will advocate for rural America, even as President Donald Trump's administration has proposed deep cuts to some farm programs. His promise to reach across the aisle won him several votes from Democrats. As agriculture secretary, he'll be in charge of around 100,000 employees and the nation's food and farm programs, including agricultural subsidies, conservation efforts, rural development programs, food safety and nutrition programs such as food stamps and federally-subsidized school meals.

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Governor Tightens Regulations After Boy's Waterslide Death 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The death of a colleague's son has spurred lawmakers in the often anti-regulation Kansas to toughen the state's inspection requirements for amusement parks. Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation on Monday that strengthens amusement park regulations. The bill passed the House and Senate by wide margins. The change comes after Republican Rep. Scott Schwab's 10-year-old son, Caleb, died last summer on a waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. An investigation into the death is ongoing, but the waterslide, which was dubbed the world's highest when it opened, has been closed since the accident. The Schwab family has settled with the park's owner, the manufacturer of the raft that carried riders down the slide, a general contractor and a consulting company.

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Turkey Hunter in Kansas Mistakenly Shoots Brother and Friend 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a hunter accidentally shot his brother and a friend after mistaking them for wild turkeys in southeast Kansas. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says the victims were shot in face and body on April 12. Crawford County Sheriff Dean Peak says the shooting was ruled an accident. Peak says the victims were hit by shotgun pellets and are expected to survive. The victims are at the University of Arkansas Medical Center in Fayetteville, which isn't releasing their conditions. The wildlife department's game warden, Jim Bussone, tells the Wichita Eagle the three men were hiding behind preserved turkey tail fans, which are used to disguise hunters, but ended up hunting each other while making turkey calls to lure the animals. Bussone says the shooter broke several hunting safety rules, including shooting at movement.

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Man Charged in Death of Kansas Woman Whose Sister Was Killed in 1999

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested the Kansas man charged with the killing of 34-year-old Casey Eaton of Kansas City. Kansas. Police say Emenencio Lansdown was arrested Sunday morning after a five-hour standoff. Lansdown shot at officers several times before ultimately surrendering. Prosecutors have charged the 41-year-old with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm in the death. Eaton's sister, Pamela Butler, was kidnapped near her Kansas City, Kansas, home in 1999 when she was 10-years-old. That kidnapping sparked a massive manhunt before she was found dead in Grain Valley, Missouri. The abductor, Keith Nelson, was convicted in federal court and sentenced to death.

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Kansas State to Hold Inauguration Ceremony for New President

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is having a formal inauguration ceremony this week for President Richard Myers. The retired four-star Air Force general and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman is the 14th president in the university's 154-year history. The ceremony for Myers is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in McCain Auditorium on the university's Manhattan campus. The president plans to give an inaugural address. The Kansas Board of Regents appointed Myers president in November after he had served as interim president for seven months. He replaced Kirk Schulz, who left to become Washington State University's president. Myers graduated from Kansas State in 1965 and joined the military through the ROTC program there. After his retirement from the military, Myers was a part-time professor of military history and leadership.

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Kansas Farm Loan Delinquencies Fall Slightly 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The latest farm loan delinquency numbers show Kansas farmers are faring better than many had feared as spring planting gets underway. The U.S. Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency says its direct loan delinquencies in Kansas fell slightly to 6 percent as of March 31. That compares to 6 and a half percent at the same time a year ago. Farm Loan Chief Robert White credits good crop yields the past couple of years for lessening the impact of low crop prices. But he notes that the loan delinquency rate for March 2012 was less than 4 percent. The agency also guarantees some loans made by commercial banks and those are faring worse compared to last year at this time.

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University of Kansas Greek House Landlords Form Coalition 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Representatives from the University of Kansas' most well-established fraternities are forming a business league to help protect the groups' houses. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the Kansas Fraternity Landlords' League formally incorporated in fall 2015. Its executive director, Aaron Racine, says the League is looking to become more active this semester. Racine says the nonprofit is similar to trade associations and business leagues. He says the League ensures that the fraternities' business models support their many assets. Racine says the real estate for the fraternities in the group is worth an estimated $35.7 million. The League currently represents landlords for 10 fraternity houses that are home to nearly 1,000 students.

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1 Mans Dies, 1 Wounded in Topeka Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are searching for two men who rode away on bicycles after one man was killed and another wounded in a central Topeka shooting. Police said in a news release that officers responded to the shooting early Sunday in the parking lot of an apartment. One of the victims was pronounced dead at a hospital. The other victim is recovering from non-life threatening injuries. Authorities say the suspects were wearing dark clothing and were armed with handguns.

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Sedgwick County Seeking to Demolish Judge Riddel Boys Ranch 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County officials say limitations on a federal grant for a bathroom at Lake Afton Park 50 years ago prevents the sale of the former Judge Riddel Boys Ranch. Because of the restrictions, the county is seeking bids to demolish the former youth residential center, which closed in 2014. The Wichita Eagle reports the property near Goddard would be used for parkland. Its appraised valuation on Jan. 1 was $665,660. County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell says the ranch buildings are in disrepair and present many compliance issues, making it difficult to sale or lease the property to a nonprofit. Federal funds from a 1966 agreement helped build a bathroom at the park. In 1965, the type of funding included several restrictions on what could be done with the property.

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White Privilege Conference Coming to Kansas City This Week
 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — About 2,000 people are expected to attend a conference in Kansas City designed to address inequality by discussing the difficult topic of white privilege. The 18th annual National White Privilege Conference is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday. The Kansas City Star reports supporters of the conference say it provides participants of all races a chance to examine the idea that whites in America have more advantages than others because of their skin color. Supporters also hope it will lead to conversations in the region about its racial and economic history. Several social justice activists wanted the conference to come to Kansas City. The conference is popular with academics, teachers and professors, students, social workers and community organizers. Media are not permitted to record the sessions or interview participants.

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Missouri Teen Shot After Alleged Cookie Theft Files Lawsuit 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A teenager who was shot by a Kansas City store clerk who thought the boy was shoplifting a package of cookies is suing the clerk and his employers. The lawsuit on behalf of Ryan Jones was filed earlier this month against 27-year-old Mohammed Abdi and Pic N Save LLC. Abdi was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Court documents say Jones, who was 16 at the time, was leaving the store in July 2015 when Abdi pulled a gun and fired a shot. The teen reportedly sustained permanent nerve damage to his leg. A cell phone provider also is being sued because Abdi sold phone service at the store. No attorneys are listed for the defendants in online court records.

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Cerner Fraud Conspirator Sentenced, Must Pay $19 Million 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The leader of a multi-million fraud that involved impersonating Cerner employees was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $19 million in restitution. Fifty-six-year-old Albert Davis, of Richardson, Texas, was sentenced Monday. He pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors say the conspirators created a fake Cerner business entity, a fake Cerner bank account, a fake Cerner Internet domain and leased virtual office space for a fake Cerner address in Kansas City. The also created fictitious employees and documents. They used the fraud to turn business deals and several lawsuits in their favor, solicit investors and obtain bank loans. Davis acknowledged in his plea that he was the leader of the scheme. Four others have pleaded guilty in related cases.

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Severe Storms With Hail and Possible Tornadoes Forecast for Oklahoma and Kansas 

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Forecasters say severe storms packing large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are possible throughout much of Oklahoma and the surrounding region by the end of the week. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma says the storm system could produce multiple rounds of severe weather on Friday and Saturday. Forecasters say thunderstorms are expected to develop Friday afternoon and sweep eastward across eastern Oklahoma, central Kansas and western Arkansas. That line of storms could spawn tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts. The prediction center says a second round of severe storms could move through the region later Friday. Severe storms are also possible Saturday and Sunday.

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Rare Triplet Calves Born on 2 Southern Kansas Farms

PRESTON, Kan. (AP) — Two southern Kansas farmers are rearing unusual sets of triplet calves. The Hutchinson News reports that Delbert Ross described the recent discovery of the triplets in a pasture in western Pratt county as "pretty special." He says it's been at least 25 years since he's seen triplets and that one of those calves was stillborn. He's watching to see whether he'll have to pull one or two of the calves to bottle rear. On the other end of Pratt County, near Preston, another set of triplets was born in mid-March at the home of Mike and Sarah Jackson. They raise purebred Simmental cattle that their three daughters show for 4-H. Pratt Community College agriculture instructor Lori Montgomery says it's very rare to have "live, healthy triplets."

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Doritos Provides Helicopters for Prom After Cheesy Request

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Four Kansas teenagers arrived at prom in Doritos helicopters thanks to the cheesy way Shaedon Wedel asked his date to the dance. The Kansas City Star reports Wedel asked his friend Carson Wittman's 15-year-old sister, Carlie, to the prom in Newton because she dreamed of being Cinderella. Carlie Wittman has down syndrome. Wedel asked Wittman to the dance with a customized Doritos t-shirt, and tweets about it caught the company's attention. So Doritos provided two red helicopters for Saturday's dance, and a Wisconsin couple sent Carlie Wittman a princess style gown. Carson Wittman and his date also got to fly to the dance.

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GateHouse Executive Based in Hutchinson Is Resigning 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — GateHouse News Senior Group Publisher John Montgomery says he plans to leave the company, effective May 8. Montgomery was publisher and editor of The Hutchinson News for 10 years before Gatehouse Media purchased the Harris Group in November. When that purchase was complete, Montgomery became publisher for 16 newspapers. Most are in Kansas and three are in Colorado. The 50-year-old Montgomery said Monday he will move to the Kansas City area but has no immediate plans. Montgomery was editor and publisher of the Ottawa Herald and The Hays Daily News before moving to Hutchinson. The Hutchinson News reports Steven Curd, of Lee's Summit, Missouri, will be interim replacement for Montgomery. He is currently Group Publisher for GateHouse Media in Independence, Missouri.

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Wichita Eagle Publisher Leaving as Part of McClatchy Restructuring 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita Eagle publisher and president Roy Heatherly is leaving the company as part of a larger restructuring by the McClatchy Co. Tony Berg, regional publisher for McClatchy's Midwest Division, announced Monday that Heatherly's last day will be May 5. Heatherly joined The Eagle in June 2015. Berg said he will hire a general manager to lead The Eagle and its sales operations. Berg told employees the McClatchy reorganization is designed to streamline the company's operations and refocus resources as it works to increase the pace of its digital transition. The Eagle reports McClatchy recently announced a regional publishing structure that moves its markets into four regions across the country. Berg also oversees The Kansas City Star, the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Texas Rangers Finish 4-Game Sweep, Beating Royals 5-2

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers completed a four-game sweep with a 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. The Rangers' right-handed starting pitcher Yu Darvish retired 15 of 16 batters after giving up three consecutive hits in the third. Two of those were back-to-back solo home runs from Mike Moustakas and Jorge Bonifacio, who hit his first big league homer. Darvish (2-2) struck out eight with one walk as the Rangers finished their second four-game sweep of Kansas City in as many seasons. Texas has won 10 straight against the Royals, who have lost five of six since a four-game winning streak. The Royals' Jason Hammel (0-2) took the loss Sunday.    
 

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