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Headlines for Monday, August 18, 2014


Kansas Jobless Rate Edges Higher

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Labor says the state's unemployment rate and the number of private-sector jobs both edged higher in July. The agency reported Monday that seasonally adjusted unemployment rose to 4.9 percent in July from 4.8 percent in June. The July figure was down from 5.6 percent in the same month last year. The report also said the private sector added a seasonally adjusted 900 jobs from June to July, an increase of 0.1 percent. Total private-sector employment grew by about 21,000 jobs from July 2013 to July of this year, an increase of 1.9 percent.


Brownback Tells Oilmen About Efforts to Fight Federal Regulation

WICHTA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback is campaigning on his administration's efforts to fight against what he calls federal government overreach. The Republican governor found a friendly audience for his re-election pitch Monday at the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association convention. Brownback recounted steps the state has taken to fight the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. He says the bird's population numbers are up 20 percent in Kansas. He also talked about efforts to counter an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to expand the definition of waters of the United States, which he claims would encompass ponds and puddles. Brownback says water is inherently a state issue, and he wants the federal government to withdraw its proposed rule. Another area of contention is federal pollution rules over coal.


Roberts: Drug Cartels Behind US Border Crisis

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senator Pat Roberts says drug cartels are enticing Central American immigrants to come to the United States to work for their operations here. The Kansas Republican made the claim Monday at the annual convention of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. He says the cartels spread false information that President Barack Obama's 2-year-old directive granting work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as youths would also allow Central American children to stay in the country. Many of the 66,000 Central American immigrants currently arriving in the country are between the ages of 16 and 22. Roberts says those immigrants become drug "mules" to expand the cartels' drug operation in the United States. He estimates the number will grow to 100,000 if the U.S. doesn't respond. Other panelists at Monday's event include the state's four U.S. House members - Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo and Kevin Yoder. Also on the agenda for the Wichita convention is a discussion of the lesser prairie chicken and its listing by the federal government as a threatened species. Oil and gas producers have said the listing interferes with their business by putting restrictions on land use.


4 Hurt in KCK Crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two adults and two children were injured in a highway crash in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Mercedes SUV trying to change lanes ran into a Hyundai car on Sunday afternoon. Troopers say the SUV rolled multiple times and three of its four passengers were ejected. None was wearing seat belts. Thirty-eight-year-old SUV driver Julia Rivera was hospitalized along with a 48-year-old male passenger and two girls ages 2 and 11. Their conditions are unknown. The driver of the car wasn't injured. She was wearing a seat belt. The patrol is investigating the crash.


Police Shoot Kansas Homicide Suspect

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities in Kansas City, Kansas, have a homicide suspect in custody following a chase that ended with a police officer shooting the man. Officers were on patrol around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when they saw the man in a vehicle. The officers chased the suspect's vehicle until it crashed into a fence behind a building. Police said the man got out of the vehicle carrying a handgun. One of the officers then shot the suspect. The suspect was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police say the man is also the subject of a federal warrant. The man's name and the details of the homicide in which he's a suspect were not released Sunday.


African-American Church Leaders Say Kobach's Remarks 'Hateful'

TOPEKA, Kan. - African-American religious leaders gathered at a church in Topeka over the weekend to publicly criticze Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach about the photo ID requirement for Kansas voters. They also object to Kobach's recent remarks about opposition to the rule from black churches. In a recent radio interview, Kobach said he would he put the word "churches" in quotation marks when referring to congregations whose leaders have come out against the voter ID requirement. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports ministers from predominantly African-American churches in several cities met at the St. John A.M.E. Church in Topeka Saturday. The ministers say the voter ID requirement has significantly reduced the number of minority voters casting ballots in Kansas elections. The church leaders also said that Kobach's remarks about their churches was (quote) ".. a hateful statement." Kobach responded that fewer than 900 voters were turned away during the 2012 election because of the photo ID requirement. Kobach said he is willing to meet with the ministers to discuss the issue.


Fishermen Save Kansas Driver from Drowning After Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas park ranger says two fishermen saved a man who accidentally drove into the Cheney Reservoir in south-central Kansas. Cheney State Park ranger Mike Satterlee says the accident occurred Saturday night. He says the driver "got turned around" and drove down a boat ramp into the water. Three passengers escaped but the driver couldn't get out. Satterlee says two fishermen rescued the man by breaking a window. First responders treated the driver and three passengers for minor cuts and bruises. It's unclear if they were hospitalized. Authorities haven't released their names. Satterlee says this is the second time a car has accidentally driven into the water at that location this year.


Woman Pistol-Whipped, Carjacked at Topeka Motel

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Topeka are looking for two men after a woman reported being pistol-whipped and carjacked outside a motel. WIBW-TV reports that officers were called around 7 am Monday to the Traveler's Inn in the southern part of the city. The victim told police that two men attacked her, then stole her maroon, 2004 Chrysler Pacifica with Kansas plates 406 GGZ. The woman's injuries were not life-threatening.


Memorial Fund to Benefit Deputy, Wife's Children

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A memorial fund has been set up for the children of a Reno County jail deputy and his wife who died in a motorcycle crash during the weekend. Reno County Jail Deputy Shawn Schellenger and his wife, Danielle, died of injuries they suffered Saturday in Great Bend. The sheriff's office says they were on a motorcycle when a trailer detached from an oncoming truck and hit their motorcycle. Danielle Schellenger died Saturday and her husband died Sunday. The sheriff's department said Monday that a memorial fund has been established at the First National Bank of Hutchinson for 5-year-old Warren Schellenger and his sister, 7-year-old Dominique. Both children were on other motorcycles when the accident happened. They were not hurt and are currently being cared for by a family friend.


Lawrence Schools to Use National Sex-Education Standards

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The Lawrence school district is using national sexuality education standards in all of its schools this year. District employee Sarah Oatsvall says the national standards are more comprehensive than state standards approved by the State Board of Education in 2006. The goal of the standards is to improve the students' self-image, promote good behaviors and help students make good decisions. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the national standards include more information than the Kansas standards about birth control and sexual orientation. The Lawrence district allows parents to "opt out" if they don't want their children to participate in the sex education curriculum.


Wichita Man Robbed in Home Invasion

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita Police say a man was bound and robbed in his home after leaving his door unlocked. The 46-year-old man told police that two unknown men entered his house in west Wichita Sunday morning. He says he was asleep on the couch when the men entered the front door. Police say one man was armed with a gun and the other with a hammer. They bound the man's ankles and hands. Police say the men took undisclosed items from the victim's vehicle and home. No injuries were reported.


Study: Missouri's Public Defenders Overworked

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new American Bar Association study says Missouri's publicly funded criminal defense lawyers are so overworked that it could raise constitutional issues. The Kansas City Star reports the state's 376 attorneys represent more than 98 percent of poor defendants charged in Missouri with state crimes. The news that the public defenders are overworked is not new. Consultants have warned for the years that Missouri was operating a "constitutionally inadequate" public defender system. ABA president William Hubbard says his organization believes it's time to stop studying the problem and start solving it. The study found that public defenders are spending far fewer hours preparing cases than is necessary to provide their clients with "reasonably effective" representation.


Police: Kansas Man Accidentally Shot in Backyard

ANDALE, Kan. (AP) - Kansas authorities say a man has been hospitalized after being shot by a group of men firing at a tree stump with long-distance rifles. KAKE-TV reports the man was in the backyard of his Andale home Sunday afternoon when he was hit by the stray bullet. Sedgwick County Sgt. Kevin Berry says the shot was fired from a farm about half a mile away from the man's yard. He says five men ages 18-20 were shooting without using a back stop. The man was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. His condition is unknown. The victim's sister-in-law says nearby sheds and cars have been shot previously. The shooters were brought in for questioning. Berry says they could face aggravated battery charges.


Topeka Officer KIlls Attacking Pit Bull

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka police say an officer shot and killed a dog that was trying to attack children who were getting on a school bus. Lt. Scott Gilchrist said in a news release that officers responded to a call in southeast Topeka Monday morning that two pit bulls were trying to attack the children. Gilchrist says one of the dogs charged an officer, who shot it after not being able to subdue the dog with his baton. Animal control officials picked up the deceased dog and are trying to find the second dog. The incident remains under investigation.


Wichita State Considers Major Expansion

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita State University is considering an expansion that would include up to 20 new buildings on what is now the campus golf course. President John Bardo says if the project is completed, the size of the campus would increase by about 50 percent. The Wichita Eagle reports the plan would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, with much of the money coming from private sector donations. Bardo says he plans to start with a $43 million "Experiential Building," followed by a new business school and innovation building. Other parts of the 20-year plan include residence halls, a hotel, another student center and more amenities. Bardo says he can't say yet how much the entire project would cost, or how much student fees would need to be raised.


Lawrence Residents Say Smoking Rule Not Enforced

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Some Lawrence residents say a state law that prohibits smoking within 10 feet of a public building's entrance is not being enforced by authorities. Lawrence has a provision in its city smoking ordinance that directs the fire department to enforce a 2010 statewide smoking ban. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the fire department enforces the rule when it receives a complaint. The city's fire chief says the department seldom receives a smoking ordinance complaint. A Lawrence resident has started an online petition seeking to ban smoking on one of the city's most popular streets through downtown. It has nearly 200 signatures. The city's mayor says he believes downtown businesses are trying their best to follow the Lawrence ordinance.


National Aviation Research Lab Expands in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita is using a new laboratory to test how to safely carry pressurized oxygen bottles on airplanes. The research is being conducted at the new Ballistics and Impact Dynamics Lab for B/E Aerospace in Olathe. The lab, operated by Wichita State University, cost $300,000 to set up. It is inside the former Britt Brown Arena at the Kansas Coliseum. The laboratory will be used to conduct high-risk tests on other materials used in airplanes, such as fuel tanks. NIAR officials say the next step will be to add the ability to test bird-strike and high velocity projectile impacts later this year.


Kansas City Debuts New System to Find Disabled People

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have a new system to help them more quickly find missing people suffering from mental or emotional disabilities. Known as Care Trak, the system gives ankle and wrist bracelets to people with conditions like autism, Alzheimer's disease or traumatic brain injuries. Radio technology can then track those people. The Kansas City Star reports the police department received a $10,000 donation from the Police Foundation of Kansas City to buy a tracking unit for the city's six patrol stations. Officers were trained to use the system this week. A bracelet costs about $300 plus about $3 each month.


57 Wild Horses Die After Transfer to Kansas

SCOTT CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal investigators say 57 wild horses that died after being transferred to a corral in Kansas likely succumbed to stress, age and changes caused by the move. A preliminary report says federal investigators found no signs of infectious or contagious disease in the horses. The report says the shift from pasture to corral environment, and the change from pasture feed to processed hay feed also were factors in the deaths. The horses were among 1,493 mares transferred to Scott City in June by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The move came after a Kansas contractor told the agency he would renew an existing contract but wanted a smaller herd. The Hutchinson News reports a veterinarian had to euthanize an additional 13 animals at the Scott City corral.


Oil Pipeline Opponents Plan Concert in Cornfield

NELIGH, Neb. (AP) — Willie Nelson and Neil Young will headline a concert next month in a Nebraska cornfield organized by opponents of a proposed pipeline that would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast. Bold Nebraska said Monday the concert will be held September 27 on a farm near Neligh in northeast Nebraska. Tickets go on sale Wednesday. Earlier this year, protesters carved an anti-pipeline message into the cornfield, which is in the path of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Pipeline critics hope the project will be rejected because they fear it could contaminate groundwater and contribute to pollution. TransCanada has said the pipeline will have upgraded safety measures and should be allowed. The company has already built and is operating the southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas.


Andrew White III Transfers to Nebraska from KU

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Andrew White III has transferred from the University of Kansas to Nebraska. Nebraska's head men's basketball coach Tim Miles said Monday that White would join his program after playing two seasons for the Jayhawks. White had said in May he would leave KU to find a program where he could get more playing time. He picked the Cornhuskers over Maryland, Richmond, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Miami and Florida State. The 6-foot-7, 210-pounder from Richmond, Virginia, will have to sit out this season under transfer rules. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining. White appeared in 19 games last season, averaging 2.3 points and 5.9 minutes. He averaged 2.2 points and 5 minutes in 25 games as a freshman.


Kansas City Chiefs' Charles Sidelined by Freak Slip Down Hill

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The status of Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles remains in question after he missed Sunday night's preseason game in Carolina because of a bruised foot. Charles had made it through every training camp practice without picking up any significant bumps or bruises. Then, when he was in the process of moving out of the Missouri Western dorms on Thursday night, he rolled his foot over a curb. The Chiefs had no media availability on Friday or Saturday, so the injury was not revealed until Sunday, when Charles was not on the trip to Carolina. Coach Andy Reid said Monday that Charles had X-rays and an MRI exam that revealed no significant injury. Still, it is unclear how long Charles will be out.




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