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Headlines for Monday, August 21, 2017

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

Wichita Lawmaker Jim Ward Announces Gubernatorial Run

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The top Democratic lawmaker in the Kansas House says he is joining the crowded race to replace Governor Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier last week. Brownback is serving his second term and is expected to leave office early to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Ward was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2002, and is the ranking Democrat on the House committee on Education. Other Democrats in the race include former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and former state Representative Josh Svaty. GOP candidates include Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.

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Lieutenant Governor's Voting Record Gives Policy Insight

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer's legislative voting record gives insight into the course of policy action he's certain to sustain if he wins the governor's race. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Colyer generally has avoided hefty policy pronouncements in recent weeks to focus on explaining what type of governor he would be. Colyer launched a state Legislature career by sponsoring a bill equating the legal status of a fetus at all stages of gestation to that of a living human being. This anti-abortion position he took as a freshman representative in 2007 reflected his advocacy in the House and Senate through 2010 and his public positions as lieutenant governor for more than six years. President Donald Trump has nominated Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

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Trial Begins in Kansas on Bias Claim Against Kobach's Office 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former employee of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office has testified in federal court that she was confused and embarrassed by her 2013 firing after being told that her lack of church attendance was a key reason. Jurors began hearing ex-employee Courtney Canfield's lawsuit against the office and chief Kobach deputy Eric Rucker on Monday in Topeka. Canfield alleges that her firing in November 2013 after 9½ months at the secretary of state's office represents illegal religious discrimination. Attorneys for Kobach's office say she was fired over performance issues. Canfield testified she was told of her firing by her grandmother, who was friends with Rucker. Canfield said her grandmother told her that Rucker emphasized that Canfield did not go to church. Rucker strongly disputes the grandmother's account.

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Clouds Give Kansans Mixed Eclipse Experience 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  Clouds parted just in time in downtown Topeka for many people to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse as it reached its peak of 99 percent. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that about 200 people at a watch party on the parking lot of the library got a look for about 30 seconds through a thin sheen of clouds. People cheered as a small portion of the sun could be seen when the clouds separated. Light rain pelted employees on the rooftop of the Westar Energy in downtown Topeka as they waited for the eclipse's peak. Employees were able to spot the sun for a fleeting few seconds. The skies were clearer in the Wichita area where people could see a little more than 92 percent of the eclipse.

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Crews Search for Missing Fisherman in Kansas River

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities are searching for a fisherman in the Kansas River. Kansas City, Kansas Fire Chief John Paul Jones says witnesses saw the man fall into the river Sunday near Interstate 435 in Kansas City, Kansas. Rescue crews searched for nearly two hours Sunday before breaking for the night. Jones says that crews returned to the area to search early this (MON) morning. 

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Kansas Father: Legal System Failed Slain Family Members 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A father says the Kansas legal system failed his loved ones because it kept a man's sex offender status below the radar long enough to kill his daughter and granddaughter. The Wichita Eagle reports that 19-year-old Keith Hawkins was charged August 8 with capital murder, just hours after 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and her 4-year-old daughter Zaylynn Paz were found dead in their Newton home. Harvey County attorney David Yoder says Hawkins previously was supposed to be arrested for failing to register as a sex offender but that a warrant wasn't filed in time due to a backlog of cases. Runyon's father, Edward Runyon, says the system failed the victims because it kept Hawkins's status from public disclosure and didn't hold him fully accountable for failing to register his address.

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Police Investigate This Year's 18th Homicide in Topeka 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating the shooting death of a northeast Kansas man. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 44-year-old Kenneth Leray Vetaw was found dead Saturday. Authorities say his injuries are consistent with gunshot wounds but that an autopsy is needed to determine his cause of death. Police say it appears that Vetaw was shot elsewhere and walked on foot to the area where his body was later discovered. The investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made. Vetaw's death is the 18th confirmed homicide in the city so far this year. Vetaw was the oldest of three brothers. His mother, Leslie Vetaw, says he was a loving father. He had three daughters, a son, three grandsons and one granddaughter.

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KU Linebacker Dismissed After Alleged Gun Threat 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A sophomore linebacker at the University of Kansas has been dismissed from the Jayhawks after being accused of threatening a woman with a handgun. Nineteen-year-old Maciah Long of Houston was charged Monday with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property and marijuana possession. Douglas County court records allege Long damaged or destroyed the woman's television. Long was arrested Sunday and made a brief court appearance Monday. Court records show he said he would hire an attorney. He remained jailed later Monday on $5,000 bond. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Lawrence police declined to discuss the case because it involved alleged domestic violence. Jayhawks coach David Beaty announced Long's dismissal from the team Monday. He played linebacker and tight end last season.

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Wichita Man Gets Probation in Fatal Hit-and-Run 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has been sentenced to probation for a hit-and-run that killed a U.S. Marine. The Sedgwick County district attorney's office says 27-year-old Dreu Wikle was sentenced Friday to two years of probation. He would serve three years in prison if he violates probation.KAKE-TV reports Wikle pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.The accident in May 2016 killed 31-year-old Grant Burris, of Haysville, a Purple Heart recipient who was checking the mail at his parents' home when he was hit.Witnesses told police the driver didn't stop after hitting Burris, who served four tours in Iraq. He died 11 days after being hit. Court documents say Wikle thought he hit a mail box but didn't stop.

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Kansas District Proceeds with Eclipse Viewing After Testing 

EUDORA, Kan. (AP) — Students in a northeast Kansas school district were allowed watch the eclipse after all, following concerns about the special glasses needed for viewing. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that concerns were raised about the safety of the viewing glasses that the Eudora Schools Foundation and Eudora Elementary PTO had purchased months in advance so all district students could watch the eclipse. The district said Friday that the glasses were believed to be counterfeit. But Eudora Superintendent Steve Splichal released a statement Sunday reporting all the sunglasses had been tested by a certified laboratory professional and found to exceed safety standards for eclipse viewing. The glasses were then individually inspected for defects. Splichal wrote that two donors also provided more sunglasses from verified sources. The district obtained enough sunglasses for all students. Unfortunately, skies over Eudora were overcast during the solar eclipse. 

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Police Hunt Suspected TV Thief Wearing 'I'm Broke Baby' T-Shirt 

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — Police in suburban Kansas City are on the hunt for a man accused of stealing a TV while wearing a T-shirt with the phrase "I'm Broke Baby" on it. The Lee's Summit Police Department says on its Facebook page Monday that "yes, we realize his shirt is ironic!" A photo on the page shows the man wearing the black and white shirt, a matching ball cap and sunglasses. He's clutching a cellphone and what appears to be a shopping cart handle. The post says he's suspected of stealing the large TV from a retailer. It doesn't say when the theft occurred. The post had been shared nearly 270 times as of Monday afternoon and generated comments including: "Get a job, baby!" and "Shirt says it all."

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Off-Duty Officer Killed, Woman Wounded in Westport District 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after an off-duty officer was killed and a woman was wounded at a restaurant in the Westport bar and entertainment district in Kansas City. The Lee's Summit Police Department has confirmed that the person killed Sunday night on the patio of Californos was Officer Thomas Orr. The department's website say the 30-year-old worked as a school resource officer of Campbell Middle School. Police say the shooting happened after an argument broke out between patrons. Orr wasn't involved. A woman was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm that wasn't believed to be life threatening. Police say at least 200 people were on the patio when the shooting happened. The suspect remains at large, and witnesses are urged to contact police.

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Gorilla Dies of Cancer at Topeka Zoo 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 49-year-old lowland gorilla at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas has died after tests revealed she had late-stage ovarian cancer, four days after undergoing surgery for constipation. The zoo said in a statement Sunday that surgeons who were determining the extent of Tiffany's cancer found that it had spread, prompting their decision not to awaken her from surgery. The cancer was discovered earlier Sunday during follow-up tests stemming from her surgery Wednesday to clear stool from her colon. Tiffany was born in 1968 at the Kansas City Zoo and has spent much of her time since then at the Topeka Zoo, aside from four years she lived at the Buffalo Zoo in New York in the 1980s.

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Mastermind of Multi-State Lottery Fraud Faces 25-year Prison Sentence

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former lottery computer programmer who's pleaded guilty in Iowa to running a criminal scheme that allowed him to collect $2 million in lottery winnings in four states including Kansas is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow (TUE). A state prosecutor in Iowa is seeking a 25-year prison term for former Multi-State Lottery Association security director Eddie Tipton. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand says that Tipton's "depth of deceit is dumbfounding." He says justice requires a lengthy prison sentence. Tipton pleaded guilty in June and admitted writing code that allowed him to predict winners. His attorney is seeking a much lighter sentence of two to three years. Sand says Tipton has detailed for authorities how he manipulated lottery computers to win lottery games in  Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

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Royals Beat Indians 7-4 to Avoid Series Sweep

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals' Cheslor Cuthbert homered and drove in three runs, Alcides Escobar also had three RBIs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-4 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep. Cam Gallagher also drove in a run for the Royals, who finally got their bats going after scoring just once in the first two games of the series. Kansas City piled up 12 hits and six runs off Cleveland starter Danny Salazar (5-6), and finished with 15 hits for the day. Royals starting pitcher Jason Hammel (6-9) allowed three runs on five hits and a walk to win for only the second time since June 19. 
 

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