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Headlines for Monday, July 11, 2016

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

Wyandotte County Losing Registered Voters

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County has lost about 7,000 registered voters over the last two years while the state has added more than 10,000 voters to its registration rolls. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Kansas has added 10,591 more voters since July 2014. But Wyandotte County, a traditional Democratic stronghold and the third largest county in the state, has lost 7,009 registered voters. The decline in registered voters in Wyandotte County has occurred even as the population of the county has been growing, and nearly all of it has been among registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Wyandotte County Election Commissioner Bruce Newby says the decline was due in part to routine maintenance of voter registration rolls that involves purging the names of voters who have moved away.


Democrats Cry Foul over Short Notice on Voting Rules Change 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — As many as 50,000 Kansas voters who registered at motor vehicle offices would be given provisional ballots in the upcoming elections only to see their votes thrown out in state and local races under a proposed temporary rule. The State Rules and Regulations Board is meeting Tuesday to consider the temporary rule sought by the Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The rule calls for counting only the votes cast for federal offices unless the voters provide documents proving their U.S. citizenship. Notice of that meeting went out late Monday for a temporary rule that would be in effect for upcoming elections. The temporary rule is necessary because of ongoing court challenges to the state law requiring documentary proof of citizenship to vote.


Attorneys Confirm Chelsea Manning Suicide Attempt

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for the transgender soldier imprisoned for sending classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks are confirming that her hospitalization last week was due to an attempted suicide. Chelsea Manning's attorneys didn't disclose in an emailed statement Monday the details of the attempt, which happened early July 5 at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. The attorneys accused the U.S. Army of a "gross breach of confidentiality" for publicly revealing last week that Manning had been hospitalized, though the Army didn't offer details. After speaking by telephone with Manning on Monday, her attorneys say she remains under close supervision and will remain so for several weeks. An Army spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Manning is appealing her 2013 conviction and 35-year prison sentence.


Wichita Bracing for Anniversary of Summer of Mercy Protests

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Twenty-five years ago mass protests led to nearly 2,700 arrests outside Wichita abortion clinics. Now that city is bracing for the anniversary of what activists called the "Summer of Mercy".  Supporters hope will draw hundreds of activists for the event. The Wichita Police Department has spent months putting together a 60-page plan that aims to ensure everyone's rights are protected and everyone is safe. The department has assigned about 100 to 150 police officers to the operation. Police Captain Brian White says police aren't anticipating an event like the 1991 Summer of Mercy, but they have to be prepared for all possibilities. The protest, slated for July 16-23, is being organized by the Christian anti-abortion group Operation Save America.


Kansas City Star Pulls Guest Editorial Criticized as "Victim Blaming"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Star has apologized for a guest column about women reducing the risk of rape by not drinking too much, saying the column "should never have been published." In the apology, Star publisher Tony Berg said the column "should never have been published" and the newspaper removed the column after it was published on the website Friday and in the newspaper Saturday. The guest commentary was written by Laura Herrick and titled "Women can take action to prevent rapes." The column says women shouldn't get so intoxicated that "we don't know what is happening." Berg says the column was removed because "when a person is sexually assaulted, it's not their fault. Period."  Herrick told KCTV she stands by the piece and says that she wasn't blaming rape victims.


Wichita Budget to Exceed State-Imposed Property Tax Lid 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An annual spending plan says Wichita's budget will exceed a state-imposed property tax lid by over $900,000 in 2017. The Wichita Eagle reports that the tax lid is meant to limit the growth of city and county governments by prohibiting spending increases above a state-mandated inflation rate. Income above the lid would have to be returned through cuts in the property tax rate. Local governments will have to hold a special election starting with next year's budget if they want to keep any revenue above the tax lid. To meet the cap for the upcoming year, $902,102 would need to be cut from the proposed budget. Wichita public safety services are exempt from the tax lid. City Manager Robert Layton says meeting the cap would mean cuts in Wichita's transit system, street maintenance, parks and libraries.


University of Kansas Implements Faster Internet Network 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has completed installation of a 100-gigabit internet network. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the high-speed offering is not available everywhere on campus. It is available only in certain areas that need it, such as places for researchers who need to transmit large amounts of data to people in other states or countries. University director of IT external affairs David Day says the school completed the network in recent weeks after testing since early June. School chief information officer Bob Lim says the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas State University and Wichita State University plan to put a 100-gigabit network in place. Lim says launching the network included replacing equipment that had reached the end of its life with higher-capacity equipment, which helped curb some costs.


Great Mall of the Great Plains Demolition Begins in Olathe 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Crews are tearing down a suburban Kansas City mall nearly 20 years after the $110 million, 812,000-square-foot structure opened. The Kansas City Star reports that demolition of the Great Mall of the Great Plains began Monday in Olathe. The "value center" offered a mix of stores selling merchandise at bargain prices. But it quickly went downhill after drawing nearly 1 million visitors during its first month of operations in August 1997. It closed in September 2015 after many national brands pulled out, and smaller retailers closed or relocated. Demolition is expected to take about six months. The owners are the Great Olathe Center LLC, an entity of the Van Tuyl Group. They haven't determined the next use for the site. Burlington Coat Factory will remain open during the demolition.


Ex-Workers Sue Spirit AeroSystems, Claim Age Discrimination 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Twenty-four workers laid off by Spirit AeroSystem in 2013 have sued the aircraft parts maker alleging it targeted older workers covered by its health insurance who had costly medical conditions. The former employees, members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, filed the class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wichita on behalf of themselves and an estimated 160 other employees age 40 or older who were discharged from their jobs. Spirit AeroSystems says that reductions in force are never easy and its decisions are based on non-discriminatory criteria. The company contends it is confident the evidence in the case will show it is compliant with the law in its employment practices. The 92-page complaint challenges the employment discharges and alleges blacklisting of those workers from new jobs.


Southern Kansas Jail Inmates Create Disturbance Over Food

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A sheriff in southern Kansas says calm has been restored after dozens of inmates created a disturbance that included overturning tables and breaking security cameras. Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet says the incident began after lunch Sunday when 57 inmates complained about the food and refused to return to their cells. Herzet says the inmates overturned tables, broke security cameras, televisions and sprinklers, and barricaded a door. The sheriff says officials, including a SWAT team, were able to make entry. Herzet said the situation was under control by Sunday evening and no one was injured. Herzet says an investigation is ongoing and charges will be filed against the inmates who destroyed property.


Wichita Man Missing in Arkansas River  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Crews in Wichita have been searching for a man who was reported missing while kayaking in the Arkansas River. The Wichita Eagle reports that Wichita Fire Department crews spent the weekend searching for the man, identified as 24-year-old Brian Bergkamp, a native of Garden Plain. He had been scheduled to enter his third year of theology study at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was reported missing Saturday when the Arkansas River was swollen by recent rains. Fire officials say two men and three women in separate kayaks were floating on the river Saturday when they hit churning water. Officials said one of the women fell into the swirling water, and Bergkamp left his kayak to assist her. She and the other kayakers made it to shore.


Pittsburg Native to Lead State Drone Program

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - An Air Force veteran has been named to lead the unmanned aircraft systems program in Kansas. Bob Brock, a Pittsburg native and retired lieutenant colonel, has been selected by the Kansas Department of Transportation to be the state's first UAS director. He was introduced at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina, which recently was ranked second in the nation among UAS-training colleges. The Salina Journal reports that as UAS director, Brock will oversee establishment of policies and procedures for the operation of UAS in Kansas. Brock said his priorities will include protecting the privacy and public safety of Kansans.


Kansas City Man Accused in Child's Beating Death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) --  Kansas City, Missouri, man has been indicted on second-degree murder linked to a 16-month-old boy's beating death. A Jackson County (Missouri) grand jury also indicted 31-year-old Nathaniel Littlefield on Friday with child neglect and child abuse in connection with Messiah Henderson's death June 1. Authorities say the boy was taken to a hospital May 29 after his mother returned home from work and found him unresponsive with congestive breathing. Court documents allege that his mother reported that she left the child and his 5-month-old brother in Littlefield's care while she was at work. It is not immediately clear if Littlefield has an attorney.


Man Dies from Fall at Independence Industrial Park 

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died from a fall at a suburban Kansas City industrial park. Independence police said in a news release that officers found 58-year-old Michael Wrigley, of Independence, dead while responding Sunday to the Allis Chalmers Industrial Park. Police said the man worked at one of the businesses inside the facility and that his death appeared to be accidental.


Drivers Encouraged to Use "Zipper" Method for Merging

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Transportation officials in Missouri and Kansas are encouraging motorists to resist the urge to get in line at the first sign of an upcoming lane closure. Advocates of the "zipper merge" method say using both lanes for as long as possible shortens lines in construction zones by up to 40 percent. They say it doesn't get drivers through the zone any faster, but it reduces the risk of accidents and eases driver angst. Missouri started promoting the technique earlier this year ahead of a heavy summer construction season. Kansas followed with a pilot project that started last week using electronic signs to warn drivers of an upcoming merge and encourage them to use both lanes. Minnesota started promoting the zipper merge idea in 2011, and Washington followed in 2014.


Pittsburg State Adds Full-Time Victims Advocate

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Pittsburg State University has added its first full-time, on-campus advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The Joplin Globe reports that Ali Smith, an employee of Safehouse Crisis Center, will be stationed at the university as the campus victims' advocate. She will provide services such as crisis intervention, advocacy and support counseling to domestic violence victims and victims of sexual assault. Smith says she's appreciative that university officials have recognized the need for her position. She said it's unfortunate that "sexual and domestic violence are widespread around the world, and especially around college campuses." Smith received the Outstanding Adviser Award for Excellence earlier this spring for her work as an adviser, trainer and mentor for PSU's Students for Violence Prevention program.


First Flight of B-29 Bomber 'Doc' Scheduled

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A discarded World War II bomber is preparing to return to the skies after undergoing an extensive renovation. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress named Doc is expected to take off Sunday from McConnell Air Force Base in southeast Wichita unless weather conditions force the flight to be rescheduled. The Wichita Eagle reports that the plane was certified as airworthy this spring. Doc's Friends restoration program manager Jim Murphy said in a news release that the planned flight follows 16 years of "hard work, sweat, tears and tireless attention to detail." The Wichita-built plane was finished too late to fly bombing missions during World War II, though it eventually served as a radar trainer during the Korean War. It was discovered at a bombing range in California's Mojave desert in 1987.


Mobile Grocery Store Visits Kansas City Residents 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A full-service mobile grocery store is working to reach people in Kansas City where fresh groceries are not easily available. The Kansas City Star reports that Rollin' Grocer, which operates out of a custom-built truck, is in its third month of operation. Store founder and co-owner Jessica Royer says the idea for a mobile grocery store came in 2014 after a conversation with a friend when Royer noticed the difference between grocery store options in wealthy neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods. Royer says the store offers a wide variety of foods. According to Royer, the store is constantly looking for new places to visit and new products to carry. Kansas City Health Department spokeswoman Denesha Snell says the department has worked with on several occasions to spread the word about the store.


Affidavit: Denied Phone Call Prompted Randle Jail Threat 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A court filing says a refused phone call precipitated former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle's threatening to kill a deputy while jailed on other charges in Kansas. Randle was charged last month in Sedgwick County with one count of criminal threat. The Wichita Eagle reports that an arrest affidavit released Monday alleges Randle was upset that he had been refused a phone call May 14 and repeatedly told the deputy he would kill him when he gets released. Twenty-four-year-old Randle has had a string of run-ins with the law. He's also been charged in Kansas with a casino disturbance and with backing his car into three people. A message left Monday with Randle's public defender, James Crawford, wasn't immediately returned. The Cowboys released Randle last year.


Man Nets 8 Years for Kansas, Missouri Bank Robberies 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 42-year-old man has been sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison for robbing two Kansas banks and one in Missouri The U.S. attorney's office says Robert Robinson, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced Monday. Prosecutors say that while robbing a Commerce Bank branch on May, 30, 2014, in Overland Park, he threatened to "start shooting up the place" in a note He also admitted through his plea to robbing another Commerce Bank branch that same day in St. Joseph, Missouri, and a Bank of America in Overland Park earlier that month.


Royals Lose to Mariners, 8-5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Seattle Mariners held off the Kansas City Royals 8-5 on Sunday. Robinson Cano's two-run shot to deep right field for his 21st home run of the season extended the Mariners' lead to 5-0. The Mariners' Mike Montgomery (3-3) pitched 6 1/3 strong innings, giving up one run and five hits, in his first start of the season. The Royals' Dillion Gee (3-3) struggled early and picked up the loss for the Royals, giving up three runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. After this week's All-Star Break, the Royals will begin the second half of the regular season on Friday in Detroit.


Sporting KC Extends Winning Streak, Beating New York, 3-1

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Jimmy Medranda scored his first-career MLS goal as Sporting Kansas City extended its unbeaten streak to five games with a 3-1 win over New York City FC on Sunday night. Medranda blasted a left-footer, from well outside the box, past Josh Saunders into the back of the net to give Sporting (8-8-4) a 2-1 lead in the 16th minute. Kansas City's Benny Feilhaber tapped in a goal to open the scoring in the eighth minute. Frank Lampard tied it in the 14th minute, rolling a right-footer just inside the near post. Feilhaber flicked the ball into the area and Ike Opara outdueled defender Frederic Brillant at the top of the 6-yard box to slip the ball into the net in the 51st. Feilhaber has three goals and two assists in the last four matches.

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