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Headlines for Monday, July 28, 2014


Democrat Paul Davis Raises $1.1M in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic challenger Paul Davis has raised more in contributions this year than Republican Governor Sam Brownback, but the incumbent is entering the fall campaign with more cash on hand. Finance reports filed Monday by the two campaigns show Davis raised more than $1.1 million in cash contributions from January through July 24. Brownback's total was about $744,000. But Brownback's campaign also received a $500,000 loan on July 23 from Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. He made a similar loan in December, only to see it paid back within days in early January. The Davis campaign reported nearly $566,000 for the period and had $1.32 million in cash left. Brownback spent about $370,000 on his campaign and ended with $2.37 million in cash.


Number of Children in State Custody at Record High in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The number of Kansas children in state custody has risen to all-time highs as the number of child abuse and neglect complaints also is climbing. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports about 7,000 children were in state custody at the beginning of June, including 6,168 in out-of-home foster care placement. Kansas Children's Alliance executive director Bruce Linhos says workers and government officials are struggling to find a cause for the increase. An in-depth report by the Kansas Health Institute last month included comments from some advocates blaming state policies for straining poor families. But a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families attributes the increase to heightened awareness and reporting of child abuse and neglect.


Orman Says He's "True Alternative" in Kansas Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas businessman says his vigorous campaign for the U.S. Senate as an independent candidate makes him the true alternative to Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Greg Orman of Olathe said Monday during a Statehouse news conference that his supporters gathered signatures from more than 10,000 registered voters to get him on the November general election ballot. He needs 5,000 valid signatures to qualify and plans to submit them Tuesday. Orman said his ability to gather signatures and raise campaign funds shows he's more viable as a candidate than Democratic hopeful Chad Taylor. Taylor campaign manager Brandon Naylor says Orman has no solid political base. Roberts faces tea party challenger Milton Wolf in the August 5 GOP primary. Taylor faces Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner in the Democratic contest.


Kansas Capital Case Rulings Prompt Legislative Ire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Supreme Court decisions overturning two brothers' death sentences for a robbery, rape and killing spree in Wichita are likely to fuel another push by conservative Republicans to change how the justices are picked. Senate Majority Leader and Nickerson Republican Terry Bruce says the judicial selection process will be an issue when legislators reconvene in January. Bruce said the rulings in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr were no surprise because many members of the GOP-dominated Legislature believe the justices have shown an "activist" streak. The Supreme Court last week voided the Carr brothers' death sentences and returned the case to Sedgwick County District Court for more proceedings. The court has yet to uphold any death sentence imposed under the state's current capital punishment law enacted in 1994.


Lawrence Police Investigating Homicide

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police and state authorities are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found at a house. Police say officers found the woman's body at a home Saturday afternoon. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Lawrence police are investigating the death, which police consider a homicide. Police said no additional information would be released Sunday.


Man Seeks Smoking Ban on Popular Lawrence Street

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A software developer who moved to Lawrence less than a year ago has started an online petition seeking to ban smoking on one of the city's most popular streets through downtown. Mike DuPont says he's sick of walking on Massachusetts Street and smelling like cigarette smoke when he gets home. He says a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars has pushed smokers outside, where they often disobey restrictions meant to keep them away from entrances. DuPont says that when his family moved to Kansas in October, he chose Lawrence because of its downtown area. Several smokers on Massachusetts Street told The Lawrence Journal-World they would oppose such a ban because they feel current restrictions are strict enough.


Police: Counterfeit Money Turning Up in Salina

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina police say several businesses have reported receiving counterfeit $20 and $100 bills over the weekend. Police Captain Mike Sweeney says four fake $100 bills were used to purchase a prepaid Visa card at a convenience store between 10:50 pm and 10:55 pm. He says two counterfeit $20 bills were used at the same store Sunday afternoon. The Salina Journal reports that a different store reported receiving three counterfeit $20 bills on Saturday, while another took in two fake $20 bills on Sunday.


Newton Man to Stand Trial in Child's Death

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old Newton man will stand trial in the death of an 18-month-old child found dead in a car seat. The Wichita Eagle reports Jason M. Bugner has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2012 death of Farrah Pendland. According to an amended autopsy report, the girl died by strangulation after she was fastened into a car seat by only its top buckles and placed on the edge of a futon mattress while Bugner was in another room. The report says Bugner later found the car seat partially overturned and the toddler suspended with the car seat strap around her neck. Bugner waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday and will stand trial August 25. He's being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on $100,000 bond.


KCK Abortion Clinic Closes

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — One of four remaining clinics that provide abortions in Kansas has closed amid a hostile political climate and financial challenges. Its outgoing manager said Monday the decision was also prompted by a "lack of gratitude" from a young generation of women who take its abortion services for granted. The Aid For Women clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, disclosed on its website that the clinic closed Saturday. Patients are being referred to two clinics in suburban Kansas City and one in Wichita. Clinic manager Jeff Pederson says he is tired of it all and that closing the clinic is the most politically expedient thing he could do. He says enough abortion clinics are still open to absorb the patients. But he says it's just a matter of time before another one closes.


Judge Dismisses Suit Against Kansas DCF

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing a state agency of failing to protect a toddler before she was killed. The Wichita Eagle reports that Sedgwick County District Judge William Woolley ruled recently there can be no claim of negligence against the state Department for Children and Families in the case of 18-month-old Jayla Haag. The child died in 2012 with injuries that included brain swelling, bleeding around her eyes and teeth that had been forcibly removed. The lawsuit claimed DCF was informed that Jayla was being abused and did nothing to protect her. DCF spokeswoman Theresa Freed said the agency appreciates the judge's "careful consideration of this case." Randy Rathbun, the attorney who brought the lawsuit on behalf of Jayla Haag's father, says he'll appeal.


Wichita Man Accused in Fatal Collision

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have released the names of three people killed in a hit-and-run weekend crash. The victims were identified Monday as 21-year-old Emily Phillips, of McPherson, and Jake Hallacy and Zachery Taylor, both 26 and from Valley Center. All three were passengers in a car that police say was struck around 2 am Sunday by a speeding SUV that ran a red light at a west Wichita intersection. The car's driver remained in a hospital Monday, and a fourth passenger was treated and released. Police said the SUV's 31-year-old driver ran from the scene but was later arrested at a Wichita home. He was being held on suspicion of three counts of second-degree murder and other charges. Authorities said there was no sign that the man had used his brakes.


Kansas Inmate Sentenced for Attacking Prosecutor

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas inmate has been sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for attacking a county prosecutor in a Reno County courtroom. The Hutchinson News reports that the sentence imposed Monday on Michael Sherman, of Hutchinson, will run consecutive to the nearly 14 years he is already serving for molesting a 4-month-old baby. Sherman apologized in court to Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder for the July 2013 assault but indicated he'll appeal the sentence and his conviction for attempted first-degree murder. The attack occurred as Sherman was being sentenced for aggravated criminal sodomy. Sherman leaped from his chair and put Schroeder in a headlock before others in the courtroom pulled him away. Sherman testified last month that he wanted to "go after" Schroeder but did not intend to kill him.


Health Officials See Drop in Missouri Rabies Cases

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — State health officials in Missouri say although three rabid bats have been found this summer in a Kansas City suburb, the statewide number of rabies cases is down. One person was bitten by one of the rabid bats found in Lee's Summit since June 1 and has been treated for the bite. The Kansas City Star reports there have been 14 rabies cases reported in animals this year in Missouri. Seven were rabid bats and the others were infected skunks. Officials also say the number of cases this year is substantially lower than the 39 rabies cases reported for the same time last year. Missouri usually has about 50 rabid animals that are detected annually. Kansas has had 26 cases of animal rabies reported this year.


KCMO Misses Demolition Goal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Despite promises of an aggressive campaign to demolish blighted buildings around Kansas City, officials acknowledge they're only halfway toward their two-year goal. The city promised to raze 1,000 decaying and abandoned buildings in two years, but has managed to take down about 500. Mayor Sly James points out that the city previously had been averaging about 100 demolitions a year. The  demolition list has grown to 1,340 structures. And with each house demolition costing the taxpayers nearly $10,000 on average, the city won't catch up at this rate given the current $1.6 million set aside annually for that purpose. But the city says it's going to continue the effort.


Wichita Signs Business Agreement with Chinese Delegation  

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita has announced plans to work with a city in China to develop aviation business opportunities. Delegates from Xi'an, China visited with Wichita officials on Thursday to sign a memorandum of understanding that the two cities will develop economic and trade opportunities centered on aviation. They're expected to work on education, training, airport management and other aspects of the aviation business. The deal comes as the Chinese government considers opening the country to general aviation. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer says the relationship will benefit Wichita because the Chinese will think first about Wichita companies before companies in other parts of the world.


Wichita Driver Reports Highway Gunfire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita teenager says someone shot at her from another vehicle while she was driving but she managed to get away. KAKE-TV reports the girl said she was driving in south Wichita at 12:30 pm Sunday when another car pulled out of a parking lot and started following her. The girl says she called 911 and was able to get away from the other vehicle. Wichita police confirmed that the incident happened and that investigators were able to recover a bullet from inside the girl's car. The victim says she didn't get a good look at a suspect or the vehicle involved in the shooting.


K-State Considers $150 Million Food Research Lab

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is considering a $150 million research facility that would focus on food and complement the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility adjacent to the university. K-State President Kirk Schulz has requested $5 million in state funding for next year to begin planning the Food Systems Research and Education Facility. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the proposal was discussed briefly Tuesday at a Kansas Board of Regents budget session. Schulz says the project might be years down the road, but he wants to get legislators and other state officials familiar with the request. The 200,000-square-foot facility would focus on the food supply, including developing higher-yielding crops and more intensive cropping systems, along with improved processing and distribution.


Kansas Judge Rescinds Order Sealing Murder Case Records

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has rescinded an order sealing court records in the case against a man charged in a quadruple murder in southeast Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 11th Judicial District Judge Robert Fleming on Friday rescinded the order he entered in May sealing court records in the legal proceedings against David Cornell Bennett Jr. Bennett's charged in the deaths of a Parsons mother and her three children. Fleming ruled his previous order didn't meet the requirements of a 1981 Kansas Supreme Court case that said records could be sealed on the basis of "clear and convincing evidence" to ensure a fair trial. Fleming says he'll lift the seals August 4, giving attorneys time to submit motions requesting sealing of documents that comply with the high court's decision.


Kansas Man Found Dead on Longs Peak Identified

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (AP) — Officials have released the name of a Kansas man whose body was found on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson says a climber was on the Keyhole Route of the 14,259-foot peak when he and his group saw the body 18-year-old Nicholas L. Hellbusch, of Lenexa, below The Ledges area Friday morning. Park rangers reached the body about three hours later and flew it by helicopter to a nearby meadow. Investigators have not said how Hellbusch died.


Lawrence Man Sentenced for 1997 Rape

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A 41-year-old Lawrence man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping a University of Kansas student in 1997.   Robert E. Grey was sentenced Friday to the least amount of time possible under Kansas sentencing guidelines. He was convicted in a retrial in May for raping a 20-year-old university junior. The new sentence is 16 months shorter than one issued after Grey's first conviction in 2009. A Kansas Court of Appeals panel awarded Grey a retrial last year after finding that prosecutorial misconduct deprived him of a fair trial the first time. The case went cold for years until authorities linked a fingerprint found on the victim's car to Grey. Grey has already served nearly seven years, which will count toward time served.


Comcast Cancels Event at KS State Senator's Home

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - Comcast has canceled a promotional event at the home of a Kansas state senator. The cable company announced the open house in a recent news release that paired Republican state senator Julia Lynn of Olathe and promotional language about its home security service. After queries from The Kansas City Star about an elected official endorsing a commercial service, Comcast moved the event to another home. Comcast spokeswoman Mary Beth Schubert says Comcast didn't provide Lynn with any free products, equipment or services. Earlier this year, a Senate committee that Lynn chairs introduced a bill to keep cities from starting their own TV or broadband services. The measure died in the committee. Lynn says she thought the Comcast demonstration would give her a better understanding of how security technology works.


Audit: $23K Missing From Cherokee County

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) - Cherokee County officials say an audit of the county treasurer's office shows that more than $23,000 is missing from county bank accounts. County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand said Friday that the special audit of funds from 2011 shows a difference of more than $18,000 between what the bank account shows and what the treasurer's office shows. In 2012, the difference climbs to more than $23,000. Juanita Hodgson, who has been treasurer for 12 years, says while she doesn't know the exact cause of the discrepancy, she believes the problem could be human error. The Joplin Globe reports that Hilderbrand says an auditor is expected to give the board a formal letter the first week of August that will show the findings in detail.


Kansas City Clinic to Offer HIV Drug

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas City, Kansas, clinic is offering a medication used to prevent infection in people at high risk of getting the AIDS virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration two years ago approved the HIV drug, Truvada, for HIV prevention. The Kansas City Star reports that Sharon Lee, CEO of Family Health Care in Kansas City, Kansas, is holding a weekly clinic for people who want to take the drug. Lee says the clinic is among the first of its kind in the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines recommending that doctors offer Truvada to people at substantial risk of HIV infection.


Report: Kansas City Airport Terrorist Travel Hub

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A report compiled when Kansas City was seeking federal terrorism and emergency response grants claims Kansas City International Airport is a hub for terrorist travel. The February 7 document prepared by Kansas City area emergency management officials seeking federal security grants was sent to the Department of Homeland Security to provide a threat picture for the Kansas City region. The report says KCI is a primary hub for known or suspected terrorist travel. Kansas City Police Capt. Daniel Gates says he sent the report to the Federal Emergency Management Agency so FEMA could evaluate the region's terrorism risk. Gates says the report shouldn't create fear. Mayer Nudell, a terrorism and security expert, says the report could have been amped up to win federal funds.


Judge Steps Down in Midst of Capital Murder case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has recused himself from a capital murder case after the defendant filed a complaint accusing the judge of disregarding his rights. Phillip Cheatham was convicted of capital murder in 2005 and sentenced to death for the slayings of Annette Roberson and Gloria Jones in December 2003. The Kansas Supreme Court last year overturned the capital murder conviction and death sentence because of ineffective counsel. Shawnee County District Judge Mark Braun stepped down Friday at the start of what was expected to be a lengthy motions hearing. His decision means all of the motions upon which he already had ruled will have to be heard again by a different judge, and the scheduled January 5 trial date will be pushed back.


Junction City Police Investigating Man's Death

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Junction City police are investigating the death of a man who was reportedly run over by a truck. Police Lt. Jeff Childs says in a release that officers were called to a disturbance early Saturday and then received a second call asking for an ambulance for a person who'd been run over by a truck. Officers found 23-year-old Cody Allen Martin of Junction City lying in the roadway. Martin was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Childs says an autopsy has been scheduled.


Chiefs Offensive Line a Grab-Bag at Training Camp

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The presumptive favorite to win the starting right guard spot with the Kansas City Chiefs worked out with the third team on Monday. The guy who is challenging him for the spot slid over to center during another portion of the workout. Rishaw Johnson and Zach Fulton are just the start of the offensive line shuffle. After watching three linemen who started last season depart in free agency — all within hours of each other — the Chiefs are trying to cobble together some sort of protection for quarterback Alex Smith that can also manage to open up running lanes for Jamaal Charles during training camp. And with lingering questions about the health of left tackle Eric Fisher and an ankle injury to starting right tackle Donald Stephenson, that job hasn't gotten a whole lot easier.



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