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Headlines for Monday, June 23, 2014


Democrat in KS 3rd District Race Faces GOP Ethics Complaint

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Democratic congressional candidate faces a hearing before the Kansas ethics commission over a Republican Party complaint that she violated a state campaign finance law. But spokesman Jacob Becklund said Monday that Democrat Kelly Kultala's campaign has long since corrected the mistake that led to the GOP complaint. The commission has scheduled a July 16 hearing. Kultala is a former state senator from Kansas City and is seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder. Kultala's campaign reported receiving $1,000 in February from her legislative campaign fund. The GOP filed a complaint in April, noting that such a contribution violates a state law prohibiting the transfer of funds for a state race to a federal campaign. Becklund says the money was returned quickly.


Kansas Officials Assessing Pipeline Rupture

OLPE, Kan. (AP) — State health officials have been at the site of an accident along an eastern Kansas natural gas pipeline that spewed a natural gas cloud that left a dark, oily residue over now-withering crops and trees. The Emporia Gazette reports that the incident Thursday along a Panhandle Eastern pipeline near Olpe occurred as crews were trying to perform pipeline maintenance. Residents reported seeing a dark, oily plume burst from the line and spread across nearby fields and yards. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the substance released was natural gas condensate. Natural gas condensate can come in various compositions, but typically contains benzene, a known carcinogen. KDHE spokeswoman Sara Belfry says she doesn't know how much condensate was released, but that KDHE crews are assessing the situation.


Kansas Senator Moran Questions DOJ Protocols in Supremacist Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A U.S. senator wants to know whether Department of Justice protocols have changed since a white supremacist now accused of killing three people in Kansas was given leniency a quarter-century ago. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday urging a review of DOJ policies that led to a five-year sentence for Frazier Glenn Miller in 1987 for possessing stolen military weapons and declaring war on the country. Miller, who is identified as Frazier Glenn Cross in Kansas court documents, is accused of killing three people in April at two Jewish sites in Johnson County, Kansas. Moran questions whether the victims would still be alive if prosecutors had heeded their own conclusions that Miller was a danger to society in a 1987 sentencing memorandum.


Kansas Regents Approve Raises for University Leaders

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Board of Regents has approved 1.5 percent raises for the chief executive officers of five public universities. The increases approved at a recent meeting take effect in July. Board members said they reflect appreciation for the job done by the CEO's while also recognizing budget constraints in Kansas. The increase will bring the annual pay of University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to about $500,000. About $200,000 of her pay comes from private funds. Among other state universities, Kansas State President Kirk Schultz will make nearly $467,000 and Emporia State's Michael Shonrock, $255,000.

Kansas Lawmaker to Run Huelskamp Re-Election Bid

FOWLER, Kan. (AP) — A state House member from western Kansas is managing Republican congressman Tim Huelskamp's re-election campaign. The appointment of Palco Republican Travis Couture-Lovelady was announced last week by Huelskamp's campaign. Couture-Lovelady won his seat in the Kansas House in 2012 after working as communications director for State Treasurer Ron Estes. Couture-Lovelady is seeking re-election to the Legislature this year but has no opponents in his 110th District. Huelskamp is seeking a third, two-year term representing the 1st Congressional District of western and central Kansas. He is from Fowler in southwest Kansas. Huelskamp faces Clyde farmer and educator Alan LaPolice in the August 5 Republican primary. Two Democrats are running. They are Kansas State University history professor Jim Sherow, and 2013 Wichita State University graduate Bryan Whitney of Syracuse.


Kobach Primary Foe's Child Affected by Kansas Voter Rule

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The daughter of a primary challenger to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had her voter registration put on hold temporarily because of a proof-of-citizenship requirement criticized by her father. Republican Scott Morgan of Lawrence said Monday the Douglas County clerk's office told his 18-year-old daughter, Grace, that her registration was incomplete because she hadn't documented her U.S. citizenship. Scott Morgan said his daughter registered online last week and submitted an electronic image of her passport, but received a letter days later from the county asking for citizenship documentation. Kobach's office says processing images of citizenship documents takes a few days. Grace Morgan's registration was confirmed Monday. But Scott Morgan said the incident shows problems with the proof-of-citizenship law. The GOP primary is August 5.


Kansas Health Officials Warn of Mosquito-Borne Disease

Kansas state officials say 2 of the types of mosquitoes that can transmit a new mosquito-borne virus have been found in the state. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that no cases of the disease, known as chikungunya, have been confirmed in Kansas but state epidemiologist Charles Hunt says the mosquitoes that typically carry the virus have been discovered. The newly discovered virus has spread quickly through the Caribbean. 4,600 cases of the disease have been confirmed there and the virus has also been found in patients in Florida and 7 other states. The state epidemiologist says that while the disease is not usually fatal it can make a person very sick. It's usually spread when someone returning from the Caribbean is bitten then the mosquito transmits it to someone else.



Washburn Baseball Coach Dies in Accident


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Washburn University community is mourning the death of baseball coach Steven Anson. The university and Jefferson County authorities say the 60-year-old Anson died Sunday in a tree-trimming accident. The sheriff's office says emergency responders were called to the home about 3 pm Sunday, and Anson was dead at the scene. Further details of the accident were not immediately available. His wife, Dena, is Washburn's university relations director. The university said in a news release that Anson compiled a record of 844-798-3 in 35 seasons with the Ichabods. He guided the Ichabods to five NAIA tournaments and was Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association coach of the year in 1994. Anson played baseball at Kansas State, winning the Big Eight batting title in 1974 with a .439 average.


Kansas Man Killed by Downed Power Line


KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Kansas City, Kansas, man found dead on a roadside over the weekend had been electrocuted by a downed power line. The victim was identified Monday as 44-year-old Charles Ruth. KCTV reports that a woman found him late Sunday morning lying in the grass in a wooded area, with a bicycle on top of him and a dangling power line nearby. A police officer who went to the scene received a shock from the wire. The officer was treated at a hospital and released.


Officials Deny Causing Missouri River Floods

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The federal government says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shouldn't be blamed for causing major flooding along the Missouri River. The government filed its initial response last week to a lawsuit that more than 200 landowners filed in March. The federal lawsuit claimed landowners should be compensated for the extensive damage they experienced — particularly during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Landowners say the government is putting less emphasis on flood control while deciding how to manage Missouri River reservoirs because of efforts to restore habitat for endangered species. Government lawyers filed a 56-page response Thursday denying the allegations. The lawsuit is likely to take several years to resolve.


Lawrence Police Shoot Armed Man 

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Police in Lawrence say officers shot an armed man during a disturbance early Sunday morning. The Lawrence Journal World reports that police responded to reports of a disturbance with shots fired about 12:30 am on Sunday on Kasold Drive. Police are not releasing details of the incident but say a Lawrence officer shot an armed man who was airlifted to a hospital in Kansas City. The name of the injured man has not been released. Police say no officers were injured in the incident.



Body of Drowned Man Recovered from Hillsdale Lake

PAOLA, Kan. (AP) — Miami County authorities say the body of a 57-year-old Gardner man was recovered from Hillsdale Lake during the weekend. The body of Timothy Jackson was recovered Sunday afternoon. The sheriff's office says Jackson was jet skiing with a friend Saturday afternoon and stayed on the lake when the friend left. Authorities say they were contacted Sunday morning after Jackson didn't come home. His body was found near his personal watercraft. Investigators said Jackson was wearing a life jacket. The cause of Jackson's death is being investigated.




Woman Sentenced in Drug Case That Led to Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas woman has been sentenced in connection with a drug conspiracy that led to the killing of a man who was found inside a refrigerator. The U.S. Attorney's office says 24-year-old Tracy Rockers, of Greeley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced Monday to 13 years and six months in federal prison. Rockers was the 14th person sentenced in connection with the December 2010 death of 33-year-old Gregory Price at a home in Eudora. She admitted being present when drug traffickers killed Price for failing to pay a debt of about $800. Price's body was put in a refrigerator that was dumped in a field in Eudora. Authorities found the refrigerator and the body in March 2012, more than a year after Price was reported missing.


MO Church Raffles AR-15 Rifles to Boost Membership

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri church is hoping to increase its membership with promotions such as raffling semi-automatic rifles to men on Father's Day. Joplin-based Ignite Church gave away two AR-15 rifles in the raffle, which lead pastor Heath Mooneyham says was aimed at males between 18 to 35 years old, a demographic the church hopes to draw into its ranks. The Joplin Globe reports the gun giveaway drew some heated response online from people who don't think a church should be condoning weapons, violence or war. Ignite Church made headlines in 2011 when it sponsored billboards urging married couples to have more sex to avoid vices like pornography and adultery.


Wheat Harvest Activity Spreads Across Kansas


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Widespread rain across Kansas has again stalled the winter wheat harvest with nearly a quarter of the state's crop now in the bin. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that parts of Kansas received a half-inch to 2 inches of rain on Sunday. Some areas are also reporting hail and wind damage. The report shows 24 percent of the Kansas wheat has now been cut. That is well ahead of the 7 percent reported at the same time last year, but behind the 34 percent average. About 66 percent of the wheat is mature and ready to harvest. That is typical for late June. In southwestern Kansas, farmer Jason Ochs said a lot of the best wheat in the area got hailed out Sunday around Syracuse.


Blue-Green Algae Warning for Kansas Lakes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued blue-green algae warnings for three lakes. KDHE says wading, swimming, and water-skiing should be prohibited in South Park Lake in Johnson County, Marion Lake in Marion County, and Memorial Park Lake in Barton County. The agency also issued advisories for four lakes, including Milford Lake in Clay, Geary and Dickinson counties, Old Herington Lake in Dickinson County, and Lake Warnock in Atchison County. An advisory means direct contact with untreated lake water is strongly discouraged for humans and animals.


Escaped Minimum Security Inmate Recaptured in Winfield

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prison inmate serving time for violating probation could be facing more charges after walking away from the Winfield Correctional Facility. The Wichita Eagle reports 29-year-old Jimmy Reed was caught by Department of Corrections special agents and Cowley County sheriff's deputies just before 5 p.m. Saturday walking along Kansas 15, about 10 miles north of Winfield. Reed was discovered missing around 1:20 am Saturday during routine rounds and found 16 hours later. KDOC spokesman Jeremy Barclay says Reed probably would be charged with aggravated escape from custody. Reed was incarcerated at Winfield for a parole violation in a 2009 Sedgwick County domestic battery and aggravated sexual battery case. A judge initially sentenced him to probation, but records show he absconded twice while serving sentences in Sedgwick County.


Emporia Group Hopes to Build Amtrak Depot

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Members of an eastern Kansas community want to build a new train station with the hopes of getting Amtrak trains to stop there for the first time since the old station burned down in 1999. The Amtrak Task Force is a group of Emporia leaders whose goal is to become a destination for outsiders, even if it's just on their way to someplace else. The Emporia Gazette reports the idea has been in the works for two years, and the task force recently filed for nonprofit status with the secretary of state. Local pastor Andrew McHenry says the next step is to do an impact study, which he says comes with a heavy price tag, before the group can even think about building.


Proposal to Reduce Pumping Rejected in Western Kansas

SCOTT CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A proposal to reduce irrigation pumping from the Ogallala Aquifer has been rejected by voters in western Kansas. The proposed creation of a "Local Enhanced Management Area" was defeated in a recent vote by water rights holders and property owners in a five-county district. A 2012 Kansas law provides for creation of such management areas specifically to extend the life of the aquifer. The board of Groundwater Management District Number 1 asked voters to approve a six-year plan to reduce pumping for irrigation by 20 percent. The proposal won in Lane, Scott and Wichita counties but lost in Greeley and Wallace counties.


ComiCon in Hutchinson Exceeds Expectations

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A comic book convention in Hutchinson drew such a good turnout that ATMs at the site ran out of money. About 60 exhibitors attended the Smallville ComicCon, which ran Saturday and Sunday at the Meadowlark Building in the State Fair grounds. About 1,500 people paid to get in Saturday, followed by at least 1,000 more Sunday. The Hutchinson News reports that participants bought comic books, costumes, action figures, games and jewelry. By Sunday afternoon, attendees had spent so much that the two ATMs in the site had run of out of cash. Christopher Wietrick, who helped persuade city officials to proclaim Hutchinson "Smallville" Thursday through Sunday in honor of Superman's fictional hometown, says the turnout was bigger than expected and organizers are thinking about next year.


Treasurer of 2 Groups Sentenced for Embezzlement

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The former treasurer of a northwest Missouri town's fire and road districts will serve three years in jail without parole for embezzling more than $1.5 million. Federal prosecutors said in a news release that 59-year-old Leland Ray Kolkmeyer, of Wellington, was sentenced Monday and must surrender to federal authorities August 7 to serve his sentence for two counts of mail fraud. Kolkmeyer, who has already repaid $1 million in restitution, and was ordered to pay another $530,159 in restitution. That is the total he embezzled from the Wellington Napoleon Fire Protection District and the Special Road District. Kolkmeyer was elected treasurer of both organizations in 1998. He resigned from both positions in February 2013. Court documents say Kolkmeyer used the money for home improvements, vehicles and weddings for his children.


KC Domestic Violence Center Adds Health Care Clinic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A domestic violence center in Kansas City is opening an on-site health clinic to help victims receive basic checkups and physicals. The clinic at the Rose Brooks Center, which opened Thursday, will allow domestic violence victims to deal with some long-term health needs. Clinic officials say many victims get medical attention only at emergency rooms when they are injured. The Kansas City Star reports the SafeCARE Health Clinic is the first on-site clinic inside a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, although the trend is growing nationally. Kate Mallula, health services coordinator for Rose Brooks, says the clinic will provide nearly 100 women and children with checkups, screenings for sexually transmitted disease and school physicals. The services are free and provided by health professionals donating their time.


Arkansas City Man Stabbed to Death 

Arkansas City police say a man died after he was stabbed during an argument with his estranged wife. Police found the body of 44-year-old Danyel Daniels of Arkansas City lying in the street when they were called to a home Sunday morning. Daniels died a short time later at a hospital. The Arkansas City Traveler reports Daniels was arguing with his wife when a friend of the couple intervened and stabbed Daniels. Police say Daniels fired several shots at the friend but only grazed him. The man ran but later turned himself into police. He was jailed on a possible charge of involuntary manslaughter. Daniels was to be sentenced next month in a previous disturbance at the same address that resulted in a six-hour standoff before ending peacefully.


Sedgwick County Leaders to Decide on Raises

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Elected Sedgwick County officials must decide in the next three weeks whether to accept pay raises that are the result of a job classification and compensation study. The Wichita Eagle reports several leaders, including at least two county commissioners, have said they will reject the raises as they have in the past. Other officials, like the county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds, have indicated they will accept the pay hikes. The study found that county salaries average 3.75 percent below market wages, but County Manager William Buchanan said the county can afford only an average 1.26 percent increase. Buchanan asked the officials to make a decision by July 13. Many are eligible for raises higher than 1.26 percent because they have shunned increases in the past.


Auditor: Gun Rights Proposal Could Cost Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The state auditor is cautioning there could be significant costs stemming from a proposed constitutional amendment to enhance Missouri residents' right to bear arms. A measure on the August 5th ballot will ask voters whether the state should declare that the right is "unalienable." The measure also would subject any gun-control measures to strict legal scrutiny. The official financial summary prepared by the auditor's office notes that the measure "will likely lead to increased litigation and criminal justice related costs" that "could be significant." A similar constitutional amendment was adopted two years ago by Louisiana voters. Since then, the Louisiana attorney general's office says it has provided aid to district attorneys in about 200 cases to defend against challenges to criminal laws involving the gun-rights amendment.


Wichita Anti-Gang Walk Dropped

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An annual Wichita anti-gang event won't be happening this year after the grant that funded the walk was not renewed. The Wichita Eagle reports the Wichita Walk Against Gang Violence drew an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people last year, but there wasn't enough liquor tax money to fund it this year. State law requires lone-third of liquor tax revenues to go toward programs that focus on substance abuse prevention or treatment. A spokeswoman for ComCare, which distributes the grants, says the focus of the group running the gang walk is on gangs. Safe Streets founder David Fulton says his organization has applied for a Drug Free Communities Grant that would provide $125,000 a year for five years and could help revive the gang walk next year.


Attorney Seeks to Close Wichita Abuse Case to Media

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An attorney for a Kansas couple accused of torturing their 14-year-old adopted daughter and keeping her in a windowless basement room is asking a judge to close the case to the media. The Wichita Eagle has been reporting on the case after getting access from Sedgwick County District Judge Tim Henderson to child-in-need-of-care petitions. The judge says he provided access to be transparent about how the system works and to show the extent of child neglect and abuse. Such cases have risen 25 percent in Sedgwick County in the past five years. Lawyer Michael Cleary represents the girl's parents and says he doesn't want to try the case in the media. Both parents are charged with child abuse, aggravated battery, aggravated child endangerment and criminal restraint.


Sedgwick County to Offer Free HIV Testing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Health Department plans to offer free HIV tests this week as part of National HIV Testing Day. The procedures will be offered Friday from 8 am to 11:30 am at the department's main clinic in Wichita. National HIV Testing Day began in 1995 to promote testing and early diagnosis. This year's theme is "Take the Test, Take Control." The health department says more than 1.14 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, with about one in five unaware of being infected. The agency says people in treatment have a 96 percent reduction in transmission rates.


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