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Headlines for Monday, November 3, 2014



Rivals Make Final Pitches in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Governor Sam Brownback and Democratic challenger Paul Davis are making multiple stops across Kansas as they try to pick up the last few votes ahead of Tuesday's election. Davis started Monday by greeting western Kansas voters in Dodge City. He then traveled east to Greensburg, Pratt and Great Bend. Brownback toured south-central Kansas and had stops in Garden Plain, Derby and Andover. The governor is pressing his case that personal income tax cuts enacted at his urging have spurred an economic comeback for Kansas. In Topeka, retired nursery owners Jim and Diane Herynk said they voted in advance for Brownback because he lowered taxes as promised. But Davis told The Associated Press that there's general dissatisfaction with Brownback over the budget problems his tax cuts have caused.


Outcome of Kansas US Senate Races Remains Unclear at Finish

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Senator Pat Roberts is traversing rural, urban and suburban Kansas hammering the theme that independent challenger Greg Orman is a Democrat in disguise and that a Republican Senate is the only way to get the federal government moving. Meanwhile, Orman, who leads narrowly in Kansas polls, was canvassing for votes in Topeka on Monday as the unexpectedly competitive race careened toward an uncertain finish. Roberts was also in Topeka, telling about 80 business owners and supporters at an oil company: "The road to a Republican majority is now running right through Kansas. Right now it's up to Kansas." Roberts, a 78-year-old veteran of 34 years Congress, has been unable to shake Orman, a 45-year-old newcomer, despite national Republicans ordering an overhaul of his campaign after a bruising August primary.


Former FHSU President Objects to Brownback Ad

HAYS, Kan. (AP) - Former Fort Hays University President Edward Hammond says he didn't give permission for his image and words to be used on a campaign mailer supporting Republican Governor Sam Brownback. Hammond said in an email Sunday that he was "shocked and disappointed" when he learned about it over the weekend. The mailer was produced by the Kansas Republican Party. It quotes Hammond saying that "Overall, we are very pleased with the governor's budget recommendation." Clay Barker, the state GOP's executive director, said the party was "happy to highlight President Hammond's public statement" from a news story. Barker says there was "no implied endorsement."


Orman Puts $3M of Own Funds into Kansas Senate Bid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Finance reports show that independent U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman has put $3 million of his own funds into his race in Kansas against Republican Senator Pat Roberts. Orman's contributions to his campaign included $1.8 million in October. Orman is an Olathe businessman who co-founded a private equity fund. His race against the three-term GOP incumbent is close. Republicans have always counted on Roberts winning re-election as they seek a net gain of six seats to recapture a Senate majority. Finance reports show Roberts raised more than $644,000 during the last two weeks of October, including $262,000 from political action committees. Orman contributed $2 million in cash to his campaign in addition to covering $1 million in expenses. But he also raised more than $433,000 in contributions in October.


Monday is Deadline to Prove Citizenship to Vote

TOPEKA, Kan. - Monday is the final day for first-time potential Kansas voters to prove their citizenship. Documents may be submitted to the county clerk or election supervisor’s office by 5:00 this afternoon (MON) or e-mailed before midnight. Acceptable documents include a birth certificate, a passport or US naturalization papers. A new law, sponsored by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, requires proof of citizenship for all ew Kansas voters, As many as 22,000 potential voters have their registrations on hold pending proper citizenship documentation.


Kansas Medicaid Enrollment Growth Slow in 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Health officials are trying to determine why Medicaid enrollment grew at extremely low rates last year in Kansas. The Kansas Health Institute reports Medicaid enrollment grew by 0.1 percent from 2012 to 2013. The normal yearly growth rate is about 3 percent, which reflects population growth and families becoming eligible or dropping out of Medicaid. A KHI analyst said Medicaid's transition to private management in Kansas last year, called KanCare, did not appear to effect enrollment because eligibility requirements were the same. About 61,286 children were enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program in Kansas in 2013, and 225,116 children and families were enrolled in Medicaid. Another 103,364 people were enrolled in Medicaid programs for the disabled and low-income senior citizens.


Study: Many Disabled Kansans Struggle with KanCare

TOPEKA, Kan. - A new study by the University of Kansas finds many Kansans with disabilities are having difficulty getting services through KanCare, the privatized Medicaid managed care program created by the Brownback Administration. Surveyors questioned more than 100 Kansans with varying types of disabilities last year. Almost half reported difficulty getting services they had received before the transition to KanCare but the majority of those surveyed said they were satisfied with KanCare, despite having problems getting access to some services. Angela DeRocha, the spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, claims that the timing of the study’s release suggests it was politically motivated.


Juror Faints During Murder Sentencing Hearing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The sentencing hearing for a Topeka man convicted of murder has been interrupted after a juror fainted while viewing graphic autopsy photos. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the male juror passed out about 45 minutes into Monday's hearing on the sentencing for 25-year-old Troy Allen Robinson. Shawnee County prosecutors are seeking the so-called "Hard 50" — 50 years behind bars before the possibility of parole — for the December 2012 stabbing death of 43-year-old Oma Bennett. District Judge Nancy Parrish released the juror and ordered what's expected to be a three-day hearing to resume Tuesday morning. An expert witness is expected to testify about Robinson's mental health history. A former coroner who had been testifying about the autopsy photos helped the stricken juror, who then drove home.


Church Sues Garden City over Zoning Dispute

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas church has sued Garden City over an order prohibiting worship at its property in the central business district. Mount Zion Church of God in Christ alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court that the city has threatened to prosecute it in municipal court for violating a zoning ordinance. The city has said in a letter that it also could seek an injunction in Finney County District Court to enforce its zoning regulations. At issue is a Main Street building that has allegedly been used as a church for more than 10 years. The church's lawsuit contends the city is violating its First Amendment rights and seeks a ruling finding the zoning restriction unconstitutional. Assistant City Attorney Jacob Cunningham declined comment on the lawsuit.


Sprint Cutting 2K More Jobs, Reducing Staff by 5 Percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Wireless carrier Sprint says it is eliminating 2,000 jobs, or about 5 percent of its staff, as part of an effort to cut $1.5 billion in annual spending. The company had announced a round of job cuts in early October, and did not say how many jobs were eliminated at that time. Sprint said Monday that job cuts would reduce its labor costs by $400 million per year. Overland Park-based Sprint Corporation is the third-largest cellphone carrier in the U.S. and is trying to compete better with AT&T and Verizon. Japan's Softbank bought a majority stake in Sprint in 2013 and the company has eliminated thousands of jobs since then. It had 38,000 employees at the end of 2013.


Report: Midwest Economic Index Drops Again

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains has dropped again. A survey report issued early Monday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index fell in October to 51.8 from 54.3 in September. The figure was from 57.2 in August. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says sharp declines in grain and crude oil prices drove down the overall index for the month. He says the index figure points to slow economic gains ahead. The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.


Dole Says Kansas Senate Race Looks Better for Roberts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas political legend Bob Dole says that recent stops in his just-finished tour of the state have him thinking that U.S. Senator Pat Roberts's chances of winning re-election are "looking better." Dole told The Associated Press on Monday that he believes Roberts has picked up a little momentum and has been getting a good reception at recent events. The 91-year-old former senator last week finished a months-long tour of all 105 Kansas counties and spoke by telephone from Washington. He was the GOP presidential nominee in 1996 and is a former U.S. Senate majority leader. Dole made multiple campaign appearances for Roberts and Republican Governor Sam Brownback. Roberts is in a close race against independent candidate Greg Orman. The challenger told reporters Monday that he greatly respects Dole.


New Republican River Deal Hints at Cooperation

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An agreement Kansas and Nebraska reached about managing the Republican River's water this winter suggests more cooperation is possible in the long-running dispute. The Lincoln Journal Star reports the states signed a one-year deal last month that allows Nebraska to keep some water in Harlan County Reservoir this fall, so it will be there next spring to help farmers downstream. Without the new agreement, the 1943 compact between Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado would have required the water to be released this fall when farmers couldn't use it. Disputes over the Republican River compact have landed in the U.S. Supreme Court several times because Kansas says Nebraska used too much water. Nebraska is entitled to 49 percent of the water, Kansas gets 40 percent and Colorado gets 11 percent.


Florida Couple Mourns Son Killed at Wichita Airport

OCALA, Fla. (AP) - A North Florida couple is on their way to Kansas to mourn their son, a pilot killed in a small plane crash at a flight training facility in Wichita. Mark Goldstein died Thursday when his twin-engine plane crashed just after takeoff at the Flight Safety International Learning Center at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The plane struck a building, killing three people inside. Ingrid and Don Goldstein of Ocala, Florida were driving to Kansas over the weekend. The National Transportation Safety Board says Mark Goldstein worked as an air traffic controller for 24 years at the Wichita control tower before retiring this year.


Man Found Dead in Topeka Home

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a man found shot inside a Topeka home. Sheriff Herman Jones tells The Topeka Capital-Journal authorities were working to obtain a search warrant for the home on Sunday night. He says dispatchers received a 911 call on Sunday evening and deputies found the man dead with gunshot wounds. Jones says authorities are treating the death as suspicious. It's unclear how many times he was shot. His identity hasn't been released.


Kansas Suspect in Junior Football Beating Charged

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a suspect in September's beating of a Wichita junior league football coach. The Sedgwick County district attorney's office announced Monday that 31-year-old Bobby Brown Jr. was charged Friday with aggravated battery. His preliminary hearing is November 13. Police told reporters Monday that Brown was spotted by officers Thursday in the driveway of a Wichita house. He took off running and was arrested after a foot chase. The case stems from the September 8 attack by several men on the coach during practice at a Wichita park. The beating stopped after the coach's wife drew a gun and fired a shot in the air. The coach then went to his car and retrieved another gun. Both had concealed carry permits. It's not clear if Brown has a lawyer.


Kansas Teens Hit by Train Had Been Hanging Out on Bridge

EUDORA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two 16-year-old boys who were struck by a train in northeast Kansas had been hanging out on a railroad bridge. The boys were flown Saturday to different Kansas City-area hospitals with serious injuries. Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Steve Lewis said the teens heard the train coming but weren't able to get out of the way. All train traffic was stopped while emergency vehicles parked on the tracks near Eudora to attend to the teens. One of the boys was from Lawrence, while the other was from Eudora. Their names weren't immediately released.


Kansas Officials Promote Hunting and Fishing Tourism

JETMORE, Kan. (AP) — Officials from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism say hunters contributed more than $600 million to the state's economy last year, and they're hoping to increase that figure with a campaign aimed aattracting hunters from other states. They say out-of-state hunters and fishermen account for 60 percent of the revenue going to the state from those outdoor activities. The agency plans to use national print, television and digital media to promote Kansas as a destination for hunting and fishing.


Man Wounded in Central Kansas Hunting Accident

CLAY CENTER, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a man has been wounded in a hunting accident in central Kansas. The Clay County sheriff's office said in a news release Sunday that a 12-year-old shot 56-year-old Jerome Valdez of Holton in the back. The accident happened just before 11 a.m. while the pair was flushing a covey of quail. Valdez was taken to the Clay County Hospital and then flown to a Salina hospital. The sheriff's office and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks are investigating.


Sheriff: Kansas Man Dies in Tractor Accident

ARLINGTON, Kan. (AP) - The Reno County Sheriff's Office says a 63-year-old man has died after his tractor flipped over. Deputies say Larry Lester was killed Saturday after being pinned under the Ford tractor he was driving on his property near Arlington. They say Lester was using the tractor to pull trees when the tractor flipped backward. Lester was pronounced dead at the scene.


KCMO on Track for Drop in Homicide Rate

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City is on track to see its homicide rate fall in 2014. The Kansas City Star reports that the city's homicide count this year stood at 63 murders through Friday afternoon. That puts the city on pace for about 75 homicides for the full year. The number would be far fewer than the 103 murders the city averaged from 2009 through 2013. The anticipated decline comes as a new collaborative effort among local and federal law enforcement agencies, the No Violence Alliance, gets up and rolling. But concerns persist. Last month's drive-by shooting death of 6-year-old Angel Marie Hooper outside a convenience store remains unsolved despite widespread calls for people with information to come forward.


KU: Fraternity Stays Suspended During Investigation

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A University of Kansas fraternity has agreed to remain suspended while a sexual assault investigation continues. The university sent a letter Friday to the president of the school's Kappa Sigma chapter. In it, university student conduct and community standards coordinator Joshua Jones wrote that it could be after the beginning of December before the investigation is completed. Jones noted that the fraternity's agreement to remain suspended is not an admission of wrongdoing. The fraternity has been on interim suspension since September 30. University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little has said that "disturbing and serious" behavior was reported at a party. Kappa Sigma Fraternity's executive director, Mitchell Wilson, said the national organization also continues to investigate and is working with law enforcement and the university.


Nebraska Court Will Consider Topeka Church Protest Case

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A federal judge has cleared the way for a trial in a lawsuit challenging a Nebraska law that limits funeral protests. Members of Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church are challenging Nebraska's funeral picketing law, which requires protesters to stand 500 feet from a funeral service. Westboro protests at funerals around the country, contending that U.S. soldiers and others are being struck down by God for defending a nation that tolerates homosexuality. U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp on Thursday denied Westboro's motion for summary judgment. She says several issues must be resolved at trial, such as whether the law serves an important governmental interest without violating free speech rights.


Veterans Eternal Flame in Lyndon to be Relighted

LYNDON, Kan. (AP) - An eternal flame soon will be relighted at a veterans' memorial on the northwest corner of the Osage County Courthouse. The flame is part of a monument that was dedicated in 1969. But the gas flame was snuffed out in the mid-1970s because of rising gas prices. American Legion Post 125 commander Jayson Massey says he felt it was his duty to see that the memorial's torch was refurbished. Several months ago, the torch was removed and a Topeka company was hired to complete the refurbishment. The torch was repainted, retrofitted and rewired to use floodlights rather than a gas-fueled flame. So far, the project has cost about $670. A rededication is planned for November 11 as part of Lyndon's Veterans Day events.


Inauguration Scheduled for New Fort Hays President

HAYS, Kan. (AP) - The next Fort Hays State University president will be inaugurated this month. The Salina Journal reports that a ceremony is planned for Mirta Martin on November 21. She will follow in the footsteps of longtime president Ed Hammond. Hammond says representatives of the Board of Regents asked him if he would stay at the university and help with the transition to new leadership, and he agreed. He said the search committee was charged with finding the best leader they could. He says they hit a "hit a homerun" by finding a person with considerable accomplishments in business, education, as well as her personal life. Mantin says she intends to promote a model that more heavily involves faculty in research and uses business partners to help shape the curriculum.


KU Student Fights Expulsion over Twitter Posts

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A former University of Kansas student is fighting his expulsion over social media posts about his ex-girlfriend. The university expelled Navid Yeasin in November 2013 for violating an order not to contact his ex-girlfriend in any way. Yeasin sued earlier this year and a Douglas County judge ruled in September that the school did not have jurisdiction to expel him. The university's lawyer has filed a motion asking the court to reconsider its ruling and continue Yeasin's expulsion until the judge rules. The university cited its Student Conduct Code to expel Yeasin. The code says a student can be punished for incidents that occur while on campus or at university-sponsored events. Yeasin says the incidents that led to his expulsion didn't occur on campus.


Wichita Chiropractor Sentenced for Fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita chiropractor was sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to repay more than $1.8 million for defrauding health care insurers. Federal prosecutors announced Monday that 33-year-old Jeffrey D. Fenn pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of tax evasion. Fenn admitted that from March 2011 to October 20131 he submitted false claims to Medicare, two insurance companies and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program through his businesses, Wichita Health and Wellness, Fenn Chiropractic and Wichita Pain Associates. He also made fraudulent claims for business and personal income taxes.


Authorities Rescue Horse Near Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita authorities have rescued a 1,100-pound horse that partially fell through abandoned railroad tracks. Wichita police, animal control and firefighters worked together to pull the horse from the hole on Sunday. It took responders more than two hours to free the animal. Authorities constructed a pulley system and about six firefighters hoisted the horse out of the hole. They didn't say how the animal fell or who owns it. Witnesses say the horse didn't appear to be severely injured in the fall. They say it suffered a few cuts on its legs.


Royals Extend Qualifying Offer to Shields

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals extended a $15.3 million qualifying offer Monday to right-hander James Shields, which assures Kansas City of draft pick compensation if its staff ace signs a major league contract with another team before June 8. Shields has until November 10 to accept, and it is expected he will not. In the past two years, none of the 22 free agents given qualifying offers have accepted. Kansas City has expressed interest in re-signing Shields, who helped the Royals reach the playoffs for the first time in 29 years and win the AL pennant. But with higher-payroll clubs in the market for pitching, Shields is expected to sign elsewhere. If that happens, the Royals would receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds of next year's amateur draft.


Kansas City Chiefs Beat the New York Jets 24-10

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns while running back Jamaal Charles ran for another score as the Chiefs defeated the New York Jets 24-10 on Sunday in Kansas City. The Chiefs won their third straight game while delivering the Jets' eighth straight loss. Making his first start with the Jets, quarterback Michael Vick threw for 196 yards and a touchdown.




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