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Headlines for Monday, October 24, 2016

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

Yoder Challenger Ramps Up Efforts in Kansas 3rd District

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Democrats believe Republican U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder is vulnerable in his suburban Kansas City district because polls indicate that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Republican Governor Sam Brownback are unpopular there. The Democratic political action committees are pouring money into television ads to make the race more competitive in its final weeks. Yoder wasn't expected to have much trouble winning re-election in the GOP-leaning Third District. Democratic challenger Jay Sidie is a 59-year-old former commodities trader and a political unknown. He has trailed badly in fundraising and began the month with less than $78,000 in campaign cash. Yoder began October with $1.8 million. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has committed to spending $1 million on TV ads for Sidie in the three weeks before the November 8 election. A Republican super-PAC is promising to spend $800,000 to boost Yoder.


Democrat in Kansas 3rd District Touts Obama Endorsement 

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Democratic challenger Jay Sidie is touting President Barack Obama's endorsement of him in his race in the 3rd Congressional District. Sidie's campaign released a statement from the Democratic president calling Sidie a "smart and tough" leader who will build on Obama's work. Sidie in turn praised Obama. Sidie is a 59-year-old former commodities trader seeking to unseat three-term Republican Representative Kevin Yoder. Yoder spokeswoman Cate Duerst said liberal Washington insiders have "bought and paid for" Sidie's campaign in the Kansas City-area district. Republicans have won every congressional race in Kansas since 2010 by running against Obama. But Obama came close to winning the 3rd District in his first presidential race in 2008. Yoder had an event Friday with GOP icon and 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole to showcase Dole's support.


Federal Prosecutor on Call for Kansas Election Complaints 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top federal prosecutor in Kansas says a member of his staff will be on call to handle complaints about potential election fraud or violations of voters' rights on Election Day. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said Monday that Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon Patton will be available by phone at 913-551-6730 on November 8. Beall said in a statement that his office will act "promptly and aggressively" on complaints. He said he does not expect any problems during voting. Beall also noted that the FBI's Kansas City office will have agents available to handle allegations of abuse with a toll-free hotline. It is 855-527-2847. Beall also said questions about state or local issues can be directed to the Kansas secretary of state's office at 800-262-8683.


Stand-Your-Ground Law in Limbo in Kansas 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state's self-defense law is in legal limbo while the Kansas Supreme Court prepares to consider the issue. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that twice earlier this month, the Kansas Court of Appeals overturned district court rulings that invoked the stand-your-ground law. Because of the rulings, one man could now stand trial for attempted voluntary manslaughter and another for first-degree murder. Previously, the men had been shielded from prosecution. The rulings come as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a separate stand-your-ground case, possibly as early as mid-December. The key question is: How should district courts determine whether someone is acting in self-defense or in defense of others? So far the Kansas Supreme Court has given little direction to district courts on the issue.


Ex-Lawmaker Carlson to Stay as Kansas Transportation Chief 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback says former state legislator Richard Carlson will be staying on as Kansas transportation secretary. Brownback announced Monday that after three months as the Department of Transportation's interim secretary, Carlson has been elevated to secretary. The appointment will require state Senate confirmation after the Legislature convenes in January. The 72-year-old Carlson began serving as interim secretary in July after Secretary Mike King stepped down. He previously was the Department of Revenue's legislative liaison. Carlson is a St. Marys Republican who served in the Kansas House from 2005 through 2014. He served as its Taxation Committee chairman.


Kansas Man to Stay in Jail Until Trial in Somali Bomb Plot 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man will stay behind bars until trial for his role in an alleged conspiracy by a militia group to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex where 120 Somali immigrants live. Curtis Allen waived his detention hearing Monday and entered a not guilty plea, the only plea a federal magistrate judge can accept at this stage of the court proceedings. Allen and co-defendants Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright are charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the meatpacking town of Garden City. Prosecutors allege they are part of a militia group that calls itself "The Crusaders." The government contends they planned to attack the apartment complex, which contains a mosque in one of the units, the day after the November election.


1 Remains Hospitalized After Atchison Chemical Spill 

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — One person remains hospitalized a few days after a chemical spill sent a noxious chemical cloud over Atchison in northeast Kansas. The spill occurred Friday after two chemicals were inadvertently combined at the MGP Ingredients plant. The chemical release created a chemical cloud over sections of the city and prompted evacuations. Officials said dozens of people sought medical treatment Friday, largely for respiratory problems. Most had been treated and released by later in the day. A spokeswoman for Atchison Hospital said that one person remains hospitalized in stable condition as of Sunday night. The Kansas City Star reports the company released a statement Saturday saying that it's working with regulatory agencies to "fully understand the cause and mitigate the chance of a similar incident occurring in the future."


KBOR Committee Drops Push for Sexual Assault Notation on Transcripts 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A proposal that would require all state universities to add a notation on a student's transcript if the student is expelled for sexual violence has been dropped. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that members of a Kansas Board of Regents committee discussed the issue last month. Minutes from the meeting show that the committee decided not to pursue the policy. That means the proposal never reached the full Board of Regents for a vote. The minutes say that "currently no one is specifically interested in an across the board policy and believe that non-academic misconduct should be handled on a case-by-case basis." Students at several state schools initiated the transcript discussion. Last year, a council made up of leaders of the six state universities agreed they wanted a statewide requirement.


Greensburg Prepares to Mark 10-Year Anniversary of Tornado 

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The western Kansas town of Greensburg is preparing to mark the 10-year anniversary of a massive EF5 tornado wiping out much of the rural community. The storm that hit Greensburg on May 4, 2007, killed at least a dozen people. The Wichita Eagle reports that the effort includes plans for a park and three stainless-steel sculptures. Grants will help pay for the artwork, including a 15-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide kinetic sculpture with stained-glass stars. Shortly after the tornado hit, a long-term recovery plan was developed with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The rebuilding effort focused on making the city a model green community. Mayor Bob Dixson says the anniversary will be a celebration of what has been accomplished and where the town is headed.


University of Kansas's Memorial Union Proposes $45 Million Renovation

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas Memorial Union is proposing a $45 million renovation, and asking for a fee increase. KU students will vote this spring on whether to add the 30-year $50 per semester student fee to pay for the union renovations. Memorial Union leaders say the work is needed to upgrade aging mechanical systems and improve the union's studying, dining and community spaces. Lisa Kring, director of building and event services for the Union, said the building has nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Student Senate recommends most annual student fees on its own, but decided to put the union matter to a campus-wide referendum. 


Dry Conditions Spur Harvest Activity in Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Fall harvest has made some good progress in Kansas this past week amid dry conditions and warm temperatures. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 87 percent of the state's corn crop has been cut. That is near average compared to a year ago at this time. Kansas farmers have also harvested about 56 percent of the sorghum and 53 percent of the soybeans in the state. Sunflower harvest is 38 percent completed, while 8 percent of the cotton crop has been harvested in Kansas. The agency also reports that winter wheat planting is now 84 percent complete.


Kansas State University Narrows Search for Next President 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The committee searching for Kansas State University's next president has selected 15 candidates to interview for the position. The Manhattan Mercury reports that 81 people applied for the position. Regent Dennis Mullin, who heads the Kansas Board of Regents' committee, says the number of applicants and the number of qualified candidates were higher than expected. Mullin says he hopes the committee can select someone in early November or by Thanksgiving Day at the latest. Former president Kirk Schulz announced in March that he was leaving the university to become the president of Washington State University. An interim president has been serving since late May.


Kansas Coyote Hunt Organizer Settles Suit with Animal Rights Group

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has settled a lawsuit with an animal rights group that sought to stop him from holding another coyote hunting contest. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against organizers of the WaKeeney Coyote hunt held in January. Jordan Bleske, a hunt organizer, told The Wichita Eagle the lawsuit was settled when he agreed to not hold the contest again and paid the organization $2,000 to cover legal fees. The ALDF cited Kansas' gambling laws to say the contest was a game of chance. Entrants paid $80 and whoever killed the most coyotes won $500. A Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism lawyer says the department wasn't contacted about the lawsuit. 


Kansas Officials Approve $33K for Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials have voted to approve $33,000 for the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit filed after a man died at a small lake northwest of Hays. The Topeka-Capital Journal reports that 65-year-old Tony Bieker and his wife were staying at Antelope Lake in July 2011. Authorities say Tony's boat became stuck at least 50 yards from shore. He was unable to dislodge the boat and decided to wait for daylight to flag down help. A Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism officer arrived during the night and ordered Bieker to get his boat of the water. Bieker unsuccessfully tried get the boat free and began swimming to shore, but only made it halfway before going under. Bieker was pronounced dead at a hospital. Bieker's wife filed a lawsuit against the state and the officer. The State Finance Council voted to approve the $33,000.


Former Emporia Driving Instructor Charged With Sexual Abuse of Teen

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) - A former Emporia driving school instructor faces charges accusing him of sexually abusing a teenager. The Emporia Gazette reports that Robert L. Jones of Emporia was charged in Lyon County court with aggravated sexual battery of a 16-year-old. The criminal complaint says the alleged crime occurred in August. Jones has been fired from his position as director of an Emporia driving school, which was has been shut down. Jones' next court appearance is scheduled for November 14.


Man Pleads No Contest in Joyland Park Memorabilia Thefts 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has pleaded no contest to felony theft in the disappearance of Louie the Clown and other items from the former Joyland Amusement Park. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office says 41-year-old Damian Mayes entered the plea on Friday. The items were found in February 2015 at Mayes's home. Mayes was an employee of the park who helped build and repair organs. The nearly life-sized carved clown played an automated organ near Joyland's entrance for decades before the park closed in 2006. The clown statue disappeared from Joyland sometime in 2005 or 2006 and was officially reported stolen in 2010. Mayes is already serving a sentence in for a 2010 conviction on child sex crimes. He will be sentenced for the Joyland thefts December 13.


Police Investigating Death of Boy at Eudora Day Care 

EUDORA, Kan. (AP) — The license for a Eudora day care is under emergency suspension after a 9-month-old boy died there last month. Eudora Police Captain Daniel Flick says officers received a report September 29 of an unresponsive infant at the Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home. When officers arrived they found staff administering CPR to the boy, who was later pronounced dead at a Lawrence hospital. Flick says a preliminary autopsy led investigators to believe the boy's death was suspicious and the department asked Douglas County authorities for help with the investigation. The emergency suspension is under appeal and awaiting a hearing. Flick says no arrests have been made in the case. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a representative for Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home declined to comment on the incident.


Expert Helps Kansas Educators Understand Impact of Trauma on Students

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state education consultant says Kansas could benefit from addressing the impact of childhood trauma on students' ability to learn. Kent Reed, school counseling program consultant for the Kansas Department of Education, told the State Board of Education that stress from adverse childhood events can lead to lower test scores, language difficulties, behavioral issues and a greater likelihood of failing a grade. Reed said that work groups have formed to study childhood trauma issues and they'll make recommendations. Board member Janet Waugh said one-third of children in the state's juvenile justice system have some form of mental illness. She said training and treatment of adverse childhood events issues is needed, but it will "cost a lot of money."


Regents Approve $18 Million Project for Pittsburg State 

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents has approved Pittsburg State University's plan for an $18 million multi-use project. The Regents approved Pittsburg State's Block 22 plan for student housing and commercial space that includes remodeling four historic properties. The city has approved investing $1.5 million from its Revolving Door Fund. The university will look to raise $1 million in private donations for its investment. The project is also expected to get federal and state historic tax credits.


Kansas State Fair Attendance in 2016 Third Highest Ever 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Fair recorded its third highest attendance ever this year. General Manager Susan Sankey said 359,808 people visited the 10-day fair, the third highest number in the event's 104-year history. The Hutchinson News reports that 2015 was a record-breaking year for fair attendance with 369,322 visitors, beating the previous record set in 1995 at 361,647. Sankey says those years had near-perfect weather but this year's fair had some rain. A final fair budget is expected to be ready for the fair's board on November 2.


Police Seek Driver Who Nearly Hit Mounted Wichita Officers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are seeking a Wichita woman who is accused of nearly hitting a group of mounted police officers. The Wichita Eagle reports that a collision was narrowly avoided early Sunday when the woman exited a parking lot in the city's Old Town district at a high rate of speed. Wichita police Sergeant Wendell Nicholson says the mounted officers tried to stop the woman's Jeep at a stoplight but the woman sped past officers. Nicholson says one of the officers was forced to back his mounted horse so he would not be struck by the vehicle speeding past them. Police are seeking the woman on suspicion of aggravated assault of a law officer.


2 Die in Kansas City Weekend Shootings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City police say two men have died in weekend shootings. Police officers responded to a call late Saturday to the Westport entertainment district and found a man who had been shot. The Kansas City Fire Department took the victim to a hospital, where he died. The man's name hasn't been released. Police also say another man found shot early Sunday has died from his injuries. Police detectives are investigating the death as a homicide. Kansas City has recorded 95 homicides so far this year. The entire metropolitan area has seen 155 homicides in 2016.


Kansas City Man Hopes to Bring Golf Course to Inner-City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City man hopes to build a small inner-city golf course with greens that rival those in one of the city's most affluent suburbs. Chris Harris built a park near his home in an impoverished south-side neighborhood 20 years ago and thinks a golf course could be another bright spot in a part of town that needs it. The Kansas City Star reports Harris didn't know much about building a golf course until he took a part-time job with the grounds crew at Mission Hills Golf Course in the suburb of Mission Hills, Kansas. He cleared out abandoned houses and trash dumps to build the park, which already has a playground and a basketball court.


Alex Smith Leads Chiefs Past Saints for 27-21 Win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith threw for two touchdowns to help Kansas City beat the New Orleans Saints 27-21. Daniel Sorensen returned a Drew Brees interception 48 yards for a touchdown to help the Chiefs win. Brees threw for 367 yards and three scores, but most of it came when the Saints were trying to rally from behind. Tyreek Hill made an acrobatic 38-yard TD catch to help the Chiefs (4-2) win their ninth straight game at home. Spencer Ware also had a 46-yard catch from Smith for a touchdown. The Chiefs showed some mettle after falling into an early 7-0 hole. Ware's touchdown on a screen pass and Sorensen's pick-six off quickly turned the momentum, and Hill added his long touchdown reception to make it 21-7 at the break. The Saints drew within a touchdown on Mark Ingram's catch midway through the third quarter, but the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner fumbled inside the Kansas City 10 with 8:26 left in the game and the Chiefs leading 24-14. New Orleans got the ball back and eventually scored, but the wasted time proved costly.


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