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Headlines for Monday, October 27, 2014

Kansas Governor Believes Close Race Turning His Way

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Governor Sam Brownback says his tough race for re-election is swinging back his way because Democratic challenger Paul Davis hasn't been visible enough to Kansas voters. But Davis announced Monday that he'll make a 30-stop bus tour of the state this week. Brownback and his wife voted in advance Monday at the Shawnee County Election Commissioner's office. He told reporters afterward that voters' doubts about his tenure as governor are easing. He said part of the reason is that Davis hasn't defined his views clearly for some voters, and he suggested that Davis has been avoiding public events. But Davis spokesman Chris Pumpelly said voters remain concerned about Brownback's fiscal policies and noted that Davis is beginning his bus tour Tuesday.


New Poll Shows Kansas Governor's Race a Toss-up

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new poll suggests the Kansas governor's race is a toss-up. The poll released Sunday by NBC News and Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, showed Democratic challenger Paul Davis as the choice of 45 percent of the likely voters surveyed. Republican Governor Sam Brownback was the choice of 44 percent. Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr was chosen by 5 percent and 6 percent were undecided. The poll surveyed 757 likely voters from October 18 through October 22. The margin of error was 3.6 percent. More of those surveyed viewed Brownback unfavorably than favorably - 50 percent to 42 percent. Forty-three percent of those surveyed viewed Davis favorably and 34 percent viewed him unfavorably. But 19 percent were unsure of their impressions of Davis, compared to 8 percent for Brownback.


Couples in Tax Case File Brief in Gay Marriage Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two married gay couples suing for the right to file joint Kansas income tax returns have filed a brief weighing in on another gay marriage case. Attorney David Brown says the tax case pending in Shawnee County District Court is affected by a case before the Kansas Supreme Court. Earlier this month, the Kansas attorney general asked the Supreme Court to block same-sex marriage licenses after the state's most populous county issued one. The Kansas Constitution bans gay marriage. But Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty noted in ordering licenses to be issued to same-sex couples that the U.S. Supreme Court had cleared the way for an expansion of the unions. Brown says that if Kansas's same-sex marriage ban is overturned, the state would have to recognize his clients' marriages.


Feds Block Kansas Plan to Reduce School Testing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas will not be able to let high school students skip state mathematics and English tests so they can focus on college entrance exams and career-oriented tests. The U.S. Education Department says Kansas's proposal would conflict with federal testing requirements that ensure accountability in schools. Interim Kansas Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander says the state wanted to let schools choose whether to drop state tests so student could concentrate on such tests as the ACT and job skills. Kansas students are to take state math and English tests at least once in high school but Neuenswander says some students were testing more than once in high school. The state now plans to restrict the math and English tests to the 10th grade.


Settlement Reached in Wichita Energy Rate Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - State officials and Black Hills Energy have reached a settlement in the utility company's request to raise natural gas rates. The settlement will raise costs for Black Hills gas customers but by much less than the company requested. If the settlement is approved by state regulators, it would raise overall rates by about $735,000, which is about $3 a year for the average customer. Black Hills Energy sought a $5.1 million net increase, which would have raised the average bill $4.17 a month. The Wichita Eagle reports all the parties to the case have signed off on the agreement. Black Hills, which is based in South Dakota, has about 110,000 customers in Kansas, about a third of those in the Wichita area.


New Poll Says US Senate Race in Kansas is Close

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new poll suggests the U.S. Senate race in Kansas is close. The poll released Sunday by NBC News and Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, showed independent candidate Greg Orman as the choice of 45 percent of the likely voters surveyed. Republican Senator Pat Roberts was the choice of 44 percent. Libertarian candidate Randall Batson was chosen by 4 percent and 7 percent of those surveyed were undecided. The poll surveyed 757 likely voters from October 18 through October 22. The margin of error was 3.6 percent. More of those surveyed viewed Roberts unfavorably than favorably - 46 percent to 43 percent, with 11 percent unsure. Forty-two percent of those surveyed viewed Orman favorably and 37 percent viewed him unfavorably. Another 18 percent were unsure.


Romney, Dole Campaign for Roberts in Johnson County

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is campaigning in Kansas for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts's re-election, portraying a vote for his independent challenger as a vote for Democratic President Barack Obama. U.S. Senate Majority Leader and presidential nominee Bob Dole joined Romney and Roberts Monday at an upscale Overland Park restaurant and bowling emporium. Roberts is in a tough race with independent candidate and Olathe businessman Greg Orman. A big part of Roberts's pitch for his re-election is helping Republicans recapture a Senate majority. Romney sought to tie Orman to the Democratic president. Romney lost to Obama in 2012. Dole was the 1996 GOP candidate. They appeared in Johnson County, the state's most populous county and home to 22 percent of the state's voters.


Orman Covers $1M in Expenses in Kansas Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A finance report shows independent candidate Greg Orman covered nearly $1 million in expenses from mid-July through September and loaned his campaign U.S. Senate campaign in Kansas another $200,000. A report filed by Orman's campaign with the Federal Election Commission and available online Sunday shows Orman covered $963,000 in expenses from mid-July through September, mostly for advertising. He received $537,000 in contributions and loaned his campaign $200,000 on September 25. With earlier contributions, he had more than $2 million available during the period. The campaign had $1.9 million in expenses, including those Orman funded himself. He ended September with about $120,000 in his campaign fund. A report for Roberts was not available online Sunday.


Victims' Families Seek to Oust Kansas Justices

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A small group of victims' family members are waging a campaign to remake the Kansas Supreme Court after it overturned the death sentences of two brothers convicted of notorious multiple murders. The state Republican Party's chairman and GOP Governor Sam Brownback last week endorsed the efforts. The new group is Kansans for Justice. Justices Lee Johnson and Eric Rosen are on the ballot in the November 4 election, and the group is hoping voters refuse to retain them on the court. The issue is rulings in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr. The brothers were sentenced to die over the shootings of four people in a Wichita field in December 2000. The court in July ordered new sentencing trials for them, saying their joint sentencing trial was improper.

Kansas Man Admits Stealing from Army

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has admitted stealing $62,000 in cash from an Army fund he managed at Fort Riley. The U.S. Attorney's office says 59-year-old Michael Steffens, of Junction City, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to one count of stealing public money. Steffens was a business manager of the Army's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program at the northeast Kansas post. The fund provides programs and services to soldiers and their families. In his plea, Steffens admitted stealing the money from August 2013 until he was charged in August of this year. Both parties have agreed to recommend that Steffens be sentenced to two years' probation and restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for February 9.


Police Identify Man Killed by Wichita Officers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a man killed in a weekend shootout with officers was associated with a local gang and had outstanding warrants in a neighboring county. Authorities on Monday identified the man as 18-year-old Jeffery Holden. The Wichita Eagle reports that he had been listed as a missing person in the Kansas City area. The shootout occurred shortly after 6:30 am Sunday as police responded to multiple reports of a man firing at houses and passers-by. Police said Holden pinned one officer in his car with continuous gunfire, then shot at other officers as they arrived. Authorities said Holden fired simultaneously with two handguns. He was ultimately shot and killed outside a house. Police said Holden was the subject of outstanding warrants in Cowley County.


Young Girl Shot to Death in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police are investigating the death of a 10-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting. Police say in a news release that the girl died Sunday evening while she was inside a home that was sprayed by bullets from a passing vehicle. Police on Monday identified the victim as Machole J. Stewart. Investigators have not said how often she was shot. She died at the scene. No one else inside the home was injured. It was the second time in about a week that a young girl died in a drive-by shooting in the Kansas City area. Six-year-old Angel Marie Hooper was shot to death October 17 at a convenience store in Kansas City, Missouri. Police have not arrested a suspect in that case.


Reward Rises in KCMO Girl's Killing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The reward has risen to $21,000 for information about a drive-by shooting that killed a 6-year-old Kansas City girl. The Kansas City Star says tips are coming in to a group called the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. But Major Karl Oakman says police seeking to solve the killing of Angel Hooper need more leads and more people to call. Angel died this month when shots were fired into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven where the girl and her father had just bought bubblegum. Donations have come from the Carter Broadcast Group and 7-Eleven Stores, which operates the chain of convenience stores. City Councilman Jermaine Reed is the interim executive director of Ad Hoc. He says he is "fed up" with the violence.


Teen Charged in Wichita Double Murder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A 17-year-old suspect has been charged as a juvenile with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of a Wichita couple. The teen is accused of killing 70-year-old Martha Moreno and her husband, 72-year-old Godofredo Moreno. Court records also show the teen faces an aggravated robbery charge. The Morenos' son found their bodies October 16 on a bedroom floor of their home. Police said they had been shot multiple times and that the motive was robbery. Meanwhile, a 19-year-old who was also arrested in the killings is being jailed on a warrant accusing him of violating his probation from a 2013 robbery. Records show the 19-year-old has not been charged with the killings and is no longer being held on suspicion of murder.


Man Found Shot to Death in Junction City

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) - Junction City police are investigating the shooting death of a 27-year-old man. Police say in a news release that Elza Evans was found dead in a parking lot early Saturday. He had been shot several times. Lieutenant Jeff Childs said in the release that police are asking anyone with information about the death to contact the police department or Crime Stoppers.


Death of Man in Dodge City Considered Homicide


DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in southwest Kansas are asking the public for information about the death of a Dodge City man over the weekend. A man walking his dog saw the body around 9:30 am Sunday behind the 4-H building at the Ford County Fair Grounds. Police have labeled the death of 54-year-old Fabian Corral as a homicide, but no details about how he was killed had been released Monday. Corral's wife told KWCH-TV that the family had been at a wedding over the weekend. The woman says she and her daughter got tired and left, but her husband stayed behind to help clean up. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation's Crime Scene Investigation team is working with police on the case.


Ex-Technology Director Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A former city technology director has admitted purchasing more than $100,000 in electronic devices with city money and either giving them away or selling them on eBay. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says 44-year-old Andrew Davey of Overland Park pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud. He is expected to be sentenced to a year and a day in prison. Davey admitted that when he was director of technology for the city of Lenexa he purchased the devices with city funds. City officials discovered the purchases after he left to take another job. Grissom says he gave iPads to members of his church and gave his mom a 50-inch television and iPad that he told her were obsolete and no longer needed by the city. Sentencing is set for January 20.


Prospects Dim on Settlement for Wheat Claims

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Prospects are dimming for a settlement on remaining claims in lawsuits over the May 2013 discovery of genetically engineered Monsanto wheat in an Oregon field. A joint status report submitted Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas said no agreement has been reached in the lawsuits filed by non-soft white wheat plaintiffs against St. Louis-based Monsanto Company. The lawsuits from across the country have been consolidated in Kansas. Growers of soft white wheat who sued apparently have reached a tentative deal with the company. The report said the remaining parties will continue to discuss an amicable resolution, but do not believe any agreement will be reached soon. The parties suggested the court vacate its earlier order staying proceedings. Monsanto has filed several pending motions seeking to dismiss the cases.


Kansas Man Injured in Harvest Accident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A central Kansas man has suffered severe electrical shocks while helping to harvest a soybean field. The Salina Journal reports that 24-year-old Zachary Short was flown to a Wichita hospital Saturday with critical injuries. Saline County Sheriff's deputy Chad Flesher said that after cutting a soybean field, an auger boom that would have transferred the soybeans into a semi came in contact with power lines.


Drive Underway to Oust Judge in Gay Marriage Case

LOUISBURG, Kan. (AP) — The husband of a state senator is working to oust a northeast Kansas trial judge who ordered the court clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Kansas City Star reports Brian Baumgardner is targeting Johnson County Chief District Judge Kevin Moriarty. Moriarty faces a retention vote November 4th in the 10th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Johnson County. Baumgardner — husband of Republican state Senator Molly Baumgardner — lives in neighboring Miami County but told The Star on Friday that "a bad judge harms everybody." Moriarty issued his order October 8th after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower-court rulings striking down bans on gay marriage as unconstitutional. The Kansas Supreme Court has halted the issuance of any licenses pending a hearing scheduled November 6th.


Deer Poached on Property Used for Charity Hunts

LARNED, Kan. (AP) — A man who leases his land in Pawnee County so children with life-threatening illnesses can hunt says some of the deer are being poached. Tim Schaller says he was upset earlier this month when he found a poached buck with meat, head and antlers intact. It was at least the fourth deer he's found poached on the property. Schaller, of Larned, says the poaching is especially upsetting because the land is used for Life Hunts, which provides the hunts every year for ill children, and the loss of four trophy bucks could hurt the children's chances of success. The Wichita Eagle reports this year's hunt will host a 13-year-old Pennsylvania girl with an inoperable brain tumor and a 13-year-old boy from North Carolina who is fighting cancer.


On-Time Immunizations in Kansas Drop Sharply

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A new report says the on-time immunization rate for Kansas children dropped sharply during the last school year after several years of improvement. The report compiled for the annual Kansas Kids Count report says only 61 percent of Kansas children who were kindergartners during the 2012-13 school year received recommended immunizations by age 2. That was down after improving from 63 percent to 72 percent since 2009. Kansas Action for Children President Shannon Cotsoradis says the state has made progress on immunizations, and the organization hopes the drop is a one-year anomaly. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment found about 1 percent of Kansas kindergartners opted out of required shots for the 2010-11 school year. Nearly three-fourths of those were for religious exemptions.


Trees Lost Outpace Trees Planted at KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A tree-planting catch-up effort has taken root at the University of Kansas. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the number of trees planted in recent years has fallen short of the number lost to damage, disease, construction and age. Last year alone, the university removed 71 trees and planted 52. The tree-planting effort has been dubbed Replant Mount Oread. The initiative includes a Halloween event, called "Trick or Trees." It will focus on the lawn between Marvin and Lindley halls, just south of the Chi Omega Fountain. The original landscaping at the site was a gift from the class of 1949. Plans call for planting additional Bartlett pear trees, Dwarf Mugo pines, peonies and periwinkle to bring the area back closer to what it was historically


30 Bison Added to NW Missouri Nature Preserve

BETHANY, Mo. (AP) - A northwest Missouri nature preserve has added 30 bison to its existing herd of more than 70 that helps keep the native prairie healthy. The Nature Conservancy's Dunn Ranch Prairie is about 90 minutes north of Kansas City. Bison and prescribed fires are used to manage grassland at the 4,200-acre ranch, which has more than 300 native wildflower species. It's also a nesting ground for greater prairie chickens and other birds. The ranch is a research hub for scientists from a variety of fields and is open to the public for hiking and bird-watching. The bison released there last week came from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and have never been crossbred with cattle. 


Longtime Nevada GOP Activist Dies Following Horse Accident in KS

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — A longtime Elko County, Nevada lawyer and conservative political activist has died from injuries he suffered from a fall off a horse during a coast-to-coast protest of a federal crackdown on livestock grazing. Elko County Commissioner Grant Gerber was 72. His son, Travis, told the Elko Daily Free Press that Gerber was surrounded by family listening to his favorite songs when he died late Saturday at a Salt Lake City hospital. Friends described Gerber as a "freedom fighter." He injured his head in the fall in Kansas October 7 while delivering a petition to Congress criticizing over-regulation of federal rangeland. He'd been a leader in the states' rights movement since a fight over protection of a fish and access to a national forest road near the Nevada-Idaho line nearly 20 years ago.


Former Detroit Pitcher Robinson Dies at Age 52

DETROIT (AP) — Jeff Robinson, who helped the Detroit Tigers to an AL East championship as a rookie in 1987 and went on to pitch in the major leagues through 1992, has died. He was 52. Robinson's death was confirmed Monday by both the Tigers and the Kansas-based Natural Baseball Academy, where he served as a pitching director, coach and instructor. They did not release any information about the cause of Robinson's death. The Natural Baseball Academy said Robinson died Sunday. Robinson went 47-40 and made 117 starts for Detroit, Baltimore, Texas and Pittsburgh. The right-hander went 9-6 in his debut season in 1987, and he was 13-6 with a 2.98 ERA the following year. He made one relief appearance for Detroit in the 1987 AL Championship Series against Minnesota.


Giants Beat Royals 5-0 to Take 3-2 World Series Lead

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner smothered the Kansas City Royals for the second time in a week, pitching a four-hitter that led the San Francisco Giants to a 5-0 victory Sunday night and a 3-2 World Series lead. Bumgarner struck out eight and walked none in improving to 4-0 in four World Series starts. He has allowed only one run in 31 Series innings. Royals pitcher James Shields lost to Bumgarner for the second time, allowing eight hits and two runs in six innings. After a day off, the Series resumes Tuesday night at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. In a rematch of Game 2 starters, Jordano Ventura pitches for the Royals and Jake Peavy for the Giants.


Chiefs Win in 34-7 Rout of Rams

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jamaal Charles ran for two touchdowns, Knile Davis returned a kick 99 yards for another score and the Kansas City Chiefs trounced the St. Louis Rams 34-7 on Sunday. Cairo Santos added a pair of field goals for Kansas City, including a career-best 53-yarder. Alex Smith was 24 of 28 for 226 yards, while Justin Houston had three of the Chiefs' seven sacks. The banged-up Rams lost their sixth straight to Kansas City dating to September 25, 1994, when they were still in Los Angeles.



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