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Headlines for Monday, September 15, 2014


Texas Governor to Campaign for Brownback

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Texas Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to be in Wichita next week to raise money for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's re-election campaign. The Wichita Eagle reports that Perry is to attend a reception September 24 at a bank office that formerly housed the Carnegie Library. An invitation on Brownback's campaign website requests donations of $500 to $4,000 for Brownback and his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. The two Republican governors have had a close relationship for years. Both are former state agriculture secretaries, and Brownback endorsed Perry's 2012 campaign for the GOP nomination for president. Brownback also attended a Houston prayer rally hosted by Perry in August 2011.


Kansas Voter Wants to Keep Democrat in Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas voter says he wants to cast his ballot for the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate who is trying to get his name removed from the ballot. An attorney for 57-year-old David Orel of Kansas City, Kansas, asked the state Supreme Court on Monday for permission to file friend-of-the court arguments as the justices consider a petition from Democrat Chad Taylor. The court is hearing Taylor's case Tuesday. Orel's filing said removing Taylor from the ballot would divest him of his right to vote for his chosen candidate against three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts. Taylor dropped out of the race at the urging of some Democrats who see independent candidate Greg Orman as the stronger rival for Roberts and don't want to split the anti-Roberts vote.


State Representative Defends Residency, Condo

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state representative says the nearly half-million-dollar condominium he owns in Lawrence is just where he stays during legislative sessions, while his official residence is at his sister's house in Salina. Republican Representative J.R. Claeys tells The Salina Journal that he blames Democrat Gary Swartzendruber for raising questions about his residency because his opponent can't win on the issues. Claeys acknowledges owning the Lawrence condominium, but says it's normal for lawmakers to rent an apartment or buy a place there to stay while the Legislature is in session. The Douglas County appraiser lists Claeys's condo as being valued for tax purposes at $433,400. Still, Claeys insists he spends most of the year living with his sister, her husband and their three children in Salina, in the district he represents.


KCC Investment Rulings Might Save Customers Money

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Corporation Commission decisions on utility investments could save customers millions of dollars. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that KCC recently filed a complaint with federal authorities arguing Westar Energy is charging too much return on equity for its transmission projects. Westar currently charges 11.3 percent. The KCC argued it should be 9.37 percent. The reduction could drop rates $15.8 million annually. The commission also recently approved up to a 9.1 percent return on equity for a rate case involving Atmos Energy. Previous cases typically had a rate of 10 percent. The KCC says a 9.1 percent rate increase would raise rates about $4.2 million, while 10.5 percent would increase rates by $6.3 million. KCC spokesman Jesse Borjon says the decisions don't meant the commission is making a policy change.


Roberts Jumps on Clinton's Mention of Kansas Race

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton has mentioned Kansas as a competitive race while talking about Democratic efforts to hold onto Congress. Clinton's comments Friday on the PBS NewsHour have caught the attention of Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. The Republican is in a tight race with independent candidate Greg Orman after Democrat Chad Taylor stopped campaigning. Orman is projecting himself as fresh and authentic while acknowledging that he's been both a Republican and a Democrat. But Roberts' campaign has attacked Orman as a liberal pretending to be a conservative. Roberts's campaign manager, Corry Bliss, said in a news release that Orman will "say and do anything to get elected, even if it means pretending he's not a Democrat." Orman's spokesman says Roberts's campaign will "say and do anything to get him reelected."


9 Other KS Candidates Used Declaration Clause

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - State records show that Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Chad Taylor is the only candidate since 2010 to fail to use wording that the secretary of state's office says is required to withdraw from a statewide race. The Wichita Eagle reports that nine other candidates have withdrawn after winning their party's nomination in the past four years. Records obtained by the Eagle show all of them declared they were incapable to serve, as required by state election law. Secretary of State Kris Kobach has kept Democrat Chad Taylor on the ballot against his will. Kobach says Taylor did not declare himself incapable to serve if elected in his letter withdrawing from the race. Taylor sought to withdraw to clear the way for independent candidate Greg Orman to directly oppose Republican Pat Roberts. This week, the Kansas Supreme Court will consider Taylor's lawsuit to have his name removed from the November ballot.


Dems Deny Kansas GOP School Consolidation Claims

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Democrats say that claims that their party's gubernatorial candidate is pro-school consolidation are false. Governor Sam Brownback has attacked Democratic challenger Paul Davis on the issue based on remarks made by Davis's appointee to a school efficiency task force. The appointee, former Republican state senator John Vratil, was interviewed in 2011 by The Topeka Capital-Journal for an article about rural Kansas population decline. Vratil is quoted saying "rural school districts will be starved out of existence." The Brownback campaign has sent out mailers warning Kansans of the "Davis-Vratil Education Agenda: Consolidation." Vratil told the Capital-Journal last week that there was nothing in the 2011 story to support the contention he sought forced consolidation of districts. Davis has said he opposes forcing small districts to combine to concentrate resources.


Sentencing for Former Lawmaker Pushed Back Again

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Sentencing has been pushed back for a former Kansas state legislator who pleaded guilty in May to defrauding a Colby bank out of more than $400,000. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 40-year-old Trent LeDoux of Holton was scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, but his attorney filed for a continuance because LeDoux is having surgery on Thursday. The former Republican state representative now will be sentenced on November 17 in federal court. It's his second continuance after his attorney earlier filed for one pushing back his previously scheduled August 11 sentencing date. LeDoux applied for three loans and told a bank he was going to use all of the money to buy cattle, but instead used some of it to pay off debts and make contributions to his campaign account.


Kansas School Efficiency Taskforce to Meet

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A wide range of topics will be on the table when a new Kansas commission meets to look for efficiencies within the state's public school system. Legislators created the K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission this year. The members are meeting Thursday and Friday at the Statehouse. The Kansas Association of School Boards has obtained a list of draft recommendations prepared by Legislative staff for consideration by the commission. One proposal calls doing away with the traditional teacher salary schedule, which ties pay to education and years of experience. The salary schedule would be replaced with a salary range that takes into account experience, education and area of expertise. Another idea is to offer incentives to districts that enter into cooperative agreements or agree to consolidate with other school districts.


Agriculture Hall of Fame Has Budget Struggles

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — The leaders of the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs are trying — again — to figure out how to ensure its future. The hall closed for the season in May because of financial troubles, the second time in five years that's happened. Only two part-time employees and several volunteers work there but a dedicated board is determined to make the hall relevant again. The 160-acre facility is the national hall of agriculture. It has separate museums and many exhibits that give an extensive history of farming and agriculture. The Kansas City Star reports that the hall's board of directors is searching for ways to get younger people involved in the hall and to update its technology and exhibits — all without any government funding.


Officer Injures Missouri Teen with Stun Gun

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - A 17-year-old boy is in critical condition after police say an officer shot him with a stun gun during a traffic stop. Independence Police Sgt. Darrell Schmidli says the driver was stopped Sunday afternoon because of an outstanding warrant. He says the driver refused to roll down the window or get out of the car. He says the officer used the stun gun on the teen, who allegedly struggled with police as he was removed. The teen was hospitalized in critical condition. Police say they don't know what caused the medical emergency. A friend who witnessed the stop tells WDAF-TV the teen was using his cellphone to record the officer. Another witness tells the station she saw the teen convulsing. Schmidli says police will review video of the stop.


Jurors Return in Hutchinson Bail Bondsman Case

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Jurors are returning to court this (MON) morning in Hutchinson to begin deliberating the fate of a Kansas bail bondsman accused of coercing women he bailed out of jail to have sex with him. Both sides rested Friday in the trial of 66-year-year-old Dwight Jurgens. He's accused of two counts of aggravated human trafficking, four counts of attempted aggravated human trafficking, aggravated criminal sodomy and rape. Prosecutors allege Jurgens told women he would revoke their bonds if they didn't have sex with him. The judge gave jurors the weekend off. They return this morning for closing statements before beginning deliberations.


Topeka Bids Emotional Farewell to Slain Officer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Hundreds of mourners turned out in Topeka over the weekend to remember a police corporal killed in the line of duty. Officers from more than 70 law enforcement agencies were on hand when Corporal Jason Harwood was buried Saturday. The observance featured the reading of a letter to Harwood from his surviving identical twin brother, Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Harwood. Also, the German shepherd who was Harwood's K-9 partner before his promotion to corporal two years ago lay down in front of the casket. Harwood was a decorated 15-year police veteran who was shot during a traffic stop last weekend. Prosecutors have announced plans to seek the death penalty against the man charged in the killing.



Topeka Crash Kills 85-Year-Old Motorcycle Rider

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police have released the name of an 85-year-old motorcycle rider who was killed in a chain-reaction crash. The man was identified Monday as Harold Eulert, of Topeka. Eulert was riding a motorcycle on a Topeka bridge Friday afternoon when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The impact pushed the motorcycle into another truck. Eulert was critically injured and died at a Topeka hospital.



Olathe East Football Player In Critical Condition

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas high school football player is in critical condition after collapsing during a football game. The Kansas City Star reports that Olathe East High School senior James McGinnis was rushed into surgery Friday night at Overland Park Regional Medical Center with bleeding around his brain. His father, Patrick McGinnis, said doctors were removing a piece of his son's skull to relieve pressure. A hospital spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Sunday that James McGinnis remains in critical condition. Olathe East assistant coach Mike Thomas says the 165-pound linebacker and slotback had made a tackle a few plays before collapsing. Olathe East head coach Jeff Meyers also said that James McGinnis had suffered one concussion during his sophomore season, but had not had any other related medical issues.


2 Dead, 3 Injured in Kansas Turnpike Accident

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two people have been killed and three injured in a single-vehicle crash on the Kansas Turnpike west of Topeka. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a sport utility vehicle driving from Omaha, Nebraska, rolled Saturday night near a highway exit. Turnpike officials said the vehicle was turning too fast while exiting the highway. The victims were identified as 22-year-old Janetta-Marie Niesha Godbolt and 20-year-old Arthur L Godbolt Jr. Three other occupants of the vehicle were taken to a hospital, but their conditions weren't immediately available.


Kansas City Airport Officials Promise Better Wi-Fi

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials at Kansas City International Airport say they've heard the complaints from travelers about spotty Wi-Fi service and they're working to make it better. The Kansas City Star reports that the city's Aviation Department plans to spend $250,000 to completely upgrade Wi-Fi service and make other technological improvements. The airport started offering Wi-Fi about a decade ago. Overland Park-based Sprint Co. agreed to pay for and install the necessary infrastructure. Customers paid $9.99 for up to eight hours. When the agreement with Sprint expired, the Aviation Department took over the service and made it free. Officials say that there have been upgrades since, but not enough to keep up with demand, which has increased dramatically as more people travel with computers and phones they want to use to access the Internet.


Couple Sentenced in Nearly $4 Million Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A northern Missouri couple was sentenced to federal prison after the woman embezzled nearly $4 million from a company where she worked and she and her husband filed false income tax returns. Federal prosecutors say 61-year-old Donna Preszler was sentenced Monday to five years and 10 months in prison without parole. Her husband, 64-year-old Terrance Preszler, was sentenced to three years without parole. The couple, formerly from Chillicothe, also was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution to Burdg, Dunham & Associates Construction Corp. and $1.2 million to the Internal Revenue Service. They also must forfeit a nearly $4 million money judgment, vehicles, several trust accounts and two residential lots. Donna Preszler was an accounts manager at the construction firm in Hamilton.


Missouri Education Commissioner to Resign

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's top education official says she will resign at the end of this year. Missouri's State Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro, announced her departure Monday. She has served as head of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since 2009. Over the past year, Nicastro had been criticized by some state legislators and officials for her handling of high-profile issues. An audit released last month faulted the department's process for hiring a consultant for a potential overhaul of the Kansas City School District. Some state lawmakers also have been upset with the way the department has handled a student-transfer law for unaccredited districts in the St. Louis area. During Nicastro's tenure, the department implemented the Common Core educational standards, which some lawmakers oppose. It also adopted a new school accreditation system.


Police: Hutchinson Boy Dies After Being Pinned Under Trailer

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Hutchinson police say a 4-year-old boy has died after being pinned under a flatbed trailer. The accident was reported Sunday afternoon at a home on the city's southeast side. Police say the trailer was not attached to a vehicle and was in the home's front yard. They say the trailer's ramp fell on the boy. The child was taken to an area hospital where he later died. Police have not released his name. They say foul play is not suspected.


Sedgwick Sheriff Investigates Fatal Pedestrian Accident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Sedgwick County authorities are looking for the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian. The Wichita Eagle reports that a 43-year-old man from Clearwater was hit early Sunday while walking in a road. The Sheriff's Office said in a news release that the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators are trying to locate anyone who may have been in the area between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 am Sunday.


KU Baby Lab Studies Brain Development

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - The researchers at the University of Kansas who monitor the seemingly everyday activities of babies are seeking to unlock the key to childhood language development. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the KU Baby Lab at the university's Edwards Campus is studying how infants pay attention in social settings. The first phase of the study is for two years and about halfway finished. The second phase will be a three-year longitudinal study of children with signs of developmental delays. The research could eventually reveal early warning signs of autism and lead to advancements in the way all infants are taught language. The university also has baby labs in Lawrence and at the KU Medical Center


Iwig Dairy Making a Comeback

TECUMSEH, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas dairy that filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 is rebounding. The Iwig Dairy Farm now has 100 cows near Tecumseh and sells its milk, ice cream and butter at stores on the farm, in Lawrence and in Topeka. The family farm, which has been raising cows since 1910, expanded into processing and bottling milk and selling it in retail stores in 2005. Then a long drought began, driving up feed prices for the farm's animals. Two years ago, the farm filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, which was designed for financially distressed family farmers. Owner Tim Iwig told The Topeka Capital-Journal that he has considered producing other dairy products, such as yogurt and sour cream, but will focus on the farm's best sellers for now.



Wichita Airport Plans Disaster Drill

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Wichita Airport Authority is planning a large-scale disaster exercise featuring the mock crash of a 737 aircraft. Tuesday's exercise begins at 9 am and will be located just north of Kansas 42 between two runways at the Wichita airport. It is expected to include 300 people from various emergency management agencies. The Federal Aviation Administration requires commercial airports to practice responding to simulated disasters at least every three years. Airport officials will provide information to the public using the Twitter handle @FlyICT and #ICTdrill.


Missouri Trooper Worried About Job After Prisoner Drowning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Newly released records show that a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper expressed concerns in a call to a supervisor that he might have made mistakes after an Iowa man drowned in custody. The Kansas City Star reports that it obtained a video recording of the call from the Missouri State Highway Patrol as part of a massive records release. The release came after a special prosecutor decided last week that Trooper Anthony Piercy wouldn't face criminal charges in the death of Brandon Ellingson. The 20-year-old went into the water May 31 as Piercy was transporting him from the Lake of the Ozarks on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Responding patrol boats captured Piercy talking. At one point, Piercy apologized and said he "probably did a bunch of things wrong."


7 Protected Pelicans Shot in Kansas

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) - A game warden in northern Kansas is asking the public for help to find anyone connected to the shooting death of seven American white pelicans. Jewell County game warden Mike Peterson says he found the federally protected birds shot to death in Lovewell Reservoir on Friday. Peterson believes the birds were all killed at the same time. The pelicans are currently migrating through the reservoir, which is along the Nebraska border. The Salina Journal reports the pelicans are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and those who shot the birds would be subject to fines and jail time. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Jewell County game warden at (620) 450-7190 or call Operation Game Thief at (877) 426-3843.


Salina Hospital Ousting Patients Who Use Tobacco

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A hospital in Salina says patients who refuse to observe its no-tobacco rule are being sent home. Salina Regional Health Center and its clinics have been tobacco-free since 2007. But hospital officials say some patients continue to sneak cigarettes or chew tobacco. Patients were warned last month that tobacco users would be discharged and considered to have left against medical advice. The hospital said it would end all treatment for patients who insist on smoking and tell them to find a ride home. Administrators say some patients have already been booted. The mandate covers the Salina hospital, Lindsborg Community Hospital and the center's eight clinics in Salina.


Missouri Farming Rights Measure Survives Recount

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A recount of a Missouri farming rights amendment appears to have confirmed its passage. Opponents of the measure had asked for a recount after the official tally from the August election showed the proposed constitutional amendment passing by a margin of 2,490 votes out of nearly 1 million cast. According to figures submitted by local election authorities to Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, the recount has reduced that margin of passage to 2,376 votes. The secretary of state's office is expected to officially certify the results of the recount Monday. The amendment creates a constitutional right to engage in farming and ranching. Missouri is just the second state behind North Dakota to place farming rights in its constitution.


Grand Slam Leads Red Sox Rally Past Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Boston's Daniel Nava hit a grand slam, Xander Bogaerts added a three-run shot and the Boston Red Sox rallied past the skidding Kansas City Royals 8-4 on Sunday. Kansas City blew a four-run lead and dropped three of four games in the series to the last-place Red Sox. The Royals fell 1 1-2 games behind Detroit, which beat Cleveland, in the AL Central. 


Chiefs Lose to Broncos 24-17, RB Jamaal Charles Injured

DENVER (AP) — Terrance Knighton batted away Alex Smith's fourth-and-goal pass to Dwayne Bowe with 15 seconds left, preserving the Denver Broncos' 24-17 win over the scrappy Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs converted 11 of 16 third-down opportunities but were unable to capitalize in the biggest moments as the Broncos defense mustered two goal-line stands for the second straight week. Peyton Manning was 21 of 26 for 242 yards and three TDs. Chiefs All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles left the game with a left ankle injury after being brought down in the first quarter. His return was questionable. Charles rushed for 1,287 yards last season, which was third-most in the NFL. The Chiefs are already missing Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito as both ruptured their right Achilles tendons last weekend.



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