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Headlines for Monday, September 4, 2017

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

Kansas Secretary of State Writing Regular Breitbart Columns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is writing regular columns for the conservative Breitbart News website. Kobach wrote his first column for the website in June and it tied refugees to terrorism. Kobach is a conservative Republican serving as vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud. He is nationally known for advocating tough policies against illegal immigration. Kobach also is a candidate for Kansas governor next year. Breitbart's executive chairman is former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon. Kobach has said he had regular contact with Bannon at the White House. Kobach said Breitbart approached him and said the site appeals to a broad spectrum of conservatives. He disputed claims that the site caters to white nationalists.

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Former Kansas Commerce Secretary Considers Congress Run

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave is considering running for Congress next year. The Kansas City Star reports that Soave e-mailed supporters Saturday and is looking at seeking the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas. Incumbent Republican Lynn Jenkins is not seeking re-election. Soave served as Governor Sam Brownback's commerce secretary from December 2015 until June. He is now executive director of a nonprofit youth mentoring initiative. State Senators Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth and Caryn Tyson of Parker and Basehor City Council member Vernon Fields already have filed to run for the GOP nomination. Soave lives in Olathe in the 3rd District but said his family is considering moving to his wife's family home in Fort Scott or to the Lawrence or Topeka areas.

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August Kansas Tax Collections $8.2 Million Over Expectations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Revenue reported Friday that the state collected $8.2 million more in taxes than anticipated in August. The department reported that Kansas took in more than $460 million in tax revenues when its official projection was $452 million. The surplus was 1.8 percent. It's similar to what happened in July. Since the state's current budget year began July 1st, its total tax collections of $914 million were about $16 million ahead of expectations. That's also a 1.8 percent surplus over two months. Tax collections are running more than 7 percent ahead of the previous fiscal year's collections. Lawmakers enacted an income tax increase over Governor Sam Brownback's veto to help balance the budget. Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said it's too early to tell whether economic growth is boosting revenues.

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Kansas Hunting for Medicaid Inspector After Long Vacancy

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is hunting for a new inspector general for its Medicaid program, more than three years after the office became vacant. The inspector general is supposed to fight fraud within the $3 billion-a-year program that provides health coverage for the needy, but also see that the three private health insurance companies managing Medicaid for the state deliver the services they promise. The last inspector general was an ex-state legislator who stepped down in June 2014 amid questions about his qualifications. Lawmakers grew frustrated enough with the state Department of Health and Environment's inability to fill the position this year that they transferred the inspector general's office to attorney general's office. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said last week that he's launched a nationwide search for an inspector general.

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Airlines Weigh in on KCI Airport Plan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Commercial airlines using Kansas City International Airport favor a team led by the company that first approached the city about a new, $1 billion terminal for the project. The consortium of airlines has issued a statement saying it would prefer the team headed by locally based engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. The airlines said they want to "stay local." But the consortium said it would work with any of the four bidders. The new terminal would replace the airport's three existing terminals. Burns & McDonnell presented a proposal to the city earlier this year. A selection committee is expected to announce its pick later this week. The City Council would have to sign off, and voters would have to approve the project in November.

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Police Investigate Fatal Shooting at Lawrence Motel 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Police are investigating a shooting at a Lawrence motel that left one person dead and two others wounded. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the shooting happened inside the Motel 6 in North Lawrence around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Police officers found three people injured when they arrived at the motel. One of the victims, 23-year-old Cameron A. Hooks of Lenexa, died. The other two were taken to hospitals. No suspects in the shooting had been arrested as of Sunday.

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Small Child's Body Found Encased in Concrete in Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating after the body of a small boy was discovered encased in concrete inside a rental home in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the landlord was cleaning the house Saturday when he found a concrete structure and noticed an odor coming from it. Police removed the structure and discovered the remains of a 3-year-old boy inside.An Associated Press reporter has left phone and email messages with Wichita police for information about the structure. Police say a 40-year-old man and 36-year-old woman who lived at the home were arrested last week on separate charges associated with a child custody case. Both are being held in the Sedgwick County Jail. Police say they have tentatively identified the child. No additional information has been released.

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Kansas Woman Dies When Car Is Struck by Train 

ELSMORE, Kan. (AP) — A 62-year-old Kansas woman has died after her car was struck by a train. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the accident happened Saturday afternoon in Allen County. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports that Melodee McEndree of Elsmore was driving on Idaho Road when she failed to stop at train tracks. Her 2008 Honda was struck by a southbound train. McEndree died at the scene. No one on the train was hurt.

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Man Injured in Explosion at Kansas Refinery
 
EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A man is injured with severe burns following an explosion at the HollyFrontier refinery in El Dorado. Media reports say a man in his 50s was taken to a hospital Monday with second-and third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body following the explosion. The man's name has not been released and it wasn't immediately clear if he works at the refinery. HollyFrontier's corporate office was closed for the Labor Day holiday, and email messages from The Associated Press were not immediately returned. A Butler County dispatcher says no one else was hurt and the plant was not evacuated. HollyFrontier's website says the El Dorado refinery has a crude oil capacity of 135,000 barrels per day.

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Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, Wife of Cerner Co-Founder, Dies

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, the widow of Cerner Corporation CEO and co-founder Neal Patterson, has died of cancer. Cerner says Lillig-Patterson died Monday, less than two months after her husband died of complications from a soft-tissue cancer for which he had been treated previously. She was 67. Lillig-Patterson was co-founder of the First Hand Foundation, which provides access to health care for children. A foundation official says it has reached more than 300,000 children worldwide since it began 22 years ago. She was the Republican candidate for Congress in 2004, losing to Democrat Emanuel Cleaver. Cerner is a health care technology company with about 24,000 employees worldwide.

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Protesters in Kansas City & St. Louis Seek More Pay for Low-Wage Workers
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hundreds of protesters in both of Missouri's big cities call for higher pay and better treatment during Labor Day rallies. The Kansas City Star reports that more than 300 protesters turned out in Kansas City Monday for a "Fight for $15" rally. Many of the protesters were scheduled to work but were striking for the holiday, waving American flags and carrying placards. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that several people protested outside a downtown McDonald's prior to St. Louis's annual Labor Day parade. St. Louis enacted a $10 minimum wage in May. Kansas City voters approved a measure last month raising the city's minimum wage to $10 an hour. Both efforts were voided effective Aug. 28 by a new state law prohibiting local minimum wages above the state's $7.70.

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Ailing Airline Ending Flights to 2 Kansas Cities, 3 Nebraska Cities 

SCOTTBLUFF, Neb. (AP) — An airline providing government-subsidized service to three Nebraska and two Kansas cities plans to end the flights later this month. PenAir notified the U.S. Transportation Department last week that service to Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff in Nebraska and to Dodge City and Liberal in Kansas will cease after Sunday. The information was first reported by an airline industry news site, ch-aviation.com . The Anchorage, Alaska-based carrier announced last month that it was filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan and planning to close its Denver hub. The company says it had intended to continue service until replacement carriers were chosen and in place, but it says a massive exodus of its pilots forced it to end the two states' service far sooner.

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Electrical Problem Blamed in Death of More Than 500 Pigs 

DWIGHT, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in northeast Kansas say an electrical malfunction is the likely cause of a fire that killed more than 500 pigs inside a barn. KSNT-TV reports that the fire broke out Saturday night on a barn owned by F&R Swine of rural Dwight, Kansas. The $200,000 barn was destroyed, and 518 pigs valued at $30,000 died in the blaze. Employees of the state of Kansas will help the farm dispose of the pigs.

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Nebraska Man Accused of Helping Suspect Flee to Kansas 

FALLS CITY, Neb. (AP) — A 33-year-old Falls City resident has been accused of helping a friend flee to Kansas after the friend killed another man more than two years ago. Michael Seager is charged with being an accessory to a felony. Court records say Seager drove Desiderio Hernandez to Horton, Kansas, after Hernandez fatally shot Joseph Debella Jr. on Aug. 5, 2015. Hernandez has since been sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder. Richardson County records say Seager remained in custody Monday. Court records don't list the name of an attorney who could comment for Seager. The records say Hernandez went to Seager's home after the shooting and told Seager that some "bad stuff happened" and that he needed to leave town. Seager later drove Hernandez to a relative's home in Horton.

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Experts: Armadillos Unlikely to Carry Leprosy to Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Experts say it's true that armadillos are the only natural host of leprosy besides humans and it's also true more armadillos are moving into Kansas. But they also say Kansans aren't in much danger of catching leprosy. Ramanuj Lahiri, a biochemist who specializes in leprosy research, says the infection rates of armadillos vary from localities, ranging from 20 to 5 percent. He says no testing has been done in Kansas but the possibility of catching leprosy from an armadillo in the state is "extremely remote." The Wichita Eagle reports armadillos have moved north from Central America and southern Mexico for centuries but reached Kansas within the last 25 years. Armadillos have been documented in all 105 Kansas counties, but most are in the southern two or three tiers of counties.

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Thousands of Pelicans Arrive in Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Thousands of pelicans have been spotted in a wildlife area in central Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that about 9,000 pelicans were spotted last Tuesday at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area near Great Bend. The birds are white with wingspans as large as 9-feet wide. Though they waddle clumsily on land, they're graceful in the water and the air. Robert Penner is the avian programs manager at the Nature Conservancy of Kansas. He says the pelicans begin returning to the state from their northern breeding grounds in July and August. Their numbers will increase as fall approaches. Max Thompson is a retired Southwestern College biology professor and ornithologist. He says the birds tend to nest further north and that there's no documentation of pelican nesting in the state.

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City in Southern Kansas Installs Kinetic Sculpture at Public Park

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) - A city in southern Kansas has added a new kinetic sculpture to a city park. The Hutchinson News reports that sculptor Jim LaPaso of Kyle, Texas, created the Triple Eclipse moving sculpture that's been installed in Greensburg's Starlight Park. The sculpture has three wheels with stained glass stars that reflect light as they spin. It's one of three sculptures that aim at bringing new life to the community. The sculptures are part of a public art project launched for the 10th anniversary of the May 2007 Greensburg tornado. The tornado was classified as an F-5 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which rates tornado intensity. It destroyed 95 percent of the town and killed more than 10 people. A $15,000 grant from utility company ITC Great Plains funded the installation. 

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KU Cancels Annual High School Band Show

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - High school musicians participating in this year's University of Kansas Band Day won't be strutting their stuff at Memorial Stadium after nearly 70 years of doing so. The university has welcomed hundreds of young musicians from Missouri and Kansas high schools each year to perform alongside its Marching Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. This year's event September 9 will keep the traditional parade through downtown before the game. But it won't host a mass band performance on the field during the football game against Central Michigan. Matthew Smith, associate director of bands at the university's School of Music, said organizers attribute the change to a combination of dwindling interest from high schools, reduced parking space and other challenges, such as limited storage space for large instruments. 

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Kansas Teen Leads Trooper on Chase, Then Tries Uber

VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — A 15-year-old Kansas boy who led a Highway Patrol trooper on a chase north of Wichita tried to use Uber to elude arrest after crashing his car. Authorities say the chase began when the trooper attempted to stop the teenager Saturday morning for speeding and a license tag violation south of Newton. Authorities said the boy did not stop his Dodge Challenger and the trooper gave chase onto Interstate 135. The boy left the interstate outside of Valley Falls, about 10 miles to the south. He later hit several mail boxes and a pole, stopping his car. He fled on foot. Authorities said a Valley Center police officer later spotted the teenager riding with an Uber driver, pulled that car over and arrested the boy.

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Sister Steps Forward to Be Surrogate Mother for Kansas Woman 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Nicole Hillmon wanted a baby but it seemed that dream might never come true, until her sister stepped forward to serve as the surrogate. The Kansas City Star reports that on August 29, Tinley Faith Hillmon was born to a crowded delivery room at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Kansas. Haley Monson, Hillmon's sister, carried the baby, and says she's thrilled to be her aunt. Hillmon see her as more than that. She calls her sister her "angel." Hillmon, a preschool teacher from Kansas City, Kansas, couldn't carry a baby on her own due to endometriosis and ovarian cysts. In vitro fertilization didn't work. Monson felt a stirring to have her sister's baby. She calls it a "huge blessing."

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Chiefs' Owner Sued in New Mexico Investment Deal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The owner of the Kansas City Chiefs is being accused in a lawsuit of improperly receiving hundreds of millions in state investment money through a kickback deal with New Mexico officials. The Kansas City Star reports the New Mexico State Investment Council filed the lawsuit recently against Clark Hunt and HFV Asset Management. Hunt didn't comment to the newspaper on the lawsuit Sunday morning. The lawsuit says Hunt made a deal 12 years ago with two men with political connections who promised to steer New Mexico investment money to a hedge fund in exchange for payments. Hunt was a partner in the hedge fund. New Mexico awarded $300 million to the hedge fund and paid millions in management fees.

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Cain's Triple Lifts Royals over Twins, 5-4 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Lorenzo Cain hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning after a checked-swing call went his way on a close two-strike pitch, leading the Kansas City Royals over the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Sunday. Kansas City trailed 4-3 and had two on with two outs when Cain fouled off his first four pitches from rookie reliever Alan Busenitz (1-1). Cain took a fastball up, then checked his swing on an outside curveball in the dirt. First base umpire Mike Muchlinski ruled no swing and plate umpire Marty Foster ejected Minnesota manager Paul Molitor, who was still in the dugout. Molitor then came out to argue. Cain fouled off another pitch, then drove a fastball over Bryan Buxton and off the center-field wall. Cain ran through third base coach Mike Jirschele's hold sign and tried for an inside-the-park home run, but was thrown out at the plate, with right fielder Max Kepler tossing to second baseman Brian Dozier for the relay to catcher Chris Gimenez.
 

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