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Headlines for Monday, September 8, 2014


2 Men Arrested in Death of Topeka Officer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested two men in connection with the fatal shooting of a Kansas police officer. Topeka Police Corporal Jason Harwood was killed Sunday during a car stop in east Topeka. The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office says a 30-year-old man taken into custody on Sunday has acknowledged some involvement in the shooting of the 40-year-old decorated law enforcement officer. The sheriff's office, which is handling the investigation into Harwood's death, says a second man whom they believe might have information on the shooting was booked into the county jail Monday. Governor Sam Brownback ordered flags in Shawnee County to be flown at half-staff Monday and Tuesday to honor Harwood, a 15-year police veteran who leaves behind a wife and two children.


Kansas Senator Roberts Touts GOP Ties in First Debate

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Republican Senator Pat Roberts touted his experience and his party ties during his first debate with a surprisingly strong independent campaign challenger for his seat. Roberts went on the offensive against 45-year-old businessman Greg Orman from the outset of Saturday's debate at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. The race has become surprisingly competitive and could affect the broader fight for control of the Senate. The 78-year-old three-term senator said he's the only candidate with proven experience and the only one working against Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Orman said he'll focus on solving problems, not partisan politics. Orman has promised to caucus with whatever party holds the majority. Roberts has overhauled his campaign and the race was roiled this week by the Democrat's attempted withdrawal.


Kansas Senate Candidates Debate Gun Restrictions

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts and independent challenger Greg Orman disagree about whether federally mandated background checks for gun sales should be expanded. Orman said during their first debate Saturday at the Kansas State Fair that he supports reasonable restrictions on gun sales, particularly to ensure that background checks are done on buyers at gun shows. But Orman says he owns two guns and supports the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, protecting gun ownership rights. Roberts mocked Orman for saying he supports Second Amendment rights while backing restrictions. The senator says he won't "mess with" anyone's gun rights. He has the backing of the Kansas State Rifle Association. But Orman says, "We don't want people with bazookas. We don't want people with automatic weapons."


Boxing Firm Has Lawsuit Against Kansas Senate Hopeful

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Court records show that independent Senate candidate Greg Orman is embroiled in a federal lawsuit in Kansas with an international boxing equipment manufacturer. The dispute with Everlast World's Boxing Headquarters Corp. involves $30 million worth of payments for royalties and merchandise sales that the firm claims it will be owed through 2018. Orman hopes to unseat three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts in the November 4 election. He is one of five defendants in the lawsuit filed by Everlast, initially in 2012. It is scheduled to go to trial in October 2015. The lawsuit alleges Orman and the others remain responsible for payments owed to Everlast by a now-bankrupt Lenexa company because they formed new firms to take over its sales. Orman and the other defendants deny those claims.


Brownback, Davis Disagree on Taxes in First Debate

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis, laid out their positions on education, taxes, Medicaid expansion and renewable energy during their first debate. Both candidates tried to portray themselves as supporters of education during Saturday's debate at the Kansas State Fair. Some of the sharpest exchanges came over tax cuts under Brownback that have led to two credit downgrades and a projected budget shortfall for the state. Davis is trying to woo moderate Republicans and independent voters who are concerned about the effects of Brownback's tax cuts. Davis told a standing-room-only crowd that he would expand Medicaid in Kansas if elected governor because rural hospitals are fighting to survive without the expansion. Brownback blamed the health care overhaul for lowering funding to the hospitals.


Fire Kills Man in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that killed a man at an Overland Park apartment building. The fire department said in a news release that the fire early Monday at the Deveraux Apartments led to the death of an adult male who lived in the apartment where the fire started. He was found dead when firefighters searched the apartment. No other injuries were reported in the eight-unit apartment complex. The fire department said the blaze was contained to one apartment, although adjacent units suffered some smoke and water damage. The victim's name has not been released.


Prosecutor: No Charges Against Trooper in Drowning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A special prosecutor says she will not file criminal charges against a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper in the drowning of a man who fell from the trooper's boat on the Lake of the Ozarks. Monday's announcement by Amanda Grellner follows last week's conclusion by jurors at a coroner's inquest that the death of 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson was accidental. The jury found that Trooper Anthony Piercy was not criminally negligent in the May 31 drowning. Ellingson, a college student from Clive, Iowa, was being transported by Piercy after being arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Ellison was handcuffed when he somehow went into the water. His life vest came off, and he drowned. Grellner said the trooper's actions did not meet the legal definition of criminal recklessness.


KS Task Force: Data Lacking on Cause of Earthquakes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A task force appointed by Governor Sam Brownback to find out why the number of earthquakes in the state has been rising says there isn't enough data to make a determination. The Wichita Eagle reports there were 49 earthquakes between the start of the year and late August, mainly in the south-central part of the state where a practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has contributed to a steady rise in gas and oil production. Many have pointed fingers at fracking, which uses a mixture of sand, water and chemicals under high pressure to release oil and gas from rock, as the cause for the increase in earthquakes. But task force chairman Rex Buchanan says there's no baseline against which the recent number of quakes can be compared.


Small Quakes Shake South-Central Kansas

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Emergency management officials in south-central Kansas say there are no reports of damage from a series of small earthquakes that shook Sumner County. The U.S. Geological Survey says two of the quakes were centered southeast of Conway Springs. A magnitude 3.9 earthquake struck just before 8 am Monday, followed at 10:23 am by a temblor with a magnitude of 3.1. KWCH-TV reports that  people in Wellington also felt a quake with a magnitude of 4.1 that was recorded just after 11 am near Medford, Oklahoma, about 40 miles away. Erin Hauss, a manager at a Sears in Wellington, told KWCH she thought something had struck the store. Hauss didn't know what had happened until a friend who formerly lived in California told her that earthquakes had struck.


Shoppers Lining Up for Opening of Northeast Kansas Ikea

MERRIAM, Kan. (AP) — A new Ikea store opens in northeast Kansas on Wednesday, but some shoppers couldn't wait to get their hands on some of the Swedish furniture company's products. KCTV reports that customers began lining up at 9 am Monday outside the store in the Johnson County city of Merriam. Ikea was offering incentives, including a free sofa to the first 40 people in line and a free chair for the next 100. About 300 people have been hired to work at the 359,000-square-foot store, which will also have a restaurant and a Swedish food market. Merriam police are expecting up to 10,000 shoppers at Wednesday's grand opening. Electronic signs are being placed on Interstate 35 to direct people to the store, and police will be at several intersections beginning at 6 am Wednesday.


Topeka Council to Consider Nudity Ban

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Topeka City Council will consider making public nudity a misdemeanor offense. The proposal to be considered Tuesday was prompted by people reporting that a man was walking nude in south central Topeka. The ban would not apply to children under 10 years old or a woman breastfeeding her child. State law and city ordinances do not ban public nudity, although state law prohibits it in the context of sexual arousal. The proposed ordinance would impose penalties only when someone intentionally violates the ban.


Wichita Woman Attacked with Stiletto-Heel Shoes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita police say a woman was hospitalized after two women attacked her with stiletto shoes in a nightclub parking lot. Sergeant J.T. Ryan says the 24-year-old woman was hospitalized early Sunday with a large laceration on the left side of her head. Her condition is unclear. She says the women attacked her outside of Club Indigo. Ryan says one of the suspects is 22 years old and knows the victim. The other is in her 20s. No arrests have been reported.


Kansas Wildlife Officials Say Hunters Shot 209 Doves

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - State wildlife officials are deciding what type of charges to file against four men who they say shot 209 doves in one day in Kansas. The daily limit during hunting season in Kansas is 15 doves per hunter. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism officials say the men were stopped in rural Ellis County last Tuesday, the second day of dove season. Wildlife department spokesman Dan Melson would not give the ages of the men, or say if they were Kansas residents. State officials could ask federal wildlife officials to charge the men. If the men are found guilty of violating federal laws protecting migratory birds, they could face stiff fines and possible jail time.


Serious Respiratory Illness Hits Hundreds of Children

CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of children in about a dozen states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials suspect may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold. Nearly 500 children have been treated at one hospital alone — Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri — and some required intensive care, according to authorities. The suspected germ, enterovirus 68, is an uncommon strain of a very common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through the fall. The virus can cause mild coldlike symptoms but this summer's cases are unusually severe, said Mark Pallansch, director of the viral diseases division at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's not highly unusual but we're trying to understand what happened this year in terms of these noticeable and much larger clusters of severe respiratory disease," Pallansch said Monday. The virus typically causes illness lasting about a week and most children recover with no lasting problems. Authorities in Illinois and Colorado said their states are among those with suspected or confirmed cases. Children with asthma and other health problems are especially at risk, but reported cases include children without asthma who have developed asthmalike breathing problems, Pallansch said. He said no deaths have been reported in the outbreak. Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, director of infectious diseases at Children's Mercy, said local cases began appearing in mid-August and they appear to have peaked in her area.


Nearly $6M Spent on 2 Missouri Ballot Issues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Nearly $6 million was spent trying to persuade Missouri residents to vote either for or against a pair of August ballot measures related to transportation and farming. Final campaign finance reports show that supporters of a proposed transportation sales tax were the biggest spenders, at $4.2 million. An opposition group spent barely $27,000. Yet voters defeated the measure by 59 percent. The spending and vote totals were significantly closer on a proposal creating a constitutional right to farm. Supporters spent a little over $1 million while opponents spent $637,000. The farming rights measure passed by a margin of less than one-half of a percentage point and is still undergoing a recount.


KS School Officials Puzzled by Records Requests

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Association of School Boards says at least 100 districts have been asked to provide information about the politicians who have been invited to their school events. Association general counsel Donna Whiteman told The Associated Press that the requests came from the Kansas Legislative Research Department, which sometimes makes requests from lawmakers. They seek information about invitations extended to state legislators, state school board members or any statewide elected office holder or candidate. Research department analyst Martha Dorsey told The Manhattan Mercury that staff is required to keep all requester's information confidential. The Mercury first reported on the requests last month. Whiteman described the requests as "unusual," noting that they seek information about politicians' activities during "the critical weeks before statewide elections."


Murder Convict Takes Appeal to Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court is preparing to hear an appeal from a Topeka man who is serving a "hard 50" prison sentence in another man's shooting death. Trevejon Maurice Killings insisted he wasn't guilty when he was sentenced in 2011 to at least 50 years in prison with no chance of parole for the 2010 death of 24-year-old Antonio Jackson. Jackson was shot at a Topeka apartment while several other people, including a child, were present. Killings is appealing his conviction for first-degree murder and his sentence. Issues raised in the appeal include claims that the judge erred when she didn't instruct jurors about lesser included offenses to the murder count. The case goes before the high court Tuesday.


KC Man Says Attackers Stole Casino Winnings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man who won nearly $2,000 at an area casino was beaten and robbed of his winnings after leaving the facility with a woman he just met. The Kansas City Star reports that the man told police he left with the woman early Sunday "with the intention to be romantic." But when they arrived at their destination around 3 am, two men attacked him. Police say one of the assailants hit the man in the head with a gun before they took his money and fled with the woman, who had set the victim up. The victim was treated at a hospital with a gash on the head. A detailed description of the suspects was not available.


College Officials Want Assessment in Learning

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas higher education officials have sought an annual assessment of student learning, but a first attempt by schools produced a wide-variety of assessment systems. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Kansas universities used six different assessment systems, while community and technical colleges used eight. State higher education officials want the assessment to determine how much students are learning at schools. Kansas Board of Regents member Robba Moran says it makes sense for schools to use different assessments. Moran says the schools have different missions and student bodies. But she says it would be helpful to have more uniformity so policymakers can understand more of how much students are learning. She hopes this first report will start discussion on how to improve future reports.


Couple Disputes Result of Inquest into Man's Drowning Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri couple who say they saw an Iowa man shortly before he drowned while in the custody of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is criticizing an inquest finding that the man's death was accidental. Larry and Paulette Moreau, of Hartsburg, say they went past the patrol boat and 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson before he drowned May 31 in the Lake of the Ozarks. Ellingson was being transported by a highway patrol officer and somehow fell into the lake with handcuffs on. An inquest last week ruled that Ellingson's death was accidental and Trooper Anthony Piercy was not at fault. The Moreaus told The Kansas City Star that when they saw Ellingson in the water, Piercy was not acting with any urgency and did not ask them for help.


Kansas City Celebrates Union Station Centennial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City's Union Station is marking a 100-year history that has taken it from a bustling train depot to the brink of obsolescence and now to a revived role as a venue for traveling exhibits and massive celebrations. The Kansas City Star reports an estimated 100,000 people attended the grand building's dedication in October 1914. Officials are hoping many thousands will also turn out for four days of centennial events beginning October 30. Hundreds of trains passed through Union Station daily in its early years, but its role declined after World War II as air travel eclipsed rail. The building fell into disuse and decay until it was restored in 1999 with funding from a special tax approved by voters in four Missouri counties and Johnson County, Kansas.


SE Kansas Town Wants Grand Jury in Landfill Dispute

RIVERTON, Kan. (AP) - A group of residents in southeast Kansas is seeking a grand jury to investigate a proposal for a landfill near their town. A petition filed by a group in Riverton sought a grand jury to investigate actions by the Galena City Council. A judge denied the request in late August, but the opposition group says it is seeking legal help and will work to get the petition approved. The Joplin Globe reports opposition started after Galena City Council members in early July approved steps to acquire a 160-acre tract of land and turn about 40 acres into a landfill. The land is near Riverton. The group wants a grand jury to investigate how the land was acquired and how the contract for the proposed landfill was formed.


Sedgwick County DA Studies 2012 Police Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Two years after Wichita police shot and killed two men in separate confrontations, the Sedgwick County District Attorney is still considering whether the shootings were justified. Troy Lanning Jr. and Timothy Collins were shot to death two weeks apart in April 2012. Police say they were both involved in crimes when they were shot. Spokeswoman Georgia Cole said District Attorney Marc Bennett is waiting for a piece of information before making a determination in Lanning's death. Bennett said no ruling will be announced in the Collins case because charges were filed against three other people and any comment by him might affect the court proceedings.


Kansas State Establishes Confucius Institute

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University is adding a Chinese language and cultural center called a Confucius Institute. The university announced last week that it has signed an agreement with China's language-teaching agency, the Hanban. A Confucius Institute already is located at the University of Kansas. Through the program, universities partner with a Chinese school. Kansas State's partner school is Jilin University in northeast China. The host school providing space and an administrator in exchange for textbooks and money from the Hanban. Teachers receive a monthly salary from the Chinese government. A grand opening ceremony is planned for early spring 2015. A delegation of Chinese dignitaries will attend.


3 Hutch Police Officers Were Fired in December

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson police have announced that three officers were terminated last December. The department said in a news release that the action was the result of an internal investigation. The release said the investigation led to the discovery of department policy violations, including acts of dishonesty. The repoprt said no criminal activity was discovered in the investigation.


Ex-Budget Director to Discuss Deficit with Kansas Farmers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The former Kansas budget director will discuss the effect of the budget deficit at a series of presentations hosted by farm groups. Kansas Farmers Union, a group of county Farmers Union chapters and the Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition are hosting events this month featuring former budget director Duane Goossen. Goosen served as the state's budget director for 12 years under the administrations of Republican governor Bill Graves and Democratic governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson. Farmers Union President Donn Teske says the goal is to educate residents on the impact of the state budget deficit on rural property taxes, services and the future of the state and its rural schools. Presentations are scheduled September 18 in McPherson, September 22 in Lawrence, Sept ember 24 in Seneca and September 25 in Belleville.


Colin Powell Honored at Fort Leavenworth

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A bust has been added to a Buffalo Soldier monument at Fort Leavenworth honoring former secretary of state and military leader Colin Powell. The Kansas City Star reports that about 1,000 people gathered Friday for a dedication event. Powell told the crowd that there were no statues honoring the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers when he was stationed at the fort during the 1980s. Buffalo Soldiers were all-black units that served in the U.S. Army after the Civil War. They included the 10th Cavalry, formed at Fort Leavenworth in 1866.


Royals Take Series in New York With 2-0 Win over Yankees

NEW YORK (AP) — Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals turned Derek Jeter Day into another disappointing defeat for the New York Yankees' captain in the dwindling days of his career. Ventura pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, and the AL Central leaders beat the Yankees 2-0 Sunday on a pair of unearned runs for their second shutout in the three-game series. Kansas City scored due to errors by pitcher Shane Greene (4-3) in the second inning and right fielder Carlos Beltran in the third. The Royals, who won 1-0 Friday night on an unearned run following an error by third baseman Chase Headley, went 4-3 against the Yankees this year to take the season series for the first time since 1999. A ceremony before the game celebrated Jeter's long career with the Yankees.


Chiefs Lose Season Opener to Titans in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, Alex Smith was intercepted three times and the Tennessee Titans rolled to a 26-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Locker picked apart a Chiefs defense that lost linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito to Achilles injuries. Locker was 22 of 33 and found eight different players, including former Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster. Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker had TD catches for the Titans, and Ryan Succop was perfect on four field-goal attempts against the team that released him last weekend. Smith was 19 of 35 for 202 yards and a touchdown for a Chiefs offense missing suspended wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and right tackle Donald Stephenson.


Johnson, DeVito to Miss Remainder of Chiefs Season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and starting defensive tackle Mike DeVito will miss the remainder of the Kansas City Chiefs' season after MRI exams confirmed that both players ruptured their right Achilles tendons in Sunday's loss to Tennessee. Johnson went down without getting touched near the end of the first half. Eight plays later, early in the second half, DeVito went down at nearly the same spot on the field. The blows are significant to a Chiefs team that was already missing several key pieces to injuries and suspensions, and was routed 26-10 by the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. Johnson had four tackles before getting carted off the field, moving him within 15 of 1,000 for his career. That would surpass Gary Spani for the franchise record.



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