Kobach Seeks Expanded Power
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says that next year he'll revive a proposal to give his office the power to prosecute election fraud cases. Kobach pushed the idea after taking office in 2011, but his efforts to win legislative approval of the idea fell just short of passage two years later, even though fellow Republicans control the Legislature. Kobach won re-election this month with 59 percent of the vote. He persuaded legislators to enact a 2012 law requiring all voters to show photo identification at the polls, and a 2013 statute requiring new voters to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship to register. But the secretary of state's office can't initiate election fraud prosecutions on its own. Such decisions are left to county or federal prosecutors.
Alco Stores to Close Following Bankruptcy
DALLAS (AP) — Small-town discount retailer Alco Stores will close after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas approved an order by the company's creditors to shutter its stores. The court order Thursday follows the company's announcement last month that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Alco, based in the Dallas suburb of Coppell, said at the time that it intended to stay in business while reorganizing. The company was established in 1901 and grew to operate 198 stores in 23 states in the central U.S. It sells home furnishings, outdoor products, electronics, sporting goods and clothing. Alco had $474 million in net sales in its latest fiscal year. That was a 2 percent decline from the year before.The company last year moved its headquarters to Texas from Abilene, Kansas.
Man Charged with Raping, Burning Woman in Park
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed attempted capital murder charges against a Wichita man accused of raping a woman and setting her on fire at a public park. Bond was set yesterday (FRI) at $250,000 for Cornell McNeal during his first court appearance on charges stemming from the November 14 attack. The 26-year-old Wichita man also was charged with rape and arson after allegedly setting fires at the park and at a garage on that same day. The Sedgwick County Public Defender's Office says it has not yet assigned him a lawyer, and a woman who answered the phone at his house declined to comment. Firefighters were responding to a late-night grass fire at Fairmount Park when they found the 36-year-old victim with severe burns on more than half her body.
New Baker President Lynne Murray Sworn In
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A top administrator at the nation's leading university for the deaf and hard of hearing has been sworn in as the new president of Baker University in northeast Kansas. The Lawrence-Journal World reports reports that Lynne Murray was inaugurated yesterday (FRI) as the school's 29th president at a small, invitation-only ceremony on the Baldwin City campus. Murray has been leading Baker since July 1st. Plans to inaugurate her October 30th were delayed after the death of a Baker student the day before. Murray previously worked at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., serving as vice president of development and international and alumni relations. She replaces Pat Long, who retired in June. Baker will hold an open inaugural event for Murray on April 16th, 2015.