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Headlines for Thursday, May 29, 2014


Democrat Davis Files for Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — House Minority Leader Paul Davis has officially entered the race to challenge Kansas Governor Sam Brownback as the Republican seeks a second term. Davis, a Lawrence Democrat and attorney, filed the paperwork Thursday morning with the secretary of state's office. He was joined by running mate Jill Docking, a Wichita businesswoman. The two are expected to be the only Democratic candidates to file for the governor's race. The filing deadline is Monday. Brownback and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer filed for re-election earlier this month. The campaign didn't immediately respond to requests for comments about Davis's filing Thursday. Brownback faces a primary challenge from Wichita landscaping business owner Jennifer Winn, who has already filed for the race. Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt was also expected to file for re-election Thursday.


Ex-US Rep. Tiahrt Jumps into Kansas 4th District Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas congressman Todd Tiahrt is running again in the state's 4th Congressional District and will challenge incumbent Mike Pompeo in the Republican primary. Tiahrt entered the race with an announcement Thursday at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita. He represented the south-central Kansas district from 1995 until 2011. Pompeo is seeking his third term and was elected in 2010 to succeed Tiahrt. Both are conservative Republicans. But Tiahrt said he had been asked for months to run. He told cheering supporters has a better track record than Pompeo and differs with the incumbent on foreign policy. Tiahrt gave up the House seat to run for U.S. Senate in 2010. He lost the Republican Senate primary to Jerry Moran, who went on to win the race that November.


Pompeo Decries 'Doublespeak' in Kansas 4th District Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Congressman Mike Pompeo says former congressman Todd Tiahrt is practicing political "doublespeak" in their Republican primary race in the 4th District of south-central Kansas. Pompeo reacted Thursday to Tiahrt's suggestion that he's aloof from his constituents and doesn't listen enough to their concerns. Tiahrt announced Thursday he's challenging Pompeo in the August 5 GOP primary for the seat he held from 1995 to 2011. He criticized Pompeo on economic and foreign policy issues. Pompeo said he looks forward to a robust debate. He noted that Tiahrt endorsed him in 2010 and 2012, and that Tiahrt said Pompeo worked hard to listen to his constituents. Pompeo won the seat after Tiahrt decided not to seek re-election in 2010 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.


KS Gun Advocates Want Simple Signs for Barring Firearms

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Gun-rights advocates want the Kansas attorney general's office to keep the signs simple for businesses and groups that want to bar firearms from their premises. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Attorney General Derek Schmidt met Wednesday with gun-rights proponents, business owners and local government representatives. A state law taking effect in July makes the open carrying of guns legal across the state. But some businesses and other groups will still be able to ban both concealed and unconcealed guns from their premises if they post signs. The attorney general's office will determine what goes on those signs. The group agreed there should be one sign for banning all guns inside a building.


KS Ed Board to Discuss Teacher Licenses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas State Board of Education plans to hold a special meeting next week to approve regulations for a new law that allows applicants without education degrees to obtain teaching licenses. The law takes effect July 1 and was included in a school Finance bill approved by the Legislature in early April. State education officials said the change would increase the available pool of teachers in science, math, engineering and technology. The law will allow people with bachelor's degrees and significant work experience in the designated fields to teach in secondary schools. Another section makes it easier
for teachers licensed in other states to obtain Kansas licenses. The state board will meet via conference call Tuesday to approve the necessary regulations.


Hoisington Principal Files for Kansas Ed Board

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas educator has filed to challenge one of five members of the State Board of Education facing re-election this fall. KAYS-AM reports that Meg Wilson of Great Bend filed Thursday as a Republican for the seat now held by Republican Sally Cauble. Wilson is the principal of Hoisington High School. Cauble, of Dodge City, has been on the board since 2007 and filed earlier for re-election. Three other incumbents have filed for re-election and are currently unopposed. They are Democrat Janet Waugh of Kansas City, Kansas; Republican John Bacon of Olathe; and Republican Ken Willard of Hutchinson. Board Chairwoman Jana Shaver, an Independence Republican, has yet to file. Jim Porter, a Fredonia Republican, has filed for Shaver's southeast Kansas district. The filing deadline is Monday.


GOP Panel to Weigh Kansas City Convention Bid

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Republican delegation will visit Kansas City next week as the party continues to weigh possible locations for its 2016 presidential nominating convention. Kansas City was chosen last week as one of four finalists for the convention, along with Cleveland, Denver and Dallas. The Republican National Committee says its Site Selection Delegation will be in Kansas City for three days beginning June 4 to consider venues, hospitality, security and transportation. Members will also meet with local officials to discuss the city’s bid to host the event.


Hearing Set for Suspect in Jewish Center Deaths

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A November preliminary hearing date has been set for a 73-year-old Missouri man accused of killing three people in a shooting rampage outside Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City. Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., of Aurora, Missouri, is charged with capital murder in the April 13 deaths of 69-year-old William Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. He's also accused of first-degree murder in the shooting of 53-year-old Terri LaManno, of Kansas City, Missouri, outside a Jewish retirement facility. Prosecutors this week also added three counts of attempted murder. Johnson County Judge Kelly Ryan on Thursday set Cross's preliminary hearing for November 12-14. Cross, who appeared in a wheelchair for the brief hearing, is jailed on $10 million bond.


Regulators Approve Westar Prepaid Electricity Project

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas regulators have approved a pilot project that will let some Westar Energy customers pay for their electricity in advance. The Kansas Corporation Commission on Thursday approved the project, which will be limited to 1,000 customers at first, including only 250 who are behind on their bills. The Wichita Eagle reports that the prepaid option will be available in parts of Wichita and in the towns of Lawrence, Silver Lake and Rossville. Only those with digital meters will be able to participate. The plan approved on Thursday is the result of a deal between Westar and the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, which initially was concerned the utility would use it to force low-income customers in arrears on their bills to pay in advance.


Attorneys Want Quick Ruling on KS Voting Law

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - An attorney for a federal election agency is seeking a court hearing this summer to determine whether the federal government has to follow Kansas's rules for requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. The Wichita Eagle reports that acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels proposed the schedule in court filings made Tuesday with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Samuels encouraged the court to hold oral arguments as early as July 21 or as late as September 8, which could still allow the court to issue a ruling before the October 14 voter registration deadline in Kansas. The issue is whether the federal Election Assistance Commission must include Kansas-specific instructions on voting forms requiring proof of citizenship to register.


Highway Shooting in Douglas County Likely Not Random

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The Douglas County Sheriff says the shooting of a man on Highway 59 south of Lawrence apparently was not a random act of violence. Twenty-four-year-old Skylar Workman of Lawrence was shot Monday night as he drove on the highway. Investigators said in a news release Wednesday the shooting was likely not random violence but said they would withhold a final decision until the investigation is over.


KS Secretary of State Files for Re-Election

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has formally launched his campaign for re-election, calling himself a "guardian of state sovereignty." The Republican secretary of state filed for office Wednesday and paid a $1,360 fee to guarantee his spot on the Aug. 5 GOP primary ballot. He'll face Lawrence attorney and businessman Scott Morgan in the primary. Morgan contends that Kobach hasn't been a full-time secretary of state and has spent too much of his time on issues unrelated to the office. But Kobach says he does outside work on his own time and defended his interest in issues such as immigration and opposition to the federal government's listing of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened. Kobach said the secretary of state should defend state sovereignty.


Drowning Victim's Body Recovered from Milford Lake

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The body of a 65-year-old Salina man who drowned at Milford Lake has been recovered after a four-day search. The Geary County Sheriff says a fisherman saw the body of Stephen Edwards after it surfaced Wednesday. The sheriff's office says Edwards drowned Sunday when he went into the water to retrieve a fishing pole and didn't resurface. He was fishing with a grandson and friend at the time. The Salina Journal reports the fishing pole was one given to Edwards by his father. The family says an underlying heart condition might have contributed to his death. Edwards worked in construction for many years and was planning to retire June 9.


17 Stranded Boats Rescued on Memorial Day Weekend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said officers pulled 17 stranded boats off the reservoirs during the holiday weekend. Captain Dan Melson said Wednesday the boats either ran out of gas or had mechanical failures. He says the holiday generally is the first time every year people take out their boats, and many don't prepare their boats for the water. Melson told The Wichita Eagle the number of boating and fishing incidents was relatively low because rainy weather kept many boaters off the reservoirs. Two people drowned in Kansas reservoirs during the weekend. Wardens issued 113 citations for boating violations and 67 for fishing violations, and one person was arrested for boating under the influence.


Kansas Girl Misses Cutoff for National Spelling Bee Finals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twelve young spellers have made the championship finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a group that surprisingly includes only one repeat finalist. Last year's third-place finisher, 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar of Corning, New York, will compete against 11 newcomers in the finals Thursday evening. The highly touted Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, a three-time finalist whose older sister won the 2009 bee, was bounced in Thursday's semifinals. She spelled both words correctly onstage but didn't score highly enough on two computerized spelling and vocabulary tests to advance. First-time National Spelling Bee participant Jacob Williamson of Cape Coral, Florida, sunk to his knees and pounded the stage after hearing his name called among the finalists. He says he was shocked that he made it and that Vanya did not.


Ford Recalls 1.1M Vehicles Built in Kansas City

Ford is recalling 1.1 million SUVs to fix problems that could result in the loss of power steering while driving. The company issued two recalls, one affecting 915,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small SUVs and one affecting 196,000 Ford Explorer SUVs. The problems are slightly different, but both could result in a loss of electric power steering while driving, increasing the risk of a crash. The Escape and Mariner recall involves a torque sensor within the steering column. Ford recommends one of three fixes: replacing the sensor, updating software or replacing the steering column. The recall affects model year 2008 through 2011 vehicles built between August 18, 2006 and September 11, 2010 in Kansas City.


Racehorse Rescued from Slaughter in Kansas Dies

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A racehorse that drew attention when it was rescued from a Kansas slaughterhouse has been euthanized at a thoroughbred retirement home in Kentucky. Clever Allemont, the 1985 Rebel Stakes winner, was euthanized on Monday after suffering from colic at the age of 32, according to a news release from Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky. The Emporia Gazette reports that the horse was rescued by several horse lovers in 2008 after a dealer saw him in a slaughter buyer's pen in Lyon County and called a rescue organization. He was moved to Old Friends in 2009. The horse won his first six races, including the Rebel Stakes, and was being touted for the Kentucky Derby when he hurt his hoof and was retired to stud.


8 People Charged in Sedgwick County Sting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Sedgwick County District Attorney says eight people have been charged after a crackdown on people who resell stolen merchandise. District Attorney Marc Bennett says in a news release that Dillon's and Target stores donated thousands of dollars of merchandise to help the undercover effort, which operated from February 2013 to September. The undercover agents would offer the merchandise to people in businesses and residents in Wichita that were knowingly buying stolen goods for resale.The release says stolen merchandise was recovered from several locations. Three of the eight people charged have pleaded guilty to various charges, including felony theft and benefit fraud. Some of the suspects used government benefit cards in some transactions. The investigation included law enforcement officers from Sedgwick and Reno counties, Hutchinson police and federal agencies.


KCP&L Reaches Settlement on Energy Plan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Power & Light plans to reinstate a program to help customers save energy after the plan stalled two years ago when the utility limited it to customers in western Missouri. In 2012, KCP&L dropped a program that would have given customers rebates for more efficient air conditioners and provided programmable thermostats. The Kansas City Star reports a settlement Wednesday among the utility, environmental groups and state regulatory staff would allow the programs to start as early as July. The Missouri Public Service Commission has to approve the settlement, which sets a goal of saving enough electricity through 2015 to power more than 5,000 homes. KCP&L doesn't offer energy efficiency programs in Kansas, but Kansas recently approved legislation that will make them possible in the future.


Former KBI Official Sentenced on Child Porn Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A former deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation who pleaded guilty to possessing a pornographic picture of a minor has been placed on three years' probation. Fifty-eight-year-old Kyle Smith must also register as a sex offender for 25 years and continue in a treatment program under the sentence he received Wednesday in Shawnee County District Court. Smith declined to comment after the sentencing. He pleaded guilty in March to one count of sexual exploitation of a child. The charge involved an image of a teenage girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct. An email containing the picture was traced to Smith's KBI account after an agency secretary discovered the image last fall and notified her superiors


Firm Announces $120M Expansion of McPherson Plant

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) _ An Illinois-based pharmaceutical company says it will invest $120 million in improvements at its McPherson plant over the next five years. Hospira has about 1,400 employees at the plant and says it may add another 150. The company produces injectable medications and infusion technologies.


Ikea Installing Large Solar Array at KS Store

MERRIAM, Kan. (AP) — IKEA plans to install a large solar array at its store in suburban Kansas City. The furniture retailer says it will be the largest rooftop solar installation in Kansas. IKEA says work on the project will begin next month. The store's opening is scheduled for this fall. The company says the 28 hundred and 50 panels at the Merriam store will produce more than a million kilowatt hours of electricity.


KS Company to Build Biogas Plant in Missouri

SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas company that converts agricultural manure into energy and fertilizer will build its next biogas production plant in west-central Missouri's Pettis County. BioStar Systems, of Leawood, Kansas, operates fuel production centers around the U.S. BioStar says it plans to spend $60 million dollars on the new facility. The plant will partner with a local poultry farm to produce a new regional source for renewable energy. BioStar could receive nearly $1.5 million in state incentives if it meets criteria for job creation and investment.


Saline County to Reconsider Grant Rejection

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Saline County Commission says it will reconsider its decision to reject a state grant for contraceptives that one commissioner likened to murder. The commission's new decision came after they endured strong criticism Tuesday for voting last week to reject a $6,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for intrauterine devices, or IUDs. In a work session after the public hearing, the commissioners agreed to study the issue further and take another vote next Tuesday. Commissioners voted unanimously last week to reject the grant after Commissioner John Price said the IUDs could cause an abortion. During the public hearing this week, two physicians told the commission that IUDs actually prevent pregnancies, rather than ending a pregnancy that has already begun.


Reclaimed Mining Land Becomes Popular Fishing Spot

MCCUNE, Kan. (AP) - Efforts to clean up one of the hundreds of abandoned mine sites in southeast Kansas have created a popular fishing spot. The Mined Land Wildlife Area near McCune encompasses nearly 15 thousand acres. The pits left by mining are now filled with largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, trout and other fish. The area attracts 300,000 visitors a year. The cleanup is required by the federal government, and has been financed by mining reclamation money paid by mining companies. Some landowners have fought the reclamation projects but state officials say they improve habitat and safety near the abandoned mines.


Family: Son Would Be Alive if He Had Gotten Help

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City family whose son was fatally shot by police says the Iraqi War veteran would still be alive if he had received prompt attention from the local veterans' hospital. Issac Sims was fatally shot Sunday after a five-hour standoff with police sparked by an argument with his father. The Kansas City Star reports that officers were called to the 26-year-old former paratrooper's home after he started firing shots inside and outside of the residence. Adrian Sims says he informed officers that his son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and told them not to shoot him. Patricia Sims says her son was ordered by a court into treatment at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City but was told the hospital wouldn't have a bed for 30 days.


Royals Reorganize Coaching Staff Amid Offensive Slump

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — They Royals shook up their coaching staff Thursday in an attempt to jumpstart their failing offense, appointing Dale Sveum as the hitting coach and making Mike Jirschele their third base coach. Pedro Grifol, who took over as hitting coach last season, will now instruct catchers. The moves were announced after the Royals finished off a disastrous homestand that included a sweep at the hands of Houston, and before they opened a four-game series in Toronto. The Royals began the day last in the majors by a wide margin with 21 homers, and in the bottom third of the league in runs, on-base percentage and several other statistical categories.



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