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Headlines for Thursday, October 16, 2014

CDC Confirms Kansas Patient Does Not Have Ebola

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A second lab has confirmed that a Kansas City, Kansas, man who came to University of Kansas Hospital this week with Ebola-like symptoms does not have the deadly disease. The hospital announced Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta had confirmed negative results from a Nebraska lab, and that the patient had been moved to lower-level isolation. Dr. Lee Norman said the man was a medic on a commercial ship off Africa's west coast and had treated patients for several kinds of illnesses, including typhoid fever. The man became ill while on the ship and flew back to Kansas last week. He was placed in tight isolation at the Kansas City hospital because he had been working in an area where the Ebola virus had broken out.


Roberts, Orman Spar on Abortion in Final Debate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senator Pat Roberts has called independent candidate Greg Orman's position on abortion "unconscionable" during the last debate in their race in Kansas. Orman prompted that response from the three-term Republican incumbent Wednesday evening by saying the nation needs to move past the debate on abortion to tackle other important issues. Orman said he trusts women to make decisions about reproductive health care. Roberts said he doesn't know how the nation gets past the issue of the rights of unborn children. The two candidates also sparred over immigration, foreign policy and the Ebola crisis in their third and final debate at Wichita TV station KSN. The race has received national attention since Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out last month, making Roberts more vulnerable and jeopardizing Republicans' drive to win a Senate majority. 


Kansas Senate Candidate Got Start in Lighting Industry

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Long before he was a U.S. Senate candidate in Kansas, Greg Orman was a young businessman in Minnesota with a bright idea. As a recent college graduate, Orman founded Environmental Lighting Concepts in 1992. The company updated older buildings with more energy efficient lighting fixtures — often with an enticement of rebates from utility companies. The lighting company is where Orman first tested the business acumen that he now touts in his campaign as an independent challenger to Republican Senator Pat Roberts. It's where Orman began building his wealth. And it's where he started a pattern of developing, expanding and then selling businesses after they became profitable. Those who worked with Orman at his first business describe a man who seemed driven to succeed.


Kansas Voter Registrations Up for Both Major Parties

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Democratic and Republican parties in Kansas have both gained registered voters since the August primary elections. Tuesday was the registration deadline for the November 4 general election. Preliminary figures released Wednesday by the secretary of state's office show Kansas gained about 8,400 voters, for a total of more than 1.74 million. Registered Republicans now number close to 778,000, an increase of 12,000 since August. They account for almost 45 percent of all registered voters. Democrats picked up 4,800 voters, for a total of 427,000. They are 24 percent of registered voters. The number of unaffiliated voters decreased by nearly 9,000. The state's 526,000 unaffiliated voters represent 30 percent of the total registered.


Kansas Democrats Fire Spokesman over Online Insult

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Democratic Party has fired its communications director over an online posting mocking three towns in the state's southeast corner in crude language. Party Executive Director Jason Perkey announced the dismissal of spokesman Dakota Loomis on Thursday. Loomis posted a comment last week about the towns of Cherryvale, Columbus and Galena on a site dedicated to University of Kansas basketball. The since-deleted statement called them leading contenders for "most craphole small towns" in the state. Perkey called the comment reprehensible. He said he and State Democratic Chairwoman Joan Wagnon will travel Monday to southeast Kansas to offer personal apologies. Loomis issued a statement apologizing and saying people should not hold his comment against Kansas Democrats. Several Republican state senators from the area had called upon Democrats to fire Loomis.


Kansas National Guard Gains New Brigade

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas National Guard armory in Manhattan is gaining 15 full-time and 163 part-time jobs with the creation of a new brigade. An activation ceremony is scheduled Sunday at the city's Frank Anneberg Park for the new 130th Field Artillery Brigade. The 130th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters will provide command and control to subordinate field artillery units, including the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery in Hutchinson and the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery in Hiawatha. Officials say activation of the new brigade means about 400 Kansas National Guard members will now work at the Manhattan armory, most of them part-time for monthly drills and annual training.


KU Chancellor Notes Efforts to Reduce Sexual Violence

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little says the university is working to improve its handling of sexual violence on the Lawrence campus. Gray-Little briefed the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday on steps the school has taken to address the issue. Kansas, Kansas State University and Washburn University are among 85 universities nationwide being investigated for their handling of sexual assault complaints. The chancellor says the school established a task force to recommend improvements for handling the complaints. And Kansas is now enforcing a requirement that students complete a training program in sexual assault and harassment before they can register for classes. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the provost's office also is temporarily funding a full-time position for someone to counsel victims, witnesses and others affected by sexual assault.


Solar Panel Project Underway at Topeka VA

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Dozens of solar panels have been installed and thousands more are planned at Topeka Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center as part of a green initiative expected to save more than $300,000 a year on electricity. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the $2.73 million project to install about 2,600 solar panels started earlier this month at the Topeka facility. It is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Green Management Program. The solar panels will produce about 700 kilowatts per day, or roughly 8 percent of the power on the Topeka campus. The facility is one of three in the region where solar panels are being installed. The others are the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita and the Kansas City, Missouri, VA Medical Center.


Suspect Denied Bond in Fort Riley Infant Death  

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - A Fort Riley soldier who is charged in the death of his 5-week-old daughter has been denied a lower bond. A Riley County judge ruled Tuesday that 22-year-old Alexander McConnell will remain under $200,000 bond. McConnell's attorney had asked for a reduction to $100,000 so he could post bond and work. McConnell, an Army specialist, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the February death of his daughter. The Manhattan Mercury reports that a court affidavit says an autopsy found the baby suffered substantial bleeding in the skull, broken ribs and other internal injuries before her death.


Machinists Union Backs Textron Contract Offer

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Machinists Union is backing the final contract offer made by Textron Aviation to its Cessna and Beechcraft workforces. KAKE reported that union members are scheduled to vote on the proposed contract on Friday. The union told employees Wednesday that the offer commits to increasing jobs in Wichita, preserves seniority for both workforces and provides improved pay and competitive benefits. The contract combines the two separate local unions of Beechcraft Corporation and Cessna Aircraft under a single labor agreement. Textron, Cessna's parent company, bought Beechcraft in March and formed Textron Aviation. The Machinists represent 2,494 hourly workers at Cessna under Local Lodge 774 and 1,627 hourly workers at Beechcraft under Local Lodge 733.


Jury Awards Nearly $1 Million to Fired Officer

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal jury has awarded nearly $1 million in wages and damages to a former McPherson police officer who was fired after being found asleep on duty. Jurors found the city of McPherson discriminated against Matthew B. Michaels because of his sleep apnea disability. A court judgment filed Wednesday orders the city to pay $921,657 — plus interest, court costs and attorney's fees. That amount includes back and future wages as well as damages for pain and suffering. Attorney Ray Simmons said in an email Thursday that Michaels is pleased to get a "name-clearing hearing" in federal court where a jury rendered a verdict in his favor. McPherson City Attorney Jeff Houston said the city planned to ask the judge to overturn the verdict and, failing that, planned to appeal.


Kansas Man Charged in Rape of 100-Year-Old Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita authorities have charged a man in the sexual assault and burglary of a 100-year-old woman during a home invasion. Thirty-five-year-old Kasey Nesbitt made his first court appearance on Wednesday and was charged with rape and aggravated burglary. The victim, who lives alone, told police that intruders forced open the door of her home on September 29. She says they were in her home for several hours. Police say forensic evidence linked Nesbitt to the rape. Nesbitt is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on $250,000 bond. Online jail records didn't indicate an attorney.


Death Penalty Sought in Adoptive Parents Killing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Prosecutors have announced plans to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing his adoptive parents with the help of his biological mother and two friends. KSNW-TV reports that the Sedgwick County district attorney made the announcement Wednesday after Anthony Bluml pleaded not guilty. He is charged with capital murder in the November 15 shootings of Roger and Melissa Bluml outside the couple's rural Valley Center home. Melissa Bluml died the next day, while her husband died about five weeks later. The defense lawyer requested a separate sentencing from Bluml's co-defendants. One co-defendant agreed earlier this month to testify against Bluml, his biological mother and a friend of Bluml in exchange for facing a reduced charge. The trial date is set for November 17.


Woman Admits Embezzling from Air Force Base

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita woman who worked as a civilian at McConnell Air Force Base has admitted embezzling more than $54,000 in public funds. The U.S. Attorney's office says 44-year-old Deidra Sanders pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft of government money. Sanders worked at the Wichita installation as a deputy dispersing officer for the Air Force. She admitted stealing from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Fund between March 2013 and April of this year. Sanders faces up to five years in federal prison at her sentencing, scheduled for January 6.


More Landowners Join Missouri River Flood Lawsuit

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The list of landowners suing the federal government over major flooding along the Missouri River since 2006 has grown considerably. The lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March was amended Thursday to include 436 plaintiffs. The latest additions to the lawsuit include 38 North Dakota landowners and the Omaha and Winnebago tribes of Nebraska. The landowners argue that the Corps' decisions since 2006 have contributed to flooding especially during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The federal government has denied the allegations and says the Corps shouldn't be blamed. Landowners say the recurring flooding deprived them of their land, so they should be compensated.


Survey: Slow Growth in Rural Parts of 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new survey suggests slower economic growth ahead in rural areas of 10 states in the Plains and the West. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said Thursday falling grain prices and weak global growth are weighing down the economy in rural areas.The overall economic index for the region fell to 43.4 in October from September's already negative 48.2. The index has been steadily falling since June 2013 when it hit 60.5.The survey indexes range from 0 to 100. Any score below 50 suggests decline in the months ahead. Bankers from rural areas of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.


Missouri Man Charged in Fatal Fire

GRANDVIEW, Mo. (AP) - A 33-year-old man is charged with setting a fire that killed his young daughter and a woman at a home in a Kansas City suburb. Jackson County authorities on Wednesday charged Stephen Elijah of Grandview with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson. The September 29 fire killed his 14-month-old daughter, whose name authorities did not release, and 37-year-old Anika M. Hobley. Police say two girls, aged 10 and 6, escaped the house by jumping out of a window. Court records indicate the fire began in the basement and quickly spread. The Missouri state fire marshal determined that a chemical had been used to ignite the fire.


Missing Bronze Urn Found Destroyed in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka authorities say a century-old bronze urn missing from a cemetery was found mangled at an area scrap yard. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Bailey's Scrap Metal called the Topeka Police Department Wednesday to say it had the urn. Police didn't say how the urn came to be at the scrap yard. Police say the 3-foot tall and 3-foot wide urn was taken Sunday night or Monday morning. It was placed at the cemetery between 1912 and 1917 to mark the grave of Belle Hurley. A historian says the urn was a major sight at the cemetery. She says the damage to the urn is "sickening."


Anti-Immigration Group Starts Ads in 10 States

WASHINGTON (AP) — An anti-immigration group is running more than $1 million in ads criticizing lawmakers for not stopping the flow of new workers into the United States. NumbersUSA on Wednesday began a 10-state ad buy that pointedly asks viewers whether Americans or immigrants should get new jobs. The 30-second ad says immigrants are the ones finding work, while longtime residents are struggling to win jobs. The ads will air in states with competitive Senate races: Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire and North Carolina. NumbersUSA bills itself as a non-partisan grassroots group that wants to reduce the number of immigrants in order to help American workers. The group operates under part of the tax code that allows it to keep secret its donors.


Couple Found Dead in Wichita Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are investigating the deaths of husband and wife as a double homicide. The Wichita Eagle reports that the couple was found in a bedroom of their home around 11 am Thursday with apparent stab wounds. Police Captain Jose Salcido said officers had been summoned by a possible witness who couldn't get the couple to wake up. The couple's names and other details were not immediately released, although they were described as being about 60 years old and longtime owners of the home. Police said there were no signs of a break-in. Authorities were looking for the couple's missing SUV, described as a metallic gray 2005 Kia Sorento. Police said other people sometimes lived at the home, including young children.


Kansas Woman, Child Killed in Car Accident

WAVERLY, Kan. (AP) — A woman and small boy were killed when the vehicle they were in rolled over on Interstate 35. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the accident happened Tuesday evening four miles north of Waverly in Coffey County. The patrol says a vehicle driven by 26-year-old Krystal Smith of New Strawn went onto a median in the interstate and Smith overcorrected, causing the SUV to roll several times. Smith and Cory Sheppard, also of New Strawn, died in the accident. The patrol said Cory was about 4 but his exact age was not immediately known. A 9-year-old and 6-year-old in the vehicle were injured. It was not immediately clear how the people were related.


Arrest Made in Fatal Fight at Packing Plant

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) _ Police in southwest Kansas have arrested a packing plant employee for the death of a co-worker after a fight last week. 25-year-old Abdukadir Mohamed Dahir was found unconscious Friday morning at the National Beef plant in Liberal. Dahir died Saturday at a Wichita hospital of what a preliminary autopsy showed was blunt force injury to the head. A 31-year-old co-worker was arrested Tuesday by Liberal police on suspicion of second-degree murder. The case has been forwarded to the Seward County attorney.


Arts Panel Approves Design for Eisenhower Memorial

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key arts panel has approved a revised design for a memorial to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, which could clear the way for groundbreaking. The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts voted Thursday to approve Frank Gehry's design. A federal planning agency also recently approved the design. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission that's working to build the $140 million project says the approvals clear the way for groundbreaking in 2015. Congress must still fund the project, however. So far, $63 million has been appropriated. The memorial group has $25 million of that on hand. But critics, including Eisenhower's family, have delayed the project. Gehry designed a memorial park with statues of Eisenhower. A large metal tapestry depicting the Kansas landscape of his boyhood home would serve as the backdrop.


Fort Hays State VP Among Finalists at Valley City State

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) - The committee searching for a new president for Valley City State University in North Dakota has named two finalists. North Dakota's Board of Higher Education will interview Fort Hays State vice president Tisa Mason and Nebraska-Omaha associate vice chancellor Daniel Shipp on October 30 and then choose one of them to succeed outgoing president Steven Shirley. Mason and Shipp were among five semifinalists whom the search committee interviewed this week.


K-State Wildcats Hope to Repeat Winning Trip to Norman

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Oklahoma has been nearly unbeatable at home under Bob Stoops. The program has rarely lost a Big 12 game in the frenzied, friendly confines of Memorial Stadium. In fact, only once have the Sooners lost to a ranked conference team at home. That was Kansas State. That was two years ago. Now, the No. 14 Wildcats are preparing to head back to Norman, Oklahoma, to face the 11th-ranked Sooners on Saturday. And while the faces on the team have largely changed, the players on the Kansas State roster firmly believe they can repeat the feat.


Royals Sweep Orioles, Head into World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals wrapped up a sweep of the AL Championship Series with a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. It was the first time the AL East champion Orioles have been swept in 21 postseason series and the Royals are the first team in history of baseball to win eight straight games to start a postseason. Next stop: the Royals' first World Series since 1985. Kansas City hosts the first two games beginning Tuesday against the winner of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.


Royals Center Fielder Lorenzo Cain Wins ALCS MVP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lorenzo Cain was selected MVP of the AL Championship Series after helping the Kansas City Royals in their four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 2-1 victory Wednesday. Along with making a series of excellent defensive plays in center field, Cain had eight hits in the series, matching the franchise record for an ALCS set by Willie Wilson in 1985 against Toronto. Cain matched a Royals record with four hits in Game 2 on Saturday, and scored Kansas City's first run in Game 3 on Tuesday night. He also laid down a key sacrifice bunt — the first of his career — that helped the Royals take a 2-0 lead in the first inning Wednesday.


Vision of Royals GM Dayton Moore Comes to Fruition

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore grew up as a Royals fan and was a teenager when he watched Game 7 of the 1985 World Series from a hillside outside the ballpark. He's now built a team going to the World Series. With the same patience in his young players that Kansas City management has shown in Moore during an eight-year rebuilding process, the Royals are back on baseball's grandest stage. Now, he may find himself with other suitors, too. Moore began his career with the Braves, and the GM job there is still open. But Royals owner David Glass says he will do everything in his power to keep the architect of his team in Kansas City.


Royals Run to World Series Has Kansas City Buzzing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City fans who long ago became accustomed to having one of the worst teams in baseball suddenly find their team in the World Series. Nearly three decades after beating St. Louis in the 1985 World Series, the Royals have embarked on an improbable playoff run that has them back in the hunt for a championship. The excitement surrounding the team has created a whole new generation of Royals fans who are learning how to celebrate winning baseball for the first time. Sports bars around the metro area shook Wednesday afternoon as Kansas City clinched the pennant right in the middle of happy hour. Thursday morning, fans gathered outside sports apparel stores hours before they opened, eager to buy newly minted AL Championship gear.


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