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Headlines for Thursday, October 23, 2014


Brownback Wants EPA to Withdraw Proposed Water Rule

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he is asking the federal government to withdraw a new rule asserting regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands. Brownback held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to announce that he and five members of his Cabinet are sending a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's administrator. The Republican governor has made his opposition to the rule part of his re-election campaign ahead of the November 4 election.The EPA contends the rule clarifies which waters are shielded from development under federal law. But farm-state officials contend the rule would allow the federal government to dictate what farmers and others can do on their land.


Kansas Democrat Says He Also Opposes EPA Water Rule

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic challenger Paul Davis says if he's elected Kansas governor, he will resist a new federal rule asserting regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands. Davis said Thursday that the rule would be damaging to agriculture. He said he would consider a lawsuit to block the rule if necessary. He spoke shortly after Republican Governor Sam Brownback announced that he and five members of his Cabinet are sending a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's administrator, asking the agency to withdraw the rule. Brownback has made opposition to the rule part of his re-election campaign before the November 4 election. He's in a tough race with Davis. The EPA contends the rule clarifies which waters are shielded from development under federal law.


Governor Backs Ouster of 2 Kansas High Court Justices

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Republican Governor Sam Brownback is endorsing an effort to persuade Kansas voters to remove two justices from the state Supreme Court. Brownback said during a news conference Thursday that he's voting against retaining Justices Lee Johnson and Eric Rosen in the November 4 election. The governor has criticized the court for its July ruling that overturned the death sentences of brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr, convicted of killing five people in Wichita in December 2000. Members of the victims' families formed a group to work to remove the justices. Brownback would fill vacancies on the seven-member court. Johnson and Rosen were appointed by former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Governors appoint justices after a commission names three finalists. Voters decide every six years whether a justice is retained on the bench.


Secretary of State Candidates Clash in 2nd Debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he earns between $30,000 and $100,000 a year from his legal work outside his official duties as Kansas's top elections official. Kobach was pressed to disclose his outside earnings by Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf during their second televised debate Wednesday. It was televised from the studio of Topeka public station KTWU, a day after another televised debate in Wichita. Schodorf has accused Kobach of being a part-time secretary of state. But he said he handles outside business in his spare time. He is a former law professor advising officials in other states who want to crack down on illegal immigration. Kobach said his outside earnings vary widely each year. The two also sparred over a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters enacted at Kobach's urging.


Troopers' PAC Backs Democrat for Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A political action committee representing Kansas Highway Patrol troopers has endorsed Democratic challenger Paul Davis in the Kansas governor's race. Davis held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to publicize his backing from the Kansas State Troopers Association PAC. The Democrat is seeking to deny Republican Governor Sam Brownback a second, four-year term, and the race appears to be a toss-up. Brownback spokesman John Milburn said the governor respects the work of the patrol but it's not surprising that a union like the troopers' association would back a Democrat. Governors appoint the patrol's superintendent. Brownback received the group's endorsement in 2010 over Democratic state Senator Tom Holland and praised the it then as working for public safety. The troopers' PAC said Davis has a strong record on public safety issues as a Kansas House member. 


Ex-DA Slams Brownback Ad Using Wichita Murders

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The district attorney who prosecuted two brothers in a quadruple Wichita homicide is criticizing Governor Sam Brownback's use of the case in a new campaign commercial. Brownback's ad references Reginald and Jonathan Carr, whose death sentences for the December 2000 killings were vacated in July by the Kansas Supreme Court. Former Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston issued a statement Wednesday saying the ad exploits the case for political gain. Foulston says the ad is a "political last ditch effort" to undercut the qualifications and integrity of the Kansas Supreme Court and Brownback's Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. She also says it's disgraceful that the campaign would make the families of the murder victims relive the crime whenever they turn on their televisions. Brownback's campaign did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


Roberts Ad Protests Housing Gitmo Detainees in Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Senator Pat Roberts is airing a television advertisement in his re-election campaign in which he vows to filibuster any federal effort to house terrorism detainees at Fort Leavenworth that are now being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Roberts made the statement earlier this month while campaigning for re-election. He's seeking a fourth term in a competitive race with independent candidate Greg Orman, a Kansas City-area businessman. President Barack Obama this month was weighing bringing detainees to U.S. federal prisons, such as Leavenworth. Roberts has tried to paint Orman as a Democrat and automatic vote for Obama's agenda, though Orman repeated Tuesday that he opposes bringing detainees to U.S. prisons.


Kansas, 2 Other States Continue to Fight Same-Sex Marriage

WASHINGTON (AP) - Leaders in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina are fighting against same-sex marriages in their states, even though federal appeals courts that oversee those states have ruled that keeping gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional. Officials in the three states are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so. It could be another month or more before the matter is settled. There seems little doubt that federal judges presiding over same-sex marriage lawsuits will ultimately set aside the states' anti-gay marriage laws. The judges are bound by the appeals court rulings.


Report: Cause of Crash That Killed 3 Remains Unknown

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A preliminary report says a small plane that crashed in suburban Chicago was nearly vertical to the ground when it went down, killing three Kansas physicians. The National Transportation Safety Board report does not detail a cause of the October 12 accident in the Chicago suburb of Palos Hills, Illinois. The crash killed Tausif Rehman and Ali Kanchwala, both physicians at Stormont-Vail HealthCare of Topeka, and Maria Javaid, a cardiologist at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the preliminary report says Rehman was piloting the twin-engine Beechcraft Baron when it took off from Midway Airport in Chicago bound for Lawrence, Kansas. Weather conditions at the time included mist and overcast skies but the preliminary report doesn't say whether that contributed to the crash.


Kansas Contractors Struggle to Find Skilled Workers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A survey finds that many Kansas contractors are having trouble filling skilled jobs in the construction industry. The survey, by the Associated General Contractors, was released Wednesday. Ninety percent of the 20 Kansas firms that participated in the survey say they're having a hard time finding project managers, engineers, welders, plumbers and carpenters. An Associated General Contractors economist says Kansas isn't the only state experiencing a shortage of people applying for construction jobs. He notes that other states like Texas and Louisiana are seeing fewer job applications too. The group says the construction industry is seeing its skilled workforce age and retire. Many construction workers also left the industry after being laid off in 2008 and 2009 and have not returned.


Ride-Sharing Lyft Temporarily Stops Service in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The ride-sharing company Lyft will temporarily stop operating in Kansas City while it works out an agreement to operate legally in the city. Lyft officials said Wednesday that the drivers will stop working Friday for up to 60 days. The Kansas City Star reports the agreement, which requires a federal judge's approval, also temporarily stops a federal court lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in December. Lyft uses a smartphone app to link passengers with part-time drivers in their own vehicles. The city and Lyft have been at odds since the company arrived in Kansas City in May. The city contends the company should have to follow regulations governing taxis. But Lyft argues it is a different business than taxis and should not have to follow the requirements.


2nd Fatal Motorcycle Accident in 2 Days in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - For the second time in two days, a motorcyclist has died in an accident in Topeka. Topeka police say the latest accident occurred Wednesday night when the motorcycle and another vehicle collided. The motorcycle driver was alive when emergency responders arrived but died later at a hospital. The victim's name and more information about the accident have not been released. The accident occurred 24 hours after 53-year-old Michael Munoz of Topeka was killed when his motorcycle was hit from behind by a vehicle. The driver of the car was arrested and booked overnight on charges of manslaughter while driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and several other charges.


Couple Offers $5 Million Gift Challenge to KSU

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Massachusetts couple has made a $5 million challenge gift to Kansas State University's College of Business Administration. Paul and Sandra Edgerley, of Brookline, Massachusetts, offered to match donations from other donors at 50 percent. The money will be used for the college's Career Counseling and Skill Development program, which prepares students for careers with their "dream" companies. Julie and Roger Davis, of Chicago, Illinois, are the first to accept the challenge by giving $500,000 to the new program. Paul Edgerley graduated from Kansas State in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in business. He is managing director of Bain Capital Partners LLC, a private investment firm based in Boston. The Edgerleys are members of the KSU Foundation's President's Club and have served the university in several capacities.


Kansas Man Charged with Robbing Missouri Bank

WESTON, Mo. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man accused of robbing a northwest Missouri bank of $26,000 now faces criminal charges in federal court. The U.S. Attorney's office on Thursday filed a complaint charging 29-year-old Marcus Aurellius Moon, of Olathe, with bank robbery and using a firearm in a violent crime. The holdup occurred Wednesday morning at the Bank of Weston in Weston, Missouri. Investigators say Moon wore a ski mask and carried a semi-automatic handgun as he ordered a teller to put cash in a bag. Authorities said Moon then demanded cash from two other employees before driving over the Missouri River into Atchison, Kansas. Police said Moon hit law enforcement vehicles while driving several blocks through Atchison. He was arrested when his car got stuck in a residential area.


Kansas City Police Officer Shoots Armed Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City officer has shot a man who police say held a CVS store employee hostage with a weapon. Police say the suspect was transported to an area hospital in serious condition after the Wednesday night shooting. No other injuries were reported. Capt. Tye Grant tells KCTV-TV the man was threatening the employee with a sharp object at the front of the store when officers arrived. Grant says the suspect lunged at the officer, who shot the man in the torso. Police say the suspect was likely trying to rob the store. They haven't released the identity of the officer.


Judge Mulling Impact of Ruling in Painkiller Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A ruling earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court may affect the case of a Kansas couple imprisoned after their Haysville pain clinic was linked to 68 overdose deaths. Dr. Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda Schneider, were convicted in 2010 of conspiracy, unlawfully prescribing drugs, health care fraud and money laundering. The doctor was sentenced to 30 years and his wife to 33 years. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot is now considering the effect of a January ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a separate case. That decision held that the victim's drug use had to be the actual cause of death, not merely a contributing factor. A court filing Wednesday indicates federal prosecutors have conceded the Supreme Court ruling applies retroactively to the Schneider case.


Kansas Man Jailed in Accidental Shooting

DERBY, Kan. (AP) - A Sedgwick County man who accidentally shot himself has been arrested on suspicion of criminally possessing the firearm. The Wichita Eagle reports the 29-year-old man was hospitalized Wednesday after shooting himself in the thigh. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says the man was booked into the jail on the firearms possession charge once he was released from the hospital. They say they had two outstanding warrants for his arrest.


Documentary About First-Generation College Students Premieres

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - A documentary about first-generation college students from across Kansas is premiering next month. The premiere is planned for November 4 at Kansas State University and will coincide with First-Generation College Student Awareness Week. "A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students" also will be streamed live for those who can't attend the premiere. Experts say college can be overwhelming for first-generation students, filled with unfamiliar jargon and procedures. Kansas State's College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer commissioned the documentary to highlight the issue. About 40 percent of the university's undergraduates are first-generation college students. 


Jackson County to Expand Courthouse Annex

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - The Jackson County Courthouse Annex in Independence will be undergoing a $6.8 million renovation and expansion. The county Legislature has approved a contract for the work at the annex, which will get five new courtrooms. The project is expected to be completed by late 2015. The Independence Examiner reports because of population shifts the small annex could not handle the increased caseloads and some cases that normally would be heard in Independence have been sent to Kansas City. County Executive Mike Sanders says the five new courtrooms should meet the county's needs for at least 20 years. 


Wichita Senators Seek to Eliminate Food Sales Tax

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two state senators from Wichita say they want to introduce a plan in the Legislature to eliminate sales tax on food purchased for preparation at home. Republican state Senator Michael O'Donnell says he worked on a similar proposal on the tax code during the 2013 legislative session but the House rejected it. The Wichita Eagle reports O'Donnell is working with Democratic state Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau on a plan that would slowly reduce the sales tax on food over several years. The Kansas Department of Revenue says groceries make up about 15 percent of total sales tax collections, bringing in about $392.5 million each year — most of which goes into the state's general fund. Kansas is currently projected to have a $260 million deficit by the end of June 2016.

Deer Cam Captures Mountain Lion on Kansas Trail

OSWEGO, Kan. (AP) — Kansas wildlife officials have confirmed that a big cat photographed by a deer hunter's trail camera was a mountain lion. The recent sighting occurred in Labette County, in southeast Kansas. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said Thursday that staff members visited the site last week and verified the photo's authenticity. The agency says it's the 10th mountain lion verified in Kansas since 2007 and the first in nearly two years. The Labette County hunter checked his camera and found a single image of a mountain lion walking down a trail, with its long tail prominently visible. Most sightings in Kansas are confirmed with photos taken by motion-triggered cameras that deer hunters place near their stands. State biologists investigate each reported sighting.


Reward at $12,000 in Killing of Kansas City Girl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The reward for information about suspects in a drive-by shooting that killed a 6-year-old Kansas City girl is now up to $12,000. Angel Hooper died Friday night when shots were fired into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven where the girl and her father had just bought bubblegum. The Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers group said Wednesday that 7-Eleven Stores, which operates the chain of convenience stores, has donated $10,000 for information leading to an arrest. Tips will remain anonymous. Investigators hope to hear from some of the many people who were in the parking lot of the south Kansas City store when the shooting broke out.


Sedgwick County OKs Taxing District to Fix Wichita's Union Station

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County commissioners have voted to support creation of a tax-increment financing district that would help fund a proposed $54 million renovation of Union Station in downtown Wichita. The city of Wichita already approved the district to capture future taxes to fix up the 100-year-old station, which has been vacant for about seven years. The Wichita Eagle reports the project's developer hopes to begin construction on the first phase of renovation by the end of the year. The project calls for retail, offices and restaurants in the space and a plaza in front that could be used to host events, street performers, food vendors and farmers markets. Wednesday's commission vote approving the district was 3-2.


Cattle Truck Crashes on I-70

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A driver was unhurt but multiple head of cattle were killed or injured when a tractor-trailer transporting the animals crashed on Interstate 70 in east-central Kansas. The accident happened around 3:30 am Wednesday near Abilene in Dickinson County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the semi was westbound when it rolled onto its side and landed in a ditch. The truck was transporting 61 head of cattle. Four died and several others were injured. A veterinarian was among those who responded to the accident. Portions of I-70 were closed while officials worked the scene and rounded up cattle on the road.


Junction City Cites Dozens for Cellphone Use

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Despite months of advance notice, dozens of drivers in Junction City were cited for improper use of cellphones during the initial week of enforcement of a new law. Police issued 51 citations from Monday through Friday of last week for talking on hand-held cellphones while driving. One person was also cited for texting while driving. Junction City adopted an ordinance in June banning motorists from talking or listening on a cellphone unless it's a hands-free device.Police delayed enforcement until the city put up signs notifying drivers of the law. The signs went up in September, and police issued warnings for four weeks before handing out citations. Drivers may still hold cellphones to their ears in limited circumstances, such as talking to law enforcement in emergencies.


Woman Pleads Guilty in $3 Million Fraud Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty to a $3 million fraud that forced her employer to declare bankruptcy and close the business. Federal prosecutors say 52-year-old Irene Marie Brooner pleaded guilty Wednesday to bank fraud. She admitted that for more than a decade she took the money from Galvmet Inc., a sheet metal fabrication and steel service center in Kansas City. The company closed in 2014, when it had 18 to 20 employees. Brooner was a controller who managed payroll and accounts at Galvmet. During the scheme, she created 389 unauthorized transactions from the company's bank account to her personal account and increased her net pay on about 108 checks. Brooner was ordered to forfeit her home, a Lexus, jewelry and at least $2.9 million.


Royals Beat Giants 7-2 to Even World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Billy Butler hit a tie-breaking single, Salvador Perez and Omar Infante drove in two runs each with big hits in a five-run sixth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night to even the World Series at one game apiece. The Giants opened with a 7-1 victory in Game One on Tuesday night. The two teams travel to California today for Game 3 set for Friday night in San Francisco.


Phony World Series Tickets, Merchandise Seized

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal agents have seized phony World Series tickets worth tens of thousands of dollars, along with counterfeit Royals panties and other merchandise. Before the first game of the series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, agents for Homeland Security nabbed 126 counterfeit game tickets. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release that the tickets had a $43,000 street value. Three people from New York and one from Atlanta are charged in Johnson County, Kansas, with selling fake tickets. Authorities are urging fans who bought bogus tickets to contact police. Other counterfeit items that have been seized include T-shirts, baseball caps, cellphone cases, sweatshirts, and even baby clothes. One person suspected of selling counterfeit T-shirts is facing prosecution in Missouri's Platte County.


K-State's Snyder Among Nominees for College Hall of Fame

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is among the 81 coaches and players up for election to the College Football Hall of Fame. The National Football Foundation on Wednesday released the ballot for the class that will be announced January 9. Former Heisman Trophy winners Rashaan Salaam of Colorado, Ricky Williams of Texas and Eric Crouch of Nebraska are among the 75 players from the Football Bowl Subdivision on the ballot. Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth and Southern California receiver Keyshawn Johnson are also up for election. The NFF tweaked its rules for eligibility a few years ago to allow active coaches, such as Snyder, to be eligible for the election after they turn 75. The 75-year-old Snyder is in his 23rd season at Kansas State. He has a record of 183-91-1.


Chiefs' Charles Passes Battery of Concussion Tests

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs insisted Wednesday that Jamaal Charles has passed a battery of tests and does not show signs of a concussion, one day after the star running back said he exhibited symptoms in last weekend's win over San Diego. Charles took a blow from Brandon Flowers when he dove into the endzone Sunday. Charles popped up and trotted off the field, and trainers met him on the sideline. He remained in the game. On Tuesday, Charles told ESPN Radio that he saw "light bulbs" a few plays later, and that he tried to avoid going through the league's concussion protocol. After the Chiefs learned of the interview, they put Charles through a battery of tests. The team said he passed all of them.


Self, Weber Speak at Wayne McClain Funeral

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — People who gathered to remember basketball coach Wayne McClain say it was like him not to reveal he was ill with cancer. Former Illinois and now Kansas State coach Bruce Weber was among dozens who spoke Wednesday in person or by video during McClain's funeral. University of Kansas coach Bill Self, who hired McClain at Illinois, also spoke. Weber told the more than 1,000 people who gathered for McClain's funeral that he was mad McClain hadn't shared the bad news. But he added "that just wasn't him." Terry McClain said he spoke to his 60-year-old brother regularly but didn't know he was ill until days before his October 15 death. Wayne McClain made his name as head coach at Peoria Manual High School. He won three state championships there in the 1990s.



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