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Headlines for Tuesday, April 15, 2014


UPDATE: Supremacist Appears in Court on Murder Charges

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An avowed white supremacist has made his first appearance in court on charges he killed three people in a shooting spree at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City. Frazier Glenn Cross was wearing a dark, quilted, sleeveless vest and crossed his arms as he appeared by video feed Tuesday in Johnson County court. He spoke only when answering routine questions from the judge, and requested a court-appointed lawyer. He's charged with murder in the shootings of a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas and a woman at a nearby retirement complex. Cross is being held on $10 million bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 24. Federal prosecutors are preparing a hate-crimes case that could result in charges later.


Holder to Deliver Remarks in Overland Park

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Overland Park on Thursday to pay tribute to the victims in the shootings at Jewish community sites. The interfaith memorial ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10 am CDT. The white supremacist charged in shootings Sunday that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday.


Kansas Gets Extra Time in Voter Citizenship Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas and Arizona will get more time to respond to the request by federal election officials for a stay in his ruling requiring them to enforce state laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship. U.S. District Court Eric Melgren on Monday gave the states until Friday to file their arguments against his ruling. In March, Melgren had ordered the agency to immediately modify its national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about those states' proof-of-citizenship requirements. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission and voting rights groups want Melgren to stay that ruling while the case goes to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both states contend the requirements prevent voter fraud. Critics of such laws view them as suppressing voter turnout.


Jenkins Leads Fundraising in Kansas 2nd District

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins continues to enjoy a sizable fundraising advantage over the Democrat challenging her re-election in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas. A report filed by the Jenkins campaign Tuesday showed that the GOP incumbent had more than $1.76 million in campaign cash on hand at the end of March. Democratic challenger and Lawrence attorney Margie Wakefield had about $205,000. Jenkins raised about $249,000 in contributions during the first three months of this year, including $140,000 from political action committees. Wakefield raised about $140,000, including $23,500 from PACs. Wakefield said the momentum of her campaign is building and it will have enough money to defeat Jenkins. The incumbent's campaign contends her fundraising shows Jenkins is better aligned with the district. Jenkins is seeking her fourth, two-year term.


Praeger, KS Groups Urge Health Compact Veto

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and several health care organizations are urging Governor Sam Brownback to veto legislation that would allow Kansas to join a multistate health care compact. Praeger, who is not seeking re-election, says Tuesday that there are too many unknowns about the compact and what impact it may have on federal health programs in Kansas, including Medicare for senior citizens. The compact measure would allow member states to set their own health care policies while retaining federal health care dollars but only if Congress approves. The compact would allow participating states to exempt themselves from other federal rules in addition to the health overhaul's regulations. Brownback received the bill from legislative staff on Monday and has until April 24 to act on the measure.


Bob Dole Plans to Tour Several Kansas Towns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole says he's looking forward to visiting friends across Kansas next week. Dole represented Kansas in Congress from 1960 until 1996. He will celebrate his 91s birthday in July. He says he planned the trip through Kansas next Monday through Wednesday to see old friends and meet new ones — and to enjoy a few homemade cookies along the way. He plans to visit Olathe, Paola and Ottawa on Monday. On Tuesday, he'll be in Lawrence to speak at the Dole Institute of Politics, and then will visit Holton, Hiawatha and Troy. He'll wrap up his tour Wednesday in Atchison and Leavenworth.

University of Kansas Student Diagnosed with Tuberculosis

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas officials say a student with tuberculosis is expected to make a full recovery. The university sent an email Monday confirming the case of the disease. The university says fewer than 50 other individuals who may have been exposed to the infected person have been contacted and will be tested for infections. Tuberculosis is spread through the air from person to person, when an infected individual is in an enclosed space for a prolonged time.

Memorial Set for Former KS Social Services Chief

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday for Robert C. Harder, a former Kansas legislator who helped create the agency that became the state Department for Children and Families and served as its top administrator for two decades. An obituary supplied by the family said Harder died Saturday at the age of 84 at his home at Brewster Place from an inoperable brain tumor. His memorial service is Wednesday afternoon at First United Methodist Church in Topeka. Harder served six years in the Kansas House before joining then-Governor Robert Docking's administration in 1967. He helped set up the state social services agency and was its secretary until 1987, the longest tenure of any state Cabinet secretary. He served in the Cabinets of five governors from both political parties.

Loud Boom Startles Area of South-Central Kansas

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A loud boom that startled some residents in south-central Kansas was caused when damaged fireworks that were being destroyed exploded. Steve Showalter, owner of Showalter Fireworks, says employees placed three or four damaged fireworks in a burn pit early Tuesday, and they all went off at the same time. The Hutchinson News reports that the boom from about a pound of black powder in the fireworks caused houses to shake and set off residential alarms, prompting several 911 calls to Hutchinson police and other agencies. Showalter says his business has used the same method to destroy damaged fireworks for years and no one was ever in danger. He says the lack of wind and high humidity were good conditions for carrying the sound from the explosion.


Large Cache of Weapons Stolen in Salina

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina police are looking for about 140 guns, 10 knives and several rounds of ammunition stolen from a sporting goods store. Police Captain Mike Sweeney says the theft occurred sometime over the weekend of April 12-14 at Cleve's Marine & Sporting Goods store. KSAL reports that the thieves apparently entered through a garage door and then disabled the building's alarm system. Sweeney says store employees were still taking inventory Tuesday but he estimated a total loss of at least $50,000.


Arkansas City Library Fires Director

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Arkansas City Public Library is looking for a new director. The library's Board of Trustees on Monday night approved the firing of Cece Rettiger, who had been on the job since last November. The Arkansas City Traveler reports the board made the decision after a closed meeting. Board members said they couldn't publicly discuss a personnel matter. The firing is effective immediately and no interim director has been appointed. Rettiger said Monday night that she was shocked and "devastated" by the board's decision. She was hired to replace Dalene McDonald, who resigned last June.


Midwestern Farmers Off to Slow Start Planting Corn Crop

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Spring planting across the nation's Corn Belt is sputtering because the soil remains too soggy or cold for effective seeding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 3 percent of the corn crop is sown. That's half the pace of last year when one of the wettest springs on record got farmers off to the slowest start in decades. In Illinois, just 1 percent of this year's corn has been planted. That's one-tenth of the average pace of the previous five years. The USDA says farmers in other key corn-producing states are equally idle. Farmers still are upbeat, saying they still have some time to get the job done. The USDA says corn sowing traditionally begins in mid-April. It's typically in full swing from April 21 through May 23.


Bones Identified as Missing Kansas City Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say human remains found last year belonged to a man who was last seen in December 2007. Police said Tuesday forensic anthropologists identified the body as Michael L. Henderson, who was 26 when his family reported him missing in July 2008. Hikers found the bones in a wooded area of northeast Kansas City in September 2013. The Kansas City Star reports that the family told police Henderson was mentally ill and was regularly in trouble with the law but always kept in contact. The Jackson County (Missouri) Medical Examiner say the body appeared to have been in the woods for six weeks to six months. The anthropologist did not find any signs of violence. Detectives have not found any evidence of foul play but homicide detectives are investigating.


Kansas Church Plans Alaska Native Center Protest

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Topeka church known for protesting at the funerals of soldiers says it plans to picket the Alaska Native Heritage Center on June 1. The Westboro Baptist Church says in an online flyer published Sunday that it plans to send protesters to the center because "God hates your idols." The Anchorage Daily News says the plans are triggering talk of a counter protest, prompting a Facebook group to launch for that purpose. The Westboro flyer says there is nothing "appealing or holy about the 'heritage' of eleven 'distinct cultures' or 'diverse population' of Alaska." Church members are known for holding protests at funerals to highlight their belief that God is punishing the nation for its acceptance of homosexuality, regardless of whether the deceased person was gay.


Dodge City Water Park to Be Sales Tax Project

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — After 14 years of discussion, plans for a water park in Dodge City took another step toward reality when city and Ford County commissions approved making the project eligible for funding from a special sales tax. The joint commissions also voted Monday night to make the first $50,000 available for initial designs of a proposed $10 million water park. The Dodge City Daily Globe reports that the project is still a long way off. Monday's vote sends the project back to a sales tax project committee to work with city staff and a consultant on details for the park. Dodge City Manager Cherise Tieben says if all goes as planned, the park could open in May 2016.


New Members Inducted at Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Former Harris Enterprises executive John Lee and former newspaper publisher and Wichita State University educator Les Anderson have been inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame. Lee is a former chief executive officer of Harris Enterprises, a newspaper group headquartered in Hutchinson, and a former editor and later publisher of The Hays Daily News. Anderson, who died in 2011, was former publisher of the Ark Valley News in Valley Center and a longtime WSU professor of journalism. The two were inducted Friday at the annual meeting of the Kansas Press Association in Manhattan. The meeting also included recognition for reporters and editors for community service, investigative reporting and career accomplishments.


Registered KS Sex Offender Pleads Guilty

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A registered Kansas sex offender has pleaded guilty to one count of sending obscene material to a minor while he was a patient at Larned State Hospital. The U.S. Attorney's office announced Monday that 34-year-old Christopher M. Case pleaded guilty to transferring the material. Case was a resident of the state's sexual predator treatment program at Larned when the crime was committed. Prosecutors say Case used a cell phone to send an obscene video to a 13-year-old girl in Montana. Case is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Last Suspect in 2011 KS Murder Pleads Guilty

OAKLAWN, Kan. (AP) — The last of five people charged in a 2011 deadly robbery near Wichita pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Twenty-six-year-old Francis Dupree was to go on trial this week for first-degree murder but pleaded guilty Monday to the lesser charge. Dupree will be sentenced May 29. The Wichita Eagle reports that all five suspects have been convicted of first- or second-degree murder in the December 2011 death of 19-year-old Markez Phillips. Prosecutors say the men forced their way into a home in Oaklawn and shot Phillips, who was visiting his girlfriend. The thieves left with three big-screen TVs but no money.

Junction City Man Pleads Guilty to Accessing Child Porn

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man has entered a guilty plea in federal court to one count of accessing child pornography with intent to view. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says Monday that 43-year-old Scott Deppish admitted the charge and will be sentenced July 7. Deppish faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Deppish acknowledged that on February 12, 2013, investigators found images on a desktop computer and two hard drives that depicted children engaged in sexual conduct. Investigators also found images of a known victim that show a young female child engaged in sexual conduct with an adult male.


Court Upholds 260-Year Sentence for KS Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the 260-year prison sentence of a convicted child sexual predator who used a 9-year-old Kansas girl to produce pornography. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the sentence imposed on Philip Andra Grigsby, of Marquette, is justified. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten sentenced him in 2013. Grigsby had pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a child, possessing child porn and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Investigators were led to Grigsby after child pornography found on an Australian man's computer was traced to Kansas. Investigators identified the victim after noticing the name of a middle school on a physical fitness certificate. Authorities found more than 400 images and five movies on Grigsby's computer that showed the girl's abuse.


Driver Dies After South-Central Nebraska Collision

AXTELL, Neb. (AP) — An 86-year-old Holdrege, Nebraska man has died after a collision in south-central Nebraska's Kearney County. The Kearney County Sheriff's Office says the accident on Nebraska Highway 44 was reported at 11:40 am Sunday. Deputies say Laverne Graus was driving south when his car collided with a northbound pickup driven by 24-year-old Krystal Anderson, of Phillipsburg, Kansas. Graus was pronounced dead at the scene. Anderson was taken to a Kearney hospital. Deputies say weather and roadway conditions contributed to the accident.



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