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Headlines for Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press.

Democrat Paul Davis Launches Campaign for 2nd District Congressional Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prominent Democrat and former state lawmaker Paul Davis has kicked off his campaign for the 2nd District of eastern Kansas. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Davis told a rally in Topeka on Tuesday morning that the political system is "fundamentally broken." He blamed "unprecedented, unchecked, obscene amounts of money" in government and elections. Davis was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2014, giving Republican Governor Sam Brownback a tougher-than-expected re-election challenge. Davis is a Lawrence attorney and former Kansas House minority leader. The 2nd District seat will be open because Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins does not plan to seek re-election. He's expected to face Neosho County resident Kelly Standley in the Democratic primary. State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, of Leavenworth, and Basehor City Councilman Vernon Fields are seeking the GOP nomination.

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Kansas Joins Interstate First-Responder Network 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has joined 13 other states in an interstate communications network that allows public safety agencies to communicate across jurisdictions during emergencies. Governor Sam Brownback announced Tuesday that the state has joined the First Responder Network Authority — FirstNet — and AT&T, which will build the statewide broadband network. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Brownback said FirstNet would help in emergencies and natural disasters such as the wildfires, tornadoes and ice storms. He said opting into the program allows the state to have the network without incurring any of the costs. AT&T president Mike Scott said the company would build another 26 towers across the state and add capacity to its existing network towers. FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said the federal government would contribute $7 billion to the project.

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Kansas Governor's Spokeswoman Resigns Ahead of His Departure

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's spokeswoman is stepping down within days, ahead of his anticipated departure. Brownback on Monday announced Melika Willoughby's resignation as communications director, effective Friday. She'll become vice president of communications and strategic development for Forge Leadership Network, which identifies and mentors young conservatives. Willoughby joined Brownback's office in 2014 as deputy communications chief. She's been part of his senior staff since November. Brownback is serving his second term and couldn't run again. But President Donald Trump has nominated him to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Brownback hasn't set a date for his departure and the timing of a U.S. Senate vote on his nomination is uncertain. Rachel Whitten will step in for Willoughby while remaining the state Department of Revenue's public relations chief. 

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Roberts Defends Keeping Senate Filibuster at Kansas Oil Producers Meeting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senator Pat Roberts is defending the Senate filibuster rule amid some unusual backlash from his Republican House colleagues and constituents at a conference of independent oil and gas producers. But Roberts concedes Republicans may have to do away with it in order to pass their agenda. The sometimes testy exchanges Monday came at the convention of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. Representative Lynn Jenkins won scattered applause when she called for getting rid of the filibuster, saying Congress is "crippled" right now. Roberts says Republican control of the Senate can easily flip, noting he has been in the minority more often than he has been in the majority. Representative Kevin Yoder reminded people that health care repeal failed even though it only needed 51 votes to pass.

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Former Lawrence Mayor Gets 10 Month Prison Sentence for Embezzlement

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Former Lawrence mayor Jeremy Farmer has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for embezzling money from a food bank. Farmer also was ordered to pay restitution of more than $81,000 for taking the money from the nonprofit Just Food when he was the organization's executive director. Farmer also will be on two years of supervised release after completing his prison term. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the 33-year-old Farmer apologized during his sentencing hearing Tuesday. Farmer pleaded guilty in September 2016 to interstate transportation of embezzled funds and securities. Farmer was hired as executive director of Just Food in 2011. He was elected to the Lawrence City Commission in April 2013 and the commissioners voted him mayor in April 2015. He resigned both positions in August 2015.

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Lawrence Deaths Believed to Be Murder-Suicide 

LAWRENCE, Kan. _ The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says investigators believe a Lawrence man fatally shot his former relationship partner outside a home south of Lawrence before killing their 3-year-old daughter and himself at the Baker Wetlands Conservation Area Sunday. The Sheriff's Office has not released the names of the deceased but the Lawrence Journal World reports that friends and family have identified the victims as 36-year-old Erin Berg of Missouri and her 3-year-old daughter, Mazie. 41-year-old Peter Sander of Lawrence is the father of the 3-year-old girl and was previously in a relationship with Berg.  Investigators haven't determined how the man and the girl died, saying autopsies were pending. Police say they do not believe anyone else was involved in the deaths.  

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Horn Selected to Fill Unexpired Kansas House Term 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas county's top environmental advocate has been chosen to complete the 13 months left of a state House term of a lawmaker who has resigned. Eileen Horn was elected to the House's 10th District seat during a special convention of the district's committee members Saturday at the Baldwin City library. The Lawrence-Douglas County sustainability coordinator was selected by an 8-2 vote over Brandon Holland, a 28-year-old University of Kansas student. Horn will complete the unexpired term of John Wilson, who resigned last month. Wilson announced his support for Horn before the convention and officially nominated her Saturday. The 10th District includes precincts in Lawrence and southeast Douglas County.

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Kansas Man Caught After Escaping Jail

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man who escaped from jail has been apprehended in eastern Kansas and returned to custody. The Lawrence Journal-World reports 39-year-old George Burgess Jr. escaped the Leavenworth County Jail through a side door in July while on a work detail. Major Jim Sherley says Burgess was in jail on a misdemeanor count of battery. A Lawrence Police Department statement says officers responded to a call reporting a wanted person at large Sunday. Police say Burgess was located riding a bicycle and attempted to flee by bike and then on foot after seeing the approaching officers. Police apprehended Burgess without further incident and returned him to the jail. Sherley tells The Associated Press that Burgess appeared in district court Monday and would have been charged with escape from custody.

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Ottawa County Man's Death Being Investigated as Homicide

TESCOTT, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it is investigating the death of a rural Kansas man as a homicide. The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office says the body of 34-year-old Matthew Schoshke was found Saturday in a rural home near Tescott. KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood says the agency is looking for Schoshke's silver 2006 Ford F-150 extended cab pickup, with Kansas tag 892 DZO. The front license plate reads "EATBEEF" and the truck has a chrome push guard on the front and a black plastic tool box in the back. Authorities have not released any information on the circumstances of Schoshke's death.

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Parents Seek Investigative Records into Son's Disappearance 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The parents of a Kansas child missing for nearly 30 years are suing authorities to release investigative records from the case. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Harold and Alberta Leach filed the lawsuit Monday in Leavenworth County District Court. The Leaches' son, then 17-year-old Randy Leach, was last seen April 16, 1988, at a party in Leavenworth County. The case of his disappearance has never been solved, and his parents have sought the investigative records for years. The lawsuit argues the records should be released under a provision of the Kansas Open Records Act that allows for criminal investigation records to be made public when the records are in the public interest. The Leavenworth county counselor didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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Judge Dismisses Gun Charge Against Man in Kansas Bomb Plot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A federal judge has thrown out one of the charges against a Kansas man accused of plotting to attack Somali immigrants in Garden City. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren granted a defense motion to dismiss a firearms charge against Curtis Allen. The decision comes in the wake of a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal panel's ruling in May in an unrelated case that found that a person convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery under a city ordinance can legally carry a gun. Allen and co-defendants Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright still face charges of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex where Somali immigrants live. All three men have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is set for February 20. 

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2 Children Die in Overland Park Apartment Fire

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two children have been killed and several other people injured in an apartment fire in suburban Kansas City. Fire officials say the fire started early this (TUE) morning at a complex in Overland Park. Two men were hurt when they jumped out of a second-story window and, officials say, that the children's mother also was injured. Heat exhaustion also sent one firefighter to the hospital and another was treated at the scene. Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire. The unit where the children were found dead didn't have a working smoke detector. The children's names weren't immediately released.

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Kansas County Commissioner Found Dead Under Lawn Mower 

ST. JOHN, Kan. (AP) — The Stafford County Sheriff says the body of a county commissioner has been found underneath an overturned lawnmower. The sheriff says 42-year-old Shane Landon Stimatze was found dead Monday morning under the mower in a pond in rural St. John. The death is under investigation. The Stafford County Clerk's office said Stimatze had just started his second term as county commissioner.

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Judge Dismisses Charges Against Former Kansas Police Officer 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has dismissed charges against a former Bel Aire police officer ensnared in a scheme to buy and sell discounted firearms by falsely claiming they would be used for law enforcement purposes. Court records show prosecutors on Tuesday asked the court to dismiss the indictment against Ricky L. Swanson due to his death. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren granted the request shortly after the government's filing. Court documents offer no other details, and his attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Last Monday's change-of-plea hearing was cancelled after Swanson did not appear as scheduled. Former Bel Aire Chief John Daily was sentenced last year to six months of probation and fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft of public funds.

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Missouri Woman Sentenced in Drug Case Against Kansas Doctor

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Missouri woman has been sentenced after she said she obtained more 8,000 oxycodone tablets without any type of medical exam from a Kansas doctor. The U.S. attorney's office says 52-year-old Kimi Harper, of Kansas City, Missouri, was ordered Monday to spend 10 years on supervised release after she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Court records say Harper paid to obtain prescriptions from Steven Henson, a Wichita doctor charged in a 31-count indictment. He is accused of over-prescribing pain medication blamed on one patient's death. According to court records, Harper said Henson didn't perform physical examinations or monitor her oxycodone use through medical tests. Harper said she consumed about 75 percent of the pills herself and sold or gave away the rest.

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Man Sentenced After Topeka Motel Standoff

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man has been sentenced to prison for lying to investigators after a 2016 standoff involving a fugitive who shot three federal agents before his body was found in a motel room. A federal judge sentenced 37-year-old Quentin Kirk Lawton on Monday to three and a half years in prison. Lawton pleaded guilty in May to one count of making a false statement. Authorities say Lawton visited Orlando Collins in a motel room in April 2016 and left shortly before a standoff there between Collins and federal agents. Collins shot and wounded two U.S. marshals and an FBI agent before a fire swept through Collins' room and the motel. Collins' body was later found in the room. Lawton told investigators he hadn't seen Collins that day.

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After 22 Water Breaks, Lawrence Learns of Installation Problems

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials have learned that 13 miles of pipeline was improperly installed after 22 water main breaks. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the breaks have occurred over a three-week period. Director of Utilities Dave Wagner says repair and replacement costs from the breaks have totaled about $200,000, and costs could grow. Most of the breaks occurred in piping that was only about 25 years old. The piping was projected to last for 100 years, but was installed without the wrapping or other protection needed to account for the soil conditions. He says the 13 mile span of piping is "probably not going to last that long." Commissioner Matthew Herbert says what happened is "a classic example of why you have to do things right the first time."

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Irrigation Projects Aimed at Saving Water Supply in Kansas 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Irrigation projects that aim to improve Kansas's diminishing underground water supply will be showcased across the state this month. The Hutchinson News reports that the state's more than 15 Water Technology Farms will show farmers in western Kansas how to use less irrigation water on their crops. One technology is a precision mobile drip irrigation system that aims to increase efficiency. The first technology farms were implemented in 2016. They test the latest irrigation equipment on a large level. Governor Sam Brownback began working on a plan to preserve the state's water resources shortly after taking office. Irrigation wells are drawing water from the Ogallala Aquifer at a rate that could leave the aquifer 70 percent depleted by 2064. More than 95 percent of that water is used for irrigation.

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Powerball Jackpot Expected to Be $430 Million on Wednesday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Powerball jackpot will continue to grow above $400 million this week because no one matched all the numbers in Saturday's drawing. Lottery officials estimate that the jackpot for the next Powerball drawing on Wednesday will be $430 million. The Powerball prize will be the only big lottery jackpot this week because someone who bought a ticket in Palos Heights, Illinois, won Saturday's $393 million Mega Millions jackpot. But remember that the odds of winning Powerball remain long at one in 292.2 million.

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KU to Honor Former Coach Mangino During Season Opener
 
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to honor former head football coach Mark Mangino, who was forced out amid allegations that he abused his players, and the rest of the 2007 team that won the Orange Bowl, during its season opener. The school said Tuesday that the team will be inducted into its Hall of Fame, along with former players Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins, during the opener September 2 against Southeast Missouri State. Mangino led the long-suffering Jayhawks to a 12-1 record in 2007, a season capped by a victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. But things soon soured and Mangino was forced out in 2009, when allegations surfaced that he physically and verbally abused his players. One of his assistants on the 2007 team, David Beaty, is now the Jayhawks' head coach.

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Royals' Rookie Gallagher Hits First Career Grand Slam as Royals Beat A's 6-2 

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Cam Gallagher hit a grand slam for his first career home run and second big league hit as the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Monday night. Gallagher's shot into the left-field seats in the sixth inning marked the first grand slam by a Royals rookie since Paulo Orlando connected in the first game of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay on July 7, 2015.  Kansas City starter Jake Junis (5-2)  allowed two runs and four hits in six innings with two strikeouts and no walks. The Royals moved into a second-place tie with the Twins, five games back of AL Central-leading Cleveland.

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