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Headlines for Tuesday, August 2, 2016

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

July Tax Collections $13 Million Short of Expectations in Kansas 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting that its tax collections fell nearly $13 million short of expectations in July. The Department of Revenue reported Monday that the state collected $425 million in taxes last month. The state's official projection was nearly $438 million. The shortfall was 2.9 percent. Tax collections have fallen short of expectations for 10 of the past 12 months. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since Republican legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy. A shortfall in tax collections in June prompted Brownback's administration to delay $260 million in state aid payments to public schools. It also diverted money for highway projects and funds within the Department of Corrections to avoid a deficit when the 2016 fiscal year ended June 30.


Contentious Race in 1st District Highlight of Kansas Primary

ST. MARYS, Kan. (AP) — Republican voters in western and central Kansas are deciding a hotly contested primary race that could unseat incumbent congressman Tim Huelskamp. Voters are deciding today (TUE) whether Huelskamp's willingness to buck party leaders in Washington reflects a much-needed streak of independence or a character flaw that prevents him from being effective. His race against Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall in the 1st District was the state's marquee congressional primary. A central issue was Huelskamp's being booted from the House Agriculture Committee late in 2012 amid disputes with GOP leaders over farm and fiscal legislation. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran and U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder in the 3rd District in the Kansas City area also faced challengers in the Republican primary but they were expected to defeat their relatively unknown opponents easily.


Voters Casting Ballots in Kansas Primary

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Voters are casting ballots in a hot primary race that could unseat congressman Tim Huelskamp. His contentious race against Great Bend obstetrician Roger Marshall in the 1st District is the state's marquee congressional primary Tuesday. Sixty-two-year-old Randy Hatch, of Alma, voted for Marshall. The retired welder said a key issue is Huelskamp's being booted from the House Agriculture Committee in late in 2012 amid disputes with GOP leaders over farm and fiscal legislation. He said that, "From what you hear, Huelskamp doesn't seem to be on the farmers' side." Twenty-two-year-old Joan Davy, of Alma, voted for Huelskamp and said "a lot of the farmers around here are supporting him." The 911 dispatcher said she was put off by the negative tone of the campaign and negative radio ads attacking Huelskamp.


Kansas Senate Majority Leader in Tough Re-Election Fight 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce is facing a tough re-election as voters voice their opinion on the state government's direction. Bruce, of Nickerson, is challenged in Tuesday's Republican primary by Ed Berger, ex-president of Hutchinson Community College. The men generally agree on social issues but disagree on fiscal issues, particularly state tax cuts approved by the Legislature in 2012. Some voters interviewed Tuesday said they supported Berger. One was 80-year-old Mary Dondlinger of Hutchinson. She called Bruce "a great disappointment to our whole district" and said he seemed to care more about what Governor Sam Brownback wanted than about representing his constituents. But Steve Brady, a 54-year-old Hutchinson business owner, voted for Bruce. He says Bruce is doing positive things and taking the state in a good direction.


Democrats See Big Jump in Kansas Voter Registration Numbers 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The latest Kansas voter registration figures compiled by Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office contain some good news for the state's Democrats. The figures released Monday show that Republicans still enjoy a large advantage in registered voters but the number of registered Democrats increased by 5 percent from August 2015, almost twice the rate of the increase in voter registrations. Nearly 772,000 of the state's 1.75 million registered voters are Republicans, or 44 percent. About 429,000 are Democrats, or 24.5 percent. Nearly 536,000 are unaffiliated, or 30.6 percent. There are about 13,700 Libertarians, or 0.8 percent of all voters. The number of registered Republicans rose 1.5 percent, and the number of unaffiliated voters grew 2.3 percent. Libertarians saw a 3.8 percent increase in their numbers.


2 Kansas Independents Hope to Run for Congress 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas secretary of state's office says two independent candidates for Congress have filed petitions in hopes of getting on the ballot in November. Clifton educator and farmer Alan LaPolice and Kiowa businesswoman Miranda Allen both met Monday's deadline for submitting petitions. LaPolice hopes to run in the 1st Congressional District of western and central Kansas for the seat held by Republican Tim Huelskamp. LaPolice lost a closer-than-expected GOP primary race to Huelskamp in 2014. Allen hopes to run in the 4th District of south-central Kansas for the seat held by Republican Mike Pompeo. She is CEO of an environmental health and safety consulting firm. An independent candidate for Congress must gather 5,000 signatures from registered voters. LaPolice put his total at 8,800, and Allen's figure was more than 9,000.


Kansas Governor Retains KDADS Administrator

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is promoting his interim secretary for aging and disability services to permanent status. Tim Keck has been the top administrator at the Department for Aging and Disability Services since January. Keck previously worked as an attorney at the Department of Health and Environment and for Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. He took over at KDADS shortly after the federal government decertified the state's mental hospital in Osawatomie. The department applied last week to have part of the hospital recertified. Keck's new appointment as secretary will require state Senate confirmation next year. There'd been some bipartisan concern about Keck not being promoted earlier so his appointment could have been considered before lawmakers adjourned their annual session June 1.


Kansas to Stop Applying for Federal Sex Education Funding 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two of Kansas's largest counties are looking for funding to keep their sex education programs going after state officials declined to apply to renew federal grants. The Kansas City Star reports that Wyandotte and Johnson counties have used money from Personal Responsibility Education Program grants since 2010 to provide sex education courses in area schools with the goal of preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Earlier this year, Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials told the two counties that the state wouldn't apply for the grants this year. A department spokeswoman says it opted not to apply for funds so it could stop operating as a middle-man by passing money along to local departments. Now, the local departments will have a transition period to apply for funds. Wyandotte and Johnson county officials say they weren't prepared for the transition.


July Brings Unusually High Level of Tornado Activity to Kansas 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas weather forecasters say the state saw an unusually high number of tornadoes in July. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that eight tornadoes touched down in the state last month including and EF-2 and an EF-3 tornado. The National Weather Service says the EF-2 and EF-3 tornadoes in Greenwood County were definitely stronger than Kansas usually sees in July.


Man Shot to Death in El Dorado

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating a deadly shooting in southern Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that the shooting happened late Monday night in El Dorado. Police Lieutenant Maggie Schreiber said in a written statement that the victim was in his mid-50s. He had multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Schreiber says two "persons of interest" have been taken into custody and are being interviewed. The victim's name is being withheld pending the notification of relatives. She says the crime scene is still being processed.


Topeka Woman Sentenced in November 2015 Stabbing Death 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka woman has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison in a deadly stabbing. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 36-year-old Kizzey Lynn Carter was sentenced Monday for voluntary manslaughter in the death of 33-year-old Siobohn McClelland, of Topeka. Officers found McClelland suffering from a life-threatening stab wound in November when they responded to a loud disturbance at an apartment. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Carter was arrested at the scene and originally charged with second-degree murder. The count later was reduced to voluntary manslaughter upon sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. Carter also was ordered to pay restitution $12,690 in the case.


Sheriff: Kansas Toddler Dies After Making Way into Hot Car

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Kansas's Dickinson County say an 18-month-old girl died after being found unresponsive in a sweltering car that the sheriff says she climbed into at the family's rural home. Sheriff Gareth Hoffman tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that Olivia Ann Engstrom died Sunday at the family's home seven miles northeast of Abilene. Hoffman says the toddler had last been seen a few hours before her body was found, and that the girl had been playing outside with her siblings when she somehow got into a parked car. The sheriff says it's unclear how she managed to do that. Hoffman says no foul play is suspected, and he describes the matter as "horrible."


Woman Admits Stealing $5.3 Million from KC Architecture Firm 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City woman admits stealing nearly $5.3 million from a prominent architecture company where she worked for nearly two decades. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickenson says 53-year-old Jane Barnes of Lee's Summit pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Dickenson says Barnes admitted conducting two schemes to embezzle money from ACI Boland Architects, where she started working in 1998 and became office manager in 2008. She used the payroll system to inflate her salary by at least $1.6 million from 2006 to 2011 and created unauthorized payroll checks to herself of more than $3.6 million from 2010 until her resignation in March. Barnes faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 30 years for bank fraud and two years for identity theft.


2 Killed in Sherman County Vehicle Crash 

GOODLAND, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two people have been killed in a crash in western Kansas's Sherman County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash happened late Monday when a pickup truck rear-ended a car on Interstate 70 about 20 miles east of Goodland. The car went into a ditch and overturned several times, while the truck toppled onto its roof. The patrol says the crash killed the car's driver, 42-year-old Kendall Leroy Morris, of Colby, and a passenger, 73-year-old Aletha Ann Morris, of Goodland. Another passenger in the car was taken to a hospital. The patrol says the Columbia, Missouri, man who was driving the truck wasn't hurt.


Illinois-Based Retailer Opening 1st Kansas Store in October 

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois-based retailer is opening its first store in Kansas later this year and hopes to add three more in the state within 18 months. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Glik's, based in the St. Louis suburb of Granite City, Illinois, is opening its 65th store in October in Hays, Kansas. The family-owned chain sells casualwear for adults and children, typically in small towns and tourist destinations. President and CEO Jeff Glik says his company just had its best four years ever. Glik's was founded in St. Louis in 1897. It opened stores in Litchfield, Illinois, and South Haven, Michigan, earlier this year and plans to expand existing stores in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Virginia, Minnesota, by year's end.


Suburban Kansas City Man Admits to Sending Fake IRS Letters 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has pleaded guilty to sending fake IRS letters to former girlfriends and business partners telling that they were under investigation for tax evasion. The U.S. attorney's office says that 56-year-old Jeffrey Nickerson, of Lenexa, Kansas, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of impersonating a federal employee. Nickerson sent letters on IRS letterhead that said the victims were under investigation as a result of reports being filed to the IRS Fraud Investigations Hotline. He knew a woman who worked at the IRS Service Center in Kansas City, Missouri, and admitted to using information gleaned from the IRS letterhead and publications she brought home with her. Nickerson faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. 


Vandals Hit Police Lodge in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A prison parolee is using his own money to help pay for the cleanup of a vandalized police lodge building in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that someone who lives near the Fraternal Order of Police building called Sunday to report seeing someone spray-painting the building. The spray-painting included an obscene reference to pigs and gang-type symbols. A Kansas City police spokesman said the paint was barely dry Sunday night when people showed up to help with the cleanup. The parolee pitched in money to buy cleaning chemicals.


Kemper Arena in Kansas City to Be Renamed 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kemper Arena in Kansas City is set to be renamed Mosaic Arena. The Kansas City Star reports that the renaming is part of an agreement announced Tuesday between development company Foutch Brothers and Mosaic Life Care. Mosaic Life, a St. Joseph-based health care system, has an initial agreement to become the naming rights sponsor for the arena. The value of the naming rights has not been disclosed. Foutch plans to repurpose the arena into a regional amateur sports facility. Mosaic Life, which has an expanding group of clinics, says it will open an on-site medical clinic at the arena that will be open to the public. The clinic will include sports medicine, massages and urgent care. Plans for turning the space into a sports facility are still being vetted.


Kansas City Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Mail Carrier
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has admitted to putting a mail carrier in a choke hold and wrestling her away from her vehicle. The U.S. attorney's office says 22-year-old Willie Rimpson pleaded guilty Monday to one count of impeding a U.S. Postal Service employee. Prosecutors say Rimpson demanded a check from the carrier in February. The carrier said she didn't have a check, and as she began walking to her next delivery, Rimpson put her in a chock hold and again demanded a check. After struggling free, the carrier delivered the rest of the mail for that block. As she returned to her vehicle, Rimpson left his house and blocked her from getting inside. She eventually was able to push him away and drive away. The sentencing date hasn't been set.


Duffy Sets Team Strike-out Record as Royals Beat Rays, 3-0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Danny Duffy pitched a franchise-record 16 strikeouts in eight innings Monday to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Duffy flirted with the Royals' first no-hitter in nearly 25 years before giving up a line-drive double to Desmond Jennings leading off the bottom of the eighth. Kendrys Morales's 18th home run, a towering shot over the center field wall off Rays' starter Chris Archer, got the Royals on the scoreboard in the seventh. Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his second save. Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain also drove in runs in the eighth for the Royals, who won for only the second time in 10 games.


Royals Reliever Hochevar Has Season-Ending Neck Surgery 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals say reliever Luke Hochevar had surgery Tuesday in St. Louis to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. The procedure included a scalenectomy, which repairs a muscle in the front of the neck. Hochevar, a 32-year-old right-hander, is expected to need six months to recover. The Royals hope he will be ready for spring training. The first overall selection by the Royals in the 2006 draft, Hochevar missed all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery. He appeared in 49 regular-season games last season, then pitched 10 2/3 shutout innings and won two postseason games to help Kansas City win the World Series. Hochevar last pitched on July 24 against Texas. He reported swelling in his hand last Thursday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 40 appearances this season.

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