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Headlines for Tuesday, July 29, 2014


GOP Secretary of State Race Turning More Bitter

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican candidates for Kansas secretary of state are embroiled in a bitter campaign in which the incumbent is questioning his challenger's GOP credentials while himself being called a partisan hack. The Kansas City Star reports that incumbent Kris Kobach has gained prominence for his fight against illegal immigration and his challenge of the federal government over gun regulations. Challenger Scott Morgan says Kobach has turned the secretary of state's office into a circus in pursuit of his own political agenda while drumming up media attention. Morgan concedes he's not as far to the right as Kobach, but adds that none of Kobach's pet issues should relate to the secretary of state's office. The winner of the August 5 primary will face Democrat Jean Schodorf in the general election.

Kobach Outraising Both Foes in Kansas Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has raised more money for his re-election campaign this year than his two opponents combined. Kobach's campaign filed a report Monday saying it raised almost $105,000 from January through July 24, in addition to the $125,000 he had at the start of the year. He spent less than $32,000, leaving him with more than $198,000. Kobach's foe in the August 5 Republican primary is Lawrence businessman and attorney Scott Morgan. He entered the race in May and reported raising about $21,000. Morgan spent less than $4,000, leaving him with $17,000 in cash. Democrat and former state senator Jean Schodorf began the year with nearly $41,000 and raised almost $63,000 more. But she also spent almost $95,000, leaving her campaign with less than $9,000.


Democrat Davis Raises $1.1M in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic challenger Paul Davis has raised more in contributions this year than Republican Governor Sam Brownback, but the incumbent is entering the fall campaign with more cash on hand. Finance reports filed Monday by the two campaigns show Davis raised more than $1.1 million in cash contributions from January through July 24. Brownback's total was about $744,000. But Brownback's campaign also received a $500,000 loan on July 23 from Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. He made a similar loan in December, only to see it paid back within days in early January. The Davis campaign reported nearly $566,000 for the period and had $1.32 million in cash left. Brownback spent about $370,000 on his campaign and ended with $2.37 million in cash.


Chris Christie to Visit KS, Appear with Brownback in August

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be swinging through the south as part of another jam-packed month of travel boosting Republican candidates. Christie is planning visits to more than half a dozen states in August, including Mississippi and Alabama. He has been traveling the country in his role as chair of the Republican Governors Association. On August 13, Christie will head to Birmingham, Alabama to boost Governor Robert Bentley, then to Biloxi, Mississippi for Governor Phil Bryant. He will be in Kansas and Oklahoma the following week for events with the governors there. He then goes to Arkansas on August 27 for events in Fayetteville and Little Rock for the RGA and Republican gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson.


GMO Labeling Debate Surfaces in Kansas 4th District House Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The national debate over the labeling of bioengineered foods has shifted to a congressional primary race in south-central Kansas. Outside money from political action committees is entering the race in its final days. That's because congressman Mike Pompeo introduced legislation in April that would block states from requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. Former congressman Todd Tiahrt has made Pompeo's bill a campaign issue in his 4th District challenge. The Washington-based Food Policy Action is spending $40,000 for digital advertising on social media supporting Tiahrt. It is joined by Every Voice Action, which has begun airing the first of $100,000 in television ads on the issue. Weighing in on the other side of the bioengineered food labeling flap is the American Chemistry Council. It is spending $165,200 supporting Pompeo.


Kansas Attorney General Holds Fundraising Lead

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Republican incumbent Derek Schmidt enjoys a huge fundraising advantage over his Democratic challenger in the Kansas attorney general's race. A finance report filed Monday by Schmidt's re-election campaign shows that he raised about $43,000 in cash contributions from January through July 24. But Schmidt began the year with more than $374,000, and even after he spent about $50,000 on his campaign, he still had $367,000 in cash on hand. Democrat and Topeka attorney A.J. Kotich (KOH'-tich) started his campaign in January with nothing and raised about $12,100. He spent less than $7,800 during the period and ended with about $4,300 in cash. Schmidt is seeking a second, four-year term. Neither he nor Kotich has an opponent in the state's Aug. 5 primary.


Doctors' PAC Helps Roberts in Kansas Senate Race

OSAGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is getting help in his Republican primary race from a political action committee representing tea party challenger Milton Wolf's fellow radiologists. PAC Director Ted Burnes said Tuesday that the group believes Roberts will be more effective in the Senate than Wolf. The American College of Radiology Association PAC this week disclosed spending almost $43,000 on statewide mailings praising Roberts. Burnes also said it's troubling that Wolf has acknowledged that in the past he posted graphic X-ray images on a personal Facebook page. Wolf apologized publicly, and he said Tuesday that many voters are upset with Roberts's attacks over the issue. Wolf said the PAC is a Washington special interest group that works to protect incumbents. The state's primary election is August 5.


Orman Says He's "True Alternative" in Kansas Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas businessman says his vigorous campaign for the U.S. Senate as an independent candidate makes him the true alternative to Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Greg Orman of Olathe said Monday during a Statehouse news conference that his supporters gathered signatures from more than 10,000 registered voters to get him on the November general election ballot. He needs 5,000 valid signatures to qualify and plans to submit them Tuesday. Orman said his ability to gather signatures and raise campaign funds shows he's more viable as a candidate than Democratic hopeful Chad Taylor. Taylor campaign manager Brandon Naylor says Orman has no solid political base. Roberts faces tea party challenger Milton Wolf in the August 5 GOP primary. Taylor faces Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner in the Democratic contest.


KU Added to List of Schools in Sex Assault Probe

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has been added to a list of colleges and universities under investigation for how they handled investigations into sexual assaults. The Lawrence Journal-World reports 71 schools, including Washburn University, have been named by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights as part of a probe into sexual violence against women on campus. University of Kansas officials issued a statement Monday saying the school doesn't tolerate sexual assault and will assist in the federal review. The list doesn't include specific information about what case got a school included, and the university declined to provide details. A White House task force said earlier this year that nationally 1 in 5 female students is assaulted.


KC Prepares for Obama Visit

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Workers are busy this morning preparing for a speech by President Barack Obama at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri tomorrow. President Obama is set to arrive in the city this evening (TUE) and deliver a speech about 11 a.m. tomorrow (WEDS). The event is free and open to the public but tickets are required. KCTV reports that ticket distribution started Monday morning and some people even camped out overnight to ensure their seat for Obama's speech on the economy.


Oklahoma Earthquake Shakes Southern Kansas

MEDFORD, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night. The USGS reports the quake with an epicenter about 15 miles west-southwest of Medford hit around 9:45 p.m. at a depth of about 4.7 miles. Grant County Sheriff's Office dispatcher Angela Wilson says she felt shaking in the Medford office but that no calls related to the quake had come in from first responders or residents. The USGS says the quake was felt to the south, including in the Oklahoma City area, and in southern Kansas, including near Dodge City, Great Bend and Wichita. The Enid News & Eagle reports shaking could be felt in downtown Enid for about 15 seconds. Enid is 23 miles north-northwest of the epicenter.


Kansas Capital Case Rulings Prompt Legislative Ire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Supreme Court decisions overturning two brothers' death sentences for a robbery, rape and killing spree in Wichita are likely to fuel another push by conservative Republicans to change how the justices are picked. Senate Majority Leader and Nickerson Republican Terry Bruce says the judicial selection process will be an issue when legislators reconvene in January. Bruce said the rulings in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr were no surprise because many members of the GOP-dominated Legislature believe the justices have shown an "activist" streak. The Supreme Court last week voided the Carr brothers' death sentences and returned the case to Sedgwick County District Court for more proceedings. The court has yet to uphold any death sentence imposed under the state's current capital punishment law enacted in 1994.


Kansas Man Found Dead on Longs Peak Identified

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City teenager who died last week while climbing one of Colorado's most popular peaks was a 2014 high school graduate who excelled in engineering. The Kansas City Star reports 18-year-old Nicholas Hellbusch of Lenexa, Kansas, died Friday morning after apparently falling while climbing above the standard route to the summit of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Evidence at the scene indicates the Shawnee Mission South High School graduate struck his head while falling. A climber notified park rangers around 7 a.m. that he and his group had seen the body. Rangers reached the area at 10:15 a.m. and confirmed Hellbusch was dead. A U.S. Forest Service helicopter recovered his body and took it to the Boulder County Coroner's Office.


Rare Gazelle Dies at Topeka Zoo

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An endangered gazelle at the Topeka Zoo is dead after beating its head against a gate until it broke its neck. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a zoo visitor saw the 5-year-old Addra gazelle running from corner to corner before charging the gate three times. Zoo staff ran to the scene but the gazelle, Raul, was already dead. Zoo staffers described the animal's behavior as puzzling. The city says in a news release the zoo will run a necropsy and pathology evaluation to learn what might have caused the incident. The Addra gazelle is a critically endangered species, with only 500 left in the wild. It's the second rare gazelle to die at the zoo, where a 3-year-old Addra died of a sudden illness in December 2012.


Kansas School District Justifies Conference Cost

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — School officials in southwest Kansas say a recent conference trip to Florida that cost taxpayers more than $100,000 was necessary to become a model school district. KWCH-TV reports 61 teachers and administrators with the Garden City School District attended the conference in June, although only 20 initially were scheduled to go. School district spokesman Roy Cessna says an improved budget allowed the district to send a teacher from every grade level from each school to the conference. He says the conference will help the district meet its five-year goal to become a model school district and was funded with a combination of budgeted school funds and federal and state grants.


Man Seeks Smoking Ban on Popular Lawrence Street

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A software developer who moved to Lawrence less than a year ago has started an online petition seeking to ban smoking on one of the city's most popular streets through downtown. Mike DuPont says he's sick of walking on Massachusetts Street and smelling like cigarette smoke when he gets home. He says a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars has pushed smokers outside, where they often disobey restrictions meant to keep them away from entrances. DuPont says that when his family moved to Kansas in October, he chose Lawrence because of its downtown area. Several smokers on Massachusetts Street told The Lawrence Journal-World they would oppose such a ban because they feel current restrictions are strict enough.


Return of Hot, Dry Conditions Stresses Kansas Crops

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The return of hot, dry conditions to Kansas has put stress on farm crops in many parts of the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service says in its late crop report that temperatures averaged 2 to 6 degrees above normal in most of Kansas last week, with some areas seeing triple-digit highs. The agency rated 10 percent of the state's corn crop in poor to very poor condition. About 31 percent is listed as fair, 44 percent as good and 15 percent excellent. Most of the sorghum, soybean and sunflower crops are faring somewhat better than corn. About 24 percent of the soybeans are setting pods, and 14 percent of the sorghum has headed. Stock water supplies are adequate to surplus across 78 percent of Kansas.


4 Workers Injured in Coffeyville Refinery Fire

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire. CVR Refining says the fire at its Coffeyville refinery was reported at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and extinguished by 1:18 a.m. The company says initial reports indicate there was no impact to the surrounding community. CVR isn't naming the employees who were hurt and transported to an area hospital, but says it is providing assistance to the workers and their families. The company is based in Sugar Land, Texas. Its Coffeyville refinery has a rated capacity of 115,000 barrels per day.


Police: Counterfeit Money Turning Up in Salina

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina police say several businesses have reported receiving counterfeit $20 and $100 bills over the weekend. Police Captain Mike Sweeney says four fake $100 bills were used to purchase a prepaid Visa card at a convenience store between 10:50 pm and 10:55 pm. He says two counterfeit $20 bills were used at the same store Sunday afternoon. The Salina Journal reports that a different store reported receiving three counterfeit $20 bills on Saturday, while another took in two fake $20 bills on Sunday.


Kansas Inmate Sentenced for Attacking Prosecutor

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas inmate has been sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for attacking a county prosecutor in a Reno County courtroom. The Hutchinson News reports the sentence imposed Monday on Michael Sherman, of Hutchinson, will run consecutive to the nearly 14 years he is already serving for molesting a 4-month-old baby. Sherman apologized in court to Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder for the July 2013 assault but indicated he'll appeal the sentence and his conviction for attempted first-degree murder. The attack occurred as Sherman was being sentenced for aggravated criminal sodomy. Sherman leaped from his chair and put Schroeder in a headlock before others in the courtroom pulled him away. Sherman testified last month that he wanted to "go after" Schroeder but did not intend to kill him.


KCMO Police Say PCP Caused Explosion

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say a weekend explosion is the first time they've encountered such a blast caused by the powerful hallucinogenic drug PCP. The Kansas City Star reports that officers were called to a home just after 5 p.m. Saturday after a witness reported an explosion. Firefighters forced open the locked front door and officers went to a third-floor apartment where they walked through a "cloudy mist" to get to an occupant. The 28-year-old man told police he was "just smoking my wet" when it blew up. "Wet" is slang for PCP. The man was booked into jail but later released while the investigation continues. Most PCP found in Kansas City is made in California. House explosions there and in Atlanta in the last year were attributed to PCP labs.


3 Reporters Subpoenaed in 'Pink Slime' Lawsuit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Three reporters for a food safety publication have been subpoenaed in the $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC related to the network's coverage of a meat product derided as "pink slime." Court records show that the writers for the online Food Safety News have been asked to supply all communication they had with ABC in 2012. Attorney Bruce Johnson said Tuesday that the subpoenas were "overreaching" and that the publication would fight the requests. Beef Products Inc. sued ABC in 2012 alleging that its reports led to plant closures and layoffs because it misled consumers into believing the product was unsafe. The industry describes the meat product as "lean, finely textured beef." Attorneys for ABC and BPI have proposed a trial date in February 2017.


Wichita Man Accused in Deadly Collision

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have released the names of three people killed in a hit-and-run weekend crash. The victims were identified Monday as 21-year-old Emily Phillips, of McPherson, and Jake Hallacy and Zachery Taylor, both 26 and from Valley Center. All three were passengers in a car that police say was struck around 2 a.m. Sunday by a speeding SUV that ran a red light at a west Wichita intersection. The car's driver remained in a hospital Monday, and a fourth passenger was treated and released. Police said the SUV's 31-year-old driver ran from the scene but was later arrested at a Wichita home. He was being held on suspicion of three counts of second-degree murder and other charges. Authorities said there was no sign that the man had used his brakes.


Crayola to Open Family Attraction in Orlando

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Crayon manufacturer Crayola is building a family attraction in Florida. The company said Tuesday that Crayola Experience Orlando will open next summer at The Florida Mall. It will be similar to the attraction Crayola now operates in its eastern Pennsylvania hometown of Easton. Crayola Experience Orlando will feature 25 hands-on activities in 70,000 square feet of space. One attraction will let children create their own unique crayon with a personalized wrapper. Another will let kids appear on their own coloring page. Crayola is a subsidiary of Kansas City, Missouri-based Hallmark Cards Inc. It says it chose Orlando because it's a top family destination. The area has three major theme park resorts, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld. But it has many more specialty parks and attractions, some built around children's brands.



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