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Headlines for Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Report: Effects of Kansas Tax Cuts 'Understated'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A report from the Kansas Legislature's nonpartisan research staff is sparking new questions about explanations for recent revenue shortfalls from Republican Governor Sam Brownback's administration. The legislative report released Tuesday said the estimates for income tax cuts championed by Brownback in 2012 and 2013 appear to have been understated in the state's official revenue projections. State tax collections in April and May of this year were $310 million short of the projections. The Department of Revenue has blamed disputes in Washington over federal tax policy that caused investors not to claim capital gains in 2013. Secretary Nick Jordan stood by that explanation Tuesday. The Legislative Research Department's monthly report on revenues acknowledged the capital gains issue as a factor in the recent shortfalls but also cited understated estimates for tax cuts.


Kobach: Some Voters to Get Provisional Ballots for Primary

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The top election official in Kansas says voters who registered using a federal form without providing proof of citizenship will be given provisional ballots when they vote in the August 5 primary elections. Secretary of State Kris Kobach told The Associated Press on Tuesday that while the provisional ballots will show all primary races, only votes cast for federal offices will be counted. Kobach says fewer than 100 Kansas voters who used the federal form to register to vote will be affected. A federal appeals court will hear arguments August 25 in a lawsuit attempting to force the federal government to help Kansas and Arizona enforce proof-of-citizenship requirements for voters. That hearing will take place after the Kansas primaries. About 18,600 Kansans have their registrations suspended pending documentation of citizenship.


Kansas Teachers Union Promising Lawsuit over New Policies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The largest teachers union in Kansas is promising to file a state court lawsuit challenging the Legislature's decision to add policies backed by conservative Republicans to an education funding bill this year. The Kansas National Education Association announced its plans Monday. General Legal Counsel David Schauner said the lawsuit will be filed by the end of the month in Shawnee County District Court. The new law boosts aid to poor school districts by $129 million during the next school year to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court decision in March. The GOP-dominated Legislature tied the funding to multiple policy provisions, including one that ends guaranteed teacher tenure in public schools. Schauner said the union hasn't yet decided how much of the policy in the law will be challenged.


NWS Reports Record Rainfall in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka has received a record level of rainfall during storms Monday. The National Weather Service says a record 2.31 inches of rain was logged on Monday. The city's old rainfall record for June 9 was 1.93 inches, set in 1941. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that there was minor flooding along the Wakarusa River at Wakarusa Tuesday morning. Shawnee County dispatch said despite the record rainfall, law enforcement hasn't received any reports of flooding over roadways in that county. The weather service forecasts a break in the rain Tuesday with chances for more rain returning Wednesday night into Thursday.


Heavy Rains but Minor Flooding in NE Kansas

Heavy rains fell across much of Kansas Monday and early Tuesday.Topeka saw a record rainfall of 2.31 inches of rain Monday. Kyle Pogue of the National Weather Service in Topeka says some area creeks and rivers were at or near flood stage. Minor flooding was reported on Wildcat Creek north of Manhattan in Riley County and on the Wakarusa River at Wakarusa in Shawnee County. Rainfall continued into Tuesday morning but showers were expected to decrease with skies clearing late in the afternoon. But, after a break in the rain, chances for possibly heavy rainfall will return Wednesday night and Thursday. Pogue said there were no reports of weather-related damage or injury anywhere in the region.


3 KS Counties Limit Holds on Immigration Detainees

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Three Kansas counties say they'll stop automatically honoring requests from federal immigration officials to detain people without a warrant or probable cause. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says sheriff's departments in Shawnee, Johnson and Finney counties say they'll require probable cause or a warrant to hold ICE detainees beyond their release date. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the move comes after recent court decisions in Oregon and Pennsylvania found that such ICE detainer requests are not commands that local jurisdictions have to honor. The courts found sheriffs could be liable for constitutional violations for holding people past the time when they would otherwise be released. The ACLU says it recently sent letters to county sheriffs across Kansas explaining the constitutional risks associated with honoring the warrantless detention requests.


Wolf Seeks 6 Debates in KS Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Tea party challenger Milton Wolf is proposing six debates with U.S. Senator Pat Roberts between now and the August 5 Republican primary in Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Wolf issued his challenge to the three-term incumbent on Monday. Wolf, a Leawood radiologist, wants two debates each in the Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City-area media markets. Roberts spokesman Leroy Towns said the senator has no problems with candidate forums or joint appearances. But Towns also said they should include the other two Republican candidates on the ballot: former mail carrier Alvin Zahnter, of Russell, and homemaker D.J. Smith, of Osawatomie. The Democrats seeking to replace Roberts are Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor and Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner. Businessman Greg Orman, of Olathe, is running for Senate as an independent.


Kansas Court Won't Hear Abortion Referrals Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Court of Appeals is forcing the state's medical board to reconsider its decision to revoke the license of a doctor over referrals of young patients to the late Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions. Executive Director Kathleen Selzler Lippert said Tuesday that the Board of Healing Arts will review the case of Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus of Nortonville this summer or fall. The board in 2012 revoked Neuhaus's charity care license, saying her mental health exams for 11 young patients in 2003 did not meet accepted standards before she referred them to Tiller in Wichita. In March, a Shawnee County judge overturned the finding and ordered the board to reconsider. The board asked the Court of Appeals to step in, but it refused last week.


Police Investigate Homicide in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police in a Kansas City suburb are investigating the death of a 51-year-old man as a homicide. Police said in a release Tuesday that officers found Chidozie "Joe" Ojiaka dead at his Overland Park home on Sunday. Neighbors had police called after noticing a strong smell and a large number of flies. Overland Park police say the man's body had been inside the home for several days. No further information was released.


Credit Union Teller Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former teller has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $81,000 from a credit union in Lawrence. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said in a news release Tuesday that 38-year-old Christi Marie Hout, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty to theft of credit union funds. She embezzled the money from Jayhawk Federal Credit Union by writing checks on her personal account and her husband's business account. She also made ATM withdrawals when there were insufficient funds in the accounts and used credit union funds to pay personal expenses. Hout's sentencing has not been set. The former credit union manager, 42-year-old Karolyn Stattelman of Topeka, is also charged with theft of credit union funds. A change of plea hearing is scheduled for June 17.


Body Found After Auto Shop Crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, are investigating the death of a man inside an auto body shop where a van crashed through a wall. WDAF-TV reports that police believe the conversion van smashed partway into Calvert's Express Auto Service sometime early Tuesday. But it wasn't until a tow truck arrived several hours later to remove the van that the body was found underneath it. It's not clear why the man was in the shop, and his name has not been released. Police are treating the death as suspicious and asking the public for any information while they also review surveillance video from nearby businesses.


Wichita Repeals Local Firearms Ordinances

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council has voted to repeal local ordinances on firearms ahead of a new Kansas law nullifying county and city regulations on owning, carrying and transporting guns. KFDI-FM reports that council members reluctantly took the action Tuesday. The state law takes effect July 1. Among the Wichita ordinances taken off the books are laws requiring private security officers to have gun permits and safety training. A member of the city's legal department said Wichita would still regulate the private security industry, with background checks and basic education requirements. The City Council also repealed ordinances on possession of guns, knives and air rifles. Members were told the state still prohibits people from carrying knives with the intent to harm another person, but the city can't outlaw knives in public buildings.


EPA Pitching Climate Policy to Western State Governors

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is talking to Western governors about climate change. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to speak to the governor's gathering today. about the Obama administration's proposed clean power plant rules. They call for every state to reduce its carbon output. Some governors in the region, including Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, have decried what they call the administration's job-killing war on coal. Others, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, have blamed increasingly destructive fires on climate change. The EPA announced rules last week. They set a goal of cutting emissions of greenhouse gases by 30 percent nationwide from 2005 levels. The deadline to accomplish that would be 2030.


Slots Fill for Immigration Service Meetings in Kansas

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — All available appointments have been booked for people to meet with representatives from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the agency's upcoming visit to Dodge City. The Dodge City Daily Globe reports the immigration service will hold its first mobile session in Dodge City from June 17 through June 19. The second session will be in September in Liberal, before rotating to Garden City. Appointments can be made online at The mobile service team will be able to perform citizenship exams, residency interviews and process fingerprints. City Manager Cherise Tieben says with the highest percentage of immigrants as a portion of the population in the state, southwest Kansas has an increased need for better access to the federal service.


Wichita Mother, Boyfriend Charged in Child's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Wichita mother and her boyfriend are charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old daughter. Prosecutors say the girl, Emma Krueger, suffered beatings for up to a month before her mother called 911 on June 2. The child died last Wednesday. Doctors told police the girl had severe bruising on her body. The couple was charged Monday. They are being held on $150,000 bond each, with preliminary hearings scheduled for June 24. They both asked for court-appointed attorneys.


Wichita's Cargill Changing Hog Production Facilities

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Cargill officials say they will change the way hogs used to produce pork are housed. The company, based in Wichita, said Monday it will eliminate individual stalls for sows and use only group housing by the end of next year. The company also says it will require farms with which it contracts to use group housing by the end of 2017. The Wichita Eagle reports animal activists have been pushing to change the hog industry's practice of housing sows in individual steel stalls that are too small for the animals to turn around. Cargill spokesman Mike Martin says the industry is moving toward group housing because animal-rights groups have convinced the public it is better for the animals.


Group Promotes Meat Processing in Eastern Kansas

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) _ A nonprofit group that supports small, family farms is trying to build support for a meat processing facility and food hub project in eastern Kansas. The Kansas Rural Center is holding a public meeting June 17 at the Franklin County annex in Ottawa, where results of a feasibility study for a food hub in Douglas County will be presented. Speakers will discuss local food market opportunities and potential funding sources for meat processing and storage facilities. Results of a feasibility study for a food hub in Douglas County also will be presented.


Audit: Over 1,080 Kansas Veterans Awaiting VA Visits

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs says 110 Kansas veterans are waiting for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics for 90 days or more. An additional 977 veterans in Kansas who have enrolled in the VA health care system during the past 10 years have never had appointments. The audit released Monday shows 104 patients are on an electronic waiting list at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita. Six are awaiting care through the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, which has facilities in Topeka and Leavenworth. The federal department also says 636 veterans who enrolled for care at the Wichita center in the past decade never had an appointment. Another 341 who enrolled in Topeka or Leavenworth have not had an appointment.


Top 2 Doctors in Eastern Kansas VA System Leaving

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A spokesman for the Veterans Affairs health care system for eastern Kansas says its top two doctors are taking other positions within the VA at the end of the month. Spokesman Jim Gleisberg confirmed Monday that medical Chief of Staff Rajeev Trehan and Deputy Chief of Staff Sandeep Chhahir are transferring out of their positions. Gleisberg said he can't say more because their departures are personnel matters. The Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka faced physician shortages that diverted patients to other hospital emergency rooms for months last year. The staffing issues prompted the VA to close the Topeka medical center's emergency room in January. Gleisberg said while staffing for the emergency room has increased, he doesn't know when the VA will reopen it.


Colorado Man Sentenced for Kansas Bank Holdup

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Colorado man who wore pajama pants while robbing a Kansas bank has been sentenced to two years in federal prison. The U.S. Attorney's office says a judge in Topeka sentenced 38-year-old Matthew W. Headley on Monday. Headley, of Canon City, Colorado, pleaded guilty earlier to entering a US Bank branch in Lawrence last September and handing over a note demanding money. Lawrence police found him at a nearby convenience store, still wearing the pajama pants and golf hat, but did not have enough evidence at the time to arrest him. He was arrested the next day driving west on Interstate 70 in northwestern Kansas. Headley formerly lived in Lawrence. He pleaded guilty in 1998 to robbing two Lawrence businesses and was released from federal prison in 2007.


Former Salina School Counselor Convicted of Rape

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas middle school counselor has been convicted of raping a male student who was doing work at her home.The Salina Journal reports that jurors deliberated about three hours Monday before finding 33-year-old Brooke Dinkel guilty on two counts. She was acquitted of eight counts of rape and 10 of aggravated criminal sodomy. Witnesses in the trial testified the boy was 13 when he and Dinkel first had sex in late 2012. The boy, now 14, testified their last sexual contact before Dinkel's arrest took place in March 2013. Dinkel, who worked at Smoky Valley Middle School in Lindsborg, testified the boy forced himself on her the first time they had sex. She said she continued the encounters because the boy was threatening to get her in trouble.


KC Chiefs Cornerback Smith Cited After Wreck

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith was cited for driving under the influence and careless driving after an officer witnessed him lose control and strike a light pole early Monday. According to a copy of the police report, Smith was attempting to make a turn in Kansas City's Power & Light entertainment district when he struck the light pole around 12:30 am. The officer reported that Smith "appeared confused and began mumbling statements that I did not understand." Smith declined medical attention. Along with citations for driving under the influence, he was also cited for failure to provide insurance. The Chiefs said in a statement issued to The Associated Press on Tuesday that they were aware of the matter. The statement called the situation "disappointing" but declined further comment.


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