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Headlines for Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Kansas Officials Assessing Pipeline Rupture

OLPE, Kan. (AP) — State health officials have been at the site of an accident along an eastern Kansas natural gas pipeline that spewed a natural gas cloud that left a dark, oily residue over now-withering crops and trees. The Emporia Gazette reports that the incident Thursday along a Panhandle Eastern pipeline near Olpe occurred as crews were trying to perform pipeline maintenance. Residents reported seeing a dark, oily plume burst from the line and spread across nearby fields and yards. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the substance released was natural gas condensate. Natural gas condensate can come in various compositions, but typically contains benzene, a known carcinogen. KDHE spokeswoman Sara Belfry says she doesn't know how much condensate was released, but that KDHE crews are assessing the situation.


Wheat Harvest Activity Spreads Across Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Widespread rain across Kansas has again stalled the winter wheat harvest with nearly a quarter of the state's crop now in the bin. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that parts of Kansas received a half-inch to 2 inches of rain on Sunday. Some areas are also reporting hail and wind damage. The report shows 24 percent of the Kansas wheat has now been cut. That is well ahead of the 7 percent reported at the same time last year, but behind the 34 percent average. About 66 percent of the wheat is mature and ready to harvest. That is typical for late June. In southwestern Kansas, farmer Jason Ochs said a lot of the best wheat in the area got hailed out Sunday around Syracuse.


Schodorf Outlines Voter Registration Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A Democratic candidate for Kansas secretary of state is preparing to outline her plan to fix what she calls the broken voter registration system in the state. Jean Schodorf has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon to discuss the problem and her plan to fix it. Schodorf has criticized Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach because voter registrations of nearly 19,000 residents are on hold for failing to meet a proof-of-citizenship requirement that Kobach championed.


Wichita Library to Celebrate Maya Angelou's Legacy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita Public Library will celebrate the life and legacy of Maya Angelou (MY'-ah ANJ'-eh-loh) at a branch named for the late author and poet. Angelou died May 28. She was a champion of public libraries and attended the opening of Wichita's Maya Angelou Northeast Branch Library in late 1996. She also taught briefly at Wichita State University. The celebration at 7 p.m. Friday will include poetry, dance, song and memories from her Wichita friends and colleagues. Angelou told her own story in her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." She was an actress, singer and dancer in the 1950s and 1960s. During her years as a civil rights activist she befriended Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


Kansas Lawmaker to Run Huelskamp Re-Election Bid

FOWLER, Kan. (AP) — A state House member from western Kansas is managing Republican congressman Tim Huelskamp's re-election campaign. The appointment of Palco Republican Travis Couture-Lovelady was announced last week by Huelskamp's campaign. Couture-Lovelady won his seat in the Kansas House in 2012 after working as communications director for State Treasurer Ron Estes. Couture-Lovelady is seeking re-election to the Legislature this year but has no opponents in his 110th District. Huelskamp is seeking a third, two-year term representing the 1st Congressional District of western and central Kansas. He is from Fowler in southwest Kansas. Huelskamp faces Clyde farmer and educator Alan LaPolice in the August 5 Republican primary. Two Democrats are running. They are Kansas State University history professor Jim Sherow, and 2013 Wichita State University graduate Bryan Whitney of Syracuse.


Kobach Primary Opponent's Child Affected by Kansas Voter Rule

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The daughter of a primary challenger to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had her voter registration put on hold temporarily because of a proof-of-citizenship requirement criticized by her father. Republican Scott Morgan of Lawrence said Monday the Douglas County clerk's office told his 18-year-old daughter, Grace, that her registration was incomplete because she hadn't documented her U.S. citizenship. Scott Morgan said his daughter registered online last week and submitted an electronic image of her passport, but received a letter days later from the county asking for citizenship documentation. Kobach's office says processing images of citizenship documents takes a few days. Grace Morgan's registration was confirmed Monday. But Scott Morgan said the incident shows problems with the proof-of-citizenship law. The GOP primary is August 5.


Wichita Police Find 3 Dead in Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating after three people were found shot to death at a home on the city's southeast side. Police say two females and one male were found shot to death at the house around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday. Police Lt. Dan East says a 41-year-old man who was taken into custody for questioning is related to the victims, who were not identified. East says the shootings appear to be the result of domestic violence, but he says the investigation is continuing and no formal charges have been filed in the case. Police planned an update later Tuesday morning.


Greeley Woman Sentenced in Drug Case That Led to Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas woman has been sentenced in connection with a drug conspiracy that led to the killing of a man who was found inside a refrigerator. The U.S. Attorney's office says 24-year-old Tracy Rockers, of Greeley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced Monday to 13 years and six months in federal prison. Rockers was the 14th person sentenced in connection with the December 2010 death of 33-year-old Gregory Price at a home in Eudora. She admitted being present when drug traffickers killed Price for failing to pay a debt of about $800. Price's body was put in a refrigerator that was dumped in a field in Eudora. Authorities found the refrigerator and the body in March 2012, more than a year after Price was reported missing.


Democrat in KS 3rd District Race Faces GOP Ethics Complaint

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Democratic congressional candidate faces a hearing before the Kansas ethics commission over a Republican Party complaint that she violated a state campaign finance law. But spokesman Jacob Becklund said Monday that Democrat Kelly Kultala's campaign has long since corrected the mistake that led to the GOP complaint. The commission has scheduled a July 16 hearing. Kultala is a former state senator from Kansas City and is seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder. Kultala's campaign reported receiving $1,000 in February from her legislative campaign fund. The GOP filed a complaint in April, noting that such a contribution violates a state law prohibiting the transfer of funds for a state race to a federal campaign. Becklund says the money was returned quickly.


Washburn Baseball Coach Dies in Accident

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Washburn University community is mourning the death of baseball coach Steven Anson. The university and Jefferson County authorities say the 60-year-old Anson died Sunday in a tree-trimming accident. The sheriff's office says emergency responders were called to the home about 3 pm Sunday, and Anson was dead at the scene. Further details of the accident were not immediately available. His wife, Dena, is Washburn's university relations director. The university said in a news release that Anson compiled a record of 844-798-3 in 35 seasons with the Ichabods. He guided the Ichabods to five NAIA tournaments and was Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association coach of the year in 1994. Anson played baseball at Kansas State, winning the Big Eight batting title in 1974 with a .439 average.


St. John Residents: Get the Name Right

ST. JOHN, Kan. (AP) — Residents of a small central Kansas town are tired of seeing their town's name misspelled. For the record, it's St. John, not Saint John, Kansas. The 1,200 residents of the Stafford County town blame the U.S. Postal Service for the confusion. The town is listed in the postal service's computer system with the incorrect spelling. So when someone orders something on the Internet, the computer uses the spelled-out saint, rather than the abbreviation. Same with searching for the town's weather forecast. The town was named for John St. John, the eighth governor of Kansas, not for any religious saint. The Wichita Eagle reports alumni of St. John High School started a petition last week to ask the postal service to fix the problem.


Man Plans American Indian Center in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — If John Learned's dreams come true, a mostly empty building in Kansas City will soon house several American Indian organizations. Learned, of Lawrence, says private donors will help him raise $10 million to buy the Loretto building in central Kansas City. He plans to open the American Indian Center of the Great Plains later this year. The Kansas City Star reports the plan is to have many Native American organizations and businesses under one roof. The emphasis will be on sports, with a goal of bringing Native American tournaments to the city. The North American Indian Tennis Association already has an office in the building. Also committed is the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, which showcases such legendary athletes as Jim Thorpe and track star Billy Mills.


Wichita Man Pleads Guilty in Revenge Killing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man will be sentenced Aug. 27 for a murder that witnesses say was revenge for the death of his brother. Thirty-two-year-old James Vell Holloman pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the December 2010 shooting death of Stephen Smallwood outside Perfection Auto shop. During testimony in October, witnesses said the 41-year-old Smallwood was shot because Holloman thought he was involved in the killing of Holloman's brother, Sammy Smith, in 2009. The Wichita Eagle reports Holloman was arrested after Smallwood's death but was released for lack of evidence. Holloman was transferred in August to Sedgwick County from a federal prison in Louisiana, where was serving a 12-year term for weapons and conspiracy to commit robbery. Holloman was on parole for an aggravated robbery conviction when Smallwood was killed.


Officials Deny Causing Missouri River Floods

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The federal government says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shouldn't be blamed for causing major flooding along the Missouri River. The government filed its initial response last week to a lawsuit that more than 200 landowners filed in March. The federal lawsuit claimed landowners should be compensated for the extensive damage they experienced — particularly during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Landowners say the government is putting less emphasis on flood control while deciding how to manage Missouri River reservoirs because of efforts to restore habitat for endangered species. Government lawyers filed a 56-page response Thursday denying the allegations. The lawsuit is likely to take several years to resolve.


Kansas Man Killed by Downed Power Line

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Kansas City, Kansas, man found dead on a roadside over the weekend had been electrocuted by a downed power line. The victim was identified Monday as 44-year-old Charles Ruth. KCTV reports that a woman found him late Sunday morning lying in the grass in a wooded area, with a bicycle on top of him and a dangling power line nearby. A police officer who went to the scene received a shock from the wire. The officer was treated at a hospital and released.


Treasurer of 2 Groups Sentenced for Embezzlement

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The former treasurer of a northwest Missouri town's fire and road districts will serve three years in jail without parole for embezzling more than $1.5 million. Federal prosecutors said in a news release that 59-year-old Leland Ray Kolkmeyer, of Wellington, was sentenced Monday and must surrender to federal authorities August 7 to serve his sentence for two counts of mail fraud. Kolkmeyer, who has already repaid $1 million in restitution, and was ordered to pay another $530,159 in restitution. That is the total he embezzled from the Wellington Napoleon Fire Protection District and the Special Road District. Kolkmeyer was elected treasurer of both organizations in 1998. He resigned from both positions in February 2013. Court documents say Kolkmeyer used the money for home improvements, vehicles and weddings for his children.



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