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Headlines for Tuesday, May 13, 2014



US Representative Huelskamp Files for New Term in Kansas 1st

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican congressman Tim Huelskamp has filed for re-election in the 1st District of western and central Kansas and is promising to battle leaders in both political parties. Huelskamp filed the paperwork Tuesday for a spot on the Aug. 5 primary ballot. He is seeking his third, two-year term. The tea party congressman from Fowler has been a vocal critic of Democratic President Barack Obama over the health care overhaul and numerous other issues. But he's also been critical of Republican House Speaker John Boehner for not being conservative enough. Huelskamp faces former state Representative Kent Roth of Ellinwood and Clyde educator and farmer Alan LaPolice in the GOP primary. The Democratic candidates are Kansas State University history professor Jim Sherow and Bryan Whitney, a 2013 graduate of Wichita State University.


KS Board: Senator Pat Roberts Will Be on Ballot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas Senator Pat Roberts' spokesman says Monday's ruling by a state elections board should end all the questions about his residency. The board has rejected a claim that the three-term Republican senator isn't truly a Kansas resident, meaning he will be on the ballot for the August GOP primary. Challenger Milton Wolf says Roberts lives in Virginia and state officials give him special treatment. Roberts has a voting address in Dodge City.


States Claim Right to Require Documents to Vote

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The states of Kansas and Arizona say they have a sovereign right to require proof of citizenship for voting residents of their states, even for federal elections. The two states urged the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to lift the emergency stay it issued last week. The appeals court had halted a ruling from U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren requiring the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to modify its federal voter registration form for Kansas and Arizona residents. Kansas claims the appeals court stay would force it to implement a burdensome dual election system, like the one in Arizona. Under that system, voters who registered with the federal form can only vote in federal races, while those using the more stringent state registration forms can vote in all elections.


Battery Charge Dropped Under Stand Your Ground Law

OAKLEY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who was scheduled to go to trial this week for shooting a former employee has been granted immunity from liability under the state's "Stand Your Ground" law. David Collins of Oakley could have faced prison time if found guilty of aggravated battery in the March 5, 2013, shooting of Desmond Bowles. The Salina Journal reports that Chief Judge Glenn Schiffner's ruling last Thursday caused the case to be dropped. Bowles was a former employee of the Collins farm and ranch and had been told to stay off the Collins property. Court documents show Bowles went to the home David Collins's father, where David Collins confronted him. Collins says he pulled his gun and it went off during a scuffle. Bowles survived but lost sight in his left eye.


Update: Lawrence's Fatal Mother's Day Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Police in Lawrence say a 26-year-old man who was fatally shot at a Mother's Day cookout had an ongoing dispute with the suspected shooter. The victim has now been identified as Lawrence resident Charles Brockman. The confrontation happened around 6 o'clock Sunday evening at an apartment complex where dozens of people were attending a cookout. Police said Brockman got out of a vehicle carrying a shotgun, prompting another man to run into a building and try to enter an apartment. Witnesses said Brockman ignored pleas from others to leave and ran toward the same building. Gunfire erupted, and police say Brockman was shot by the person he was pursuing. That man was questioned and released Sunday night. No charges were filed yesterday (MON) while police continued their investigation.


Huelskamp Continuing Prairie Chicken Protest

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp says he's working with other members of Congress on proposals to cut the budget of the federal agency that listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened. Huelskamp said Tuesday the goal would be to get the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to back off its decision. But he said cutting the agency's budget also would protest what he sees as over-regulation by President Barack Obama's administration. The federal agency said in March that a steep decline in lesser prairie chicken numbers justified the listing. But Huelskamp and other Kansas officials worry about possible restrictions on farming, ranching and oil and gas production. They believe the state's economy will suffer. The Fish and Wildlife Service declined to respond to Huelskamp's comments.


Federal Agency Mum on KS Prairie Chicken Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The federal agency that listed the lesser prairie chicken as threatened isn't responding publicly to a new Kansas law declaring that only the state can regulate the wild chicken within its borders. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said yesterday (MON) that the agency had no comment. Governor Sam Brownback signed the prairie chicken measure late last Friday. It takes effect May 22. The law is a protest against possible restrictions on farming, ranching and oil and natural gas production. The measure covers the lesser prairie chicken and the larger, darker and more abundant greater prairie chicken. It authorizes the Kansas attorney general and county prosecutors to file lawsuits against federal conservation efforts. The Fish and Wildlife Service said in March that a steep decline in lesser prairie chicken numbers justified the listing of the bird as a threatened species.


Report: Most of KS Wheat Crop in Poor Condition

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The latest government snapshot shows that more than half of the Kansas winter wheat crop is faring poorly. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that heat and high winds have caused further deterioration of the crop. The agency rated 56 percent of Kansas wheat in poor to very poor condition. About 31 percent was rated as fair, 12 percent good and only 1 percent excellent.


Feds Approve KS High-Voltage Line

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A Texas company has received a key federal approval for its proposed high-voltage power line that will deliver Kansas-generated wind energy to users in the eastern U.S. Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC has gotten approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to negotiate agreements to sell capacity on its proposed overhead transmission line. The 750-mile-long Grain Belt Express plans to link wind farms in western Kansas with utilities, load-serving entities and clean energy generators in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The company says it eventually will transport power for an estimated 1.4 billion households annually. 


Board of Ed Struggling with Innovation Designations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State Board of Education members are struggling with applications from the first two Kansas school districts seeking innovative status under a 2013 state law, and with the law's implications for the board's authority. The board created a subcommittee Tuesday to meet with the Concordia and McPherson school districts to discuss their applications and resolve several questions. Among them were specifics about student testing, accrediting schools and how much governance the state board retains over the districts. Innovative status exempts districts from certain state regulations in exchange for the freedom to try new ways to improve student achievement. Governor Sam Brownback and the leaders of the House and Senate Education committees chose McPherson and Concordia earlier this year from among eight applicants for the designation, but the state board still must approve.


Kansas Mom Pleads No Contest in Daughter's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman whose 6-year-old daughter died in a Wichita house fire last summer has pleaded no contest to three counts of aggravated child endangerment. The Wichita Eagle reports 28-year-old Ruthie Lee Bell of Wichita also pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated interference with parental custody on Monday in Sedgwick County District Court. Prosecutors say Bell left 6-year-old Ja'Kara Dickson and her two sisters, ages 4 and 7, alone before the fire broke out at their home July 11. Authorities have said Ja'Kara was playing with a lighter when she accidentally set her clothes on fire, then caught her bed on fire when she pulled off the burning clothes. She died three days later. Bell is scheduled to be sentenced June 25.



105-Year-Old Woman Rescued from Burning Home

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — A 105-year-old woman is reported in good condition at a hospital after being rescued from her burning home in northeast Kansas. WDAF-TV reports that a nephew who lives next door to Ann Elizabeth Jarrett in Tonganoxie smelled smoke just after 4:30 am Tuesday. The nephew, Jackson Jarrett, says he saw smoke pouring from the roof of his aunt's home. He opened her door but was turned back by smoke while listening to her call for help. Firefighters were able to rescue the woman. She was taken to a Lawrence hospital for observation. Tonganoxie Fire Chief David Barrett says it was one of his proudest days in his 26 years with the department. Ann Elizabeth Jarrett is known in the neighborhood as a Sunday school teacher who still handles all her personal affairs.


Group Says B-29 Could Be in Air by Year's End

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A group of volunteers that has been restoring a B-29 Superfortress for more than a decade says the bomber could be in the air by year's end, barring any unforeseen setbacks. A Wichita nonprofit group called Doc's Friends still must install the plane's fourth and final engine, install avionics and fuel cells, and check all the electrical systems and flight controls. The Wichita Eagle reports the volunteers also must obtain an airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. The group's board chairman, retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner, says it will take $750,000 to $1 million to finish restoring the plane, which was built in Wichita in 1944. When it's finished, the giant bomber will be one of only two restored B-29s in flying condition.


KC Police Investigate Body Found in Swimming Pool

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating the death of an elderly man who was found in a residential swimming pool by his wife when she returned from a trip out of town. Police spokesman Darin Snapp says officers were called to the south Kansas City home at 10:30 am Tuesday in regard to a drowning. Officers found the man, believed to be about 70 years old, with no signs of life. Snapp says it appears the man had been in the pool for at least a couple days. His wife said she was out of town and found him in their backyard pool when she got back. An autopsy is being performed to determine the exact cause of death.


KS Board to Meet at Brown Historic Site

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas State Board of Education will hold part of its monthly meeting at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka to mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark desegregation ruling. Board Chairwoman Jana Shaver will read a statement Wednesday on the steps of the former Monroe School before the start of the board's meeting. Shaver will discuss the importance of the ruling on education and the nation. Saturday is the anniversary of the ruling, which outlawed segregation in public schools. The Brown site is housed in a former all-black school where the lead plaintiff's daughter and another plaintiff's child in the desegregation case were students. Exhibits tell the story of the 1954 Supreme Court decision.


Few Answers in Wake of Planned Parenthood Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Planned Parenthood is saying little about the fate of its clinics in Hays and Wichita after dropping a legal challenge to a Kansas law that stripped them of federal family planning money. The clinics provide reproductive health care for more than 5,700 people. Yesterday (MON), a federal court formally closed the case at Planned Parenthood's request. Kansas health officials say they are looking to make sure people across the state have access to family planning. Defunding Planned Parenthood leaves Ellis County without a Title X health care provider. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment suggests the Sedgwick County Health Department could fill the gap in Wichita. But it is unclear how Sedgwick County could immediately absorb more than double its patient population to meet those family planning needs.


Topeka Officials Begin Downtown Project

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Civic and government leaders in Topeka have broken ground on a revitalization project they hope brings new activity to the core of the capital city. A ceremony was held yesterday (MON) morning to start the project along Kansas Avenue east of the Statehouse. City leaders have spent the past five years developing the $5.8 million project. Elements include wider sidewalks, streetscapes and updated utilities. Construction will start on the northbound lanes of Kansas Avenue. The work is to be completed by October 2015. Numerous private-sector projects are planned along the corridor that will be financed by private donations.


Robber Sentenced for Shooting McDonald's Manager

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A Missouri man has been sentenced to slightly more than eight years in prison for a robbery at a McDonald's restaurant in Kansas where the manager was shot and wounded. The U.S. Attorney's office says 26-year-old Nicholas Martell McGinnie, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced yesterday (MON) in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. McGinnie pleaded guilty to robbing a McDonald's in Leawood, Kansas, in December 2012. After hiding in a restroom while waiting for the restaurant to close, McGinnie confronted the manager at gunpoint and demanded money. The manager was shot in the legs while trying to push McGinnie out the door. McGinnie will serve the 100-month Kansas term after completing a five-year sentence from federal court in Missouri for illegal possession of a firearm.


Ex-Sedgwick County Deputy Not Contesting Sex Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A former Sedgwick County detention officer has pleaded no contest to trying to have sex with inmates at the county jail. Former deputy David Kendall had faced more than a dozen counts of sexually assaulting or attempting to assault six inmates over a three-month period in 2012. He pleaded no contest yesterday (MON) to six counts of attempted unlawful sexual relations and one count of making a false information. The plea came thesame week that Kendall was to go on trial. Sentencing is set for June 27 before Judge Joseph Bribiesca.


Jayhawks to Tackle Tough 2014-2015 Hoops Schedule

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — After playing one of the nation's toughest schedules a year ago, the University of Kansas appears to be trying to upstage itself with the release of its nonconference men's basketball schedule Tuesday. The Jayhawks will face Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown, Utah, Temple and UNLV, and could play additional games against Michigan State, Marquette, Georgia Tech and Rhode Island depending on how things shake out in various tournaments. Throw in the Big 12's double round-robin schedule and Kansas could play 16 games against teams that made the NCAA tournament a year ago. The Jayhawks open the season against UC-Santa Barbara on November 14, and then play defending NCAA runner-up Kentucky four days later in Indianapolis. Kansas is also scheduled to play in the Orlando Classic later in November.


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