Voters Head to The Polls in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Polls opened at 7 a.m. across Kansas. Election officials are predicting a record number of voters will cast ballots. Early voting was about 40 percent higher than it was before the last presidential election in 2012. Kansas has 1.8 million registered voters and Secretary of State Kris Kobach predicted that 1.3 million of them would cast ballots for a record turnout of 72 percent. Republican nominee Donald Trump is expected to carry Kansas in the presidential race. Kansas was always seen as safe for Trump because a Democratic presidential candidate hasn't won the state since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. GOP Senator Jerry Moran seems to be headed to an easy re-election victory. Moran is facing Lawrence attorney and accountant Patrick Wiesner. In state Senate and House races, fourteen conservative Republicans lost House and Senate seats in the August primary and Democrats are hoping to knock off more of Governor Sam Brownback's allies today (TUE). Political observers say voters are likely to approve an amendment to the state constitution to protect hunting and fishing and Republicans anticipate winning all four of the state's U.S. House seats. Kansas voters are also deciding on whether to retain state five of the seven state Supreme Court justices. Four of them were appointed by previous governors and have been targeted for ouster by conservatives, abortion opponents and other critics. Conservative Republicans hope to give Governor Brownback an opportunity to remake the state's highest court. State law requires the polls to be open until at least 7 pm but local officials can choose to extend those hours.
More Than 505,000 Kansas Ballots Cast Early
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office says the number of early ballots cast in Kansas is 47 percent higher than it was for the last presidential election in 2012. Kobach's office said as of early Tuesday morning, more than 505,000 Kansas voters had cast ballots by mail or in person at sites set up by county election officials. The figure was about 344,000 for the morning of the 2012 election. Kobach has predicted that a record 1.3 million voters will participate in this year's election. Voters have mailed in early ballots at a slightly higher rate than they did in 2012. Early in-person voting increased nearly 87 percent before it ended at noon Monday. About 332,000 people cast early ballots in-person this year. The figure for 2012 was 178,000.
Prosecutors Seek Access to Indicted Kansas Developer's Guns
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say they want access to inventory firearms housed in storage units owned by a Topeka real estate developer who is charged with more than 100 counts of bankruptcy fraud. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Kent Lindemuth is accused of purchasing 103 firearms between August 2013 and December 2014, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2012 and claiming he had more than $3.5 million in debt. Prosecutors say Lindemuth made the purchases without telling his creditors or the bankruptcy trustee. He has pleaded not guilty. Lindemuth was released from federal custody on several conditions, including that he doesn't possess or sell any firearms, but that plan fell through when Lindemuth's relative refused to be the custodian of the firearms.
Ex-Kansas Prison Guard Admits Smuggling Tobacco to Inmates
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A former guard at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, has admitted in federal court that he accepted bribes to smuggle tobacco to inmates. Forty-seven-year-old Marc Buckner of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of being a public official accepting bribes. Authorities said Buckner received more than $200,000 in bribes while he worked at the prison from 2005 to 2014. The U.S. attorney's office alleges Buckner got about $750 each time he smuggled tobacco into the prison. Prosecutors say Buckner hid the contraband tobacco and rolling papers in two handmade insoles in his shoes and carried out the smuggling scheme once or twice a month. Buckner faces up to 15 years in prison.
Wounded Topeka Detective Expected to Make Full Recovery
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a Topeka police detective wounded in a weekend shooting is expected to make a full recovery. Police identified the officer in a news release Monday as Detective Brian Hill, a 25-year veteran of the department. The 51-year-old Hill underwent surgery after he was shot Saturday night while responding to a convenience store robbery. Police said previously that he was shot in the leg and abdomen. During the confrontation, Hill returned fire, wounding the suspect. A police spokeswoman said that the suspect is hospitalized in critical condition. The suspect's name was not released.
Federal Trial of 2 Men Puts Kansas Gun Law in Spotlight
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Two Kansas men accused of federal firearms violations are scheduled for trial this week in a case that indirectly involves a Kansas law seeking to prevent federal prosecution of anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state. Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler's trial is scheduled to start today (TUE) in federal court in Wichita. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Cox, owner of a gun store in Chanute, is charged with illegally making and marketing firearms, specifically sound suppressors. Kettler bought a silencer from Cox. Defense attorneys argue the charges should be dismissed because the men believed their actions were legal under a state law. The Second Amendment Protection Act says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept in Kansas are exempt from federal gun-control laws.
Man Fatally Shot After Fighting for Kansas Deputy's Gun
HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a sheriff's deputy has shot and killed a motorist who tried to take the deputy's gun after a pursuit ended in a crash in western Kansas. The Ellis County prosecutor said in a news release that the chase started early Tuesday after Hays police officers attempted to stop the white driver from crossing the center line. The motorist reached speeds of more than 100 mph before crashing while attempting to pass another vehicle on U.S. 183. The release says a deputy used a stun gun when the driver attacked. The two tussled on the ground before the driver was fatally shot while attempting to take the deputy's gun. The officer was treated at a hospital and released. The name of the suspect and the deputy weren't immediately released.
College Student Has Kit-Kat Stolen: Company Sends 6,500 More
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Hershey has come to the rescue of a college student who had his Kit Kat bar brazenly stolen. Kansas State University student Hunter Jobbins tells The Wichita Eagle he left his car unlocked with a Kit Kat in the cup holder last month before running into his dorm building. When he came back, the candy bar had been replaced with a note. The thief wrote, "I love Kit Kats so I checked your door and it was unlocked. Did not take anything other than the Kit Kat. I am sorry and hungry." Jobbins's picture of the note went viral on Twitter, and Hershey responded by sending a representative to the campus with 6,500 Kit Kat bars. Jobbins stuffed the bars in his car and handed them out around campus last week.
Overland Park PTO Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft Charge
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas woman has pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from a middle school's parent-teacher organization. The Kansas City Star reports that 45-year-old Christine Glover, of Olathe, entered the plea Monday in Johnson County District Court. She served as treasurer of the PTO at Pleasant Ridge Middle School in the Blue Valley School District before the theft was discovered earlier this year. Glover was initially charged with the theft of at least $25,000, but on Monday she pleaded guilty in Johnson County District Court to an amended charge of stealing less than $25,000. The exact amount was not reflected in online court documents.
Topeka Police Chief Resigning for National Guard Position
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Topeka's police chief plans to resign at the start of next year to move into a full-time position with the Kansas National Guard. Chief James Brown announced Monday that he would step down. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Brown's last day with the city will be January 1, and he'll start his full-time position with the Guard on January 2. Brown has been police chief since October 2014. Since August 2015, he's been the Guard's command chief master sergeant, making him its senior enlisted leader. The job becomes full-time next year. Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast praised Brown for improving community policing. He also started a unit on gangs and organized crime and created a cadets program for people aged 18 to 21.
Missouri Man Accused of Endangerment After Daughter Shot
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City, Missouri, man who said he accidentally shot himself and his 1-year-old daughter while cleaning a gun is charged with child endangerment and marijuana possession. Jackson County prosecutors on Monday charged 29-year-old George Turrentine with endangerment of a child and armed criminal action - both felonies - and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. Court documents allege that Turrentine told police at a hospital Sunday night that he accidentally shot himself and his daughter at their home while he was cleaning a 9mm handgun. Turrentine allegedly said the bullet went through his arm and into the child. Authorities said Monday the girl was in critical-but-stable condition.
Wichita State University to Go Tobacco-Free in 2017
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University is set to implement a ban on tobacco use on campus in 2017. The Wichita Eagle reports that students, faculty, staff members and visitors won't be allowed to use tobacco on the university campus starting July 1. The new policy includes cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. People will be allowed to smoke in designated outdoor areas during sporting events, with prior approval from the university. Student-run organization Tobacco Free Wu & Me has led efforts to ban tobacco on campus. The group's current vice president Emma Crabtree says the July start date will allow the organization time to publicize the new policy.
Judge Recused in Case of Missouri Trooper in Lake Drowning Case
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Another judge has recused himself from handling the case of a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who is charged in the drowning of a handcuffed Iowa man. The Kansas City Star reports that Morgan County Circuit Judge Stan Moore announced the decision Monday without explanation during a hearing for Anthony Piercy. Moore is the third judge to recuse himself, an action that will delay the case. Piercy was charged last year with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Brandon Ellingson, an Arizona State University student from suburban Des Moines. The 20-year-old fell into the water in 2014 as Piercy was transporting him from the Lake of the Ozarks on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Witnesses have said that Ellingson was wearing an improperly secured life jacket that slipped off.
Kansas College Mourns 2 Students Who Died in Crash
STERLING, Kan. (AP) — Students and faculty at Sterling College in Rice County are mourning two juniors at the school who died in a car collision. The Hutchinson News reports that 25-year-old Xavier Bradford of Lancaster, California, and 21-year-old Esther Jenkerson of Datil, New Mexico, were killed in the accident Monday morning. Authorities say the vehicle that Bradford and Jenkerson were traveling in collided with a semitrailer in Reno County. The semitrailer's driver was not injured in the incident. Bradford had been studying writing and was a player on the football team. Jenkerson was an athletic training major at the college of about 650 students. Students gathered Monday evening to remember the two and listen as Sterling College Chaplain Christian Dashiell spoke.
Parents Speak Out About Soldier and Former Kansas Student Killed in Jordan
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A Special Forces soldier from Missouri who was among three Americans killed last week in Jordan is being remembered by his parents as a "born leader" and "true American." Chuck and Cindy Lewellen also say 27-year-old Staff Sergeant Matthew C. Lewellen of Kirksville, Missouri wanted to be a soldier since the third grade and "was doing what he loved to do." The former Kirksville High School football and track standout was with a group of military trainers whose convoy came under fire last Friday as they entered a Jordanian base. The other soldiers who were killed were from Arizona and Texas. Lewellen was enrolled at the University of Kansas when he joined the Army in 2010.
KU Vice Chancellor is Finalist for University President Position in Georgia
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas vice chancellor for public affairs is one of the four finalists to become president of Valdosta State University in Georgia. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Tim Caboni is scheduled to visit the school's campus November 17 and November 18 to meet with students, faculty, staff and president search committee members. Caboni was in the running to be the president of Georgia Southern University, but another candidate was chosen in April. Valdosta State is a regional university that has about 10,700 undergraduate and graduate students. It is a part of the University System of Georgia.