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Headlines for Tuesday, September 9, 2014



Democrat Sues to Get Name Off Kansas Senate Ballot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic candidate Chad Taylor has filed a petition with the Kansas Supreme Court to get his name removed from the November 4 ballot in the U.S. Senate race. Taylor filed his petition Tuesday, naming Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the defendant. Kobach is the state's chief elections officer and has refused to take Taylor's name off the ballot even though Taylor has ended his campaign. Taylor was a candidate against three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts, but he announced last week he was ending his campaign in a move that boosted the chances of independent candidate Greg Orman. Kobach ruled that Taylor failed to comply with state election laws by not stating in his withdrawal letter that he was incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office.


Topeka Authorities Continue Investigation of Police Officer Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Governor Sam Brownback ordered that flags in Shawnee County fly at half-staff today (TUES) in honor of a slain Topeka police officer Corporal Jason Harwood. Harwood was killed Sunday during a car stop in east Topeka. Authorities have arrested two men and say one of them has acknowledged some involvement in the shooting. Harwood was a 15-year police veteran.


Democrat Urges US Congress to Work with Obama

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic congressional candidate Perry Schuckman says he hopes Congress will work with President Barack Obama instead of battling the commander in chief on confronting threats from Islamic State militants. Schuckman is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Pompeo in the Kansas 4th Congressional District. He told a Rotary Club meeting in Wichita Tuesday there are ramifications to going to war. He says the United States must find ways to avoid conflicts whenever possible, but it can't be a pacifist country either. Schuckman says not just the United States but other Middle Eastern countries must fight the brutality of Islamic State militants. However, Schuckman agreed with Republican Senator Rand Paul that the U.S. needs a smaller international footprint of military bases. Pompeo's campaign did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


Kansas Seeks to Dismiss Gun Lawsuit Challenge

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a national gun control group against a state law that challenges federal authority to regulate firearms. The state contended in a court filing Monday in U.S. District Court that the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has no legal standing to challenge its law. The statute declares the federal government has no authority to regulate guns made, sold and kept only in Kansas, and allows felony charges against any federal employee who tries to enforce federal regulations for Kansas firearms and ammunition. The attorney general's office argues Kansas is enforcing the Second Amendment by punishing violations of the established rights of Kansans. The Brady Center contends the law ignores regulations that protect public safety and help law enforcement.


Dissident GOP Group Backs Democrat in Kansas 1st

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A group formed by former moderate Republican legislators is backing the Democratic nominee in the 1st Congressional District of Kansas over conservative GOP incumbent Tim Huelskamp. Democrat Jim Sherow had a Statehouse news conference Tuesday to announce his endorsement by Traditional Republicans for Common Sense in the sprawling central and western Kansas district. The group's founders include dozens of former GOP state legislators. Former state Representative Jim Yonally of Overland Park said the group opposes Huelskamp's re-election partly because his conflicts with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner led to Huelskamp's removal from the Agriculture Committee in 2012. Huelskamp is seeking his third, two-year term. His spokesman, Mark Kelly, dismissed Sherow's news conference as political theater. The 63-year-old Sherow is a Kansas State University history professor and former Manhattan mayor.


AIG Plans to Add 300 Jobs in Olathe

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — State officials were on hand to celebrate a ribbon cutting at a new contact center for American International Group in Olathe. The insurance company plans to add 300 new employees at the center, which will offer claims and policy servicing operations. The Kansas City Star reports AIG received state and city incentives to locate in a 55-acre business park that is under development. AIG president Peter Hancock says the company will add the 300 jobs by end of 2015. The company already employs more than 600 workers in Olathe. The center also will provide business and management training and career opportunities for students and alumni of the University of Kansas School of Business.


Olathe Officer Sustains Broken Leg in Altercation

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Police in Olathe are seeking witnesses to a confrontation that left an officer with a broken leg. The police department in the Kansas City suburb says officers responded to a call around 5 pm Monday about a man and woman involved in a disturbance at a park. Police say the man tried to leave the scene, then got into a fight with the officer who was injured. The suspect was booked into the Johnson County Jail. The officer has been placed on medical leave. Police said Tuesday they want to hear from anyone who saw the altercation.


Serious Respiratory Illness Hits Hundreds of Children 

CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of children in about a dozen states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials suspect may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold. Nearly 500 children have been treated at one hospital alone — Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri — and some required intensive care, according to authorities. The suspected germ, enterovirus 68, is an uncommon strain of a very common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through the fall. The virus can cause mild coldlike symptoms but this summer's cases are unusually severe, said Mark Pallansch, director of the viral diseases division at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus typically causes illness lasting about a week and most children recover with no lasting problems. Children with asthma and other health problems are especially at risk. No deaths have been reported in the outbreak. Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, director of infectious diseases at Children's Mercy in Kansas City, said local cases began appearing in mid-August and they appear to have peaked in her area.


Fire Kills Man in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Investigators believe careless disposal of smoking materials caused a condo fire that killed one man in Johnson County. The Overland Park Fire Department identified the victim as 74-year-old James Arthur Stoker. A neighbor in the eight-unit building called 911 around 4 am Monday after waking up to the smell of smoke. Firefighters found Stoker dead in his condo.


Salina Woman Sentenced in Son's Starving Death

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina woman whose 3-month-old son starved to death has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Twenty-one-year-old Desirah Overturf was sentenced Monday for first-degree murder in the death of Jordan Corbin in December. The child's father, 27-year-old Nicholas Corbin, has pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing later this month. Prosecutors say that Corbin and Overturf did not like being parents and decided to starve the baby so they could have their former life back. KSAL reports that witnesses and Overturf's attorney asked for leniency. They said Corbin decided to starve the child and Overturf agreed because she has several personality disorders. Prosecutors responded that Overturf did have personality disorders but could have saved her son.


Small Quakes Shake South-Central Kansas

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Emergency management officials in south-central Kansas say there are no reports of damage from a series of small earthquakes that shook Sumner County. The U.S. Geological Survey says two of the quakes were centered southeast of Conway Springs. A magnitude 3.9 earthquake struck just before 8 am Monday, followed at 10:23 am by a temblor with a magnitude of 3.1. KWCH-TV reports that people in Wellington also felt a quake with a magnitude of 4.1 that was recorded just after 11 am near Medford, Oklahoma, about 40 miles away. Erin Hauss, a manager at a Sears in Wellington, told KWCH she thought something had struck the store. Hauss didn't know what had happened until a friend who formerly lived in California told her that earthquakes had struck.


Two More Die in Aftermath of Kansas City Attack

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two people have died after being beaten in their Kansas City home during an attack in which three others were fatally shot. Kansas City police say Ann and George Taylor, both in their 80s, died Tuesday after spending a week on life support. Prosecutors allege that Brandon Howell attacked the couple in the basement of their home on September 2, then fatally shot three neighbors before fleeing in the Taylors' SUV. He's charged with several felonies, including three counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of 88-year-old Alice Hurst, her son, 63-year-old Darrel Hurst, and 69-year-old Susan Choucroun. Howell, a convicted felon with a history of violence, was arrested shortly after the killings. Police found him walking along Interstate 29 with a loaded shotgun in his pants.


Report: Kansas Wheat Quality Down

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report shows the quality of this year's Kansas wheat crop down from 2013, with just 73 percent of samples graded by grain inspectors getting the top No. 1 grading. The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Tuesday that 85 percent of last year's Kansas crop was graded as No. 1 wheat. Determinations of test weights, protein content, grade and defects were made by the Kansas Grain Inspection Service based on 8,036 samples from 49 counties. The report says about 26 percent of the wheat was graded this year as No. 2 wheat, compared with 14 percent last year. One percent this year was graded No. 3 or below. Average test weight was 60.5 pounds per bushel. Protein content averaged 13.4 percent, an improvement from last year.


Topeka City Council Considers Changing Law on Nudity

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Topeka City Council will consider making public nudity a misdemeanor offense. The proposal to be considered during the council's meeting today (TUE) was prompted by reports of a man was walking nude in south-central Topeka. The ban would not apply to children under 10 years old or a woman breastfeeding her child. State law and city ordinances do not ban public nudity, although state law prohibits it in the context of sexual arousal. The proposed ordinance would impose penalties only when someone intentionally violates the ban.


Liquor-by-the-Drink Measure Fails in Clay County

CLAY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — A campaign to allow a vote on serving liquor by the drink in a north-central Kansas county has fallen short again. The Clay Center Dispatch reports that Clay County is among 13 of the state's 105 counties that don't allow restaurants to serve liquor by the drink. Proponents have turned in three petitions to put the question to Clay County voters. The first two fell short of the necessary 290 signatures. The third had 316 signatures, but County Clerk Kayla Wang recently rejected it because 147 names had to be rejected for technical reasons. The county commission has the authority to put the question on a future ballot. But Commissioner Jerry Mayo says there's a longstanding policy to allow public votes on liquor by the drink only by petition.


Couple Donates Ranch, $2 Million to KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A couple plans to donate a 120-acre ranch and $2 million to the University of Kansas and the KU Endowment. The university said in a news release Monday that the couple wants to remain anonymous. The property in northeast Kansas includes native wildflowers and grasses, walnut trees and cottonwoods, and pioneer trails. The $2 million is intended to maintain and improve the land. Ed Martinko, director the Kansas Biological Survey, said the gift will be used to preserve native plants and for research and education.


Post Library to Be Named for Ike Skelton

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Officials at Fort Leavenworth are memorializing the late Missouri congressman Ike Skelton by renaming the northeast Kansas post's library in his honor. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno is scheduled to speak Thursday morning at the naming ceremony for the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library. Skelton, a Democrat, was elected 17 times to the U.S. House before losing in 2010 to Republican Vicky Hartzler in Missouri's 4th Congressional District. He chaired the House Armed Services Committee and was considered an astute military historian and a champion of the nation's servicemen and women. Skelton died last October at the age of 81. The 320,000-volume library serves officers and civilians attending the Command and General Staff College and the Army Management Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.


Ape Who Picked 7 Straight Super Bowl Winners Dies

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah ape who gained national fame by accurately predicting the Super Bowl winner seven consecutive years has died. The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City announced Tuesday that the 24-year-old orangutan named Eli died Saturday from complications due to breast cancer. He was diagnosed with the cancer in 2011, and had two surgeries to remove masses. Recently, he lost his appetite and was acting as if he were uncomfortable. He died during an exploratory procedure. Eli was born at the Topeka Zoo and moved to Utah in 2004. He made his Super Bowl pick each year by choosing between papier-mache helmets or goal posts with team logos. Last year, he swiftly knocked down a helmet bearing the Seahawks logo. Sure enough, the Seahawks defeated the Broncos.


Boxing Firm Has Lawsuit Against Kansas Senate Hopeful

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Court records show that independent Senate candidate Greg Orman is embroiled in a federal lawsuit in Kansas with an international boxing equipment manufacturer. The dispute with Everlast World's Boxing Headquarters Corp. involves $30 million worth of payments for royalties and merchandise sales that the firm claims it will be owed through 2018. Orman hopes to unseat three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts in the November 4 election. He is one of five defendants in the lawsuit filed by Everlast, initially in 2012. It is scheduled to go to trial in October 2015. The lawsuit alleges Orman and the others remain responsible for payments owed to Everlast by a now-bankrupt Lenexa company because they formed new firms to take over its sales. Orman and the other defendants deny those claims.


Report: Many Students in Kansas and Missouri Are Chronically Absent

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Public school is back in session in Kansas and Missouri. But many students are not showing up regularly. A new report from the nonprofit group Attendance Works says 20 percent of American students are chronically absent. The report says 19 percent of Missouri students are chronically absent and in Kansas, 23 percent of students miss three or more days of school every week. The study says attendance during the first month of school a good predictor of whether or not a student will be chronically absent throughout the school year. It also linked chronic absenteeeism to lower grades and lower graduation rates.


No Charges in Southwest Kansas Nude Photos Case

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) - A southwest Kansas county attorney says high school students who texted nude photographs of an underage girl will not be heading to court. Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier tells KWCH-TV she will recommend the students enter a deferral program instead of charging the teenagers. She says about 40 students were involved and that they didn't realize the life-long implications of their actions. Garden City High School officials notified police in January that a teenage student reported her peers were passing around nude pictures taken when she was 13 years old. Authorities had considered charges including sexual exploitation of a child. Prosecutors will instead hold a public forum in the coming weeks to talk about the consequences of sexting.


Clash at Junior Football Escalates into Gunfire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say an argument between parents and a coach at a junior football league practice in Kansas escalated into a fight involving gunfire. Police say one man complained that his son was not getting enough playing time during Monday evening's practice at Linwood Park in Wichita. Then six men surrounded the coach and started punching him. Police say one of the parents was armed with brass knuckles and another indicated he had a gun. Then the coach's wife pulled out a gun and fired a shot into the air. Police say the coach subsequently went to his car where he retrieved a second gun and threatened the men with it. His assailants fled before officers arrived and confiscated both guns. No one was seriously hurt and no arrests were made.


Salina Police Warn of Scam

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Salina authorities are warning the public of a scammer posing as the police chief. Capt. Mike Sweeney says a 62-year-old man was called last week from what showed up on a caller ID as the police department number. He says the man had been conned out of $4,500 over the phone a few days earlier. The man tells police the caller said he was the chief and threatened to arrest him if he didn't send more money. The victim called the actual police department instead. Sweeney says the scammer used technology that allows other numbers to appear on a caller ID. Police believe the person called from a foreign country.


Pictures of Kansans Killed in Vietnam Sought

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Press Association is searching for pictures of Kansas residents who died in Vietnam. The pictures will become part of a national project called "Faces Never Forgotten." They will be added to the Wall of Faces in a new education center at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the KPA began searching for the photos several months ago. KPA executive director Doug Anstaett said this week that of 265 photographs of Kansans sought in the project, 42 have been submitted to the KPA as of last Wednesday. A total of 627 Kansas service members were killed in the Vietnam War. When the project began, photographs for 362 Kansas servicemen already were in hand. Deadline for submitting photos is November 11.


Shoppers Lining Up for Opening of Northeast Kansas Ikea

MERRIAM, Kan. (AP) — A new Ikea store opens in northeast Kansas on Wednesday, but some shoppers couldn't wait to get their hands on some of the Swedish furniture company's products. KCTV reports that customers began lining up at 9 am Monday outside the store in the Johnson County city of Merriam. Ikea was offering incentives, including a free sofa to the first 40 people in line and a free chair for the next 100. About 300 people have been hired to work at the 359,000-square-foot store, which will also have a restaurant and a Swedish food market. Merriam police are expecting up to 10,000 shoppers at Wednesday's grand opening. Electronic signs are being placed on Interstate 35 to direct people to the store, and police will be at several intersections beginning at 6 am Wednesday.


KC Man Says Attackers Stole Casino Winnings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man who won nearly $2,000 at an area casino was beaten and robbed of his winnings after leaving the facility with a woman he just met. The Kansas City Star reports that the man told police he left with the woman early Sunday "with the intention to be romantic." But when they arrived at their destination around 3 am, two men attacked him. Police say one of the assailants hit the man in the head with a gun before they took his money and fled with the woman, who had set the victim up. The victim was treated at a hospital with a gash on the head. A detailed description of the suspects was not available.


Monsanto to Settle Some GMO Wheat Cases

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Monsanto has reached a settlement with some farmers who sued the company after unapproved, genetically modified wheat turned up in an Oregon field, and spooked export markets. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the U-S is genetically modified, but G-M wheat has never been approved for farming. So at first, finding G-M wheat in a U-S field was almost like finding cancer. Japan and South Korea stopped accepting U-S soft white wheat shipments. American farmers sell much of their wheat oversees, and the international market disturbance sank U-S wheat prices. Wheat farmers sued Monsanto over the loss. But, Jay O’Neil, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University, says overseas buyers came back, and prices did too, as soon as the Oregon G-M wheat discovery was shown to be a fluke. Soft white wheat producers have agreed in principal to settle with Monsanto. The terms of that settlement could be disclosed at a hearing in Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas today (TUE). A group of hard red wheat growers, including some based in the Midwest, are still in litigation.


Winter Wheat Planting Begins in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas growers have begun seeding their fields for next year's winter wheat crop. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that winter wheat planting is at 2 percent. That is about the same as last year at this time and the average for early September. Topsoil moisture statewide is running about 66 percent adequate to surplus as wheat planting gets underway. Kansas farmers also continued harvesting corn between thunderstorms that brought rain to much of the state last week. The agency reports 12 percent of the Kansas crop has been cut, about 3 points ahead of last year's pace. About 9 percent of the sorghum crop has now matured, and 11 percent of soybeans have begun dropping leaves.


Royals and Tigers Face Off Again in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — The two teams battling it out for first place in the American League Central continue their three-game series tonight (TUE) in Detroit. The Tigers start the night just a game back of the Royals after beating KC last (MON) night 9-5. The Tigers are sending their ace to the mound, 15-game winner Max Scherzer, against 11-game winner, Royals pitcher Jason Vargas.


AP Source: Chiefs Sign DT Kevin Vickerson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the deal says the Kansas City Chiefs have signed former Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to a one-year contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team had not announced the move. Vickerson will likely start right away. The Chiefs lost defensive tackle Mike DeVito to a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon in Sunday's loss to Tennessee. Vickerson has spent the last four years in Denver, making 41 starts and will be returning there for a game with the Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs are still looking for a linebacker after losing Derrick Johnson to his own ruptured Achilles tendon.


Chiefs' Charles Goes MIA in Opening Loss to Titans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles had seven carries for 19 yards and four catches for 15 yards in a season-opening loss to Tennessee, stunningly low numbers for the All-Pro running back. His final eight touches? They netted a whopping 11 yards from scrimmage. Charles said after, "I want to see the ball more and coach knows that," and coach Andy Reid said Monday that not getting his biggest star the ball was "negligence on my part." Especially after the Chiefs gave him a two-year, $18.1 million extension before the season. Reid said the Titans took away much of what the Chiefs were trying to do with Charles, but he also made it clear that No. 25 needs to get the ball more for the team to be successful.



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