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Headlines for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Appeals Court Ruling Requires Kobach to Testify Under Oath 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court ruling will force Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to answer questions under oath about plans to change U.S. election law. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied the Kansas Republican's request for an emergency stay of his deposition by the American Civil Liberties Union. Kobach's office declined to comment on the decision. Judges in Kansas found Kobach misled the court about the contents of a document he took into a November meeting with then-President-elect Donald Trump and a separate draft amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. The lower court fined Kobach $1,000 and ordered him to testify on Thursday. The ACLU lawsuit challenges a Kansas election law requiring proof-of-citizenship documents. Kobach is vice chairman of Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

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Kansas Collects $7.6 Million More in Taxes Than Predicted in July

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Revenue says it collected $7.6 million more in taxes than anticipated in July during its first month under an income tax increase approved by legislators. The state reported collections of $453.5 million in taxes. That's 1.7 percent more than the official projection of almost $446 million. The surplus in July collections came after the state ended its 2017 fiscal year on June 30 with tax collections exceeding expectations by $72 million, or 1.3 percent. Total tax collections for fiscal 2017 surpassed $5.8 billion. Lawmakers enacted the income tax increase over Governor Sam Brownback's veto to raise an additional $1.2 billion over two years. Brownback budget director Shawn Sullivan tweeted that it's too early to tell whether the tax increase will generate what is expected.

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Kansas Prisons Chief Declares Staffing Emergency at Lockup 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The prisons chief for the state of Kansas says a staffing shortage constitutes an emergency at a maximum-security lockup that has seen several recent inmate disturbances, requiring mandatory overtime and shifts as long as 16 hours. The Wichita Eagle reports that Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood made that pronouncement in a Tuesday letter to an employee union in rejecting a grievance over long hours at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Mandatory overtime and extended hours are allowed in emergencies under the department's agreement with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, the union representing prison workers. The prison moved to 12-hour shifts in June and the union later filed a grievance saying some workers were being required to work 16-hour shifts. The union's director says the department deliberately held off on declaring an emergency until Tuesday.

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Kansas Primary Voters Decide November Mayoral Slots

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - The incumbent mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, has advanced to November's general election in his quest for a second term. Mark Holland will face David Alvey on the November 7 ballot. Holland got 40 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary elections, followed by Alvey's 30 percent. Alvey is a Rockhurst High School dean and a member of the board of public utilities. In Topeka, City Councilwoman Michelle De La Isla will face Spencer Duncan in November for the mayoral race. Both were the top two vote-getters in a five-candidate field. The two finalists will campaign to win the general election on November 7 to replace Mayor Larry Wolgast, who is retiring.

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Six Chosen in Primary for Lawrence City Commission Seats

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - Voters in Tuesday's primary election for the Lawrence City Commission chose two incumbents, Lisa Larsen and Matthew Herbert, to appear on the ballot in November's general election. They will be joined by retired veteran Dustin Stumblingbear, attorney Jennifer Ananda, former talk show host Mike Anderson and businessman Bassem Chahine. The six candidates will compete for three open commission seats in November.

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Judge Dismisses Most of Title IX Lawsuit Against Haskell 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed most of a Title IX lawsuit against Haskell Indian Nations University. A woman sued Haskell, claiming administrators treated her unfairly and eventually expelled her after she reported being raped by two football players three years ago in a Haskell dorm. The Lawrence Journal-World reports a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in July. Judge Thomas Marten agreed with attorneys for the university, who had argued that Title IX doesn't apply to Haskell as it does to other colleges because it is a federal agency operated by the Bureau of Indian Education. The judge granted the woman's request to add a Privacy Act claim, which alleges Haskell administrators unlawfully released the woman's private records during the court proceedings. That claim can proceed in court.

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Ex-Lawrence Orchestra Conductor Pleads in Sex Crime Case
 
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A prize-winning orchestral conductor has pleaded no contest to crimes involving a 15-year-old. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Carlos Espinosa-Machado previously worked in Kansas and Missouri but is currently employed by Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. He pleaded Tuesday in Douglas County Court to indecent liberties with a child and furnishing alcohol to a minor, both felonies. Prosecutors said the crimes were committed in Eudora. He currently is an assistant professor of visual and performing arts and a symphony orchestra director at Elizabeth City State University. Espinosa-Machado previously an assistant conductor at the University of Kansas, and worked for the Kansas City Medical Arts Symphony, Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City and the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Missouri. Espinosa-Machado's sentencing is scheduled for September 22.

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Kansas Guide Sentenced for Violating Hunting Laws 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The owner of a southeast Kansas hunting guide company pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation for violating state and federal hunting laws. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said in a news release that 35-year-old Josh Hedges, of Grenola, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. Hedges, owner of Eagle Head Outfitters, also will not be able to hunt, trap or guide for 12 years and agreed to divest himself of the company. Hedges admitted his guides baited ponds for waterfowl, helped hunters exceed their daily bag limits and didn't follow federal and state laws on tagging, processing or transporting birds.

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Longtime Kansas Ranch for Troubled Boys to Be Torn Down 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Commission had decided to tear down a longtime ranch for troubled boys. The commission voted Wednesday to approve contracts to remove asbestos and then demolish the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch near Goddard. The property will be returned to park land for Lake Afton Park. The decision comes after years of debate on the fate of the ranch, which opened in the 1960s. It was owned by the state but operated by Sedgwick County. The center closed in 2014 after the state refused to increase payments to help the county fund operations. The county tried to sell or lease the property since the ranch closed but was not successful. Commissioners who supported the demolition said it would cost too much to repair and renovate the youth residential center.

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Kansas Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Tax Return Fraud Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas man pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy that tried to obtain about $445,000 in fraudulent federal income tax returns. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Larson said in a news release that 24-year-old Orville Frame Jr., of Topeka, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Missouri. The scheme used false W-2 forms to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. Prosecutors say Frame and a co-defendant, 37-year-old Byron Meeks of Topeka, attempted to obtain about $445,000 but received only $10,945 from one federal refund and $3,389 in a Kansas state tax refund. Meeks was sentenced in April to five years in federal prison without parole. Frame faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.  

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Survey Suggests More Growth Ahead for Midwest Economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business leaders suggested a drop in business conditions but still indicated the economy will pick up over the next few months in nine Midwest and Plains states. A report released Tuesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 56.1 last month from 62.3 in June. The May figure was 55.5. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says it "points to solid growth for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing for the second half of 2017." The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Federal Agent from Kansas City Shoots Self in Foot at Florida Airport 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A vacationing federal agent from Kansas City accidentally shot himself in the foot while "unslinging a shoulder bag" inside Orlando International Airport. An Orlando police statement says the shooting happened around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in the passenger lobby as a bag knocked the agent's weapon from its holster. The agent "tried to catch the firearm and inadvertently pulled the trigger." Police said the agent was going to be flying with a loaded gun. The Orlando Sentinel reports the agent is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound in his left heel. No one else was hurt, and airport operations were not affected.

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Family of Kansas Jewish Site Shootings Settles Gun Lawsuit 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The family of two people fatally shot outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park has settled a lawsuit with Walmart over one of the guns used in the shooting. The Kansas City Star reports the settlement's terms between Walmart and the family of William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, are confidential. The two were killed in April 2014 by F. Glenn Miller Jr., who said he was trying to kill Jews. He also killed Terri LaManno at a nearby care center. None of the victims was Jewish. The lawsuit contends at least one Walmart employee was present when another man bought the shotgun used to kill Corporon and Underwood at a Walmart in Republic, Missouri. Miller could not buy a gun because he was a felon. A similar lawsuit filed by LaManno's family is pending.

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K-State Coach Weber Agrees to 2-Year Contract Extension 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber agreed a two-year contract extension Tuesday that could keep him with the Wildcats through the 2020-21 season. It was the first major personnel decision made by new athletic director Gene Taylor. Weber had two years left on an extension he signed in April 2013, and the terms of those two years remain unchanged. That means he is due $2.15 million this season and $2.25 million next season, and the two extension years will pay him $2.35 million and $2.45 million. The final two years of the agreement now include a reduced buyout provision. Weber was on the hot seat last season before leading the Wildcats to 21 wins and a win over Wake Forest in a First Four game in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State lost to Cincinnati in the next round.

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Illinois Air Show to Honor Pilot Killed in Kansas Crash 

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — An upcoming air show in northern Illinois will feature a missing-man formation in honor of a pilot who died while flying a World War II-era plane in Kansas last month. The Chicago Tribune reports that 64-year-old Vlado Lenoch and a passenger died July 16 after the 1944 plane crashed. The crash occurred one day after the P-51 fighter flew in a festival that celebrates famed aviator Amelia Earhart. Northern Illinois Air Show President Tom Coogan says the September 9 show at the Waukegan National Airport will honor Lenoch, who participated at air shows in Waukegan. Coogan says the show will also feature staged dogfights with Korean War-era planes, paratroopers jumping with a giant United States flag and trailing smoke. He says organizers are expecting 10,000 attendees.

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Topeka Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Filing False Returns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a Topeka tax preparer pleaded guilty to 13 counts of filing false tax returns. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said in a news release that 39-year-old Maurice Stewart entered his plea Tuesday. The false tax returns caused a tax loss of $93,402. Stewart admitted that he filed returns in clients' names and falsely claimed the returns were self-prepared. He also falsely reported the clients suffered business losses. Stewart filed the claims using the IP address of a Topeka business where he once worked, and he prepared returns using an online program with an account in another person's name. Sentencing is set for October 30.

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Missouri Historic Tax Credits Confirmed for Kemper Arena 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Economic Development has approved historic tax credits to help finance the redevelopment of Kemper Arena in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports developer Steve Foutch said Tuesday that state and federal historic tax credits should cover about one-third of the project's estimated $39 million cost. Kemper Arena was listed on the National Register of Historic Places last September. The arena in the Kansas City stockyard region has been virtually unused since the Sprint Center opened in 2007. Foutch's plan is to renovate the arena as a private regional amateur sports and entertainment center for several sports and fitness activities. He says many weekend events are booked starting next summer, with the first event scheduled for July 7-14.

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Baltimore Orioles Beat Kansas City Royals 7-2 

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy allowed three hits over a career-high eight innings as the Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 7-2 Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory. Kansas City will seek to avoid a three-game sweep this (WED) evening. The Royals came to Baltimore having won 10 of their last 11 games, but they've only scored three runs in their two games at Camden Yards.
 

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