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Headlines for Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Brownback Urges Compromise on Kansas Energy Rule

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is urging wind-energy advocates and critics of a renewable-energy requirement for Kansas utilities to work on a compromise for the policy's future. The governor made remarks Wednesday in an impromptu meeting with Statehouse reporters suggesting that he supported phasing out the renewable energy rule. But hours later, spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the governor was referring to federal tax credits for wind production, not the state's mandate for utilities. A 2009 law requires utilities to have wind and other renewable sources account for 15 percent of their peak electricity-generating capacity by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020. The mandate has been targeted by the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity and the powerful Kansas Chamber of Commerce. But wind-energy advocates have successfully blocked efforts to repeal the rule.


Audit: Kansas Computer System Lacks Security

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Auditors say a lack of accountability by some Kansas agencies that handle sensitive information could make citizens' personal information vulnerable. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports an audit released this week says some agencies aren't complying with requirements to provide detailed information technology plans because they see them as time consuming and of little value. Auditors say they found little state oversight of the required reports. The audit found that 17 of the 45 agencies that hold data considered "high risk" had not had an independent evaluation of their security in the last three years. Some lawmakers on the Legislative Post Audit Committee have asked the state's information technology agency to provide an estimate of how much it would cost to implement recommendations made by the auditors.


Senator: VA Center Begged for Surgical Equipment

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran says a veterans medical center in Wichita left its laboratories unstaffed for entire shifts and sometimes resorted to "begging, borrowing and manipulation" just to obtain vital surgical equipment. Moran made the allegations in a letter sent last week to Sloan Gibson, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Kansas Republican senator says the problems at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center put veterans' lives at risk and forced employees to work under conditions of fear and retribution. Moran cited whistleblower complaints and 177 pages of internal documents, including meeting minutes, budgets and equipment request lists. The VA medical center in Wichita confirmed it had received the letter a day earlier but was still reviewing it Wednesday.


Kansas Board Investigating Senate Candidate Wolf

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The state medical board in Kansas is investigating U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf's posting of X-ray images of fatal gunshot wounds and other medical injuries on a personal Facebook page. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports it received a letter from a State Board of Healing Arts attorney disclosing the investigation and asking it to share copies of the images and Facebook commentary from Wolf in its possession. The newspaper first reported Wolf's postings in February. Wolf is a Leawood radiologist seeking to unseat three-term U.S. Senator Pat Roberts in the Republican primary. Wolf campaign spokesman Ben Hartman blamed politically motivated allegations for the investigation. Wolf acknowledged posting the images several years ago, along with dark-humor commentary. He has apologized. The letter from board disciplinary counselor Dan Riley was dated July 14.


White House: Obama to Visit Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The White House has announced President Barack Obama will be in Missouri next week to deliver a speech on the economy. The Kansas City Star reports the president will arrive in Kansas City on July 29, spend the night and deliver his speech July 30. Additional details, including the location of his speech, were not immediately available. It isn't known if the public will be able to attend. The last time Obama visited the Kansas City area was last September, when he spoke at the Ford plant in Claycomo.


3 More Measles Cases in Sedgwick County

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Three more cases of measles have been confirmed in Sedgwick County, and officials say they expect more cases to emerge through August. The Wichita Eagle reports the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced the new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total in the county to 11. Preston Goering, director of the county's Preventative Health division, told county commissioners on Tuesday that the department's staff has been going to several homes to take temperatures and check for symptoms when someone has been exposed. KDHE spokeswoman Aimee Rosenow says the soonest the current outbreak can be considered over is the end of August. Measles were thought to have been eliminated decades ago, but foreign travel and the refusal by some to vaccinate have caused the ailment to re-emerge.


Texan Gets Measles After Softball Event in Kansas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texan has been diagnosed with measles after attending a softball tournament in Kansas where health officials later warned of possible exposure to the virus. Tarrant County Public Health officials in Fort Worth on Wednesday announced a resident tested positive for measles after traveling outside Texas. Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Christine Mann says the person attended a July Fourth weekend softball tournament in Wichita, Kansas. Officials from both health agencies declined to release further details on the individual. Health officials on July 17 announced more than 30 people from Texas who traveled to the tournament may have been exposed to the measles virus. At least three recreational softball teams from Texas played in Wichita. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness that spreads through coughing and sneezing.


Kobach Opponent Criticizes 'Dual' Kansas Voting System

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary of State Kris Kobach's opponent in the Republican primary predicts that a "dual" voting system for helping Kansas enforce a proof-of-citizenship rule will confuse voters and suppress turnout. Challenger Scott Morgan's criticism of the Kobach-designed system Tuesday came a day after the secretary of state's office began mailing notices to dozens of voters about it. The voters registered using a national form without providing proof of their U.S. citizenship to election officials. Kobach advised counties last month to set aside such voters' ballots and count only their votes in congressional races in the August 5 election. Morgan called the policy baffling. But Kobach dismissed the criticism, saying maybe Morgan is confused. Most Kansas residents use a state registration form requiring them to produce citizenship papers for election officials.


Kansas Democrat Raised $127K for US Senate Bid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Democrat Chad Taylor has disclosed raising $127,000 through June for his U.S. Senate campaign in Kansas. A report filed by Taylor's campaign with federal regulators shows about $42,000 of Taylor's cash contributions came from April through June. Most of Taylor's funds are from individuals. Taylor's campaign also disclosed spending $116,000 since forming his campaign in November, most of it from April through June. He ended June with less than $11,000 in cash. Taylor is the Shawnee County district attorney, and he's running for the seat held by three-term Republican Pat Roberts. Taylor faces Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner in the Democratic primary. A finance report for Wiesner was not available online. Roberts faces tea party challenger Milton Wolf and two other lesser-known candidates in the August 5 GOP primary.


KCMO Leaders Endorse Ban on Openly Carrying Guns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri City Council committee has endorsed a measure that would ban people from openly carrying firearms in the city limits. The Kansas City Star reports that Mayor Sly James has pushed for the ban, noting that the tourist town of Lake Ozark also has voted for a similar prohibition, even by those with concealed carry permits. The council's Public Safety Committee on Wednesday endorsed the ban, which will go before the full City Council on July 31. The future of the measure is uncertain because of a bill approved this year by Missouri's General Assembly that would void any local ordinance prohibiting open carry for anyone with a concealed carry permit. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill, but the Legislature is likely to attempt an override in September.


Washburn Seeks More Time to Respond in Assault Probe

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Washburn University has asked federal investigators for more time to respond to an investigation into how the school handled an alleged sexual assault. University spokeswoman Amanda Hughes says Washburn's attorney requested an extension of the July 31 deadline to submit its sexual assault policies and procedures to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. KSNT-TV reports the school is asking for an additional four to six weeks because of the volume of documents being sought. The victim of an alleged sexual assault filed a complaint against the school in April, and OCR opened its probe July 1. University police investigated the case and sent the findings to the Shawnee County District Attorney's Office, while the student accused in the case was punished for violating student codes.


Man Charged in Chase That Ended in Girl's Death

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas man is charged with first-degree murder after an abduction and police chase ended in the death of a 5-year-old girl. Thirty-year-old Marcus McGowan, of Atchison, was charged Wednesday with aggravated assault, two counts of criminal possession of a firearm, aggravated endangering of a child and trying to elude law enforcement officers. Leavenworth County prosecutor Todd Thompson announced at a news conference that McGowan appeared in court early Wednesday and had the charges read to him. He is being held in the Leavenworth County jail. Authorities say McGowan abducted Cadence Harris on Friday from a home they shared with the girl's mother in Atchison. Cadence was found dead in McGowan's car after a police chase ended with McGowan being shot when he pointed a gun at officers.


2 Companies Moving from Kansas to Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri has apparently won another round in the continuing border war with Kansas that involves using tax incentives to entice businesses to move across the state line that runs through the Kansas City metropolitan area. Leawood, Kansas-based Cbiz Inc. and Mayer Hoffman McCann PC have announced plans to move their headquarters and 450 employees to Kansas City, Missouri's Country Club Plaza next summer. The Kansas City Star reports that the moves come as officials in Missouri and Kansas have been seeking a truce in the border war, in which each state has used tax incentives to lure businesses away from the other. The Missouri Department of Economic Development says the moves will trigger millions of dollars in potential incentives from Missouri if the companies meet job creation and investment criteria.


KPR General Manager Announces Retirement

The general manager of Kansas Public Radio and director of the Kansas Audio-Reader Network announced Tuesday that she will retire from those positions on September 2nd. Janet Campbell began working at Audio-Reader in 1979 as a secretary; she became director of the network in 1988. She was named general manager of KANU-FM in 1998. KANU was renamed Kansas Public Radio in 2002. KPR's director of engineering, Steve Kincaid, will serve as interim director of both entities while a national search is conducted for a replacement.


St. Joseph Woman Sentenced for $1 Million Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A St. Joseph woman was sentenced to five years in federal prison with no parole for stealing nearly $1 million from two companies she partially owned. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday the 63-year-old Vicky Diane McDonell also was ordered to pay $940,410 in restitution to Max Pro Consultants, Inc., and MPC Billboards, Inc. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said in a news release that the restitution includes the $906,415 she stole from the companies and legal fees paid by the victims in a civil suit against McDonell. The victims dropped the lawsuit because they couldn't afford to pursue it. Court documents indicate McDonell's fraud scheme lasted from June 1997 to March 2009 at Max Pro, a real estate company that manages properties holding billboards, and MPC Billboards a billboard sales company.


Western Kansas Candidate for Judge Pays Fine in 2005 Pot Case

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A district court judge candidate in western Kansas paid a fine to settle a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge filed against him in Michigan nine years ago. Attorney Michael Giardine says he flew to Michigan to settle the case Monday. Giardine, a Republican seeking the 16th Judicial District seat, says the possession charge was dismissed and he paid a fine for a misdemeanor charge of "disorderly person, jostling." He told The Dodge City Daily Globe he was not the person stopped in March 2005 in Lansing, Michigan, when an officer confiscated 5.56 grams of marijuana. Giardine says he was unaware of the case until last week. He says the outcome of the case depended on the officer's memory and he didn't want to risk a drug charge on his record.


Police Identify Body Found at Kansas City Airport

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police are investigating how a woman's body ended up in a pond connected to a fountain near the Kansas City International Airport. Kansas City police on Tuesday identified the woman as 21-year-old Husenet Yassin. Her body was found Monday afternoon during a routine check by airport security. The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office determined Yassin had died not long before her body was found. A cause of death has not been determined. KCTV-TV reports that police are listing the death as suspicious because of where the body was found.


US Movie Theaters to Show Premier League Games

NEW YORK (AP) — Movie theaters around the U.S. will show live English soccer games on their big screens on Saturday mornings. The simulcasts will start with the opening of the Premier League season August 16. Thirty-three theaters in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington are currently scheduled to take part. The deal was announced Wednesday by Fathom Events and NBC Sports Group, which broadcasts the Premier League in the U.S.


Kansas Humane Society Euthanized 4,000 Animals in 2013

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Humane Society euthanized about 4,000 animals last year but an official says the number of animals saved continues to improve. Spokeswoman Melissa Houston says the society provided services for 17,000 animals last year, with about 13,000 homeless. Of those, more than 9,000 were adopted but the other 4,000 had to be euthanized. Houston says decisions on which animals to put down are usually based on health and behavior, but some are based on space at the shelter. She says the good news is that 73 percent of the animals are being adopted, up from only 23 percent in 2003. KWCH-TV reports the organization generally has not released euthanization numbers but Houston says she hopes doing so will make the public more aware of pet overpopulation.


Man Shot at Junction City Restaurant

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old Junction City man is being held without bond after a shootout at a fast food restaurant. Police Lt. Jeff Childs says the victim suffered injuries that were not life-threatening during an exchange of gunfire at a Wendy's restaurant Tuesday night. Everyone involved was gone from the area when police arrived. But Childs says a short time later, a man went to Geary County Community Hospital and said he had been shot. The man was treated and released. Police later arrested the suspect. Childs says the investigation is continuing.


Wichita Teen Accused of Scalding Boyfriend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 16-year-old girl has been arrested after police say she threw boiling water on her 15-year-old boyfriend during an argument in a Wichita apartment. The Wichita Eagle reports the incident happened around 9 a.m. Monday. The boy was taken by private vehicle to a local hospital, where he was admitted for second-degree burns. Police say they weren't notified of the incident until late in the day Monday. The girl was arrested late that night.


Ex-Missouri Sheriff Indicted in Thefts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri sheriff has been indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations that he stole property recovered in criminal cases and sold a stolen gun. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson says in a news release Tuesday that 46-year-old Ronald Snodgrass of El Dorado was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield. Snodgrass was St. Clair County sheriff from January 2001 to December 2012 before losing a bid for re-election. The indictment alleges Snodgrass stole a riding mower and a Polaris Ranger UTV, as well as selling a rifle that he knew had been stolen. Dickinson says the former sheriff "treated the county's evidence room like his personal tool shed." It was not immediately clear if Snodgrass has an attorney.


Kansas City Woman in Hit-Man Case Dies in Prison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 62-year-old Kansas City woman serving five years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband has died behind bars of apparent natural causes. Chillicothe Correctional Center announced Tuesday that inmate Dorothy Cascone died Monday night at St. Mary's Medical Center in Jefferson City. Cascone pleaded guilty in March 2011 to second-degree assault in the unsuccessful attempt to do away with George Cascone. Prosecutors said she bought life insurance on her ex-husband even though they had been divorced about 11 years. Court records indicate she asked a man to shoot her ex-husband while he was sleeping late July 4 or early July 5, 2010, because fireworks and other guns would be going off. The plan fell apart when the man contacted federal investigators.


State of Missouri Delays Vote on KC Schools Accreditation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City schools will remain unaccredited for a while longer as students prepare for a new school year. The school district had offered to drop a lawsuit challenging its unaccredited status if Missouri education officials would grant it temporary provisional accreditation for the school year starting August 11. The State Board of Education took no action Tuesday, but a spokeswoman said the board would meet again on August 6, when it expects to have more data available to determine whether the district has earned provisional accreditation. The label matters because districts that are unaccredited must pay the costs of students who choose to transfer to other nearby schools. Kansas City school officials say just 24 of their nearly 16,000 students applied to transfer during the upcoming school year.


AP: Kansas City Chiefs Reach 2-Year Deal with Jamaal Charles

Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has reached a two-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. A person familiar with the contract said the deal will keep Charles in Kansas City through the 2017 season. He spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team has not disclosed details. The six-year NFL veteran ran for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last year as the Chiefs reached the playoffs. He also had 70 catches for 693 yards and seven more TDs as Kansas City went 11-5 before losing to Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game.





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