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Headlines for Wednesday, May 21, 2014



Democrat Files for Kansas 1st District Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State University history professor and former Manhattan mayor has filed for the Democratic primary in the state's 1st Congressional District. Jim Sherow filed the paperwork Wednesday to put his name on the August 5 ballot. The seat is currently held by conservative Republican Representative Tim Huelskamp, who is seeking a third term. Sherow joins Bryan Whitney of Wichita in the Democratic primary. Huelskamp is being challenged in the Republican primary by Alan LaPolice of Clyde. The 1st Congressional District is the state's largest, covering all of western and most of central Kansas. Sherow says he wants to promote cooperation in Congress and represent the Kansas district's agricultural interests. Huelskamp was removed from the House Agriculture Committee in 2012 by Speaker John Boehner.


Topeka City Council Passes Two Anti-Discrimination Ordinances

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Topeka City Council has approved two ordinances aimed at reducing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in that city. The council approved a measure yesterday establishing a domestic partnership registry for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. The second ordinance would ban the city from discrimination in hiring based on gender identity. The measure also requires the city of Topeka to provide health coverage for any city employees registered with the city as being part of a domestic partnership.  The council chamber was full for the meeting, with residents speaking for and against each of the proposals.


More Than Half of Kansas in Drought Emergency

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Drought conditions are continuing to worsen in Kansas despite recent rain, prompting Governor Sam Brownback to declare half the state in a drought emergency. All 105 counties are now under some type of drought status. Brownback issued an updated declaration Wednesday putting 56 counties in the most serious emergency category. Twenty-six have been placed under warning status, and 23 in a watch status. The emergency designation makes counties eligible for use of water from certain lakes. Brownback says in a news release Kansans need to know that no matter where they live in the state, the drought is not over. He says some areas have been in drought for almost five years. The lack of precipitation is depleting soil moisture, drawing down reservoir levels and slowing stream flows.


$25 Million Gift for KU Med Center Building

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Officials with the University of Kansas Medical Center say a $25 million donation from the Hall Family Foundation will allow the center to construct a medical education building. The donation, announced Tuesday, will be the lead gift for the $75 million building on the Kansas City, Kan., campus. The medical center has sought to build in the education center for years, saying its accreditation was threatened by its current outdated structure. The Kansas City Star reports the new building will allow the medical center to train more students in updated facilities that reflect modern teaching methods. Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said the Hall Family's donation made construction of the building possible.


Morgan to Take on Kansas Secretary of State Kobach

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence Republican is challenging incumbent Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, saying he wants to restore sanity to the office. Scott Morgan announced Wednesday he was filing for the race. His background includes working for former Kansas Republican senators Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum. Kobach is seeking a second term. He has taken strong positions in Kansas and other states on election laws and immigration issues, and is currently embroiled in federal litigation over Kansas laws requiring proof of citizenship from people registering to vote. Morgan says Kobach isn't serving the office or Kansas residents by pursuing his agenda. Former state senator Jean Schodorf, of Wichita, is running for secretary of state as a Democrat after switching her affiliation from the Republican party.


Selzer Files for Kansas Insurance Commissioner

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Another Republican candidate has filed for the August primary to be the next Kansas insurance commissioner. Ken Selzer, of Leawood, filed his paperwork Tuesday with the secretary of state. Selzer is an accountant and a managing director of a global reinsurance firm. The candidates are vying to replace Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a Lawrence Republican and former state senator, who isn't seeking a third term. Other GOP candidates are Beverly Gossage, of Eudora, director of a health insurance consulting company, and David Powell, an El Dorado insurance agent. State Senator Clark Shultz, of McPherson, a former Kansas House Insurance Committee chairman, has indicated that he plans to run but has not yet filed for the race. Democrat Dennis Anderson, an Overland Park businessman, is also seeking the office.


Salina Police Return Fire at Armed Man

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Salina say a man is hospitalized after exchanging gunfire with officers investigating a domestic disturbance. KSAL-AM reports that the incident happened Wednesday afternoon. Police Captain Mike Sweeney says the officers were talking with a woman at a park across the street from the house where the disturbance was reported. Sweeney says a man approached with a rifle and began firing at the officers. Two officers took cover as a third returned fire at the man, who was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. None of the officers were hurt.


KS Governor Shuffles Agency Heads

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is shuffling his administration, naming the head of the state's aging and disabilities agency to be his new budget director. The governor announced Tuesday that Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Department for Aging and Disabilities Services, will be the state's new budget director. He takes over for Jon Hummel, who had filled the post on an interim basis. Sullivan will remain director of hospitals while serving as budget director. Brownback is filling the KDADS vacancy with Kari Bruffet, who has been serving as director of the Division of Health Care Finance in the Department of Health and Environment. Bruffet has played in a lead role in implementing the state's KanCare Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. Both appointments are effective June 9.


Libertarian Umbehr Files for Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Libertarian Keen Umbehr has put his name on the November ballot for Kansas governor. The 55-year-old attorney from Alma filed the paperwork Tuesday to make his bid official. Umbehr says taxes and civil liberties will top his agenda. His running mate is his son, Dr. Josh Umbehr, a Wichita physician. Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, filed last week in their bid for a second term. Democrat Paul Davis, the current House minority leader, is also running for governor with Jill Docking as his running mate, but they have not yet filed.  The filing deadline is June 2.


Crum to Retire from Kansas House

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Republican lawmaker from from south-central Kansas is retiring from the state House of Representatives. Rep. David Crum of Augusta served on the KanCare Oversight Committee. He says he has decided to leave the Legislature after serving for eight years will not seek re-election this fall. Crum also served as chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee. He joins Republican State Representative Richard Carlson of St. Marys among lawmakers who say they will not seek re-election this year.


Former City Clerk in KS Charged with Embezzling

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The former city clerk of a small, northeast Kansas community has been accused of embezzling at least $186,000 in public funds. The U.S. Attorney's office said 61-year-old Alice Riley, of Topeka, was indicted in federal court Tuesday on one count of interstate transportation of stolen funds. Riley's attorney told The Topeka Capital-Journal there would be no immediate comment. Riley was the city clerk for Auburn, a rural community of about 1,200 people in southwest Shawnee County. Prosecutors allege that Riley began embezzling city funds in 2009, issuing duplicate payroll checks to herself and depositing other city checks into her personal accounts. She's accused of trying to hide the alleged embezzlement by creating false entries in Auburn's books and bank statements.


Suspicious Package Investigated at Kansas City IRS Building

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hazardous materials crews were called to the Internal Revenue Service building in Kansas City after an employee found a suspicious white substance inside a package. The package was found Wednesday morning at the IRS building in central Kansas City after an employee opened the package. The area has been cordoned off and isolated as a precaution.


Saline County Rejects KDHE Grant

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Saline County Commission has rejected a grant for contraceptives after a commissioner likened intrauterine devices to murder. Commissioner John Price said during a meeting Tuesday he opposes the use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, which the $6,064 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment would fund. Price says he's not against birth control but that he considers IUDs an abortion issue. He said he thinks it's "murder" to take the money. Jeanette Peroli, nurse practitioner with the Saline County Health Department, said she gave Price information that IUDs are contraceptives and do not abort a pregnancy. The Salina Journal reports that the commission approved Price's motion against accepting the money.


Former Soccer Coach Facing More Child Porn Counts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former suburban Kansas City girls' soccer coach has been charged with eight additional counts of producing child pornography in addition to three similar charges filed last year. Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Joel White of Lee's Summit secretly video recorded several girls, 11 and 12 years old, while they undressed. White formerly coached a girls under-12 soccer team and a girls under-15 team. Prosecutors say the girls depicted in seized recordings were members of his soccer team. White was arrested after authorities in Commerce City, Colorado discovered videos of nude minors on his camera while investigating the theft of jerseys and other memorabilia from a stadium that was hosting a World Cup qualifying game in April 2013. White's attorney didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.


Arraignments Set in Salina Infant's Death

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina couple charged in the death of their infant son have waived preliminary hearings. The Salina Journal reports that 21-year-old Desirah Overturf and 27-year-old Nicholas J. Corbin were charged in January in the December 2013 death of 3-month-old Jeremiah Corbin. Each is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes in the baby's death. They're being held in the Saline County Jail on $1 million bond. After they each waived their preliminary hearings Tuesday, a judge set Overturf's arraignment for June 17, and Corbin's for June 23.

Town Marks End of School Year with Water Gun Fight

LINDSBORG, Kan. (AP) — While bringing a squirt gun to school can lead to suspension or worse in many parts of the U.S., an entire Kansas community plans to mark the end of this academic year with a massive water gun fight. Those who don't want to shoot it out at Lindsborg's Swensson Park on May 30 are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and sit in designated safe areas, or dry zones, where they can watch without getting wet. The Wichita Eagle reports that no water balloons will be allowed at the "School's Out" party. Six weeks ago, a Maine 10th-grader was suspended from school after a bright yellow squirt gun fell out of his backpack. In other places, students have been suspended for merely pointing their fingers in the shape of a gun.

Bondsman's Trial Delayed Again

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — There has been a fifth delay in the jury trial for a Hutchinson bondsman accused of seeking sex from women in exchange for bonding them out of jail. Dwight Jurgens is accused of coercing woman he bailed out of Reno County Jail to have sexual contact with him between February 2010 and September 2012. He posted a $100,000 bond after he was arrested. Charges against him include aggravated human trafficking and rape. The Hutchinson News reports the trial was scheduled to begin in late September 2013. Defense lawyers asked for the first three continuances. Deputy District Attorney Tom Stanton asked for the latest two continuances, the latest on May 20. Jurgens's trial has been rescheduled for June 3.

Derby Man Sentenced to Life in Prison

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A Derby man who killed his girlfriend and stabbed her teenage son has been sentenced to life in prison for murder, with eligibility for parole after 25 years. KAKE-TV reports that 40-year-old Charles A. Beck Jr. also was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 14 years in prison for attempted murder. The sentences will run consecutively. Beck is charged in the September 2013 strangulation of 44-year-old Lonnie Staggs at her Derby home. Prosecutors say Beck also tried to strangle Staggs's 15-year-old son but he escaped after being cut with a knife and was able to lock himself and an 11-year-old sister in another room. Beck turned himself in shortly after the deaths in Texas County, Missouri. He pleaded guilty last month to charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.


Lawrence Inmate Captured After Mistaken Release

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities have recaptured a Northeast Kansas jail inmate who was mistakenly released four days ago. Corrections officials say a procedural error allowed Armando Jimenez of Lawrence to be released Friday when he was supposed to be transferred from the custody of Douglas County. Police found Jimenez in Topeka.


Salina Man Killed by Pipe Bomb

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities in Salina say an explosion that killed a man in a pickup truck was caused by a pipe bomb in the vehicle's cab. The man was identified Tuesday as 46-year-old Salina resident Wayne Guerrant. The blast happened around 12:30 pm Monday while the pickup was parked near a sand volleyball court at a city park. Police found Guerrant badly injured outside the burning vehicle. He later died later at the hospital. Investigators have not determined if the detonation was accidental or intentional. The pipe bomb was described as 5 to 6 inches long. No other explosive devices were found in the park, but police did find a container of black powder at Guerrant's home. Authorities don't know what Guerrant had planned to do with the bomb.


Bob Dole Plans Another Kansas Tour

GOODLAND, Kan. (AP) _ Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole has announced the schedule for his next tour of Kansas. Last week, the 90-year-old Russell native finished a tour of 16 communities throughout the state following 10 visits throughout the state last month, including an appearance at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Dole is calling these trips "Gratitude Tours" and says they are a way for him to thank supporters and connect with long-time friends. His office announced yesterday (TUE) that Dole will return next week for three days of stops in western Kansas.


Woman Held Without Bond in Kansas Adoption Scam

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A woman accused of pretending to be pregnant to scam prospective adoptive parents in Kansas and elsewhere will remain held without bond while awaiting trial. A federal magistrate judge in Kansas City, Kansas, ruled Tuesday that 34-year-old Chrystal Marie Rippey, of Marshall, Texas, is a serious flight risk. Rippey's attorney did not immediately return a phone message. Rippey was indicted in February on federal charges of mail and wire fraud.


Nonprofit Becomes New Owner of Baseball Tournament

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new nonprofit formed by the city of Wichita now owns the National Baseball Congress World Series. Wichita City Council members on Tuesday approved the transfer of the city-owned tournament to the NBC Baseball Foundation. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer will appoint the foundation's nine-member board next month. The Wichita Eagle reports that the members will include those with experience in baseball, marketing and finance, as well as two council members. The city started an internal review of the tournament in the fall of 2012 in response to financial problems, late payments to vendors and dwindling attendance at the amateur baseball tournament. The tournament began in Wichita in 1935. This year's NBC World Series runs from July 25 through August 9.


KU Adds Ukrainian Prospect to Recruiting Class

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Highly touted forward Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has signed to play college basketball at the University of Kansas, adding the talented swingman from Ukraine to what was already a top-10 recruiting class. The school announced his signing in a statement Wednesday. The 6-foot-8 forward will be eligible to play this season, even though he won't turn 17 until June, because he has already completed high school in the Ukraine. But his age also means he will not be eligible for the NBA draft for at least two years because of age requirement rules. Mykhailiuk shined at the under-16 European championships, averaging 25.2 points and eight rebounds. He also played for the world select team at the Nike Hoops Summit last month. He joins Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre and Devonte Graham in this year's class.



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