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Headlines for Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Wolf Rejects Proposed Poll of Kansas GOP in US Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Tea party candidate Milton Wolf has rejected a conservative Kansas legislator's suggestion to allow a poll to decide which one of them challenges U.S. Senator Pat Roberts in the Republican primary. Leawood radiologist Milton Wolf's campaign said Wednesday that state Senator Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha should listen to conservatives who are backing Wolf. Several tea party leaders sent Pyle emails urging him to stay out of the race. Pyle proposed that he and Wolf finance a poll or approach news organizations about a poll of likely voters in the August 5 Republican primary. Roberts is seeking his fourth, six-year term. Wolf has already filed to run against him for the GOP nomination, and Pyle announced last week that he's considering the race. The candidate filing deadline is noon Monday.


Ex-US Rep. Tiahrt to Discuss Race in Kansas 4th District 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas congressman Todd Tiahrt plans to meet with supporters to discuss the Republican primary in the 4th District he used to represent. The event is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita. It comes after weeks of speculation in Republican circles that Tiahrt was considering a bid to return to Congress. The seat for the 4th District in south-central Kansas is now by Republican Mike Pompeo, who already has filed for a third, two-year term. Tiahrt held the seat from 1995 until 2011. He did not seek re-election in 2010 to run for the U.S. Senate but lost a bitter Republican primary to Jerry Moran. Moran won the Senate seat in November 2010, when Pompeo was elected to replace Tiahrt in the House.


Kansas Secretary of State Files for Re-Election

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has formally launched his campaign for re-election, calling himself a "guardian of state sovereignty." The Republican secretary of state filed for office Wednesday and paid a $1,360 fee to guarantee his spot on the August 5 GOP primary ballot. He'll face Lawrence attorney and businessman Scott Morgan in the primary. Morgan contends that Kobach hasn't been a full-time secretary of state and has spent too much of his time on issues unrelated to the office. But Kobach says he does outside work on his own time and defended his interest in issues such as immigration and opposition to the federal government's listing of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened. Kobach said the secretary of state should defend state sovereignty.


KS AG Calls Meeting About New Gun Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is convening a meeting this afternoon to discuss new regulations for signs that business owners and others must post in order to keep guns off their premises. Schmidt's office it’s soliciting public input about what should be required for no-gun signs under a new state law taking effect in July. The new law bars cities and counties from regulating firearms. Backers of the measure say it is intended to ensure that the open carrying of firearms is legal statewide. But businesses, churches and others still will be able to bar firearms from their premises if they post the appropriate signs. Today's (WED) meeting is set for 3 pm at the attorney general's office in Topeka.


KS Gov Expands Mental Health Programs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback’s administration is investing $9.5 million in state and federal funds to expand mental health services in Kansas. Brownback says the goal is to address the causes of mental health problems and provide treatment to people who use state services or are in the corrections system. The governor said the state will put $7 million in federal funds from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program toward helping families with members who have mental health problems. State money will also be allocated to law enforcement agencies to improve training for officers to identify people in crisis. The expansion of services was recommended by a mental health task force formed by Brownback in July 2013.


Lynn Jenkins Files for Re-Election in Kansas 2nd

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Republican congresswoman Lynn Jenkins has filed for re-election in the Kansas 2nd Congressional District. Both Jenkins and her presumed Democratic challenger say they're eager to debate the issues facing the eastern Kansas district. Jenkins filed the paperwork yesterday (TUE) at the Kansas secretary of state's office and paid the filing fee. Jenkins is seeking her fourth, two-year term. Attorney Margie Wakefield of Lawrence filed for the Democratic nomination last week. Wakefield's campaign issued a statement saying the Democratic candidate wants to have frequent debates so that voters see the contrast between her and Jenkins. Jenkins responded that she's eager to talk about issues and said that Wakefield is too liberal for the district.


Former KBI Official Sentenced on Sex Exploitation Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation who pleaded guilty to possessing a pornographic picture of a minor has been placed on three years' probation. Fifty-eight-year-old Kyle Smith must also register as a sex offender for 25 years and continue in a treatment program under the sentence he received Wednesday in Shawnee County District Court. Smith declined to comment after the sentencing. He pleaded guilty in March to one count of sexual exploitation of a child. The charge involved an image of a teenage girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct. An email containing the picture was traced to Smith's KBI account after an agency secretary discovered the image last fall and notified her superiors.


Ex-Kansas Lawmaker Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas state legislator has pleaded guilty to defrauding a bank in Colby. Forty-year-old Trent LeDoux, of Holton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of bank fraud. He admitted defrauding Farmers and Merchants Bank in Colby out of more than $465,000. Prosecutors say he deposited some of the money into his campaign account. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports LeDoux admitted he falsely told the bank he would use money from three loans to buy cattle, which would be collateral for the loans. He used some of the money to pay off debts and used some for his campaign. LeDoux will be sentenced August 11. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million.


Firm Announces $120M Expansion of McPherson Plant

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — A major pharmaceutical company says it will invest $120 million in improvements at its McPherson plant over the next five years, likely resulting in 150 new jobs. Illinois-based Hospira Incorporated announced the project Wednesday. Hospira makes injectable drugs and infusion technologies. The Kansas plant opened in 1977 and currently has about 1,400 employees who produce medications in glass vials, cartridges, syringes and other delivery systems. The plan for the McPherson facility includes additional production lines, automated visual inspection systems and expanded capacity.


South Kansas Among Areas to Receive Federal Money in Business Initiative

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has named the first communities that will receive special attention to help them attract global manufacturers. The initiative was started last September and is meant to encourage communities to develop long-term strategies to compete for these manufacturers. It uses the resources of federal departments and agencies to support local economic development plans. The partnership is another attempt by the administration to boost U.S. manufacturing. The White House says nearly 650,000 manufacturing jobs were created in the past five years. The 12 communities announced Wednesday are: southwest Alabama, Southern California, northwest Georgia, the Chicago metro area, south Kansas, greater Portland, Maine, southeastern Michigan, the New York Finger Lakes region, southwestern Ohio aerospace region, the Tennessee Valley, the Washington Puget Sound region and the Milwaukee area.


SE Kansas Man Found Dead in Sewer Line

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — Human remains found in a southeast Kansas sewer line have been identified as those of a man missing since mid-January. KOAM-TV reports that a crew from the city of Independence discovered the remains May 19 while working on the line near the Verdigris River. Independence Police Chief Harry Smith said Wednesday a medical examiner identified them as those of 29-year-old Dustan James Roberts. More tests will be needed to determine the cause of death. Roberts was last seen leaving his Independence apartment the morning of January 13 walking into woods near the river. He was reported missing a few days later.


Kansas Company to Build Biogas Plant in Missouri

SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas company that converts agricultural manure into energy and fertilizer will build its next biogas production plant in west-central Missouri's Pettis County. BioStar Systems, of Leawood, Kansas, operates fuel production centers around the U.S. Company officials and the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced Wednesday in Sedalia that BioStar plans to spend $60 million on the Pettis County plant. About two dozen jobs are expected to be created. The plant will partner with a local poultry farm, Rose Acres, to produce a new regional source for renewable energy. BioStar could receive nearly $1.5 million in state incentives if it meets criteria for job creation and investment.


Saline County to Reconsider Grant Rejection

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Saline County Commission says it will reconsider its decision to reject a state grant for contraceptives that one commissioner likened to murder. The commission's new decision came after they endured strong criticism Tuesday for voting last week to reject a $6,064 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for intrauterine devices, or IUDs. The Salina Journal reports that in a study session after the public hearing, the commissioners agreed to study the issue further and take another vote next Tuesday. Commissioners voted unanimously last week to reject the grant after Commissioner John Price said the IUDs could cause an abortion. During the public hearing Tuesday, two physicians told the commission that IUDs prevent pregnancies, rather than ending a pregnancy that has already begun.

KU, Union Approve Raise for Graduate Students

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Graduate teaching assistants at the University of Kansas could receive a raise next year. The university and a union representing the graduate students approved a contract raising the minimum wage for teaching assistants by $1,000 a year, an increase of about 7.7 percent. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the new contract will increase the minimum salary from $13,000 to $14,000 for the 2014-2015 school year. The minimum would increase to $14,250 for 2015-16. The Kansas Board of Regents is expected to vote on the contract at its June meeting.

Douglas County Investigating Highway Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Douglas County Sheriff's Office say a man is recovering in a hospital after being shot while driving on a highway south of Lawrence. The shooting occurred late Monday on Highway 59. The sheriff's office says the 24-year-old man was taken to a Topeka hospital after being shot late Monday. Officers closed a three-mile section of the highway for several hours Tuesday to search for clues. Sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant Steve Lewis said authorities have no information on a suspect or a vehicle.


6 IRS Employees Plead Guilty in Fraud Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Six former Internal Revenue Service employees have pleaded guilty to receiving unemployment benefits while they were working for the agency. Federal prosecutors say the six former employees all pleaded guilty Tuesday and Wednesday to stealing government funds by fraud. The scheme netted the defendants a total of $66,030. The employees were 32-year-old Michelle Glavinl; 34-year-old Christopher Castillo; 61-year-old Jesse Love; and 27-year-old Tiffani Harding, all of Kansas City; 41-year-old Shalonda Bradley of Grandview, and 59-year-old Berneta Weedin of Platte Woods. As part of their plea agreement, the six will all be required to make restitution. Sentencing dates have not been scheduled.


IKEA Installing Large Solar Array at Kansas Store

MERRIAM, Kan. (AP) — IKEA plans to install a large solar array at its store in suburban Kansas City, making what the furniture retailer calls the largest rooftop solar spread in Kansas. The company said in a release Wednesday that installation of the 92,000-square-foot solar array will likely begin in June. The store's opening is scheduled for this fall. IKEA says the 2,850 panels at the Merriam store will produce more than 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually for the store, which is being built on about 20 acres in Merriam. The company says it has installed more than 550,000 solar panels on buildings worldwide and has solar energy at most of its U.S. locations.


Reclaimed Mining Land Becomes Popular Fishing Spot

MCCUNE, Kan. (AP) — Efforts to clean up one of the hundreds of abandoned mine sites in southeast Kansas have created a popular fishing spot. The Mined Land Wildlife Area near McCune encompasses 14,500 acres, with 1,500 acres of surface water. The pits left by mining are now filled with largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, trout and other fish. The area attracts 300,000 visitors a year. The cleanup is required by the federal government, and has been financed by mining reclamation money paid by mining companies. The Mined Land Wildlife Area is one of several projects chosen by state officials to clean with the reclamation money. The Joplin Globe reports that some landowners have fought the reclamation projects but state officials say they improve habitat and safety in the region.


Charges Added in Shootings at KS Jewish Sites

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A southwest Missouri man accused of killing three people in a shooting rampage outside Jewish facilities near Kansas City is now facing additional charges. Prosecutors in Johnson County filed three counts of attempted murder against the suspect…73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, of Aurora, Missouri. He's already been charged with capital murder in the deaths of three people during the shooting near Overland Park. The additional charges allege Cross tried to kill additional people during the April 13 rampage. Cross remains held on $10 million bond. Cross's next court appearance is set for tomorrow (THUR).


2 Killed, 2 Injured in South Wichita Disturbance

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say two people died and two others were injured in a disturbance at a south Wichita neighborhood that was the result of a simmering feud. An argument involving three residents of WindRidge Apartments spilled in the street Tuesday evening. Lieutenant Randy Reynolds says a 27-year-old man visiting the complex shot three people in the street. Two people — 24-year-old Cayli Phillips and a 50-year-old Eddie Centeno-Martinez — died of gunshot wounds. A 38-year-old cousin of Centeno-Martinez was shot and is in critical condition. Reynolds says the suspected shooter also is in critical condition after being stabbed at some point during the dispute. Police have not yet determined exactly what prompted the feud.


Salina Detective Cleared of Wrongdoing in Shooting

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina police detective is back at work after investigations determined he followed proper procedures when he shot and injured a man. Captain Mike Sweeney says an internal review found that detective Scott Hogeland was justified in shooting 45-year-old Jose Carrillo-Morales on May 21 during a domestic disturbance. Sweeney says Carrillo-Morales shot at Hogeland first. The Salina Journal reports that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted a criminal investigation and found Hogeland should not be charged. Carrillo-Morales was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges for allegedly shooting at Hogeland and two other officers. He was shot in the cheek and shoulder during the altercation.


Fort Riley Soldier Found Dead

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Police in Junction City are investigating the death of a Fort Riley soldier in an off-post apartment. The serviceman was identified Tuesday as 26-year-old Shawn Michael Thomas. Police responding to a report of a shooting Monday found Thomas dead of a single gunshot wound.


Topeka Homicide Victim Identified as Wichita Woman

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The victim in a fatal weekend shooting in Topeka has been identified as a Wichita woman who had been married just hours earlier. Police released the identity of 42-year-old Tiffany Davenport-Ray yesterday. She was shot about 1:30 am Sunday at an intersection south of downtown Topeka and died several hours later at a hospital. A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and his bond was set at $1 million during a court appearance yesterday. Police said that officers who responded to the shooting also found a traffic accident had occurred. A friend of the victim told the Topeka Capital-Journal that Davenport-Ray had lived in Wichita for the past 10 years working at Beechcraft and had just returned to Topeka for her wedding Saturday.


K-State Grants Release to Women's Basketball Player

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University has granted a release to women's basketball player Leticia Romero after amending its transfer policy, ending an embarrassing spat that had generated national attention. The school said Tuesday that Romero will be allowed to transfer to any school outside the Big 12 after the Athletics Board of Directors approved the policy change. Romero, who led the Wildcats in scoring as a freshman, had been seeking to transfer after coach Deb Patterson was fired. The school denied her request amid concerns that members of the previous staff were trying to persuade her to follow them to another school. An appeals committee upheld the decision, and pundits ranging from Dick Vitale to fellow college basketball analyst Jay Bilas took to Twitter in Romero's support.


Emporia Woman Sentenced for Embezzlement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The former chief financial officer of an eastern Kansas company has been sentenced to four months of home confinement for embezzling $266,000 from the company where she worked. The U.S. Attorney's office says 58-year-old Sandra Moore, of Emporia, must also pay full restitution under the sentence she received yesterday in federal court. Moore was an executive of Sauder Custom Fabrication, a manufacturing firm in Emporia. She pleaded guilty in December to one count of embezzlement and faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.




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