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Headlines for Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Kansas Secretary of State Candidates to Debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach is likely to face questions during a televised debate about a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new Kansas voters enacted at his urging. Kobach makes his second televised joint appearance with Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf on Wednesday night from the studio of Topeka public television station KTWU. Kobach is seeking a second four-year term. He successfully pushed the Legislature to enact a 2013 law that requires new voters to provide election officials a birth certificate, passport or other proof of U.S. citizenship. Schodorf voted for the policy as a state senator but says Kobach has poorly administered it. Kobach contends the requirement prevents voter fraud. But the voter registrations of thousands of Kansas residents are on hold because they haven't yet complied.

Senate Candidates in KS Seek to Bolster Support

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Embattled three-term incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts is taking the endorsement of a former governor and seeking votes in the rural west of Kansas, where he needs to win big to fend off independent challenger Greg Orman. Orman is pushing themes centered on dissatisfaction with Washington government, where Roberts has been working for more than 40 years. Orman plans to campaign in Olathe, his home turf and the heart of the more politically diverse and bustling Kansas City suburbs. In this unlikeliest of battleground states, the Senate candidates are entering the final weeks to Election Day by trying to shore up supporters before focusing on undecided voters. Polls show the race is a dead heat.


Ex-DA Slams Brownback Ad Using Wichita Murders

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The district attorney who prosecuted two brothers in a quadruple Wichita homicide is criticizing Governor Sam Brownback's use of the case in a new campaign commercial. Brownback's ad references Reginald and Jonathan Carr, whose death sentences for the December 2000 killings were vacated in July by the Kansas Supreme Court. Former Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston issued a statement Wednesday saying the ad exploits the case for political gain. Foulston says the ad is a "political last ditch effort" to undercut the qualifications and integrity of the Kansas Supreme Court and Brownback's Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. She also says it's disgraceful that the campaign would make the families of the murder victims relive the crime whenever they turn on their televisions. Brownback's campaign did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


Brownback Cites Wichita Murder Case in Final Debate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback says his opponent, Democratic challenger Paul Davis, would appoint justices to the Kansas Supreme Court who are overly sympathetic to violent criminals. But Davis is accusing the Republican incumbent of trying to exploit a high-profile Wichita murder case to boost his re-election chances. The confrontation came during their fourth and final debate. Also Tuesday, Brownback's campaign released a television ad referencing brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr, whose death sentences for a quadruple homicide were vacated by the state Supreme Court in July. Brownback has long sought more power to directly appoint justices rather than use a longstanding merit system in which a committee comprised of lawyers and members of the public send up suggestions. Davis says he believes the governor doesn't need more control over judicial selection.

Roberts Ad Protests Housing Guantanamo Bay Detainees in Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Senator Pat Roberts is airing a television advertisement in his re-election campaign in which he vows to filibuster any federal effort to house terrorism detainees at Fort Leavenworth that are now being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Roberts made the statement earlier this month while campaigning for re-election. He's seeking a fourth term in a surprisingly competitive race with independent candidate Greg Orman, a Kansas City-area businessman. President Barack Obama this month was weighing bringing detainees to U.S. federal prisons, such as Leavenworth. Roberts has tried to paint Orman as a Democrat and automatic vote for Obama's agenda, though Orman repeated Tuesday that he opposes bringing detainees to U.S. prisons. Senate Republicans need to gain six seats to capture a majority and weren't counting on having to defend GOP-heavy Kansas.

Orman Outlines College Cost Accountability Plan

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Independent candidate for Senate Greg Orman says colleges that receive federal dollars should be barred from raising costs to students above the rate of inflation. During a press conference at the University of Kansas Tuesday, Orman says college costs are holding back business growth, despite previous government plans to ease the burden of paying for higher education. Orman's plan would cap government lenders' profit margins on college loans at the rate of 10-year Treasury bonds, plus one percent for administrative costs. Orman says the policy would not require additional government bureaucracy. The government already keeps the statistics, but isn't doing anything with them to curb costs, he says. Orman is in a close race with three-term Republican Senator Pat Roberts.


Phony World Series Tickets, Merchandise Seized

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal agents have seized phony World Series tickets worth tens of thousands of dollars, along with counterfeit Royals panties and other merchandise. Before the first game of the series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, agents for Homeland Security nabbed 126 counterfeit game tickets. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release that the tickets had a $43,000 street value. Three people from New York and one from Atlanta are charged in Johnson County, Kansas, with selling fake tickets. Authorities are urging fans who bought bogus tickets to contact police. Other counterfeit items that have been seized include T-shirts, baseball caps, cellphone cases, sweatshirts, and even baby clothes. One person suspected of selling counterfeit T-shirts is facing prosecution in Missouri's Platte County.


Sheriff: Kansas Fire Chief Charged with Theft

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — A Northeast Kansas fire chief has been arrested on theft charges after authorities say he embezzled money while acting as treasurer of an area organization. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 45-year-old Ryan White was arrested this week on two felony and five misdemeanor counts of theft. Jackson County (Kansas) Sheriff Tim Morse says the Soldier Fire Department chief stole more than $2,000 from the Soldier Ball Association in 2012 and 2013. White was released from the Jackson County jail after posting bond. He didn't return a request for comment Tuesday by the newspaper. It's unclear if he is still the fire chief. Calls to the Soldier Fire Department by the newspaper weren't returned.

Riley County Police to Test Body Cameras

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Riley County police are moving forward with a pilot program to place body cameras on some officers. The Manhattan Mercury reports that Captain Tim Hegarty announced this week that police will start testing the 11 cameras on November 5. He says Aggieville police officers will wear the cameras on their heads and will activate them manually. The officers will upload the footage at the end of every shift. The department has paid nearly $6,000 to use the cameras for five years. Hegarty says if the pilot succeeds, the body cameras could replace dash cameras on patrol cars. He says the pilot will be evaluated after a year.


Wichita Senators Seek to Eliminate Food Sales Tax

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two state senators from Wichita say they want to introduce a plan in the Legislature to eliminate sales tax on food purchased for preparation at home. Republican state Senator Michael O'Donnell says he worked on a similar proposal on the tax code during the 2013 legislative session but the House rejected it. The Wichita Eagle reports O'Donnell is working with Democratic state Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau on a plan that would slowly reduce the sales tax on food over several years. The Kansas Department of Revenue says groceries make up about 15 percent of total sales tax collections, bringing in about $392.5 million each year — most of which goes into the state's general fund. Kansas is currently projected to have a $260 million deficit by the end of June 2016. 

Cattle Truck Crashes on I-70

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A driver was unhurt but multiple head of cattle were killed or injured when a tractor-trailer transporting the animals crashed on Interstate 70 in east-central Kansas. KSAL-AM reports that the accident happened around 3:30 am Wednesday near Abilene in Dickinson County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the semi was westbound when it rolled onto its side and landed in a ditch. The truck was transporting 61 head of cattle. Four died and several others were injured. A veterinarian was among those who responded to the accident. Portions of I-70 were closed while officials worked the scene and rounded up cattle on the road.


Junction City Cites Dozens for Cellphone Use

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Despite months of advance notice, dozens of drivers in Junction City were cited for improper use of cellphones during the initial week of enforcement of a new law. KJCK Radio reports that police issued 51 citations from Monday through Friday of last week for talking on hand-held cellphones while driving. One person was also cited for texting while driving. Junction City adopted an ordinance in June banning motorists from talking or listening on a cellphone unless it's a hands-free device.Police delayed enforcement until the city put up signs notifying drivers of the law. The signs went up in September, and police issued warnings for four weeks before handing out citations. Drivers may still hold cellphones to their ears in limited circumstances, such as talking to law enforcement in emergencies.


Lawrence $75 Million Apartment Complex in Jeopardy

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Plans for a $75 million apartment complex near the University of Kansas are in jeopardy after city commissioners declined to allow the developer to reduce the number of parking spaces. City commissioners decided Tuesday to reject a request to reduce parking for the complex by 100 spaces. They cited concerns parking from the apartments would cause problems for the Oread neighborhood near the complex. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a representative for the development firm declined to comment after the meeting but the company has said in the past that an exemption from the parking code was vital to secure funding. The developer wants to build a complex with 237 apartments with 624 bedrooms but only 461 parking spaces. Neighbors urged the commission to reject the parking exemption.


School Bus Driver Cited in Collision

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — The driver of a suburban Kansas City school involved in a collision that injured 13 students has been cited for trying to make an unsafe U-turn. Police in Lee's Summit announced the municipal charge against the 50-year-old driver on Wednesday. The accident occurred Monday afternoon as the bus was carrying 20 players from the Raymore-Peculiar High School volleyball team to a match at Lee's Summit West High School. Police said the driver missed a turn and was trying to make a U-turn near the school when the bus was hit on the side by a flatbed truck. The bus remained upright. Twelve students were treated at hospitals for minor injuries and released. A 13th had serious but non-life-threatening injuries and remained hospitalized in stable condition Wednesday.


Police: Wichita Pet Cat Killed with Shotgun

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita Police are investigating the death of a cat killed by a shotgun blast. Captain Doug Nolte tells the Wichita Eagle that a 56-year-old woman's pet was killed on Monday night. She found it dead in her driveway. The woman tells police she was arguing with her neighbor before they both returned to their homes. She says she heard a loud bang before discovering the animal's body. Police say they found a shotgun shell on the neighbor's porch. They say the neighbor denied shooting the cat. No arrests have been reported.

Kansas Company Raising Money for Ebola Clinics

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita-based nonprofit is trying to raise $300,000 to send eight solar-powered clinics to western Africa in response to the Ebola crisis. The Wichita Eagle reports Clinic in a Can also will be collecting food locally and money for food to be purchased by aid organizations in Africa. Clinic in a Can was founded by Mike Wawrzewski, a physician assistant, converting shipping containers into medical clinics. The eight clinics to be sent to Liberia are the first to be completely solar powered, which Wawrzewski says is necessary because of the country's weak power system. He says the clinics will be ready to ship in about three weeks if funding is in place. The containers will be packed with personal protective equipment for medical personnel who are treating Ebola patients.

Topeka Police Search for Pair After Fatal Crash

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say two people suspected of being involved in a fatal hit-and-run have turned themselves in for questioning. The accident Tuesday evening killed a motorcyclist, whose name has not been released. Two people in the car fled on foot after the motorcyclist was hit. Police said in a news release that an adult man and an adult woman called police late Tuesday and were taken to police headquarters for questioning. No further details were released. The accident occurred on the Sardou Bridge, which was closed to traffic for several hours before reopening early Wednesday.

Judge Rules in Favor of Guard in Inmate Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled in favor of a former Shawnee County corrections officer who was sued by an inmate who claimed he wasn't protected from another inmate. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that former Shawnee County Jail inmate Armando Ruiz contended former guard Emmanuel Clifton violated his constitutional rights when he failed to protect him from another inmate before a January 2012 altercation. The 60-year-old Ruiz, who now serving time at El Dorado Correction Facility for indecent solicitation of a child, filed a handwritten lawsuit in March 2013 seeking $300,000 from Shawnee County, Clifton and county counselor Rich Eckert. U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia last week ruled in Clifton's favor because video footage showed Ruiz kicked the other inmate first.

Military Converges on Scene of Kansas Jet Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Military personnel are investigating at the site in southeast Kansas where two Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter jets collided during a training exercise. One pilot ejected after Monday's crash about three miles northeast of the Elk County town of Moline. The Oklahoma National Guard said Tuesday that the pilot was taken to a clinic at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, where he was treated for slight injuries and released. The other pilot wasn't injured and landed his F-16 safely at a Tulsa base. Crews are assessing damage. The Guard said more information would be released when the investigation is completed. The pilots are part of an F-16 unit that routinely trains in designated airspace over sparsely populated areas.

Former County Worker to Be Sentenced for Theft

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) — A former payroll clerk for a southeast Kansas county will be sentenced in November for stealing nearly $24,000 in public funds. The Fort Scott Tribune reports 29-year-old Angela Timi faces up to 29 months behind bars at her sentencing Nov. 10 in Bourbon County District Court. She must also pay full restitution. Timi worked in the county clerk's office from August 2011 until she was fired in January 2013, when officials announced an employee was being investigated for theft. Timi initially faced 59 charges. Most were dismissed last month when Timi pleaded guilty to misusing public funds and two counts of criminal use of a county credit card. Agents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation found numerous instances of a county credit card being used for Timi's personal expenses.

Iowa Man Pleads Guilty to Missouri Bank Robbery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Iowa man has pleaded guilty to his part in a Missouri bank robbery after which the suspects left their loot in a tree. Twenty-seven-year-old Torrence Joseph O'Neill, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kansas City to one count of bank robbery. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that O'Neill and two other Iowa men were accused of robbing the Citizens Bank and Trust in Burlington Junction in March. A witness who followed the three men helped Nodaway County authorities capture them. A few days later, authorities found the more than $12,000 taken from the bank hidden in a tree in southern Iowa. The other suspects, Donald Kester Jr, of Mount Pleasant, and Travis Davis, of Fort Dodge, have change of plea hearings scheduled for next week.

Grandview Man on Probation Charged in Shooting

GRANDVIEW, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City-area man on probation for a 2010 killing has been charged in a separate slaying. The Kansas City Star reports that 20-year-old Kelly Lewis of Grandview was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action. Prosecutors say Lewis fatally shot 23-year-old Dominique Johnson on Sept. 20. Grandview police found Johnson's body in a parking lot. Witnesses say several people were arguing before Lewis shot Johnson. Lewis was placed on probation in 2012 after pleading guilty to the voluntary manslaughter of Helen Ragan. Authorities say Ragan and her husband were at home watching a basketball game when she was fatally struck by a stray bullet from Lewis. Online jail records didn't list bond or an attorney for Lewis.


Woman Pleads Guilty in $3 Million Fraud Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty to a $3 million fraud that forced her employer to declare bankruptcy and close the business. Federal prosecutors say 52-year-old Irene Marie Brooner pleaded guilty Wednesday to bank fraud. She admitted that for more than a decade she took the money from Galvmet Inc., a sheet metal fabrication and steel service center in Kansas City. The company closed in 2014, when it had 18 to 20 employees. Brooner was a controller who managed payroll and accounts at Galvmet. During the scheme, she created 389 unauthorized transactions from the company's bank account to her personal account and increased her net pay on about 108 checks. Brooner was ordered to forfeit her home, a Lexus, jewelry and at least $2.9 million.


K-State's Snyder Among Nominees for College Hall of Fame

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is among the 81 coaches and players up for election to the College Football Hall of Fame. The National Football Foundation on Wednesday released the ballot for the class that will be announced January 9. Former Heisman Trophy winners Rashaan Salaam of Colorado, Ricky Williams of Texas and Eric Crouch of Nebraska are among the 75 players from the Football Bowl Subdivision on the ballot. Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth and Southern California receiver Keyshawn Johnson are also up for election. The NFF tweaked its rules for eligibility a few years ago to allow active coaches, such as Snyder, to be eligible for the election after they turn 75. The 75-year-old Snyder is in his 23rd season at Kansas State. He has a record of 183-91-1.


Royals Lose 1st Game of World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner tossed seven brilliant innings, Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer and the San Francisco Giants took Game 1 of the World Series by hammering the Royals 7-1 in Kansas City. Bumgarner allowed three hits and blanked the Royals until Salvador Perez homered with two out in the seventh. Pablo Sandoval had two RBIs for the Giants, who have won their last seven World Series games.


World Series Rating for Opener Drops to Low

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A World Series opener involving the San Francisco Giants set a record low TV rating for the second time in three seasons. San Francisco's 7-1 win over Kansas City drew a 7.3 rating and 12.2 million viewers Tuesday night on Fox, according to fast national ratings by Nielsen Media Research. That broke the previous low of a 7.6 rating and 12.2 million for the Giants' 8-3 victory over Detroit in 2012. San Francisco's 11.7 win over Texas in the 2010 opener got an 8.9 rating. The rating for this year's opener began with a 6.9 from 8:05-8:30 pm EDT and peaked at 8.5 in the half hour starting at 9 pm. With the Giants scoring three runs in the first inning and leading 5-0 by the fourth, the rating ended at 5.7 from 11:30-11:41 pm. Still, Fox said Wednesday it expects to win the prime-time night and have its best Tuesday night since February 2012. Fox Deportes averaged 273,000 viewers, a record for Spanish-language World Series coverage.


Chiefs' Charles Passes Battery of Concussion Tests

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs insisted Wednesday that Jamaal Charles has passed a battery of tests and does not show signs of a concussion, one day after the star running back said he exhibited symptoms in last weekend's win over San Diego. Charles took a blow from Brandon Flowers when he dove into the endzone Sunday. Charles popped up and trotted off the field, and trainers met him on the sideline. He remained in the game. On Tuesday, Charles told ESPN Radio that he saw "light bulbs" a few plays later, and that he tried to avoid going through the league's concussion protocol. After the Chiefs learned of the interview, they put Charles through a battery of tests. The team said he passed all of them.


Self, Weber Speak at Wayne McClain Funeral

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — People who gathered to remember basketball coach Wayne McClain say it was like him not to reveal he was ill with cancer. Former Illinois and now Kansas State coach Bruce Weber was among dozens who spoke Wednesday in person or by video during McClain's funeral. University of Kansas coach Bill Self, who hired McClain at Illinois, also spoke. Weber told the more than 1,000 people who gathered for McClain's funeral that he was mad McClain hadn't shared the bad news. But he added "that just wasn't him." Terry McClain said he spoke to his 60-year-old brother regularly but didn't know he was ill until days before his October 15 death. Wayne McClain made his name as head coach at Peoria Manual High School. He won three state championships there in the 1990s.


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