Kansas Governor, Challenger Set for More Debates
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his challenger Paul Davis will meet for back-to-back debates this week in Wichita amid a close race as the election nears. The two candidates will face off for a televised debate Monday at the KWCH studios in Wichita, followed on Tuesday by another debate before the Kansas Association of Broadcasters meeting. Recent independent polling shows the race has tightened in Brownback's favor. Davis is wooing moderate Republicans and unaffiliated voters worried about tax cuts enacted at Brownback's urging. The cuts dropped the state's top personal income tax rate by 26 percent and exempted the owners of 191,000 businesses from income taxes altogether. Brownback contends the reductions are boosting the economy, but the Legislature's nonpartisan research staff predicts a $260 million budget shortfall by July 2016.
Romney to Campaign for Kansas Senator Pat Roberts
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney plans to campaign for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in suburban Kansas City next week, the latest national figure working to save the embattled three-term incumbent. Romney is to headline a rally with Roberts next Monday at the Prairie Fire shopping and residential complex in Overland Park. In a statement, Romney calls Roberts "a conservative champion for Kansas." The former Massachusetts governor has also endorsed Senate nominees in battlegrounds such as Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana. Romney in recent weeks has stepped back into the limelight, acting as a national GOP leader in a party searching for one. Roberts is facing independent candidate Greg Orman, an Olathe businessman, in what has become a surprisingly competitive race in GOP-heavy Kansas.
Court Sets Hearing in Kansas Gay Marriage Lawsuit
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- A federal judge has set a hearing this week to hear arguments over whether he should order Kansas to allow same-sex marriages. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has scheduled a hearing for Friday at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas. At issue is the request by the American Civil Liberties Union for a temporary injunction that would bring Kansas into line with a binding 10th Circuit Court of Appeals precedent set in other cases. The ACLU argues gay couples should not be prevented from marrying, while government officials have vowed to defend the state's constitutional prohibition against gay marriages. The ACLU contends that a federal ruling specific to Kansas law would aid the state Supreme Court in a separate case.
Top Republicans Make Gay Marriage Issue in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Senator Pat Roberts and Governor Sam Brownback are raising gay marriage as an issue to help paint their challengers as too liberal for GOP-leaning Kansas in the final weeks of tough re-election races. Both publicly declared their continued support for the state constitution's gay-marriage ban after U.S. Supreme Court decisions earlier this month suggested it isn't likely to withstand a legal challenge. Roberts' campaign sent a mailing last week to 300,000 voters, criticizing independent candidate Greg Orman. Orman has said government should not prohibit same-sex couples from getting married. Brownback raised the issue without prompting last week during an interview with The Associated Press about his race with Democratic challenger Paul Davis. Davis voted as a legislator against proposals to add the gay-marriage ban to the state constitution.
Brownback Calls for Steps to Prepare for Ebola Virus
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has ordered the creation of a special team to respond quickly to any suspected Ebola cases in the state. The governor's office also wants to come up with $4 million that could be used in an emergency and is calling on the federal government to provide an emergency cleanup team and federal disposal of Ebola-related waste. Brownback says in a news release he also has ordered the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to develop a plan for the state that includes stronger rules on protective gear and isolation than those required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kansas has had no confirmed cases of Ebola.
Injuries Reported in School Bus Collision
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — Police say 13 people have been taken to hospitals following an accident involving a school bus in suburban Kansas City. The bus was taking a girls' volleyball team from the Raymore-Peculiar School District to a tournament at Lee's Summit West High School late Monday afternoon. Raymore-Peculiar district athletic director Tom Kruse tells The Kansas City Star that the injuries are believed to be minor. The accident happened around 4:45 pm near the Lee's Summit school. Police said the bus collided with a flatbed truck while making a U-turn. The flatbed truck hit the bus on the left rear side. The two drivers were not hurt.
Police: Kansas Man Threatens Cafe Workers with Bat
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A south Kansas man has been arrested after police say he threated employees at a cafe with a softball bat. The Wichita Eagle reports the 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of two counts of aggravated assault and battery. Arkansas City police say he was arrested Saturday night after an incident at Daisy Mae's Cafe. It's unclear if he has been charged. Restaurant employees say he threatened them following a complaint about a call-in order. They say he swung at one of the workers and missed. Another employee says the man punched him in the head. The man's identity hasn't been released.
Man Pleads to Lesser Charge in Olathe Death
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe man has pleaded no contest to an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death of his brother's estranged girlfriend. Thirty-year-old Samuel L. Moore originally was charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 25-year-old Laura Coltrane in Olathe but he pleaded to the lesser charge Monday. He will be sentenced December 29. The Kansas City Star reports that Moore's brother, 33-year-old Derek Deon Owens, is serving a 74-year prison sentence after he was convicted of strangling and beating Coltrane in her apartment. He also found guilty of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and violation of a protection order. Coltrane was a radiologic technologist from Humboldt, Kansas.
Oklahoma Guard: No Injuries After Midair Collision
MOLINE, Kan. (AP) — The Oklahoma Air National Guard says two of its fighter jets collided over southeast Kansas during a training exercise, with one ejecting from one of the aircraft. The Oklahoma Guard's Col. Max Moss said neither pilot was seriously injured in the midair collision Monday afternoon. Moss said one of the F-16's returned safely to its base in Tulsa while the second crashed and burned in a field in southern Kansas. Moss said the pilot of the crashed plane was taken to McConnell Air Force Base hospital in Wichita for evaluation, but is not believed to be seriously injured. He said the collision occurred during a training exercise northeast of the Elk County town of Moline.
Sheriff: Kansas ATV Driver Killed in Crash
TURON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a central Kansas man has died after his ATV was struck from behind by a SUV. The Reno County Sheriff's Office says the man was hit Saturday afternoon after pulling onto the shoulder. He was pinned under his ATV and pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities say the SUV driver left the scene but has since been identified. They say the driver is cooperating with officials. No charges have been reported. Authorities haven't identified either driver.
Kansas City Royals Get Paul Ryan's "Endorsement"
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan isn't just endorsing politicians now. The 2012 GOP nominee for vice president is throwing his support behind the Kansas City Royals. Ryan was in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park last Friday to stump for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in the three-term incumbent's tight re-election race against independent Greg Orman. During the campaign stop, Ryan joked that he was "going to endorse the Royals" as well. The Royals are headed to the World Series after winning a record eight straight games in the postseason. Ryan said that with the Milwaukee Brewers defeated, he was "happy for the Royals."
Explosive Device Found Near Hutchinson Bar
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson police are investigating after officers found a homemade explosive device behind a bar. Sergeant Eric Buller says officers went to Gold Diggers bar after receiving a report of an explosion Sunday afternoon. He says the bar was evacuated as police and fire officials tried to determine what happened. The Hutchinson News reports that investigators determined the explosion occurred in a fenced-in area behind the bar that has a seating area and a fire pit. Buller says officers later found a device that included a couple of pipes welded to a metal base. Gunpowder had been poured and on the device and then ignited. Officers dismantled the device. No injuries were reported.
Professor Fights KU over Harassment Case, Policies
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Nearly four years after he was found guilty of sexual harassment, a University of Kansas professor continues to fight the university in court. Those involved in the case of 85-year-old Zamir Bavel say part of the problem is the confusing and contradictory policies used by the university in such incidents. Bavel contends the university violated his rights by denying him a hearing before he was found guilty. He also denies the allegations that he groped a female student. Bavel lost a lawsuit in Douglas County Court and is now waiting for the Kansas Court of Appeals to consider his appeal. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that court documents in Bavel's case mention at least four sets of rules governing multiple university bodies, offices and administrators.
New Attempt to Reduce Wichita Marijuana Penalties
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A second attempt to reduce marijuana penalties in Wichita has begun. The Marijuana Reform Initiative held a meeting Sunday to begin a new petition drive to get the issue on the April ballot. The first effort came up a few dozen names short of the number needed to present the issue to voters in November. Under the new petition, anyone 21 and older who possesses 32 grams of marijuana or less would be fined $50 for a first infraction. KAKE-TV reports that petitioners need to gather a little more the 2,800 signatures by February 19 to make the April ballot. If the effort is successful, the city council would need to officially change the city's ordinance.
Kansas City Police Investigate Death of 6-Year-Old
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are vowing to find the person or persons responsible for the shooting death of a 6-year-old girl while she was at a convenience store with her dad. Hundreds of people turned out Sunday evening to remember Angel Hooper and call for justice in her shooting. The girl died Friday evening after being shot at a south Kansas City convenience store. Angel and her father stopped at the store for bubblegum when someone in a passing car shot at them. Major Karl Oakman, commander of the police department's South Patrol Division, said Angel has "all the power of the Kansas City Police Department behind her." The Kansas City Star reports that Angel's mother, Charity Guinn, said she is confident officers will make an arrest.
Kansas Teenager Sentenced for Death of Father
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas teenager will spend five years and four months in a juvenile facility for killing his father during a custody exchange. The Kansas City Star reports that the Bonner Springs youth was sentenced in Johnson County on Monday, which was his 16th birthday. He pleaded guilty earlier to second-degree murder. The fatal shooting occurred in July 2013 outside a Shawnee business where the boy's mother and stepfather had arranged to turn him over to his 46-year-old father. The mother and stepfather were inside when the teen walked to his father's car and fired several times with a handgun. The teen told police and mental health professionals that he had suffered years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse by his father. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kansas Man Killed by Freight Train
McPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas man is dead after being struck by a Union Pacific freight train over the weekend. The McPherson County sheriff's office told HutchPost.com that the body of 36-year-old Joshua Miller was discovered around 2 am Sunday by the crew of a westbound train. Authorities say Miller had been struck by an eastbound train while walking near the tracks just outside the city of McPherson. Miller was a resident of McPherson. The sheriff's office was still investigating the accident Monday while waiting for information from Union Pacific.
Kansas Anthropology Researchers Waiting for Test Results
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Researchers are waiting to hear if evidence found at a Pottawatomie County site this summer can be tied to the founding populations of the Americas. Rolfe Mandel, a University of Kansas anthropology professor, tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that if sediments at the site are determined to be more than 13,500 years old, it would open the door for the earliest evidence of the Clovis people inhabiting the Central Great Plains. They wandered across America following animal herds. Mandel leads the excavation of the Coffey site that's a part of the university's Odyssey Project. Mandel says he's waiting for the results of a dating method to reveal the age of deposits that contained the artifacts found at the site. Items found in July include a tool called a hafted drill.
Salina Tech Works to Start Trucking Institute
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Salina Area Technical College is working to start a professional trucking program because demand for drivers is strong. The Salina Journal reports that the program was discussed last week during a meeting with needy employers. Vice president of instruction Pedro Leite says the technical school is looking for seed money. The hope is have the program up and running by next spring. Fort Scott Community College in southeast Kansas offers the only truck driving school in Kansas that's affiliated with the Board of Regents. Salina Tech will be the second, and much of the necessary equipment has been donated by local industry players. Great Plains Trucking and Apac-Kansas Shears Division have each supplied a truck. Apac and Schwan's Global Supply added trailers.
WU Receives $1.4M Gift for Athletic Scholarships
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Washburn University has received a $1.4 million donation for athletic scholarships. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the money comes from the estate of Dorothy Reichart. Her late husband, Jerry Reichart, was a standout lineman on the WU football team, earning all-conference honors in 1949. He was inducted into the Washburn Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987. About 20 years ago, the Jerry W. Reichart Athletic Scholarship Fund was created. With the latest gift, the fund now totals nearly $2 million. Dorothy Reichart's sister, Nancy Erwin, was on hand Saturday at Washburn for the check presentation. She said her sister and brother-in-law loved Washburn and sports. Washburn University Foundation president JuliAnn Mazachek said the gift "creates a meaningful, lasting legacy" for the couple.
New KU Addition Inspires Architects-in-Training
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — An auditorium that was designed by architects-in-training at the University of Kansas has opened on the Lawrence campus. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the first lecture was conducted Friday at the Forum at Marvin Hall. The School of Architecture, Design and Planning is housed inside the hall, which previously didn't have an auditorium. Lecture classes took place across the campus. The privately funded addition was a project of Studio 804, a not-for-profit corporation and a design/build class. The auditorium features exterior walls that are made of glass, with a naturally ventilated facade using cedar louvers. The addition's new roof is supported by timber-frame trusses, as is used in the original building. At the back of the room is a green wall of live plants.
San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Hit Song 'Royals'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The popular song "Royals" by New Zealand artist Lorde is getting caught up in the fervor over the upcoming World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals. Two San Francisco radio stations say they won't play the song during the duration of the World Series. KFOG and KOIT announced the bans last week as the Giants clinched the pennant and headed to the series. KOIT program director Brian Figula said in a statement that listeners called for the ban. Jim Richards, KFOG's program director, said they didn't want to play a song that repeatedly says "Royals" while rooting for the hometown team. Lorde has told VH1 that a photo of Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett signing autographs in his uniform helped inspire her song when she saw the word "Royals."
Rest or Rust? Royals, Giants Set for World Series
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants zipped through the playoffs, Lorenzo Cain and the Kansas City Royals zoomed along. And then, they all got some time off. Almost an eternity, by October standards. When the World Series begins Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium, both teams will deal with a familiar issue this deep in the postseason: Does an extended layoff translate into rest or rust? The Royals went 8-0 in the playoffs, giving them five off days before James Shields starts in Game 1. The Giants went 8-2 and had four days to relax before Madison Bumgarner pitches the opener. The clubs held workouts, studied video and checked out scouting reports. But as several teams that stumbled in the World Series after long breaks discovered, nothing can duplicate playing a real game.
Yearwood, Santana to Perform at World Series
NEW YORK (AP) — Trisha Yearwood and Carlos Santana are among the musicians set to perform the national anthem during the World Series. Major League Baseball says Yearwood will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 1 on Tuesday when the San Francisco Giants play the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Santana will perform an instrumental rendition of the national anthem with his son before Game 4 on Saturday at the AT&T Park in San Francisco. Former "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips will sing before Game 2 on Wednesday. Country quartet Little Big Town will sing before Game 3 on Friday. The games will air on Fox at 7 pm Central time.