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Regional Headlines for Monday, October 28, 2013


Schodorf to Launch Campaign for KS Sec of State

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former state Senator Jean Schodorf plans to launch her campaign for Kansas secretary of state with an event in Wichita this week. Schodorf has scheduled a news conference Wednesday at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview in downtown Wichita. She'll be running as a Democrat, hoping to challenge incumbent Republican Kris Kobach in the November 2014 general election. The former lawmaker from Wichita served 12 years in the state Senate as a Republican and chaired the chamber's Education Committee. But Schodorf was a GOP moderate, and conservatives successfully targeted her for defeat in the Republican primary in August 2012. She later switched parties to run for secretary of state. 

Democrat Leaves KS Secretary of State Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City-area businessman says he's dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for Kansas secretary of state for family reasons. Randy Rolston, of Mission Hills, said Monday he plans to endorse former state Senator Jean Schodorf, of Wichita, for the party's nomination against Republican incumbent Kris Kobach. Rolston said he's leaving the race because his 94-year-old father has been diagnosed with leukemia. Rolston is president and co-founder of the Lenexa-based mail order firm Victorian Trading Company. He entered the race at the end of last year and loaned his fledgling campaign $201,000. Kobach and Schodorf did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment. Schodorf plans to launch her campaign with a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview in downtown Wichita.


KS House Speaker Raises Issue of School Consolidation 

The Speaker of the Kansas House is floating the idea of school district consolidation. House Speaker Ray Merrick sent a memo to other House Republicans calling for "common sense reorganization." He also noted the high administrative costs for teaching students in small school districts. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, calls the proposal an attack on small, rural school districts. 


Advocacy Group Claims KS Short-Changing Services to Disabled

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas advocacy group says the state has failed for four years to comply with targets for delivering services to developmentally disabled people and may be violating federal law by providing only partial benefits to some. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Disability Rights Center believes 3,300 developmentally disabled Kansans who qualify for Medicaid services continue to be denied aid. The group says the state also left empty between hundreds of slots it was obligated to fill from 2009 to 2013. DRC director Rocky Nichols says states must follow through on promises to the federal government to serve a set number of people, but Kansas hasn't. He says it's also not legal to maintain a second-tier list for the underserved.


KS Woman Admits Embezzling Research Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 51-year-old woman has admitted embezzling from Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute while working as an office manager. The U.S. Attorney's office says Alma resident Linda Kay Miller pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of interstate transportation of fraudulently altered securities. Miller worked from August 2007 to January 2013 at the institute on the Manhattan campus. The institute receives grants for infectious disease research focused on threats to plant, animal and human health. Miller admitted altering three checks received by the institute and depositing the funds into a personal bank account. She agreed in her plea to pay a money judgment of more than $16,000. She could also be fined and given prison time at her sentencing, scheduled for January.


Beechcraft Negotiating over Sale of Business Jet Manufacturing Assets

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Beechcraft Corporation CEO Bill Boisture says the company is "dangerously" close to reaching a deal with a potential buyer for its Hawker 4000 and Premier business jet assets. Boisture told The Wichita Eagle the potential buyer has plans for its composite manufacturing facility. But Boisture says he doesn't think the buyer will restart jet production. He wouldn't identify the company when he made his comments last week. Beechcraft shut down its business jet manufacturing as it reorganized during Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. The assets are for sale as part of the restructuring. Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy in February as the smaller Beechcraft Corporation, focusing on King Air, Bonanza and Baron products and its military and aftermarket divisions. Boisture declined comment on reports the entire company is for sale.

KS Woman Dies After I-70 Accident

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Manhattan woman died after she was hit by a disabled car that had been struck by another car on Interstate 70. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 35-year-old Dale Colleen Williams died Sunday evening on the interstate about eight miles south of Manhattan. KMAN reports that Williams was a passenger in a car that was stopped after it struck a deer. She got out of the car, which was then hit by a car driven by an Ottawa man. The first vehicle then hit Williams. Williams was pronounced dead at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan.

Lawyers Seek Dismissal of KS Capital Murder Charge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lawyers for a Topeka man charged in a capital murder case want a judge to dismiss the charge. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Phillip D. Cheatham Jr. was found guilty in 2005 of the slayings of two women and the severe wounding of a third woman in 2003. Those convictions were thrown out this year after the Kansas Supreme Court found Cheatham didn't have competent counsel. Defense Attorney Paul Oller said during a retrial hearing that Kansas law prohibits prosecuting someone for a primary felony if that person has already been tried for an underlying felony in the same case. He says Cheatham's previous convictions for first-degree murder fit that law. Prosecutors say the double jeopardy claim shouldn't apply because Cheatham's convictions were thrown out and he faces a retrial.


KS Supreme Court to Hear Cases in Pittsburg

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Justices of the Kansas Supreme Court are taking their business on the road next week to hear four cases in a special session at Pittsburg State University. The appeals on the November 5 docket include three civil cases. Another case involves the state's Jessica's Law, which mandates tough minimum prison sentences for sexually violent crime convictions. The cases will be heard in a recital hall at Pittsburg State. Students and general public are being invited to hear the cases and see how the court process works. The special session is part of the Supreme Court's public outreach program that includes holding occasional dockets outside of the court's normal venue in Topeka. The arguments also will be televised live on the court's website.


Family Continues Search for Missing Olathe Man

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The family of a missing 22-year-old Olathe man is mystified by his disappearance a week ago. Brad Cook left home in Olathe on October 20 without taking his cellphone or wallet. Shortly afterward, someone — possibly Cook — parked his motorcycle at a strip mall in De Soto. Cook hasn't been seen since and his bank shows no financial activity. The Kansas City Star reports that Cook worked for a construction cleanup company and took business classes at Johnson County Community College. His father, Jeff Cook, says his son seemed fine in the hours before he disappeared. He says Brad Cook wasn't depressed and none of his guns is missing. Searchers used a helicopter, horses, a kayak and trained dogs but found no clues to Cook's whereabouts.


Veteran in KS Explosives Case Spared More Prison Time

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Wichita spared a survivalist any more prison time after his attorney argued the man created explosive devices for defense, not for a possible attack. Alfred Dutton, of Eureka, was sentenced Monday to time served for unlawful possession of unregistered explosive devices. The veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines was convicted in July of having grenades and parts to make destructive devices. Dutton was initially charged with one count for the grenades and another count for jars of homemade napalm. He pleaded guilty to the napalm count in a deal where prosecutors withdrew the grenades count. But an appeals court overturned the conviction after Dutton had already served 17 months. Prosecutors then filed a new indictment charging him with possessing the grenades.


Judge Sends 2 Men to Prison for Illegal Hunting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced two Texas brothers to prison for what prosecutors say may have been the largest deer poaching operation in Kansas history. James Bobby Butler Jr. was the owner and operator of a hunting camp near Coldwater, where his brother, Marlin Jackson Butler, worked as a guide. James Butler was sentenced Monday in Wichita to 10 months in prison and has already paid a $25,000 fine. Marlin Butler received an eight-month sentence with no fine. The brothers, from Martinsville, Texas, pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiring to violate a federal law prohibiting interstate transport of wildlife taken in violation of state regulations. James Butler also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. An appeals court last year ordered new sentences after ruling the district court miscalculated their sentences.


Reser's Expands Recall of Packaged Salads

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Reser's Fine Foods has voluntarily expanded a recall of packaged salads from its factory in Topeka. The company, based in Beaverton, Oregon, said it took the step Saturday because the products distributed nationwide and in Canada may be contaminated with Listeria, which can cause serious illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The company said in a statement on its website that there have been no confirmed illnesses linked to the products. The products include potato, pasta, tuna and egg salads sold under the Reser's name, as well as a variety of others. Reser's said the packages are marked with a plant identifier code of 20 next to the best-by-date. About 450 products are listed on the website.


Mandela Relative Accepts Dole Leadership Prize

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The great-grandson of Nelson Mandela has accepted a leadership prize on behalf of the former South African president. Speaking Sunday at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence, Luvuyo Mandela says the lasting legacy of his great-grandfather is one of public service. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the elder Mandela is the latest recipient of the Dole Leadership Prize. The prize is worth $25,000 and is named after the former U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate. The money will benefit the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison during white minority rule. He led South Africa through a delicate transition to all-race elections that propelled him to the presidency in 1994. He's now 95.


KS Family Sues Highway Patrol Troopers

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Three Kansas Highway Patrol troopers face a civil lawsuit in the 2011 fatal shooting a 56-year-old man. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Ottawa County District Court, accuses one trooper of unreasonable seizure and use of excessive force in the death of Larry Dean Smith in October 2011. Two other troopers who were involved are also named in the lawsuit. The Salina Journal reports that the people filing the lawsuit include Smith's estate administrators and legal heirs. They're seeking more than $225,000 in damages. Ottawa County Attorney Betty Mick said in 2012 that the trooper who shot Smith was justified in the shooting. A Kansas Bureau of Investigation also found that Smith fired first during the confrontation in a heavily wooded area near Delphos.


Fire Guts Abandoned Topeka Church

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A fire has destroyed an abandoned church in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal says the fire at the old Harrison Street Church was reported Sunday morning. No injuries were reported. By the time the first crews arrived at the two-alarm fire, flames were shooting out the east side of the building and heavy, black smoke was rolling out of the roof. Ten fire companies responded to the blaze, which was brought under control by midmorning. Only a shell of the century-old structure remained after the fire. A couple nearby homes also sustained very minor damage from the fire. A Topeka fire investigator was on the scene to determine the cause of the incident.


Young Farmers Face Hurdles in Getting Started

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas farmer says there's a lot of interest among young people to pursue agricultural careers, but there are some mighty barriers to overcome to get started. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that two of the biggest hurdles are getting access to land and finding enough capital or credit. Randall Debler knew he wanted to get into agriculture, but his family farm wasn't big enough for him to return there after college. Buying enough land and animals to start a cattle operation would have cost more than $700,000. So he started working with a family who had that type of operation and is gradually buying parts of it. He suggests others look for a similar situation or set up a small side operation while working another job to show they're serious.


Kansan Killed When Hit by Vehicle in Arkansas

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas State Police say a Kansas man was killed when he was struck by a vehicle on a city street in Fort Smith. A report on the collision says 20-year-old Nathanael DeJarnett of Wellington, Kansas died in the collision about 1 am Sunday. The report says the driver of the vehicle was turning left when the vehicle struck DeJarnett in the center left turn lane of the roadway.

Rural County Builds on KS Housing Program

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — It may be more than just a cliche for at least one rural Kansas county that if they build it, people will come. In this case, the "it" is new, single-family housing to attract residents to areas thirsting for growth. Carolyn Dunn, director of Stafford County Economic Development, said the county has received interest from people looking to move to the county. What's holding those people back is the lack of housing to meet their needs. Stafford County has received two grants to help get the housing built through state funding. Fred Bentley, an official with the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation, says while it won't solve the rural population decline, the grant programs are one solution to treat the symptoms and keep smaller Kansas communities viable.

KU to Host Webcast on US-China Relations

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas Center for East Asian Studies is holding a live webcast of a nationwide town hall meeting on U.S.-China relations. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is broadcasting the town hall to more than 60 cities across the country. The webcast will be projected in Alderson Auditorium at the Kansas Union on Monday starting at 6 pm. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is scheduled to participate to explain the dynamic between the two countries and answer questions from the audiences.

Lecompton to Host 'Bleeding Kansas' Play

LECOMPTON, Kan. (AP) — A critical point in the early history of Kansas will come to life on stage at Lecompton's Constitution Hall. The Lecompton Re-enactors will perform J. Howard Duncan's play "Bleeding Kansas Characters" on November 3. Actors will portray significant figures from Kansas's territorial days in the 1850s engaging in discussions about slavery. The setting is a town hall political meeting in the period leading up to statehood and the Civil War. November's performance is the first of five stagings of the play planned through May 2014 at Constitution Hall, which is operated by the Kansas Historical Society.

Court Date Set for KS Woman Charged in Scam

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina woman accused of being part of an online scam has an upcoming court hearing. The Salina Journal reports the 51-year-old woman is accused of scamming sellers on Craigslist DOT com out of more than $5,400 by sending fake money orders for purchases. She's scheduled for a hearing Monday in Saline County court. Police Lieutenant Jim Norton says an investigation turned up at least eight victims who advertised items for sale on Craigslist. Authorities believe the woman would send the seller a fake MoneyGrams and then make calls seeking repayment by claiming an assistant sent the wrong one. The victims wired back money. Norton says investigators seized a stack of fake Western Union MoneyGrams made out for $975 each from the suspect's apartment.

Deer Value Key in Kansas Hunting Camp Sentencing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge is expected to hear testimony on the market value of deer before sentencing two Texas brothers convicted of running a Kansas hunting camp where hunters paid thousands of dollars to shoot deer illegally. James Bobby Butler Junior was the owner and operator of the hunting camp. His brother, Marlin Jackson Butler, worked as a guide. The brothers, both from Martinsville, Texas pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate a federal law prohibiting the interstate transport of wildlife taken in violation of state regulations. James Butler also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. An appeals court last year said the district court made a mistake in 2011 in calculating sentences based on the full price of a guided hunt, rather than the actual retail value of the animals.


MO Youth Tennis Coach Sentenced for Child Porn

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A western Missouri man who coached youth tennis has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison for soliciting nude photos from a Kansas teenager he was coaching. The U.S. Attorney's office says 56-year-old Rex Haultain, of Parkville, must also pay $15,000 in restitution under the sentence he received Monday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. Haultain pleaded guilty in July to one count of soliciting child pornography. He admitted telling the girl in 2009 that that he found her sexually attractive. He also admitted showing her a pornographic picture of himself in 2010 and asking her for nude photos of herself. The victim, now 18, read a statement at the sentencing saying Haultain took advantage of her hopes of becoming an outstanding tennis player.


'Diabetes Dog' Easing Life for Young Kansas Girl

LE ROY, Kan. (AP) — A Labrador retriever specially trained to detect blood sugar levels is easing life for a southeast Kansas girl with Type I diabetes, and residents of Le Roy are helping ease the burden of paying for the dog. The Iola Register reports the family of 7-year-old Kyla Lankton picked up the Lab, named Arley, earlier this month. Arley is trained to sniff changes in blood sugar levels. She licks Kyla's face as a warning to check her blood — a welcome alternative to what Kyla's father says is the painful use of a glucose monitor. Such dogs cost several thousand dollars. To help the Lanktons with the payments, the local 4-H Club has organized a fundraising drawing for which several residents and businesses have already donated items.

Ex-MO Police Officer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Slaying

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A 54-year-old retired Missouri police officer will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a Harrisonville woman whose body was found in her bathtub five years ago. Jeffrey Moreland was sentenced in Cass County to life in prison without parole for first-degree murder in the death of 30-year-old Cara Jo Roberts. He was sentenced to an additional 50 years for armed criminal action and will serve that sentence after he completes the life term. The former Grandview police officer was convicted in September of killing Roberts. DNA evidence from a 2011 rape in Harrisonville and the October 2010 stabbing and strangulation death of a 75-year-old in southern Kansas City led to his arrest. He has been charged in both cases but trial dates have not been set.





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