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Headlines for Friday, June 29, 2018

Dr. Jeff Colyer: I Want to be Governor Who Ends Abortions in Kansas

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer says he wants to be the governor who ends abortion in the state, but he'll need help from fellow abortion opponents to do so.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Republican spoke Thursday at the National Right to Life convention that is taking place in Overland Park, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb.  Colyer told attendees that there remains a need to stack the courts, Congress and state legislatures with those who oppose abortions.  The crowd was upbeat in the wake of recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, and by the announced departure of Justice Anthony Kennedy. George Delgado, medical director for the group Abortion Pill Reversal, told the crowd that Kennedy's retirement will lead to the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision.

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Why Were People Locked Out of the Kansas Statehouse? Lawmakers Want Answers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are demanding answers after protesters were locked out of the Statehouse last week.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that top leaders from both parties directed the director of Legislative Administrative Services to prepare a report during a meeting Wednesday. They want answers about when security officials can lock people out of the Statehouse and who has the authority to make such a decision.  Issues arose June 18 when officers locked the public entrance doors to the Visitors Center, preventing protesters with the Poor People's Campaign and others from entering the building. Protesters with the group had been arrested for refusing to disperse during previous protests at the Statehouse.  House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. says it's important to get answers because the Capitol is the "people's house."

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Moran to Discuss Election Interference During Russia Trip

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran says he plans to discuss election interference during an upcoming trip to Russia with a small group of Republican lawmakers. The Kansas City Star reports that Moran also will be visiting Norway and Finland during the Senate's holiday break. The visit to Russia occurs ahead of a planned July 16 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump in Helsinki.Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia worked to influence the 2016 election. But Moran said Thursday that the evidence he's seen from the multiple investigations is that Russia interfered with elections in the U.S. The Kansas Republican says he also believes Russia interfered with elections in France and Germany. Moran says it's "unacceptable."

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Kansas Lawmakers Request Audit of Electric Utility

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers is requesting an independent audit of an electric utility's operations before the company is allowed to raise its rates. The Wichita Eagle reports that the lawmakers asked the Kansas Corporation Commission for a review of Westar Energy at a public hearing on Thursday. The commission is considering a proposal by the utility for a $17 million annual rate increase, which would be a nearly $3 increase a month for customers. Republican Rep. Kristey Williams of Augusta says Westar has made $2.6 billion in profit since 2008. The lawmakers argue that Westar's rates are higher than in neighboring states and the national average. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig says there have been discussions about an outside rate review, but she's cautioned the state to go slow.

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Sex Offender Arrested After Offering Girl Ride from Pool

WAKEENEY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a child sex offender pulled up in his vehicle next to a girl and offered her a ride home from a northwest Kansas swimming pool.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the WaKeeney Police Department said in a Facebook post that the girl refused and told a parent, who called the department. The police chief then went to the pool and called the sheriff's office and the Kansas Highway Patrol. The man was arrested Tuesday and booked into jail on suspicion of violating probation. The probation had been ordered after he was convicted of attempted sexual exploitation of a child in a December 2015 incident in another county.  WaKeeney is located about 30 miles west of Hays along Interstate 70.

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Man Accused of Deadly Hoax Call in Kansas Pleads Not Guilty

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A California man accused of making a hoax phone call that led police to fatally shoot an unarmed man in Kansas has pleaded not guilty. A judge on Friday set the jury trial for 25-year-old Tyler Barriss for Oct. 1 in Sedgwick County District Court in Wichita, Kansas. He's charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. Barriss is accused of calling from Los Angeles on Dec. 28 to report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita home. Authorities say an online dispute over a video game between two gamers prompted the call. A responding officer fatally shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch after he opened the door. Finch was not the gamers' intended target. Barriss also faces federal charges.

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Man Convicted in Shooting That Wounded Kansas Tax Agent

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man who owed almost $400,000 in taxes has been convicted of walking into a tax office in Kansas and shooting and wounding a state tax agent who was working on his case.Ricky Wirths, 52, was found guilty Thursday of attempted first-degree murder in the September 2017 shooting of agent Cortney Holloway, The Wichita Eagle reports. The shooting happened about three hours after Holloway and sheriff's deputies had gone to Wirths's house to seize assets.Officials say Wirths asked for Holloway by name after he was buzzed into the waiting area of a Wichita tax office. Holloway told investigators that Wirths asked him, "Why did you take my money? Why did you take my stuff?" Wirths then drew a handgun from a portfolio he was holding and started firing, a Wichita police detective wrote in an arrest affidavit.The wounded Holloway fled to a back office, where colleagues started tending to wounds to the right side of his upper chest, his left thigh, left middle finger and right arm, the affidavit states. Afterward, Wirths called a 55-year-old male acquaintance and asked for a favor, according to the affidavit. He said: "Take care of my employees and kids because I just killed a guy."The man asked for clarification, to which Wirths responded: 'No, I'm serious. I'm done. I lost it.'"Wirths also called an employee and said: "I just shot somebody. Thank you for all of your hard work."Wirths was arrested after stopping his truck near an officer and announcing he was surrendering, the affidavit says. The owed money was related to a construction business Wirths owned. Sentencing is set for August 8.

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Kansas Chiropractor Gives up License Amid Sex Abuse Inquiry

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City chiropractor has surrendered his medical license as a state board investigates sexual abuse reports.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Overland Park chiropractor made the decision to surrender his license last week after it was suspended on an emergency basis in May. The suspension came after a female patient reported abuse and got a protection order from a judge because she said she feared he would retaliate.  A subsequent order issued last week said the board had received information from two of the chiropractor's patients "who independently reported similar instances of sexual abuse, misconduct and/or improper sexual contact."  The chiropractor admitted no wrongdoing in surrendering his license but agreed that the board had enough evidence to prove he had violated the medical board's rules.

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Family of Man Killed by Officers Allege Racism by Police

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The family of a black Topeka man killed last year by police is speaking out against the city, the department and what they call unjustified violence by law enforcement toward black men as they discuss a federal civil rights lawsuit.  The lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges that two white officers, Michael Cruse and Justin Mackey, lacked legal justification when they fatally shot 30-year-old Dominique White after a struggle in September near a park. The officers were responding to a report of gunfire and confronted White, who was armed and recently out of prison.  Family attorney Andrew Stroth says White never posed a threat. He says White's death is due to an embedded culture of racism within police departments across the country.

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Report: Kansas Farmers Planted Fewer Acres of Corn, Soybeans

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report shows Kansas farmers planted fewer acres of corn and soybeans and more sorghum this spring compared to previous season. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that Kansas growers seeded 5.4 million acres of corn this year. That is down 2 percent from a year ago. Also down is the planted area for soybeans at 4.85 million acres, down 6 percent from last year. Planted sorghum acreage at 2.85 million acres is up is up 10 percent from a year ago. The state's winter wheat was seeded last fall at 7.8 million acres, up 3 percent from the previous year. The area being harvested is expected to total 7.3 million acres, up 5 percent from last year.

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Volunteers Flock to Eureka to Help After EF-3 Tornado

EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — Residents of a Kansas town where a tornado injured eight people and damaged dozens of homes are starting to clean up the mess.  The state Adjutant General's Department says in a news release that more volunteers are needed in Eureka after more than 300 people showed up on Thursday to help. The twister that hit the town of about 2,400 residents Tuesday night has been classified as an EF-3 with winds of at least 136 mph. Nearly 80 homes were damaged and at least 10 were destroyed. The high school also was damaged.  The Red Cross is providing food and has set up a shelter in a church where residents and volunteers can cool off. State officials also are helping residents obtain critical documents, such as birth and marriage certificates.

-Related-

Weather Service: Eureka Twister Winds at Least 136 MPH

EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — The National Weather Service says the tornado that ripped through the Kansas town of Eureka carried winds of at least 136 mph.  The weather service on Wednesday determined that the twister was an EF-3. The tornado touched down Tuesday in Eureka, a town of about 2,400 residents in southeastern Kansas.  Eight people were injured, two critically. Nearly 80 homes were damaged and at least 10 were destroyed. The high school also was damaged.  Governor Jeff Colyer and other state officials visited Eureka Wednesday night. The Republican governor declared a state of disaster for the Eureka area, a move that allows for expedited recovery funding.  It was the second tornado to hit Eureka in two years. A tornado that touched down in July 2016 also damaged several homes and businesses.

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Kansas County No Longer Using Schools as Polling Places

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas county will no longer use public schools as polling places due to security reasons.  The Douglas County Clerk's Office sent letters this week to the more than 10,000 affected voters who will now be assigned to different polling places than they've used in the past, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.  County Clerk Jamie Shew said Wednesday he made the change after Lawrence school district officials expressed concerns over allowing people easy access in and out of school buildings while classes were in session.  "Now that we have put secure entrances in all of our buildings, we are finding it very difficult to provide an adequate level of security at the elementary buildings during polling," said Ron May, the district's operations director, in a December 2016 email to Shew. "We also find it difficult to provide appropriate spaces that (weren't) causing a disruption to the school day."  Shew said his office tried working with school officials to keep using school buildings because many neighborhoods are having difficulty finding alternative sites that could be used as polling places. The office was able to find other sites for most precincts that were using schools as polling places, but there will be some cases this year in which multiple precincts must consolidate into a single polling place, he said.  Kansas primary elections will be held August 7. The general election is November 6.

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Woman Found Dead in Kansas ID'd; North Carolina Man Charged

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Junction City have identified a woman whose body was found last month, and a North Carolina man has been charged in her killing.  Police on Thursday identified the victim as 59-year-old Tamra Ann Gibson of Asheville, North Carolina. She was last seen in Asheville on May 22 and was reported missing on May 24.  The body was found May 28 between two buildings in Junction City. Her car was found burned on June 1 in Laramie, Wyoming.  Authorities say 58-year-old Donald Mack Gray Jr. of Buxton, North Carolina, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery. Gray is in custody in Billings, Montana, on charges related to the death of an 81-year-old Montana man. Police say the two cases are not connected.

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Man Admits to String of Armed Robberies in Kansas City Area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A western Missouri man is expected to spend 25 years in federal prison for a series of armed robberies that ended when another suspect was fatally shot by police.  Federal prosecutors in Kansas City say 23-year-old Deonte Collins-Abbott of Grandview pleaded guilty Thursday to robbery and firearms charges. He'll be sentenced later but a plea agreement spells out terms of his sentence.  Collins-Abbott admitted to eight armed robberies in early 2016, though federal investigators believe he was involved in at least 27. The crimes occurred in Kansas City and its suburbs in both Missouri and Kansas.  Collins-Abbott and two other men robbed a Blue Springs, Missouri, Walgreens in March 2016. Authorities say Jermon Seals of Shawnee, Kansas, was fatally shot by officers after he pointed gun at them.

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Former Kansas Police Officer Gets 3 Years for Sex Crimes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas police sergeant has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for sex crimes. The Wichita Eagle reports that former Valley Center officer Thomas Delgado was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty in May to sexual exploitation of a child, sexual battery, official misconduct, attempted sexual battery and harassment by telecommunications device. Delgado, in court, apologized and said he has "lost everything." Delgado was arrested after his then-wife reported concerns about his contact with teenage girls. He resigned after his arrest in 2017.

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KC Day Care Operators Accused of Defrauding Government

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The operators of a Kansas City, Missouri, day care center are accused of defrauding the federal government out of more than $500,000.  The U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City says 40-year-old Sharif Karie, of Olathe, and 47-year-old Sheri Beamon of Kansas City, Missouri, were indicted Wednesday on several counts.  Karie owned the KARIE Day Care Center and Tima Child Care Center. Beamon served as director.  The indictment alleges fraud from 2013 through 2016 by billing a federal grant program that funds childcare for low-income families for more hours and children than actually attended.  Federal authorities say the government was defrauded of up to $556,000.

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Lawsuit Alleges Hormel, Other Companies Inflated Pork Prices

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed in Minnesota alleges Hormel Foods Corp. and other companies colluded to inflate consumer pork prices.  The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday. Defendants included Hormel , based in Austin, Minnesota, and eight other companies, including Tyson Foods , JBS USA and Smithfield Foods.  The law firm bringing the case, Seattle-based Hagens Berman, contends the alleged price-fixing forced consumers to pay high prices for bacon, ham and other pork products.  The lawsuit alleges the companies coordinated their output and limited production "with the intent and expected result of increasing pork prices in the United States," and also exchanged "competitively sensitive" and "closely guarded non-public information" about prices, capacity, sales volume and demand.  Hormel said in a statement to the Star Tribune the company intends to "vigorously defend this lawsuit."

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Donald Trump Jr. to Campaign with Kobach Next Month

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of President Donald Trump's sons will be in Kansas next month to support Republican Kris Kobach's bid for governor.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Donald Trump Jr. will attend a fundraiser on July 17 in Wichita in support of Kobach, who is currently secretary of state. Specific details about the location of the event have not been disclosed.  One dinner ticket will cost $100, and a ticket for a VIP reception before dinner will cost $500.  Trump Jr. also campaigned with Kobach in Overland Park in November.  Kobach is seeking the Republican nomination in a race that includes Governor Jeff Colyer, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and former state Senator Jim Barnett.

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Woman Dies After House Fire in North Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an 82-year-old woman has been found dead after a fire in her Wichita home. The Wichita Fire Department says heavy smoke was pouring from the home when crews responded Friday morning. Firefighters found the woman's body after extinguishing the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The woman's name wasn't immediately released.

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Hutchinson Homicide Suspect Claims Self-Defense

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities allege a Hutchinson shooting that left one dead and another wounded stemmed from a drug deal, but the suspect is claiming self-defense. The Hutchinson News reports that the 26-year-old suspect hasn't yet been charged in Tuesday night's killing of 18-year-old Norman Cushinberry. But portions of the affidavit were read during his initial appearance. The document says the suspect told authorities he was selling electronics when he was ambushed by a shotgun-wielding assailant and did what he had to do to protect himself and his two children. But police says the shooting stemmed from an attempt by the victims to cheat the suspect in a drug deal. The hearing ended with a judge finding probable cause to detain the suspect on suspicion of first-degree murder in an attempt to commit an inherently dangerous felony.

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Police: Man Could Be Responsible for 17 Wichita Burglaries

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 29-year-old Wichita man is in custody after his arrest at the scene of one burglary, and police believe he may be responsible for 16 more. KAKE-TV reports that the suspect was arrested Sunday after police responded to a break-in at All Metal Recycling. Officer Charley Davidson says an investigation uncovered information leading police to believe that the same suspect was involved in 16 other cases involving burglaries, drug possession and other crimes. It wasn't immediately clear if the man has been formally charged.

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