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Headlines for Monday, August 6, 2018

Trump Breaks with Aides, Tweets Endorsement of Kobach

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump overruled the warnings of aides Monday to endorse hardline conservative Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in that state's Republican gubernatorial primary. In a morning tweet ahead of the Tuesday contest, Trump said Kobach has his "full & total Endorsement!" as he faces off against a field of candidates that includes incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.

"Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas," Trump added. "He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country - he will be a GREAT Governor."

Kobach gained a national profile as an ardent advocate of stricter voter identification laws in his state, including a requirement in Kansas law that new voters provide proof of citizenship when they register that a federal judge recently struck down. His views on immigration policy also align with Trump's and he advised the Trump campaign on a strategy for forcing Mexico to pay for the wall. Kobach was the most prominent Kansas elected official — and the only one holding statewide office — to publicly endorse Trump ahead of the state's 2016 presidential caucuses. Since Trump's election, he has continued to advise the White House on immigration and homeland security issues. Two Trump administration officials had told the AP in July that the president had been inclined to endorse Kobach ahead of the state's Aug. 7 primary. But aides have warned the president that it would alienate Republicans loyal to Colyer, who succeeded Sam Brownback when Trump selected him for a diplomatic post. The officials said the president had been on the verge of tweeting out an endorsement of Kobach last spring, but his staff intervened, warning of the repercussions. They warned that Kobach's hawkish immigration views may make him the weaker candidate in this fall's general election, potentially setting up a prime opportunity for Democrats in the state. The officials believed they had prevailed on Trump to stay out of the race  Still, Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, visited the Kansas City area in November and Wichita in July to hold fundraisers for Kobach. An incumbent Kansas governor has lost a primary only twice since the state began holding such elections 110 years ago, the last time in 1956.

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Orman Submits Petitions for Spot in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman has submitted petitions with more than 10,000 signatures to get on the November ballot as an independent candidate for Kansas governor. Orman's campaign delivered the petitions Monday to the Kansas secretary of state's office. He needs the signatures of 5,000 registered voters to appear on the November ballot. Democratic attorney Will Lawrence said the petitions will be closely scrutinized and a legal challenge is possible. It's a sign that Democrats remain worried that Orman's candidacy would help the Republican nominee. Orman submitted his petitions shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Secretary of State Kris Kobach in Tuesday's GOP primary against Gov. Jeff Colyer. But Orman said he's confident he'll prevail in November because voters are unhappy with both major political parties.

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Woman Charged After Car Sinks in Kansas River with 2 Kids

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman has been charged with first-degree murder after she allegedly drove into the Kansas River, drowning her 5-year-old daughter. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson on Monday charged 26-year-old Scharron Renea Dingledine, of Columbia, in the death of her daughter. Dingledine is also charged with attempted first-degree murder stemming from critical injuries to her 1-year-old son, who remains hospitalized. Dingledine's bond was set at $1 million. Police say the children were in a vehicle that sank Friday afternoon in the river in downtown Lawrence. The toddler and the mother were rescued. The 5-year-old's body was recovered from the river on Saturday. Dingledine and her two children were the only people in the car. She is currently being held at Douglas County Jail.

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Kansas Firefighter, Others Identified as Oklahoma Plane Crash Victims

PONCA CITY, Okla. (AP) — Officials say a Kansas firefighter, three members of his family and a family friend were killed in the weekend crash of a small aircraft in northern Oklahoma. The Independence Rural Fire Department says Sycamore, Kansas, firefighter Nicholas Warner, two of his sons, his father Bill Warner and family friend Tim Valentine died when the aircraft in which they were traveling crashed about 10:45 a.m. Saturday near Ponca City. Officials say the plane, registered in Kansas, was leaving the Ponca City airport when it suddenly lost altitude and crashed about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson says NTSB that investigators plan to wrap up the on-scene portion of their investigation on Monday. Investigators have been at the crash site since Sunday.
(Read more about this story from News9 in Oklahoma City.) 

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Kansas Democrats Try to End Losing Streak with Rural Appeal

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Democrats are riding an eight-year losing streak in statewide elections, and there's pressure to break it.  That pressure has intensified a debate over how to pull more votes from Republican-leaning rural areas to help win the governor's race this year.  They're hoping to capitalize on ex-Republican Governor Sam Brownback's unpopularity over the state's past budget woes when he left office in January to take an ambassador's post.  But they acknowledge that their lack of appeal outside urban and suburban neighborhoods could hinder their chances.  Democratic candidates are trying to reach out to rural voters. Former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty (SWATY), of Ellsworth, has made his potential appeal in rural areas a key part of his campaign.  State Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka has issued a "rural prosperity" plan.  Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer is also running for the Democratic nomination for governor.

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Feds Sue Kansas School District over Unequal Pay

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a Kansas school district alleging it paid a female principal less than it paid the man she had replaced and less than the man who succeeded her. A complaint filed Monday in federal court in Kansas alleges Unified School District 245 Leroy-Gridley in Coffey County violated the Equal Pay Act. It contends that in 2015 Julie Rosenquist was paid $45,000 a year as principal of Gridley Elementary and Southern Coffey County Middle School. Her male predecessor was paid $50,000 a year paid for the same job. When she complained about the unequal pay, she was paid $46,500 the next year. The board hired a man for the job in 2017 at salary of $50,000. The school district declined comment on the lawsuit.

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University of Kansas Greek Organizations Work to Limit Hazing

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas fraternities and sororities are working on ways to limit hazing and abuse following an alcohol freeze that didn't last. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that university officials and members of the university's Inter-Fraternity Council are working on initiatives to address hazing, sexual assault and alcohol abuse in Greek life. Efforts include creating a self-reporting hazing amnesty policy, providing university officials with details about pledge periods, creating a guest list for all social events, instituting abuse prevention training and increasing alumni outreach. The student-led IFC instituted a freeze on alcohol at fraternity sanctioned events that only lasted for four days in March. The board quickly voted to end the freeze amid concerns that it was improperly approved by some board members and violated the group's constitution.

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27-Year-Old Shot, Killed in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting in Kansas City, Kansas. Police said in a news release that 27-year-old Vincent Trulson, of Kansas City, Kansas, was shot Sunday night in the city's Armourdale community. Trulson was rushed to a hospital, where he died. Police have released no suspect information. Authorities are asking the public for help. The Kansas City Star reports that the homicide was one of several violent crimes over the weekend in the metro area. In Kansas City, Missouri, two women were killed and eight other people injured in five separate incidents Saturday night and early Sunday.

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Teen Sentenced for Wreck That Killed Classmate

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — A teenager has been sentenced to one year and one month in juvenile detention for crashing into a tree and killing one of his friends in suburban Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that the 16-year-old was sentenced in the juvenile division of Johnson County District Court. He pleaded no contest last month to charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in the Prairie Village crash that killed 15-year-old Alex Carney and seriously injured another high school classmate. Court records say the 16-year-old panicked after being rear-ended by another driver and drove off. The defense says the teen then panicked further when the driver of the other vehicle pursued them. The teen's car then hydroplaned on an icy road and struck a tree.

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Wichita Identifies 2 Who Died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have identified two people who died of carbon monoxide poisoning last week. Police say 44-year-old Richard Reese and 41-year-old Dionne Jackson were found dead at a home Thursday.Officer Charley Davidson said they were using a generator because the home had no electricity. Davidson said woman who found the victims was a friend of Reese, and he was visiting Jackson, who lived in the home.

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Federal Prosecutors Disclose Plans to Sue Kansas Oncologist 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court documents say the federal government plans to sue a Kansas oncologist who is accused of submitting claims for cancer treatments that weren't medically necessary. The Kansas City Star reports that federal prosecutors filed a notice last month announcing their plans to file a complaint within 90 days against Mark Fesen and to intervene in a whistle-blower lawsuit. A former clinical oncology pharmacist at the Hutchinson Clinic filed the whistleblower suit in 2014. The suit says the pharmacist became aware of problems with Fesen's treatment of patients while reviewing "denials" by insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid. Outside auditors found widespread problems, including issues with misdiagnosing and inappropriately treating patient. Fesen, the Hutchinson Clinic, and Fesen's current employer, Central Care Cancer Center, didn't respond to requests for comment.

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Motorcyclist Killed While Fleeing from Kansas Police

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a motorcyclist has been killed while fleeing from authorities in northeast Kansas.  KMBC-TV reports that 64-year-old Gilford Lee Sherley, of Paola, drove off at high speed Friday night after Osawatomie police tried to pull him over for multiple traffic violations.  The Miami County Sheriff's Office says Sherley then went off the side of the rode and crashed into a tree.  

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Violence in Kansas City Leaves Two Dead and Eight Injured

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City police are again calling for the community's help after overnight violence that left two dead and eight injured. The Kansas City Star reports shootings and other violent crime occurred at five locations between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The recent rash of crime came days after police asked for help in addressing violence when 17 people were shot over 48 hours at the start of the month.  

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Child Rapist Back in Custody After Prison Escape

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) _ A convicted child rapist who escaped from a Kansas prison is behind bars again.  Cowley County Emergency Corrections said in a Facebook post that 36-year-old Robert Terrell was back in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections as of noon Sunday. No details were provided about his capture.  The Wichita Eagle reports that he jumped a fence at the Winfield Correctional Facility on Friday night. Corrections records show he absconded from parole in June and was arrested last month. He had been moved to the Winfield facility on Wednesday.  His child rape conviction stemmed from a 2002 assault in Sedgwick County.

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Colorado Man Dies in Perry Lake

PERRY, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a Denver man has died in Perry Lake in northeast Kansas.  The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the man was unresponsive Sunday when friends and family pulled him out of the water and onto a boat. They attempted CPR and called 911 while they headed to the nearest boat ramp. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.  His name wasn't immediately released, pending notification of relatives. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the sheriff's department are investigating the death as a possible drowning.

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Kansas Woman Gets Probation in "Swatting" Incident

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas woman convicted in connection with a "swatting" event has been sentenced to probation. The Hutchinson News reports that Reno County District Judge Joe McCarville gave Hutchinson woman Tatumn Marie Watkins one year of probation. Watkins and another woman allegedly called police to report a man battered two family members and was outside their home with a gun "waiting for police." Police responded, but no one was hurt.  

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New Kansas Law: Use Caution Around Garbage Trucks!

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas has joined 18 other states in adopting a law requiring motorists to use caution around garbage trucks by making "driver carelessness" a fineable offense. A ticket for what is now known as "unlawful passing of a waste collection vehicle" will cost an offender $45 starting July 1, 2019. Until then, police will hand out warnings.  

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Union Members Push to Repeal Missouri's "Right-to-Work" Policy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Union members are canvassing across Kansas City ahead of a battleground vote over right-to-work policy in Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that We Are Missouri campaigners are asking residents to repeal the state's right-to-work law in the primary on Tuesday. The union-backed political action committee is fighting against a coalition of three PACs, including Missourians for Freedom to Work.  

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Holly Teeter Confirmed as Federal Judge in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The U.S. Senate has confirmed the newest federal district court judge in Kansas.  Thirty-eight-year-old Holly Teeter's nomination was confirmed on Wednesday. Her nomination was delayed last year when a majority of the American Bar Association's ratings committee rated her as unqualified because she had been practicing law for only 11.5 years, shy of the ABA's minimum 12 years of experience to be considered qualified.  President Donald Trump resubmitted her nomination in January.  Teeter, of Lenexa, graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law. She was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri when she was nominated for the judgeship.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Teeter will replace Judge Kathryn Vratil who retired from the district court bench in Topeka in 2014.

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15-Year-Old Kansas City Girl Charged with Killing Parents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 15-year-old Kansas City girl is charged with killing her parents in April. The Jackson County prosecutor announced Monday that Daejona Holmes is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of 37-year-old Kinderly Holmes, and 38-year-old Brian Starr in their Kansas City home. She also faces two counts of armed criminal action and with tampering with physical evidence. She has been certified to be tried as an adult. The Kansas City Star reports court documents show Daejona Holmes originally told a 911 dispatcher that a robber shot her parents. Later, she allegedly told investigators she shot her father after he shot her mother. Court records also show a search of Daejona's phone turned up searches for "Scary movies where kids kill parents," and rap lyrics about wanting father dead.

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