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Headlines for Monday, July 23, 2018

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sues Colyer over Fund Transfer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas insurance commissioner seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination is trying to prevent Gov. Jeff Colyer from taking $8 million this year from a state insurance fund. The Wichita Eagle reports that Ken Selzer has filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to block Colyer from transferring money from an insurance-specific fund into a general fund that pays for the state government's overall operation. Selzer is the commissioner of the Kansas Insurance Department. The lawsuit says "consumers will be harmed" by the $8 million transfer because the Insurance Department would have to collect additional fees on insurance companies to make up lost revenue. Colyer's office says Selzer agreed to the transfer during former Gov. Sam Brownback's administration in 2016. Selzer said Friday the lawsuit is unrelated to the gubernatorial campaign.

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Orman Launches TV Ad in Independent Bid for Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Independent candidate Greg Orman has launched a television advertising campaign in the Kansas governor's race even before securing a spot on the November ballot. Orman's campaign announced Monday that it has started airing the 30-second spot attacking the two-party system on broadcast and cable stations across the state. The Kansas City-area businessman potentially is the most serious independent candidate for governor since the 1930s. His unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2014 received national attention. Orman's campaign has until August 6 to submit petitions with the signatures of 5,000 registered Kansas voters to get on the November ballot. His ad portrays a supermarket where consumers are offered only a red and a blue alternative for each product. Orman argues in the spot that the two-party system is broken.

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GOP Candidate Picked to Fill Vacancy in Kansas House Seat

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican candidate who survived a legal challenge to his right to run for the Kansas House has been appointed to fill a short-term vacancy in the same seat. The Wichita Eagle reports that Republican activists in the 85th District on Saturday chose businessman Michael Capps to replace former state Rep. Chuck Weber. The appointment runs until January, the end of the two-year term Weber won in 2016. Weber left the Legislature earlier this month to become executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference. Capps is the only Republican seeking the seat. The lone Democrat is Monica Marks. Democrats have alleged that Capps does not live at the address he listed in filing to run for the House seat but the all-Republican State Objections Board rejected their challenge in June.

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Judge: Department of Defense Improperly Redacted Documents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has found the U.S. Department of Defense improperly redacted several unclassified documents sought by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt related to surveying potential sites for housing terror suspects now held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. District Judge Donald Crabtree in his ruling Monday also found that the Department of Defense properly withheld some information in one document. The ruling partially granted the department's motion for summary judgment and denied it in part. Kansas filed the federal lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act in 2016 seeking documents related to the Obama administration's plan to move detainees. Crabtree says his order seems to resolve all disputed issues, but he scheduled an August 9 hearing to confer with the parties and plan for any future proceedings.

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Motion to Remove Judge from Topeka Double Murder Case Denied

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman whose convictions in the 2002 shooting deaths of her ex-husband and his fiancee were overturned has lost her bid to have her trial judge removed from the case.  The Capital-Journal reports that a judge on Friday denied the request by Dana Chandler to remove Shawnee County Judge Nancy Parrish from future court hearings in Chandler's case. Shawnee County Judge Teresa Watson issued an order saying Chandler's request fell short of warranting appointment of a new judge.  Parrish presided over Chandler's double murder trial and sentenced her to 100 years in prison for the 2002 killings of Michael Sisco and Karen Harkness.  But the Kansas Supreme Court in April overturned Chandler's convictions, saying Shawnee County prosecutors falsely claimed that Sisco had taken out a protection from abuse order against Chandler before the killings.

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Wichita Policeman Charged with Felony in Traffic Accident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say Wichita Police Officer Samuel Dugo has been charged with felony aggravated battery for a two-vehicle accident while responding to a 911 call. Police said in a news release Monday that an investigation by the Kansas Highway Patrol determined Dugo was not using his emergency lights and sirens when traveling 79 miles per hour in a posted 30-miles-per hour zone. His defense attorney, Jess Hoeme, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Police say Dugo was driving the department's Chevy Tahoe while responding on March 16 to a report of a burglary in progress when he collided at an intersection with a motorist driving a Ford Ranger pickup. The motorist was ejected from his vehicle and severely injured. Dugo has been on unpaid leave since June.

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Police Investigating 2 Deaths in Topeka as Homicides

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating two deaths in southeast Topeka as homicides. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports officers responding Monday to a report of "unknown trouble" at the one-story home found a 17-year-old boy and a 28-year-old woman who had been critically injured. They were pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics arrived. Police spokesman Lt. Andrew Beightel says he wasn't able to comment on the cause of death. He says police were tracking down leads. The names of the victims have not been released pending notification of relatives.

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Ex-Kansas Youth Pastor Pleads Guilty to Sex with Girl

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita youth pastor has pleaded guilty to having sex with a 15-year-old girl while he worked at Word of Life Church.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 48-year-old Chauncey Walker also served as a teacher and girls soccer coach at Word of Life when the abuse happened between 2012 and 2013. Investigators say he had sex with the girl at his home, his car, different hotels and in the church's youth building.  Walker pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. In exchange, other felony counts were dropped.  He's expected to get nearly 8 years in prison when he's sentenced August 9, but a judge could sentence him to up to nearly 24 years.  The victim in Walker's case has filed a lawsuit against the church and its senior minister, seeking damages of more than $575,000.

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Man Captured in Kansas, Convicted of Possessing Cache of Homemade Pipe Bombs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man has been found guilty of illegally possessing a cache of homemade pipe bombs discovered on a family hunting property last year.  Investigators allege 41-year-old Eric James Reinbold also kept a notebook outlining plans for violently overthrowing the government.  The Star Tribune reports jurors convicted Reinbold on Friday of possessing an unregistered destructive device. Sentencing is set for November 16.  Last fall, Reinbold's relatives reported finding a tote bag that contained about a half-dozen pipe bombs, other material for homemade explosives and a receipt in Reinbold's name from a website that sells fuses.  Federal prosecutors charged the Oklee man in January. That was months after he was arrested in Kansas with cash, camping gear and a passport just days after authorities swept his rural northern Minnesota home.

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Woman Gives Survivors Flowers at Boat Memorial

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Survivors of the Missouri duck boat accident and many friends and family members have joined hundreds in the tourism community of Branson during a memorial service for the 17 who died.  The more than a dozen survivors walked into the Williams Chapel at College of the Ozarks on Sunday as organ music played.  A patrolman guarded their privacy, but he allowed a woman carrying roses to deliver them to loved one of an Indiana family that lost nine members during Thursday's accident.  Carmen Lawson, a 61-year-old Branson resident, said she'd been on the lake that day but didn't go on the boat. She called it "such a tragedy."  A fire chaplain, Steve Martin, said that while most of the people who died were visitors, "they are not strangers to us."

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Man's Murder Trial for 1999 Oklahoma Case Continues

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) — The legal process for a Kansas man facing charges in the 1999 disappearance of two Oklahoma girls is continuing slowly as the teenagers' families wait for answers.  The Miami News-Record reports that a Craig County district judge has postponed Ronnie Dean Busick's case until September in the next step to schedule a preliminary hearing. The new court date was set after prosecutor Erin Oquin and Busick's attorney Gretchen Mosely met for nearly two hours discussing discovery in the case.  The 66-year-old faces four counts of first-degree murder, first-degree arson and kidnapping charges for the 1999 disappearance and murders of 16-year-olds Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman, and the murders of Ashley's parents.  Busick is the lone surviving suspect in the long-running case and has declined to disclose information on the case.

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Trump Tariffs "Manageable" for Wichita So Far

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More than a month after tariffs were issued by President Donald Trump's administration on imported raw materials and finished goods, Wichita manufacturers said they're holding their own.  Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union so far aren't having a notable impact on small aircraft suppliers, like McGinty Machine Co., or original equipment manufacturers, like RV Products, the Wichita Eagle reported.  "We're not seeing a big effect on the bottom line," said Don McGinty, who owns the 70-year-old company.  The tariffs on steel and aluminum took effect June 1, followed by a round of tariffs aimed at Chinese goods this month.  Between the imposition of retaliatory tariffs from those countries and a growing list of the tariffs the U.S. plans to impose on thousands of other China imports, other Wichita manufacturing executives worry about what that will mean for their companies in the long term.  "Clearly tariffs could impact us," said Tom Gentile, CEO of Spirit AeroSystems. "We're one of the largest users of aluminum in the world because we make so many metallic aircraft still, but the tariffs on the goods themselves is not necessarily material. It'll be several million dollars but that will be manageable."  Gentile said he's hopeful for a resolution so the tariffs don't negatively impact the commercial airplane business.  "The bigger concern is if those tariffs trigger a trade war," he said. "And that you start to get some slowdown in traffic or movement of goods and people between regions. And that would be much more concerning."

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Americans in Blended Families Cope with Toll of Deportation

BOCA DEL RÍO, Mexico (AP) — As the United States takes a harder line on immigration, thousands who called the country home are being forced to go. Often, they leave behind spouses and children with American citizenship and must figure out how to go on with families fractured apart.  Studies have found an estimated 8 to 9 million Americans — the majority of them children — live with at least one relative who is in the country illegally. And so each action to deport an immigrant is just as likely to entangle a citizen or legal U.S. resident.  One woman was deported this year from Kansas City to Mexico, leaving behind her American husband and daughter. The family connects now through phone calls and text messages as a lengthy legal process unfolds.

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University of Kansas: Bike-Sharing Service off to Successful Start

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas says its new bike-share service has seen a booming start. So much so that more bikes will be added to the fleet this fall.  KU's Center for Sustainability says in a new report that 12,000 rides totaling more than 5,000 miles have been taken by students and faculty since the April launch of VeoRide. The bike-share company was chosen from a pool of eight providers.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the university paid nothing upfront for the new program. Instead, VeoRide gets paid through rider memberships and passes, eliminating the need for a student fee.  In April, the company distributed 180 bicycles throughout the KU campus. With the start of the upcoming fall semester, VeoRide plans to add 180 more bikes to its fleet.

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Report: Much of Kansas Corn Crop in Poor Shape

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report says much of the Kansas corn crop is in poor shape. The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated that 21 percent of the corn grown in Kansas was in very poor to poor condition. About 29 percent was rated as fair while 43 percent was in good and 7 percent in excellent condition. About 34 percent of the corn crop in the state is now in the dough stage, well ahead of the 14 percent average for this time of year. Other spring-planted crops are faring slightly better. The agency rated 18 percent of soybeans in Kansas in poor or very poor condition. Just 6 percent of the state's sorghum crops was also rated as poor or very poor.

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California Man Pleads to Unlawfully Selling Aviation Data

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a California man has admitted to unlawfully selling copyrighted aviation data updates. The U.S. attorney's office in Kansas said in a news release that 51-year-old Craig M. Vincent of Stockton, California pleaded guilty to one count of criminal infringement of a copyright. In his plea agreement, Vincent acknowledged he used eBay to resell aviation navigational database updates in violation of the licensing agreement for a trademarked product called NavData produced by Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing. The data included airport information, runway characteristics, arrival and departure routes, terminal procedures and other information needed to navigate an airplane to its final destination. Prosecutors say that while doing business as Merlin Enterprises, Vincent unlawfully sold the sold NavData cards. His sentencing is set for October 15.

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Authorities Seek Car in Fatal Hit-and-Run of Missouri Boy

DREXEL, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in eastern Missouri are looking for a car they say was involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 15-year-old boy in a small town south of Kansas City. KCTV reports that the State Highway Patrol said Gavin Kush of Drexel, Missouri, was walking in the northbound lanes of Route D when a maroon Hyundai hit him and threw him into a ditch. Drexel is a town of about 950 people about 30 miles south of the Kansas City area along the Kansas border. The car fled after hitting the boy. He was taken to a local hospital but died there. The patrol said the car is missing a right side mirror and has a headlight out.

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