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Headlines for Monday, November 27, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Coalition Forms PAC Against Kobach

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is facing a newly formed fundraising committee dedicated to stopping him from becoming governor. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that "StopKobach" is a political action committee formed in August. Michael Hoheisel says the PAC is working to establish its board and build a website. He says he's already launched a site opposing Kobach with domain names he predicts the campaign might be interested in. Kobach is campaigning to become Kansas's governor. His work focuses on advocating strict voter requirements after he made unsubstantiated statements of widespread voter fraud committed by people who aren't U.S. citizens. President Donald Trump appointed him vice chair of his Voter Fraud Commission. The campaign didn't return the newspaper's requests for comment.


Police Identify Armed Man Shot by Police at Lenexa Costco 

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Investigators are trying to determine why a Kansas man entered a suburban Kansas City Costco with a handgun and began screaming, prompting an off-duty police officer to fatally shoot him. Police identified the man shot to death Sunday at a Costco in Lenexa as 58-year-old Ronald Hunt, of Edwardsville. Witnesses and police said he was yelling and threatening customers when Kansas City, Kansas, police captain Michael Howell shot him while customers and employees fled. Howell, who was shopping at the time, has 22 years of law enforcement experience. The police department said Monday Howell fired his weapon after being confronted with a deadly situation. No one else was injured. Hunt's motive and why he was in the store are under investigation. A Johnson County police unit is leading the investigation.


Ex-Rowers' Title IX Lawsuits Against KU Dismissed

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed two lawsuits filed by former female rowers who claimed the University of Kansas did not properly respond to their complaints that a football player had sexually assaulted them on campus. The lawsuits filed in 2016 by Daisy Tackett and Sarah McClure were dismissed last week at the request of the two women and the university. The lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice, which means the claims can't be refiled, The Lawrence Journal-World reported . Tackett says a University of Kansas football player raped her in 2014 at Jayhawk Towers. A year later, McClure alleged the same man fondled her breasts in her apartment in the same building. The two allege in their lawsuits that the university should have known there was an increased risk of sexual assault at the Jayhawk Towers apartments, where football players live with less supervision than in residence halls. They also alleged the university required female rowers to go to football games and encouraged them to attend off-campus parties with football recruits. They said rowing coaches retaliated against them after they reported the assaults. The lawsuits cited Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education, including in allegations of sexual violence. After the assaults were reported, the university's Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access banned the man from campus in spring 2016. The office determined it was more likely than not that the events had happened as the women described. The former player was never charged with a crime. In February, Judge Marten dismissed the women's claims that Kansas was institutionally liable for the sexual assaults. He said the "alleged policies" of encouraging female rowers to interact with football players were not a factor in the reported assaults, and there was no allegation the women were assaulted at sanctioned events or that the university somehow encouraged misconduct by the football player. Tackett withdrew from Kansas in early 2016, and McClure finished the spring 2016 semester but did not return in the fall. The Associated Press generally doesn't identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Tackett and McClure said they wanted their names used.


Worker Killed in Accident at Kansas Garmin Construction Site 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Olathe fire officials say a contractor died when a pipe ruptured at the site of a Garmin expansion plant in Olathe. Olathe Fire Captain Mike Hall said the person who died was working on a high-pressure valve Monday afternoon when it ruptured. He said the rupture occurred near a loading dock area of a warehouse. No other injuries were reported. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Olathe police are investigating the incident.


Police Investigate 4 Deaths in 3 Wichita Neighborhoods

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating the weekend deaths of four people in three Wichita neighborhoods as homicides. Police said a woman returning home late Saturday found the bodies of her 62-year-old mother, Houng Pham, and her 23-year-old brother, Cody Ha. Police are asking the public for information in the case. Sunday morning, 25-year-old Bryena Mcquitty was found dead at her home. Her 33-year-old boyfriend was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder. Also Sunday, police found a 26-year-old Pizza Hut delivery driver dead in the trunk of his car. The victim, Hasan Rahman, had been shot. Wichita police said Rahman didn't return to work after delivering two orders Saturday night. Police said the people who received his last deliveries aren't believed to be connected to his death.


Kansas Jail Looks at Modular Units to Deal with Overcrowding

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A sheriff's office in eastern Kansas is considering modular units as a temporary solution to jail overcrowding The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Douglas County Undersheriff Gary Bunting is exploring a type of free-standing, temporary cell block to increase on-site capacity at the county jail. His office says the jail has more inmates than its 186 beds can accommodate. Some inmates have even been placed in laundry rooms and rooms reserved for programming when the jail is overcapacity. Bunting says completion of any projects involving jail expansion is at least three years away, so the county may resort to doublewide modular units as a temporary fix. He says the sheriff's office will need to study the units' design, cost and security before making a decision.


All Kansas Counties Meet Federal Air Quality Standards

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas says the Environmental Protection Agency has informed officials that all 105 counties in the state meet the most recent ozone standards. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently sent a letter to Governor Sam Brownback saying this is good news for the citizens of Kansas. Pruitt's letter also encouraged the state to continue efforts to maintain air quality that meets the 2015 ground-level ozone standards. The EPA strengthened its standards based on scientific evidence about ozone's effects on public health, particularly for at-risk groups such as children, older adults and people with lung diseases. Kansas has 20 air monitors across the state.


Supreme Court Leaves in Place Law Barring Topeka Church from Funeral Protests

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is leaving in place a Nebraska law that bars protests around funerals. Nebraska enacted the law in 2006. It prohibits protests near a cemetery, mortuary or church from one hour before the beginning of a funeral to two hours after. Members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church challenged the law but have lost in lower courts. Members of the church routinely conduct anti-gay protests outside military funerals. The protests have been a way of drawing attention to their controversial view that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God's punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. The Supreme Court said this (MON) morning that it would not take up the church's challenge to Nebraska's law.


Kansas High School Football Team Copes After Fatal Crash

SABETHA, Kan. (AP) — A high school football team in northeastern Kansas is coping after a head-on collision killed three family members of teammates. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Sabetha High school football team won a state championship game on Saturday. But on the way home, players Tanner and Carson Ukele were told that three of their relatives died in a two-vehicle highway crash. Their 42-year-old mother Carmen Ukele, 11-year-old sister Marlee Ukele and 62-year-old uncle Stephen Ukele were killed in the collision on U.S. Route 75. Their 59-year-old father Lee Ukele was also in the vehicle. He was in stable condition as of Sunday. A police report says the two people in the other vehicle were injured and taken to a hospital. Head coach Garrett Michael says Tanner and Carson have the support of the community and "50 brothers who are going to be surrounding them in our school."


2 Found Dead in Central Topeka Home After Police Standoff 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say two people were found dead after a standoff at a central Topeka home. Topeka police said a standoff began at the home Monday morning after officers responded to a call about a domestic violence situation. When officers arrived, they heard gunfire. Officers removed one person from the home's front porch. WIBW reports Lt. Colleen Stuart said officers eventually sent a robot into the house. The robot found the two people dead. Their names and the cause of death have not been released. Police also didn't say how the person on the front porch was involved.


Kansas Researchers Using New Modeling to Promote Wheat Straw Ethanol

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Researchers in Kansas and China are using mathematical modeling to improve the process of converting wheat straw into pellets for the production of ethanol. Wheat straw, the plant residue left after wheat harvest, is abundant in Kansas. The straw has low commercial value, but one use for it is fuel production. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported researchers in Kansas and China are using mathematical modeling to improve the process of converting wheat straw into pellets for the production of ethanol. Pellets can be more easily handled and transported to ethanol processing plants, where ethanol extracted from them can be substituted for fossil fuels. Mathematical modeling can save both time and resources required for experimental studies.


Topeka Police Investigate Deadly Shooting 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police are investigating the shooting death of a 46-year-old man. The victim, Faustino Vasquez, was found dead at an east Topeka home early Monday when officers responded to a call about a shooting. Vasquez's death is Topeka's 28th homicide this year, which tied a record set in 1994. 


Applications Surge for Worker Aid in Kansas and Other States After "Pink Slime" Controversy 

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota meat producer has received 700 applications for aid from former workers. The Dakota Dunes-based company set up a $10 million fund for employees who lost jobs when the company closed three plants in 2012 over reports of a beef product critics dubbed "pink slime." BPI general counsel Rich Jochum tells the Sioux City Journal the applications will be reviewed to determine how much aid former employees will receive. The company laid off about 750 workers and closed plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa in 2012, saying ABC's coverage of the producer's lean, finely textured beef product misled consumers into believing the product is unsafe. ABC stood by its reporting. BPI sued ABC for defamation. Terms of a June settlement are confidential.


Kansas Farm Bureau Event to Focus on Policy Positions

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — More than 800 Kansas farmers are expected to gather in Manhattan next month as the Kansas Farm Bureau drafts its public policy positions for 2018. The group's annual meeting runs December 3rd through 5th and includes workshops on water, the farm bill, crop insurance and estate planning. Other topics include using social media, emergency management and holiday cooking. Also on tap are workshops on the farm economy and agritourism. Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts kicks off the event with his state of agriculture address at the group's annual banquet. Kansas State University President Richard Myers will also be speaking at the conference as will Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation.


Kansas City Chiefs Fall to 6-5 Record After Loss to Buffalo Bills

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Buffalo Bills defense shut down the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs’ 16-to-10 loss to the Bills was their fifth in six games. The Chiefs never led in Sunday's game and had only one first down in the opening half with quarterback Alex Smith taking the snaps. The Chiefs scored their only touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. With a 6-5 record, the Chiefs’ lead in the AFC West has narrowed with Oakland and Los Angeles in pursuit. The Los Angeles Chargers improved to 5-6 with a Thanksgiving Day victory at Dallas and the Oakland Raiders also are 5-6 after Sunday’s 21-14 victory over the Broncos. 

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