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Headlines for Monday, November 5, 2018

Voter Registrations Surge in Kansas for 2018 Election

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voter registrations have surged this past year heading into the midterm election. The Kansas Secretary of State's office released the latest numbers Monday showing more than 1.84 million registered voters. Republicans remain the dominant party with 817,713 registered voters, while Democrats grew their ranks to 463,114. Unaffiliated voters totaled 543,403, while Libertarians totaled 17,618. A comparison shows the state has added 40,825 people to voter rolls since September 2017. Kansas appears to be becoming more partisan with the number of unaffiliated voters falling by more than 15,000 in the past year in the state. Both major parties each added more than 27,000 registered voters to their ranks, with Kansas Republicans having an edge of several hundred voters over Democrats in new and switched registrations over this past year.

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Kansas Democrats Hopeful of Breaking GOP Stronghold

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Democrats in Kansas who have had to sit on the political sidelines for the better part of a decade are hoping for a blue wave on Election Day that could help them break the Republican grip on power. They are optimistic about their chances in several contests, including the governor's race between conservative Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly. It was a toss-up in the campaign's final weekend. The GOP winning streak that started in 2010 has an already Republican-leaning state teetering on deeply red dominance. Democrats anticipate that opposition to President Donald Trump could doom Republican Representative Kevin Yoder in a Kansas City-area congressional district that Trump narrowly lost in 2016. They're also hoping they can flip the seat in a neighboring eastern Kansas district that Trump won handily.

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Woman Arrested in Intentionally Set Topeka Nursing Home Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a woman accused of intentionally setting fire to a Topeka nursing home. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Topeka Fire Department responded to the fire around 1:45 p.m. Sunday at Providence Living Center. Fire crews evacuated the building and extinguished the fire, which began in one of the rooms within the multi-person facility. No one was hurt. The suspect was booked into jail on suspicion of aggravated arson. She is being held without bond. No charges were immediately filed.

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Backlog Leaves Some Wichita State Veterans Without Benefits

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More than 100 student veterans at Wichita State University haven't received GI Bill benefits because of a paperwork backlog, leading some students to drop courses or withdraw from the school. The Wichita Eagle reports that the delayed payments are the result of understaffing at the university's Military and Veteran Student Center. Wichita State's Student Government Association issued a resolution last week saying delayed benefits have created "severe financial crisis" for some students. Deanna Carrithers is a special projects liaison for the university's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She says the backlog isn't "a matter of negligence" and that the university recently hired additional staff to process paperwork. Carrithers says the university can issue advances to affected students so they can pay for tuition, books and other expenses.

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Hit-and-Run Driver Found with List of Drug Buyers on Arm

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say things went from bad to worse for a suspect in a hit-and-run crash in Kansas City, Kansas. Police Chief Terry Zeigler tweeted Sunday afternoon that he had a list of names on his arm that turned out to be buyers of marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and ecstasy. Police also tweeted a picture of the drugs in glass mason jars.

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Report: Sedgwick County Counselor Sought Settlement, Apology 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A published report says an attorney representing Sedgwick County Counselor Eric Yost sought a $250,000 settlement before going public with details of an FBI investigation into three county commissioners. The Wichita Eagle reported Monday that memos show Yost later lowered that request to $125,000 and an apology from a commissioner who had accused him of violating attorney-client privilege. No payment was made. Yost's lawyer, Austin Parker, held a news conference Friday on the ongoing probe into the attempt to fire County Manager Michael Scholes and Yost's efforts to prevent it. He says commissioners David Unruh, David Dennis and Michael O'Donnell tried to fire Scholes because he cooperated with an FBI investigation into O'Donnell. O'Donnell faces federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering related to his handling of campaign funds.

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KU Football Coach Fired But Will Finish Season

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR)  - Jeff Long, the athletics director at the University of Kansas hired over the summer, is making the move that has been highly anticipated since he arrived in Lawrence. He’s finding a new football coach to replace KU head coach David Beaty. Long says when he informed David Beaty that this season would be his last the word had already spread among possible successors. Long says a number of candidates have already notified him that they are interested but, he says, so far there is no frontrunner. Meanwhile, Beaty will coach the Jayhawks in the final three games including the Sunflower Showdown next Saturday (November 10) in Manhattan against Kansas State. Beaty is in his fourth season and KU is 2-6.  His overall record as a head coach is 6-39.

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Multi-State Crime Suspect Pleads to Mississippi Charges

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) - A man is pleading guilty in Mississippi to another in a series of killings and shootings in a multi-state spree that included a Kansas robbery. Alex Deaton pleaded guilty Friday in Neshoba County Circuit Court to the murder of Brenda Pinter, a 69-year-old Mississippi woman who was cleaning a rural church. It's still unclear why Deaton killed Pinter. District Attorney Steven Kilgore says that prosecutors were never able to discern a motive. Deaton earlier pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend in suburban Jackson, Mississippi, stealing her SUV and shooting a jogger. Police say Deaton later carjacked a New Mexico couple, and fled to Kansas, where he shot a store clerk in Pratt County and stole the clerk's car. Pratt County west of Wichita. Deaton pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in Kansas. He faces multiple life sentences in Mississippi and nearly 13 years in prison in Kansas.

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Oregon Man Charged After Allegedly Ramming Kansas Deputy's Car

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — An Oregon man is charged after he allegedly rammed a Leavenworth County sheriff deputy's car twice. Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said Monday that 42-year-old Derek Kelley, of Rainier, Oregon, is charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and three other counts. Kelley is jailed in Leavenworth County. Leavenworth County Undersheriff James Sherley said when the deputy was out of his vehicle after stopping a pickup truck between Leavenworth and Atchison, the pickup reversed and hit the patrol vehicle before taking off. Sherley says during the ensuing chase, the truck suddenly stopped and reversed into the patrol vehicle a second time. The Atchison Daily Globe reports the deputy suffered a knee injury. The truck was found abandoned. Kelley and a passenger in the truck fled into a nearby home before being arrested.

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New Program Lets Wichita Students Earn Free College Credits

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Wichita Public Schools district and Friends University are launching a program that'll allow high school students to earn two years' worth of college credit for free by graduation. The Wichita Eagle reports the Early College Academy will start next fall at Wichita Northwest High School. Officials say the program will target traditionally underrepresented students, such as those who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The district will pay the university $50 per credit hour so the credits are free to students. Fifty students will be selected for the first freshman class. Students in the program will take some classes on the Friends University campus in Wichita, starting the summer before their sophomore year. They'll be required to take dual- and concurrent-credit courses, including college algebra, American government and microeconomics.

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Kansas Man Who Sold a Pound of Meth a Week Sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, man who told investigators he sold more than a pound of methamphetamine a week has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. Federal prosecutors say 30-year-old Joseph Cornejo was sentenced Monday for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Prosecutors say when investigators searched Cornejo's home, they found methamphetamine, about $2,000 in cash and nine firearms. Cornejo said he sometimes traded meth for guns.

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U.S. Navy to Commission Third USS Wichita in Early January

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The third Navy ship to bear the city of Wichita's name will be sent into active duty early next year. The littoral combat ship USS Wichita will be commissioned January 12 at the Mayport Naval Station in Florida. Littoral combat ships are the Navy's fastest ships and are used for minesweeping, anti-submarine, drug trafficking or humanitarian operations. The ship is 387 feet long, 57 feet wide and has a top speed of more than 45 knots - or nearly 52 mph. The USS Wichita also is equipped with a launching pad for two, MH-60 Seahawk helicopters. The first USS Wichita was a heavy cruiser that earned 13 battle stars during World War II. The second was a replenishment oiler that earned four battle stars in Vietnam.

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Lawrence Considering Later Start Times for High Schools

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The Lawrence school district will survey whether students, parents and staff would support starting high school classes later in the morning. Lawrence Deputy Superintendent Anna Stubblefield said the surveys will be sent no later than November 12. A phone survey of randomly selected parents also will be conducted. The Lawrence Journal-World reports phone and online surveys done last school year showed wide support for the change among district parents and high school staff. The district surveys will ask respondents if they prefer keeping the high school start time at 8:05 a.m. and release time at 3:10 p.m. It will also propose possible changes, such as from 8:30 a.m. and 3:35 p.m., or 9 a.m. and 4:05 p.m. School board member Rick Ingram says the district will consider the possible challenges of the changes.

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Man Accused of Cutting Up Wife's Body Now Faces Child Porn Charges

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A man charged after his wife's dismembered body was found last year at a Lenexa self-storage facility has now been charged with possessing child pornography. 36-year-old Justin Todd Rey had been set to go to trial this week on child endangerment charges in the death case, but the trial was canceled in light of the new charges. Authorities say they found child porn images after Rey asked them to look at his phone for evidence he thought would help him in his pending trial. Rey was arrested last October after police found the remains in bags at the storage unit where he and his children had been living. Rey told police his wife had committed suicide days after giving birth at a Kansas City hotel. Police say he told them he dismembered her body so he could take her back to Arizona. Missouri officials have charged Rey with abandonment of a corpse.

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Kansas City Penguin to Visit the Topeka Zoo

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Topeka Zoo will have a special guest this week from the Kansas City Zoo. The Conservation Connection at the Topeka Zoo will feature a Humboldt penguin Thursday visiting for the day from the Kansas City Zoo. The event will discuss how Humboldt penguins, as well as other species of penguins, are struggling to survive in the wild.Sean Putney, senior director of zoological operations at the Kansas City Zoo, will discuss his recent trip to the Punta San Juan Marine Reserve in Peru. The Kansas City Zoo partners with other accredited zoos to help keep the designation of Punta San Juan as a Marine Reserve under the Peruvian Protected Areas System, and securing the future of the Humboldt Penguin in Peru. 

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Washburn to Eventually Provide Most Electricity from Wind

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Washburn University in Topeka says it is committed to providing most of its energy from a Westar wind farm in the future. Washburn and Westar Energy announced Monday they have signed a 20-year agreement for energy produced by a new wind farm. Under the agreement, the university will buy 4 megawatts of energy from a 300-megawatt wind farm that Westar will build in Nemaha County in northeast Kansas. The university said in a news release that would provide about 80 percent of the energy needs for Washburn and the Washburn Tech campuses. The new wind farm is expected to provide energy by the fourth quarter of 2020. Washburn president Jerry Farley says the agreement will save the university up to $100,000 a year.

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Chiefs Continue Win Streak Beating Cleveland, 37-21, to Bring Home 8-1 Record

CLEVELAND (AP) — The legend of Patrick Mahomes is growing and the rookie quarterback is just beginning. Only 10 games into his NFL career, Kansas City’s young quarterback is doing things that have never been done before. Mahomes passed for 375 yards, threw three touchdown passes — two to Travis Kelce — and continued the best start by a QB in 68 years as Kansas City’s offense kept rolling with a 37-21 win on Sunday over the Cleveland Browns, who played their first game since coach Hue Jackson’s firing. Kareem Hunt had two scoring runs and one receiving for the Chiefs (8-1). The 23-year-old Mahomes won his first pro matchup against Baker Mayfield and the Browns (2-6-1). The Chiefs offense put on another impressive show with 499 total yards, averaging 8.6 per snap. Cleveland lost its fourth straight game as QB Baker Mayfield threw two TD passes to Duke Johnson and finished 29 of 42 for 297 yards with one interception. Two KC Chiefs who are Cleveland natives played major roles in Sunday's game. Both Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce grew up and were high school football stand-outs in Cleveland. Hunt bought more than 100 tickets for the game and gave them to the players and coaches at his high school alma mater. Next up the Chiefs host Arizona on November 11 at Arrowhead Stadium. 

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