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Headlines for Monday, October 1, 2018

Major GOP Group Drops Ad Support for Kansas City-Area Congressman

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The National Republican Congressional Committee is dropping its support for an incumbent congressman facing a difficult re-election in a suburban Kansas City district that Hillary Clinton won. A spokesman for the NRCC confirmed that the Republicans' congressional campaign wing cancelled $1.2 million in ad spending backing Representative Kevin Yoder. Yoder's district encompasses affluent, fast-growing suburbs, as well as some poorer Kansas City neighborhoods. Clinton beat Trump in the district by a little over one point. His opponent, Sharice Davids, has gained national attention for her nontraditional profile as an LGBT Native-American attorney who also is a former mixed-martial arts fighter. Davids had a modest lead in a recent New York Times poll and was endorsed by former President Barack Obama on Monday.


Obama Endorses Davids in Kansas 3rd District Race Against Incumbent Kevin Yoder

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former President Barack Obama has endorsed Democrat Sharice Davids in her race against Republican Representative Kevin Yoder in an eastern Kansas congressional district. Obama included Davids on a tweeted list Monday of more than 250 candidates he endorsed across the nation. Davids was the only Kansas candidate listed. The ex-president, a Democrat, tweeted that he was endorsing candidates running "to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor, and compassion to public service." Davids is a Native American and LGBT lawyer who was a White House fellow during Obama's administration. President Donald Trump tweeted his full endorsement of Yoder in July. Yoder is seeking a fifth term in the Kansas-City area 3rd District. Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly carried the district in the 2016 presidential race.


Kansas Tax Collections $81 Million More Than Expected in September

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting that it collected $81 million more in taxes than expected in September to extend its streak of better-than-anticipated figures to 16 months in a row. It is the longest streak of better-than-expected collections in at least 50 years. An AP spreadsheet compiled from monthly reports shows the state hasn't seen such a streak since at least February 1968. The Kansas Department of Revenue reported Monday that tax collections were $696 million last month. The state's official forecast had predicted $615 million. The monthly surplus was 13.2 percent. Since the current fiscal year began in July, tax collections have run $99 million ahead of expectations for a 6.2 percent surplus. The state also ended its last fiscal year on June 30 with better-than-expected tax collections.


Economy Remains Strong in Midwest but Trade Worries Linger

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new survey suggests the economy remains strong in nine Midwest and Plains states, but business leaders are concerned about the ongoing trade disputes.  The overall economic index for the region slipped to 57.5 in September from August's 61.1, but it remained in positive territory.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says he expects business will slow down but continue growing in the next few months because of the trade concerns and rising interest rates.  The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth. A score below that suggests decline.  The survey covers Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa,  Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.


Adopted Daughter of Retired U.S. Army Officer Set to be Deported

LANSING, Kan. (AP) — The adopted daughter of a retired Army officer living in northeastern Kansas may soon be sent back to South Korea.  The Kansas City Star reports that on Friday, a federal judge in Kansas ruled in favor of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which seeks to deport Hyebin Schreiber, the legally adopted daughter of retired Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber of Lansing.  Schreiber sued after immigration authorities rejected visa and citizenship applications for Hyebin. The woman had been Schreiber's niece when he and his wife legally brought the then-15-year-old girl to the U.S. in 2012.  Schreiber's deployment the following year to Afghanistan and bad legal advice led the couple to put off her legal adoption until she was 17. But under immigration law, foreign-born children must be adopted before reaching 16 to derive citizenship from their American parents.  Schreiber, who has served six overseas tours in a 27-year U.S. military career, has said he and his wife would go to South Korea with their daughter if she's deported.


Kansas Police, FBI Investigating After Body Found in Railcar

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Kansas are investigating the discovery of a body on a railcar in Bonner Springs.  The Kansas City Star reports that the body was found early Friday morning. Officials say they don't yet know the name, age or even the gender of the person.  Police say the railcar had been parked at the Bonner Springs location since September 19. Before then, police say, the railcar had been in Illinois and southeastern Missouri.  A police spokeswoman says the body was discovered by workers unloading a car containing a dry cement mix.  The FBI is helping in the investigation, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation says its crime scene response team was dispatched to help police.


Statue Dedicated in Topeka to Key Player in Brown Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A statue has been dedicated in Topeka to honor an instrumental player in the Brown v. Board of Education case that ended segregation in public schools. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the statue of McKinley Burnett was dedicated Sunday afternoon in the city's downtown. While president of the Topeka chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Burnett helped recruit the 13 black parents who tried unsuccessfully to enroll their children in white Topeka elementary schools in 1951. Their lawsuit was combined with four other segregation challenges, leading to the historic 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Washburn University School of Law dean Carla Pratt says the case was the most significant of the 20th century because it demanded that America live up to its promise of equality.


Defendant in Wichita Fatal Swatting Case Appears in Court

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The man accused of making a hoax phone call that led police to fatally shoot a Wichita man has been arraigned on a new indictment. Tyler Barriss, of California, was arraigned Monday on a superseding indictment accusing him of making false/hoax reports to emergency services, cyberstalking, making interstate threats, wire fraud and conspiracy. Barriss is accused of calling Wichita police in December 2017 from Los Angeles to report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita home. An officer shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch when he opened the door. Also charged in the superseding indictment are 18-year-old Casey Viner, of North College, Ohio, and 20-year-old Shane Gaskill, of Wichita. Police say an online dispute between Viner and Gaskill led Barriss to make the call that sent police to what Barriss mistakenly thought was Gaskill's home.


2 Killed After Driver Smashes Through Railroad Crossing Arms

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two people are dead after a driver smashed through railroad crossing arms and into the path of a train. The Kansas City Star reports that the crash happened Sunday night just west Kansas 15 in Derby. Lt. Tim Myers, of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, says the 38-year-old driver and her 39-year-old male passenger died in the crash. Their names weren't immediately released.


Records: Ex-Wife Plotted Killing While Jailed for Poisoning 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Court records say a Kansas woman plotted to kill her ex-husband when she was in jail on suspicion of trying to poison their three children. Therese Roever, of Olathe, was charged in February in the attempted capital murder of her children and last month in the attempted capital murder of her ex-husband. The Kansas City Star reports that court records released last week say Roever's former husband was contacted by a relative of another Johnson County jail inmate who told him his ex-wife was trying to find someone who would kill him. He then contacted police. The documents say Roever told another inmate she would rather die in prison or have the children go to foster care, than have her ex-husband get custody.


Uber to Pay Kansas More than $730,000 Following Data Breach

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Uber will pay Kansas more than $730,000 after hackers obtained names and driver's license information of some Uber drivers.  Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a lawsuit against the ride-hailing company.  A consent judgment was entered Thursday in Shawnee County District Court.  In 2016, hackers obtained the names and driver's license information from about 600,000 of its drivers, but didn't immediately reveal the breach. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Schmidt argued the lack of transparency violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.  He also said Uber didn't maintain reasonable security measures.  Uber's attorney, Tony West, said the company has reached agreements with the attorney generals of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the consent judgment, Uber will pay a total of $148 million.


Data: Many University of Kansas Students Take 6 Years to Graduate 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Recent figures show only 42 percent of students at the University of Kansas graduated within four years. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the university's recent graduation data found that 63 percent of students graduated within six years. Each additional year of study costs about $21,500 based on in-state tuition and room and board rates at the Lawrence campus. Figures show that out-of-state students usually have to pay about $38,000 each additional year. DeAngela Burns-Wallace is the university's vice provost for undergraduate studies. Burns-Wallace says there are many nuances that affect graduation rates, such as changing a major or studying overseas. She says university officials are trying to improve graduation rates by providing access to mentors, peer advisers and other resources, such as tutoring.


Man in Stable Condition After Attack by 4 Dogs

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 70-year-old Arkansas City man is hospitalized after he was attacked by four dogs in his backyard.  Arkansas City police say in a news release that officers were called to the home Thursday night.  Police Chief Daniel Ward said witnesses reported finding four dogs on top of the man. The dogs belong to the man and others who live in the home.  The man was flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. He was listed in stable condition on Friday.  The mixed-breed dogs were captured by police and are at the Cowley County Humane Society for a 10-day observation period.


Bedbugs Shut Down Library Branch in Shawnee, Kansas

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — An infestation of bedbugs has closed a Kansas City suburb library until further notice.  Johnson County Library Director Sean Casserley says the Shawnee branch library on Johnson Drive will be closed at least until Wednesday so the building can be treated to get rid of the infestation.  The Kansas City Star says updates on the state of the branch will be posted on the library's website and social media accounts.  Casserley says library staff spotted the pests in a book turned in Thursday. Dogs trained to detect the pests were brought in, and officials learned Friday that the pests had spread to furniture in the building.  Bed bugs have recently been discovered in other public places in the Kansas City area, including in a Kansas City International Airport terminal.


Free Food Pantry Opens at KU Student Union

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is offering a free food pantry at the Memorial Union on the Lawrence campus.  The Campus Cupboard on the fourth level of the union opened Monday.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the space allows students, faculty and staff to pick up such items as fresh fruit, cereal, steaks and even gluten-free products.  Shoppers can visit the store twice a week. They receive 15 points each time they visit and they spend the points as they see fit. For example, a package of meat is five points and rice is three pounds.  The food bank is a collaboration of several organizations. Some items were donated by local grocery stores, area farms and from food drives. Just Food, the Douglas County food bank, bought some of the food


Democrat Laura Kelly Vows to Review Biotech Boosting Agency

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democrat Laura Kelly is vowing to revive a program that invested in the biotech industry if she is elected governor.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Kelly credited the Kansas Bioscience Authority with helping to spur development before it was sold off in 2016. She also says it was instrumental in the decision to locate a new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University.  She says the state needs to "put something back in place" and said she would need to consult experts about how it would function.  The Kansas Bioscience Authority was dismantled after issues with its former leader and concerns about using taxpayer dollars for development. Kelly says she believes the revenue shortfalls the state was experiencing at the time also played a role in its demise.


Disgraced Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Living Near Kansas School

VICTORIA, Kan. (AP) — Roman Catholic Church officials have confirmed that a disgraced ex-cardinal who was removed from ministry amid allegations of sexual abuse has moved to a friary in remote western Kansas that is near an elementary school.  The Archdiocese of Washington confirmed in a statement Friday that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is living at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, which is within a block of Victoria Elementary School.  The Kansas City Star reports that the news of McCarrick's new living arrangement took school officials by surprise. Victoria Elementary Principal Kent Michel says he only learned of it Friday through social media posts.  The 88-year-old McCarrick was the retired Archbishop of Washington, D.C., when he was removed from public ministry in June after the church found credible allegations that he sexually abused a teenager while a priest in New York more than 40 years ago.  

(This story has been corrected to show McCarrick was removed from public ministry in June, not July.)


Wichita Considers Resolution to Protect Stray and Feral Cats

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Stray cats in Wichita might someday have their own communities.  Wichita's animal advisory board on Wednesday discussed regulations that would encourage residents to trap, sterilize, vaccinate and release stray cats on their property.  The Wichita Eagle reports the "community cats" would have a notch cut in their ears. No one would be allowed to capture or euthanize them at the city animal shelter unless the cats bite someone or cause a public nuisance.  Katie Barnett, representing the Best Friends Animal Society, said she's helped organized similar regulations in Kansas City, Kansas, Lawrence and other cities.  Opponents of the plan told the board that feral cats will kill other animals, such as snakes and birds.  The city council will have final word on the proposed ordinance.


Missouri, Wisconsin Partner to Boost Bird Population

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — About 100 North American game birds were sent from Wisconsin to Missouri as part of an effort to restore Missouri's ruffed grouse population.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are working together to repopulate ruffed grouse in east-central Missouri. The agencies' goal is to trap and relocate 300 grouse to Missouri over three years.  Ruffed grouse are native to Missouri but the population disappeared years ago.  The 100 Wisconsin ruffed grouse were recently released in the River Hills region, which is the largest contiguous block of forest north of the Missouri River.  Missouri Conservation Department official Jason Isabelle says this year's grouse restoration was a success.  The birds are part of the pheasant family and have a dark ruff on their necks.


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