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Headlines for Saturday, December 8, 2018

Man Dies after Crane Collapse in Southeast Kansas

FREDONIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died after a crane collapsed at a construction site in southeast Kansas. Wilson County Sheriff Pete Figgin says deputies were called Friday to the site south of Fredonia, where a Fredonia Water Treatment Plant is under construction. Figgin says officers found two adult men injured at the site. One man died and the other was treated for minor injuries. KOAM-TV reports the sheriff said the cause of the crane collapse hasn't been determined. No names have been released. Federal safety officials have been contacted about the death.

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Representative Jenkins Registers Lobbying Firm before Term Ends

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas is launching a new lobbying firm even before her term in the U.S. House officially ends. Jenkins chose not to seek re-election this year and her term will end the first week of January. Her new business, LJ Strategies, has already registered with the state. The Wichita Eagle reports ethics watchdogs suggested Jenkins' decision reinforces public distrust of politicians. Jenkins' office said in a statement she consulted with the House Ethics Committee before forming the business. Her spokeswoman, Lee Modesitt, says the business won't actively seek clients until Jenkins leaves office. Jenkins, but not her firm, can't lobby at the federal level for a year after her term ends. She will be able to lobby in Kansas immediately. Jenkins business was registered with the state on November 20th.

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Kobach: Fraud Possible in North Carolina Race

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach worries fraud might have tainted a North Carolina congressional race that a fellow Republican appeared to have narrowly won. The Washington Post reports that Kobach said during an interview that his concerns are "based on what I have read" about the race. Kobach has long advocated strict voter identification laws and served as vice chairman of President Donald Trump's short-lived commission on voter fraud in 2017. He publicly backed Trump's unsubstantiated claim that several million people cast ballots illegally in 2016 to cost Trump the popular vote. The North Carolina Elections Board has refused to certify the results in the 9th Congressional District amid questions about the handling of mail-in ballots. Kobach told The Post: "I am very concerned that voter fraud did occur."

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2 People Found Dead after Fiery Wreck near Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after two people were found dead after a fiery wreck near Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that the crash happened Wednesday night when the driver of a pickup truck ran a stop sign and hit a tractor-trailer. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says in a report that both vehicles became "engulfed in flames." Two people — Darold Hale and Colleen Hale — were found dead outside the pickup truck. Lt. Timothy Myers says it isn't clear which person was driving. Their causes of death are under investigation. Myers says the driver of the tractor-trailer had minor injuries and didn't want treatment.

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Kansas Agency Defends New Process for Child Welfare Services

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The head of the Kansas Department of Children and Families says the agency's new process for choosing providers will make the agency's decisions more transparent. The department is awarding grants rather than using traditional contracts, which were overseen by the Department of Administration. Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said Thursday the awarding of grants has been the most transparent process the agency has ever had. She introduced three providers who will receive four-year grants for foster care and family preservation. Some child care advocates are questioning why the state decided to change the process. The Kansas City Star reports the state of Kansas has solicited bids for child welfare contracts for decades, using a process that included oversight by the Department of Administration and strict guidelines that promoted competition and ensured accountability.

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Kansas Motorcyclist Charged in Fatal Wreck

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City motorcyclist has been charged in a wreck that killed the woman who was riding behind him. The Kansas City Star reports that 42-year-old Fredrick Wilson Kane, of Mission, was booked into jail Friday. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence in the death of 35-year-old Sierra Crooks. She was killed on June 25 when he crashed in Shawnee. His bond is set at $250,000. His attorney, Keith Drill, didn't immediately return a phone message.

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Man Convicted of Dragging Officer during Lawrence Traffic Stop

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A driver has been convicted of dragging and injuring a Lawrence police officer with his car. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that jurors found 38-year-old Aramis Hernandez, of Topeka, guilty Thursday of battery on a law enforcement officer during a July 2016 traffic stop. When the officer asked Hernandez for his driver's license, Hernandez told the officer that he "didn't need" a license. The officer explained that a license was required. Hernandez continued to argue that under "common law" it wasn't necessary. The camera system in the officer's vehicle showed that after a few minutes, Hernandez started to pull away with the officer hanging onto the side of the vehicle. Hernandez then drove off. The officer was treated for cuts and bruises. Sentencing is set for December 21st.

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