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Weekend Headlines for July 7 & 8, 2018

Attorney General Handling Appeal in Kansas Voting Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will not represent himself during the appeal of a voting rights case in which he was ordered to undergo more legal education and was twice found in contempt of court. Instead, the attorney general's office will handle the case. Solicitor General Toby Crouse filed Kansas' appeal this past week of a federal judge's ruling that the state cannot require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. The judge found such laws violate the constitutional right to vote in a major setback for Kobach, a Republican who is running for governor. Kobach has long championed restrictive voting laws and led President Donald Trump's now-defunct voter fraud commission. Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said the change in legal representation won't have much of an effect on the appeal because "even a good lawyer with a bad case still has a bad case." The ACLU had filed one of the lawsuits challenging the proof-of-citizenship law. Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer said he supports the appeal. Kobach spokeswoman Danedri Herbert downplayed the significance of the move, saying that had always been the plan for when the case reached the appellate level. The attorney general's office said in an email that it is committed to "vigorously defending" the constitutionality of the law. Former U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said the change in legal representation won't make much difference because the appeals court will only review the facts as laid out at trial. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson's decision last month came in two consolidated cases challenging a Kansas voter registration law requiring people to provide documents such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization papers. Along with throwing out the law, she also ordered that Kobach complete an additional six hours of legal education on top of other requirements before he can renew his law license for the upcoming year. She imposed the sanction for his numerous disclosure violations. She had already held him in contempt earlier for not fully registering voters as she had initially ordered. A previous contempt ruling dealt with evidence he had misrepresented to the court.


1 Child Dead, 3 Critically Injured in Kansas Apartment Fire

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a child is dead and at least three other people are critically injured after an apartment fire in Kansas City, Kansas. Fire Battalion Chief Morris Letcher says two children and two adults were taken to hospitals in critical condition following the blaze late Saturday morning, and that one child later died. Letcher says officials are not yet releasing the names or ages of the victims. Witnesses tell the Kansas City Star the fire began with an explosion that shook nearby buildings. Fire officials say the cause of the blaze was not immediately known. Crews remained late Saturday afternoon on the scene of the fire, which had been extinguished hours earlier. Members of the American Red Cross are also helping those affected by the fire.


Man Killed by Kansas Police Wanted in Missouri for Murder

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police say a man killed by Overland Park police earlier this week was wanted for murder in Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that 43-year-old Charles Webb was wanted in the May 3 shooting death of 43-year-old Robert Eugene Jennings, of Columbia, Missouri. Police in Columbia said a warrant had been issued for Webb charging his with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in that shooting. Authorities say Webb was shot to death early Friday during a confrontation with police at an apartment complex in Overland Park, Kansas. Police were called to the apartment for reports of a man and woman arguing and shots fired. Police say Webb fired several shots at arriving officers, and two officers fired back, hitting him. Webb died later at a hospital.


Prosecutors Sponsoring Kansas Human Trafficking Conference

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Federal, state and local prosecutors are sponsoring a two-day conference on human trafficking next week in northeast Kansas. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister plans to open the conference Tuesday morning at the Manhattan Conference Center. His office says about 200 people are registered. McAllister's office is co-sponsoring the event along with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office, the Riley County attorney's office, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and the Midwest Criminal Justice Institute at Wichita State University. Speakers from the Human Trafficking Unit in the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division plan to discuss working with trafficking victims during a presentation on the federal response to human trafficking.


Kansas Governor Expands Drought Emergency to 50 Counties

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has expanded the number of counties classified as having a drought emergency so that nearly half are covered. Governor Jeff Colyer issued an executive order Friday listing 50 of the state's 105 counties as having a drought emergency. His new order replaces one in March listing 28 counties as having an emergency. That status allows counties to use water from some state fishing lakes and federal reservoirs. The entire state is under some stage of drought. The least serious stage is a drought watch. Under Colyer's new order, that status applies to 28 counties, down from 48 in March. Twenty-seven counties are covered by a drought warning, down from 29 in March. Twelve counties jumped from a warning to an emergency, and 10 from a watch to an emergency.


Man Dies After Trying to Walk Across I-70 Closed in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 21-year-old Kansas man died while trying to walk across Interstate 70 overnight. The crash east of Manhattan, Kansas, forced the closure of I-70 for a couple hours after it happened shortly before 4 a.m. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Matthew Bailey of Mayetta, Kansas, died after he was struck by an eastbound Jeep Wrangler driven by a 23-year-old man. The Jeep's driver and passenger were not hurt.


Minnesota Bicyclist Hit in Kansas Last Month Dies

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A bicyclist who was hit on a western Kansas highway last month while competing in a cross country race has died in a Wichita hospital. The Wichita Eagle reports that 64-year-old John Egbers, of St. Cloud, Minnesota, died Thursday. He was hit by a car from behind June 14 while he was riding eastbound on Kansas Highway 96 west of Scott City. Egbers suffered multiple broken bones, a collapsed lung and other injuries. Egbers was competing in the Trans Am Bike Race at the time of the crash. The event is a 4,300-mile bicycle race from Oregon to Virginia that passes through 10 states, including Kansas. Cyclists enter the state near Tribune, riding east to Pittsburg. No charges had been reported by Saturday in the crash.


Bryan University Closes Columbia Branch

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Bryan University, a private, two-year career training and technical school, has closed is branch in Columbia. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Gary Glunt, the executive director of the Columbia location, said Thursday the operation has been shifted to an online format after a transition that began several months ago. He referred all other questions to the corporate office in Springfield, where officials were unavailable because of the holiday. The institution's web site lists only physical locations in Springfield and Rogers, Arkansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported earlier that the future of the school's location in Topeka was in doubt. A call to the number for the Topeka location prompted a message that the number was no longer valid.


Kansas Democratic Governor Hopeful Criticized on Abortion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement is giving the Kansas governor's race an odd twist. It's complicating the bid by a major Democratic candidate who's trying to rebuild his party's brand with rural voters but is hindered by his anti-abortion past. Former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty argues that Democrats can't break an eight-year losing streak in all statewide races without pulling more votes from strongly Republican rural areas. But he could have trouble winning the Aug. 7 primary because abortion-rights advocates are energized and Svaty voted consistently for anti-abortion measures as a Kansas House member. Svaty has tried to woo liberal Democrats by pledging to veto any new abortion restrictions if he's elected governor. But he's facing two major rivals taking strong abortion-rights stances.


Kansas Man Makes Videos About Car Collection

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man is gaining attention on YouTube for his car collection. The Wichita Eagle reports Tyler Hoover runs the "Hoovie's Garage" YouTube channel. It features videos where he purchases broken or unusual cars and documents what it takes to refurbish them. He frequently resells the cars, though he says he often doesn't make money from the sales. He has more than a dozen cars in his personal collection, which he calls the "Hooptie Fleet." Hoover's most watched video has about 4 million views. His channel's popularity has led to Hoover's inclusion in a reality TV show about weird cars by online network RatedRed. Hoover says the growth of his subscriber base has allowed him to make ad revenue from videos and get sponsorships from various companies.


Wichita State Hopes to Impress Prospective Students with Website

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University is preparing to launch a redesigned website that officials hope will ramp up efforts to recruit out-of-state students. The Wichita Eagle reports the university looks to launch its revamped website sometime in the next week. It will feature a streamlined home page, an interactive campus map, a virtual tour and links to every major, minor and graduate degree offered at the school. Tim Hart is the director of web and new media for the university's office of strategic communications. He says the goal of the new home page is to reach more directly to prospective students, especially those who are outside Kansas. Part of the school's new marketing strategy targets Dallas, Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as part of the "I-135 corridor."


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