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Headlines for Thursday, November 15, 2018

Kansas AG: Kobach Not Liable for Exposure of Data on Voters

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The attorney general of Kansas is arguing in federal court filings that Secretary of State Kris Kobach should not be held liable for exposing sensitive information about voters.  Attorney General Derek Schmidt also contends that voters have no constitutional right to the privacy of their data.  The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Schmidt's office in recent weeks has filed documents outlining the state's defense of Kobach in a federal lawsuit filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union.  The information exposed by Kobach's office for 945 Kansas voters included partial Social Security numbers.  The ACLU alleges "reckless maintenance" of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program that compares voter registration lists among participating states to look for duplicates.  Kobach is a conservative Republican who lost this year's race for Kansas governor.

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UPDATE: White Official Tells Black Woman He Belongs to 'Master Race'

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A white county commissioner in northeast Kansas said he belongs to "the master race" as he critiqued a land-use proposal by a black city planner at a board meeting. Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp cited the Nazi ideology of Aryan supremacy Tuesday in response to the presentation by Triveece Penelton on road development options in Tonganoxie, just west of Kansas City. Klemp told Penelton: "I don't want you to think I'm picking on you because we're part of the master race."Commissioners Robert Holland and Doug Smith called on Klemp to resign before his term ends January 15. The Republican Party appointed Klemp to the commission in October 2017 to fill a vacancy created by a resignation. "In the best interest of the county, he should resign," Smith told The Leavenworth Times for a story published Thursday. "I was shocked. I was in disbelief," Holland said. "He should resign. I don't care if he's got two days left, he should resign. " Klemp told KSHB-TV off camera that his comment was a joke. Klemp, who once ran for governor, has come under criticism in the past for making racist comments.  (Read more in the Kansas City Star.)

**This story has been edited to correct the quote from Louis Klemp, based on review of a video recording of the board meeting. 

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Militia Men Convicted of Bomb Plot Try to Bar Somali Videos

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for three Kansas militia members convicted of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali immigrants in a western Kansas meatpacking town have asked the court to bar at sentencing any victim impact statements, arguing no one was actually hurt in the plot. Federal prosecutors have countered that the men are trying to "minimize their actions and de-personalize their crimes." They say that "runs directly afoul" of the Crime Victims' Rights Act. The dispute has derailed the two-day sentencing hearing that had been scheduled to begin Monday, with the judge now instead planning to hear oral arguments Monday about whether to consider victim statements. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren is expected to set a new sentencing date after conferring with attorneys Thursday. A federal jury convicted Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen of one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights in April. Wright was also found guilty of lying to the FBI. The attack, planned for the day after the 2016 general election in Garden City, was thwarted by another member of the group who tipped off authorities about escalating threats of violence. Garden City is 220 miles west of Wichita.

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Senate Confirms Kansas Bank Regulator Bowman for Federal Reserve Board

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed Michelle Bowman, a Kansas banking regulator, as a member of the Federal Reserve board. Bowman was approved on a 64-34 vote to fill the spot on the seven-member board reserved for someone with community banking experience. With her confirmation, President Donald Trump has now filled three vacant seats on the Fed board. He also nominated Jerome Powell to be Fed chairman, choosing not to tap former Fed Chair Janet Yellen for a second term. Trump in recent weeks has leveled pointed attacks on the Fed's effort to raise interest rates to keep the economy from overheating, calling it his "biggest threat." The Fed has hiked rates three times this year and is expected to do so again in December. Powell, speaking Wednesday night to an audience in Dallas, addressed Trump's criticism without mentioning the president. He said that the Fed's accountability was really to Congress, which created the central bank more than a century ago. Congress has directed the Fed to pursue the goals of maximum employment and stable prices.  "We have a very important job that Congress has assigned us and we have the tools to do it," Powell said. "We're just trying to do our jobs and we're doing fine." Trump's other choices have included Columbia University professor Richard Clarida for Fed vice chairman and Utah investment banker Randal Quarles for the Fed's vice chairman for bank supervision.

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Galloway Launches Long-Awaited Jackson County Audit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A long-awaited state audit of Jackson County, Missouri has begun. The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Thursday that her audit of the county's finances and operations is under way, 10 months after County Executive Frank White sought Galloway's assistance in the midst of a budget dispute with a majority of county legislators. Among other things, some legislators have questioned how money is spent and criticized White and his staff for allegedly authorizing dozens of professional service contracts without putting them out for competitive bid. Galloway says the focus of the first of what will be multiple audits is the county's program to battle drug abuses and violent crime. Jackson County taxpayers will pay for the audit.

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Kansas Man Who Grew Marijuana in Park Sentenced to Prison

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 55-year-old Kansas man who was growing marijuana on an island in the Neosho River has been sentenced to more than five years in prison. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Scott Joseph Skibo, of Chetopa, was sentenced Thursday for unlawful possession of a firearm following a felony conviction. Prosecutors say Skibo admitted he was growing a marijuana garden when investigators had him under surveillance. He fled in a boat when law enforcement officers tried to arrest him. Officers pursued them in their boat for about a half mile before he surrendered. Investigators found about 50 marijuana plants, a loaded .40 caliber Glock handgun, spare ammunition and other items with him in the boat.

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Survey: Rural Economy Being Hurt by Tariffs, Low Prices

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — For the first time this year, a monthly survey of bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states indicates the regional rural economy is shrinking.  The overall index of the Rural Mainstreet survey for November sank to 49.9, the first time it's dipped below 50 since January and down from October's 54.3. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.  Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the farm sector continues to be weakened by tariffs and low commodity prices.  Jeffrey Gerhart, CEO of the Bank of Newman Grove in northeastern Nebraska, says the tariffs are affecting farmers' income and are "bad policy from the White House."  Bankers from Kansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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Crash in Southwest Kansas Kills 3 People, Closes Highway

WELLSFORD, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says three people have died in a crash involving two semi-trailer trucks.  The head-on crash occurred early Wednesday on Highway 54 near the town of Wellsford in Kiowa County.  The patrol says both trucks caught fire. The highway was closed for several hours after the crash.  One truck was empty and the other was carrying pork products.  The names of the three people killed have not been released.

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Toddler Shot in Leg in Kansas City, Kansas, Home

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a toddler is recovering after multiple bullets were fired into a Kansas City, Kansas, home, striking the child in the leg.  The Kansas City Star reports that the 1-year-old who was wounded early Tuesday is expected to recover from a broken femur. Police say they arrested the child's father, who allegedly is a gang member, on a warrant for a drug offense.  

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Man Pleads Guilty to Running over Wichita Police Officer

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The man accused of running over a Wichita police officer last year has pleaded guilty.  Justin Terrazas pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated battery and other charges.  Prosecutors say Terrazas ran over officer Brian Arterburn while fleeing in a stolen vehicle in February 2017.  Terrazas will be sentenced January 14.  KAKE-TV reports District Attorney Marc Bennett said the state and defense have agreed to a 39.5-year prison sentence.  Arterburn, a 25-year police veteran, suffered chest, abdomen and brain injuries when the vehicle hit him as he placed spike strips on a road in south Wichita. He spent nearly 10 months in hospitals in Colorado and Texas before returning to Wichita last November.  Earlier this year, the city approved Arterburn's medical retirement.

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Ex-Massage Therapist Guilty of Secretly Recording Woman
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OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City massage therapist faces sentencing Jan. 3 after admitting that he secretly recorded video of a woman while she undressed. The Kansas City Star reports that 32-year-old Daniel Gorski pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony count of breach of privacy. He previously worked as a massage therapist at a chiropractic clinic in Gardner, Kansas. An investigation began in 2016 after Gorski's girlfriend reported finding a computer flash drive containing images of women undressing or nude. Prosecutors eventually charged Gorski with crimes involving several women, but the additional charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement on Thursday. Gorski also pleaded guilty earlier this year in Jefferson County, Kan., to possession of child pornography.

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Kansas Man Pleads Guilty in Shooting of Illinois Officer

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A Kansas man has pleaded guilty to charges he fired the shots in July 2016 that wounded a southern Illinois police officer during a chase.  Alex B. Karcher of Salina, Kansas was charged with firing several shots at Carbondale Officer Trey Harris. Officials say one shot wounded Harris in the eye, causing him to lose vision.  Authorities say Harris was among officers chasing Karcher and three other men after gunshots were fired in a dispute over 15 pounds of marijuana. Karcher was arrested on drug charges soon after the shooting.  Jackson County State's Attorney Michael Carr says Karcher pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated discharge of a firearm and conspiracy to deliver a substance containing cannabis.  A sentencing date hasn't been set for Karcher, who is being held in the Jackson County Jail.

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Lawrence Officer Wants Charges Dropped After Shooting Man

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence police officer who shot a man during an arrest is asking that criminal charges against her be dropped.  In a motion filed last week in Douglas County, attorneys for 26-year-old Brindley Blood argued that Blood shot 35-year-old Akira Lewis in self-defense, which makes her immune from prosecution under Kansas law.  Blood was charged with aggravated battery after shooting Lewis in May.  Lewis and another officer were fighting when Blood arrived and eventually shot him. Lewis was hospitalized with a gunshot wound in the back.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Blood thought she drew her Taser rather than her gun before firing the shot. The motion doesn't address that part of the case.  As of Wednesday, the Douglas County District Attorney's Office had not filed a response to Blood's motion.

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Family of Woman Killed by Neo-Nazi Settles Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The family of a woman slain in Kansas by a man who wanted to kill Jews has settled a lawsuit with Walmart over the sale of a shotgun used in the shooting.  Terri LaManno was killed in 2014 outside the Village Shalom care center in Overland Park, Kansas.  The Kansas City Star reports the terms of the settlement announced Tuesday were not disclosed.  LaManno was shot by avowed neo-Nazi F. Glenn Miller Jr.  Miller was a felon who couldn't legally buy a gun. The lawsuit alleges that someone else bought the weapon for him at a Walmart store in Republic, Missouri.  Miller also killed William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. Their family settled a similar lawsuit in August 2017.

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Sex Offender Gets Life in Prison for Raping 7-Year-Old

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to life in prison for raping a 7-year-old girl in a stranger's apartment six weeks after he was freed from prison for another rape.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 24-year-old Corbin Breitenbach won't be eligible for parole under the sentence ordered Tuesday for attempted capital murder, rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated burglary.  The attack happened in June 2017 while the victim was spending the night at a friend's condo in Wichita. Prosecutors say Breitenbach quietly sneaked in, choked her into unconsciousness and sexually assaulted her.  The girl, now 9, described the attack as "scary" in a video that was played before the sentence was imposed. District Attorney Marc Bennett gave her a fist bump before she left the courtroom surrounded by family.

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Lawrence Man Sentenced for Soliciting Porn from Teen

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 40-year-old Lawrence man was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for soliciting a 16-year-old girl to send him images of her in sexual poses.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Wednesday that Jamie Drake was sentenced for coercion and enticement of a minor.  Drake admitted that he asked the girl from Franklin County to send him sexual photos. Drake offered to pay the girl's bills and send her money.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the girl's older sister notified law enforcement in July 2016.  A plea agreement filed in June said investigators found Drake had solicited several minor girls.  One of those was the girl from Franklin County, who told Drake she was only 16.

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Kansas City Nurse Donates Kidney, Triggers Transplant Chain

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City nurse decided to donate a kidney to a patient, triggering a series of events that led to three people getting new organs in the first kidney donation chain collaboration between Children's Mercy and University of Kansas hospitals.  The Kansas City Star reports that Children's Mercy nurse Christa Jordan wanted to donate to her patient and friend Victoria "Dayshanae" Hosman, but better matches were found and a kidney donation chain began.  Donation chains start when a donor wants to give to a person but they aren't a good match. The donors can then give to someone they match with but don't know.  Jordan and Hosman met the other donors and recipients at Children's Mercy Wednesday following the six surgeries conducted on October 29 and October 30.

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Missouri Man Sentenced to 38 Years in Meth Conspiracy; Sold Drugs in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Springfield man who participated in a conspiracy to distribute more than $1 million of methamphetamine in Missouri has been sentenced to 38.4 years in prison without parole.  Federal prosecutors say 29-year-old Michael Ryan Nevatt was sentenced Wednesday after being found guilty in April on seven charges involving the drug ring.  Testimony at the trial indicated Nevatt helped distribute methamphetamine in southern Missouri and Kansas City from 2014 to 2016. The source of the drugs was a Mexican cartel.  Nevatt at one point led the drug ring. He and other conspirators made regular trips — sometimes several times a week — to pick up methamphetamine and then return to Texas with cash to pay for it.  He is the last of 15 defendants to be sentenced in the case.

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Man Sentenced for Secretly Filming Women at Tanning Salon

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A man who secretly photographed and made videos of women as they undressed at a Kansas tanning salon has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.  The Great Bend-Tribune reports that Tracy Driscoll also was ordered Friday to serve three years of probation when he's released from jail. Driscoll pleaded no contest in September in Barton County to six counts of breach of privacy.  While on probation, he won't be able to use the internet or a phone with a camera. He also must pay fines and for counseling for one of the victims. Additionally, three victims are suing.  The sentence was the maximum possible for the charges. Driscoll has a previous felony conviction stemming from a 2007 hit-and-run crash in Russell that killed Kansas State University sophomore Rebecca Trible.

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