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Headlines for Thursday, October 4, 2018

GOP Congressional Candidate: 'I Want to Keep Our Culture'
INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — Republican Congressional candidate Steve Watkins says he supports President Donald Trump's call for a border wall with Mexico because he wants to "keep our culture." The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Watkins said Wednesday during a candidate forum with Democrat Paul Davis in Independence, Kansas, that people who back the wall aren't "mean-spirited" or "racist bigots." Watkins and Davis are vying for the seat left open in eastern Kansas' 2nd Congressional District by the retirement of GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Davis says Republicans and Democrats in Washington squandered opportunities in the past to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. Davis says there should be a "pathway to becoming an American citizen" for people who are "contributing to our economy, that are playing by the rules, that are paying taxes, that are learning English."


Kansas 3rd District GOP Congressman Faces Unique Foe in Unusual Political Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder has never been in this much political trouble in his eastern Kansas congressional seat.  Yoder is seeking his fifth term and is one of 25 GOP incumbents running for re-election in a district that President Donald Trump lost in 2016.  He trailed his novice Democrat in a recent poll, and the House Republican campaign committee canceled $1.2 million in ad spending.  Now Democrat Sharice Davids is even acting a bit like an incumbent by limiting her participation in debates and dropping out of one Wednesday.
She has gained national attention as a Native American and LGBT lawyer who has fought mixed martial arts bouts.  They're running in a Kansas City-area district that Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won in the 2016 presidential race.


Kansas Republican Senator Rescinds Positive Comment About Missouri Democratic Senator

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts is asking Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to remove his name and praise for her from a new campaign ad.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Roberts wants McCaskill to remove from the ad his quote from 2017 describing her as a senator he seeks out to get things done on a bipartisan basis.  McCaskill is in a tight re-election race with Republican Secretary of State Josh Hawley, whose campaign paints her as an obstructionist. McCaskill says she is known for working across party lines.  Roberts made his demand through Hawley's campaign. He said McCaskill turned more partisan after President Donald Trump was elected.  The McCaskill campaign did not immediately respond to an Associated Press question about whether it would alter the ad.


Missouri Mom Charged with Driving Kids into Kansas River in Lawrence Appears in Court

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The 26-year-old Missouri woman charged with intentionally driving her children into the Kansas River waived her right to a preliminary hearing and did not enter a plea at a brief court hearing.  Scharron Dingledine, of Columbia, Missouri, on Tuesday waived her right to a preliminary hearing. Her attorney, Carol Cline, said she and her client need more time to prepare before Dingledine's arraignment, which is scheduled for December 3. No trial date is scheduled.  Dingledine is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Police allege she drove her car into the Kansas River near Lawrence on Aug. 3 in an attempt to kill her children and herself. Her 5-year-old daughter died and a 1-year-old son was critically injured. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the boy remains hospitalized in fair condition.


Doctor Who Reported Understaffing at Overland Park Hospital Wins $29 Million Verdict

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A jury in Missouri has awarded $29 million to a doctor who said he was fired after complaining about understaffing at a hospital.  The Kansas City Star reports a Jackson County jury this week found in favor of emergency room physician Raymond Brovont.  Brovont worked for EmCare, a physician outsourcing company, that sent him to Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Missouri.  He complained to EmCare officials in September 2016 about what he said was dangerous understaffing at a new pediatric emergency room at the Overland Park hospital. He said in his lawsuit that EmCare officials were angry with him for complaining and told him to resign or be fired.  Brovont did not sue the hospitals.  EmCare spokeswoman Kim Warth said the company will appeal the verdict.


Amtrak Will Run Same Southwest Chief Route as Always... at Least for a Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Amtrak officials say its Southwest Chief route, which stops in Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City and Garden City, will continue to operate as normal for at least the next year.  Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas made the announcement Wednesday in news release after a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  The Southwest Chief line runs for 2,300 miles between Chicago and Los Angeles. Amtrak officials said in June they were considering using buses along the route in parts of Kansas, New Mexico and Arizona.  Moran said during Wednesday's hearing that Amtrak officials committed to continuing operation as it currently is along the entire route at least through the current federal fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2019.


Black Man Questioned While Moving TV into His Own Home

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — Body camera video shows an officer handcuffing a black man who was attempting to move a large-screen television into his new Kansas home in the dark.  The Kansas City Star reports that 61-year-old Karle Robinson said, while watching the video, "If I'd been a white man, you know that wouldn't happen." He was in handcuffs for eight minutes.  A Tonganoxie police officer encountered Robinson around 2:30 am on August 19. Robinson understood why the officer would be suspicious. But he said he had identification and offered to go inside with the officer where there was paperwork proving his new ownership.  Tonganoxie Police Chief Greg Lawson says the officer kept the right balance of courtesy and respect. The video ends with an officer helping Robinson carrying the TV inside the home.


Kansas Man Admits Importing Endangered Leopard Cats

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe man has admitted importing endangered leopard cats.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said 34-year-old Lawrence Payne pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the Endangered Species Act.  The leopard cat is a small wild cat native to Asia that has been designated as an endangered species.  Prosecutors say the investigation began when Payne applied for a breeding license for Asian leopard cats through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Investigators who searched his home said they found three Asian leopard cats.  A sentencing date hasn't been set.  Payne faces up to a year in jail and a fine up to $50,000.


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