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Headlines for Tuesday, August 14, 2018


UPDATE: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Wins the GOP Primary for Governor 

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has won the Republican primary for governor.  In a news conference tonight (TUE), Governor Jeff Colyer conceded the race to Kobach and endorsed his former rival.  After a razor-thin victory, Kobach will now advance to the November general election, where he will face Democrat Laura Kelly and independent candidate Greg Orman.  Colyer accepted defeat after a review of some provisional ballots from most Kansas counties failed to find enough votes for him to overcome a small deficit.  More than 311,000 votes were cast and at one point, Colyer only trailed by 110 votes.  The disputed race was intense but after a lengthy, county-by-county review of provisional ballots, Colyer still lost.  Instead of asking for a recount, he conceded the race tonight (TUE) and threw his support behind Kobach.  (Read more about this story from our partners at the Kansas News Service.)

Kris Kobach Widens Lead in Kansas GOP Primary

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the counting of provisional ballots in the tight Republican primary for Kansas governor:

5:40 pm
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is still leading Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican race for governor after provisional votes were counted in the state's most populous county. Several counties were tallying provisional votes Tuesday, a week after the primary election. Johnson County released its count Tuesday evening, which pushed Kobach over Colyer by just 345 votes out of more than 315,000 cast. That's a slight increase from earlier in the day, when the state's second largest county, Sedgwick County, released its numbers and put Kobach ahead of the sitting governor by just 298 votes. Kobach has been narrowly ahead since the August 7 election. Provisional ballots are cast when a voter's eligibility is questioned. Those votes are now being counted by state's 105 counties in a process that's expected to stretch into Monday. But under state law, the candidates must decide by Friday whether to seek a recount.

11:40 am
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has slightly widened his lead over Governor Jeff Colyer in the state's Republican primary for governor.  The state's second largest county released its count of provisional ballots late this (TUE) morning.  With the updated Sedgwick County numbers, Kobach now leads the sitting governor by just 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast.  Kobach had a 206-vote lead on Monday, the first day of counting provision ballots.  The state's largest county, Johnson County, isn't expected to release updated numbers until late this (TUE) afternoon.  Fourteen smaller counties also began canvassing votes today (TUE), a week after the primary election.  On Monday, more than two-thirds of the state's counties reviewed provisional ballots, which are given at the polls to voters when their eligibility is in question.

Final Stage of Counting Kansas GOP Primary Votes Continues

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas county election officials are set to continue reviewing some 9,000 provisional ballots Tuesday as the two candidates in the state's tight GOP primary for governor dig in for a long battle.  On Monday, more than two-thirds of the state's counties reviewed provisional ballots, which are given at the polls to voters when their eligibility is in question.  How to handle such ballots emerged on the first day of canvassing as the most contentious issue in the razor-thin race for the Republican nomination for governor.  Secretary of State Kris Kobach led Governor Jeff Colyer by about 200 votes when the vote counting stopped for the day Monday, with 43 counties left to report results in the coming days. Fourteen counties are to begin canvassing Tuesday.


Disputed Primary Pits Low-Key Governor Against Flashy Rival

In a deeply conservative state where some fellow Republicans built national reputations, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer is known mostly as a low-key policy wonk.  The 58-year-old former surgeon once compared himself to the "Star Trek" character Mr. Spock. Now Colyer is locked in a remarkably close GOP gubernatorial primary with Kris Kobach in a battle of contrasting political styles.  Kobach is the outspoken and controversial secretary of state. He leads by just 110 votes out of more than 313,000 cast in last week's primary.  Colyer served in the Kansas House and Senate. He became Sam Brownback's running mate in 2010 and spent seven years serving as his loyal lieutenant governor.  When Brownback left office to become the Trump administration's ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Colyer rose to governor.


Fired White Officer Indicted in Fatal Shooting of Kansas Man

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A fired white Kansas police officer has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a black man.  Leavenworth County Prosecutor Todd Thompson announced Monday that Matthew Harrington, of Henderson, Nevada, has been indicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Antonio Garcia Jr.  The shooting happened in July 2017 when Harrington was investigating a domestic dispute involving a reported stolen vehicle.  Harrington was fired in January for what Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens called a violation of the department's use of deadly force policy.  Attorney Ken Barnes says the Garcia family is "relieved" and is considering a wrongful death lawsuit.  Harrington's bond was set at $50,000 when he appeared in court Monday. His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message.


Kansas Scientist Facing Deportation Gets Immigration Hearing

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who is fighting deportation to his native Bangladesh will be able to present his case to an immigration judge. Attorneys for Syed Jamal, of Lawrence, announced Tuesday that the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled last week that he should be allowed to present his case to a judge in Kansas City, Missouri. Jamal and his supporters have been fighting his deportation since Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him in January in front of his family's home in Lawrence. He was on a plane back to Bangladesh when attorneys secured a court order to remove him from the plane in Hawaii and bring him back to the U.S. His attorneys say the decision means Jamal is able to seek any relief available under the law. No date for the hearing was announced.  (Read more about this story.)


KDWP's Robin Jennison to Lead Kansas State Fair

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Robin Jennison, the head of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, will be the new general manager for the Kansas State Fair. The Hutchinson News reports the selection was announced Tuesday by the State Fair Board in Hutchinson. Jennison is a former state lawmaker and Speaker of the Kansas House.  He replaces Susan Sankey, who resigned in January to work for the Kansas 4-H Foundation.


Man Arrested in Woman's Death Last Year in Rural Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been arrested in a woman's death last year in rural northern Kansas.  The Riley County Police Department says 32-year-old Steven Meredith, of Junction City, was arrested Saturday night on a first-degree murder warrant in the October 2017 death of 48-year-old Carrie Jones, of Junction City. He is jailed on $1 million bond.  Authorities haven't said how Jones died. Her body was found in the southern part of Riley County. Meredith doesn't yet have an attorney.


Suspect in Wichita Nightclub Shooting Booked into Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 25-year-old man has been arrested in a deadly shooting at a Wichita nightclub.  The Wichita Eagle reports that jail records show that the suspect has been booked on suspicion of first-degree murder. He is accused in the early Sunday shooting of a 24-year-old man in the parking lot of Vixen's Erotic Sports Bar on the city's south side.  Lt. Todd Ojile told KAKE-TV there was an argument in the parking lot and a group of three or four men confronted the victim and another person. One person in the group pulled a gun and shot the victim, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Suspect Arrested in Suburban Kansas City Stabbing Death

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in the stabbing death of a 57-year-old man in suburban Kansas City.  The Kansas City Star reports that Shawnee police released no details about the suspect in announcing the arrest Monday. The investigation began Aug. 8 when David Paterno was found suffering from serious injuries. Emergency responders rushed him to a hospital, where he later died.  Police say further updates can be expected from Johnson County prosecutors.


Multistate Crime Suspect Pleads to Some Mississippi Charges

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — A man is pleading guilty in Mississippi to two in a series of killings and shootings of which he's accused.  Alex Deaton pleaded guilty Monday in Rankin County Circuit Court to murder, drive-by shooting and motor vehicle theft.  A judge is sentencing Deaton to life in prison.  Deaton admits that he killed his girlfriend, stole her SUV and shot a jogger in February 2017 in the suburbs of Jackson.  Police say Deaton then carjacked a New Mexico couple, fled to Kansas, shot a store clerk and stole the clerk's car.  Deaton pleaded guilty in July 2017 in Kansas to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. He was sentenced there in October to nearly 13 years in prison.  Deaton is also indicted for killing a woman near Philadelphia, Mississippi.


Man Who Confronted Guards at Federal Building Sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 32-year-old man who fought with and threatened security officers outside a federal office building in Kansas City has been sentenced to 15 years without parole. James Everett Jr., of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Tuesday for threatening a federal law enforcement officer, resisting a federal law enforcement officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors said in March 2016, Everett was yelling and threatening a judge when he approached the Richard Bolling Federal Building in downtown Kansas City. Four officers from the Federal Protective Service confronted Everett in front of the entrance. He threatened to blow the officers brains out, began fighting, bit one officer's finger and spit on another. Two Kansas City police officers helped to subdue Everett. A loaded handgun was later found in Everett's car.


Kansas Couple Says Hospital Billing Scheme Spread to Others

MISSION HILLS, Kan. (AP) — A couple from a Kansas City suburb alleges that a $90 million billing scheme found last year at a rural Missouri hospital has spread to as many as 10 other hospitals.  The Kansas City Star reports that James and Phyllis Shaffer, of Mission Hills, are suing Jorge Perez over alleged replays of the original scheme discovered at Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Missouri.  Missouri's auditor released a report in 2017 saying the hospital billed insurance companies for lab tests that didn't occur at the facility and received a cut of payments funneled to another lab company. The audit doesn't name Perez, but records show he's vice president of Florida-based Hospital Partners Inc., which the audit prominently mentioned.  The newspaper was unable to reach Perez for comment.


Sentence in Hit-and-Run That Injured Kansas State Student

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old man convicted of aggravated battery after hitting a Kansas State University student with his truck in Manhattan has been sentenced to about two years in prison. Nicolas Blaha, of Platte City, Missouri, was sentenced Monday to 20 months for aggravated battery and eight months for failure to stop at the scene. The sentences will run concurrently. The Manhattan Mercury reports Blaha hit 22-year-old hit Amber Wilhelm, of Horton, early April 14, 2017, and continued driving. He said he didn't remember hitting Wilhelm but later came forward and told police he recognized his truck in a video from the scene. Wilhelm, who suffered a brain injury and several broken bones, said she spent months in rehabilitation and therapy. She returned to classes in January. Blaha apologized to Wilhelm before sentencing.


Teen Baseball Star Partially Paralyzed After Diving Accident

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City high school baseball star has been paralyzed from the waist down after a diving accident.  The Kansas City Star reports that Nolan Sprague was hurt Thursday. Mill Valley High School baseball coach Jeff Strickland says the pitcher for the Shawnee, Kansas, school went through an hours-long surgery on Friday.  Strickland says the teenager was alert and talking when he visited him Sunday, but tired and in a lot of pain. Strickland says Nolan is a "fun-loving, really good kid" who was headed for college baseball. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.  Nolan's father, Kevin Sprague, operates the Strike Zone Baseball academy in Shawnee.


Student Media Official Removed After Misspending $21,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The former treasurer of an organization whose members advise student journalists was removed from his position after spending $21,000 of the group's money for personal use.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Corbin Crable sent a statement Monday to members of Kansas Collegiate Media acknowledging falsifying reports to cover up his misuse of funds. Crable is a former journalism adviser at Johnson County Community College, and served as treasurer for KCM from September 2014 until July 12.  The statement was sent at the request of KCM president Stacy Sparks. She says Crable has been "extremely cooperative and contrite" and that the money has been returned. She says the group decided against asking for formal charges to be filed.  Crable said in the statement that he is "truly horrified" by his actions.


No Charges in Deaths of 2 German Cyclists on Historic Route 66

GALENA, Kan. (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed against the driver who struck and killed two German cyclists in Kansas while they rode on the historic Route 66 during a cross-country trip.  The Joplin Globe reports that Cherokee County Attorney Jacob Conard wrote in a letter released Monday that there's no evidence the 23-year-old driver from Shawnee, Kansas, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or operating her minivan in a "reckless or dangerous manner" before she struck the two from behind in May.  Seventy-four-year-old Harry Jung and 71-year-old Heinz Gerd Buchel died at the scene, just north of the Oklahoma state line.  But Conrad noted that the burden of proof is lower in civil proceedings, and urged the Kansas Highway Patrol to retain reports in case the families sue.


Under New Law, Military Kids Get Sex Assault Protections

The Defense Department must improve how it responds to child-on-child sexual assault at U.S. military bases worldwide under a new law signed by President Donald Trump.  The Pentagon has been addressing sexual assault in the ranks for a decade. But an Associated Press investigation found that sexual assaults among the children of service members often fall into a black hole of justice.  Under a new law signed Monday, students in Pentagon-run schools now get the same legal protections as their counterparts in U.S. public schools. Both the Pentagon's schools and the military also must overhaul how they address assault allegations.  The Pentagon says it's studying the law but initial changes are coming to schools in September.  The reforms are part of defense legislation that also ups military pay and invests in advanced weaponry.


4-Year-Old Boy Fires Handgun in Kansas Home; No One Hurt

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a 4-year-old boy fired a semi-automatic handgun into living room chair at his home.  Salina police Capt. Mike Sweeney reports that two adults were home Thursday when the weapon was fired. The Salina Journal reports that no one was injured.  Police are investigating how the boy got the gun. Sweeney says the case is being referred to the county attorney for possible charges of child endangerment.


Historic Jeans-Maker to Leave Kansas City Headquarters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials with Lee Jeans say the company plans to move its headquarters from the Kansas City suburb of Merriam to North Carolina.  The company announced Monday that the move to Greensboro, North Carolina, is part of a reorganization and split by its parent company, VF Corp.  Lee Jeans will join Wrangler jeans in North Carolina as part of a spinoff from VF Corp.  The Kansas City Star reports Vanessa McCutchen, spokeswoman for VF Corp., says the company is still considering the fate of the 130 Merriam-based Lee employees. It wasn't clear whether they would relocate to Greensboro or otherwise remain with the company.  Lee Jeans were invented and first produced in Salina around the turn of the 20th Century.


Turn5 Car Parts Distribution Center Coming to Lenexa

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Turn5, an online car-parts retailer, plans to open a distribution center in Lenexa and hire 100 workers in the next three years.  The company announced Monday that its center will officially open October 29. It will distribute products under the American Muscle, Extreme Terrain and American Trucks brands.  The Kansas City Star reports the Kansas Department of Commerce said the state typically offers incentives to companies such as Turn5 but those details won't be released until contracts are final.  The city of Lenexa will not provide incentives because Block Real Estate Services received a tax abatement to build the facility where Turn5 will locate.


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