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Headlines for Tuesday, August 7, 2018

President Trump Endorses GOP Rival over Sitting Republican Governor Jeff Colyer

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is endorsing controversial Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in that state's GOP gubernatorial primary.  In a Monday morning tweet ahead of the Tuesday contest, Trump says Kobach has his "full & total Endorsement!"  Kobach advised the Trump campaign and has continued to advise the White House on immigration and homeland security issues.  After the election, Kobach publicly backed Trump's unsupported claim that "millions" of people voted illegally and cost him the popular vote.  Two White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly, said last month that Trump was inclined to endorse Kobach. The officials said aides had encouraged him to hold off, warning his hawkish immigration views may make him the weaker candidate in this fall's general election.

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GOP President Trump Wades into GOP Primary with Endorsement Tweet  
 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - It's primary election day in Kansas!  Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer has spent months bolstering his credentials in the Republican primary for governor.  But it may not be enough after President Trump tweeted his backing for Colyer's rival - Kris Kobach.  Kobach is a conservative agitator for strict immigration and voter ID laws who could win the primary with less than a third of the vote in a seven-candidate field.  Democrats have their own contested primary for governor today (TUE), as they choose between Josh Swaty, Laura Kelly and Carl Brewer.  Many Democrats say they relish the possibility of facing the provocative and controversial Kobach in November because they feel they have a better chance of beating him than Colyer.

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Trump Shadow Looms over Elections in Ohio, Kansas

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) - President Donald Trump's preferred congressional candidate - and his signature tax cuts - are about to be tested in battleground Ohio in the season's final high-stakes special election.  The midsummer affair comes as Trump's shadow looms over primary contests in four other states. None is bigger than Kansas, where the Republican president roiled the governor's race by opposing the sitting Republican governor on the eve of the election.  Tuesday's elections, like dozens before them, pit the strength of the Republican president's fiery coalition against the Democratic Party's anti-Trump resistance. The results will help determine the political landscape - and Trump's standing within his own party - just three months before November's midterm elections.  Voters in Ohio and Kansas join those across Missouri, Michigan and Washington state at the ballot box.

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Kansas Primary Features Races for Congress, Statewide Posts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - While the marquee race in Kansas this year is for governor, voters are also picking candidates to contest two House seats that Democrats are hoping to flip in November.  Democrats will settle a six-candidate contest for the party's nomination in the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District held by four-term Republican Representative Kevin Yoder. The race drew the attention of 2016 presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  In the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas, seven Republicans are vying for the right to challenge Democrat Paul Davis with Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins not seeking re-election.  Republicans also had contested primaries for secretary of state and insurance commissioner.  All polling places across the state must open at 7 am and close at 7 pm local time.

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GOP Voters Reflect Split in Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Voters heading to the polls in Wichita are reflecting the split among Republicans in supporting Gov. Jeff Colyer or his challenger, Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Richard Stinnett is a 72-year-old retired truck driver. He says he voted for Kobach on Tuesday because he believes Colyer is "just a little over his head" as governor. Stinnett also says Kobach is similar to President Donald Trump, with common sense, accountability and the ability to get things done. Bruce Underwood is a 59-year-old engineer. He says his vote for Colyer was really a vote against Kobach. He says he's a registered Republican but will probably vote for a Democrat for governor because Republicans aren't standing up to Trump, who has backed Kobach. While the marquee race in Kansas this year is for governor , voters are also picking candidates to contest two House seats that Democrats are hoping to flip in November.

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Some Democratic Voters Drawn to Kansas Congressional Race 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Some Democratic Kansas voters were drawn to the polls not by the closely-watched governor's race, but by a contested race in the 3rd Congressional District. Six candidates are vying to take on incumbent GOP Representative Kevin Yoder, who narrowly won in 2016 in a district won by Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Caroline Johnson, a 20-year-old student from Mission, says she voted Tuesday largely to support labor lawyer Brent Welder of Bonner Springs in the race, because Welder was backed by Senator Bernie Sanders. She says Welder would bring "a fresh new face to government." But Sarah Plunkett, a 75-year-old retiree from Overland Park, says she voted for Tom Niermann, in part because he is a teacher and supports common-sense gun control. She says she's also motivated by dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump. And Maggie Horn, a 52-year-old school paraprofessional from Mission, says she turned out to vote for Sharice Davids, the state's first gay and first Native American nominee for Congress. She says Davids's diverse background and experiences would bring a new way of thinking about solutions to the country's problems, which is "what the Democrats need."

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Trump Endorsement Matters to Some GOP Voters

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some Republican voters in Kansas said President Donald Trump's endorsement of Secretary of State Kris Kobach mattered to them as they cast votes in the GOP primary for governor on Tuesday. Tanya Hein, a 53-year-old seventh grade math teacher from Wichita, said she always planned to vote for Kobach but Trump's endorsement was "icing on the cake." She said Colyer was part of former Governor Sam Brownback's administration and she wanted someone with experience who was not tied to Brownback. Richard Cronister, a 73-year-old retired construction company owner from Topeka, also said Trump's endorsement was important to him. He said he thinks Trump's tax cuts have helped the economy and likes Trump's stance against illegal immigration. He added that he likes Kobach's style: "It's refreshing to hear a politician tell the truth."

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Kobach: If Incumbent Governor Loses, He Should Unify GOP During Lame Duck Period 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says unifying the Republican party ahead of the November election would be the most important task for Governor Jeff Colyer if he loses to Kobach in Tuesday's primary. Kobach was Colyer's most serious challenger in a seven-person race Tuesday for the Republican nomination for governor. President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Kobach on Monday. If Colyer were to lose the primary, he would remain governor until January, when a new governor would be sworn in. Kobach told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he doubts the governor would face major policy decisions before January, making GOP unity the big task. Colyer was seeking a full, four-year term after becoming governor in January after former GOP Governor Sam Brownback stepped down to take an ambassador's post.

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Orman Submits Petitions for Spot in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman has submitted petitions with more than 10,000 signatures to get on the November ballot as an independent candidate for Kansas governor.  Orman's campaign delivered the petitions Monday to the Kansas secretary of state's office. He needs the signatures of 5,000 registered voters to appear on the November ballot.  Democratic attorney Will Lawrence said the petitions will be closely scrutinized and a legal challenge is possible. It's a sign that Democrats remain worried that Orman's candidacy would help the Republican nominee.  Orman submitted his petitions shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Secretary of State Kris Kobach in Tuesday's GOP primary against Governor Jeff Colyer.  But Orman said he's confident he'll prevail in November because voters are unhappy with both major political parties.
 
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Man Who Shot 2 Indian Men in Kansas Bar Sentenced to Life in Prison

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who opened fire a suburban Kansas City bar, killing an immigrant from India and wounding two other men, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to three consecutive life prison sentences for what federal prosecutors said was a hate crime. Adam Purinton, 53, of Olathe, did not speak in court Tuesday as he was sentenced for the Feb. 22, 2017, shooting at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, that killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a citizen of India who had stopped at the bar with a co-worker, Alok Madasani, both 32, for an after-work drink. The shooting raised concerns that immigrants were facing more harassment after the election of President Donald Trump and prompted officials in India to question whether their citizens were safe in the U.S. Witnesses said Purinton was asked to leave the bar after he verbally harassed Kuchibhotla and Madasani, at one point yelling, "Get out of my country." He later returned with a handgun and fired several times at the two men, killing Kuchibhotla and wounding Madasani. A third man who tried to intervene, Ian Grillot, also was wounded. Purinton was arrested later in Missouri after he allegedly told a bartender he was running from police because of the shooting. He pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges in May, in a deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty. His sentence on Tuesday will run consecutively to another life sentence Purinton previously received for first-degree murder in Johnson County District Court in Kansas. None of his victims appeared in court Tuesday, The Kansas City Star reported . Prosecutors read a statement Sunayana Dumala, Kuchibhotla's widow, had addressed to Purinton.

"Srinu and I came to the United States of America full of dreams and aspirations. . . . Now, my American Dream - and that of Srinu's - is broken," she wrote. "If you could have kept your anger inside and spoke to my husband softly, Srinu would have been more than happy to share his background and help you understand that not every brown skinned person is suspicious or evil, but kind, smart and contributing to America. Instead you chose to rage and bully in anger and when you were stopped, you decided to take their lives." 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that Purinton's crimes were "detestable." "The defendant acted with clear premeditation in murdering one man, and attempting to murder a second man, simply because of their race, religion, and national origin," according to the statement. "As a result, a promising young life has been tragically cut short, and other lives have been filled with suffering. Securing this sentence is important not only to the victims and their loved ones, but also to our justice system and our nation as a whole."

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Kansas City Mayor Demands Gun Reform Amid Violent August

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Mayor Sly James is calling for gun reform after six people died and 22 were wounded in the first several days of August. The Kansas City Star reports that James expressed frustration with the city's gun violence in a press conference Monday with Police Chief Rick Smith. The 74 homicides so far put Kansas City on pace for about 120 killings this year. The projection is under the 150 people killed in 2017, which was the city's most violent year since the early 1990s. James says he's pressed lawmakers for gun reform many times, but there's no progress because of political ideology. He says he's considering making another attempt at passing local gun legislation, even though it would be pre-empted by state law and possibly antagonize rural legislators.

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Woman Whose Car Went into Kansas River to Get Mental Check

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A woman charged with intentionally driving into the Kansas River, killing one of her children and injuring another, will undergo a mental evaluation. An attorney for 26-year-old Scharron Dingledine, of Columbia, Missouri, said during a brief court hearing Tuesday that she wants an evaluation of Dingledine's competency. Dingledine is charged with first-degree murder after her car went into the river near Lawrence on Friday. She and her 1-year-old son survived but the body of her 5-year-old daughter, Amiyah Bradley, was pulled from the river on Saturday. Dingledine is also charged with attempted first-degree murder for injuring her son, who remains in intensive care. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Dingledine's next hearing was scheduled for Aug. 28 to allow time for an evaluation. Dingledine is being held on $1 million bond.

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Kansas City Police: Officer Shot Armed Man Who'd Issued Threat
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kansas City police say an officer fatally shot an armed man who'd issued threats.  Officer Darin Snapp says officers were sent to a residence around 10:20 pm Monday on a report that a man with a handgun was threatening to harm himself. Snapp says the man threatened them while they were talking to him, causing one officer to fire.  The man was pronounced dead later at a hospital. No officers were injured.  The man's name and other details haven't been released.

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15-Year-Old Kansas City Girl Charged with Killing Parents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A 15-year-old Kansas City girl is charged with killing her parents in April.  The Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutor says Daejona Holmes is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of 37-year-old Kinderly Holmes, and 38-year-old Brian Starr in their Kansas City home.  She also faces two counts of armed criminal action and with tampering with physical evidence. She has been certified to be tried as an adult.  The Kansas City Star reports court documents show Daejona Holmes originally told a 911 dispatcher that a robber shot her parents. Later, she allegedly told investigators she shot her father after he shot her mother.  Court records also show a search of Daejona's phone turned up searches for "Scary movies where kids kill parents," and rap lyrics about wanting father dead.

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Kansas Firefighter, Relatives Killed in Oklahoma Plane Crash

PONCA CITY, Okla. (AP) - Officials say a Kansas firefighter, three of his family members and a family friend were killed in the weekend crash of a small aircraft in northern Oklahoma.  The Independence, Kansas, Rural Fire Department says Sycamore, Kansas, firefighter Nicholas Warner, two of his sons, his father Bill Warner and family friend Tim Valentine died when the plane they were traveling crashed late Saturday morning near Ponca City.  Officials say the plane was leaving the Ponca City airport when it suddenly lost altitude and crashed about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City.  Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have been at the crash site since Sunday.  They wrapped up the on-scene portion of their investigation yesterday (MON).

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Eisenhower Museum Renovation Gets $1 Million in Donations

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Two organizations have each donated $500,000 to renovation efforts for the Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Kansas. The Salina Journal reports that the DeBruce Foundation along with the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust have donated to a capital campaign to fund the renovation. Eisenhower Foundation Executive Director Meredith Sleichter says the donations will help create new museum exhibits. She says the funds will also help the foundation launch initiatives to promote the relevancy of the 34th U.S. president on a national scale. Efforts could include a series of national commemorative events, as well as education programs with museums and academic partners in other U.S. cities. Sleichter says the foundation has raised more than $11 million and is at 95 percent of their overall campaign goal for the renovations .

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Laser Pointed at Kansas Patrol Plane Amid Search for Inmate

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Highway Patrol says a laser was intentionally pointed at one of its aircraft as authorities searched for an escaped inmate.  Pointing a laser at an airplane is a violation of federal law.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that no one has been arrested for pointing the laser.  But Lt. Adam Winters says troopers have an address and are going to follow up on what happened Saturday night as authorities searched for the escaped inmate in Winfield.  Winters say that when a laser is pointed at a plane, it can cause temporary blindness to the pilots which can cause "a very dangerous situation."

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Wichita Man Pleads Guilty to Buying 2 Tiger Pelts

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man pleaded guilty to violating federal law by buying two tiger pelts. Federal prosecutors said 38-year-old Ret Thach pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate sale or purchase of animals covered by the Endangered Species Act. In his plea, Thach admitted he paid $8,000 for the two tiger pelts, and paid traveling expenses for a seller from Wisconsin to deliver the pelts to Wichita. Thach did not know that the seller was an undercover agent from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to court records, Thach wanted the pelts for his home office. He told the agent he already owned a lion and a lot of bears and wanted to add the tiger pelts. Sentencing is set for October 26.

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Man Burned While Destroying Fireworks in Central Kansas

INMAN, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a fireworks company employee was burned while disposing of fireworks.  The Hutchinson News reports that the 39-year-old Jason Ukele, of Salina, was flown to a Wichita hospital after the Monday morning accident at the site of Showalter Fireworks west of Inman.  Business owner Steve Showalter says Ukele suffered burns on his right leg and hand while they were lighting off 3 to 4 ounces of powder at a time. He says the burning is done routinely to destroy unserviceable fireworks.  He says one of the batches flashed up instead of just burning, injuring Ukele. Showalter says he has "no idea why it did what it did.''

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Garden City Plant Plans $16 Million Expansion, New Jobs

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials with a manufacturing plant in Garden City say the business is planning an expansion that could create several new jobs. KSN reports Palmer Manufacturing and Tank plans to invest $16 million in its Garden City plant. The company makes steel and fiberglass tanks and processing equipment for the oil and gas industry. The plant has been re-acquired by its original owner, Cecil O'Brate. Plans are to employ about 200 people within three years of opening. Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer stopped in Garden City to help announce the expansion. The Kansas Department of Commerce and Finney County Economic Development Corporation helped make the expansion possible.

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Kansas Man Dies While Competing in Boulder Ironman Triathlon

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — An athlete died a day after he was pulled from the water during the Boulder Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Colorado. It was the third death in four years of Ironman competitions in Boulder. A witness, physician Donald Cain from Wisconsin, told the Daily Camera in Boulder that a man was pulled from the water on Saturday, and Ironman officials say the athlete died Sunday. The Boulder County coroner identified the man as 50-year-old Scott Michaelis, of Wichita, Kansas. A 70.3 triathlon, or half Ironman, involves swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and running 13.1 miles. Thirty-four-year-old Michelle Walters, of McCook, Nebraska, died after being struck by a vehicle during the 2016 race, and 40-year-old Brian Godlove of Fairfax, Virginia, died three days after a 2015 race from dehydration and muscle tissue breakdown.

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