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Headlines for Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Kobach's Running Mate Funding Campaign for Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative hardliner Kris Kobach grabbed headlines from fundraisers with Donald Trump Jr. and gun-rights rocker Ted Nugent while relying on his running mate to finance their campaign to unseat Kansas' governor in the Republican primary. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and sometime adviser to President Donald Trump known nationally for advocating strict voter identification rules and tough policies against illegal immigration, enjoyed a significant fundraising advantage over Gov. Jeff Colyer through last week. But it was only because Kobach's choice for lieutenant governor, wealthy Wichita businessman Wink Hartman , has loaned the campaign more than $1.5 million, according to campaign finance records available online Tuesday. Hartman made the first of his 16 loans , worth $100,000, in early April, two weeks after joining Kobach's ticket. The loans from Hartman represent the bulk of the $1.7 million Kobach has raised since the start of the year and the more than $2 million he has raised overall for his campaign ahead of the August 7 primary.

"As a businessman, I know how important it is to invest in great leadership, and as a conservative, I know how critical investment is to the cause," Hartman said in a statement Tuesday.

Colyer is trying to win a full, four-year term since being elevated from lieutenant governor to governor in January, when former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback stepped down to take an ambassador's post. Colyer, a reconstructive plastic surgeon, himself made three loans worth $500,000 to Brownback's re-election campaign in 2013 and 2014, two of which were repaid quickly. But the governor has relied on donors in his current campaign, raising nearly $1.5 million, including more than $834,000 since the start of the year. Spokesman Kendall Marr called Kobach's reliance on Hartman for loans "stunning and troubling" and suggested it showed a lack of meaningful support.

"This race is really between two people," Marr said in a text to the AP. "Governor Jeff Colyer, who is the clear leader in support, and Wink Hartman's checkbook."

Kobach has raised about $508,000 in cash from donors overall, less than a third of it since the start of the year. Kobach's campaign also appears to be burning through its funds more quickly than Colyer's campaign. Kobach has spent nearly $2 million, the bulk of it since the start of the year, and had only about $59,000 in cash on Thursday, the end of the period covered by the latest reports. Colyer has spent about $1.3 million and ended the period with about $176,000. No Kansas governor has lost a primary since 1956. This year's GOP race has seven candidates.


Kelly Leads Democrats in Governor's Race Fundraising

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  A veteran Kansas lawmaker has raised significantly more in cash contributions this year than her two major rivals in the Democratic primary for governor. But Republicans still lead in raising money, thanks in large part to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's running mate. Campaign finance records show that in the Democratic race, state Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka raised almost $573,000 in cash contributions from January 1 through Thursday. Former Kansas Agriculture Commissioner Joshua Svaty raised $213,000, and former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer took in about $31,000 and loaned his campaign another $50,000. On the Republican side, Kobach has raised $1.7 million, which includes more than $1.5 million in loans from his running mate, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman. Kobach is challenging Governor Jeff Colyer, who has raised $834,000 since the beginning of the year.


Independent Puts $650K into Kansas Governor Bid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  A businessman running for Kansas governor as an independent has donated $650,000 of his own funds to his campaign. Greg Orman's contributions allowed his campaign to raise $1.3 million in cash. A Republican candidate, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, made similar moves by borrowing heavily from his businessman running mate. Orman has yet to submit the petitions with the required signatures from 5,000 registered voters, but it has already started running television ads. The Kansas City-area businessman made national headlines in 2014 by running as an independent for the U.S. Senate. On the Republican side, Kobach has raised $1.7 million, which includes more than $1.5 million in loans from his running mate, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman. Kobach is challenging Republican Governor Jeff Colyer, who has raised $834,000 since the beginning of the year. The primary is August 7.


Freshman Rep. Roger Marshall Endorses Watkins in Kansas 2nd District Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Freshman Kansas Representative Roger Marshall has stepped into the race in a neighboring congressional district by endorsing political newcomer Steve Watkins for the GOP nomination. The Watkins campaign announced the endorsement Tuesday. The former Army ranger and defense contractor from Topeka is in a seven-person contest in the August 7 primary in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas. Marshall represents the neighboring 1st District of western and central Kansas and won his seat after defeating former Representative Tim Huelskamp in the GOP primary in 2016. The 2nd District seat is open because five-term Republican Representative Lynn Jenkins is not seeking re-election this year. The winner of the GOP nomination will face Democrat and former Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis.


Audit Questions Kansas Company's Costs for Afghanistan Work

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal audit has found that a Kansas company received $1.31 million in "ineligible" reimbursements from the U.S. government while it was working on an electrical power project in Afghanistan. The Kansas City Star reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded Overland Park-based Black & Veatch a contract as part of a national initiative to improve the power system in southern Afghanistan as part of the government's counterinsurgency strategy. Auditors commissioned by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction recommended that Black & Veatch return the money. Black & Veatch says in a statement that it finished its work in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 and that USAID found the "vast majority" of the charges questioned by auditors to be appropriate.

***Clarification Issued by Associated Press, 08-03-2018***

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — In a story July 31, The Associated Press reported that a federal audit found that Overland Park-based Black & Veatch received $1.31 million in "ineligible" reimbursements from the U.S. government while it was working on an electrical power project in Afghanistan and that the U.S. Agency for International Development found the "vast majority" of the charges to be appropriate. The story should have explained that Black &Veatch ultimately was required to reimburse the government for only $2,700, which it did.


2 Kansas Mennonite Churches Offering Sanctuary to Immigrants

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Two Mennonite churches in Kansas say they could provide sanctuary to immigrants who are living unlawfully in the country. The Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton has voted as a congregation to help such immigrants, and church members are working on transforming part of the basement into living quarters. First Mennonite Church of Christian in Moundridge also says it is willing to offer sanctuary. KSN-TV reports that while neither church has hosted any immigrants, both are ready to help. Shalom pastor Rachel Ringenberg Miller says they have been told by attorneys that immigration agents could come, but churches along with other areas like hospitals and schools are considered sensitive spaces. She acknowledges she be facing possible legal issues for offering sanctuary. Both churches say they are getting support the Mennonite community.


Topeka Mayor Burglarized 3 Times in Past 6 Weeks

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla says she felt terrified because burglars had victimized her three times in the past six weeks. She told reporters at a monthly news conference that it's a feeling of vulnerability, of feeling unsafe in your own home and not being able to sleep at night. The Topeka Capital-Journal says De La Isla is a single mother who owns her home in southwest Topeka's Briarwood subdivision. She has been Topeka's mayor since January and previously served four years on the city council. The mayor says she was sleeping about 5 a.m. Monday when someone jiggled her house's locked door, entered her daughter's unlocked car outside the house and stole bicycles and make-up.


Topeka Firefighter Hurt Battling Blazes at Mobile Home Park

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Topeka say a firefighter was hurt while battling one of two fires that were intentionally set at vacant mobile homes in the south part of town.  The Topeka Fire Department didn't release the name of the firefighter injured in Monday's early morning fire. The firefighter was transported to a local medical care facility with injuries not considered life-threatening.  The Topeka-Capital Journal reports no arrests had been made in connection with the blazes, which were reported just before 4 am at the Coachlight Village Mobile Home Courts.  Fire Marshal Mike Martin says firefighters found both mobile homes fully involved in flames. He says the preliminary investigation concluded both blazes were intentionally set.  Damages were estimated at $15,000 to one home, and $18,000 to the other.


Bob Dole Endorses Jeff Colyer in GOP Primary for Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole has endorsed Governor Jeff Colyer in the state's Republican primary.  Colyer's campaign announced the endorsement from the 95-year-old Kansas political icon Monday. Colyer faces a strong challenge on his right in the August 7 election from Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  Dole said in a statement that he believes Colyer is the best candidate for winning in the November general election.  Colyer is seeking a full, four-year term after becoming governor in January when former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback resigned to take an ambassador's post. Kobach's solid base among conservatives has made him the most serious of Colyer's six primary challengers.  Dole was the Republican presidential nominee in 1996 and served more than 35 years in Congress.


Missouri Opens Criminal Probe into Fatal Boating Incident at Table Rock Lake

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri attorney general's office says it has opened a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the tourist boat that sank on a Missouri lake, killing 17 people.  Attorney General Josh Hawley's office confirmed Monday that it has an open investigation under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act into the July 19 duck boat incident at Table Rock Lake.  His spokeswoman, Mary Compton, said in an email that they are working with investigators to determine the facts and whether any criminal charges are appropriate.  The statement does not name any individuals or companies.


KU Sees Increase in Student Mental Health Needs

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has seen an increase in demand for student mental health services, according to a new report. The university's Student Affairs department has found that counseling and psychological services had a total of 120 visits in May, which is up more than 73 percent from May 2017, The Lawrence Journal-World reports .

"While people seeking mental health care may experience increased intensity and need prompt access to services, and individually may be experiencing a crisis, the overall level of demand does not present a crisis for the system," said Michael Maestas, the director of the university's Counseling and Psychological Services. A decrease in stigma related to mental health issues and an increase in early recognition have likely contributed to the increase in demand, he said.

"Additionally, advances in treating serious mental illness have generally improved quality of life, which has enabled individuals with these illnesses to pursue a college education," Maestas said. 

Anxiety and depression are the leading concerns at the university, Maestas said. CAPS also frequently deals with issues connected to problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, stress management and emotion regulation. An anonymous donation to the university's endowment has allowed CAPS to hire additional staff, including a psychiatrist and a coordinator for student support and case management in the Student Affairs office. The organization has also launched a peer educator team in response to the increased need, which aims to destigmatize mental health on campus and connect students to mental health resources.


Shamrock Trading Proposes Expansion Creating 1,000 Jobs

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Shamrock Trading Corp. has announced a proposed expansion at its Overland Park facility that it says will create more than 1,000 jobs. Governor Jeff Colyer's office says in a news release that these are high-quality jobs with an average salary of $56,000. The company recently announced the purchase of 30 acres in Overland Park. Though no plans have been finalized, it says the land could be used to build multiple office towers for a growing base of employees that has grown by 175 percent in the past three years. The company's chief operating officer, Tom Sullivan, says the location is ideal for the expansion. Shamrock Trading provides services for the transportation industry, including logistics, financing, and software technology. The proposal is subject to approval from the city of Overland Park.


Police: 10-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots Gun in Science Camp

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 10-year- boy brought a gun to a science camp in Kansas and accidentally discharged it. The Lawrence Journal-World reports no one was injured but the incident caused the evacuation Tuesday of the room at the New Century Fieldhouse in Johnson County where the camp was being held. Captain Rob Weber of the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department Police says about nine to 10 children were in the room. Police say the boy brought the gun from home in his backpack to "show it around" at the camp. The child later thought better of that plan and kept the gun in the backpack. He accidentally hit the gun's trigger when he reached into the backpack to get something out. The single round shot into the floor.


Wichita Lawyer Charged with Mistreating Elderly Person

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita lawyer who specializes in elder law is charged with mistreating an elderly person.  Sedgwick County authorities announced Monday that 70-year-old Larry Toomey has been charged with five felonies.  The Wichita Eagle reports court documents indicate the alleged losses total at least several hundred thousand dollars.  Toomey's attorney, Steven Mank, says Toomey looks forward to having his day in court.  A mistreatment of a dependent adult charge alleges he took advantage of resources valued between $250,000 and $1 million.  Three mistreatment of an elderly person counts each accuse him of taking property valued at more than $100,000.  The charges list just one victim.


Justice Department Nixes Agreements in Prison Recording Case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The top federal public defender in Kansas has asked a judge to reconvene a hearing on whether prosecutors improperly used secret recordings of conversations between inmates and their attorneys at a federal prison in Kansas.  Public Defender Melody Brannon says in a court filing Monday that the Department of Justice has reversed agreements reached in negotiations with the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas.  An evidentiary hearing in May had been recessed to allow the parties to work toward a resolution. Brannon says the deputy attorney general effectively ended the negotiations on Friday.  The investigation by the court-appointed special master stems from a prison contraband case during which criminal defense lawyers discovered that the privately run Leavenworth Detention Center was routinely recording meetings between attorneys and their clients.


Feds Cite Kansas Grain Elevator Operator in Deaths of 2 Men

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal regulators have cited the operator of a Wichita-area grain elevator where two workers were killed in January.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says in a news release Monday that Gavilon Grain LLC faces proposed penalties of $507,374 and the company has been placed in the agency's severe violator enforcement program.  Sedgwick County authorities say 32-year-old Marcus Tice and 28-year-old Joshua Rasbold died at company's elevator in Wichita. Their bodies were recovered buried under 20 to 25 feet of grain.  OSHA says the tragedy could have been prevented if the company had provided workers with proper safety equipment and followed required safety procedures to protect workers from grain bin hazards.  The company has contested the citations and will appear before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Olathe Restaurant Allegedly Used Customer's Credit Card

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The owner of an Olathe barbeque restaurant has denied using a customer's credit card for a spending spree.  Matthew Sander, owner of Smokin' Joe's Bar-B-Q, was ordered Monday to stand trial on 24 felony and misdemeanor financial charges.  An attorney for Sander entered not guilty pleas for him.  Sander is charged in four cases with several counts of identity theft, criminal use of a credit card, felony theft and misdemeanor theft.  The Kansas City Star reports most of the charges stem from an incident in January when a customer left a credit card at the restaurant. The customer canceled the card but when he got his next statement, more than $7,300 had been charged on it.  Olathe detectives obtained video that allegedly showed Sander using the card.


Major Kansas Crops Developing Faster than Usual

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new government report shows the major fall crops in Kansas are developing faster than usual.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that nearly half of the corn in Kansas had already reached the dough stage, well ahead of the 29 percent that would be the average for this time of year.  The agency rated corn condition as 8 percent very poor and 15 percent poor. About 30 percent was listed fair, with 39 percent as good and 8 percent as excellent.  About 48 percent of the soybeans in Kansas are already setting pods, well ahead of the 23 percent average for this time.  The agency also reported that 39 percent of the sorghum grown in the state had headed, ahead of the 23 percent average.


Judge: UPS Freight Violated Law in Pay for Disabled Drivers

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas says UPS Freight has violated federal law by paying drivers with disabilities less than other drivers when they are temporarily moved to non-driving jobs.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's regional office in St. Louis announced the ruling Monday on behalf of Thomas Diebold, a UPS Freight driver in Kansas City, Kansas, who was moved to a non-driving job after a minor stroke in 2013.  The EEOC says a UPS Freight policy formalized in a collective bargaining agreement allows drivers with disabilities who are reassigned to non-driving work to earn 10 percent less than drivers reassigned for non-medical reasons, such as losing their license for legal reasons.  UPS says it has "robust" policies for accommodating people with disabilities, and the company plans to appeal.


Kansas Dog Credited with Saving Backyard Chickens

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas dog is credited for batting a young hawk out of the air to save his owner's chickens.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Taylor and Kailey Petrehn were having dinner Sunday evening in their Lawrence home when their dog, Cooper, saw the hawk swooping in for some dinner of its own.  The raptor had apparently been eyeing the 13 chickens all day and was ready when the hawk finally made its move.  Cooper smacked the hawk down and cornered it without injuring it.  Taylor Petrehn says he grabbed the bird right away. It was scared and dazed. He says he released it into a neighbor's yard and the hawk flew away.  Cooper is a 110-pound Anatolian Shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix whose owner says "gets along with chickens really well."


Kansas Man Remains Hospitalized After Being Shocked with Stun Gun 

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A 36-year-old Kansas man remains hospitalized with a head injury he suffered three weeks ago when a Joplin police officer used a stun gun on him. Police say James Wary, of Pittsburg, Kansas, was recently moved to a transitional care unit and is listed in stable condition at Freeman Hospital West. The Joplin Globe reports Wary fell July 9 and hit his head on pavement at a Walmart store after an officer used the stun gun to stop him from fleeing. Wary had previously been banned from the store. Captain Trevor Duncan said when Wary ran, officer Isaac Costley used his stun gun. Duncan Wary became unresponsive after falling and striking his head. He became unresponsive. Duncan said an internal police review board cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.


Default Judgment Entered Against Wichita Car Dealership

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a $51,433 default judgment has been entered against the owner of a now defunct Wichita car dealership. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett's office said Tuesday in a news release that that the lawsuit brought against Lucky 7 Used Cars LLC alleged deceptive and unconscionable practices involving car sales to eight consumers. The complaint alleged Lucky 7 failed to disclose safety recalls, provide titles to customers or honor warranties. The business also was not properly licensed. The judgment against owner Alonso Anderson requires he pay statutory civil penalties, restitution and costs and fees. Three former salesmen entered in to a consent judgment in February and a default judgment was entered against the business in March.


TransCanada Ordered to Inspect Part of Keystone Pipeline

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — TransCanada Corp. is digging up a portion of the Keystone oil pipeline in South Dakota after an inspection identified potential issues with the pipeline's coating. South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Brian Walsh tells Aberdeen American News that there aren't any reported leaks. He says the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is ordering the energy company to further inspect the route north of Britton. TransCanada spokesman Matthew John says crews are conducting "standard monitoring and inspections" of the pipeline. The Keystone pipeline section being investigated is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of where a crack last year caused an estimated 210,000 gallons (174,900 imperial gallons) of oil to spill between the Ludden, North Dakota, and Ferney, South Dakota, pump stations. A federal investigation into the pipeline failure is ongoing.


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