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Headlines for Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Gubernatorial Debate:  Kelly Pledges Bipartisan Team as Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the Kansas governor's race (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

Democratic candidate Laura Kelly is promising to appoint a bipartisan cabinet if she's elected Kansas governor. Kelly made the pledge during a debate Tuesday in
Wichita at a Kansas Association of Broadcasters convention. She is a veteran state senator wooing moderate Republican voters in a dead-heat race against GOP nominee and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kelly has portrayed herself as a lawmaker who can work across party lines. Kobach said he can work with Democrats on many issues even though he is a principled conservative. But he acknowledged that he will not bend on his opposition to abortion and support for gun rights. Independent candidate and Kansas City-area businessman Greg Orman said his lack of ties to a party would be an advantage in working with legislators.

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1:10 p.m.

Independent candidate Greg Orman is stepping up his attacks on Democratic nominee Laura Kelly in the Kansas governor's race. Orman compared Kelly, a veteran state senator, to unpopular former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback during a debate Tuesday in Wichita at a Kansas Association of Broadcasters convention. Orman is trailing well behind Kelly and Republican nominee Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state. Kelly and Kobach are in a dead heat, and many Democrats view Orman as a possible spoiler helping Kobach. Orman, a Kansas City-area businessman, touted his private-sector experience. He said Kelly is like Brownback in that he also was a longtime legislator before becoming governor. Brownback was a U.S. senator before being elected governor in 2010. He resigned in January to take an ambassador's post.

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12:39 p.m.

The dead-heat Kansas governor's race has become a referendum on how a Republican experiment in slashing income taxes went awry. Democrat Laura Kelly and Republican Kris Kobach are arguing over what lessons came from the budget misery that followed tax cuts in 2012 and 2013 and whether the state needs a do-over. Kelly is a veteran state senator who supported a successful effort last year to repeal most of the tax cuts championed by former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. She argues that Kobach wants to bring back Brownback's fiscal experiment and even top it. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, wants to return to cutting taxes but bristles at being described as another Brownback. He says he would avoid Brownback's mistakes by being more aggressive about controlling spending.

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Democrats in 2 Hot Kansas House Races Outraise Republicans

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democrats running for two Kansas congressional seats that their party hopes to flip raised far more campaign cash than their Republican opponents did from mid-July through September, according to campaign finance reports available online Tuesday. The most eye-popping number was posted by Democrat Sharice Davids in the Kansas City-area 3rd District. Her campaign reported that it raised nearly $2.8 million during the period, making her more competitive in fundraising than any other Democrat faced previously by Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder during four terms in the House. Davids has received national attention for her unusual political profile as an LGBT and Native American attorney who has fought mixed martial arts bouts. While the district is Republican-leaning, President Donald Trump narrowly lost it in 2016, and he endorsed Yoder in July. Yoder raised a little more than $1 million during the period for what has become the toughest race of his career. But he began the period with far more money than Davids — nearly $1.8 million to less than $128,000. He has raised more than $3.8 million for his re-election so far and spent $1.5 million on his campaign during the last period, ending September with nearly $1.3 million. That gave Yoder an advantage in cash on hand, because Davids had a little more than $1 million left after spending nearly $1.9 million during the period. Her total fundraising has exceeded $3.1 million. Both Davids and Paul Davis, the Democratic nominee in the neighboring 2nd District of eastern Kansas, received more than $300,000 on Sept. 28 from the House Victory Project, a Washington-based Democratic group. Davis, a former Kansas House leader, and Republican Steve Watkins, an Army veteran and political newcomer, are seeking the seat held by retiring GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Davis reported raising about $1.36 million from mid-July through September, including the House Victory Project contribution, bringing his total cash contributions to nearly $3 million. He spent $1.04 million and ended September with $1.26 million. Watkins ended the period with about $151,000 after raising $282,000. He spent about $256,000 from mid-July through September, and he's raised a total of $923,000 for his campaign, though more than half of that, or $475,100 came from a personal loan to his campaign. But Watkins's father, a Topeka physician, also is involved heavily in the race as the almost-exclusive source of funding for a political action committee, Kansans Can Do Anything, boosting his son's candidacy. The elder Watkins has contributed more than $765,000 to the PAC, including more than $178,000 from mid-July through September. Also, Trump had a rally in Topeka to help boost Watkins' campaign earlier this month, and Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to have a fundraiser for him Friday.

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Kansas Says All Voting Machines in State Certified

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The director of elections in Kansas says every piece of voting equipment used in the state has been certified at the state and federal level. His comments Friday come a day after The Hutchinson News reported Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office failed to produce records showing it had certified voting equipment used by hundreds of thousands of Kansans. The newspaper reported it received just two letters of certification in response to an open records request. State Director of Elections Bryan Caskey says that is "just a paperwork situation." Caskey says he is now in the middle of auditing voting equipment in Kansas, something his office does every two years. He says Kansas doesn't allow any voting machine that hasn't been certified to be used in the state.

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Lawsuit Contests Gender Policy on Kansas Birth Certificates

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal lawsuit is challenging a Kansas policy that prohibits changing the gender designation on birth certificates for transgender people. Lambda Legal says Kansas is one of three states, along with Tennessee and Ohio, with similar policies. The lawsuit was filed yesterday (MON) on behalf of four people and the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project. It seeks an order forcing state officials to provide birth certificates that reflect a transgender person's sex consistent with their gender identity. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in an email that the issue was previously litigated in a state court. Its spokeswoman said the department does not have the authority to change a birth certificate except to make minor corrections or by a court order. Gender identity is not considered a minor correction.

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Federal Prosecutor Listened to Attorney-Client Calls

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Documents show that a retired federal prosecutor listened to multiple recorded calls between a Kansas inmate and her attorney. KCUR -FM reports that Tanya Treadway was confronted last week during a hearing with her own handwritten notes containing details of phone conversations involving a Leavenworth inmate and the inmate's attorney, Melanie Morgan. Treadway offered various explanations, including that the calls weren't privileged. The testimony contradicted her statement before the judge overseeing the inmate's drug case that Treadway hadn't listened to recorded attorney-client calls, other than to identify who was participating. Defense attorney Morgan says that listening to the calls gave Treadway an "unfair tactical advantage." Federal public defenders have filed a motion seeking to disclose the evidence "to the appropriate disciplinary authorities."

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Prosecution: 2 Workers Obstructed Inquiry into Schlitterbahn Water Slide Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say two maintenance workers at a Kansas water park where a 10-year-old boy was decapitated on a waterslide deliberately misled investigators as their criminal trial began. The Kansas City Star reports that attorneys for David Hughes and John Zalsman countered Tuesday that the Kansas Attorney General's Office misunderstood how the 17-story Verruckt waterslide functioned. The men are charged with obstructing the investigation into the August 2016 death of Caleb Schwab at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City. Hughes and Zalsman are accused of failing to replace a brake mat that fell off a raft two weeks before it went airborne, killing Caleb. The prosecution says the men then lied and said the mat had only been used for testing. The park's co-owner and the ride's designer have also been indicted.

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K-State to Hold Memorial for Basketball Pioneer Tex Winter

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University will hold a memorial service for basketball pioneer Tex Winter, a former K-State coach who later assisted Phil Jackson on NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Winter died in Manhattan last week at 96. He was best known as the architect of basketball's triangle offense. In addition to his career in the NBA, he was one of the most successful coaches in K-State history. The Wichita Eagle reports the university's memorial service will begin 1 p.m. Saturday in Bramlage Coliseum. K-State is calling the service a "celebration of life." The Wildcats honored Winter with a moment of silence and a video tribute at their Madness in Manhattan basketball celebration on Friday.

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Kansas Records First Two Influenza Deaths of the Season

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _  State health officials say Kansas has recorded its first flu deaths of the season. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced yesterday (MON) that two deaths in the state have been directly attributed to influenza. Pneumonia has been the direct cause of death in another 38 deaths, and the flu or pneumonia has been contributing factors in an additional 132 deaths. In last week's KDHE flu report for Kansas, there were 101 outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses. The newborn to 4 years old age group had 29 reported cases for the first week of the flu season.  Flu shots are generally recommended for anyone age 6 months and older. Flu symptoms include a fever, body aches, chills, tiredness, cough and headache.

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U.S. Gymnastics Championships Returns to Kansas City for First Time Since 1987

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _  The U.S. Gymnastics Championships will returns to Kansas City in 2019 for the first time since 1987. The four-day championships are expected to draw more than 3,000 people to the Sprint Center from August 8-11, 2019. Laurie Hernandez, who won gold in 2016, told KMBC-TV that she hopes to be among the medalists again this year. "There's something beautiful about a full arena, the energy of crowd, ready to compete, hearing them cheer” Hernandez said.  

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Affidavit: Deputy Admitted Sex Acts with Kansas Inmate

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A court document contends a former Douglas County sheriff's deputy admitted he had sex with a female inmate in his office at the jail and in his personal car on the streets of Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reported Tuesday it obtained the affidavit detectives prepared in support of the arrest of 47-year-old Mario J. Godinez of Lawrence. Gondinez was charged in August with engaging in consensual sexual activity with the inmate. The deputy told detectives the woman aggressively seduced him before he touched her and that afterward he felt ashamed of himself. The deputy was in charge of an inmate work release program at the jail. The inmate ended up let out of the jail through that program even though no judge ever approved her request for work release privileges.

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Topeka Police Arrest 55-Year-Old Man After Pursuit Through the City

TOPEKA, Kan.  (AP) — A 55-year-old man is in jail after leading Topeka Police on a chase through town last (MON) night. Police say a white Pontiac was seen driving in the southwest part of the city at a high rate of speed. The driver, Raymond Arthur Johnson of Topeka, almost hit two vehicles and failed to stop when police attempted to pull him over. The pursuit ended when Johnson hit a parked vehicle and ran into a home. Johnson was taken to a local hospital for injuries sustained in the accident. A Topeka police spokesman says officers found illegal narcotics believed to be methamphetamine in the vehicle.

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Wichita Woman Sought Protection Weeks Before Killing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman fled with her six children and summoned police three weeks before her estranged husband ran her off the road, shot and killed her, according to police and court records. Kristin Florio-Gile, 33, took at least three steps to protect herself and her children from her husband, Randy Gile, which were documented in police and court records. Gile killed Florio-Gile on October 6 before shooting himself to death. He had tracked her in a rental car on a rural Derby road, forced her vehicle into a spin and chased her down. Records show that Florio-Gile had filed for a protective order two years previously. Wichita police arrested Gile for felony aggravated assault after he threatened Florio-Gile with a gun on September 15. Officers seized guns and ammunition from Gile and a detective interviewed Florio-Gile and one of their children as part of the investigation. Gile bonded out of jail within a day. Florio-Gile obtained a protective order to two days later. District Attorney Marc Bennett said police weren't able to locate Gile to re-arrest him after he violated the protection order.

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Witness Grilled over Texts to KU Men's Basketball Head Coach

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for a former Adidas executive on trial in New York City have zeroed in on texts sent by a college basketball recruiting fixer and the head coach at Kansas. The jury on Monday was shown texts sent by government witness Thomas "T.J." Gassnola last year to Coach Bill Self. In one of them, Gassnola indicated he was in touch with the guardian of Kansas recruit Silvio De Sousa. Lawyers for ex-Adidas executive Jim Gatto have sought to use the texts to show that various basketball programs were aware of efforts to funnel secret payments to the families of De Sousa and other top-flight recruits. Gassnola has admitted he helped broker the payments in violation of NCAA rules. But he said he kept coaches in the dark.

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Kansas Has Adequate Soil Moisture as Farmers Plant Wheat

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The latest government crop report shows mostly adequate soil moisture levels across Kansas as farmers plant winter wheat and harvest fall crops. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that winter wheat planting was 62 percent complete, about average for this time of year. The agency says 44 percent of the planted wheat has already emerged in the state. Meanwhile, growers are making some progress in bringing in their fall-harvested crops. Corn harvest is 63 percent finished. Soybean harvest is 16 percent done in Kansas. The state's farmers have also cut about 19 percent of their sorghum and 16 percent of the sunflower fields.

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Ruling: Kansas Gun Law No Defense to Federal Firearms Charges

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An appeals court has upheld the firearms convictions against two Kansas men who mistakenly believed that a Kansas law can shield from federal prosecution anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected on Tuesday challenges by Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler to their federal convictions under the National Firearms Act. The court did not address the constitutionality of the Kansas' Second Amendment Protection Act. The state law says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept within Kansas borders are exempt from federal gun control. Cox was convicted of making and marketing unregistered firearms, Kettler was convicted over an unregistered gun silencer. Kettler argued his prosecution resulted from the dispute between Kansas and the federal government over the Kansas law. 
 
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Topeka Zoo Welcomes 4 Sumatran Tiger Cubs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds of people watched as streaming webcams captured a Sumatran tiger giving birth to four cubs in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that their 8-year-old mother, named Jingga, immediately began nursing and caring for the cubs after their births early Monday. This is Jingga's second set of cubs and 400 to 600 people watched their arrival thanks to the KTWU public television webcams . The genders of the cubs weren't immediately available. Jingga has been at the zoo since 2012. Their first-time father is 7-year-old Sanjiv. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, with less than 500 left in the wild. Thirty zoos in North America manage a population of 78 tigers with a goal of increasing the population to 150. The zoo posted a picture on Facebook of the cubs snuggled together.

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Patriots Fan Who Threw Beer at Chiefs Player Banned from Stadium

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots say they have banned from Gillette Stadium a fan who threw beer in the face of Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill late in the Patriots' 43-40 win. After scoring on a 75-yard pass with just over three minutes to play in Sunday's game Hill's momentum carried him through the back of the end zone and into the padded wall. Fans made obscene gestures and at least one man threw beer at Hill. The Patriots said in a statement that the person broke the team's fan code of conduct and "will be sent a letter of disinvite to all future events at Gillette Stadium." The man's name was not released. Patriots management says the matter has been turned over to local law enforcement. Foxborough Massachusetts police say they are investigating.

 

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