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Headlines for Tuesday, September 11, 2018

State Board Keeps Kobach in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An all-Republican state board has rejected a liberal activist's challenge to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach appearing on the November ballot as the GOP nominee for governor.  The State Objections Board concluded Monday that Davis Hammet of Topeka could not show that Kobach's narrow victory over Governor Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary in August would be overturned because of issues Hammet raised. Hammet argued hundreds of legal ballots were not counted.  Kobach defeated Governor Jeff Colyer by 343 votes out of more than 317,000 cast.  The board was Kobach's top deputy and representatives of the lieutenant governor and attorney general. Hammet called it a "ridiculous board" needing reform. He did not rule out filing a lawsuit.  Hammet leads the voting-rights group Loud Light and regularly criticizes Republicans.


GOP State Lawmakers Divided over Kobach's Candidacy 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Republican Kris Kobach's campaign to become the next Kansas governor is not drawing unified support from the state's GOP lawmakers. The Kansas City Star reports nearly 40 percent of Republican lawmakers it surveyed either would not say or didn't respond to repeated inquiries into whether they support Kobach's candidacy. Four moderate Republicans from Johnson County have already said they won't vote for Kobach in his race against Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman. The Star surveyed 95 Republican lawmakers who are either up for election in November or who will remain in office next year. Kobach said the lukewarm reaction is typical of candidates who are considering their district's wishes. The newspaper said 94 percent of Democrats in the Legislature said they plan to vote for Kelly in November.  

Kansas Man Charged with Election Fraud Can Remain on Ballot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas panel has ruled that a suburban Kansas City man who is charged with election fraud can remain on the November ballot. The Kansas City Star reports that the state objections board issued its ruling Monday in the case against Adam Thomas, of Olathe. The finding that the Republican candidate for the 26th District House seat can remain on the ballot has nothing to do with his pending court case. Thomas was arrested last Thursday and charged with election perjury. Democratic state Rep. Vic Miller, of Topeka, had called for an investigation into Thomas in June after presenting evidence that he didn't live in the district where he was running. Thomas's attorney, Michael Kuckelman, maintains that Thomas will be acquitted in the court case.


Moran to Speak About Global Security on 9/11 Anniversary

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is speaking at Kansas State University about global security on the 17th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.  Moran's appearance is part of the Landon Lecture series. The series is named for former Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who was the 1936 Republican nominee for president. The series was established in 1966 to bring in speakers to discuss issues facing business, politics and international relations.  Moran will talk about how the terrorist attack shaped his priorities. The lecture is free and open to the public.


Manhattan Flooding Damaged Hundreds of Dwellings

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Manhattan officials say flood waters that inundated the college town over the Labor Day holiday weekend damaged 106 buildings and 381 homes and apartment units. The Manhattan Mercury reports that local entities haven't yet determined the total cost of the damage, but they expect to have those numbers next week. Officials say development along Wildcat Creek contributed to the severity of the flooding. Nearly 9 inches of rain caused the creek to burst its banks, forcing more than 300 people to evacuate their homes. The city's community development assistant director, Chad Bunger, says Manhattan sits at the confluence of two rivers — the Kansas River and the Big Blue River. He says homes and businesses are situated near the drain of the bathtub for Wildcat Creek watershed.


Kansas Officials Back Trump Plan for Biodefense Lab

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are backing President Donald Trump's plan to switch federal agency control of a biodefense laboratory complex under construction in the state. The Wichita Eagle reports that the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility is currently controlled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Federal and state officials say the $1.25 billion project in Manhattan will aid efforts to prepare for agro-terrorism and research how to protect the country's food supply. Trump this year proposed handing over operational control of the facility to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of his budget plan. The idea brought some concern, but federal officials and Kansas lawmakers on Monday supported the bureaucratic changeover. Construction on the facility is about two-thirds complete. The facility is expected begin operating in 2022 or 2023.


Driver Strikes, Kills Toddler While Backing Out of Driveway

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a driver has struck and killed a toddler while backing out of the driveway of a suburban Kansas City home. The Kansas City Star reports that police say the 18-month-old was hit Monday afternoon in Olathe. The child was pronounced dead at a hospital. Police are investigating. The child's name wasn't immediately released. Police say the driver was a family member.


Wichita Approves $81 Million for New Triple-A Baseball Stadium

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita city officials have approved spending up to $81 million to build a new ballpark for a Triple-A baseball franchise. The council on Tuesday approved a plan that will also pay $2.2 million to the Wichita Wingnuts to break the independent baseball team's lease at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which will be torn down. Mayor Jeff Longwell announced last week that the Triple A team will move from New Orleans to Wichita. The team is an affiliate of the Miami Marlins. The Wichita Eagle reports the new stadium will cost $75 million and must be completed by March 15, 2020. The city's agreement includes building a $6 million pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River. The move is not final and City Manager Robert Layton said changes could still be made in the agreement.


Kansas Girl Dies After Running into Street, Mother Injured

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police say a 2-year-old girl died after she ran into a street and was hit by a truck. The girl's mother was seriously injured when she ran into the street to stop her and was also hit by the truck on Monday evening. The Kansas City Star reports police spokesman Jonathon Westbrook says the case was an accident. He says the driver was not speeding and was not under the influence. The driver immediately pulled over after the accident and is cooperating with investigators. Westbrook says it's unclear what prompted the girl, Melanie McDonald, to run into the street.


Topeka Police: Woman Who Was Shot Was Pregnant; Baby Dies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say a woman who was shot outside her southwest Topeka home Saturday was pregnant and the unborn child has died.  WIBW reports the woman, 28-year-old Keishona Wilkins, was in critical but stable condition Monday.  Investigators say Wilkins was shot several times when she walked out of her house around 10:30 pm Thursday.  Police spokeswoman Gretchen Koenen says police are investigating the baby's death as a homicide.  The shooting is still under investigation.


5 Men Indicted in Kansas on Illegal Immigration Charges

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted five men who federal prosecutors say unlawfully entered the U.S. after being deported. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister says all five men were found in various counties in Kansas and face federal prison sentences. The indictment says 27-year-old Jose Rafael Gutierrez-Yanez has been deported four times. He was found in March in Sumner County. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison. The other four men, two from Mexico and two whose nationalities were not given, face two years in prison if convicted. They had been deported between once and three times. They were found in Johnson, Pratt and Ellis counties.


Kansas City Man Pleads Guilty in Kidnap-Torture Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 76-year-old Kansas City man pleaded guilty to participating in a drug-related kidnapping and torture of another man.  Richard Phoenix, who was known as "Snake," pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Under a plea agreement, he will be sentenced to five years in prison.  Prosecutors say Phoenix was one of three men who kidnapped and tortured a man who had allegedly stole about $16,000 he was given to buy drugs in Colorado.  The Kansas City Star reports the victim was beaten and assaulted with a hammer and tin snips. Phoenix reportedly held him at gunpoint at one point.  Twenty-six-year-old Gerald Holmes and his father, 54-year-old Randal Holmes, have previously pleaded guilty.  The victim was eventually rescued at another house in central Missouri.


Man Sentenced to Nearly 25 Years for Kansas Contract Killing

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been ordered to spend nearly 25 years in prison for hiring someone to kill a Salina man.  The Salina Journal-World reports that 41-year-old James Pavey was sentenced last week for intentional second-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping. He pleaded no contest to the charges in June.  Prosecutors say Pavey entered an agreement with 31-year-old Charles Rodgers to kill 29-year-old Brandon Lee Shelby.  The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in an affidavit that Rodgers beat, choked and stabbed Shelby, expecting Pavey to pay him with money or drugs. Shelby's body was found in June 2017 on a path near a popular fishing area northeast of Salina.  Rogers is awaiting sentencing. Two others who are accused of helping are awaiting trial.


Police: Driver Strikes, Kills Pedestrian with Car in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a driver may have been drinking before he struck and killed a pedestrian with a car in Wichita.  Police Officer Charley Davidson says 42-year-old Jason Murphy was hit around 9 pm Sunday as he was walking in a street. The Wichita Eagle reports that. Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene.  Davidson says the 21-year-old man who struck Murphy may have been under the influence of alcohol. Authorities are investigating.


Man Who Groped Uber Driver Sentenced to Probation

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of repeatedly grabbing his Uber driver's genitals during a drive through Lawrence was sentenced to two years of probation but must register as a sex offender for 25 years.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports 23-year-old Landon Roberson, of Lawrence, was sentenced Friday after pleading no contest in July to attempted aggravated sexual battery.  He would serve a year in prison if he violates probation.  Prosecutors say the Uber driver, a 30-year-old man, told police the man grabbed the driver's crotch or tried to grab his genitals about a dozen times.  The driver told police each time he told the man to stop, the passenger became agitated and angry, which made the driver fear for his life.


Head of Homeland Security Tours Manhattan's Lab, NBAF

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security toured the National Agro-Defense Facility that is under construction in Manhattan.  Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited the facility Monday with a host of federal and state leaders, including Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, Kansas Congressmen Roger Marshall and Kevin Yoder, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer and Kansas State President Richard Myers.  The $1.25 billion research facility, or NBAF, will study diseases that can be spread from animals to humans. The facility is expected to open in 2022.


Kansas State Drum Major Proposes During Halftime

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University's football team may have lost the game Saturday, but fans at the stadium still erupted in cheers as one of the school's drum majors proposed to a graduate student during halftime.  Carly Tracz tells the Wichita Eagle that she couldn't say "yes" fast enough after boyfriend and Kansas State Marching Band drum major Blake Moris got down on one knee while fans watched on the big screens at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.  Moris says Tracz "loves halftime proposals." He knew he wanted to propose in front of the university's band of more than 400 people. The couple began dating just days after meeting during a 2016 football game, with band and football an integral part of their relationship.  Moris says the proposal "worked so perfectly."


Former NFL Running Back Charged with Rape in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been charged with rape in Wichita. KAKE-TV reports Randle was charged Tuesday with two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, seven counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of aggravated battery. He also was charged with a probation violation. His probation was revoked in two other cases. Randle was arrested Friday after police were called to an apartment complex, where a 28-year-old woman said Randle had sexually assaulted her. A judge set his bond at $500,000 and ordered Randle back in court September 27. Randle has been arrested numerous times in the last several years. He was sentenced to probation in June for a fight at a house party in February 2016.


Baby Orangutan Gets Lots of Snuggles from Wichita Zookeepers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A baby Sumatran orangutan has been getting lots of snuggles from zookeepers in Wichita.  The Sedgwick County Zoo says on its Facebook page that the primate was delivered Friday via C-section after her mother, Daisy, encountered complications.  The post says zookeepers provided "round-the-clock" feedings while Daisy recovered. The zoo posted video showing the newborn clinging to a zookeeper wearing a handmade shirt with fleece fringe that is designed to simulate Daisy's long fur.  The baby is the third for Daisy, who is 36, and the third for her father, Panji, who is 22. In the wild, Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered because of deforestation for palm oil plantations.


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