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Headlines for Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trump Endorses GOP Representative Yoder's Re-Election in Kansas 3rd

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump is endorsing Republican Representative Kevin Yoder in a Kansas district that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried in 2016. Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Yoder has his "full and total endorsement!" The president praised Yoder after House Republicans released a spending bill providing $5 billion next year for building Trump's proposed wall with Mexico. Yoder is chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee on homeland security. Yoder is seeking his fifth term in is Kansas City-area district. Democrats are targeting him because Clinton received 47 percent of the vote there to Trump's 46 percent. The Kansas Democratic Party quickly noted the endorsement in a fundraising email, calling Trump's agenda "divisive" and "corrupt." But Trump said in his tweet that Yoder has been strong on crime, border security and gun rights.

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Civil Rights Flyer Sparks Dustup in Kansas Governor's Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is defending a flyer it mailed comparing the civil rights records of the leading Republican candidates for Kansas governor, calling it voter education. Secretary of State Kris Kobach pointed to the flyer in seeking to portray Gov. Jeff Colyer as the ACLU's "man" during a Tuesday fundraiser. Colyer's campaign distanced itself from the civil rights group, calling it a dirty trick to help Kobach and ensure that Democrats and the ACLU have an easy opponent to defeat in the general election just as they've defeated Kobach in the courtroom. The ACLU has won several lawsuits against Kobach over voting rights. Kobach is mounting a threat from the right to unseat Colyer in a Republican primary in which the candidates seek to burnish their conservative credentials.

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Kansas GOP State Senator Loses Post on Panel After Backing Democrats

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Republican has stripped a fellow GOP senator of a committee leadership post for publicly expressing support for two Democratic candidates. Senator Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills on Wednesday lost her position as vice chairman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee after endorsing Democrat Tom Niermann in the 3rd Congressional District race in the Kansas City area. Niermann is one of six Democrats hoping to challenge Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder. Bollier previously said she would support Democratic state Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka for governor if Kelly wins the Aug. 7 primary. Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita accused Bollier of betraying fellow Republicans and called the endorsements "embarrassing." Bollier told The Topeka Capital-Journal that she is considering leaving the GOP to become an independent.

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President Donald Trump to Visit Kansas City 

President Donald Trump will be in Kansas City on Tuesday to address the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, followed by a fundraiser for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. The VFW also hosted Trump at its convention in Charlotte, North Carolina when he was a presidential candidate in 2016. The Kansas City Star reports that Tuesday's closed conference is expected to draw about 10,000 VFW and VFW Auxiliary delegates to the Kansas City Convention Center. 

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Ex-Director of Emporia State Child Center Gets Diversion

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The former director of the Emporia State University's early childhood center has been granted diversion for failing to report suspected child abuse or neglect at the center.  The Emporia Gazette reports Keely Persinger's record will be cleared if she successfully completes the plea agreement.  A pretrial conference for Kimberly Schneider, a former teacher at the center, was continued to Aug. 20. She is charged with five counts of child endangerment.  Teacher's aides and parents have said they reported their concerns to the state that a teacher was not treating the children correctly. Persinger was charged with not investigating the complaints or filing necessary documentation.  Four families have sued Emporia State and the center, claiming Schneider physically and emotionally abused four children.

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Kansas Doctor Loses License for Relationship with Patient

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say an Emporia doctor is losing his Kansas medical license for a sexual relationship with a patient who tried to commit suicide using pills he prescribed her.  The Kansas City Star reports that the Kansas Board of Healing Arts said in revoking Chester Stone's license last week that he "was in a position of significant power" over the unnamed patient while he was treating her for anxiety. The board said he "abused that power" and "showed a "thorough lack of genuine remorse."  Stone had a private practice and remains able to work at Veterans Affairs medical facilities because he still has a license in Missouri, although it's unclear if he's doing so. Stone says he thinks his attorneys have told Missouri officials about the loss of his Kansas license.

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Kansas Senator Moran: Russian Summit Was '"Missed Opportunity"

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "missed opportunity" to press for "better behavior" from Russia.  Moran said during a Fox News interview Tuesday that the summit in Helsinki gave Trump a chance to publicly show solidarity with Europe and NATO and to tell Putin that Russian meddling in U.S. and European elections will not be tolerated.  But the Kansas Republican also said he thinks Trump has been strong in dealing with Russia and has not backed off sanctions on that nation. Moran also said he believes Trump sees Russia as an adversary and may have delivered tough messages in private.  Moran visited Russia with other senators earlier this month and faced criticism for being there on the Fourth of July.

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Kobach Says He Wants to Do for Kansas What Trump Has Done for U.S.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has told Donald Trump Jr. at a fundraising event that he wants to do for Kansas what the president has done for the country's blue-collar workers.  The president's son arrived nearly two hours late for a Wichita fundraiser for Kobach's campaign for governor after weather delayed his flight. The two sat down for a friendly public chat before more than 250 supporters.  Kobach used the occasion to claim the American Civil Liberties Union had sent mailers supporting Governor Jeff Colyer in the race — something both the ACLU and Colyer's campaign vehemently denied.  The ACLU does not endorse candidates and says its mission is to educate voters on candidate positions on civil liberties issues.  Colyer's campaign has called Kobach's claim "dirty tricks."

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Missouri Senator Calls for End to Trade War, Cites Harm to Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for an end to the trade war and relief for Missouri businesses that have been impacted.  McCaskill on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross outlining how tariffs and retaliatory tariffs hurt manufacturers and farmers in the state.  McCaskill cited higher costs to make aluminum fishing boats at Springfield and Lake of the Ozarks manufacturers. She said Anheuser Busch faces increased costs at an aluminum can manufacturing plant, and cited a Fenton chain manufacturing company that she said has laid off more than 20 workers.  She also noted the falling price of soybeans, which are grown in the state.  McCaskill also said the process for applying for exemptions to tariffs is too slow.

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Additional Charges Filed in Deadly Kansas Swatting Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of the online gamers accused in a video game dispute that led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man is facing new charges. KWCH-TV reports that Shane Gaskill was charged Tuesday with more counts of wire fraud and making a false statement. Gaskill previously pleaded not guilty to federal counts including obstruction of justice. He's among three men charged in the "swatting" case that led to Andrew Finch's death. Officers thought they were responding to a hostage situation when Finch was killed in December. Authorities say another gamer recruited Tyler Barriss to call police and make the false hostage report, which sent first responders to the home where the gamer believed Gaskill lived. The indictment says Gaskill taunted Barriss after police responded to Finch's home saying, "wanna try again?"

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Wichita Attorney Indicted in Alleged Cyberattacks

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita lawyer and a computer software engineer have been charged in a federal indictment alleging they plotted cyberattacks on websites with information criticizing the attorney's work. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister tells The Wichita Eagle that Wichita lawyer Bradley Pistotnik and VIRAL Artificial Intelligence Co-Founder David Dorsett were charged Tuesday with computer fraud and conspiracy. The 62-year-old attorney is also charged with making false statements to the FBI. The indictment alleges that Pistotnik and Dorsett are responsible for cyberattacks on Leagle.com, Ripoffreport.com and JaburgWilk.com in 2014 and 2015. The indictment also accuses Dorsett of filling website inboxes with threats. Court records say one email demands that a webpage be removed or the hackers will target advertisers. Pistotnik's attorney, Steve Robison, denies the allegations. Dorsett couldn't be reached for comment.

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Topeka Crews Fight 8 Intentionally Set Fires in 1 Night

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka authorities have arrested one juvenile and are looking for two others after firefighters fought eight intentionally set fires overnight. None of the fires caused serious damage, with many set in garbage, leaves, garages and one unoccupied home. Seven of the fires were reported between about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday and 12:24 a.m. Wednesday. Another fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. No injuries were reported. Police announced late Wednesday afternoon that one juvenile was in custody. Damage from the first seven fires ranged from minimal up to $500. The last fire at 3:30 a.m. at a detached garage caused an estimated $10,000 damage. Battalion Chief Mark Brannock says four of the fires were reported in one block, and neighbors reported seeking three young people running away from the scene.

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Hy-Vee Recalls Spring Pasta Salad Tied to Salmonella Cases

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Midwest grocery store chain Hy-Vee Inc. has recalled its store-brand spring pasta salad after 20 people got salmonella in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday the West Des Moines-based grocery chain discovered potential salmonella contamination on Monday night and pulled the product from its shelves. The recall includes 16-ounce and 48-ounce containers of Hy-Vee Spring Pasta Salad produced between June 1 and July 13. It was available from deli service cases in the company's 244 stores across eight states including Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in the young, frail and elderly.

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Deputy Arrested on Suspicion of Sending Threatening Texts

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a central Kansas sheriff's deputy who is accused of sending threatening text message while he was on duty. Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay says the deputy who was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of making a criminal threat has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Wichita Eagle reports that the deputy had been with the sheriff's office for two years and worked for the county for a total of four years. Harvey County District Attorney David Yoder says North Newton police made the arrest, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation will help with the investigation. Yoder says the deputy is being held without bond because of an ongoing threat of violence. North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan says the alleged victim is an acquaintance of the deputy's.

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Westar Customers May See Rate Drops Following Settlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A settlement between Kansas agencies and Westar Energy may lead to utility customers seeing rate drops instead of previously expected increases. The Wichita Eagle reports that the settlement reached Monday would reverse Westar's request for a $17 million rate increase and turn it into a $66 million rate cut. The settlement also drops Westar's effort to raise the basic per-month service charge. The Kansas Corporation Commission must still approve the settlement, which could end what's been a hotly contested fight over rates that brought hundreds of angry customers and Kansas lawmakers to recent public hearings. David Nickel represents the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, the small state agency for residential and small-business customers. He says regular electric customers would see a rate decrease of about $4 a month under the agreement.

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Missouri Court Gives Jolt of Life to Long Midwest Power Line

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A proposal for a high-voltage power line carrying wind energy across the Midwest has received a jolt of new life after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that regulators wrongly rejected it.  The court ruling Tuesday means that Missouri must re-evaluate whether Clean Line Energy Partners deserve approval for a $2.3 billion project that would build one of the longest electric transmission lines in the U.S.  Plans call for the line to run from wind farms in western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois before hooking into a power grid in Indiana that serves the eastern U.S. Clean Line has been working on the so-called Grain Belt Express power line since 2010 but hasn't been able to start construction because of regulatory hurdles.

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3 Kansas Democrats Raised $170,000 in Last Quarter in 3rd Congressional District

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Campaign finance records show that three Democratic candidates in the 3rd Congressional District each raised more than $170,000 in contributions during the last quarter.  But Republican Representative Kevin Yoder continued to maintain a huge fundraising advantage over any potential Democratic challenger.  Six Democrats are vying for their party's nomination in the Kansas City-area district.  The top Democratic fundraisers for the quarter were labor attorney Brent Welder, with almost $179,000 in contributions; teacher Tom Niermann, with more than $174,000, and attorney Sharice Davids, with almost $172,000.  Welder had the most cash on hand at the end of June, with $399,000. Niermann had about $385,000 and Davids, nearly $146,000.  But Yoder ended June with almost $1.9 million in cash. He raised about $453,000 in contributions, most of it from political action committees.

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Last Candidate in Kansas 2nd Has Best Fundraising Quarter

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Campaign finance records show that the last candidate to enter the 2nd Congressional District race in Kansas collected more in contributions than any other Republican during the past quarter.  Six other GOP candidates in the August 7 primary with state Senator Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha relied heavily on loans and personal funds from April through June.  But presumed Democratic nominee Paul Davis outstripped them all in the eastern Kansas district by raising $395,000 in contributions during the quarter.  Pyle reported raising $134,000 from contributions during the quarter.  State Senator Caryn Tyson of Parker raised nearly $56,000 in contributions during the quarter, and Army veteran Steve Watkins collected more than $54,000. State Senator Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth collected about $30,000.  All three raised larger amounts through personal funds and loans.

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University of Kansas Starts Addictions Research Center

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A center that will study addictions and how to treat them is being created on the University of Kansas campus. The university says in a news release that graduate Daniel Logan and his wife, Gladys Cofrin, donated $2 million to start the Cofrin-Logan Center for Addiction Research & Treatment. Logan is a professor in the Addiction Medicine Division at the University of Florida's College of Medicine, and Cofrin is a retired therapist. The university says both Cofrin and Logan are in recovery from addictions themselves and know the importance of making effective treatment options more available and accessible. Logan says in the release that the "essence of treating addiction is about giving people hope." Programs will focus on various addictions, including to alcohol, drugs, gambling and eating disorders.

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2 Bodies Found in Arkansas Believed to Be Missing Wichita Couple

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say the bodies of a couple who recently disappeared from a Kansas fairground have been found in a shallow grave in northwest Arkansas. Van Buren, Arkansas, police spokesman Jonathan Ware says the bodies were found early Wednesday near Natural Dam in Crawford County, Arkansas. The victims' names have not been released. Van Buren police took three people into custody after the bodies were found. Wichita police spokesman Charley Davidson says the victims were from Wichita. Barton County Attorney Amy Mellow said the victims disappeared from the county fairgrounds west of Great Bend in the last few days. They were believed to be vendors at the fair.

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Man Drowns at Kansas Apartment Pool Where He Regularly Swims

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has drowned at a suburban Kansas City apartment complex pool where he regularly swims and snorkels.  The Kansas City Star reports that first responders were called to the Quivira Falls apartment complex in Overland Park about 2:40 pm Tuesday after the 69-year-old man was spotted at the bottom of the pool. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police Officer John Lacy says the man regularly snorkeled around midday in the pool of the complex where he lived. The pool is 8 feet deep.  Lacy says officers don't suspect foul play but an autopsy will be conducted to confirm the man's cause of death. The man's name wasn't immediately released.

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Lawsuit: Kansas Woman Not Warned of "CoolSculpting" Effects

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman is suing a Wichita plastic surgery clinic, alleging it failed to warn her of a rare, plumping side effect of a popular body-contouring procedure.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Tammy Hammond filed the lawsuit last month against Dr. Bruce Ferris and his clinic, the Plastic Surgery Center.  Hammond received three treatments of "CoolSculpting" over a 16-day period more than two years ago. CoolSculpting is a noninvasive form of fat-cell freezing.  The lawsuit says the woman developed a benign tumor in her liver and experienced fatty tissue growth post-procedure.  The lawsuit accuses the defendants of not telling staff who perform the procedure about its known hazards so they could warn customers.  An attorney for Ferris and clinic says the lawsuit "contains both legal and factual errors."

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Land Near, Around Wichita Greyhound Park is Sold at Auction

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The land under and next to Wichita Greyhound Park has been sold at auction to two men trying to protect what they already own in the area.  The Wichita Eagle reports racing magnate Phil Ruffin bought an 82-acre tract that includes the park buildings and the racetrack, which he closed in 2007 after voters rejected a proposal to bring slot machines to the park. Ruffin paid $1.6 million for the land. He owns the buildings at the track and was leasing the land.  Johnny Stevens, the owner of the nearby Kansas Coliseum and accompanying buildings, bought 35 acres west of the park for $150,000.  The Sedgwick County Commission approved the sales after the auction.

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12 Horses Removed from Northeast Kansas Farm

HOYT, Kan. (AP) — Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse says 12 horses were removed from a farm this week after a veterinarian determined they were not receiving proper care. Morse says the horses were taken Monday from a farm near Hoyt. Medical staff is caring for the four stallions, two colts and six mares. He says some horses were not getting adequate water despite recent high temperatures and hay on the farm was old. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports another 35 horses were determined to be in adequate health and remained at the farm. Those horses will be checked daily. Morse says the sheriff's office received complaints for almost 18 months about poor conditions at the farm but substantial evidence wasn't found before Monday despite repeated visits to the property. The Jackson County attorney will determine if any charges are filed.

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Man Dies After Utility Vehicle Collides with Semitrailer

PROSSER, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a man driving a utility vehicle died after it collided with a semitrailer in south-central Nebraska. The accident was reported around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, about a mile southwest of Prosser in northwest Adams County. The Adams County Sheriff's Office says 19-year-old Alexander Williams was trying to cross a rural road when his vehicle and the truck collided. Williams died after being flown to a Kearney hospital. He lived in Prosser. Authorities say the truck driver wasn't injured. He's been identified as 20-year-old Ethan Woerner, of Burr Oak, Kansas.

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US Women Taking Veteran Soccer Team to Tournament of Nations

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The top-ranked U.S. Women's National Soccer Team will bring a veteran group to the four-team Tournament of Nations, which begins next week with a match against Japan at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City. U.S. coach Jill Ellis announced her training roster of 25 players Wednesday, all but three of whom played for the national team this year. The newcomers are goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, forward Kealia Ohai and defender Jaelene Hinkle, while defenders Casey Short and Emily Sonnett are back from injury. The roster will be pared to 22 before the U.S. faces Japan on July 26. Brazil plays Australia the same day in the opener of round-robin tournament. The Tournament of Nations is an important tuneup for the U.S. ahead of World Cup qualifying, which begins with group matches Oct. 4 in Cary, North Carolina.

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Wichita Appears on List of NCAA Women's Regional Hoops Sites for 2021, 2022

Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington, will be a host site for NCAA women's basketball regionals in 2021 and 2022. The NCAA announced regional sites for both years on Wednesday. Other hosts for 2021 are Times Union Center in Albany, New York, H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas, near Austin, and Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Games will be March 26-29. Albany also will serve as a regional host site in 2019. It previously hosted in 2015 and 2018. Austin has hosted an NCAA championship-record 18 regional games at Frank Erwin Center. It will move to the newer H-E-B Center in 2021. In 2022, Spokane will host along with Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina; and Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. Those games will be played March 25-28.

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