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Regional Headlines for Friday, November 2, 2012


KS Dem: Gov's Campaign Should Pay for Mailers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House Democratic Leader Paul Davis says Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's campaign fund should reimburse the state for the costs of a brochure about income tax cuts mailed to 146,000 business owners. Davis held a news conference Friday to criticize the brochure and suggest it represents electioneering. The Department of Revenue began mailing them Wednesday, six days before next week's election. Davis called on Brownback to tap his campaign funds to reimburse the department for the $52,000 it spent to print and mail the brochures. Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene (shuh-REEN') Jones-Sontag ignored that comment and said the brochures were designed to educate business owners about the tax cuts enacted earlier this year. The brochure answers questions about the tax cuts. But it also quotes a complimentary Wall Street Journal editorial.


Kobach Predicts 68% Voter Turnout on Tuesday

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is predicting 68 percent voter turnout in Tuesday's elections.  Kobach offered the forecast Thursday. It would be the smallest percentage of Kansas voters casting ballots in a general election since 2000, when turnout was 67 percent.  Kobach notes that 2000 was the last presidential election year in which Kansas had no statewide races.  Seventy-two percent of Kansas voters cast ballots in 2008.  All four of the state's U.S. House members are seeking re-election this year, but only the 2nd District and 4th District have contested races.  All 125 seats in the Kansas House and all 40 in the state Senate are being contested. Five of the 10 seats on the State Board of Education are on the ballot, but only three are contested.


GOP Suggests It May Lose Seats in Kansas House

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republicans say Tuesday's elections could cost them a few seats in the Kansas House and reduce the influence of the chamber's GOP conservatives.  Several Republicans said yesterday (THUR) that this year's redrawing of political district boundaries appears to have hurt the GOP in some places, especially in the Wichita area.  And Republican Governor Sam Brownback said he doesn't know how much power his fellow conservatives will have after Tuesday's voting.  Republicans now hold a 92-33 majority in the House. The powerful Kansas Chamber of Commerce counts 76 as conservatives.  Meanwhile, some Democrats questioned whether Republicans are hoping to lower expectations for Tuesday's outcome so the GOP can claim victory even if it loses a few seats. State Democratic Chairwoman Joan Wagnon won't predict the future balance of power in the House.


Foul Play Not Suspected in Elderly Emporia Couple's Death

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Emporia say they don't suspect foul play in the deaths of an elderly couple in their home.  KVOE radio reports that the couple have been identified as 88-year-old Albert Roglin and his wife, 86-year-old Edith Roglin.  Officers went to the home in south-central Emporia late Wednesday afternoon and found the couple dead. Police are classifying the case as two unattended deaths. The causes won't be known until autopsies are done.  It's not known when the couple died.



Man Arrested in Fatal Halloween Shooting in Hutch

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old man is jailed after being arrested in a fatal Halloween shooting in Hutchinson.  Hutchinson police say the man was arrested yesterday (THUR) evening on suspicion of second-degree murder and firearm charges.  The arrest comes after the fatal shooting Wednesday of 26-year-old Dustin Brooks of Hutchinson. He died at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center after being shot outside a Halloween party. Police say the shooting occurred after Brooks and the suspect argued.  Neither the victim nor shooter lived at the residence where the shooting occurred.


Kansas City Restricts Protests at Funerals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Council has voted to restrict protests at funerals within city limits.  Yesterday (THUR), the council adopted an ordinance that requires protesters to stay at least 300 feet from a funeral home, cemetery or house of worship during the service and an hour before and after the service.  The Kansas City Star reports the law is an exact copy of a Manchester, Missouri ordinance that an appeals court ruled last week was constitutional. The court said the ordinance was narrowly written and gave picketers adequate opportunities to express their views in other ways.  Council members say the ordinance was aimed at Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, which protests at funerals for military members. The group contends the soldiers' deaths are the result of the U.S. tolerating homosexuality.


Three Garden City Food Banks Running Short on Supplies

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three Garden City food banks say they are in desperate need of supplies to provide meals for the needy.  The Salvation Army, Emmaus House and United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries' food pantries all are running short of staples.  All three organizations say they have plenty of canned vegetables but are low on items needed to make meals, such as meat, cheese, beans, rice, flour and sugar.  The Garden City Telegram reports officials with the three groups say the high cost of food is the main reason for the shortages.  Robert DeLeon of the Salvation Army says donations dropped off because people have to spend more money on their own food, or other supplies. And the cost of food reduces supplies the food banks can buy with cash donations.


KC Man Admits Role in Fatal Bank Robbery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has admitted taking part in a 2006 bank holdup in which a 70-year-old security guard was fatally wounded. The U.S. Attorney's office says 25-year-old Thirlup Moose faces 25 to 35 years in prison following his guilty plea yesterday (THUR) in federal court. Co- defendant Iralee French was sentenced earlier to 87 years in prison.


Hutch Hospital Loses Wrongful Death Lawsuit but Likely to Appeal

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — An attorney for Hutchinson Regional Medical Center says he expects to appeal a $1 million award in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the death of a Great Bend man four years ago.  The Hutchinson News reports a jury on Wednesday awarded the money to relatives of Jackie Sarff, a 73-year-old who went to the hospital in August 2008 with an upset stomach.  A licensed practical nurse tried to insert a gastric tube into a nasal passage, but Sarff vomited during the procedure and inhaled it into his lungs. That led to brain damage and his death five years later.  Hospital attorney Randy Troutt says jurors apparently were confused when they found the hospital staff didn't follow proper procedure. He says the hospital was not responsible for Sarff's death.


Finalists for Top Job at KU Med Center to Visit this Month

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three finalists to be the next leader of Kansas University Medical Center are scheduled to visit the campus this month.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the candidates for executive vice chancellor will take part in town-hall meetings designed to let faculty and staff hear from them and ask questions.  The university says it will release the candidates' names and other information one-by-one, on the day before each public meeting. The sessions are scheduled for November 8, 15 and 20 on the campus in Kansas City, Kansas.  Search committee leader Ed Ellerbeck says the names are being kept confidential to guard against competing offers. He says it's unclear when a selection will be made, but the final decision is up to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.


KU Journalism School Launches PTSD Resource Site

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Journalists who cover the military and post-traumatic stress disorder are getting help from a new website launched by the University of Kansas.  The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications is creating the website in conjunction with a workshop taking place November 16 at the National Press Club in Washington. The workshop is designed to help journalists improve their coverage of post-traumatic stress and related illnesses.  Associate professor of journalism Barbara Barnett says the website is a place for journalists to share ideas and experiences.  She says it also will help journalists cope with their own stress issues related to covering war.


Abortions, Births Down in Kansas Last Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state health department says the number of births and abortions declined last year in Kansas.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says in its annual vital statistics report that the number of abortions declined 4.6 percent from 2010 to 2011. That continued a trend of declining abortions that began in 1996.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the KDHE says 88 percent of the abortions occurred within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than 85 percent were to unmarried women.  At the same time, the number of births dropped to 13.8 live births per 1,000 residents, the lowest number recorded since the state started tracking births in1912. There were 39,628 babies born in 2011 in Kansas, compared with 40,439 in 2010.


Phony Cops Steal Games from Wichita Store

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita want business owners to know they're never involved in seizing arcade games, after a pair of thieves posing as officers did just that at a convenience store.  KAKE-TV reports a man claiming to be a plainclothes officer entered the store Wednesday afternoon. The man showed the clerk a badge and some paperwork and said he was there to seize some gambling-type arcade games.  The clerk says a second man came in and loaded the machines onto a truck. The pair ordered the clerk not to call 911 until they were gone.  The owner of the machines told KAKE they're worth about $5,000 each.  Wichita police Lieutenant Doug Nolte says if the thieves have done it at one store, they might try the same thing somewhere else.


Groups Spend Big in Final Days Before Election

Seven groups have spent about $167,000 in the past week to help Democratic candidates for the Kansas House and Senate. New campaign finance reports also show the Kansas Chamber of Commerce spent $96,000 over the last three days of October to help conservative Republicans running for the state Legislature.



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