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Regional Headlines for Thursday, August 9, 2012


Report: Drought Worsens in Key Farm States

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The latest U.S. drought map shows that excessively parched conditions continue to worsen in the Plains states that are key producers of corn and soybean crops. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows that the amount of the contiguous U.S. mired in drought conditions dropped a little more than 1 percentage point, to 78.14 percent. But the expanse still gripped by extreme or exceptional drought rose nearly 2 percentage points to 24.14 percent. That's because key farm states didn't get as much benefit from rains as elsewhere. The nation's biggest corn and soybean producer, Iowa, is still grappling with the drought. The amount of that state in extreme or exceptional drought more than doubled, rising from  30.74 percent last week to 69.14 percent as of  Tuesday. 


Primary Races Appear to Oust 10 Kansas House Members

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Ten Kansas House incumbents have lost primary election races or are trailing in relatively close contests. But seven of those incumbents faced other incumbents because of political redistricting. Representatives Ron Worley, of Lenexa, and Trent LeDoux, of Holton, lost incumbent-on-incumbent races. Also, Representatives Clay Aurand, of Belleville, and Rick Billinger, of Goodland, trailed other incumbents in final, unofficial results in their districts. In Wichita, Representative Jim Ward defeated fellow Democratic Representative Judy Loganbill. A GOP race in an Emporia-area district featured three incumbents. Representative Peggy Mast, of Emporia, defeated Bill Otto, of LeRoy, and Willie Prescott, of Osage City. Two Republicans were ousted by challengers, Representatives Sheryl Spalding, of Overland Park, and TerriLois Gregory, of Ottawa. Also, Republican Representative Carl Dean Holmes, of Liberal, trailed his challenger by seven votes.


UPDATE: Kansas GOP Seeks to Make State a Model for the Nation

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republicans want to make the state a model for the nation after several conservative primary victories in Tuesday's election. Congressman Mike Pompeo says that during his first 19 months in office he has watched what happens when states are bold. He says people in Washington question why they cannot do what Governor Sam Brownback is doing in Kansas. They also point to steps taken by conservatives in Wisconsin, or by Governor Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. Pompeo says Kansas can point others in the right direction. Pompeo was unopposed in Tuesday's primary as he seeks a second term in the U.S. House from the Wichita area district. In November, he'll face Democrat Robert Tillman, a political newcomer and retired Wichita court services officer.


Wrong Ballots Distributed at NE Kansas Voting Site

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas elections official says her office is trying to determine how many voters received the wrong ballots at a Topeka polling place. Shawnee County Elections Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley Deiter said Thursday the problem occurred at the Light of the World Christian Center because a supervising judge wasn't following her training. Ensley dismissed the judge Tuesday afternoon. Deiter said by the time she stepped in, 315 voters had cast ballots at the church. She said not all of them received the wrong ballots. The problem could affect results in the 52nd and 56th Kansas House districts, because residents of both voted at the church. All affected voters are in the 20th Kansas Senate district. The Shawnee County Commission will determine Monday what to do with the affected ballots.


Conservative Kansas Democrat's Margin of Victory Only 7 Votes  

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gay rights advocates haven't given up on ousting a conservative Democrat from the Kansas House who finished only seven votes ahead of her primary opponent. Final, unofficial results from Tuesday's primary show incumbent Jan Pauls is leading challenger Erich Bishop with a tally of 417 votes to Bishop's 410 in the Hutchinson area district. But the executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition said Thursday that several dozen provisional ballots haven't been counted. The Reno County Commission will decide next week how many of those ballots will be counted. Pauls and Bishop both say they expect a recount afterward. Bishop is active in the Equality Coalition, which has clashed with Pauls over gay rights issues including marriage and anti-discrimination efforts. The Democratic nominee will face Republican Dakota Bass, of Hutchinson, in November.


Recount Not Certain in Close Kansas House GOP Primary Race 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two candidates separated by eight votes in a Republican primary for a Kansas House seat aren't sure they'll ask for a recount after the results become official. Incumbent Carl Dean Holmes and challenger Reid Petty, both from Liberal, said Thursday they're uncertain about a recount because most votes in Seward County are cast using an electronic touch-screen system. They said they expect the count of votes recorded electronically to be accurate and don't think it would change in a recount. Initially, results showed Petty ahead in the race by seven votes, 873 to 876. But figures posted on the Seward County clerk's website now show the count at 882 for Petty and 874 for Holmes. The Seward County Commission will meet next week to review dozens of provisional ballots.


Voter Turnout Almost 23 Percent in Kansas Primary

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says turnout in the state's primary elections exceeded his expectations, with nearly 23 percent of the state's 1.7 million registered voters participating. Kobach reported Wednesday that 392,000 Kansans cast ballots. He had predicted that 310,000 people would participate, a turnout of 18 percent. But Kobach said turnout spiked in areas with hotly contested state Senate primaries. Greeley County in western Kansas had the highest turnout, nearly 65 percent. The county lies in the 39th Senate District, where Senate President Steve Morris, a moderate Republican, trailed in final results for his primary race against conservative state Representative Larry Powell. Wyandotte County, home of Kansas City, Kansas had the lowest turnout at 11 percent.

Dogs Quarantined at Junction City Animal Shelter

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dogs are under quarantine at the Junction City/Geary County Animal Shelter after tests found parvovirus. The shelter euthanized five puppies after the virus was discovered. Shelter director Lisa Junghans says the virus was found in four puppies that were brought to the shelter from the Westwood area of Junction City on July 27. Parvo is a contagious disease that is potentially life-threatening. The dogs were euthanized because the shelter did not have the resources to treat the disease. Thirty-five dogs are under quarantine while staff clean the shelter and monitor the dogs for any symptoms. WIBW reports that if no other dogs test positive for the disease, dog adoptions and drop offs will resume next Monday. Cats and animals other than dogs can still be taken to the shelter.

Kansas Statehouse Getting New Rotunda Chandelier

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Seventy years after a large chandelier was removed from the Kansas Statehouse rotunda, workers will install a new one. Statehouse Architect Barry Greis says the new fixture is expected to arrive Monday at the Capitol. It was built by a St. Louis company working from historical photographs. Greis says workers expect to assemble the chandelier and hoist it into place Tuesday. It will hang from the inner dome. The installation is a small part of the ongoing, 12-year renovation of the Statehouse. Work on the interior is expected to be finished by October. The old chandelier was removed in 1942 and, according to an Associated Press report, sent to a scrap heap. State officials saw its removal as a safety measure.


Agents Raid Kansas Synthetic Drug Distribution Ring

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A seven-month investigation into sales of synthetic marijuana commonly known as "potpourri" has culminated in raids in Emporia, El Dorado, Arkansas City and Wichita. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that 10 search warrants were served. Two men were arrested, and more arrests are expected. The investigation began with undercover agents buying potpourri and investigating emergency room admissions of people using the substances. Agents made controlled purchases from Blitzed Detox Shop in Emporia along with All Out Detox and Price Right Smoke Shop/JKL Liquor in El Dorado. Searches of those businesses led to other raids, including an alleged packaging operation in El Dorado. An undercover purchase was made in Wichita. The KBI says agents seized several pounds of treated potpourri plus vehicles and more than $100,000 in cash.


91-Year-Old Kansas Inmate Granted Parole

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 91-year-old Kansas prison inmate convicted in a botched murder for hire has been granted parole. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Prisoner Review Board recently granted Joseph Johnson's second request for parole. A spokesman for the state Corrections Department said Thursday the parole will take effect January 1, provided Johnson moves to what the agency called a structured living environment that can address his medical needs. A Topeka man hired Johnson in 1992 to arrange the killing of the man's estranged wife. Johnson paid a 16-year-old boy $300 to carry out the attack and drove him to the address they'd been given. The teen shot and killed a man who opened the apartment door — but the victim was a new tenant. The intended victim had moved out sometime earlier.


Mystery Man Arrested after 72-Mile Chase in Western Kansas 

COLBY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are trying to identify a man who was arrested after leading officers on a 72-mile chase through northwestern Kansas. The Colby Free Press reports the chase started Thursday morning after a state trooper tried to stop the man on Interstate 70 about 25 miles west of Colby. The driver dodged traffic spikes as he led officers on several highways between Colby and Oakley at speeds that reached 130 mph. Authorities said the man briefly drove along railroad tracks in Colby and onto a street where he became boxed in by trees. He abandoned the car and was found under a pickup truck. Officers hoped to identify the man from his fingerprints because he won't provide his name.

US Negotiator to Discuss Trade with Kansas Producers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The nation's chief agricultural negotiator plans to meet with Kansas producers to talk about trade issues. Isi Siddiqui is a presidential appointee in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He planned several stops in Kansas on Thursday to discuss efforts to bring down trade barriers and increase U.S. farm exports. In Johnson County, Siddiqui is scheduled to tour Bayer Animal Health Company and Kansas State University's research lab. He also plans to tour the Cargill Innovation Center in Wichita and host a roundtable meeting with the Wichita Agribusiness Council.

Missouri Officials Recall Shatto Dairy Products 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials have recalled some milk products produced by a dairy in northwest Missouri. The Missouri Department of Agriculture says in a release that test results received Aug. 8 showed some milk products from the Shatto Dairy in Osborn may have been unpasteurized or improperly pasteurized, which can lead to illness. The department said in a release Wednesday that it's temporarily suspended the dairy's operations while the state investigates. The recalled milk is packaged in glass bottles and may have been sold in Missouri and Kansas. The recalled products include half-gallon bottles of whole milk, quart bottles of 1 percent and skim milk, pints of 2 percent milk, half and half, cotton candy flavored whole milk and cream. The code dates are August 17, August 19 and August 20.

Holcomb Votes for Sunday Liquor Sales

HOLCOMB, Kan. (AP) — Holcomb city officials have decided to allow liquor sales in the Finney County town on Sundays. The city council's voted on Wednesday to allow Sunday sales, after a request from the owner of the town's only liquor store. Liquor sales will be allowed from noon to 6 pm on Sundays. The Garden City Telegram reports the owner of Premier Liquors, Frank Hembree, has said he loses business on Sundays to liquor stores in nearby Deerfield, where Sunday sales are allowed. Before 2005, Kansas banned all Sunday alcohol sales. The law was changed to allow municipalities and counties to regulate liquor sales. The council now must officially adopt a new ordinance before the Sunday sales begin.

1 Person Dies in Topeka Motel Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials say one person died after a fire at a south Topeka motel. The name of the victim in Wednesday night's fire at the Travelers Inn has not been released. Fire department officials say when crews arrived, they found light smoke coming from the victim's room. The fire had extinguished itself by then. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the man's death is being listed as a fire fatality. A preliminary investigation found the fire started on or near the bed in the man's room. Foul play is not suspected. The fire caused an estimated $5,500 loss to the two-story motel just north of the Kansas Turnpike.

Topeka Man Ends Trial with Guilty Plea

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man ended his murder trial by pleading to a lesser charge in the shooting death of a neighbor. Thirty-one-year-old LaVance W. Thompson pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 36-year-old James Sanders. The plea came on the third day of Thompson's trial on a first-degree murder charge. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that prosecution and defense attorneys agreed to recommend a sentence of eight years and six months. Sanders died after being shot on Christmas Day 2011 at a Topeka apartment. Thompson was captured December 27 in Independence, Missouri. Prosecutors say the shooting came after Thompson and Sanders argued about noise and Sanders called police to complain.


Wichita Police Arrest 3 Suspects in Stabbing Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have arrested three men in the death of a man at a south Wichita home. The body of 35-year-old Pheng Xiong was found in the bedroom of the home Saturday. Lieutenant Randy Reynolds says a 22-year-old man and two 24-year-old men were arrested Wednesday. They were booked into the Sedgwick County jail on first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. KFDI reports a felony warrant has been issued for a fourth man. Reynolds says the homicide is likely gang-related, although Xiong was not a gang member. This is Wichita's 15th homicide of the year.

Fort Leavenworth Marks 20th Anniversary of Buffalo Soldier Monument

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A bust has been added to the Buffalo Soldier monument honoring the first all-black peacetime unit in the U.S. Army. The bust of the 10th Cavalry's longtime commander, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Grierson, was unveiled during a ceremony Wednesday at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the original dedication of the monument. Although Grierson was white, he was an advocate for the black soldiers whom he commanded for 22 years. The 10th Cavalry was often provided with the worst equipment in the worst conditions and faced prejudice from white soldiers. The Leavenworth Times reports that the bust honors Grierson as a leader who believed his regiment, which he trained and formed at Fort Leavenworth in 1866, should be recognized for its service to the country.

Flag Ceremony to Kick Off Army College Year

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Sixty-eight military officers from around the world will join U.S. officers next week to study at the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. The 10-month term will open Monday with a parade and flag ceremony. The international officers will include the first students from the Caribbean island state of Antigua and Barbuda. The college trains U.S. and international officers in military tactics, strategy and leadership. Most of the students are Army majors, but the class includes officers from the Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.


KC Chiefs Enter Partnership with University of Kansas Hospital

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Kansas Hospital has become the official health care provider of the Kansas City Chiefs and will have its name on the team's training facility near Arrowhead Stadium. The 10-year partnership was announced Thursday. The hospital is located just over the state line in Kansas City, Kansas. Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt says the hospital will open a sports medicine clinic at the training facility, which will be renamed the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. The clinic is expected to open next summer. Hospital president and CEO Bob Page said it will serve Chiefs players, staff and families, along with anyone in the community with a sports injury. The hospital already has relationships with the Kansas City Royals, Kansas Speedway and the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Misssouri.


Sporting Kansas City Wins US Open Cup

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Sporting Kansas City won the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night, outlasting Seattle in a penalty shootout to derail the Sounders' bid to become the first team to win four straight titles. Kansas City won the shootout 3-2 after the teams finished overtime tied 1-1. Sporting converted three of five attempts, while the Sounders missed their last three. Eddie Johnson's shot over the bar on Seattle's last attempt sealed Kansas City first Cup title since the then-Wizards won it in 2004. Kei Kamara opened the scoring for Kansas City on a penalty kick in the 84th minute after Zach Scott was called for a handball in the area. Scott redeemed himself in the 86th with a header from 12 yards off Mauro Rosales's free kick.

KC Schools Transfer Case Now in Judge's Hands

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Jackson County judge in Missouri is weighing the legality of a state law allowing children to transfer from unaccredited to accredited school districts. Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday in one of several lawsuits stemming from the state law. The Kansas City Star reports that Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell says he hopes to make his ruling by the end of next week, though it may take him longer. The plaintiff districts are Blue Springs, Independence, Lee's Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown. They say a commissioned study projects that more than 7,700 students would transfer into their schools from unaccredited Kansas City Public School if the law is upheld. The plaintiffs say they would spend more educating those students than tuition would generate. Attorneys for the state questioned the projections.

Ex-Kansas Officer Pleads to Sexual Exploitation Charges

TROY, Kan. (AP) — A former northeast Kansas police officer has pleaded no contest to sexual exploitation of a minor and eavesdropping with a camcorder. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that Brian Vincent entered the pleas to one count of each charge Wednesday in Doniphan County District Court. He'll be sentenced next month. Vincent was a sergeant and 10-year veteran of the Elwood Police Department before he was fired in June of last year. He also worked part-time for the Wathena Police Department. Prosecutors said Vincent had videos of underage girls nude or undressing. The girls were filmed without their knowledge. Vincent is also a former member of the Riverside USD 114 school board. He had been re-elected last year but resigned after the charges were filed.

Bomb-Sniffing Dog, Former Army Handler Reunited

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former soldier from Kansas City says he's thrilled to be reunited with a bomb-sniffing dog that saved his life in Iraq. Logan Black returned home with 8-year-old Diego, a yellow Labrador retriever, after the two were reunited Tuesday at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Black trained Diego and they served on nearly 40 missions in Iraq, searching for weapons and hidden bombs. Black says Diego saved his life more than once. The Kansas City Star reports Black left the Army in 2007 and began searching for Diego. After learning that Diego was being used to train military dog handlers at Lackland, Black was told he could adopt the dog when it retired. Diego retired this week and is now home with Black in Kansas City.

14 Injuries Reported Following KC Bus Accident

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — Investigators say slick roads contributed to an accident that caused a Kansas City bus to flip over and slide down an embankment. Kansas City police say 14 people were injured, 13 on the bus and one in a car. Two people suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries in the accident Wednesday night northwest of Kansas City in Platte County. The others were treated at area hospitals. Kansas City Police Sergeant Bill Mahoney said a car pulled in front of the bus, which turned hard, clipped the car and flipped at least once as it went down the embankment. A witness told The Kansas City Star that the car was spinning its tires on wet pavement trying to get out of the bus's way. Mahoney said neither driver was impaired.


Key KS Board of Regents Staffer to Interview for Alabama 2-Year College Chancellorship

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Board of Education has picked eight people to interview for chancellor of the state's two-year college system. The board voted unanimously Thursday to interview eight individuals recommended by a consultant. They include Blake Flanders, vice president of workforce development for the Kansas Board of Regents; John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor of advancement at Troy University; Gregory Gray, chancellor of the Riverside Community College District in California; and Daniel Howard, executive vice president and provost of Arkansas State University. Also on the list are Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs at Air University in Montgomery; Michael Wartell, chancellor emeritus at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne; Mark Heinrich, president of Shelton State Community College; and Kandis Steele, director of academic programs for Alabama's postsecondary program.


$11,000 Reward Being Offered for Info on 2009 KC Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A reward of up to $11,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest in a 2009 shooting death in Kansas City. The family of 25-year-old Carleton Temple and the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers announced the award Thursday. Temple was found shot Aug. 9, 2009, inside a white Cadillac in south-central Kansas City. Information can be provided anonymously to the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.


KC Diocese Releases 1st Report from Ombudsman

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ombudsman for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City reports getting nearly 80 reports in the past year alleging various types of abuse or suspicious behavior among clergy, volunteers and people unaffiliated with the diocese. Jenifer Valenti says in the report released Thursday that of 79 allegations of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct or "boundary violations," 20 cases involved clergy and 17 involved employees. Of the rest, 11 involved family members, seven were about volunteers, five were about religious orders and 12 involved unknown people. The two-page report also says nine people were removed from "ministry, employment or volunteer service" over substantiated claims. The report doesn't specify if any of those were clergy. Valenti was appointed last year as the diocese became involved in lawsuits involving clergy sexual misconduct.


Kansas City Chiefs to Host Arizona Cardinals in First Preseason Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three key members of the Kansas City Chiefs will see their first action Friday night since undergoing season-ending knee surgery almost a year ago. Running back Jamaal Charles, tight end Tony Moeaki and safety Eric Berry will all play in KC's preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals, coming off a loss to New Orleans in the Hall of Fame Game, will get another look at the two men battling to be their starting quarterback. John Skelton is expected to start with Kevin Kolb coming off the bench later. Kolb started against the Saints but was intercepted on his first pass and then went out with a chest bruise.


Kansas GOP Primary Winners to Discuss November Plans

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republicans are gathering with some of their party's primary election winners to discuss their strategy for victory in November. Congressman Mike Pompeo scheduled a news conference Thursday with Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer and the winners of Tuesday's primaries within the 4th Congressional District. The event is taking place at Pompeo's district headquarters in Wichita. Pompeo was unopposed in Tuesday's primary as he seeks a second term in the U.S. House from the Wichita area district. In November he'll face Democrat Robert Tillman, a political newcomer and retired Wichita court services officer.

**this story has been updated. Please see above. 



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