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Weekend Headlines for August 18-19, 2018

Kobach Campaign Denies He is 'Extreme'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The gubernatorial campaign of Kris Kobach is hitting back on assertions by Independent candidate Greg Orman that many Kansas Republicans view their nominee as not only extreme, but  incompetent and corrupt. Kobach's spokesman Danedri Herbert says cutting taxes and stopping illegal immigration is not extreme. She says there has not been any hint of corruption in any aspect of Kobach's career, unlike Orman's association with a former Goldman Sach's board member who was convicted of insider trading. When that issue arose during the 2014 Senate race, Orman said in he had a "very modest" investment in a company with Rajat K. Gupta, who was convicted in 2012 of insider trading. Independent gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman says many Kansas Republicans view their party's nominee, Kris Kobach, as not only extreme, but incompetent and corrupt. He believes those Republican voters will be attracted to his background as a businessman.


Man who Shoved Teen Referee No Longer with Wichita Police

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita police captain who was recorded shoving a teenage referee during a youth basketball game earlier this year is no longer with the department. Officer Paul Cruz tells the Wichita Eagle that Kevin Mears' employment with the Wichita Police Department ended Monday. Cruz didn't say whether Mears was fired or resigned. Mears was found guilty in July of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, sentenced to six months' probation and ordered to pay $450 in fines. Mears was placed on leave shortly after video of the January game in Augusta appeared to show Mears shoving the 17-year-old female referee. Mears testified he didn't shove her and was just trying to get to his son, who was injured. The referee testified Mears ignored her orders to leave the court and was shouting obscenities before he pushed her.


Two Men Killed in North Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say two people have been killed in an overnight shooting. Police say officers were called to the scene in north Wichita early Saturday morning and found two men with gunshot wounds. The men were taken to a hospital, where they both died from their injuries. Police had not identified the men killed by midday Saturday. No other details of the shooting have been released, and no arrests have been reported. The deaths marked 35 homicides in Wichita so far this year.


Kansas Launches Campaign to Reduce Stillbirth Rate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state is promoting a campaign to reduce the number of stillborn deaths in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Wednesday it is partnering with Count the Kicks, a stillbirth prevention public health campaign. Kansas officials say the state records an average of 232 stillborn deaths each year. The campaign seeks to save 60 babies every year by decreasing Kansas' stillbirth rate by 26 percent. The effort achieved that reduction in Iowa. Count the Kicks encourages expectant moms to track their baby's movements once a day in the third trimester to determine how long it normally takes their child to get to 10 movements. If moms notice a change in the baby's normal pattern, they are encouraged to call their doctors.


Kansas Cracks Down on Impaired, Distracted Drivers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Law enforcement agencies across Kansas are participating in a nearly month long campaign to reduce impaired or distracted driving. The "You Drink; You Drive; You Lose" campaign began Thursday and runs through Labor Day, September 3rd. The campaign is designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers using alcohol, drugs or their cellphones. The Kansas Department of Transportation says Labor Day  weekend is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. On average, three people are injured every day in alcohol-related crashes in Kansas. Nationally in 2016, more than one-third of all fatalities over the Labor Day weekend involved a drunk driver. Impaired drivers can face jail time, suspension of their driving privileges, fines and other costs of up to $10,000.


Postal Worker: Rain, Snow, Sleet, but Not Snakes

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Rain, snow, sleet, even barking dogs are fine, but a Kansas postal worker had to draw the line when he found a red tail boa constrictor draped over a mailbox. The Kansas City Star reports that the letter carrier was delivering mail Friday in Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb. The huge snake was on the mailbox on the front porch. The letter carrier called animal control. It took three officers to wrangle the reptile, which was taken to an animal rescue center. Police spokesman John Lacy says the snake probably escaped from a nearby home. He was hopeful the owner would report it missing. As for the letter carrier, he didn't stick around. The police department posted on Twitter, "The poor resident did not receive their mail today (obviously)."


Judge Refuses to Dismiss Commissioner's Charges

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to toss out wire fraud and money laundering charges against Sedgwick County commissioner Michael O'Donnell. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said Friday during a hearing that the defense team had not provided any reasons he could dismiss the charges under federal procedures. The Wichita Eagle reported Melgren was highly critical of the defense contention federal charges should be dismissed because O'Donnell could have been charged under state law regulating alleged campaign finance violations. A new 26-count indictment charges O'Donnell with wire fraud and money laundering, but drops earlier wire fraud counts related to reports filed with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. A first appearance on that indictment is August 28th.


Man Arrested after Wichita Toddler Shot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested a suspect in a shooting at a Wichita playground that injured a 2-year-old girl. Officer Charley Davison says an 18-year-old man was arrested Thursday night and booked for aggravated battery and aggravated assault. The girl was shot in the foot Wednesday while she was at a neighborhood playground. Police say someone fired several rounds into the playground while driving by in the wrong lane. Police say the girl's father took her to a hospital. Davison says the man is not cooperating with police investigators. Three other youths, ages 8 to 16, were at the playground at the time but were not hurt. Wichita police say their parents also aren't cooperating with investigators. Police believe the shooting is related to an ongoing feud between two street gangs.


Dogs Rescued, Kansas Man Charged in Dog-Fighting Raid

BENDENA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating a possible dog-fighting operation after 45 dogs were removed from a property in rural northeast Kansas. The agency said Friday it worked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to gather evidence and the dogs in Bendena, in Doniphan County. Agents discovered adult and young dogs in "deplorable" conditions Thursday. Some of the dogs had injuries consistent with dog fighting and dog-fighting paraphernalia was found on the property. The bureau didn't describe the breed of dogs. Authorities arrested 28-year-old Colton Albright on 42 counts of dog fighting and other charges. An ASPCA shelter will care for the dogs until a court determines custody. The Great Plains SPCA and the Doniphan County Sheriff's Office are also helping with the case.


KC Zoo Keeps Special Rhino Hidden from Public

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Zoo has a special rhino that's kept hidden from the public. The Kansas City Star reports that an eastern black rhinoceros named Imara spends all day inside a barn or a small shaded pen because of a skin condition that makes it dangerous to be in the sun. Kirk Suedmeyer is the zoo's head veterinarian. He says Imara has a loss of melanin granules in the basal layer of her skin, making her vulnerable to direct sunlight. Zoo keepers noticed one of Imara's nostrils turned pink when she was 2 years old. Suedmeyer says the pink coloring progressed to her limbs and a biopsy revealed her condition. Animal manager Katie Muninger calls Imara a "special rhino," saying zookeepers have a special bond with her from socializing daily.


Topeka Jewish Community Celebrating Two Anniversaries

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — This weekend is an important time for Topeka's Jewish congregation. Members of Temple Beth Sholom will mark the 90th anniversary of the congregation and the 150th anniversary of Jews coming to Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a special gala will take place Saturday evening at the temple. The event will include presentations from several longtime Jewish residents of Topeka. Saturday's event will highlight the 90th anniversary of Temple Beth Sholom, which was an Orthodox congregation until 1928, when it transitioned to a Reform congregation. And David Katzman, professor emeritus of history and American studies at the University of Kansas, says 2018 marks 150 years of a continuous organized Jewish community in Topeka, making it the oldest Jewish community in Kansas.


Topeka Police Investigating Fatal Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police are investigating the death of a man who was shot several times in an alleyway. Lt. Aaron Jones reports police found a man dead in central Topeka Thursday evening. Officers responded after a caller reported hearing four gunshots and a man down in the alley. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the man, 20-year-old Gianni Sabastian Noriega, was shot several times. Police are looking for a white passenger car believed to be involved in the shooting.


Washburn Professor: Langston Hughes was One Year Older

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A professor in Kansas says that poet Langston Hughes may have been born a year earlier that what's on record. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Hughes is commonly thought to have been born in 1902, spending his childhood in Topeka and Lawrence. But Washburn University professor Eric McHenry says he unearthed evidence that Hughes was actually born a year earlier. He says a black newspaper called The Plaindealer had an entry from 1901 that indicated "Little Langston Hughes" was under the weather but improving. McHenry says such a change can tell more about Hughes and the time he lived in, though its significance is an ongoing mystery. Hughes began writing poetry as a child and became a distinguished figure in the Harlem Renaissance, also publishing fiction, nonfiction and plays. He died in 1967.


Wichita Market Becomes Business Incubator

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A street market in Wichita has turned into a grassroots business incubator, reinvigorating the city's north end. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Nomar International Market, or Mercadito Hispano Nomar, is a grassroots business incubator launched and managed by local entrepreneurs. City leaders had been looking for ways to revitalize north Wichita when "China" Pena and a friend created the idea of opening the street market to give families something to do on the weekends. The market soon had nearly 20 vendors sign up to participate. Vendors agree to take small business development classes in Spanish at Wichita State University as part of the program. The goal is that the businesses will grow and eventually move into retail space available in nearby strip malls. Those involved hope the "mercadito" shows people what a Mexican street market is like.


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