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Weekend Headlines for September 1-2, 2018

Kansas Court Rules for Grand Jury Investigation of Kobach

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says a grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Friday's one-page ruling came on an appeal by Kobach of a Kansas Court of Appeals' ruling in June that found a Lawrence resident had met the legal requirement for circulating petitions to summon a grand jury. Kansas is one of six states that allow citizens to request grand juries through petitions. The Douglas County District Court twice rejected Steven Davis' petition, saying there wasn't enough evidence to support allegations that Kobach or his subordinates didn't process online voter registrations and prevented qualified voters from casting their ballots. Kobach is running for governor. Davis is a Democratic candidate for the Statehouse.

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Republicans Want Wichita Lawmaker out over Allegation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Republicans want a new GOP state lawmaker to resign and end his election campaign to keep his seat over allegations in a television report that he emotionally abused two boys. State Representative Michael Capps, of Wichita, told KAKE-TV he did nothing wrong and is not resigning. The Kansas Republican Party on Friday severed its ties with Capps and said it does not support his election. House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. called on Capps to resign and said it would be "inappropriate" for him to serve. Local Republicans appointed Capps to fill a vacancy in July. He told KAKE-TV that a Department for Children and Families finding of emotional abuse of two boys in foster care was overturned after he appealed it. He did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

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Final Margin in Kansas GOP Primary for Governor is 343 Votes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The final, official margin of victory is 343 votes for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in his Republican primary race against Governor Jeff Colyer. A three-member state board on Friday certified final results from the August 7th primary. The election had a higher-than-predicted turnout of more than 487,000 votes. That was 27.1 percent of the state's 1.8 million registered voters. More than 317,000 voters cast ballots in the Republican primary for governor. Kobach and Colyer were separated by one-tenth of a percentage point with five candidates trailing far behind them. Final, unofficial results had put Kobach's margin over Colyer at 350 votes. But state elections director Bryan Caskey said several counties had typographical errors in the final numbers they reported after reviewing late mail-in and provisional ballots.
 
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Kansas Archdiocese Hires Law Firm to Investigate Abuse Allegations

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has hired a law firm to review allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct against priests in the diocese. Archbishop Joseph Naumann wrote in a column published Friday in the archdiocese's newspaper, The Leaven, that the firm was hired to ensure church officials have an accurate historical knowledge of how the archdiocese has responded to allegations of misconduct. He did not name the firm, which he said will review priest personnel files going back to 1950. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports attorney Rebecca Randles, who has represented several people alleging abuse by priests, said Naumann's action wasn't enough. She says it doesn't meet her recent call for investigation and transparency because the law firm ultimately represents the archdiocese's interest.

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Man in Wheelchair Struck, Killed by Pickup Truck in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man in a wheelchair was killed when a pickup truck crashed into him. Police say the crash happened Thursday night. Lt. Jerry Monasmith says that police believe the man in the wheelchair was trying to cross the street when a vehicle traveling west hit him. The victim was identified Friday afternoon as 69-year-old Jon Hybskmann of Topeka. The driver of the vehicle was 54-year-old Tracy Marquette of Topeka. The investigation is continuing. No citations or arrests have been made.

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Attorney: Kansas Issuing Inadequate Well Permits

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An attorney says that Kansas energy regulators continue to allow oil and gas drillers to apply for injection-well permits without providing adequate public notice despite complaints on the matter. Robert Eye represents the Kansas Sierra Club, Douglas County and five individuals. Eye tells the Lawrence Journal-World that the Kansas Corporation Commission has issued more than 2,000 injection-well permits since 2008 after giving the public only 15 days to file protests instead of the federally required 30 days. Injection wells have been linked to earthquakes many Kansas residents say have caused significant property damage. The commission was expected Thursday to clear regulators of any wrongdoing. But commissioners announced they'd delay their final order after Eye asked them to acknowledge an oil company's July public notices for permits with 15-day protest periods.

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New Safari Opens in Topeka Zoo

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Visitors to the Topeka Zoo's newest exhibit can now experience what it's like to go on a safari. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Camp Cowabunga opened Friday to the public. The exhibit is based on zoo director emeritus Gary Clarke's experiences leading safaris. The entrance features a mixed species animal exhibit with patas monkeys, guinea fowl and tortoises. The exhibit opens onto Dung Beetle Square, which displays a Land Rover sourced from South Africa, a hot air balloon basket and a canoe, all of which are modes of safari transportation. The square also includes mosquito net tents, a three-sided safari loo, a bucket shower and a campfire circle. The exhibit is part of a larger plan that involves the zoo opening a tract of land for the elephants.

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KC Guard Sentenced for Smuggling Contraband into Jail

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Jackson County detention officer has been sentenced to federal prison for smuggling contraband cellphones and other items to inmates in the jail. 27-year-old Andre Lamonte Dickerson, of Kansas City, was sentenced Friday to one year and four months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in April to two counts of using a telephone with the intent to further illegal activity. In his plea, Dickerson admitted that he took a $500 bribe to take the phones and cigarettes into the jail. He also told the inmate who received the items that for a $2,500 monthly fee, he would provide cigarettes, drugs and phones. Prosecutors say a corrections official found Dickerson's phone in a control station, and investigators discovered text messages about drug deals between the guard and inmates.

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Christian School Co-founder Charged with Child Sex Crimes

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The co-founder and administrator of a Christian school in suburban Kansas City has been charged with child sex abuse. 48-year-old Dennis Creason of Bonner Springs was charged Thursday with three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The crimes are alleged to have occurred from January 2015 to August 2018. Creason and his wife founded the Oaklawn Christian School in Shawnee. The school serves pre-K through sixth grade students, with a focus on art, music, and nature-based programs. Bond for Creason is set at $1 million. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

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Former Fort Hays Professor Pleads No Contest to Selling Marijuana Edibles

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A former Fort Hays State University assistant professor has pleaded no contest to a charge involving marijuana edibles. Bryan Bennett, who taught political science, was placed on 18 months of probation Thursday for possession with intent to distribute a hallucinogenic drug. Three other felony drug charges were dropped as part of the plea deal. The Salina Journal reports Bennett was arrested December 6th. According to a court affidavit, Hays police were contacted by an informant who said Bennett had offered her edible marijuana. The informant later met Bennett on the Fort Hays campus and gave her marijuana edibles. Prosecutors said officers later found marijuana in Bennett's home.
 

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