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Headlines for Friday, October 30, 2015


Carson Files for Kansas GOP Presidential Caucus

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson has filed for the Kansas Republican presidential caucus. The Kansas Republican Party said in a release that Carson is the fourth presidential candidate to file in Kansas. Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, says he has received a check for the $15,000 filing fee from Carson's campaign. Carson, a neurosurgeon seeking the GOP candidacy for president, has made several stops in Kansas recently. The other candidates to pay the caucus fee so far are Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and real estate mogul Donald Trump. The caucus takes place the first week of March at several locations around the state.


Kansas Supreme Court Says Topeka Man Incorrectly Sentenced

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says a Shawnee County court incorrectly sentenced a man for battery. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas Supreme Court said the Shawnee County District Court improperly assessed a prior conviction of Topeka defendant Richard Allen Luarks and incorrectly sentenced him to 14 years in prison. Luarks was sentenced after being convicted of aggravated battery for stabbing a person in 2010. The state Supreme Court vacated Luarks' sentence and sent it back to the district court, saying Luarks' 1981 conviction for burglary was incorrectly assessed when his sentence was being determined. The court says without that conviction weighing into his sentencing calculation, Luarks would get a lower sentence.


Kansas Efficiency Study Will Look at Budget

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A company hired to study ways for the Kansas government to save money is also reviewing the state's budget process. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Ryckman Jr. said in a post on the Kansas House GOP website that the firm, Alvarez & Marsal, which has been hired to perform an efficiency study of the state government, will also examine the method Kansas uses to spend money. A&M spokesman Steven Alschuler told The Topeka Capital-Journal that it's too soon to provide any specifics about its budget examination, but that the company is taking a detailed look at the budget process and will make recommendations. State budget director Shawn Sullivan says he looks forward to the budget analysis. A report from A&M is due to the Legislature in early 2016.


Kansas Supreme Court Will Hear Judicial Funding Dispute

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court plans to hear arguments December 10th on the validity of a law that is at the center of a dispute over funding for the judiciary. The court set a schedule Thursday for reviewing the state's appeal of a Shawnee County judge's ruling striking down a 2014 law which stripped the Supreme Court of its power to appoint the chief judges in the state's 31 judicial districts. The law gave that authority to district judges. Legislators enacted another law this year saying that the court system's entire budget would be nullified if the 2014 statute isn't upheld.


Kansas Efficiency Study Will Examine Budget Process

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A company hired to study ways for the Kansas government to save money is also reviewing the state's budget process. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Ryckman Jr. said Thursday that the firm, Alvarez & Marsal, which has been hired to perform an efficiency study of the state government, will also examine the methods the Kansas legislature uses to produce its annual budget. A&M spokesman Steven Alschuler said that the company is taking a detailed look at the budget process and will make recommendations. State budget director Shawn Sullivan says he looks forward to the budget analysis. A report from A&M is due to the Legislature in early 2016.


All Members of Kansas US House Delegation Vote for Ryan as Speaker

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp voted for Paul Ryan as House speaker Thursday after previously backing another candidate. Huelskamp's vote to install Ryan as the new speaker means all four members of the state's congressional delegation supported the Wisconsin Republican. Huelskamp is a tea party favorite who represents the 1st District of western and central Kansas and had backed Florida Republican Daniel Webster. But Huelskamp said Thursday that Ryan won his vote by promising to make the House less centralized and to debate major legislation only if a majority of Republicans support it. Kansas Representatives Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo and Kevin Yoder also voted for Ryan. Huelskamp clashed with former Speaker John Boehner and was stripped of an Agriculture Committee seat late in 2012.


Kansas Extending Limits on Fracking Wastewater Disposal Until March

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ State regulators are continuing the limits on wastewater disposal by oil and gas producers until at least mid-March. State geologists have linked wastewater disposal associated with hydraulic fracturing to the sharp increase in the frequency and size of earthquakes in south-central Kansas.  The Kansas Corporation Commission ordered an extension of the restrictions on the injection of wastewater into the ground, a by-product of the fracking process. The limits apply in five earthquake-prone areas in Harper and Sumner counties. The restrictions were set to expire in September, but state regulators decided to extend the limits after the number and intensity of earthquakes dropped during the temporary ban. The KCC will revisit the issue in March  


Olathe Couple Says Move to Arkansas Led to Accidental Double Voting

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ An Olathe couple accused of voter fraud say they made a mistake while they were moving from Kansas to Arkansas. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed charges against Air Force veteran Steven Gaedtke and his wife Betty Gaedtke for allegedly voting in both Kansas and Arkansas in the 2010 election. Their attorney, Trey Pettlon, told The Kansas City Star that the couple applied for early ballots in Johnson County and submitted them while they were traveling back and forth over several months from Olathe to their new home in Arkansas. They later voted in Arkansas for candidates in that state's election but did not vote twice for the same candidates. They're due in court in December.


ACLU Denounces Olathe's Handling of Religious Sign Display 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union says the city of Olathe violated the free speech rights of a local man by telling him he would be fined if he continued carrying signs reading "Smile God Loves You" and "Junk It All But Jesus" on a public sidewalk.  A city employee told Dustin Strouse he couldn't stand with the signs on a public sidewalk at an Olathe intersection. Attorney Doug Bonney of the ACLU's Kansas office, says people have the right to carry signs bearing religious messages in public places. An Olathe spokeswoman says the city employee misinterpreted an ordinance on using business-related "human billboards." 


Wichita State Plans Public Meeting on Chapel Changes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita State University officials are planning a public meeting to discuss chapel renovations that have raised concerns. The event comes after reports that the Grace Memorial Chapel at the university had been stripped of pews and other Christian trappings at the request of Muslim students. The Wichita Eagle reports however, that the request to remove pews and other furnishings from the chapel originated with Christian students who wanted a more flexible space for worship. The meeting today will feature a presentation and a question-and-answer session with a panel selected by the Student Government Association and the university's Chapel Use Committee.


KU Provost Named University of Mississippi Chancellor 

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — KU Provost Jeff Vitter has been named the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi. A state board in Mississippi voted to choose Vitter Thursday. Vitter says he hopes to take over the job at Ole Miss in February. It's the summit of a long climb through academia for the 59-year-old Vitter, a computer scientist and brother of Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little called it a loss for KU, but thanked Vitter for his five years of service at KU. She noted his efforts to update the KU curriculum and his efforts on the expansion of the business and engineering schools.


Shawnee County Denied Grant for Bridge Repair

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Shawnee County won't be getting a federal grant to rebuild an aging bridge. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the county learned Thursday it won't receive the $16.7 million federal grant to help fund the Willard Bridge renovation project. Concerns about the bridge's structural integrity prompted commissioners to reduce the bridge's weight limit to nine tons. County Commissioner Shelly Buhler says replacing the bridge remains a priority and says commissioners will explore other funding options.


Hearing Set for Man Accused in Death of Topeka Bicyclist

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A January hearing is scheduled for a Chanute man accused in the traffic death of a Topeka bicyclist. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Todd Kidwell is charged with second-degree reckless murder in the death of Glenda Taylor. Taylor, the head of the Washburn University art department, died after she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle in Crawford County in June. Kidwell is scheduled to appear in Crawford County court on January 21 for a preliminary hearing. 


Royals Head to New York for World Series Game 3 

UNDATED (AP) — The World Series continues tonight (FRI) at Citi Field in New York. The Royals have a two-to-none lead over the New York Mets after the first two games in Kansas City. The Game 3 starting pitchers will be Yordano Ventura for the Royals against Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard. Ventura is still seeking his first post-season win after 4 starts. Syndergaard's post-season record is one and one. The first pitch is set for just after 7:00 Central Time. The Royals are making their second consecutive World Series appearance after losing to the San Francisco Giants in the seventh game last year. 2014 was Kansas City's first World Series outing since 1985. The Mets have not played in baseball's Fall Classic since 2000. Their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees defeated the Mets that year, four games to one.


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