Kansas News Service | KCUR

Kansas News Service

The Kansas News Service produces essential enterprise reporting, diving deep and connecting the dots regarding the policies, issues and events that affect the health of Kansans and their communities. The team is based at KCUR and collaborates with public media stations and other news outlets across Kansas. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to kcur.org.

The Kansas News Service is made possible by a group of funding organizations, led by the Kansas Health Foundation. Other funders include United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Additional support comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Independent candidate for Kansas governor Greg Orman will stay on the ballot after state officials rejected a challenge to his candidacy Thursday.

Will Lawrence, a staffer for the state Senate’s top Democrat, had questioned thousands of the signatures Orman used to secure a spot in the race, saying they weren’t collected properly or notarized correctly.

The State Objections Board disagreed. The panel ultimately removed a few hundred signatures because they were collected by a convicted felon.

Sgt. Alicia Brand / U.S. Army

Plenty of pundits are speculating that a Democratic takeover of the U.S. House would trigger impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

But the Democrats attempting to flip three Republican-held congressional districts in Kansas aren’t at all eager to talk about the issue.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Do you need a babysitter to watch your kids while you campaign for public office? That’s now considered a valid campaign expense in Kansas.

The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission said in an 8-1 vote Wednesday that campaign funds, such as donations, may be used to pay for child care. However, that child care must be directly related to campaigning or serving in office.

New Trump administration rules aimed at protecting the coal industry reverse Obama-era regulations on greenhouse gases by letting states set their own rules.

That means Kansas regulators could clear the way for more coal, but economic trends have already driven a shift to natural gas and wind power.

Legal experts say independent candidate for governor Greg Orman faces at least a potential threat to lose his spot on the ballot in Kansas' general election.

An objection filed with the Kansas Secretary of State's office on Monday targets the signatures Orman gathered for ballot access. The letter was filed on behalf of William Lawrence, the chief of staff for Democratic state Senate Leader Anthony Hensley.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Troubled Medicaid contractor Maximus could soon have a new contract with Kansas officials that pays it more to do less.

State officials say that appears to be the price of getting the job of processing applications for the privatized Medicaid program, KanCare, done right.

Seven years ago, a toxic form of algae bloomed in Milford Lake near Junction City. Kansas had never really seen a bloom quite like it before. It lasted for almost three months and has returned every summer since.

The event set state scientists looking for what spurred the blue-green algae, scientifically known as cyanobacteria, and how to stop the return of what is essentially killer pond scum.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Segment 1: After the incumbent's endorsement, Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP nominee to face Greg Orman and Laura Kelly in November's midterm.

With the field set for this fall's gubernatorial election in Kansas, the three campaigns left standing will turn their full attention to winning in November. Before we follow suit, we invited political watchers in Topeka to consider the implications a Kobach-Hartman ticket will have on down-ballot Republicans hoping to appeal to moderate voters.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

His last real prospects of winning the Republican nomination for the office he holds slipping away one county canvass after the next, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the primary race to Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday night.

Courtesy of the Syed Jamal family

Syed Jamal, a Lawrence, Kansas, scientist arrested in January for overstaying his visa, will be able to present his case to an immigration judge, preventing his imminent deportation.

Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office

A former Leavenworth, Kansas, police officer has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a man last year, the county prosecutor announced on Monday.

Matthew Harrington, 25, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Antonio Garcia, Jr.. Harrington shot Garcia last year while responding to a domestic dispute call. Harrington was fired in January for violating the police department’s use of deadly force policy. 

file photo / Kansas News Service

The counting, sorting and contesting of ballots in the Republican primary for Kansas governor continued on Monday. It could be just the beginning.

Incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer last week began criticizing his rival for the nomination, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, for how he was overseeing the election and how he had schooled local election officials on provisional votes.

The booming calls of the lesser prairie chicken once rung out across western Kansas.

Accounts from the 1800s mention bands of hunters bagging dozens of birds each. Railways advertised special trains that brought sportsmen to shoot the birds in the Texas panhandle, complete with ice cars to preserve the meat on the ride home.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

In the latest in an ever growing pile of legal challenges, the principals behind a questionable lab billing scheme at 10 small rural hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, and three other states have been sued by a Mission Hills couple for fraud and conspiracy.

The couple, James and Phyllis Shaffer, allege the defendants fraudulently took majority control of a company, HMC Hospitals, that owns the hospitals and used them as “instrumentalities in the operation of an illegal billing scheme.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people in T-shirts reading "Art is the voice of freedom" fanned out along either side of Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, Kansas, Saturday in anticipation of a so-called Defend the Flag demonstration. 

Clay Mead, owner of Hog Holler Saloon in Ozawkie, Kansas, organized the Defend the Flag event, which he told KCUR, was not a demonstration or a protest.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

(This story has been updated to reflect new developments.)

On Wednesday, the contenders in the Republican race for governor pledged to back the ultimate winner and to make sure their photo-finish primary wouldn’t stall any general election campaign push.

Come Thursday, incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer made clear that he thought his opponent and state election overseer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was exactly the wrong guy to be certifying the results.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Updated 10:35 p.m. Aug., 9, 2018: In a cable news interview Thursday night, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he will recuse himself from the vote-counting process in the closely contested Republican gubernatorial primary. 

"There really is no point to it, but I've said if my opponent wishes me to, I'd be happy to. It's purely symbolic. I don't think he understands the process," Kobach told CNN's Chris Cuomo. 

He went on to say he would make a "formal response" to Gov. Jeff Colyer's recusal request Friday. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

The moment that figured to clarify the Kansas race for governor instead left it muddled.

Sure, state Sen. Laura Kelly ended up running away with the Democratic primary on Tuesday. And independent candidate Greg Orman had been waiting in the wings for months.

But the still oh-so-close Republican race between incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach tangled the race in the unknown. 

Nicolas Telep / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 10:28 a.m. to include a statement by the Johnson County Election Office and updated at 1:58 p.m. to include comments from the election machines' vendor.  

For the second time in two years, election night tabulation problems in Johnson County led to delays in voting results, leaving the outcomes of key races in limbo.

Kansas House Primary Election Results 2018

Aug 8, 2018

Tuesday's primary will nominate candidates for the Nov. 6 general election. The results below are for those Kansas City-area Kansas House races where candidates faced primary opponents. There is no election for Kansas Senate seats this year.

These results are unofficial. Keep checking throughout the evening and Wednesday morning for updates. For full results, see the Kansas Secretary of State's website.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

The Republican race for governor looks destined for a recount.

Out of more than 300,000 votes cast in the GOP race, unofficial final results showed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tallying 191 more votes than incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer.

The winner will face state Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, who locked down the Democractic nomination with a convincing win on Tuesday. They will likely be joined by independent candidate Greg Orman.

Kansas Statewide Primary Election Results 2018

Aug 7, 2018

Tuesday's primary will nominate candidates for the Nov. 6 general election. The results below for statewide and congressional races are unofficial and only show primaries that were contested.  Keep checking throughout the evening and Wednesday morning for updates. 

Johson County Sheriff's Office

Editor's note: Offensive language is used in this story.

A federal judge on Tuesday handed down three consecutive life sentences to an Olathe resident who pleaded guilty to hate crimes in May for killing an Indian national and wounding two other men.

Twitter

Just a day before the Kansas primary election, President Donald Trump waded into the race for governor while an independent candidate staked out a space in the general election.

Trump endorsed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in his bid to oust incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer. The two are frontrunners in the Republican primary race, which also includes Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and former state Sen. Jim Barnett.

Courtesy of Joy Koesten

Most of the focus so far this election season in Kansas has been on the competitive primaries for gubernatorial and congressional nominations. But races for the state House could prove just as consequential.

Across the state, conservatives are challenging moderate Republicans and Democrats in a coordinated effort to reclaim legislative seats they lost in 2016.

Evergy, the company formed in the merger between Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy, has announced the official retirement dates of several older power plants.

Tecumseh Energy Center, near Topeka, and two units at Gordon Evans Energy Center in Colwich will shut down on Oct. 1. Those will be followed by the last two units at Murray Gill Energy Center outside of Wichita on Nov. 1.

Voting in the Kansas primaries tomorrow? It’s easy. But if you have questions — like where your polling place is or what to do if you run into problems at the polls — here’s everything you need to know.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET

One of the nation's most vocal promoters of unsubstantiated voter fraud claims hopes to eliminate his own party's sitting governor in Tuesday's primary.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Now it starts to get real. Tuesday’s primary, and the early voting that wraps up at noon on Monday, could begin to clarify what direction Kansas politics will head after the Sam Brownback era. To the right, to the left or anchored in the middle.

A malicious virus first infected some local government computers in Finney County, Kansas, in late June. Officials there say that malware did not reach any election systems. But Vice President Mike Pence suggested otherwise this week at the National Cybersecurity Summit.

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