Kansas Senator Touts Agriculture Policy Expertise

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has the support of major farm groups and is touting his expertise in agriculture policy as he campaigns for re-election in the nation's leading wheat-producing state.

But Republican primary challenger Milton Wolf's campaign is accusing the three-term incumbent of waging what it calls "geographical warfare" with a radio ad running in western Kansas.

Roberts has endorsements from the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association. He serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and is a former House Agriculture Committee chairman.

The tea-party backed Wolf is a Leawood radiologist but grew up on a farm in Rice County.

Roberts' ad in western Kansas suggests Wolf doesn't understand agriculture and lives "right next to Missouri." Wolf said Roberts is trying to divide eastern and western Kansas residents.

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Brother's death sentences overturned

ASSOCIATED PRESS - The Kansas Supreme Court has overturned the death sentences of two brothers convicted of capital murder in the shooting deaths of four people whose bodies were found in a snow-covered Wichita soccer field in 2000.

The state Supreme Court on Friday also struck down three of the four capital murder conviction each against Jonathan and Reginald Carr. But it upheld one capital murder conviction each.

Their cases will return to Sedgwick County District Court for further hearings and a new sentencing.

The court's majority overturned the death sentences because, it said, the presiding judge failed to have separate proceedings for each brother.

In overturning most of the capital convictions, the majority said the instructions to jurors were flawed.

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Shortage of Auditors Cited for Audit Rejections

ASSOCIATED PRESS - A legislative committee says internal legislator requests for audits of various state interests are being delayed because of a lack of auditors.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 25 legislator requests for internal audits have been delayed because the auditors don't have the resources to get to them.

One factor in the slowdown is a 2013 law that required the Division of Legislative Post Audit to audit three school districts per year for the next three years.

The auditing division has less than 25 employees, although it has been authorized to add three more this year.

The requested audits that are awaiting action include the proposed sale of state buildings, the cost effectiveness of the death penalty in Kansas and the Kansas Board of Cosmetology.

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Audit Says Kansas Computer System Security Lacking

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Auditors say a lack of accountability by some Kansas agencies that handle sensitive information could make citizens' personal information vulnerable.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports an audit released this week says some agencies aren't complying with requirements to provide detailed information technology plans because they see them as time consuming and of little value. Auditors say they found little state oversight of the required reports.

The audit found that 17 of the 45 agencies that hold data considered ``high risk'' had not had an independent evaluation of their security in the last three years.

Some lawmakers on the Legislative Post Audit Committee have asked the state's information technology agency to provide an estimate of how much it would cost to implement recommendations made by the auditors.

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Western Kansas Adjusts to Shrinking Aquifer

ASSOCIATED PRESS - For more than seven decades, farmers and other industries have depended on the Ogallala Aquifer to provide the lifeblood of the western Kansas economy.

There has been concern that irrigation and other uses have depleted the aquifer faster than it can be recharged. It's been declining each year since irrigation began in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Hutchinson News reports that Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter says some areas in western Kansas already can no longer use the aquifer.

Garden City farmer Rodger Funk says he attended meetings decades ago where state officials were already discussing the water problems, but few people believed them. Now, he and his son have switched to dryland farming, and he wonders what the region will look like in 50 years.

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Vandal Opens Oil Stock Tank.

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) -- Central Kansas authorities are looking for whoever opened the valves on an oil lease stock tank over the weekend and caused 188 barrels of oil to spill to the ground.

Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir says the spill, which occurred between 1 p.m. Friday and 8:25 a.m. Saturday, resulted in a loss of more than $12,000.

The sheriff called the vandalism in rural Barton County a senseless act and urges anyone with information about the case to contact Crime Stoppers.

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Kansas considering new rules for no-gun signs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt plans to have a public hearing in September on new regulations for signs that businesses and groups must post if they want to ban guns from their premises.

The hearing is set for Sept. 17 in the building near the Kansas Statehouse that houses the attorney general's office.

A state law that took effect this month makes the open carrying of guns legal across the state. But businesses and groups still can ban both concealed and unconcealed guns from their premises if they post signs.

The new rules create signs for barring both concealed and unconcealed guns, allowing both, or allowing one and not the other.

Schmidt's office said the hearing isn't until September to provide 60 days for public comments.

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Kansas Wheat Harvest 95 Percent Finished

ASSOCIATED PRESS - The 2014 Kansas wheat harvest is finally almost over.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 95 percent of the wheat is now in the bin. Usually by this late in the year, all the wheat has been cut.

All the recent rains have helped the spring-planted crops in Kansas.

Corn is rated as 15 percent excellent, 49 percent good and 29 percent fair. Just 7 percent got a poor or very poor rating.

For sorghum, the agency reports 10 percent in excellent, 55 percent in good and 31 percent in fair condition. Just 4 percent got a poor rating.

Soybeans in Kansas are doing even better with 10 percent in excellent, 57 percent in good 31 percent in fair condition. Only 2 percent got a poor mark.

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State gets 14,205 concealed carry applications

ASSOCIATED PRESS - The Kansas Attorney General's Office says the state received the second highest number of concealed carry applications in the last fiscal year.

The attorney general announced in a news release Monday that more than 14,205 applications were received between July 1, 2013, and June 30 this year.

The highest number of applications in one fiscal year came in last year, when 25,316 applications were received.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the more than 83,000 Kansans have applied for concealed carry permits since the program started in 2006. The state has received 90,000 applications since then.

Thirty-six other states recognize Kansas' concealed carry permits.

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