Kansas Archives:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won a convincing victory in the Kansas caucuses on Saturday in the race to become the U.S. Republican presidential candidate. Front-runner Mitt Romney won in Wyoming and several U.S. territories.

Santorum won 51.21 percent of the votes in the strongly conservative state of Kansas, where his rivals Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich did not campaign. Kansas Republican party Chair Amanda Adkins said Santorum received 15,290 out of more than 30,000 votes.

“Today 30,000 Kansas Republicans showed their enthusiasm and support for a new leader in the White House,” Adkins said. “Congratulations to Rick Santorum for his significant victory in our state. On behalf of Kansas Republican voters, I would also like to express sincere appreciation to Cong. Ron Paul for coming to Kansas this week.”

According to initial caucus results which will be verified next week, Santorum picked up 33 of the state’s 40 delegates at stake. The other seven delegates went to Romney who received 6,250 votes, although 975 provisional ballots are still be ruled and counted which could bring some minor changes.

“Decisive! Kansas voters sent a clear message today: I’m the true conservative candidate to stop Romney and beat Obama,” Santorum, who was under pressure to catch up on Romney after trailing him on Super Tuesday, said in a message on the social networking website Twitter. “Thank you [Kansas]!”

Romney congratulated his rivals but said he is proud to have the support of ‘so many’ in the state. “The road to the Republican nomination has already had twists and turns and no doubt there will be more to come,” he said. “I have no doubt that with the progress I’ve made today that I will be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. I thank all the voters who participated in the Kansas caucuses and look forward to winning Kansas in November.”

Results on Saturday from Wyoming and several U.S. territories added to Romney’s growing delegate count, which is more than all his rivals combined. Officials at the Wyoming Republican Party said Romney picked up seven delegates in the state, which held its caucuses in February but did not allocate delegates until Saturday.

In the United States Virgin Islands, a group of islands in the Caribbean which can participate in primary but not general elections, Romney won seven out of nine delegates. “The message from the people of the Virgin Islands is clear, and it’s the same message I hear all over the country,” Romney said. “They do not want to send a career politician to Washington. Rather, they want to send a career businessman.”

Romney also picked up all nine delegates in the Northern Mariana Islands, which consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. “The Northern Mariana Islands may be far away from the mainland, but one of the great things about our democracy is that every voice has a chance to be heard in selecting a presidential candidate,” Romney said, thanking the residents of the islands.

Romney further won all nine delegates in Guam, where his son Matt campaigned on behalf of his father. “The people of Guam have always stood bravely for America and the values we hold dear,” Romney said. “I am honored to have won the Guam caucuses, an important milestone in my quest to restore America to the principles and practices that made us great.”

A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. According to a CNN count, Romney is currently leading with a total of 458 delegates. Santorum has 203 delegates, Gingrich has 118 and Paul has 66. The winner will face incumbent President Barack Obama on November 6.

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WASHINGTON (BNO NEWS) — The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a Kansas anti-gay church has the right to protest at military funerals as part of the US Constitution’s free-speech provision.

The court ruled 8-1 in favor of Westboro Baptist Church, which was sued by the father of a fallen Marine, arguing that the protests amounted to targeted harassment and an intentional infliction of emotional distress, CNN reported.

“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The case became a major test between the privacy rights of grieving families and the free speech rights of demonstrators. The church, led by pastor Fred Phelps, believes God is punishing the United States for “the sin of homosexuality” through events including soldiers’ deaths.

In 2006, church members displaying such signs as “Thank God for dead soldiers”, “God blew up the troops” and “AIDS cures fags” appeared outside the funeral for Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Maryland, outside Baltimore.

Snyder’s family sued the church in 2007, alleging invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. A jury awarded the family $2.9 million in compensatory damages, plus $8 million in punitive damages, which were later reduced to $5 million, according to CNN.

In 2008, the church appealed the case and a federal appeals court reversed the judgments a year later, siding with the church’s allegations that its First Amendment rights were violated.

“Westboro believes that America is morally flawed; many Americans might feel the same about Westboro. Westboro’s funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible,” the chief justice said.

“As a nation we have chosen a different course — to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate,” he added, as cited by CNN.

Justice Samuel Alito dissented alone. He said the church’s “outrageous conduct caused petitioner great injury, and the court now compounds that injury by depriving petitioner of a judgment that acknowledges the wrong he suffered”.

Several U.S. states have attempted to impose specific limits on the protests. In Wednesday’s case, 48 states and dozens of members of Congress filed amicus briefs in support of the Snyders.

The congregation is made up mostly of Phelps, his 13 children and at least 54 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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WICHITA, KANSAS (BNO NEWS) – A Kansas man on Monday admitted in U.S. District Court in Wichita that he collected more than 3 million child pornography photographs, prosecutors said.

Donald W. Schmidt, 74, Wichita, Kansas, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.

In his plea, Schmidt admitted that he was trading child pornography over the Internet via a peer-to-peer network when a police investigator in Boynton Beach, Florida, downloaded child pornography from Schmidt’s computer.

In March, Wichita police served a search warrant at Schmidt’s home in Wichita, finding two computers hooked up to separate Internet service providers and eleven banker’s boxes containing boxes of CDs and DVDs.

Forensic analysis identified an estimated 3 million-plus images of child porn on the computers, external drives and disks.

Schmidt admitted using the peer-to-peer program to distribute child pornography, chatting online about molesting children and organizing his child porn collection to be stored on disks.

Schmidt faces a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 20 years in federal prison during his sentencing, which is scheduled for January 31, 2011. In addition, he will be facing a fine of up to $250,000 on the distribution charge and a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the possession.

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (BNO NEWS) – Former United States Representative Karen McCarthy on Tuesday passed away at 63 due to complications related to Alzheimer disease.

McCarthy was a former English teacher that turned into a five-term member of the Congress. In June 2009, it was revealed that she was suffering from an advanced form of Alzheimer. At the time it was also said that she suffered from bipolar disorder that went undiagnosed for over a decade.

The former Democratic Representative spent her last days in comfort in a Johnson County nursing facility. Relatives said that she was in comfort and pleased with her achievements. McCarthy reportedly spent her last days with some measure of peace and satisfaction.

McCarthy represented Kansas City from 1995 through 2005. In 1994, after becoming president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, she easily defeated ten other Democratic candidates to Congress.
During her political career, she advocated for the environment, public education, women’s rights and an expansion of prescription-drug coverage under Medicare. At one point, she was once listed, along Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, as a potential first woman president.

After leaving Congress, she continued to stay involved in civic issues, including serving on the board overseeing the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District.

McCarthy was a longtime resident of Valentine neighborhood in Kansas City. She was divorced, after she married local attorney Arthur Benson, and had no children.

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WICHITA, KANSAS (BNO NEWS) – The United States Air Force on Wednesday awarded an indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract to the Boeing Company for the modernization of the B-52 Stratofortress weapon system.

Boeing was awarded an $11.9 billion contract over an eight-year period for the acquisition and sustainment activities needed to support B-52 weapon system modernization. However, at the current time, no funds have been obligated.

Through the contract, Boeing will be allowed to engineering sustaining contracts, studies, production, and other activities in support of the B-52. Boeing expects its first delivery order to be awarded on September 30. The support services will be given to the ASC/WWVK, Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The U.S. Air Force indicated that the individual delivery orders will be issued through three contracting activities.

Boeing has maintained and modernized the B-52 bomber for the last 55 years. Its support included engineering services and upgrades to communication technology. The Boeing services have allowed the B-52 to remain as relevant weapon system in supporting military missions worldwide.

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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (BNO NEWS) – A Kansas City, Kansas woman on Wednesday was sentenced to life plus five years in prison following her third conviction for drug trafficking and firearms violations, prosecutors said.

Deborah Jackson, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

In her plea agreement, Jackson admitted that she assisted her son James Adam Jackson, in a drug trafficking business they operated together. When James Jackson was not available, his business associates delivered methamphetamine and picked up drug payments from Deborah Jackson.

The Jacksons sold methamphetamine and stored firearms at their residence in Kansas City, Kansas. At various times, the Jacksons received firearms in payment of drug debts and used firearms to pay their own drug debts.

On October 4, 2007, Deborah Jackson paid a drug debt with firearms including rifles, pistols, a shotgun and ammunition.

James Jackson was sentenced to 96 months (8 years) in federal prison last March. Deborah Jackson’s sentence was significantly higher as she already has two prior felony drug convictions.

In November 2008, she was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of carrying firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. She was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (BNO NEWS) – A Olathe, Kansas man on Tuesday was sentenced to more than 21 years of imprisonment following his conviction for producing child pornography in a case that involved individuals in Australia and Kansas, prosecutors said.

Larry L. Howard, 42, of Olathe, Kansas, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography. He was sentenced to 262 months in prison for his offense.

Howard admitted that he took pornographic photographs of a 2-year-old girl and traded them over the internet in exchange for different child pornography.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children started an investigation that resulted in the discovery of child pornography in a Flickr.com account. The data was tracked back to a man residing in Australia. Troy White was identified by the Australian Capital Territorial Police as the flickr user who posted the illegal photos in the website. He had been producing and trading child pornography with other individuals around the globe.

The Australian Police began tracking down White’s contacts. One of his trading partners was located in Olathe and was subsequently identified as Howard. The defendant used the internet alias Blyndman68.

Australian Federal Police shared the information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Cyber Crimes investigators who executed a search warrant at White’s residence, resulting in his arrest.

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WICHITA, KANSAS (BNO NEWS) – A second Mexican alien was indicted on Thursday for document fraud after attempting to enter McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, prosecutors said.

Lorenzo Mondragon Sanchez, 38, a Mexican national, tried to enter the Kansas base on August 11 as part of a work crew for Djon Construction Co. He is in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

Djon Construction is a subcontractor of Lakeshore Engineering Services Inc. Djon currently has building projects underway at McConnell Air Force Base. Mondragon was charged on Thursday of document fraud and aggravated identity theft. He allegedly used an altered Resident Alien card and a counterfeit Social Security card containing a number assigned to another individual.

The defendant used the fraudulent documents in order to get his job with Djon. If convicted, Mondragon faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the document fraud charge and a minimum mandatory sentence of two years on the aggravated identity theft count.

Jose Gonzalez Ramirez, 38, was the first Mexican alien indicted back in July. He was charged with re-entry after deportation and document fraud.

Gonzalez was involved in a similar incident with ServiceMaster Clean which also has a base contract. He is still in federal custody and his charges are pending.

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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (BNO NEWS) – A Salina, Kansas man pleaded guilty on Wednesday in child pornography case and prosecutors recommended a sentence of 15 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Nathan E. Boyce, 42, of Salina, Kansas, admitted to having used the internet to post child pornography images on a public web site and to offer to trade them with other collectors.

Boyce was discovered after agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles began an investigation targeting a suspected web site. ICE agents found out that through such webpage users posted and traded child pornography in a chat room.

ICE investigators followed an electronic trail left by a user who called himself “pervypedostrokin” to Boyce at his home in Salina. On March 11, a search warrant was served at the defendant’s residence. During the search, investigators seized computers which contained more than 50 movie files depicting children as young as three years of age engaged in sexual intercourse, child bondage, child bestiality, oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation.

Boyce faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison for the possession charge but as it was previously noted, the government is recommending and seeking a sentence of 15 years of imprisonment. Sentence is scheduled for November 3.

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DENVER (BNO NEWS) — Dozens of passengers were injured after a United Air Lines flight encountered severe turbulence over Kansas on Tuesday evening, federal and local officials said.

United Air Lines flight 967 was en-route to Los Angeles International Airport after it had taken off from Washington Dulles International Airport at around 5.45 p.m. EDT. It was expected to land in Los Angeles around 7.20 p.m. PDT.

Mike Fergus, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said the plane encountered ‘very severe’ turbulence as it flew over Kansas. The pilot then declared an emergency, and landed at Denver International Airport at around 7.39 p.m. local time.

A spokesman for United Air Lines said 25 people sustained injuries during the flight, including four flight attendants. All of the injured, except the flight attendants, were transported to five area hospitals, according to Denver Health.

A total of 255 passengers and 10 crew members were aboard the Boeing 777-200.

United Air Lines said it was trying to re-accommodate the passengers who were not injured. “They may not be able to use the same aircraft,” a spokesman said.

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