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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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SECRETARY OF STATE'S RACE

Kobach foe criticizes 'dual' Kansas voting system

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Secretary of State Kris Kobach's opponent in the Republican primary predicts that a "dual" voting system for helping Kansas enforce a proof-of-citizenship rule will confuse voters and suppress turnout.

Challenger Scott Morgan's criticism of the Kobach-designed system Tuesday came a day after the secretary of state's office began mailing notices to dozens of voters about it. The voters registered using a national form without providing proof of their U.S. citizenship to election officials.

Kobach advised counties last month to set aside such voters' ballots and count only their votes in congressional races in the Aug. 5 election.

Morgan calls the policy baffling. But Kobach dismisses the criticism, saying maybe Morgan is confused.

Most Kansas residents use a state registration form requiring them to produce citizenship papers for election officials.

LAWRENCE-SHOPPING CONTROVERSY

Lawrence recommends rejection of big shopping area

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - One of the largest shopping centers ever proposed in Lawrence has hit a roadblock.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission voted early Tuesday to recommend rejection of the project, which would add more than 500,000 square feet of commercial space in southern Lawrence near the new South Lawrence Trafficway.

The commissioners' vote does not mean the proposal is dead. Developers could ask to have the Lawrence City Commission vote on it.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the North Carolina-based developers have not determined how they will respond to the commission's vote.

Commissioners said before the vote that the location near two major highways was not right for the project. They would prefer it be built in northwest Lawrence near the new Rock Chalk Park sports complex.

HIGHWAY SHOOTINGS

Man accused of highway shootings claims innocence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man charged with 10 shootings on Kansas City-area highways says he can prove he's innocent.

The Kansas City Star reports Mohammed Whitaker is basing the claim largely on one piece of evidence that tracked which cellphone towers handled calls from his phone on April 2, the day of the sixth shooting.

He says if the time on the report - 5:30 p.m. - is correct, he could not be responsible for a shooting that day near Grandview. The records place his phone about nine miles from the shooting site just six minutes before it happened. He says he could not have covered that distance during rush hour on his way home from Overland Park, Kansas.

Police and prosecutors declined to discuss the April 2 incident or Whitaker's claims.

STEPBROTHER KILLED

Teen sentencing for stepbrother's death in August

(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com)

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas teenager who shot and killed his 9-year-old stepbrother during an argument over doing chores will be sentenced in August.

Ryan Velez, who is now 18, has spent about three years at Larned State Hospital after pleading guilty in 2011 to murdering his stepbrother, Kaden Harper.

During a hearing Monday, Velez's sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 6.

The Salina Journal reports Velez was sent to Larned for treatment after pleading guilty last September to unintentional but reckless second-degree murder. Because he was released before his sentence was complete, he was referred back to district court for sentencing.

Prosecutors said Velez shot his stepbrother on June 1, 2010 at their rural Assaria home when the boys were home alone.

HUMANE SOCIETY-EUTHANIZED ANIMALS

Humane Society euthanized 4,000 animals in 2013

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Humane Society euthanized about 4,000 animals last year but an official says the number of animals saved continues to improve.

Spokeswoman Melissa Houston says the society provided services for 17,000 animals last year, with about 13,000 homeless. Of those, more than 9,000 were adopted but the other 4,000 had to be euthanized.

Houston says decisions on which animals to put down are usually based on health and behavior, but some are based on space at the shelter.

She says the good news is that 73 percent of the animals are being adopted, up from only 23 percent in 2003.

KWCH-TV reports the organization generally has not released euthanization numbers but Houston says she hopes doing so will make the public more aware of pet overpopulation.

EXCHANGE-DISAPPEARING OGALLALA

Western Kansas adjusts to shrinking aquifer

(Information in the following story is from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - 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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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