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Headlines for Friday, April 7, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press.

Kansas Senate Rejects 'Flat' Income Tax Proposal

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Senate has rejected a proposal to raise additional revenue with a "flat'' personal income tax that had Governor Sam Brownback's endorsement.  The vote Thursday was 37-3 against the bill. The only yes votes came from Republicans, Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita, Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park and state Senator Gene Suellentrop of Wichita. The proposal would have imposed a 4.6 percent rate for all filers starting next year. That is the top rate for higher-income earners, and the bill would eliminate the 2.7 percent rate now in place for low-income filers. It would have ended an exemption endorsed by Brownback for more than 330,000 farmers and business owners. The measure would have raised about $652 million over two years.  

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Kansas to Give Parents More Say in Children's Critical Care 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is taking steps to give parents of critically ill or disabled children more control over medical decisions about whether those children receive care to prolong their lives. Supporters of a bill signed into law Friday by Republican Governor Sam Brownback hope it becomes a model for other states. The new law takes effect July 1. The law will prevent hospitals and physicians from instituting do-not-resuscitate orders or similar directives if one of the child's parents objects. A parent will be able to go to court to prevent a violation of the law. Health care providers also will be required if parents ask to disclose their policies on when treatment is considered futile. The law was prompted by cases in multiple states, including Missouri and North Carolina.

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Kansas Senate Moves to Keep School Property Tax 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a bill that would continue a statewide property tax for public schools for another two years. Senators advanced the measure Thursday on a voice vote. The bill would raise $635 million for schools during the 2017-18 school year and another $663 million for 2018-19. The Senate plan to take a final vote today (FRI) to determine whether the bill goes to the House. Kansas has imposed a statewide property tax to raise money for schools since 1992. The Kansas Supreme Court has said the state constitution prohibits lawmakers from imposing it for more than two years at a time. The tax is $20 for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. The first $20,000 of a home's value is exempt.

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Kansas Legislature Passes Oversight Measure After Waterslide Death 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have agreed to strengthen the state's lax oversight of amusement park rides after a legislator's son was killed on a waterslide last year. The state Senate approved the bill Friday on 35-2 vote. The plan now heads to the governor. Representative Scott Schwab's 10-year-old son Caleb died last summer on a water slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Schwab didn't comment on the bill, after giving an emotional speech in support of the legislation last week on the House floor. Governor Sam Brownback says he'll follow Schwab's lead on the bill. Under the bill, amusement park rides would be required to be inspected by a qualified inspector each year. Current law requires inspections but allows amusement park owners do the checks themselves.

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Grocery/Convenience Store Beer Sales Measure Clears Legislature; Heads to Governor 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Grocery and convenience stores could start stocking full-strength beer in two years under a bill passed this week by the Legislature. The Senate passed the bill 27-11 on Friday. The House passed it 80-45 on Thursday. Under the bill, grocery and convenience stores could sell beer with up to 6 percent alcohol by volume, while liquor stores could sell more non-alcoholic products, like mixers, shot glasses, lottery tickets and tobacco products. Some lawmakers were concerned that large grocery chains stocking full-strength beer could put small liquor stores out of business. The bill is a compromise between the two industries and their associations after a years-long effort to get wine, liquor and full-strength beer into grocery and convenience stores. The bill still needs Governor Sam Brownback's signature.

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Kansas Expands Access to Drugs That Stop Opioid Overdoses 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — First responders and bystanders in Kansas will soon be able to administer life-saving drugs that stop the effects of opioid drug overdoses. Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill Friday allowing first responders to administer drugs like naloxone, called "opioid antagonists." The drugs stop fatal symptoms of prescription drug and heroin overdoses. The law also allows pharmacists to give people the drug without a prescription. The Legislature passed the measure unanimously. Forty-seven other states have similar laws to help combat a national addiction crisis. Kansas hasn't seen the spike in overdose deaths some other states have, but the health department says prescription drug overdoses rose 28 percent and heroin overdoses rose 71 percent between 2013 and 2015. Brownback says the law is a "good step toward saving lives in Kansas."

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Bill Allows Heavier Trucks Hauling Ag Loads on Some Roads 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Heavier trucks apparently will be allowed on some Kansas roads but only if they are hauling agricultural loads. The Kansas Legislature this week approved a bill that would allow six-axle semitrailer-tractor vehicle combinations with a gross weight of up to 90,000 pounds on some Kansas roads, if they are hauling farm commodities or livestock. The bill is now awaiting Governor Sam Brownback's signature. The Hutchinson News reports that under the legislation, the state transportation department will issue special vehicle permits for vehicle combinations with a gross weight between 85,500 pounds and 90,000 pounds. The trucks cannot drive on interstates. Currently, the weight limit is 85,500 pounds. The new rules would take effect July 1.

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Appeals Court Sides with Kansas in Open Records Lawsuit 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas appeals court panel has ruled that the state does not have to make public applications for two county commission openings filled by Governor Sam Brownback. The Court of Appeals sided Friday with the state in the lawsuit brought by The Salina Journal and The Associated Press seeking the disclosure of information on more than two dozen applicants for newly created Saline County Commission seats. A three-judge panel agreed with the governor's office that those are personnel records exempt from the state's open records law. The AP and the newspaper argued that the applicant's names and other details are public information. Shawnee County District Judge's Rebecca Crotty ruled in December 2015 in favor of AP and the newspaper, prompting the state to appeal. The appellate decision overturns Crotty's ruling.

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Kansas Education Department Faces Delays in State Testing 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — School districts all over Kansas are experiencing delays in state assessment testing this week, forcing some to shut down the tests altogether. Kansas State Department of Education spokeswoman Denise Kahler says state education officials have been in contact with the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation to determine the delays' cause. The center is a University of Kansas entity that the education department contracts with to host the tests. Kahler says she's been told the issues are with the center's information technology arm, the Kansas Interactive Testing Engine. The Testing Engine says the problem is with the servers, not the tests themselves. Annual state reading and math tests for third- through eighth-graders and 10th-graders is March 14 through April 28.

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Another Earthquake Recorded in North-Central Kansas

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) - Another earthquake has been reported this week in north-central Kansas. The U.S. Geological Survey reports an earthquake with a 3.2 magnitude was recorded Thursday night, centered three miles south of Mankato. The Hays Post reports that three other quakes, with magnitudes of 3.0, 2.7 and 3.4, also caused shaking in the same area earlier this week. Jewell County Sheriff Don Jacobs says no damage or injuries have been reported from the earthquakes. Elsewhere, a 2.8-magnitude earthquake hit Sunday in south-central Kansas. It was centered about 2 miles southeast of Medicine Lodge.

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National Republicans Pouring Money into Kansas House Race

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic candidate James Thompson has accused national Republicans of trying to buy the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo with nearly $100,000 in last-minute television and digital advertising just days before the nation's first congressional race since the election of President Donald Trump in November. His comments came following a candidate forum at Wichita State University where Republican Ron Estes failed to show up. The National Republican Congressional Committee this week bought more than $67,000 in local television advertising along with $25,000 for digital advertising. Thompson says it shows how desperate Republicans are. He says rather than have a candidate who will actually get out and work and listen to people, the Republicans are trying to buy the campaign. But Estes's campaign countered that he attended an earlier candidate forum, and predicted Estes will win Tuesday's election.

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz to Campaign for GOP Hopeful in Kansas Race 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Texas Senator Ted Cruz plans to come to Wichita to campaign for Republican candidate Ron Estes ahead of a special congressional election. The Estes campaign announced that Cruz would appear with the candidate during a Monday afternoon rally at Yingling Aviation. The special election is Tuesday in the 4th Congressional District of south-central Kansas. Estes is the state treasurer and he's running to replace Mike Pompeo after Pompeo's appointment as CIA director. The Democratic candidate is civil rights attorney James Thompson. Flight simulator instructor Chris Rockhold is running as a Libertarian. Cruz won the state's presidential caucuses last year. Estes initially backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio but is a longtime Republican activist. Thompson spokesman Chris Pumpelly said the last-minute Cruz visit is a sign Republicans are panicking about the race.

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2 Kansas Men Charged with Killing Golden Eagle 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two Kansas men have been charged with shooting and killing a golden eagle. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall announced Friday that 22-year-old Michael Dusin of Phillipsburg, and 22-year-old Elijah Kuhlman, of Sharon Springs, are charged with violating the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Court documents say the two men were driving in Wallace County when they saw what they later described as a large, black bird. Prosecutors say Dusin shot the bird and left it on the ground. A Kansas wildlife investigator found the dead eagle's body in December and two shotgun shells in the road. Tests on the eagle's remains found it contained 41 metal pellets. If convicted, Dusin and Kuhlman face up to a year in federal prison and a fine up to $100,000.

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Kansas Clerk Tells of Dangerous Encounter with Fugitive

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A convenience store clerk just two months on the job was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the subject of a nationwide manhunt strolled into the Pratt, Kansas, store, pointed a gun at him and asked for his keys. Riley Juel, in a telephone interview Thursday with The Clarion-Ledger, said the man was Alex Deaton, who was wanted for two Mississippi slayings, a New Mexico carjacking and the shooting of a store clerk west of Wichita. Juel says Deaton told him he only wanted his keys, but then Deaton shot him. Juel says he ran into a back room of the Kwik Shop and called 911. 

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Kansas City Considers Settlement with Worker Known as Dr. H2O 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Legal advisers for Kansas City, Missouri are recommending a settlement with a longtime water employee known as Dr. H2O for his educational videos and his visits to schools to teach children about water quality. The Kansas City Star reports that the city council will consider next week the legal department's recommendation that Wilbur Dunnell be paid $557,567. Dunnell, who is black, alleged in the lawsuit that he was discriminated against based on his race. He's a chemist and longtime supervisor with the water services lab division. The settlement would avoid a trial, resolve any potential liability and Dunnell would retire. In March, the city settled a different water employee's claim of a sexually-hostile workplace for $500,000. A third water services chemist has a lawsuit pending in Jackson County, Missouri.

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Third Man Guilty in Girl's Death at Kansas City Water Park 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The last of three men prosecuted in the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl at a Kansas City water park has been convicted of murder. A Jackson County (Missouri) jury on Friday found Ce-Antonyo Kennedy guilty of second-degree murder in the 2015 death of Alexis Kane. Last month, Isaac Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Dominic McDaniel pleaded guilty last year to voluntary manslaughter. All three Kansas City men also were convicted of armed criminal action. They were originally charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say the girl was beaten and shot at The Bay Water Park in south Kansas City. Court documents say Alexis was killed after meeting someone she was communicating with on Facebook. The jury will recommend sentencing Monday. McDaniel and Carter are scheduled for sentencing April 28.

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1 of 2 Bodies Found by Missing Woman's Relatives Identified 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say a body found by a family searching for a missing Missouri woman was that of a 19-year-old Kansas man. Police announced Friday the body was that of Dante Jamal Jefferson of Merriam. The Kansas City Star reports that the cause of death is being investigated but the case is considered a homicide. Jefferson's relatives told police in January they hadn't seen him since December 5. Friends and relatives of Jessica Runions found the body in south Kansas City in late January. Runions, of Raymore, was last seen September 8 in south Kansas City. Searchers found two sets of remains near Belton this week. One of the bodies was identified as Runions'. The second set of remains has not been identified.

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Former Kansas High School Coach Enters No Contest Plea  

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas high school coach has pleaded no contest to sexual exploitation of a child after a nude picture of a minor was found on his cell phone. The Great Bend Tribune reports that 55-year-old Todd Kaiser entered the plea Thursday in Barton County District Court. Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor says authorities obtained a search warrant in June and found the nude picture. At the time, Kaiser was a physical education teacher at Eisenhower School. He also was a head cross country coach, winter weights coach, track head coach and driver's education teacher for the Great Bend district. He had worked for the school system since 1987. Sentencing is set for June 23.

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Kansas Suspect Accused in Kidnapping of Missouri Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities are searching for a suspect in the kidnapping of a Kansas City, Missouri, man who was last seen Monday. Jackson County prosecutors charged 21-year-old Maro Sosa-Perea, of Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday with kidnapping and armed criminal action in the disappearance of Cristian Escutia. The 19-year-old was last seen being shot at and forced into a sport utility vehicle in Kansas City, Missouri. Court records say a witness told police that Sosa-Perea had said he was driving the vehicle when the victim was kidnapped. The witness said Escutia was forced out of the vehicle in Kansas City, Kansas, and that at least two shots were fired at him. Prosecutors want Sosa-Perea held on a cash-only bond of $150,000 when he is arrested.

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World War I Centennial Commemoration Speaker: U.S. Still Lives in 'Long Shadow' of the Great War

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The head of a panel behind the commemoration of the day the U.S. entered World War I credits the American involvement and its military might with ending the bloodshed. Retired Army Colonel Robert Dalessandro of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission told a crowd of thousands Thursday on the Kansas City, Missouri, grounds of the nation's official World War I memorial that "we still live in the long shadow of (that conflict) in every aspect of our lives." Dalessandro added that "America entered the war to bring liberty, democracy and peace to the world after almost three years of unprecedented hardship, strife and horror." Thursday's daylong observance titled, "In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace," included patriotic music, readings from the time America declared war on Germany, and a flyover by planes that left plumes of red, white and blue smoke.

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Injured Bald Eagle Discovered Near Wichita 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A bald eagle is receiving care at a local raptor center after being discovered injured at Lake Afton. The Wichita Eagle reports that 911 dispatchers called a team of Sedgwick County sheriff's deputies and Ken Lockwood of the Eagle Valley Raptor Center to rescue the bird Thursday. County firefighters also arrived at the scene to help. The roughly 3-year-old eagle was found emaciated and unable to fly. Lockwood took the eagle to the raptor center in Cheney, where it will be fed and receive veterinary care to determine whether it is ill or suffering from internal injuries. The bird's rehabilitation is expected to take about two months. Lockwood says the eagle will then likely be released in the same area at Lake Afton where it was found.

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Sophomore Forward Carlton Bragg Jr to Transfer from KU 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. is transferring from the University of Kansas, ending a rocky tenure with the Jayhawks marked by legal trouble off the court and underwhelming play. The school said Thursday that the former five-star prospect from Cleveland had decided to leave the program. Bragg did not say where he intends to transfer. Bragg was briefly suspended this past season when he was accused of pushing a woman down a flight of stairs, though video evidence showed that he was acting in self-defense. He was suspended again when drug paraphernalia was uncovered in the program's dormitory during an unconnected investigation. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds this season, and he did not play in the Jayhawks' loss to Oregon in the Midwest Regional finals in the NCAA Tournament.

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Twins Rally to Beat Royals 5-3 for Series Sweep

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins held off Kansas City's bullpen again and beat the Royals 5-3 Thursday to sweep the season-opening series. The Twins are 3-0 for the first time since 2007, handing the Royals their first 0-3 start since 2001. This was Minnesota's first sweep of Kansas City in 18 series between them since April 2014. The Royals' Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas homered off Twins starter Kyle Gibson to take Jason Hammel off the hook in his Royals debut, but new reliever Mike Minor (0-1) let the Twins take the lead again. The Twins' Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco hit consecutive RBI doubles in the seventh inning.

 

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