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Headlines for Friday, February 28, 2014

US Senate Hopeful in Kansas Hits Social Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf is telling Kansas voters he has strong anti-abortion and gun-rights views as he tries to unseat three-term incumbent Pat Roberts in the Republican primary. Wolf told about 40 people at a rally Thursday in Topeka that he is "100 percent pro-life." He also said he's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. Wolf said he has a Kansas concealed carry permit and his firearm of choice is an autoloading rifle. Wolf is a Leawood radiologist with tea party backing, and he had three rallies Thursday with the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. The California-based political action committee endorsed Wolf. Roberts has endorsements from the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life and the Kansas State Rifle Association. Both are influential within the state GOP.


Single-time Payments Boost Kansas Revenues in February

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — One-time income tax payments totaling more than $50 million helped boost Kansas revenue collections in February ahead of official estimates. The Kansas Department of Revenue says Friday that overall revenue collections were $97.6 million more than projected. Individual income taxes were $100.7 million more than anticipated, while corporate tax collections were up $4.8 million. Officials say Kansas collected $329 million in February, beating estimates for $231.4 million. Kansas has collected $3.62 billion in revenues, compared to the $3.5 billion projected for the fiscal year that began July 1. The gains were partially offset by declines from estimates in sales, use, motor carrier and cigarette taxes and fees.


Topeka Man Sentenced to Two life Terms

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Shawnee County judge has sentenced a 40-year-old Topeka man to two consecutive life sentences for two murders more than a decade apart. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Shawnee County District Court Judge David Debenham on Friday sentenced Monroe Eugene Lockhart III to two consecutive life sentences for the murder of Corey Brown in 2012 and Damon Anderson in 2000. Lockhart pleaded guilty Jan. 16 to premeditated first-degree murder in the Jan. 3, 2012, slaying of Brown, and the Valentine's Day 2000 death of Anderson. Both victims were from Topeka. Lockhart has to serve 50 years — 25 years on each of the life sentences — before he's eligible for parole. The life terms also are consecutive to a nearly 10-year sentence tied to a violent Topeka home invasion.
Gardner Edgerton Superintendent Fired

GARDNER, Kan. (AP) — The Gardner Edgerton Board of Education has fired the district's superintendent and two top administrators. KCTV reports the board voted 4-3 Thursday night to terminate the contracts of Superintendent Bill Gilhaus, as well as Lana Gerber, executive director of human resources and administrative services, and Christy Ziegler, executive director of educational services. Board members and district officials are declining comment, saying it's a personnel matter. Pam Stranathan, director of secondary education, will serve as interim superintendent. The Gardner Edgerton School District is about 35 miles southwest of the Kansas City area and has about 5,200 students.
House Amendment Gives Hope for Juvenile Boys Camp

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The fate of a financially troubled ranch for juvenile boys in Sedgwick County might not be sealed after all. Just days after it appeared the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch would have to close in June, Sedgwick County lawmakers got a glimmer of hope Thursday when the Kansas House approved an amendment to a juvenile justice system bill. The Wichita Eagle reports the amendment would require the Department of Corrections to collect data on successful corrections programs for juveniles. The department also would do a cost study to determine what the state should pay for juvenile offender programs. Sedgwick County has told the state it needs a higher reimbursement rate to continue to operate the ranch, which they say has a good record of helping juveniles avoid further criminal problems.

K-State Gets $60M Gift, Largest in School History

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas State University has received a gift of $60 million from the family of Jack Vanier, the largest private donation in school history, to be used for both academics and athletics. The school planned to announce the gift on Friday. Two-thirds of the money will be used on academics, including scholarships and fellowships at the main campus in Manhattan and the technology and aviation campus in Salina. The money will also go toward faculty fellowships and professorships, funding for the Biosecurity Research Institute and facility support for the Kansas State Welcome Center. The remaining $20 million will be used on the third phase of the school's master plan for athletics, including a new academic learning center, football operations office, sports medicine operations and strength and conditioning spaces.


Topeka Woman Sentenced in Lawrence Man's Death

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old Topeka woman was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for the shooting death of a Lawrence man. Brittny Marie Adams was sentenced Friday for the July 2013 shooting death of 51-year-old Gary Edens at his home in Lawrence. Adams pleaded guilty in January to intentional second-degree murder and no contest to two counts of felony threats against a Douglas County Jail corrections officer. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Adams and a 29-year-old Wichita man, Johnathan Rush, were arrested shortly after Edens was shot. Rush pleaded guilty in November to federal firearms charges. Investigators say Adams and Rush went to Edens' home while searching for two girls who abandoned her in Topeka and took off with her car. A motive for Rush's shooting has not been disclosed.


Kansas Mom Sentenced for Trying to Drown Daughters

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kan., woman was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for trying to drown her two daughters in a bathtub. Twenty-four-year-old Johnna Green was sentenced Friday for two counts of attempted second-degree murder. She was given 59 months on each charge, with the sentences to run consecutively. She initially was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder after she tried to drown her 1- and 4-year-old girls last April. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a plea agreement. The Kansas City Star reports Green called police to the house, saying "I just killed my kids." She told investigators she had "perceived" that the girls were "having difficulty with concentrating" and she wanted to prevent that problem.


Missouri Bishop Dies in Ireland After Cancer Fight

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Roman Catholic Bishop Raymond James Boland, the retired leader of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has died shortly after returning to his native Ireland. Diocese spokesman Jack Smith says Boland died Thursday surrounded by family in Cork, Ireland. Smith says Boland "wanted to be buried in the church where he was baptized." Boland had recently entered hospice care after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He was 82. The diocese says Boland was weak from radiation treatment when he left Saturday for Ireland. Smith says Boland's brother, a retired bishop in Georgia, accompanied his brother. Boland served as bishop of the diocese from June 1993 until May 2005, when he retired and took the role of bishop emeritus. Before that, he'd been the bishop in Birmingham, Ala., since early 1988.


Senate Committee Approves Repeal of Mortgage Fee

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Despite opposition from county officials, a Kansas Senate committee recommended the repeal of a mortgage registration fee. The bill would phase out the fee over five years. It was approved by the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee earlier this week. The fee is $2.60 for each $1,000 borrowed on a home mortgage, or $390 for a $150,000 mortgage. The Lawrence Journal-World reports bankers and real estate agents say the fee hurts their business and consumers. But county officials statewide said the fee brings in needed revenue, which would have to be replaced in some other way. The bill would phase in over four years a $4-per-page increase for documents handled by county registers of deeds. But county officials say that won't raise enough money to replace the mortgage fee.


Missouri Senate Passes Business Truce with Kansas

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators have passed legislation proposing a truce with Kansas in the battle for businesses in the Kansas City area. The bill approved 30-2 Thursday would end offers of special tax incentives for businesses to relocate from one side of the border to the other in the metropolitan region. The measure now goes to the Missouri House. But the truce also would need approval from the Kansas Legislature or governor to take effect. Over the past five years, Missouri and Kansas have collectively waived hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues for businesses that moved across the state line. The Missouri legislation would bar incentives for businesses moving between the Missouri counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass and the Kansas counties of Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas and Miami.


Agency says Kansas Exports Rose in 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State commerce officials say exports by Kansas companies grew by 6.46 percent in 2013, pushed by growth in the sales of cereals and other agricultural products. The Department of Commerce released the data Thursday, showing that total exports were $12.45 billion. The state's exports have rebounded in the past three years to near levels last seen in 2008. Canada, China, Japan and Mexico were the state's top trading partners. The department says exports to China have grown by nearly $1 billion since 2011. Cereal exports grew by $686 million, while meat products grew by $298 million. Exports of aircraft and related parts totaled $1.86 billion, the most exported commodity in the state.

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