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Headlines for Monday, February 27, 2017

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

Moody's Criticizes Brownback Tax Bill Veto 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Moody's, a ratings agency, is criticizing Governor Sam Brownback's veto of tax legislation, saying it represents a "credit negative" to Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Brownback vetoed a bill that would've raised personal income taxes and reinstated a third tax bracket Wednesday. Brownback called it a "punitive tax increase on working Kansans." The Legislature attempted to override the veto hours later. However, the veto fell short in the Senate. Moody's senior analyst, Dan Seymour, says Kansas will keep struggling to balance its budget if it continues with a lower-tax policy. He says the state's credit may be at risk in the future. The vetoed bill would've raised more than $590 million next fiscal year.


The Latest: Man Charged in Shooting Appears in Court 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on a deadly shooting at a Kansas bar that some witnesses said was racially motivated (all times local):

4 p.m.

The man jailed following an apparently racially motivated Kansas bar shooting was wearing a safety smock meant to keep him from harming himself during his first court appearance. Adam Purinton is charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the February 22 attack in Olathe that killed one Indian man, wounded another and hospitalized a stranger who tried to intervene. A public defender on Monday waived a formal reading of the charges against Purinton, who was seen in the courtroom through closed-circuit television wearing a green smock. A Johnson County Sheriff's Department spokesman, Master Deputy Rick Howell, says suspects who make statements during initial jail processing that could suggest they might harm themselves are required to wear the smocks until mental health professions say otherwise. Howell would not disclose what Purinton said at the time he was being processed or whether he is considered a suicide risk.

2 p.m. 

The man jailed following an apparently racially motivated bar shooting last week waived a formal reading of the charges Monday and was appointed a public defender. Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, appeared by closed-circuit TV before a Johnson County District Court judge on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder. According to witnesses, Purinton yelled "get out of my country" at two 32-year-old Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, before he opened fire at Austin's Bar and Grill in the Kansas City suburb on Wednesday evening. Kuchibhotla was killed and Madasani injured. A third patron, Ian Grillot, 24, was wounded when he tried to intervene. Public defender Michael McCulloch declined to comment. Purinton's next court appearance is set for March 9.

10:30 a.m.

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri bartender told a 911 dispatcher that a patron said he killed "two Iranian people" just hours after a shooting 70 miles away at a suburban Kansas City bar left one Indian man dead and another hurt. In a recording of the 911 call made early Thursday, the bartender at the Applebee's in Clinton, Missouri, is heard saying the man made her promise she wouldn't call police. Fifty-one-year-old Adam Purinton was arrested soon afterward. He's charged with murder and attempted murder in the shooting in Olathe, Kansas, that some witnesses said was racially motivated. The bartender tells the dispatcher that the man initially said the shootings occurred at a gas station, not a bar. She says the man asked if he could stay with her and her husband.


Man Wounded in Olathe Bar Shooting Speaks at Vigil

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - One of three men shot at a bar in Olathe last week spoke at a vigil over the weekend saying "I wish it was a dream." The Kansas City Star reports 32-year-old Alok Madasani told a crowd of hundreds at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas, on Sunday that "what happened that night was a senseless crime and that took away my best friend." Madasani's friend and co-worker, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed in Wednesday night's shooting at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe. Another patron, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, also was wounded in the shooting. Madasani said the shooting was "an isolated incident that doesn't reflect the true spirit of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States." Fifty-one-year-old Adam Purinton is scheduled to appear in court today (MON) to face charges of murder and attempted murder.


Donations Top One Million Dollars for Olathe Shooting Victims

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — GoFundMe sites for the families of an Indian man who was killed and two men who were injured in a shooting at an Olathe bar have raised more than $1 million combined. The four sites were set up to help relatives of Srinivas Kuchibhotla pay for expenses in the wake of his shooting death Wednesday at Austins Bar and Grill, as well as assist the families of the other victims. Kuchibhotla's friend and co-worker for tech company Garmin, Alok Madasani, was wounded. Another man, Ian Grillot, was shot when he tried to stop the gunman. A GoFundMe spokeswoman said Saturday that the outpouring to the four funds involves more than 26,000 donations from all U.S. states and 39 countries. The suspected gunman, Adam Purinton, remains jailed on charges of murder and attempted murder. 


GPS Device-Maker Garmin Reeling After Kansas Worker Killed

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - GPS device-maker Garmin is reeling from the death of one of its workers from India in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kansas. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an aviation systems engineer, was gunned down in a bar a mile from the company's Johnson County complex. A co-worker also from India and a stranger who tried to help were wounded in the shooting Wednesday. Witnesses say the gunman yelled at two Indian men to "get out of my country" and opened fire. Adam Purinton was arrested in Missouri and is charged with murder and attempted murder. A Garmin human resources chief says she doesn't believe the shooting will jeopardize its recruitment of workers from overseas.  Garmin is a billion-dollar tech company launched in Kansas nearly 30 years ago. The company is now best known for designing and manufacturing GPS devices.


Thompson Says Special Election Referendum on Policies 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic congressional candidate James Thompson says the special election to fill the seat left vacant by CIA Director Mike Pompeo in Kansas will be a referendum on the policies of the state's Republican governor and those of President Donald Trump. His comments came Monday during his first news conference in a race that is playing out amid a backlash in Kansas against the ultra-conservative agenda championed by Governor Sam Brownback. Thompson portrayed his Republican opponent, State Treasurer Ron Estes, as a "Brownback clone" who wants to take those failed economic policies and nationalize them. Estes did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment. Thompson called the news conference to urge a crackdown on human trafficking — an issue he says is consistent with his campaign of fighting for families.


Judge Asks US Election Commission to Weigh In on Lawsuit 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has asked the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to say whether its executive director had the authority to unilaterally require people to prove their citizenship in order to register to vote using a federal form in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon put the question to the commission on Saturday and gave it until June 1 to respond. The commission's executive director, Brian Newby, ordered changes to the federal voter registration form used in the three states to conform to their laws requiring people to provide proof-of-citizenship documentation to register. Voting rights groups sued, saying he didn't have the authority. Leon denied a request for an injunction freezing Newby's order, but a federal appeals court granted one. The commission needs three votes to take action, but it currently has two Republican members and one Democrat who often don't agree on issues.


Senator Pat Roberts Hears From Kansas Farmers Amid Downturn in Ag Economy 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - U.S. Senator Pat Roberts is facing a daunting task as drafting begins on the 2018 Farm Bill amid challenges confronting farmers in the Trump era.  Roberts and U.S. Representative Roger Marshall were in Kansas for the first field hearing of the Senate agriculture committee and to hold meetings with constituents with worries over the agricultural economy. The last farm bill was written when commodity prices were high. They are now at a 60-year-low, farm credit is tightening and the trade outlook is uncertain under the Trump Administration. Roberts says he also worries that U.S. farmers will lose market share, jobs and the ability to export their products under a proposal for a border adjustment tax.


Report Finds Deficient Bridges in NE Kansas and NW Missouri 

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Hundreds of bridges in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri are being called "structurally deficient." The St. Joseph News-Press reports that the National Bridge Inventory Database defines a structurally deficient bridge as having one or more structural defects that require attention. It doesn't mean the bridges are unsafe for driving and does not identify the severity of the deficiency. Bridge engineers at the Missouri Department of Transportation say that if a bridge is deemed unsafe for driving, MoDOT will close the route to the bridge until repairs are made. The survey found 53 structurally deficient bridges in Atchison County and 28 in Doniphan County, Kansas. 


Kansas Counties Hit by January Ice Storm to Receive for Federal Aid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Eighteen Kansas counties affected by a severe ice storm in January will receive federal disaster aid. The Kansas Adjutant General's office announced Friday that President Donald Trump has granted Governor Sam Brownback's request for the disaster declaration. The 18 counties were hit by ice January 13th-16th. Counties eligible for aid are Barton, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ellsworth, Ford, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kiowa, Meade, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush, Seward, Sheridan, Stafford, and Trego. More counties might be added at a later date. The declaration allows county governments to apply for funds for emergency work and to help repair or replace facilities damaged by the ice storm. It also activates a grant program statewide that seeks to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards.


Kansas Man Shot by Police Sentenced to 8 ½ Years

PRATT, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to 8 ½ year in prison for attempting to attack two police officers before being shot. The Kansas attorney general's office says in a news release that 46-year-old Bradley Grant Verstraete, of Pratt, was sentenced Friday for attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. The convictions stemmed from a January 2015 incident in which one of the officers shot Verstraete after he threatened to kill the officers while charging them with a knife. The release says the case spurred Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to seek a legislative change making all crimes committed against a law enforcement officer subject to an enhanced sentence. Currently, such enhancements are not available for the charge of attempted second-degree murder. The legislation is pending.


Police: Dozens of Dogs Rescued from Kansas Home 

NORTON, Kan. (AP) — Police and animal-rescue officials say dozens of dogs have been seized from a northwestern Kansas house and will be assessed for adoption. The Wichita Eagle reports that the police in Norton, Kansas say that the rescue effort that also included the Kansas Department of Agriculture and a nonprofit group called National Mill Dog Rescue involved 51 adult dogs and a dozen puppies. Police said several of the animals were pregnant. National Mill Dog Rescue says it took the canines to its Peyton, Colorado, site, with plans to assess their health and temperament for adoption. The group says it has helped rescue more than 11,500 dogs since 2007.


Police Investigate Man's Death in Kansas As a Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a man's death in Kansas City, Kansas, as a homicide. Police said in a news release that officers responding to a shot fired call found the man dead outside of a home. He had sustained an apparent gunshot wound. Police said the man was in his early 50s, but his name wasn't immediately released. Anyone with information is urged to call a tips hotline.


Storm Chasers Honor "Twister" Star with GPS Tribute

Nearly 200 storm chasers are paying tribute to the late actor Bill Paxton by spelling out his initials using GPS coordinates on a map depicting the heart of Tornado Alley. The effort coordinated Sunday by Spotter Network spelled out "BP" to honor the leading man in the disaster movie "Twister," which inspired a generation of storm chasers. John Wetter, the nonprofit's president, says storm chasers have spelled out the initials of fellow chasers four or five times before but never a non-chaser. Most people participating did not travel, but they instead entered GPS coordinates manually to spell the letters on a map centered around Wakita, Oklahoma. In the movie, Paxton plays a storm chaser who's researching tornados during a twister outbreak in Oklahoma. Paxton's death at age 61 was announced Sunday.


Man's Body Found in Kansas Pond; No Foul Play Suspected 

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Cowley County say the body of a man's body has been found in a pond more than a month after he was last seen. Cowley County Sheriff David Falletti said in a news release that the body of 32-year-old Cole Hartung last Thursday. He'd gone missing January 18. Falletti says an autopsy indicates that Hartung drowned, and that there are no indications of foul play.


Drone Video of Kansas Harvest to Premiere at Festival 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas filmmaker's drone video of the Kansas wheat harvest will premiere next month at the New York City Drone Film Festival. Doug Armknecht's video, "Beauty & Bounty," show the 2016 harvest at his wife's family's farm in Osborne County. The Wichita Eagle reported Monday that his video t is among 32 entries accepted to be shown March 17-19 at the drone film festival. A trailer of the movie shows a race against time as harvest gets underway complete with music, combines, gray skies, and thunder. Armknecht has been capturing farm life in Kansas for the past five years. He says the aerial shots give unique views of the farm and allow the scenery of Kansas to shine. A trailer of the movie shows a race against time as harvest gets underway complete with music, combines, gray skies, and thunder.


Topeka Lake Restocked with 7,000 Pounds of Trout

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Trout fishing suddenly has gotten much better at a northeast Kansas lake. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that workers from Crystal Lake Fisheries of Ava, Missouri, released about 7,000 pounds of trout into Lake Shawnee near Topeka. Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Mike McLaughlin says fishing at the lake was halted Saturday and will resume March 4, giving the trout a chance to acclimate to the water and disperse throughout the lake.


Wichita Serial Killer's Daughter Working on Book 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The BTK serial killer's daughter is writing a book about dealing with the emotional trauma of discovering that her father had killed 10 people. The Wichita Eagle reports Kerri Rawson says she hopes the book help people cope with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, betrayal and depression. Rawson says she experienced all those things after her father's 2005 arrest. Rawson, who lives in Detroit, says writing the book is helping her. Thomas Nelson publishing, which specializes in Christian books, has expressed interest in Rawson's book. Police investigators who arrested Rader believed that Rawson and the rest of Rader's family didn't know about his crimes committed between 1974 and 1991. Rader called himself BTK, which stood for "bind, torture, kill." He is serving a life sentence in prison.


Missouri Man Jailed in Kansas Shooting Death

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) - A Joplin, Missouri, man is jailed without bond as a suspect in the shooting death of a man at the victim's home in southeast Kansas. The Cherokee County, Kansas, Sheriff's Department said in a statement Saturday that the body of 22-year-old Tyler Ryan Myers outside of his home Friday night in Baxter Springs. Police arrested a 20-year-old man at the scene on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter. The sheriff's department says formal charges are expected within days. A 20-year-old woman, also from Joplin, was arrested on suspicion of marijuana distribution and is free on bond.


Former Longtime Kansas Sheriff Dies

OSKALOOSA, Kan. (AP) - A retired longtime Kansas sheriff has died.  Jefferson County officials say Roy Dunnaway was 74 when he died Friday at a Topeka hospital. The cause of death was not released. Dunnaway spent 25 years as Jefferson County sheriff before retiring in 2008. Dunnaway has been a defendant in a unresolved federal lawsuit by Floyd Bledsoe, who spent more than 15 years in prison for the 1999 death of Zetta Camille Arfmann. Bledsoe's conviction was overturned and he was freed in December 2015 after new DNA evidence was found and Bledsoe's brother wrote notes admitting to killing Arfmann before he committed suicide. Dunnaway oversaw that investigation and denied wrongdoing.   


Arizona Man Dies in Hutchinson Apartment Fire

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Hutchinson fire officials say an Arizona man was killed in an apartment fire early Saturday. The city's fire department said in a news release that firefighters found 44-year-old Jason Conrad of Tucson dead inside the apartment after the fire. Conrad was alone at the time. The possible cause of the fire has not been released.


Wichita Police Investigate Shooting that Wounded 13-Year-Old Boy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are investigating a shooting that wounded a 13-year-old boy. A witness reportedly told police that someone repeatedly fired into a bedroom window Saturday morning, hitting the boy in the leg. Police say the boy was hospitalized with injuries not considered life-threatening. Police say seven other people were in the house at the time of the shooting. There was no immediate word about any arrests or charges.


Woman Charged with Killing During Missing Car Keys Argument 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman has been charged with killing her uncle during an argument over missing car keys.  Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutors announced Monday 44-year-old Tanya Starr is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault and armed criminal action a shooting Friday that killed Leroy Farris and wounded another man. Bond is set at $200,000. No attorney is listed for her in online court records. The probable cause statement says several people were drinking and playing cards at Farris's home when Starr began arguing about the keys with a man whom she had been romantically involved in the past and used a gun to hit him. The statement says the weapon went off, striking the man with whom she was arguing in the shoulder and Farris in the head. Starr later surrendered.


Authorities Investigate Deadly Western Kansas Stabbing 

KINSLEY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in a fatal weekend stabbing in western Kansas. The Hays Post reports that Edwards County Attorney Mark Frame says the stabbing happened around 1 pm Saturday in Kinsley. No details were immediately released about what led to the stabbing, the arrest or the names of those involved.


Cigarettes, Candles Blamed in Deadly Kansas Apartment Fire 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials say smoldering cigarettes and burning candles accidentally sparked the southern Kansas house fire that killed an Arizona man. The Hutchinson Fire Department said firefighters found 44-year-old Jason Conrad of Tucson dead inside the first-floor apartment shortly after the fire early Saturday. The city's interim fire chief, Doug Hanen, said Monday that the fire began a couch, and that Conrad's body was found to be partially blocking the entrance door. Conrad was alone at the time.


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