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Headlines for Monday, January 16, 2017

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

Kansas Election Officials Threw Out Thousands of Ballots

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas election officials threw out thousands of ballots cast in November, mostly because the state had no record those residents were registered voters. Some local officials are now voicing concerns about numerous documented instances of lost voter registrations from people who had filled out applications on the state's online site and at motor vehicle offices. Those names never showed up on any poll books despite the fact that the voters had date-stamped, computer screenshot confirmations of their registrations. The secretary of state's office says there was a technical problem with the motor vehicle department computer system that handles online registrations and that it was corrected days after being discovered. Numbers obtained from county election offices and the League of Women Voters for 11 largest counties show that 8,864 ballots cast were not counted. 

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Kansas Lawmakers Seek to Modify Campus Concealed Carry Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bi-partisan group of Kansas lawmakers is seeking to undo parts of a law that will allow concealed guns in public hospitals and colleges. The proposal would permanently exempt several types of health care facilities and colleges from a new law that allows guns in public buildings. The law is set to take effect July 1. Supporters of allowing campuses to ban concealed guns are hopeful because the Legislature is more moderate than it was when the law passed in 2013. The National Rifle Association says it won't support the bill. The NRA says carrying a concealed gun is a right and allows people to protect themselves. Overland Park Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton and Wichita Democratic Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau plan to introduce bills in their respective chambers.

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New Kansas House Speaker Getting Praise for Cooperative Style

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas House's new speaker is receiving bipartisan praise in his first weeks in the job for what fellow lawmakers say is a collaborative style. Ron Ryckman Jr. rose quickly when fellow conservative Republicans had firm control of the House. First elected in 2012, he became chairman of its powerful, budget-writing Appropriations Committee in 2015. He's now the top Republican in a chamber that's shifted to the center after voters showed their discontent with Governor Sam Brownback's fiscal policies by ousting 19 GOP incumbents, most of them Brownback allies. So far Ryckman's colleagues see him as well suited to the task of managing the chamber's work. Legislators are wrestling with budget shortfalls projected to total $1.1 billion through June 2019. 

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States Can Offer Lessons as GOP Proposes Deep Cut Taxes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have pledged to cut federal taxes to boost the economy. But some GOP-controlled states have already adopted similar strategies, only to see growth falter and budget gaps widen. The situation is particularly worrisome in Kansas, Oklahoma and Indiana, where lawmakers are now debating whether to reverse course and raise taxes. And in states that have seen expanded Republican control, such as Arkansas and Iowa, political leaders are signaling caution about any new tax-cut proposals. The reforms show that tax changes always carry an element of uncertainty — about the economy, government needs and even the prices of commodities such as oil. Although the federal and state tax systems are significantly different, both are subject to forces beyond lawmakers' control.

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Federal Lawsuit Filed in Death of Leavenworth Prison Inmate  

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The family of a Topeka man who died while under supervision of the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth contends in a federal lawsuit that he died because of improper medical care. The lawsuit says Otis Bradley collapsed in his cell in December 2014 and died in February 2015. Bradley was serving a nearly five-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the family alleges doctors at a Leavenworth hospital said Bradley needed further evaluation after he collapsed. It alleges a physician working for the prison said no further intervention was needed but Bradley's condition continued to deteriorate before he was hospitalized again and eventually dying. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Justin Long said the agency doesn't comment on ongoing litigation.

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Airbnb to Collect Taxes on Its Bookings in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Airbnb says it will begin collecting taxes on its home-sharing bookings in the state. The Kansas City Star reports the company reached an agreement with the Kansas Department of Revenue to automatically collect and remit the taxes. That will make Airbnb lodging similar to hotels and other lodging in terms of taxing. The company says Airbnb hosts won't have to handle the taxes and their fees to Airbnb will not increase. The agreement is effective February 1. The amounts collected will vary depending on the host's location. The collections will include the state retail sales tax of 6.5 percent, local sales taxes and "local transient guest taxes" ranging from 2 percent to 9 percent. Airbnb now has statewide tax deals with 15 states.

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Power Outages Continue in Western Kansas After Ice Storm 

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Several thousand people in the Dodge City area are still without power after an ice storm coated the region during the weekend. The Victory Electric Cooperative out of Dodge City reported at least 5,000 homes were without power by Monday afternoon and it could take several days to restore all power. The conditions caused most schools around Dodge City and Dodge City Community College to call off classes for Tuesday. Victory officials said in a news release the utility is bringing in more crews to help restore services. Victory serves customers in Ford and Gray counties and parts of seven other counties. A shelter was opened Monday at the Dodge City Community College. Other utilities and electric cooperatives reported scattered outages Monday in western and south-central and central Kansas.

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Kansas Drafting New Guidelines for Wildlife Pets

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is working on new guidelines for how to handle situations where a wild animal is being kept as a pet after game wardens were criticized for shooting a family's pet deer. It is illegal in Kansas to keep a wild animal as a pet. Wildlife officials said they shot Mark and Kim Mcgaughey's pet deer out of concern it could hurt people or spread disease. Robin Jennison, secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, says the situation could have been handled better. He wants new policies for similar situations in place quickly.

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Kansas Man Dies in Missouri Interstate Wreck

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri authorities say one of 13 occupants of a van was killed when the vehicle crashed north of Kansas City. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 35-year-old Maung Hnin of Kansas City, Kansas, was ejected from the van during the crash Saturday on Interstate 29 in Platte County and was hit by another vehicle. He died at the scene. The patrol says three other occupants of the van were taken to a hospital with moderate injuries. Others in the van declined treatment.

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Ice Threat Lingers for Some Midwest States

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A few states in the Midwest again are on alert for icy conditions. While the weekend's storm caused travel issues in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, some meteorologists acknowledged it fell short of dire forecasts. Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa are expected to see a mix of rain and freezing rain on Monday. Strong storms moved through Houston on Monday morning, following a night of storms in Texas. There was at least one tornado touchdown confirmed, and severe weather kept some fans, the Packers and a few Cowboys inside Dallas's AT&T Stadium for more than hour after the NFL divisional playoff game Sunday night. Fire officials in the Dallas suburb of Frisco say more than 30 homes were damaged by high winds Sunday.

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Wichita State Students Run Consulting Firm for Experience

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A student-run consulting firm at Wichita State University is giving undergraduates a chance to gain experience and make mistakes before they enter the workplace. The Wichita Eagle reports that the firm, called Barton International Group, offers data analysis, digital marketing, feasibility analysis and market research. Adviser Kate Kung-McIntyre founded the program in 2008. She says students have the opportunity to "practice and apply what they are learning outside of co-ops and internships." The group has around 30 members, but initially consisted of 13 business students who felt they needed more professional experience. BIG marketing director Carmen Resco says most participants are business students, although the group is open to all undergraduate students at the university. The firm says it has a 95 percent job placement after graduation.

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Man Arrested in Winfield Woman's Shooting Death

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — Winfield police are investigating the shooting death of a 33-year-old woman. Police say officers were called to a Winfield home Sunday evening and found the body of Melissa Gardner. Gardner's 32-year-old husband was arrested and booked into the Cowley County Jail facing a possible second-degree murder charge. No further details were immediately released.

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Villanova Jumps KU, Moves Back to No. 1 in AP Poll 

After a week out as No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll, Villanova returns to the top spot. The Wildcats (17-1), who fell to third last week after five weeks as No. 1, moved back on top following No. 1 Baylor's loss in its only week ever as a top-ranked team. Villanova received 28 first-place votes and 1,580 points from the 65-member national media panel on Monday while Kansas (16-1) remained No. 2 despite getting more first-place votes than the Wildcats. The Jayhawks had 32 No. 1 votes and 1,562 points. UCLA (18-1) moved up one place to third and received three first-place votes. Gonzaga (17-0), the only unbeaten team in Division I, went from fifth to fourth and had the other two No. 1 votes.

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Steelers Beat Chiefs, 18-16, to Advance to Championship Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo.- The 2016-17 season is over for the Kansas City Chiefs. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16 last night at Arrowhead Stadium.  The Steelers are now on their way to the AFC championship game versus New England next Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl.  The Steelers (13-5) held off a late threat by the Chiefs (12-5) to nail down the win. Kansas City's Spencer Ware ran for a 1-yard touchdown late in the game to bring the Chiefs to 18-16. KC converted the 2-pointer to tie the game, but a holding penalty against Chiefs' tackle Eric Fisher nullified the play and the Chiefs could catch up again. Kansas City still has not won a home playoff game since January of 1994 when they beat the Steelers in Kansas City.

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