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Headlines for Monday, March 14, 2016

Kansas news headlines from the Associated Press

Bill Would Lower Sales Tax on Food, Drop Business Tax Break 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita lawmaker's bill would roll back a tax exemption for business owners in order to reduce sales tax on groceries. Republican Representative Mark Hutton's bill is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday before the House Taxation Committee. It would remove the income tax break for owners of limited liability companies and other pass-through businesses. The Kansas Department of Revenue says that action would raise about $261 million. That would allow the state to lower the sales tax on groceries between 2.6 percent and 2.9 percent. The Wichita Eagle reports that Hutton led a coalition last year that tried to remove the same income tax exemption. That effort stalled when Governor Sam Brownback threatened to veto any bill that contained that provision. Brownback has made similar comments this session.


Amtrak Train Derails in Southwest Kansas, 29 Injured 

CIMARRON, Kan. (AP) -  Federal investigators are headed to the scene of an Amtrak train derailment in southwest Kansas. A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board says the agency is sending a team to investigate the derailment of the train early this (MON) morning sending 29 people to hospitals in Dodge City and Garden City. A Gray County spokeswoman says none have life-threatening injuries. The Amtrak Southwest Chief was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed just after midnight about 20 miles west of Dodge City. Amtrak says the train had 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board. Other passengers were taken to a local recreation center and will be provided alternate transportation to their final destination.


Kansas City Chief Defends Police Tactics During Trump Rally Protests

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The police chief in Kansas City, Missouri is defending his officers' use of pepper spray in handling crowds of protesters outside of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally Saturday night. Chief Darryl Forte said that the protesters included a "heavy presence of known anarchists" outside The Midland Theatre in downtown Kansas City. The Trump rally was repeatedly interrupted by protesters inside the venue. Forte says the event attracted a bomb threat and "outside agitators," and he says pepper spray was deployed only after a crowd ignored several orders to clear the street. Four people were arrested before and during the event..


Kansas Students Report Attack from Man Shouting 'Trump' 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating a report that two college students were attacked by a man shouting racial epithets and the name of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Wichita State University student body vice president Khondoker Usama, who is Muslim, said he and a Hispanic friend witnessed a white man calling a black customer a racial epithet at a convenience store before the man turned on him and his friend Saturday. Usama said he was pushed, and that his friend was punched and kicked. Usama said the man then rode away on his motorcycle, after circling them and shouting Trump's name. A police report says the friend suffered a bruised lip. Police Lieutenant Jeff Gilmore told The Wichita Eagle that officers are seeking surveillance video from the store.


Parents of Alleged Rape Victim Sue University of Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Parents of a former University of Kansas student who says she was raped in university housing are suing the university, claiming that campus housing is unsafe. In the lawsuit filed in Douglas County, the parents say their daughter was a freshman at the Lawrence campus when she was assaulted at Jayhawker Towers by a football player in the fall of 2014. She withdrew from the university in January 2016. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, claims the university has misled the public by representing campus housing as safe. University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson told the Lawrence Journal-World that campus housing is ‘absolutely safe’ and that the university goes to great lengths to ensure residents’ safety, including training of residence assistants, security cameras, ID-card access and overnight security patrols throughout buildings.


Efforts to Repeal Common Core Gain Steam in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An effort to repeal the national educational standards in math and reading known as "Common Core" is moving forward in the Kansas Legislature. A House Committee approved a bill last month that would prohibit school districts from using Common Core standards. The state Department of Education would like to keep the national standards in place. The department says the standards help prepare students for college, but critics say they set a national curriculum instead of letting local leaders decide what's best for students. House Speaker Ray Merrick's office is working on changes to the proposal and it is expected to appear again before the end of the session. 


Report Finds Wage Gap, Other Inequities for Women in Kansas 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A recent report has determined that women in Kansas who work full-time, year-round earn 79 cents for every dollar made by men. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that the University of Kansas Center for Science and Technology & Economic Policy was commissioned by the Women's Foundation to analyze factors such as economic well-being, health and civic engagement of women across the state. The report, titled "Status of Women in Kansas," found that the median earnings of women who work full-time, year-round is about $35,560 annually. Johnson County has the highest median earnings for women, while Gove County has the lowest. Women account for more than 49 percent of the employed individuals in Kansas.


KC Named a Finalist for "Smart City" Transportation Award

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation says Kansas City is among seven finalists for a $50 million award. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Saturday that Kansas City is a finalist in the "Beyond Traffic, Smart City Challenge," which is intended to help mid-sized cities deal with changing transportation needs and plan innovative traffic approaches. The Kansas City Star reports the federal government will allocate $40 million to one city, which also will be eligible to apply for $10 million from Vulcan Philanthropy to support the development of electric vehicles and other low-carbon strategies. The other finalists are Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. The winning city will be announced this summer. The finalist cities will receive $100,000 to refine their proposals.


2 Arrested in Kansas After Explosives Found in Van

HOYT, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man and woman are charged after authorities say sheriff's deputies found a 1-year-old baby and an improvised explosive device in a stolen van. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Jackson County authorities arrested 34-year-old Christopher Dollen of Valley Falls and 28-year-old Cassandra Reveles of Denison on Friday. Sheriff Tim Morse says deputies made the arrests after responding to a report Friday night of a suspicious vehicle parked near a pasture in Hoyt. Morse says authorities found the baby, the explosive device, methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside the van, which had been reported stolen in Shawnee County. Dollen and Reveles are charged with various felonies including drug counts, child endangerment and trespassing.


Man Convicted in Traffic Deaths of Topeka Father, Daughter 

MINNEAPOLIS, Kan. (AP) — A north-central Kansas man will be sentenced April 29 for the deaths of a Topeka father and daughter in a traffic collision. An Ottawa County jury convicted Jason Jeardoe of Bennington on Friday of two felony counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol in the 2014 deaths of Jason and Emma Jo Pisocki. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Jeardoe will be held in jail until his sentencing. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the collision occurred April 11, 2014, on Kansas 18 about three miles west of Bennington. A parked vehicle was partially in the westbound lane and Jeardoe, who was driving west, moved his pickup truck into the eastbound lane to avoid it, colliding head-on with the Pisockis' vehicle. They died at the scene.


Kansas City Group Opens LGBTQ Anti-Violence Crisis Center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group in Kansas City has opened a crisis center for LGBT people to help them access social services. The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project has opened the only domestic violence and sexual assault services center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.  While the project does not provide overnight shelter for domestic violence victims, it will find hotels or other safe housing. It also provides a 24-hour crisis line and services such as clothing, food, job counseling and group meetings. 


Wichita Looks to Limit Free VIP Parking at Airport

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More than 90 people could lose their special parking privileges at the airport in Wichita under a measure about to be decided by city leaders. The Wichita Eagle reports the city council is to vote Tuesday on new parking rules at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport. The proposal designates that only Wichita city officials and employees will get the passes allowing for free parking in the airport's public lots, and even then only when they're on public business. The change is to drop the number of VIP parking passes from 113 last year to less than 27. Holders of the passes have included former members of city staff, 13 members of the airport's advisory board, Congress members and staffers, and current and former Sedgwick County commissioners.


Salina Man Accused of Holding Woman Captive

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas man is accused of holding a woman captive for six hours, threatening her with a knife and choking her. The Salina Journal reports that 31-year-old Clinton Cheney of Salina is charged with domestic battery, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and criminal threat. Salina Police Captain Mike Sweeney says the woman reported being confronted by an acquaintance Thursday morning, leading to an argument. Sweeney says the woman then was held against her will, threatened with a knife and choked to the point of her nearly passing out. She eventually managed to escape. It was not immediately clear if Cheney has an attorney.


Educators, Activists Lobby for Hispanic Studies

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado teacher used an archive on Latino history to help students connect with the death of a young man by police in Missouri. Cara Luchies is just one of the educators and activists across the U.S. working to ensure students learn through ethnic studies about the hard work of nation-building, in the wake of efforts to shut down programs. In recent years, Arizona lawmakers passed a law that shuttered a Tucson schools Mexican-American program. In Texas, a push for a statewide Mexican-American studies elective faltered. But in Colorado, a decade-old state law requires a government class covering "the history and culture of minorities." And a Colorado state lawmaker is pushing legislation that would create a commission to help school districts develop curricula. Luchies says learning improves if students can read about people "who look like them."


No. 1 Overall Seed Kansas Lands in NCAA South Region

UNDATED (AP) — The University of Kansas Jayhawks earned the NCAA Tournament's top overall seed and will open play in the South Region against 16-seed Austin Peay on Thursday. The Jayhawks (30-4) won the Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles. They're chasing a second national title under coach Bill Self. The Wichita State Shockers were also included in the 68-team bracket. Wichita will open in the “First Four” in Dayton, Ohio, with a game tomorrow (TUE) night against Vanderbilt for the 11th seed.  The rest of the South Region includes: No. 2 Villanova, No. 3 Miami, No. 4 California, No. 5 Maryland, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Iowa, No. 8 Colorado, No. 9 Connecticut, No. 10 Temple, No. 12 South Dakota State, No. 13 Hawaii, No. 14 Buffalo and No. 15 UNC Asheville.


Final AP Poll, NCAA Tournament Don't Agree on Top 4 

The final Associated Press college basketball poll and the NCAA Tournament don't agree on the top four teams. Kansas is No. 1 for the third straight week. and fifth overall, while Michigan State, not one of the NCAA field's top four seeds, is second followed by North Carolina and Virginia. The Jayhawks (30-4) received 63 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel. Michigan State, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, got the other two No. 1 votes. Oregon, the NCAA's other No. 1 seed, is fifth followed by Villanova, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Xavier. Miami and Kentucky are tied for 10th. There were six No. 1s this season — one off the record set in 1982-83 — and Kansas's five weeks were the most on top.


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