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Headlines for Monday, May 1, 2017

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

Kansas Taxes $1.8M Better Than Expected in April 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas collected slightly more in taxes than it had expected in April. The state Department of Revenue reported Monday that tax collections last month were $1.8 million more than anticipated. The state collected about $639 million in taxes when it had anticipated about $637 million. The surplus for the month is 0.3 percent. The report comes less than two weeks after state officials and university economists revised revenue projections through June 2019. The new forecast was a little more optimistic than the previous one issued in November. Kansas has faced projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019. Lawmakers reconvened Monday after their annual spring break to finish work on closing the budget gaps. They are expected to increase income taxes.

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Kansas House Leader Says New Tax Plan Emerging 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  A top Kansas House Republican says lawmakers are working on an income tax increase to fix the state budget that would be similar to a plan vetoed by GOP Governor Sam Brownback. House Majority Leader Don Hineman of Dighton said Monday that the plan being drafted would return the state to having three personal income tax rates. The state now has two rates with separate ones for lower- and upper-income earners. It eliminated a third rate for the wealthiest earners in 2012. Brownback successfully pushed lawmakers for massive personal income tax cuts in 2012 and 2013, but budget problems followed. He vetoed a bill in February that would have raised more than $1 billion over two years and returned the state to three personal income tax rates.

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Newest Member of Kansas Senate Takes Seat 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  A southeast Kansas insurance agent is the state Senate's newest member. Republican Senator Richard Hilderbrand of Baxter Springs was sworn in Monday. His wife, Marisa, held a Bible as the oath was administered by Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. The 48-year-old Hilderbrand replaced former GOP state Senator Jake LaTurner of Pittsburg. GOP Governor Sam Brownback appointed LaTurner state treasurer last month to replace Republican Ron Estes after Estes won a special congressional election. The congressional seat was formerly held by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Republicans in the 13th Senate District picked Hilderbrand as the new senator Sunday. He'll have to run in a special election in 2018 to keep the seat for another two years. Hilderbrand previously served seven years on the Cherokee County Commission.

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Thousands Without Power After Storm Hits Western Kansas 

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Tens of thousands of people are without power after a spring storm dumped more than a foot of snow across part of western Kansas. National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Buller says that from 10 to nearly 20 inches fell from Friday night through Sunday afternoon in an approximately 40-mile wide band in northwest and west-central Kansas. He says the heavy snow, combined with 40 to 60 mph winds, downed tree limbs. Drifts of up to 5 feet were recorded. Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Katie Horner says about 42,000 electric customers were without power at the height of the storm. The storm briefly shut down Interstate 70, and other roads remained closed Monday. National Guard teams have been called out at least 40 times to rescue stranded motorists.

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Conservative Kansas Group Looks to Start New Legal Institute 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A conservative Kansas think tank is hoping to help launch a new legal institute next year to represent people who have conflicts with state and local governments. The Kansas Policy Institute announced Monday that it is starting fundraising for a new Kansas Justice Institute and hope the institute can begin operations next year. KPI President Dave Trabert said that while his small-government, anti-tax organization would help the nonprofit justice group form, it would be independent with its own board of directors. Trabert said the new institute would help people who have disputes over occupational licenses or face having possessions seized despite not having been convicted of a crime. He also said the institute would represent parents who do not believe their children are getting the public education they deserve.

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Police Release Identities in Fatal Shooting at Topeka Home 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of a suspected gunman and three victims who died in a weekend attack at a Topeka home for people with special needs. Police on Monday identified the victims in Sunday's attack as 29-year-old Larry Gueary, 20-year-old Soren Galvez and 64-year-old Jesus Galvez. They identified the suspected attacker as 25-year-old Joshua Gueary and say he apparently killed himself. Another victim was injured in the attack but is expected to survive. Topeka Police Lieutenant Colleen Stuart declined to say whether the men were related or how they were associated with the home, but she said more information on the attack would be released later Monday.

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Lawyer: Kansas Group Home Attacker Was Victim's Brother 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A lawyer says the man suspected of killing three people at a Kansas home for the disabled was the brother of one of the victims, who worked at the home. Police on Monday identified the suspected gunman as 25-year-old Joshua Gueary and those killed Sunday as 29-year-old Larry Gueary, 20-year-old Soren Galvez, and 64-year-old Jesus Galvez. They say Joshua Gueary apparently killed himself after killing the others. Pedro Irigonegaray, a lawyer for the Topeka home's owners, Jonathan and Gina Allen, said Monday that Joshua and Larry Gueary were brothers and that Jesus and Soren Galvez were Gina Allen's father and brother. They were servicing the home when they were killed. A fourth victim was injured and is expected to survive. Police have not released a possible motive for the attack.

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Kansas Lawmakers Returning From Break to Face Tough Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislators are returning from their annual spring break to work on fixing the state budget and are waiting to hear whether tax collections met expectations in April. The Senate is reconvening this (MON) morning and the House planned to gavel in Monday afternoon. The state Department of Revenue is expected to release its monthly report today on tax collections in April. It comes less than two weeks after state officials revised revenue projections to make them a little more optimistic. Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $889 million through June 2019. Legislators have been focused on rolling back some of the past income tax cuts despite Governor Sam Brownback's resistance. He vetoed a similar tax bill in February. GOP leaders hope lawmakers can finish their work by mid-May but it could drag into June, as it did in 2015.

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Kansas Sheriff Probes Human Skull, Other Remains Found 

NEOSHO RAPIDS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in east-central Kansas's Lyon County say they're investigating the case of a human skull and other remains found last weekend near Neosho Rapids. The Lyon County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the remains were found Saturday. Investigators say the cause of the person's death hasn't been determined. The sheriff's department did not indicate if the remains have been identified.

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AT&T Dropping Phone Program for Low-Income Kansans

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — AT&T says it will withdraw from a Kansas program that subsidizes landline telephone service for low-income residents. The Lawrence Journal-World reports most AT&T customers who participate in the Kansas Lifeline Service Program will no longer receive the subsidies after May 31st. However, the company will offer the discounts in some, mostly rural areas that the Federal Communications Commission has designated as high-cost areas with little broadband service. The Kansas Lifeline Service Program offers up to $17 a month for local phone service to people who receive public assistance or meet income-eligibility guidelines. AT&T officials said customers served by the program have mostly moved to other carriers, particularly wireless services, for phone and internet access. 

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Kansas Judges Back Off Effort to Keep Jurors' Names Secret

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas judges are backing off an effort to shield jurors' names in a compromise with transparency advocates who hope to avoid court secrecy. The Kansas District Judges Association will still seek to keep jurors' addresses secret under its compromise with the Kansas Press Association. Lawmakers had approved the original bill, but the measure can still be changed before getting final legislative approval. Transparency advocates had warned that the original effort was part of what they see as a growing trend across the U.S. toward anonymous juries. States where courts don't have to release jurors' names include California, Indiana and Oklahoma. Kansas judges said they want to protect jurors from harassment and stop a "chilling effect" potential jurors' experience when they have to disclose their information for the public record.

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Survey Suggests Improvement in Midwest Economic Conditions

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Results from a monthly survey of business supply managers suggest a slight improvement in the economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report released today (MON) says the overall economic index for the region rose to 61.4 in April from 60.1 in March. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the figures suggest strong growth for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing through the third quarter of this year. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Arkansas Woman Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash on I-70 in Kansas

WAKEENEY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an Arkansas woman has been killed in a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 70 in Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 47-year-old Lisa Longo, of Fort Smith, was killed Saturday as she picked up debris along the side of Interstate 70. The patrol says a tractor-trailer that was in the passing lane went left of center and struck her. Longo was out of her vehicle because it had lost part of its load. The vehicle was parked along the shoulder. Authorities are looking for a dark-colored semi with a light-colored box trailer that is traveling in tandem with another semi. The patrol says the semi that struck Longo may have damage to the driver's side.

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Catholic University in Kansas Plans LGBTQ Support Group

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A private Catholic university in Kansas is planning to offer a support group for its LGBTQ students, using a model implemented at Notre Dame. Newman University in Wichita says the group was formed in response to a growing interest to recognize diversity on campus. The group, called "Kaleidoscope," met this semester but will officially launch next school year. The Wichita Eagle reports Newman students tried unsuccessfully to form a LGBTQ group in the past. The growing interest prompted formation of committee, which worked over the summer and fall last year. The club must not contradict Catholic teaching that LGBTQ students should be chaste because sex is condoned only in marriage between a man and woman. The group will hold supportive meetings and plan events that recognize LGBTQ students.

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Dog Rescued After Being Found Chained to Block at Missouri Lake 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An animal-welfare group is asking for the public's help in identifying the person it said chained a dog to a cinder block and left him to drown at a Kansas City-area reservoir before he was rescued. Officials with the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals' Great Plains chapter say the dog the group has named "Deputy" was found Friday morning caked with mud at Missouri's Longview Lake. The group says the dog is a shepherd-lab mix that's believed to be 5 to 7 yearold. He is being cared for at Great Plains SPCA's Independence location.

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Police: 2 in Custody in Connection with Wichita Killing 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita, Kansas, say they've arrested two people in connection with last week's stabbing death of an 86-year-old man. Police say a 28-year-old man and 18-year-old woman were booked on suspicion of first-degree murder and robbery. It was not immediately clear Monday if the two had been formally charged. Police said Otto Meyer was found dead Friday at a Wichita house he owned but in which he did not live, and that he had been repeatedly stabbed. Police on Monday declined to discuss Meyer's possible relationship to the suspects.

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Kansas City, Kansas Archdiocese Severing Girl Scouts Ties 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The archdiocese covering the Kansas City, Kansas, region and much of the eastern part of the state is severing ties with Girl Scouts and urging an end to cookie sales, citing philosophical concerns with the organization. The Kansas City Star reports the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced Monday that Girl Scouts is "no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel." The archdiocese says it is switching its support to a 22-year-old, Christian-based scouting program, American Heritage Girls. American Heritage Girls has become an option for those who claim Girl Scouts has turned too liberal and has relationships with organizations that don't share traditional family values. The Girl Scouts deny that.

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Twins Power Past Slumping Royals 7-5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Sano homered and drove in five runs to help the Minnesota Twins beat the slumping Kansas City Royals 7-5 on Sunday for the Royals' ninth straight loss. Sano posted his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. He has 11 hits in his last 16 at-bats. He drove in nine runs in the two-game, rain-abbreviated series. Sano connected in the third after the Royals' Jason Hammel (0-3) walked Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. Sano added run-producing singles in the fourth and sixth innings. This marks the longest losing slide for Kansas City since a 12-game skid in April 2012.
 

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