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Headlines for Monday, May 15, 2017

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

UPDATED at 6:30pm:

Kansas House Panel Whittles Down School Funding Plan

A Kansas House committee has whittled down a proposal to increase funding for public schools.  The special committee on school finance has approved a proposal to phase in a $280 million increase in spending over two years.  The committee started with a plan to increase school funding by $783 million over five years.  Now, the smaller plan heads to the full House for debate.  Some members questioned whether lawmakers would boost taxes enough to pay for the larger plan.  Others said the committee's smaller funding package is inadequate.  The education spending plan is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that current education funding is inadequate.  The state spends about $4 billion a year on aid to its 286 local school districts. The court did not say how much more the state must spend.


Kansas Lawmakers Advancing Bill for Oversight of Foster Care

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have advanced a bill that would increase their oversight of the state's privatized foster care system and the contractors running it. The House gave first-round approval to the measure Friday on a voice vote. Members plan to take another vote this week to determine whether the proposal goes to the Senate. The bill would create an 18-member task force to collect data from the state Department for Children and Families on the foster care system and its contractors and to make recommendations for improvement. Recent state audits have said the department and contractors weren't collecting enough documentation or data to oversee the program and ensure children were placed in safe and appropriate homes. Another audit said some parts of the state didn't have enough foster homes.


Kansas Legislature's Session Hits 91st Day with 100 Budgeted

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature's annual session has reached its 91st day with leaders having budgeted for 100 days.  The session's 90th day was Sunday. That's considered the traditional length.  But the Kansas Constitution allows lawmakers to extend sessions past 90 days in even-numbered years and doesn't limit them in odd-numbered years.  Session lengths have varied widely over the past decade. A 73-day session last year followed a record 114-day session in 2015.  Only six sessions have lasted 100 days or longer, starting with 1990's 100 days. Sessions were 103 days in 1991; 100 in 1992; 107 in 2002 and 100 in 2012 before 2015's record.  The 100th day this year is May 24.  Lawmakers still have a lot of work to do.  They must close budget shortfalls and respond to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling on education funding.


Central Kansas Man Dies from Virulent Form of Meningitis

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Health officials are investigating a central Kansas man's death from an extremely dangerous form of bacterial meningitis.  State health officials say laboratory tests have confirmed that the death in Barton County was the result of the acute infection of the bloodstream.  Authorities are now working to identify people exposed to the man.  The bacteria can be spread through close contact -- such as sharing a drinking glass, kissing or living in close quarters with an infected person.  


Kansas Deputy Ordered to Stand Trial on Child Sex Charges

BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) - A fired eastern Kansas sheriff's deputy has been ordered to stand trial on sexual misconduct charges involving a teenager.  Authorities say 28-year-old Matthew Vander Linden has been ordered to stand trial in  Coffey County on charges of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.  The deputy is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old.


Proposed Kansas Prison Faces Bipartisan Skepticism

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A plan in Kansas to build a new prison to replace the state's oldest and largest correctional facility in Lansing faces bipartisan skepticism from legislators worried that their oversight is being skirted. Governor Sam Brownback's administration expects to have a list of qualified companies interested in building the new prison by the end of the week. Some parts of the prison near Leavenworth were built using prison labor 150 years ago. The project to replace the aging facility would cost up to $155 million. The state could finance it with bonds or lease the new prison from a private company for up to 40 years before buying it. Legislators must approve demolition of existing buildings and authorize any bonds for the project. Lawmakers are considering requiring another review of the project by legislative leaders.


Human Remains Found Near Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities in Sedgwick County say human remains have been found in a farm field just outside of Wichita's city limits. Sheriff's Lt. Lin Dehning says the remains were found Monday afternoon by the property owner while he was mowing. Dehning tells The Wichita Eagle that it's too early to tell the age and gender of the person whose remains were found, or whether any foul play was involved.  


Kansas Sheriff Says It Could Take Months to Identify Human Skull 

NEOSHO RAPIDS, Kan. (AP) — The sheriff in east-central Kansas' Lyon County says that it may take months to identify a human skull and other remains found last month near Neosho Rapids. Sheriff Jeff Cope says he believes the remains are those of an older adult man. Cope tells KVOE-TV in Emporia that identifying the remains found April 29 and what caused that person's death has been a slow effort. Cope says his department continues investigating the matter with the county's coroner. The specific location of where the remains were found has not been disclosed.


Police: Man Was Run Over, His Body Moved Elsewhere

ANDOVER, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say it appears that a man was run over in rural Kansas and his body dumped six miles away.  Butler County authotities say two people delivering newspapers early Saturday found the man's body in the middle of a road.  It was missing shoes, socks and pants. Detectives later found the missing clothing items and a cell phone in a ditch.  


15-Month-Old Girl Seriously Hurt at Carnival in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A 15-month-old girl is in the hospital after being seriously hurt at a carnival.  The Wichita Eagle reports  the girl was injured Friday night while standing outside a bounce house with her dad while her mom and big sister were inside.  Lynn Bartonek says her granddaughter was swinging back and forth on a wire in front of the bouncy house when she was hurt.  Officer Charley Davidson said it possible the girl was hurt by an electric shock.  The girl's parents flagged down off-duty police officers nearby who called for help. Paramedics tried to revive her for an hour before taking her to the hospital.  Bartonek says doctors found burn marks on the girl's feet.  The girl still hadn't regained consciousness as of late Saturday.


Federal Mediator to Investigate Seizure of Hutchinson College Newspapers 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal mediator is expected to look into the controversy between administrators at Hutchinson Community College and student journalists that recently culminated with the seizure of newspapers and cancelation of media classes. Suspended journalism professor Alan Montgomery said the mediator will hear the dispute on June 8. Montgomery's grievance, filed in March, alleges administrators interfered with contract provisions for academic freedom in teaching. It also contends the college used disciplinary proceedings to intimidate students who had written stories critical of the administration. HCC President Carter File says he doesn't care what is in the paper. Montgomery filed the grievance before his April 28 suspension and cancelation of journalism classes and the newspaper's temporary confiscation days later. The college later reversed its decision to cancel the semester's final issue.


Topeka Fire Damages House, Kills Dog

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say an arson fire has killed a dog and caused an estimated $18,000 in damage to a Topeka house. Fire officials say a passerby notified an officer about the fire late Saturday while police were investigating a report of a shooting in which a vehicle was struck by shotgun pellets. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that besides the dog that was killed, another dog was treated for smoke inhalation.


Former NBA Player Graduates from KU
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Former NBA player Drew Gooden has graduated from the University of Kansas, 14 years after leaving early to play professional basketball.  The 35-year-old graduated Sunday after completing his bachelor's degree in communication studies.  The forward left school as a junior in 2002... and was chosen fourth overall in that year's draft.  Gooden says he's now looking into getting his master's degree and plans to send a copy of his diploma to former university head coach Roy Williams.


Baltimore Oriole Uses KC Visit to Urge Race Dialogue

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones says the widely condemned racial insult hurled at him at Fenway Park recently illustrates the need for dialogue about race and for fans to police each other. He says he is trying to grapple with the reality that "people aren't afraid to show ugliness and hate right now." Jones spoke Saturday at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City while his team played a series with the Royals. He describes what happened to him in Boston last Monday night as "very unfortunate." He says this should serve as a reminder that players are trying to do their job and should be respected. Jones adds that he doesn't mind if fans "yell at us a little bit," provided the catcalls do not degenerate into obscenities or racial slurs.


Royals Sweep Series Beating Orioles 9-8

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals' Mike Moustakas homered and drove in four runs to help the Kansas City Royals rally from five runs down to beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 Sunday. Jorge Soler and Drew Butera also homered for the Royals. Soler's 464-foot shot to center leading off the seventh was the longest by a Kansas City player this season. The Royals have won four straight and six of seven games. The Orioles' Caleb Joseph had a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Matt Strahm (1-2), the second of seven Royals pitchers, picked up the victory. Kelvin Herrera finished up for his eighth save in nine chances.


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