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Headlines for Saturday, April 18, 2015

Kansas Authorizes $1 billion in Bonds for Pension System

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill authorizing $1 billion in bonds to bolster Kansas' pension system for teachers and government workers. The bill that Brownback signed Wednesday will give the pension system an infusion of cash and narrow a gap in funding for pension benefits. The state expects to earn more from investing the new funds than it would pay on the bonds. But some lawmakers have expressed concerns that it could be risky and the votes to pass it in the Legislature were relatively close. Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly from Topeka has said she believes the state was made the move in order to lower its annual pension payments as it faces budget shortfalls of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1st.

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Kansas State Lab Reports Uptick in Rabies Cases

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State University laboratory that conducts rabies testing is reporting a spike in positive results.  Diagnostician Rolan Davis says there were 28 positive rabies cases from January through March of this year, up from 10 positives for the same three months in 2014.  The school said this week in a news release that 23 of the cases involve rabies in a skunk, the animal most associated with carrying the virus in Kansas. There also were three cases in cats, one in a bovine and one in a fox. Davis says the increase isn't a cause for alarm but urged people to be aware in case they come across an infected animal. Officials at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory say vaccinating pets is the best protection against rabies.

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Man Wounded in Break-in Attempt Gets Invite from Homeowner

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man wounded during an attempted home break-in has gotten an invitation to worship with the pastor who shot him. The Sedgwick County prosecutor's office said the pastor provides assistance to men with alcohol and drug addiction. During a sentencing hearing yesterday (FRI), the pastor invited 30-year-old Corey Burgardt, of Wichita, to attend his church. Burgardt previously pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminal damage to property and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass. Prosecutors said Burgardt tried to get into the pastor's home in November after a night of drinking. Prosecutors said the pastor fired a shot that grazed Burgardt's forehead. Besides an extended three year probationary period, Burgardt also was ordered to continue his current alcohol treatment program and pay $2,743 in restitution for the damage he caused.

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Police: Man Posed as Undercover Officer, Tried to Sell Guns

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A 24-year-old central Kansas man is accused of claiming to be an undercover police officer and trying to sell guns out of the trunk of his car. The Salina Journal reports the Salina man, who previously has been convicted of a felony, is accused of criminal possession of a firearm and impersonating a police officer. Police spokesman Capt. Mike Sweeney says officers were sent to a sports bar around 3 p.m. Thursday because a man claiming to be an undercover officer was trying to sell three handguns from his car. Sweeney says the man left before officers arrived, but his car was located near an intersection around 4:40 p.m. and three guns were recovered.

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Civil Rights Bus Tours Planned of Historic Topeka Sites
 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A rolling tour of Topeka's civil rights history is planned for next week. Buses will depart at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on April 25 from the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, which is housed in a former all-black Topeka school. It tells the story of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned segregated education. The tour route features the building that served as the first Kansas Capitol during most of the Civil War, the former segregated Buchanan School and the Ritchie House. John Ritchie was a passionate slavery opponent, and he'd hide runaways in a wooded area behind his home. Abolitionist John Brown visited the home in 1859 with escaped slaves. Historic re-enactors will be at the sites.

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New Play to Debut at Constitution Hall in Lecompton

LECOMPTON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Historical Society says an acting troupe of history re-enactors plans to present the new play "John Brown: Widow Maker." The Lecompton Re-enactors plan to put on the new play about the fiery abolitionist at 2 p.m. May 3 at Constitution Hall State Historic Site. Amid fighting over whether the Kansas territory would enter the union as a free or slave state, Lecompton was the seat of government for several years. The acting troupe will portray Mahala Doyle and Louisa Jane Wilkinson. Both women lost family during the "Pottawatomie Massacre" in which Brown oversaw the killing of five pro-slavery supporters in May of 1856 in retaliation for a Lawrence attack. Brown and his second wife, Mary Brown, are also portrayed.

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