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Headlines for Saturday, March 7, 2015

GOP Plan Trims Kansas School Aid by $51 Million

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — New Kansas Department of Education figures show that public schools would lose a total of $51 million in state aid before the end of June under an education funding plan from Republican leaders. Figures released yesterday (FRI) show that the total reduction would be 1.5 percent of the general aid districts had been set to receive. Republican Governor Sam Brownback already has announced cuts of $28 million in aid to public schools to help balance the budget, and they take effect today (SAT). Department of Education figures show that the GOP leaders' plan for overhauling education funding would trim an additional $23 million. However, GOP leaders have noted that total spending still would remain significantly above the amount for the 2013 to 2014 school year. They released their plan Thursday.
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Kansas Private Sector Job Growth Better than Previously Reported

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas labor officials say the state's private-sector job growth last year was stronger than previously reported and the highest rate since 2007. The state Department of Labor reported yesterday (FRI) that the number of people employed in private sector jobs was 1.9 percent higher on average each month than in 2013. The department said the new rate was based on more comprehensive federal data. The previous figure was 1.3 percent. An average of about 1.14 million Kansas residents held private-sector jobs each month in 2014. The department had calculated the figure was 14,000 higher than in 2013, based on preliminary data. But federal officials provide more comprehensive data after about six months, and it showed Kansas having an average of 20,800 more private-sector workers each month, compared with 2013.
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Kansas January Unemployment Rate Remained Steady 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas reports that its unemployment rate remained at 4.2 percent in January and the state's private-sector employment grew over the previous year. The state Department of Labor noted yesterday (FRI) that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was significantly better than the 4.7 percent reported in January 2014. The state said 1.14 million Kansas residents held private-sector jobs in January, about 17,100 more than in January 2014. The growth was about 1.5 percent.Government employment also was slightly higher in January than in January 2014. The department said leisure and hospitality businesses saw the most robust employment growth over the year. They employed almost 126,000 people in January. That was 4,200 more than in January 2014, an increase of 3.5 percent.But employment in manufacturing and mining declined.
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Judge Refuses to Dismiss Case Against Suicide Bomb Suspect

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to toss out terrorism-related charges against the man accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack at a Kansas airport. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot rejected yesterday (FRI) all arguments made by defense attorneys for Terry Loewen. The former avionics technician was arrested in December 2013 after authorities said he tried to bring a van filled with inert explosives onto the tarmac at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita. The judge says defense claims of entrapment and outrageous government conduct cannot be determined before the trial. Loewen was arrested after a sting operation in which undercover FBI agents posed as co-conspirators and gave him the fake explosives. Belot also refused to suppress evidence taken from the van due to a clerical error in the date of the search warrant.
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Supreme Court Upholds Conviction in Cheerleader's Murder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the convictions of a Great Bend man who killed a 14-year-old cheerleader and burned her body at the asphalt plant where he worked.The court in a 61-page ruling handed down yesterday (FRI) affirmed Adam Longoria's capital murder conviction in the death of Alicia DeBolt. It rejected defense arguments that publicity surrounding the case was so pervasive that he could not get a fair trial. Alicia was last seen leaving her home in Great Bend for a party just before midnight on August 21st, 2010. Text messages presented at trial showed the then 38-year-old Longoria picked Alicia up that night. Her family reported her missing the next day, and her body was found three days later at the Venture Corporation plant where Longoria worked.

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