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Headlines for Sunday, May 29, 2016

State Supreme Court Calls Education Funding Unfair

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court said the remaining flaws in the state's funding of education make the system unfair to poor districts, violating the state constitution. Four school districts sued the state over education funding in 2010. That's prompted a series of court rulings.One in February from the Supreme Court directed legislators to make the funding system fairer for poor districts. Legislators enacted their changes in March.


Kansas Lawmakers Return to Tax Fight Involving Pizza Magnate 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Republican is pushing to override GOP Governor Sam Brownback's veto of a bill enmeshed in a multi-million dollar tax dispute involving a retired pizza magnate. Senate President Susan Wagle said Brownback "turned his back on Kansas taxpayers" earlier this month when he rejected the bill over a provision dealing with how tax disputes are handled. Lawmakers expect to vote on overriding the veto Wednesday. The provision would have ensured that any taxpayer losing a dispute before the Board of Tax Appeals could have another full trial in district court before a limited review by the state Court of Appeals. Legislators are considering the issue as ex-pizza magnate Gene Bicknell is asking the state Supreme Court to order the state to refund $42.5 million in income taxes.


Silpada Says Outdated Business Model Led to Closure 

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — A Lenexa-based jewelry company that was one of the Kansas City area's more successful startups has announced plans to close. Silpada Designs Inc. says its business model that involved jewelry-sales parties hosted at home has become outdated. The company said women increasingly work outside the home, making sales parties more difficult to host than when Silpada formed in 1997. Andrea Carroll, the company's vice president of design, product development and marketing, told The Kansas City Star that no particular event triggered the board's decision Tuesday to halt its business. The retailer grew to become one of the largest party-planning sellers of sterling silver jewelry in North America. It was acquired by Avon Products in 2010 for $650 million but was reacquired by the founding families in 2013.


Kansas Teenager Drowns While Swimming at Kanopolis Lake 

ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has drowned while swimming at a central Kansas lake. Ellsworth County Sheriff Tracy Ploutz says Trevor Blair of Ellinwood was not breathing when he was pulled from Kanopolis Lake about 4:15 pm Saturday. The sheriff's office received a call around 3 pm about someone whose body had been underwater at the lake for close to 10 minutes. Emergency responders performed CPR as Blair was taken by ambulance to Ellsworth County Medical Center, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.


Boy Missing After Wichita Flooding

HOUSTON (AP) - At least three people are missing after torrential rain in Texas and Kansas led to flooding that inundated rivers, washed out roads and left four people dead. In Kansas, the search for a missing 11-year-old boy was suspended late Saturday because of darkness and fatigue of first responders, according to Wichita Fire Department battalion chief Scott Brown. Officials plan to resume searching Sunday for two missing people near Austin, Texas.  


Bountiful Wheat Crop Anticipated

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Grain elevators are bracing for a big winter wheat crop in Kansas. But elevators are  still brimming with last year's crops due to lackluster exports and low prices. Industry group Kansas Grain and Feed Association says elevators have added storage and have been moving grain out of the state on trains to make more room.  Association director Tom Tunnell says elevators are confident they will have enough storage to handle the wheat, but the problem is what to do when fall crops come in.Wheat harvest typically gears up across Kansas in June. A wheat crop of 400 million bushels or better is expected.


Kansas City Company Seeks to Save Kemper Arena

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The fate of an iconic Missouri arena might depend on the memories of a generation of Midwesterners who once flocked there for concerts and sports events.A proposal by Kansas City-based Foutch Brothers to transform Kemper Arena into a mecca of amateur sports competition relies heavily on historic tax credits to fund the $25 million project.Those credits are only available if the arena is on the National Register of Historic Places, a designation usually saved for buildings 50 years and older.  Kemper was built 42 years ago, but supporters say its status as one of the biggest entertainment venues of its time make it worthy of consideration.The arena is seldom used and has steadily declined since the Sprint Center opened in 2007.


Cab Driver Jailed on Rape Charges

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A 70-year-old suburban Kansas City cab driver has been jailed on $500,000 bond after being accused of sexually attacking a female passenger.The Kansas City Star  reports that Abdul S. Sayed of Olathe requested a court-appointed lawyer during his first Johnson County court appearance Friday on charges of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.A criminal complaint filed Thursday alleges that the victim was attacked December 13, when she was "overcome by force or fear" or unable to give consent to sexual contact because of intoxication. Court records show that in 2010, Sayed was charged in Johnson County with a misdemeanor count of sexual battery. He pleaded no contest and was found guilty of simple battery and was placed on probation.


Community Mourns Death of Young Barrel Racer

BUTLER, Mo. (AP) - A western Missouri community is grieving after the death of a spunky 12-year-old who was killed in a freak rodeo accident during a charity event.Kalee Chandler had just finished her barrel-racing run last Saturday when her horse appeared to have a heart attack. The horse slammed into the fence and rolled onto Kalee, pinning her.The Kansas City Star reports the Butler girl died Monday and was buried Friday. Neighbors in the Bates County town where Kalee's parents and grandparents grew up struggled to find words to comfort the girl's family, so they held fundraisers instead. At a benefit auction Thursday, several winning bidders immediately put the items back up for sale, netting more than $25,000. Donations came in from as far away as Garden City, Kansas.


Trial Set for Former V.A. Physician Assistant

 LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) - A trial is scheduled for this fall for a former physician's assistant accused of sexually abusing patients at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas.The Leavenworth Times  reports that an October 31 trial was set Friday in Leavenworth County District Court. Mark Wisner is charged with a felony count of aggravated criminal sodomy and three misdemeanor charges of sexual battery related to his alleged misconduct in 2014 at the Eisenhower VA Medical Center.Wisner surrendered his medical license last year after at least seven patients accused him of abusing them. He faces several federal lawsuits accusing him of abuse. Wisner is seeking to have the civil proceedings halted until the criminal case is resolved.

Kansans Killed in Oklahoma Motorcycle Crash

LAVERNE, Okla. (AP) — Two Kansans have died following a motorcycle crash in northwestern Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 63-year-old Bill Meggenberg of Meade, Kansas, was dead at scene of the crash on Highway 64 north of Laverne. The OHP says 70-year-old Susan Meggenberg of Meade died later at an Oklahoma City hospital where she was taken following the crash. A police report says the two were westbound on the motorcycle Saturday afternoon when the rear tire apparently deflated and the motorcycle overturned several times.  The report says the weather was clear and the road was dry at the time of the crash.


Royals Catcher Perez Out 7 to 10 days with Thigh Bruise 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is expected to be out 7 to 10 days with a bruised left thigh after colliding with rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert while catching a foul pop up in the ninth inning Saturday. Perez had a MRI on Saturday night, which confirmed the injury was a contusion with no structural damage. "Hopefully it's not going to require a trip to the DL," Royals manager Ned Yost said Sunday


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