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Headlines for Sunday, March 2, 2014


Democrats Give Davis National Fundraising Help

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — House Minority Leader Paul Davis will get fundraising help from a national Democratic group in his bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback.

Democratic Governors Association's digital director Mark Giangreco says in a recent email to supporters that Kansas is one of three Republican-controlled states where the association believes its candidates can win. The others are Texas and Arkansas.

DGA spokesman Danny Kanner told the Topeka Capital-Journal the association believes donors will get behind him.

The Brownback campaign didn't immediately respond to an email Friday seeking comment.


Brownback Keeps Sights On All-Day Kindergarten

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he remains focused on passage of all-day kindergarten, despite the apparent hesitancy among legislators to get on board.

The Republican governor says he still believes in the proposal, which would increase spending for public schools by $16 million in each of the next five years, as a way of improving fourth-grade reading scores. He says targeting money on specific goals is a better investment for the state.

Critics, however, question why Brownback is pushing for the plan now and not earlier in his administration.

The proposal has been assigned to legislative committees to weigh the benefits of increasing the state's financial commitment to schools and whether there is evidence that any academic gains made by longer kindergarten attendance are sustained by students.


Derby High Grad Killed in Arizona Parachute Jump

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Wichita-area classmates says they will long remember a 34-year-old Air Force master sergeant killed recently in a training exercise in Arizona.

Air Force Master Sergeant Josh Gavulic, a 1997 Derby High School graduate, was killed February 21st while taking part in a parachute training exercise in Eloy, Arizona. Gavulic, who was rated a jump master and helped plan joint operations, was killed during a free fall.

The Wichita Eagle reports he served with the Air Force's 17th Special Tactics Squadron at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Colin Miller, a Derby High classmate, says he's still in disbelief over the death.

Another former classmate, Jenny Ammerman, says Gavulic leaves behind a wife and six children, the youngest is 16 months.


Kansas Judge Says Defense Can Monitor DNA

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County judge has ruled that defense lawyers can have an expert monitor DNA testing of biological evidence in the trial for four people accused in the deaths of a Valley Center couple.

The Wichita Eagle reports District Judge Jeff Goering on Friday issued the ruling allowing the expert to monitor the testing. Prosecutors objected to the DNA monitoring request, arguing that allowing an outsider into the lab could violate the lab's protocol.

The testing's related to the November shooting deaths of Melissa and Roger Bluml of Valley Center. Prosecutors say swabs from some items would be tested for DNA, but the swabs would be consumed in the process.

The Blumls' adopted son, his biological mother and two of his high school classmates are charged in the case.

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