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Headlines for Sunday, September 4, 2016

State of Emergency Declared after Quake Shakes Oklahoma, Kansas

PAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency in Pawnee County after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck northwest of Pawnee. The earthquake struck at 7:02 a.m. yesterday (SAT) and was felt throughout the Midwestern United States, although no severe damage or serious injuries were reported. The quake ties a 2011 earthquake for the strongest earthquake in recorded state history. Fallin's order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases for disaster relief and is the first step toward asking for federal assistance, if necessary. Fallin said in a statement that information is still being gathered and will be reviewed by her coordinating council on seismic activity. The state of emergency lasts for 30 days and additional counties may be added.


At least 11 Injured in KCK Senior Apartment Fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City fire officials say at least 11 people were taken to hospitals with serious injuries after a fire at a senior citizens' apartment complex. The Kansas City Star reports the fire yesterday (SAT) at the Paraclete Manor was contained to one apartment but caused thick, heavy smoke to rise and reduce visibility on the upper floors of the 163-unit complex. Battallion Chief Jimmy Walker says some of the residents might be displaced at least for the night. A cause of the fire has not been released.


Plan Revives Old Tensions in Kansas School Funding Debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new funding plan from a group of Kansas school administrators is reviving longstanding regional tensions and spotlighting questions about whether the state spends enough on public education. One part of the plan was similar to a complex formula to dole out nearly $4.1 billion yearly that legislators junked last year. Instead, legislators went for predictable "block grants" for districts that allow the state to better control
its spending. But other provisions represent a radical departure from past policy, such as stripping local districts of their power to tax. The state would instead raise property taxes statewide as a way to prevent poorer schools
from falling too far behind wealthier ones.


Topeka Woman Sentenced for Drugging Children's Kool-Aid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 44-year-old Topeka woman was sentenced to five years in prison for putting prescription drugs in her daughters' Kool-Aid. Shakina Dauniel Lawton was sentenced Friday for two counts of attempted second-degree murder in a plea deal. Prosecutors say she gave her daughters, then 14 and 9, the drug-laced Kool-Aid in July 2015. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports prosecutors say Lawton had a history of mental health problems and was not taking her medication at the time of the crime. The older daughter called 911 to tell dispatchers her mother was trying to poison her and her sister.


Man Sentenced in Shooting Death of Salina Teen

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — One of five men who were involved in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Salina girl was sentenced to more than four years in prison for his part in the crime. Twenty-year-old Daniel Sims was sentenced Friday for involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery in the May 2015 death of Allie Saum. Prosecutors say the men were seeking revenge for a confrontation and shot at a truck Saum was riding in because they mistakenly believed the truck's driver was involved in the confrontation. The Salina Journal reports Sims received a lighter sentence than others in the case because he cooperated with prosecutors, testified against co-defendants and didn't have a major role in the shooting.


Larned Psychiatric Hospital: State's Biggest Overtime Spender

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas psychiatric hospital that's had a dramatic staff shortage in recent years spent more on overtime pay last year than any other state agency or facility. The Wichita Eagle reports Larned State Hospital paid its roughly 600 employees $3.8 million in overtime during fiscal 2016, which ended in June. That amounts to nearly a quarter of the state's total overtime costs for the year. The next-closest agency was the Kansas Department of Transportation, which has about three times more staff members but spent about $2.1 million on overtime. Tim Keck, interim director of the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, says overtime hours at Larned have been steadily falling since he took the helm in January.


Kansas Man Gets Life Sentence for Infant's Death

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) — A southeast Kansas man was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years in the death of a 6-month-old boy. District Court Judge Mark Ward on Friday sentenced 22-year-old Anthony Michael Anderson of Fulton. He was convicted in May in Bourbon County of first-degree murder and child abuse. The child died in April 2015 after he was injured in Fort Scott. Fort Scott police said at the time that officers were called to a Fort Scott home and found the child injured. Police say the child was injured at a different address. Investigators were first told the child, whose name has not been officially released, had fallen off a sofa.


Ex-Kansas Governors Campaigning for Supreme Court Justices

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Four former Kansas governors are launching a bipartisan campaign next week to retain Kansas Supreme Court justices in November's election. The three invitation-only events with former Republican Governors Mike Hayden and Bill Graves and former Democratic Governors John Carlin and Kathleen Sebelius are sponsored by Kansans for Fair Courts. It says it wants to keep the state's courts independent. The first event is Tuesday morning at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. The others are Tuesday afternoon in Topeka and Wednesday morning in Wichita. Voters will determine whether five of the seven justices receive another six-year term. They are Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and Justices Carol Beier, Dan Biles, Marla Luckert and Caleb Stegall. Conservatives are targeting all of them except Stegall. He is Republican Governor Sam Brownback's only appointee.

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