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Headlines for Thursday, June 1, 2017

Here's what's happening in our area, according to staff and AP wire reports.

Kansas Lawmakers Running Short on Time and Money

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislators are worried about running out of money to complete the legislative session.  Some fear they will exhaust their operating funds before they wrap-up the state's business, but they don't have a definitive answer for when the money runs out.  The annual session is already one of the longest in state history.  Today (THUR) marks the 104th day of what was supposed to be a 100-day session.  Lawmakers could pass a budget bill to provide more funds but that's considered a political embarrassment.  The Legislature's annual budget is $17 million.

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Kansas Tax Collections $1.9 Million Less Than Expected in May 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas says it collected $1.9 million less in taxes than anticipated in May. The Department of Revenue reported Thursday that the state took in $441 million in taxes, compared with a projection of $443 million. The shortfall was 0.4 percent. The state saw a small surplus in tax collections in April and the department noted that the state remains on track to meet projections for the current budget year. The state has collected about $5.2 billion in taxes since the fiscal year began in July 2016. The projections were set in a fiscal forecast issued last month. Lawmakers are working on proposals to raise taxes to fix the state budget and provide additional funds for public schools. With Thursday's report, the state's budget shortfalls total $889 million through June 2019.

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Kansas Senate OKs Keeping Guns Out of Hospitals 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  The Kansas Senate has approved a bill aimed at keeping concealed guns out of state hospitals and other public health care facilities. The 24-16 vote Thursday came after senators rejected a proposal backed by the National Rifle Association to narrow the scope of the bill. The measure goes next to the House. A 2013 law requires public health facilities to allow concealed guns into their buildings starting in July unless the buildings have security such as metal detectors or guards. The bill would grant a permanent exemption to state hospitals, other public hospitals, mental health centers, some nursing homes and the University of Kansas Health System and the university's teaching hospital. The NRA and other gun-rights advocates wanted to limit the exemption to fewer institutions and only to certain areas in those facilities.

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Kansas House to Vote on Concealed Carry Bill 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House is planning to vote Thursday evening on a bill aimed at keeping concealed guns out of state hospitals and other public health facilities. House leaders set the vote in their chamber only hours after the Senate approved the measure on a 24-16 vote. Legislators weren't sure whether Republican Governor Sam Brownback would sign or veto the measure. He is a strong gun-rights supporter. A 2013 law requires public health facilities to allow concealed guns into their buildings starting in July unless the buildings have security such as metal detectors or guards. The bill would grant a permanent exemption to state hospitals, other public hospitals, mental health centers, some nursing homes and the University of Kansas Health System and the university's teaching hospital.

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Kansas Governor Says He Couldn't Broker Gun Deal

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says gun-rights advocates and representatives for the state's hospitals couldn't reach agreement on a legislative proposal aimed at keeping concealed guns out of state hospitals and other public health care facilities. The Senate was debating the measure Thursday. A 2013 law requires public health facilities to allow concealed guns into their buildings starting in July unless the buildings have security such as metal detectors or guards. The bill being debated would grant a permanent exemption to state hospitals, other public hospitals, mental health centers, some nursing homes and the University of Kansas Health System and teaching hospital. Brownback said Thursday he had talks with hospital industry officials and gun-rights advocates who want a narrower bill but the talks did not produce a compromise.

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Kansas ACLU Calls School District Policy 'Unconstitutional' 

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas has condemned a school district's new guidelines that prevent those making public comments at board meetings from speaking about specific district employees or students, calling it "unconstitutional." The Kansas City Star reports Shawnee Mission School Board President Sara Goodburn received a letter Tuesday from ACLU of Kansas legal director Doug Bonney criticizing Goodburn for reprimanding a parent who used a board member's name while asking about a specific conflict-of-interest issue in May. Goodburn has since admitted she incorrectly interrupted the parent, as the member is not a district employee. Bonney says the First Amendment protects the public's right to "call out or praise" all public servants, including teachers and other school staff. He says the district hasn't yet responded to his letter.

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Chinese Bio Company Will Open in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - The largest animal vaccine company in China plans to open its first U.S. location in Manhattan.  Kansas State announced Wednesday that Jinyu Bio-technology Co. will open research labs and offices at the university's office park sometime next year.  The company will research and design of vaccines for pigs and cattle. It also will develop educational materials for Chinese companies and veterinarians. For now, it will employ four to six scientists.  Jinyu Chairman Chongyu Zhang said the company believes Manhattan and Kansas State are leaders in animal health research that is relevant around the world.  The company also was attracted to Manhattan by its connection with the KC Animal Health Corridor, which is home to more than 300 animal health companies stretching from Manhattan to Columbia, Missouri.

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Missouri Health Officials Fear West Nile Virus May Have Killed 8-Year-Old Boy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Jackson County medical examiner is investigating whether the West Nile virus caused the death an 8-year-old boy. Angie Jeffries, spokeswoman for the medical examiner, says West Nile is suspected in the May 23 death of an Independence boy. She says the Missouri Department of Health is testing a sample for the virus and medical examiner is asking for several additional tests.

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Topeka Man Killed in Industrial Accident in Osage City

OSAGE CITY, Kan. (AP) - Osage City officials say a 53-year-old Topeka man died in a work-related accident at a plastic plant. Police chief Fred Nech says Ruben Guadalupe Chavira died early Wednesday at the Orbis Plastic plant. Nech says officers found Chavira pinned against other equipment by a forklift he had been operating.  

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Registered Sex Offender Pleads Guilty in Case Involving Teen

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who is a registered sex offender has pleaded guilty to transporting a 16-year-old girl across state lines to have sex with him.  U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said 21-year-old Logan Viquesney of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to interstate transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity.  Viquesney communicated with the girl over the internet while she was staying with her grandparents in Virginia. He picked her up at her grandparents' home in May 2016 and took her to Maryland, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. Prosecutors say the two had sex while on the trip.  Viquesney was arrested when he brought the girl to Kansas City, Kansas. He will be sentenced July 31.  Viquesney was convicted in 2015 of aggravated indecent liberties with a 12-year-old.

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Woman Sentenced for Stealing from Kansas Group Home Charges 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A woman has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for stealing from children under her care at a Lawrence group home. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 37-year-old Jennifer Silva Guerrero, of Lawrence, also will serve 18 months of probation after she is released from prison and must pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to at least nine of her victims. If she violates the terms of her probation, Guerrero will have to serve more than four years in prison. Douglas County District Attorney spokeswoman Cheryl Wright Kunard says Guerrero was recently convicted of three felony theft charges, two felony forgery charges and one felony charge of making false information. The thefts occurred in 2015 and 2016 at The Villages group home, where she also lived before being fired.

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Wichita Man Sentenced to 28 Years, 6 Months in Girl's Death 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man was been sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison in the death of his 23-month-old daughter. KSNW-TV reports that 31-year-old Michael Williams was sentenced Thursday for first-degree murder and child abuse. His daughter, Princess Teyonia Williams, died in September 2015. She was left with her father while her mother worked. The police affidavit says the girl suffered massive internal injuries, including a skull and rib fractures.

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Wichita Agrees to Sell City-Owned Building for $710K 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita has agreed to sell a city-owned building that once housed about 700 state employees. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Public Building Commission has accepted the $710,000 bid from Sudha Tokala for the Finney State Office Building. The 200,000-square-foot structure was built in 1927 in the city's downtown. It housed several department stores over the next 60 years. But when retail moved to the suburbs in the 1980s, the city repurposed the structure to provide low-cost office space for the Wichita operations of various state agencies. The biggest tenant was the agency now known as the Department for Children and Families. Tokala says she plans to renovate the complex of joined buildings as office space. One of the structures may be torn down to create room for parking.

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Kansas City Couple Guilty in Drug Distribution Conspiracy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man and woman from Kansas City have pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute more than $2 million in methamphetamine in the Kansas City area. Federal prosecutors say 28-year-old Allyssa Samm and 32-year-old Eric Looker pleaded guilty Thursday to being part of the conspiracy from February 2015 to February 2016.  

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Survey: Slight Decline in Midwest Economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Results from a monthly survey of business supply managers show a slight decline in the economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report released Thursday says the regional economic index dropped to 55.5 in May from 61.4 in April. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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More Testing Sought in Alleged Rape at KU Athletics' Dorm 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking more testing as they review the reported rape of a 16-year-old girl at a University of Kansas dorm for basketball players and other male students. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Douglas County District Attorney spokeswoman Cheryl Wright Kunard said Thursday in an email that the office is waiting on the results of the secondary testing of the unspecified evidence. The office is considering whether to file charges. A report from the university's police department lists five current and former Kansas men's basketball players and two women as witnesses. Police found drug paraphernalia during a search of the dorms as part of the rape investigation. Former Jayhawk player Carlton Bragg was charged in Lawrence Municipal Court with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and later entered a diversion agreement.

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Tigers Edge Royals 6-5 in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton hit two-run doubles with two outs in the third inning as the Detroit Tigers held off the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Wednesday night.  Royals starter Ian Kennedy (0-5) walked the bases loaded before giving up the doubles on consecutive pitches.  Victor Martinez and Alex Avila homered for the Tigers, who completed a 4-7 three-city trip.  Kennedy was pulled after three innings, allowing five runs, four hits and three walks. Kennedy is 0-7 in 13 starts since he last won on September 11. He threw 41 pitches in the third.

 

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