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Headlines for Thursday, March 31, 2016

Here's a look at the latest Kansas news headlines from the Associated Press.

Jurors Recommend Death Penalty for Kansas Man in Quadruple Killing 

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Jurors have recommended the death penalty for an eastern Kansas man convicted of killing four people, including a toddler. The Franklin County jury recommended the sentence Thursday for 30-year-old Kyle Flack, who was convicted last week of capital murder in the deaths of 21-year-old Kaylie Bailey and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana. He also was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder for killing 31-year-old Steven White and second-degree murder for killing 30-year-old Andrew Stout. They were killed on separate days in the spring of 2013 near a rural farmhouse where Flack sometimes stayed in Ottawa, about 50 miles southwest of Kansas City. Prosecutors say it's unclear what led to the shootings. The adults' bodies were found at the farm, while the child's body was found in a suitcase floating in a creek.


Crews Monitor Remnants of Kansas, Oklahoma Wildfire 

MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) — Crews are monitoring the remnants of a mostly contained Kansas and Oklahoma wildfire for hotspots. The fire started last week in Oklahoma and spread into Kansas, burning 574 square miles of sparsely populated land. The heaviest damage is in Kansas' Barber County, where the fire remained 89 percent contained Wednesday night when the most recent update was provided. Efforts are underway to calculate the damage. An estimated 600 cattle died in Oklahoma; Kansas officials are working to calculate how many cattle died in the state. The Kansas Department of Agriculture says damage to livestock, fencing, water systems and stockpiled hay will be in the millions of dollars. An informational meeting is planned for Wednesday in Medicine Lodge to help connect farmers and ranchers with federal assistance.


Westar Customers Will Be Refunded Millions Under Settlement 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Westar Energy will return millions of dollars to Kansas energy customers under a settlement with regulators. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the settlement between Westar Energy and the Kansas Corporation Commission. The settlement lowers the return on equity the company had previously included in its Transmission Delivery Charge tariff. On customer bills, it shows as a line item "Transmission Delivery Charge," and is designed to allow utilities to recover money spent on transmission. The exact refund is being determined in the company's rate department, but for 2015 it was $14 million. Westar says customers won't immediately see the refund because there are still steps in the process to be completed.


1 Dead After Domestic Dispute, House Fire in Lawrence 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — One man is dead after a house fire in Lawrence. Police say they received a report of a domestic dispute early Wednesday. Sergeant Trent McKinley says during the dispute a man threatened occupants with a handgun. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that when officers arrived the other occupants had left the home, but authorities could see one man inside the house and a short time later the house was on fire. Firefighters took a "defensive fire attack" from outside the home and did not enter because of the reported domestic dispute and an armed person inside. After the fire was extinguished, one man was found dead inside the home. The victim's name and cause of death has not been released. 


Sedgwick Jail Corporal Accused of Sex with Inmate

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Sheriff's office says that a corporal at the county jail has been arrested on multiple counts of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate. Sheriff Jeff Easter said Wednesday that investigators received a complaint on March 25th that a corporal at the Sedgwick County Jail and a female inmate had sexual contact. Easter said that the corporal, who has not been identified, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of unlawful sexual relations and one count of attempted unlawful sexual relations. The corporal, who is no longer with the sheriff's office, had been an employee since October 2008. The woman is no longer in the custody of the Sedgwick County Jail. The case will be handed over to Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett's office for review.


Kansas Veteran Says Medical Marijuana Use Led to Loss of Parental Custody 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Navy veteran seeking to get five of his children back from state custody in Kansas says his use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD prompted the state to remove his children from the home. Raymond Schwab has campaigned on the Statehouse steps to get his children back, and the case has attracted national attention as medical marijuana proponents describe it as an example of government overreach. State officials have declined to specify why the children were removed, but say Schwab isn't telling the truth about it being because of his marijuana use. Court documents show that in the past year, Schwab's wife was arrested for domestic battery and hospitalized for mental health issues, and police were called to their home for a domestic disturbance.


Anti-Abortion Movement Unified in Swift Rebuke of Trump, KU Professor Reacts

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump's remark that women getting abortions were they to be banned should be punished drew swift, unified condemnation from the anti-abortion movement — evidence of the distinctive role it plays at a time when many right-of-center constituencies are struggling with their responses to the Republican presidential front-runner.  Trump soon backtracked from Wednesday's comments, but not before anti-abortion leaders repudiated him.  Mike Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life says the foundational premise of the pro-life movement is to protect both the mother and the unborn child.  Alesha Doan, a University of Kansas political science professor, said Trump's remarks undercut the movement's strategy of voicing empathy with women considering abortion.


Report: Kansas Growers Planting Lots More Corn This Season 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report shows Kansas farmers are planning to plant a whole lot more corn this year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Thursday that Kansas growers intend to plant 4.8 million acres of corn. That is a 16 percent jump from a year ago. Its prospective plantings report shows farmers are seeding fewer acres of the state's other major crops. The 8.5 million acres of winter wheat planted last fall for harvest later this year are down 8 percent from the previous season. Soybean planted acres are down just 1 percent to 3.85 million acres compared to a year ago in Kansas. Anticipated sorghum acres are down 7 percent to 3.15 million acres. Sunflowers and hay acreages in the state are also expected to be down this season.


38-Year-Old Man Fatally Shot Outside Olathe Bar 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) —  Authorities have arrested a suspect in a fatal shooting outside a bar in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe. Police said in a news release that 38-year-old man William Ray Schutkesting, of Olathe, was shot late Wednesday at the Double Nickel Bar & Grill and died at the scene. Police say a 28-year-old male suspect from Augusta was taken into custody near the area. Authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.


Kansas 18-Year-Old Faces Sentencing in Shooting 

WESTMORELAND, Kan. (AP) — Sentencing is scheduled for May for a northeastern Kansas 18-year-old who has pleaded no contest to charges that he tried to kill a man during a shooting last December. KVOE-AM in Emporia reports that Dakota Fair entered the pleas Thursday in Pottawatomie County to charges of attempted second-degree murder, as well as two gun-related charges. Authorities allege that Fair shot at another vehicle and wounded driver 23-year-old Tyrel Britton in rural St. George. Britton, of Westmoreland, survived. Fair's sentencing is scheduled for May 19.


Ceremony to Mark 85th Anniversary of Rockne Plane Crash

BAZAAR, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has been gearing up for the 85th anniversary of the central Kansas plane crash that killed Notre Dame football legend Knute Rockne and seven other people. The Wichita Eagle that buses will transport people Saturday to the site of the wreckage near the small town of Bazaar. The Flint Hills site is marked with a marble-and-limestone monument. A morning ceremony will include a flyover, a moment of silence and the playing of bagpipes. After the ceremony, there will be a program at the Bazaar Schoolhouse that will include a talk about Rockne. His death at age 43 at the height of his career — having led the Fighting Irish to consecutive undefeated seasons his final two seasons — made front-page news across the country.


Work Begins on New Medical School Campus in Joplin 

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Ground has been broken on a medical school campus in Joplin. Officials from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences were on hand Wednesday to mark the start of work on the new campus. It will be located in the former temporary medical building that was set up after a deadly 2011 tornado destroyed Mercy Hospital Joplin. Supporters say it will help recruit doctors to southwest Missouri and alleviate a doctor shortage, particularly in rural areas. The university plans to enroll 150 students per year in its osteopathic program. Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences officials said the campus would be the first new medical school to open in Missouri in nearly 50 years.


Zoos and Federal Officials Ask Court to Dismiss Elephant Importation Lawsuit 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials and three U.S. zoos want a judge to drop a lawsuit against the zoos over the recent importation of African elephants. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Wichita, Dallas and Omaha zoos filed a motion to dismiss the case. The zoo's say legal concerns about the permit process are irrelevant because the 17 elephants were flown from Swaziland to the U.S. earlier this month. The group, Friends of Animals sued in February to stop the proposed importation, alleging that the government violated the law by approving the importation. The animal rights group hasn't dropped the suit, saying it is seeking to prevent future elephant importations. The group, and other animal-rights supporters, opposes the importation of the elephants because, it says, they're highly intelligent, migratory animals.


Police: Kansas Father and Son Face Drug Charges in Idaho 

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Southwest Idaho authorities say a father and son traveling to their home state of Kansas after a brief stay in Oregon have been taken into custody after police found more than 11 pounds of marijuana in their vehicle. The Elmore County Sheriff's Office says 65-year-old Richard Grant and 30-year-old Patrick Grant of Shawnee, Kansas, were arrested in Idaho and face charges of felony drug trafficking. Police say a deputy pulled over a vehicle driven by Richard Grant on Interstate 84 and detected an odor of Marijuana. The deputy deployed a drug dog that alerted officers to the presence of the drug. A search found packaged marijuana worth an estimated $44,000 and nearly $5,000 in cash. The Grants have preliminary hearings scheduled for April 21. 


Missouri, Kansas Men Indicted in 2 Armed Bank Robberies 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man and a Kansas man have been indicted in two armed bank robberies. The U.S. attorney's office says 46-year-old Terry Jacobs, of Kansas City, Missouri, and 26-year-old Jayme Wilson, of Basehor, Kansas, were charged in a seven-count superseding indictment returned Wednesday. It replaces an earlier indictment, adds Wilson as a co-defendant and includes additional charges. Jacobs and Wilson are accused of robbing UMB Bank branches in Independence and Kansas City at gunpoint in December. Besides the bank robberies, Jacobs is charged with robbing a Burger King restaurant, a Family Dollar Store and a Taco Bell restaurant. The three armed robberies happened in December in Kansas City. Prosecutors say a total of about $8,100 was stolen.


Former Kansas Kickapoo Leaders Charged in Tribal Court 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Three former Kickapoo Tribe leaders have been charged in tribal court with misusing federal dollars. Former tribal council chairman Steve Cadue, treasurer Bobbi Darnell and secretary Adolph Cadue Jr. have also charged in the Kickapoo court in Horton with fraudulent handling of recordable instruments and tampering with records. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the complaints allege that the three used federal burial funds to subsidize payroll and other expenses in violation of tribal law. Kickapoo Tribal Special Prosecutor Tom Lemon alleges that the former leaders modified tribal resolutions and produced fraudulent documents to cover up the misspent money.


Parole Considered for Kansas Man Serving Life for Murder 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Prisoner Review Board will consider parole for a 58-year-old man serving a life sentence for killing a man in 1993. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Gregory L. Walls was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of 18-year-old Timothy Orr in 1993 in Topeka. He's a minimum-custody inmate at Lansing Correctional Facility. The review board will hear public comments April 22 about the possible parole of 28 eligible inmates, including Walls. The state Department of Corrections says Walls has twice been considered for parole.


Sheriff: Evidence Indicates Sex Assault on Great Bend Swim Team Bus 

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — The Barton County Sheriff's Office says its investigation found evidence of a sexual assault during a bus ride last month involving members of the swim team at Great Bend High School. Sheriff Brian Bellendir says that the investigation supports evidence of criminal sodomy, battery and criminal restraint during the February 3 bus ride in Barton County. The 15-year-old victim and 17-year-old suspect are both members of the Great Bend swim team who were on their way back from a meet. The Barton County attorney will decide if charges will be filed. A similar February 6 incident involving the Great Bend swim team is under investigation in Ellsworth County, but Bellendir says he does not know if the same people were involved in that case.


University of Kansas Expands Annual Spring Powwow

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - An annual spring powwow at the University of Kansas is expanding into a daylong educational festival. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the 2016 KU Powwow and Indigenous Dance and Culture Festival will be Saturday at the Lied Center. The festival will feature workshops, food, a matinee and an evening powwow. Admission is free. Each event will kick off with a grand entry featuring dancers in full regalia, followed by competitive dances in various categories for men, women and children. The First Nations Student Association says competitive dancers from different tribes will come from all across the country and the group hopes the event will help share Indian culture with the community.


Bill Self Wins AP Coach of the Year 

HOUSTON (AP) — Bill Self, who led the University of Kansas to the No. 1 ranking in the final weekly poll and its 12th straight Big 12 title, has been named the Associated Press Coach of the Year. The Jayhawks (33-5) were the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost to Villanova in the regional final. Self received 21 votes from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly poll. Chris Mack of Xavier was second with 15 votes and Dana Altman of Oregon received 13. Self also won the AP Coach of the Year Award in 2009. Roy Williams, in 1992, was the only other KU coach to win the award. The Jayhawks spent a total of five weeks at No. 1 this season and won the Big 12 again to move within one of UCLA's record for consecutive titles. Voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.


Chiefs Sign Running Backs West, Ware to Contract Extensions 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs signed Charcandrick West to a three-year extension and fellow running back Spencer Ware to a two-year extension Thursday, solidifying their backfield alongside Jamaal Charles. West and Spencer proved to be a potent change-of-pace duo when Charles went down with a season-ending ACL injury last season. Charles is expected to be ready for the start of the upcoming season, but locking up West and Ware will help take some of the load off the two-time All-Pro. It also makes running back Knile Davis a potential trade piece. The quick, elusive West started nine games and ran for 634 yards and four touchdowns last season, while the more physical Ware started two games and ran for 403 yards and six touchdowns.


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