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Headlines for Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press.

Kansas Governor to Meet with Indian Consul, Express Condolences After Olathe Shooting
 
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An aide says Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer plan to meet with India's consul general over a bar shooting that left an Indian engineer dead and another wounded.  Brownback spokeswoman Melika Willoughby said the meeting will take place later this week. She said Brownback and Colyer plan to express their condolences and express their support for the Indian community.  Willoughby did not provide further details about the meeting in an email Monday evening.  Witnesses to last week's shooting in Olathe said 51-year-old suspect Adam Purinton yelled "get out of my country" at 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla and 32-year-old Alok Madasani before opening fire.  Kuchibhotla was killed and Madasani was wounded. Both were working as engineers for GPS maker Garmin.  Another bar patron also was wounded.

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FBI Probes Kansas Bar Shooting as Hate Crime 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The FBI is confirming for the first time that it is investigating as a hate crime last week's Kansas bar shooting that killed an Indian man and wounded another. The FBI said in a statement Tuesday that it bases that probe on "the initial investigative activity" involving the Feb. 22 attack at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas. The FBI is declining additional comment, citing the investigation. Witnesses to the shooting said 51-year-old suspect Adam Purinton yelled "get out of my country" at 32-year-olds Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani before opening fire. Kuchibhotla was killed and Madasani was wounded. Both were working as engineers for GPS device-maker Garmin. Another bar patron who tried to intervene also was wounded. Purinton is charged with murder and attempted murder.

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Indian Hometown Grieves for Engineer Killed in Olathe Bar

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Hundreds of grieving family and friends have tearfully mourned a 32-year-old engineer in his southern Indian hometown days after he was killed in an apparently racially motivated shooting in a crowded Kansas bar.  Tears rolled down the cheeks of Srinivas Kuchibhotla's parents, Madhusudhan Rao and Vardhini, as his body was cremated Tuesday in Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state.  Losing a young family member is an unbearable pain, said P. L. Narayana, his uncle.  Kuchibhotla's body reached Hyderabad from Newark, N.J., on Monday night.  Witnesses say the gunman yelled at Kuchibhotla and his friend to "get out of my country" and opened fire. Kuchibhotla was killed and his friend and another bar patron were injured.  Adam Purinton of Olathe, Kansas, remains jailed on murder and attempted murder charges.

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Man Wounded in Kansas Bar Shooting Speaks at Vigil

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — One of three men shot at a bar in suburban Kansas City spoke at a weekend vigil, saying "I wish it was a dream."  The Kansas City Star reports 32-year-old Alok Madasani told a crowd of hundreds at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas, on Sunday that "what happened that night was a senseless crime and that took away my best friend."  Madasani's friend and co-worker, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed in Wednesday night's shooting at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe. Another patron, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, also was wounded in the shooting.  Madasani said the shooting was "an isolated incident that doesn't reflect the true spirit of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States."  Fifty-one-year-old Adam Purinton is scheduled to appear in court Monday to face charges of murder and attempted murder.

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Moody's: Governor's Veto of Tax Bill Threatens Kansas Credit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Moody's credit ratings agency is criticizing Governor Sam Brownback's veto of tax legislation, saying it represents a "credit negative" to Kansas.  Last week, Brownback vetoed a bill that would've raised personal income taxes and reinstated a third income tax bracket.  Brownback called it a "punitive tax increase on working Kansans."  The Legislature attempted to override the veto, but that effort fell short in the Senate.  Moody's senior analyst, Dan Seymour, says Kansas will keep struggling to balance its budget if it continues with a lower-tax policy.  He says the state's credit may be at risk in the future.  The vetoed bill would've raised more than $590 million next fiscal year.

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Judge Sides with Immigration Agents in Tussle at Kansas Jail 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has sided with immigration agents in a lawsuit filed by a Kenyan man who alleges he was violently attacked at a Kansas jail for refusing to be fingerprinted before deportation. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil's decision on Tuesday reverses her previous ruling that had granted a trial for Justine Mochama, an international college student who overstayed his visa. His lawsuit claimed the agents used excessive force during a January 2014 altercation at the Butler County jail. Vratil cited a recent Supreme Court decision that tightened the legal standard to require plaintiffs to establish "beyond debate" that the actions were unconstitutional. The judge sought written arguments from the parties on that point before summarily ruling that immigration agents Timothy Zwetow and Rodney Nichols are entitled to qualified immunity.

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Two Killed in Fiery Head-On Crash on Southeast Kansas Highway

SEVERY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two people have been killed in a fiery head-on crash on U.S. Highway 400 in Kansas.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash happened about 6:20 Monday morning, near the Greenwood County town of Severy. The victims were identified as 17-year-old Tanner McMullen, of Fall River, and 38-year-old Bambi Haynie, of Herington.  The patrol says the car Haynie was driving crossed the center line and collided with McMullen's pickup truck. The report says the truck caught fire and came to a stop in the westbound ditch. The car came to a stop in the eastbound ditch.

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Police: Dozens of Dogs Rescued from Kansas Home

NORTON, Kan. (AP) — Police and animal-rescue officials say dozens of dogs have been seized from a northwestern Kansas house and will be assessed for adoption.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the Norton, Kansas, police say that the rescue effort that also included the Kansas Department of Agriculture and a nonprofit group called National Mill Dog Rescue involved 51 adult dogs and a dozen puppies. Police said several of the animals were pregnant.  National Mill Dog Rescue says it took the canines to its Peyton, Colorado, site, with plans to assess their health and temperament for adoption.  The group says it has helped rescue more than 11,500 dogs since 2007.

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Judge Asks U.S. Election Commission to Weigh in on Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has asked the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to say whether its executive director had the authority to unilaterally require people to prove their citizenship in order to register to vote using a federal form in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama.  U.S. District Judge Richard Leon put the question to the commission on Saturday and gave it until June 1 to respond.  The commission's executive director, Brian Newby, ordered changes to the federal voter registration form used in the three states to conform to their laws requiring people to provide proof-of-citizenship documentation to register. Voting rights groups sued, saying he didn't have the authority. Leon denied a request for an injunction freezing Newby's order, but a federal appeals court granted one.  The commission needs three votes to take action, but it currently has two Republican members and one Democrat who often don't agree on issues.

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Senator Suggests Boycotting California Due to Golden State's Travel Ban Against Tennessee, Kansas, Other States

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican state senator is calling for a boycott of a national legislators' meeting in California next year in retaliation for that state's ban on state-funded travel to Tennessee and other states over laws considered anti-LGBTQ.  State Senator Mike Bell says California's travel ban — which also applies to Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina — threatens to escalate into what he calls "economic war" if other states follow suit.  Bell wants his resolution condemning California's law to be sent to every state lawmaker in the country and to major legislative groups, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, which holds its annual meeting in Los Angeles in August 2018.  The resolution received the minimum required votes to advance to a full floor vote in the Tennessee state Senate.

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Authorities Investigate Deadly Western Kansas Stabbing

KINSLEY, Kan. (AP) — A man has been charged in a fatal weekend stabbing in western Kansas.  The Hays Post reports that 37-year-old Jason Rae Stone is charged in Edwards County with second-degree murder in the death of 52-year-old Daniel O'Brien. Bond is set at $100,000. It's not immediately clear if he has an attorney.  Edwards County Attorney Mark Frame says the stabbing happened around 1 p.m. Saturday in Kinsley, where both men are from.

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Man Bound Over for Trial in Death of Employer in Topeka 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has found sufficient evidence for a Topeka moving business employee to stand trial in the death of his employer. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 35-year-old Michael Timothy Lamar Hall was bound over for trial on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and related counts after a preliminary hearing Monday. The charges stem from the smothering death of 64-year-old Curt Cochran, whose head was encircled with plastic wrap after he was bound to his power scooter. Detectives testified that Hall denied killing Cochran but said he might have information about what happened when he was being questioned four months later about a home burglary. A second man also is charged in the killing of Cochran, who is a former teacher and principal in the Seaman school district.

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Apollo 11 Relic Mistakenly Sold Returned to Illinois Woman 

CHICAGO (AP) — NASA has returned a bag used to collect lunar samples during the first manned moon mission to an Illinois woman who bought it at auction. The Chicago Tribune reports NASA officials turned over the Apollo 11 artifact Monday at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Nancy Lee Carlson of Inverness, Illinois, bought it for $995 at a 2015 government auction. Attorney Christopher McHugh says his client sent it to Johnson Space Center for study. Center officials deemed it government property and confiscated it. The government said the "rare artifact" was mistakenly sold. It was recovered in 2003 during a criminal investigation against a Kansas space museum director and misidentified. A federal judge ruled in December that he didn't have the authority to reverse the sale and the bag belongs to Carlson.

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Man Convicted of Fatally Shooting Another Man, Dumping Body on City Street

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been convicted of fatally shooting an acquaintance and dumping the body on a street.  Jackson County jurors on Monday recommended up to 34 years in prison for Kimani Sterling after finding him guilty Friday of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the November 2015 death of 23-year-old Ja'Que Dawkins. His sentencing is set for April 20.  Court records say Sterling shot Dawkins multiple times inside a vehicle after leaving a nightclub with him. Sterling also is accused of pulling Dawkins out of the back seat and ordering someone else to burn the car to destroy the evidence.

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Police Investigate KCK Man's Death as a Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a man's death in Kansas City, Kansas, as a homicide. Police said in a news release that officers responding to a shot fired call found the man dead outside of a home. He had sustained an apparent gunshot wound. Police said the man was in his early 50s, but his name wasn't immediately released.  Anyone with information is urged to call a tips hotline.

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Cigarettes, Candles Blamed in Deadly Kansas Apartment Fire

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials say smoldering cigarettes and burning candles accidentally sparked the southern Kansas house fire that killed an Arizona man.  The Hutchinson Fire Department said firefighters found 44-year-old Jason Conrad of Tucson dead inside the first-floor apartment shortly after the fire early Saturday.  The city's interim fire chief, Doug Hanen, said Monday that the fire began a couch, and that Conrad's body was found to be partially blocking the entrance door.  Conrad was alone at the time.

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Flipping Heck: Timer Glitch Mars Trans-Atlantic Pancake Race

OLNEY, England (AP) — A trans-Atlantic pancake race has taken a battering due to a technological glitch.  Apron-clad women carrying and flipping pancakes in their pans have run through the English town of Olney in an annual Shrove Tuesday race that pits the community against the town of Liberal, Kansas.  But the timer failed, so no official time was recorded for winner Kaia Larkas and there will be no showdown with Liberal, which runs its race later.  Shrove Tuesday, known in Britain as Pancake Day, was traditionally the last day for merrymaking before the start of Lent.  According to legend, the Olney race started in 1445 when a harried housewife arrived at church still clutching her frying pan with a pancake in it. Liberal challenged Olney in 1950 after seeing photos of the race in a magazine.

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Chiefs Release Charles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have released four-time Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, clearing more than $6 million in salary cap space. Part of the savings were used for a $78 million, six-year deal with All-Pro safety Eric Berry. The Chiefs have also signed offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to a $41.25 million, five-year contract extension.
 

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