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Headlines for Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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

School Districts Argue Kansas Needs to Boost Aid by $1.5 Billion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - School districts suing Kansas over education funding argue that an increase approved by legislators this year is as much as $1.5 billion short of what's needed for the next school year. They're also asking the state Supreme Court to order lawmakers to provide more money by September 1. The four local districts' attorneys detailed their objections to a new school finance law in written arguments filed ahead of a Supreme Court hearing July 18. The new law phases in a $293 million increase in aid to public schools over two years. It also creates a new per-pupil funding formula. Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office contends the increase is sufficient for legislators to fulfill their duty under the state constitution to finance a suitable education for every child.

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Kansas Collects $72 Million More in Taxes than Expected in June
 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas says it collected $72 million more in taxes than anticipated in June. The Department of Revenue reported Monday that the state took in $609 million in taxes last month. That's 13.5 percent more than the official projection of $537 million. It was the last month of the state's 2017 fiscal year. Tax collections for the 12-month period exceeded $5.8 billion. Through May, tax collections had been in line with estimates. Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said unemployment is low and wages appear to have grown. Lawmakers had expected to end the 2017 fiscal year with cash reserves of $50 million after they approved internal borrowing and some other moves to close a projected budget shortfall. Legislators increased income taxes to help balance the budget for fiscal 2018 and 2019.

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Federal Court Rejects Ex-AG's Lawsuit Against Kansas Court 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court is refusing to revive a former Kansas attorney general's lawsuit against the state Supreme Court over its indefinite suspension of his state law license. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Monday against ex-Attorney General Phill Kline. The anti-abortion Republican was disciplined over allegations of misconduct arising from investigations of abortion providers as attorney general from 2003 through 2006 and Johnson County district attorney in 2007 and 2008. Kline has strongly denied wrongdoing. A federal judge dismissed Kline's case last year and said lower federal courts can't take up the case because only the U.S. Supreme Court can review state supreme court decisions. The federal appeals panel agreed. The nation's highest court refused in 2014 to consider Kline's case.

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Kansas Health Officials Report Confirmed Measles Case 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials have reported a confirmed case of measles in Butler County. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Butler County Health Department said in a joint news release Tuesday that a number of county health departments will be notifying all identified contacts. Staff will evaluate immunization status and ask about any possible symptoms among people exposed. Measles is highly contagious and is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. Health officials say symptoms typically begin one to two weeks after exposure to an infected person. They include fever, blotchy skin rash, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. KDHE Secretary Susan Mosier says the best way to prevent measles is vaccination.

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Appeals Court Spurns Challenge to Kansas Pesticide Rules 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court has spurned a lawsuit challenging a Kansas regulation on pesticide treatment. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Monday sided with a lower court in upholding its decision to throw out a lawsuit filed by filed by pest control applicator Ralph Rogerson. Rogerson had claimed in his lawsuit that a Kansas Department of Agriculture regulation requires excessive pesticide treatment in preconstruction applications. At issue is a state rule requiring both horizontal and vertical application of termite pesticides. His lawsuit complained the Kansas regulation endangers humans and the environment because it requires unnecessary use of dangerous pesticides. He also argued it stifles competition by requiring all applicators to apply too much pesticide when some could reduce their prices by applying only necessary amount.

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Valley Falls Police Chief Named in 2 Civil Rights Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two federal lawsuits alleging violations of civil rights have been filed against Valley Falls Police Chief Bronson Campbell. The Topeka Capital Journal reported on Monday that the lawsuit filed by Jamie Petitt alleges Campbell has harassed her and the council has backed his actions. A second lawsuit filed by Clayton Conser alleges his rights were violated in June 2015 when Campbell used a stun gun him. Campbell told the newspaper he couldn't comment on pending litigation, but said he doesn't think he's ever used excessive force. Valley Falls Mayor Charles Stutesman says the police chief has his support and the support of the council.

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Shawnee Walmart Evacuated After Gun Pointed at Customer 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Shawnee Walmart was evacuated after a gun was pointed at a customer in the parking lot. According to The Kansas City Star, police received a report about 10 p.m. Monday that a woman and man fled the area in a white Toyota Camry after pointing a handgun at a customer. Police say no shots were apparently fired. Police say no shots were apparently fired. Shawnee police said in a release people in the store were evacuated and the store searched as a precaution after they received the report. One person suffered minor injuries while running from the store in the course during the evacuation.

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Douglas County Deputy Finds Body in Burning Vehicle

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Douglas County sheriff's deputy has found a body inside a burning vehicle just northeast of Lawrence. Officials say the deputy discovered the vehicle on fire shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday. It had apparently left the roadway and struck an unoccupied farm truck. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that authorities have not yet confirmed the identity of the body or determined what caused the vehicle to leave the roadway. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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$1M Bond for Topeka Man Accused of Estranged Wife's Death 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka, Kansas, man has been ordered jailed on $1 million bond on charges that he abducted and killed his estranged wife. WIBW-TV reports that a Shawnee County judge set the bond Monday for 38-year-old Pedro Enriquez during the man's brief court appearance on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery. Enriquez is to appear in court next on Thursday. Enriquez is accused of abducting 33-year-old Viviana Vazquez on June 7 from a Topeka home, where their 10-year-old son says he saw Enriquez drag her outside by the hair. Viviana Vazquez's body was found the next day. Enriquez was arrested last Friday in Jefferson County.

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Bald Eagle Released Back into Wild in Kansas 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A bald eagle that was rescued earlier this year by Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office deputies has been set free. KSNW-TV reports the bird was released back into the wild Tuesday near K-42 highway and the Ninnescah River. The bird flew off back into the wild following its release. A group of Sedgwick County firefighters and deputies helped rescue it in April after somebody reported a bald eagle that was down at Lake Afton. The bird was emaciated and was trying to fly. It was taken at that time to the Eagle Valley Raptor Center near Cheney for rehabilitation.

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Bodies of Man, Dog Found at Site of Wichita House Fire 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man's body has been found at the site of a house fire in Wichita. KWCH-TV reports the fire happened about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. Crews responding to the scene were initially not sure whether the man who lived there was still inside. Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell says authorities have not identified the victim and they haven't confirmed who owns the home. Neighbors say a man in his 60's lived in the home with a dog. Blackwell says the body of a large-breed dog was found in the home with the dead man. Firefighters initially had to back out of the burning home because there was too much clutter inside for them to get around safely. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

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Healthy Growth Expected in Midwest, Plains States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business leaders suggests the economy will pick up over the next few months in nine Midwest and Plains states because manufacturing remains strong. The overall economic index for the region increased to 62.3 in June from May's solid 55.5. Any score above 50 suggests growth. The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor, while a score below that suggests decline. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the Federal Reserve's recent interest rate hike didn't dampen business leaders' confidence in the economy. The survey released Monday covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Police: Body Found in Arkansas River Had Gunshot Wound 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a body found in the Arkansas River had a gunshot wound. KAKE-TV reports that police responding to a call Monday evening that someone may be submerged discovered the man had been shot. The victim is a male in his 40s. His name has not been released. Sergeant Mike Linnehan of the Wichita Police Department says police are still investigating the incident.

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Lawsuit Alleges Bullying Led to Suicides by 2 Missouri Teens 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A parent has sued the Blue Springs School District alleging an unchecked culture of bullying contributed to the suicides of one student and the subsequent suicide of that student's best friend. The Kansas City Star reported that the lawsuit filed last week says the two teenage boys were bullied, harassed and discriminated at one of the middle schools and a high school. The lawsuit filed by Rebecca Lewis accuses the school district of violating anti-bullying laws by downplaying complaints. School officials were not available for comment. But the district's attorney, Steve Coronado, says his office would investigate and defend the claims as appropriate. His office requested on Friday that the lawsuit be transferred from Jackson County Circuit Court to federal court because of alleged violations of federal law.

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Explosion Levels Missouri House, Sends 3 People to Hospital 

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A house explosion in Missouri collapsed a house and injured three people. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that local police, firefighters and the ATF are still investigating the cause of Tuesday morning's explosion. Captain Jeff Wilson of the St. Joseph Police Department says two men and a woman were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after neighbors pulled them from the home. The house walls were blown out and the roof collapsed into the structure. Neighbor Paul Saunders says he heard two booms and called emergency services. Saunders said this isn't the first time they've heard booms at that residence. He said they could be heard year round. He said he has called police because they sometimes shoot them off at night and wake up his children.

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Rescue Crews Search Kansas Lake for Possible Drowning Victim 

COMANCHE COUNTY, Kan. (AP) — Rescue crews in Comanche County are searching Lake Coldwater for a possible drowning victim. KWCH-TV reports the search follows the initial emergency call that came in about 1:18 p.m. Tuesday and the report of a missing child. The station reports the search is ongoing and no body had been found. The lake is evacuated as crews conduct the search.

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Royals Beat Seattle Mariners 3-1

SEATTLE (AP) — Royals' starting pitcher Ian Kennedy allowed one run pitching into the seventh inning, Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon both hit solo home runs, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Monday night. Kennedy (3-6) won his third straight decision with one of his best performances of the season. The lone run scored by Seattle was on a wild pitch as Kansas City handed the Mariners their fifth straight loss at home. Moustakas led off the second inning with his 23rd home run of the season and gave the Royals a 2-0 lead against Seattle. Gordon's home run came with two outs in the fifth, a pitch he broke his bat on but was still able to get it over the wall in right field. It was Gordon's fifth homer of the season and second in the past three games.
 

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