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Headlines for Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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

Kansas Senate Advances Medicaid Expansion Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have voted to expand the state's Medicaid health care program to more low-income individuals. The bill passed 25-13 in a first-round Senate vote Monday. It will see a final vote later today (TUE). If approved, it would then go to Governor Sam Brownback. The House passed the measure last month after expansion supporters tried unsuccessfully for four years to get a floor debate and vote. Opponents in the Statehouse have largely relied on cost and uncertainty over what Congress will do to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as reasons not to expand. But supporters say congressional Republicans' failure to vote on their health care bill last week is more reason to expand. They contend expansion would be an economic boon to the state.  Brownback has stopped short of saying that he would veto the bill. But Brownback spokeswoman Melika Willoughby said Monday in an email that that it would be irresponsible to "expand ObamaCare when the program is in a death spiral." The 2010 overhaul of the U.S. health care system championed by former President Barack Obama encouraged states to expand their Medicaid programs by promising to pay most of the cost. The Kansas Senate measure would expand Medicaid to as many as 180,000 additional low-income residents.

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Kansas Lawmakers Considering Proposal for 'Flat' Income Tax 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are considering a new proposal to raise personal income taxes that would move to a single rate for all filers. The House Taxation Committee reviewed a measure Tuesday for a so-called flat income tax favored by conservative Republicans. The panel plans to vote on it Wednesday. Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through June 2019. Lawmakers have considered rolling back past personal income tax cuts championed by GOP Governor Sam Brownback. The House committee's bill would move Kansas from two income tax brackets to a single tax rate of 5 percent. Supporters say it would raise $871 million over two years. The measure would offset higher income taxes for poor and middle-class families by doubling standard deductions and lowering the sales tax on groceries.

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines Case of Kansas Death Row Inmate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand the Kansas death sentence of a man convicted of killing a college student more than two decades ago. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review 61-year-old Gary Kleypas' case. Kleypas was the first person condemned in Kansas after it reinstated the death penalty in 1994. Kansas hasn't executed anyone in more than 50 years. Kleypas' case now returns to Kansas courts for more appeals related to his conviction of the 1996 rape and stabbing death of 20-year-old Pittsburg State University student Carrie Williams. Kansas' Supreme Court overturned Kleypas' death sentence in 2001, but a jury restored it in 2008. At the time of Williams' death, Kleypas was on parole from a 1977 Missouri murder conviction.

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Kansas Congressional Candidates to Face Off in Debate 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A televised debate will offer many Kansas voters their first look at the candidates vying to fill the vacancy created when President Donald Trump chose former U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo as his CIA director. The event will be broadcast at 6:30 pm Tuesday on KWCH-TV in Wichita. Republican Ron Estes has skipped all but one of earlier debates in a heavily Republican district where the GOP has held the seat for more than two decades. Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights attorney, is hoping to channel voter discontent into an upset. Also running is Libertarian Chris Rockhold. Trump won 60 percent of votes in November's election in the 17-county congressional district in south-central Kansas. Republicans have represented the district since Todd Tiahrt unseated veteran Democratic Representative Dan Glickman in 1994.

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Kansas Man Sentenced for Bank Robbery with Child in Getaway Car 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A second man who helped rob a Kansas bank before leading police on a chase with a toddler in the getaway car has been sentenced to federal prison. A judge sentenced 19-year-old Jacob L. Smith on Monday in Kansas City, Kansas. Smith pleaded guilty to bank robbery and brandishing a firearm. A co-defendant, 40-year-old Gary Jordan, is serving a related three-decade prison term. Authorities say the men held up the First National Bank in Stilwell in March of last year, then fled into Missouri with law enforcers in pursuit. Smith was accused of firing shots during the chase and Jordan of trying to carjack another vehicle after the wreck. The toddler of 27-year-old Danille Morris wasn't hurt. Morris was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.

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13 States File Appeal Backing Trump Travel Ban 

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A group of 12 state attorneys general and one governor is urging a federal appeals court to allow President Trump's revised travel ban targeting six predominantly Muslim countries to take effect. In a brief filed in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, the states say the president's executive order is not a "pretext for religious discrimination." They say the president acted lawfully in the interest of national security. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi also joined. The states are urging the Richmond-based appeals court to overturn a lower court ruling that blocked the ban from going into effect. A judge in Hawaii has issued a separate ruling blocking the executive order.

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Survivor of Kansas Bar Shooting Honored with $100,000 Check

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man wounded while trying to intervene in an apparently racially motivated shooting at a suburban Kansas City bar has received a $100,000 check from an Indian-American cultural organization. The Kansas City Star reports that Ian Grillot was surprised with the check Saturday at a Houston gala. The India House, which hosted the event, and three donors teamed to give Grillot the money, to be used toward buying a house.  His mother, Debra Grillot described the evening as "impressive."  Last month's shooting in Olathe, Kansas, left Srinivas Kuchibhotla dead and his friend, Alok Madasani, wounded. Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani were natives of India working as engineers for GPS-maker Garmin in Olathe.  Fifty-one-year-old Adam Purinton was arrested hours later in Missouri. He's charged with murder and attempted murder. Witnesses say Purinton shouted racial slurs before opening fire. Grillot was hailed as a hero for attempting to intervene.

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Kansas City Hemp Oil Shops Rise Amid Unsure Regulations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — As Kansas City deals with gray areas in herbal supplements and regulated pharmaceutical medication, the number of shops that sells hemp oil is beginning to rise in the metro area.  The Kansas City Star reports the shops sell the product known as cannabidiol, which derives from the cannabis plant most know as marijuana. Those who sell cannabidiol call their product hemp because the oil comes from plants with little to no THC, the chemical responsible for the high that recreational users want.  Despite legal risks involving medical marijuana dispensaries, many shops in downtown Kansas City are open and upfront about their hemp products.  Missouri legalized low-THC hemp oil for helping treat children's seizures in 2014, but open dispensary stores for hemp oil are not legal in Kansas or Missouri.

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Remains of Man Missing Since 2015 Found in Wichita Field 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say the remains of a man with dementia who had been missing for more than a year have been found in a field near a Wichita aircraft parts maker. KAKE-TV reports that Lieutenant Lin Dehning said Tuesday that dental records were used to identify the remains as those of John Wilson. The Wichita man was 64 in December 2015 when he was last seen alive. Surveillance video showed him walking out of a south Wichita gas station. The disappearance led to searches. His brother, James Wilson, told The Wichita Eagle that friends and family were "in torment every day thinking we'll maybe never know what happened." Their questions were answered Monday when the remains were found on Spirit AeroSystems property.

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Toby Keith Video Presses for Wildfire Relief Donations

ASHLAND, Kan. (AP) — Relief efforts on behalf of Kansas and Oklahoma property owners affected by recent wildfires are getting a lift from country music star and Oklahoma native Toby Keith. The Wichita Eagle reports Keith has partnered with the Ashland Community Foundation in southern Kansas's Clark County to record a 50-second public service video asking for a "helping hand" through donations. The grass fires in early March charred more than 1,000 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas, destroying miles of fencing on ranches and farms. The foundation's board president, Bill Shawn, says Keith's video plea for donations was posted Monday on the nonprofit's website and Facebook page. In his video spot, Keith says, "if you know anything about the people from around here, we don't stay down."

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Kansas State to Dedicate New Residence Hall 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is preparing to dedicate its first residence hall to be built in more than 50 years. The university says in a news release that the public ceremony is planned for Saturday for Wefald Hall. The coeducational residence hall can house up to 540 students and features its own coffee shop. The building's one- and two-person rooms feature walk-in closets. There also are study spaces, kitchenettes and lobbies available on each floor. The eight-story residence hall is in the same area as Goodnow and Marlatt halls on the west side of campus. The hall was named for former Kansas State President Jon Wefald, who served from 1986-2009. Wefald will speak at the ceremony. Other speakers will include U.S. Senator Pat Roberts and football coach Bill Snyder.

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Wichita House Fire Kills 58-Year-Old Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials in Wichita are trying to determine what sparked a weekend house fire that killed a 58-year-old man. Wichita Fire Department Captain Kelly Zane says Martin Ornelas died at a hospital Monday morning of injuries sustained in the fire reported about 10 pm Sunday. Zane says three pets inside the home were rescued and given to family members.

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Lawsuit Filed Against Man Charged in Deadly Topeka Crash 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Topeka man charged with driving drunk and killing a woman is being sued. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the wrongful death lawsuit against 33-year-old Jason Patterson alleges negligence. Patterson is charged with involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol. He also could face an alternative charge of reckless second-degree murder in the Fourth of July death of 60-year-old Tara French. Shawnee County District Court records show the victim's widower, Rodney French, is seeking more than $75,000. Patterson is accused of hitting French with a pickup truck as she crossed a street after arguing with another woman over fireworks that had been shot off near Topeka's Lake Shawnee. Patterson denied drinking, but police say his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

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Kansas Man Donates 32 Gallons of Blood over 64 Years

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An 87-year-old Kansas man who has donated 32 gallons of blood over more than six decades credits his father for his award-winning generosity. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Harold Facklam Jr. of Topeka recently was recognized by the Kansas Health Care Association and the Kansas Center for Assisted Living for the 259 pints he has donated through the American Red Cross. Facklam donated until April 2015, when health reasons caused him stop. He tells the newspaper that he doesn't think about how his donations have affected others or even saved lives. But he gives a nod to his late father, who he says encouraged him to donate when the younger Facklam was almost 21 in 1951. Facklam's father gave blood for about 11 years, stopping at age 60.

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Fire Officials Investigate Kansas City Apartment Building Fire 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fire investigators in Kansas City, Missouri, are trying to pinpoint what sparked a three-alarm blaze that damaged an apartment building, destroying four of the units early this (TUE) morning. Fire Chief Paul Berardi says no injuries resulted from the blaze reported about 3:30 a.m. on the city's south side. The Kansas City Star reports that about 16 people were displaced by the fire, and about 20 apartment units were impacted by the fire. Berardi says the fire appears to have started outside the building. One of the tenants, Jacque Mitts, said that she was working on her computer and noticed flickering lights, then looked outside and saw a pickup truck on fire. She says that by the time she alerted her husband, their apartment's blinds already were melting.

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Jayhawk Frank Mason Unanimous Pick for AP All-America Team 

Frank Mason III of the University of Kansas has been unanimously selected to the 2016-17 AP All-America team. Mason, who averaged 20.8 points and 5.1 assists this season, received all first-team votes from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Joining Mason on the first team on Tuesday were fellow senior Josh Hart of Villanova, sophomore Caleb Swanigan of Purdue, freshman Lonzo Ball of UCLA and junior Justin Jackson of North Carolina. Hart, who averaged 18.9 points and 6.5 rebounds, received 62 first-team votes. Swanigan led the nation with 26 double-doubles and was the only Division I player to average 18 points and 12 rebounds this season. He was on 61 first-team ballots. Ball received 54 first-team votes. He averaged 14.6 points and 7.9 assists and has already announced plans to enter the NBA draft. Jackson helped the Tar Heels reach the Final Four, averaging 18.1 points. He was on 24 first-team ballots. Votes were based on the regular season and conference tournaments.

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Hall of Famer Lynette Woodard New Winthrop Women's Basketball Coach 

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer Lynette Woodard has been named Winthrop's women's basketball coach. Woodard joined the program as an assistant last August and was appointed acting head coach in January following the suspension of then coach Kevin Cook. Cook was later let go at Winthrop as Woodard finished out the season. Woodard is a two-time U.S. Olympian who was a four-time all-American at the University of Kansas. She became the first woman to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Along with being a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Woodard has also been inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame, the Globetrotter Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

 

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