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Headlines for Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Here's a look at Kansas news headlines from the Associated Press, as compiled by the KPR News Team.

GOP Kansas Lawmakers Push Bill to Reverse Key Income Tax Cut 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Three Republicans in the Kansas Senate have introduced a proposal to reverse an income tax cut for business owners championed by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. Senate Vice President Jeff King of Independence and Senators Jim Denning and Greg Smith of Overland Park described the measure they unveiled Tuesday as a proposal to promote tax fairness. Their bill would undo a 2012 policy that exempts more than 330,000 farmers and business owners from state income taxes. It would tax 70 percent of their income. The state has struggled since to balance its budget, and the three senators said it will continue to do so as long as the full tax break remains in effect. But Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the governor will not support a tax increase on small businesses.


Kansas Senate Panel Delays Vote on Judicial Impeachment Bill 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has delayed its debate on a bill expanding the legal grounds for impeaching and removing judges and state Supreme Court justices from office. Chairman Jeff King postponed the Judiciary Committee's scheduled debate Tuesday until Thursday so that it can consider amendments. Lawmakers are considering the bill after many Republicans have criticized the Supreme Court over school funding and death penalty rulings. Kansas is at the center of efforts by conservatives to remake state courts. The bill's list of impeachable offenses would include attempting to "usurp the power" of legislators or the executive branch. The Kansas Constitution says public officials can be impeached for bribery, treason and other high crimes and misdemeanors. The bill provides a longer list of specific grounds for impeachment for the judiciary.


Kansas Senator Defends Bill Against Teachers Union Criticism

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Johnson County lawmaker has defended a proposal to require annual votes on the status of local teachers unions, an idea criticized by Kansas's main union as a distraction from more important matters.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the bill would require yearly votes to be held on whether teachers want their local union to continue representing them.  Republican state Senator Jeff Melcher says the goal is to give each year's new incoming teachers a voice so that the unions will better understand what their members want.  Most local teachers unions in Kansas are affiliated with the Kansas National Education Association and the National Education Association.  The Kansas National Education Association describes the bill as the latest in a long line of attempts to cripple unions.


Kansas Senate Committee Approves Diversion of Family Planning Funds 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has voted to permanently divert federal family planning funding from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would make permanent a 2011 provision that distributes funding for Title X, a federally financed family planning program. The provision gives funding priority to public health departments and clinics ahead of private family planning clinics. Senator Marci Francisco, a Democrat from Lawrence who opposed the measure, suggested a change that would expand access to long-lasting reversible contraception, but the committee voted against the proposal. Planned Parenthood challenged the provision in federal court and ultimately lost in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver in 2014.


Kansas House Panel's Leader Has New Proposal on School Bonds 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A House committee's leader has outlined a new proposal for giving the state more oversight of local public school construction projects. Education Committee Chairman Ron Highland said Tuesday that his panel will vote on his proposal Friday. It would have a joint legislative committee review projects before voters in local school districts decide whether to authorize bonds for them. The state helps poorer school districts pay off such debt, and costs have climbed, frustrating Republicans who control the Legislature. The committee started with a bill that would create a new state board to review school construction projects. But Highland said some lawmakers questioned the idea and noted that the work could be done by an existing legislative committee. Critics see such measures as an attack on local control of schools.


Hesston Factory Reopens After Employee Shooting That Killed 3, Wounded 14

HESSTON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawn equipment factory will open for business for the first time since a gunman fatally shot three employees at the Hesston facility in February.  KSNW-TV reports that Excel Industries will resume operating Thursday. Employees and their families are invited for an open house to tour the facility Wednesday.  Employees will be required to show identification for the tour.  The company has been closed since the February 25 shooting that left three dead and 14 injured. Police fatally shot the suspect, employee Cedric L. Ford.  The company set up a hotline offering to help employees after the incident. So far the facility has only been reopened to allow employees to gather their belongings.


Kansas Police Chief Who Killed Gunman Says He's No Hero 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A police chief who rushed without backup into a Kansas lawnmower factory and fatally shot a gunman who had killed three people and wounded 14 more, says he is no hero. Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder said Tuesday that any police officer would have acted as he did in those circumstances. In his first public statement since the February 25 shootings at the Excel Industries factory in Hesston, Schroeder said God had prepared him throughout his life and career to deal with that situation. About 300 people were working second shift at the factory when Cedric L. Ford opened fire killing three people and wounding 12. He had shot and wounded two other people as he drove to the plant. Hesston is about 30 miles north of Wichita.


Authorities Searching for Man Suspected in 5 Fatal Shootings 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Investigators say a man suspected of killing four people at his neighbor's home in Kansas is now suspected of killing a man in Missouri after fleeing the state. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says two helicopters and dozens of officers are searching for 36-year-old Pablo Serrano-Vitorino. The patrol says Serrano-Vitorino should be considered dangerous and may be armed with an AK-47. Authorities say four men were shot Monday night at the house in Kansas City, Kansas. Serrano-Vitorino's truck was found Tuesday morning about 170 miles away along Interstate 70 in central Missouri. The patrol says a 49-year-old man was found fatally shot in a rural home about five miles away near New Florence, and a witness reported seeing a man running from the property. Several schools were put on lockdown.


Police: US Marshals Service Officer Shoots, Kills Fugitive

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say an officer with the U.S. Marshals Service has fatally shot a man in Topeka while serving arrest warrants. Police said in a news release that the shooting happened Monday afternoon near the city's downtown. Police say 45-year-old Randall J. Selsor, who was white, was pronounced dead at the scene. The release said the Marshals Service was seeking to serve arrest warrants for an attempted violation of an act that requires criminal offenders to register with law enforcement and for misdemeanor domestic battery. At the time of the shooting, two members of the U.S. Marshals Service, two Shawnee County sheriff's deputies and one Topeka police officer were searching for Selsor. Topeka police are investigating the shooting at the request of the Marshals Service.


Kanas Senator Jerry Moran: Guantanamo Prison Valuable for Intelligence Analysis 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran says his visit last week to U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was an "eye-opening experience." The Kansas Republican told Leavenworth community leaders in a telephone conference call Monday that visit reaffirmed his belief the detention facility is necessary. Moran says he received a high-level classified briefing while at the prison that showed its value for analyzing intelligence. President Barack Obama submitted a plan last month for closing the prison to Congress, which quickly rejected the proposal. The plan was Obama's attempt to make good on an unfulfilled campaign promise. Moran told local officials who worry that detainees would be relocated to Fort Leavenworth that the president is legally prohibited from closing the Guantanamo detention facility and bringing them to the United States.


Jet Makes Emergency Landing in Wichita After Alarm Sounds

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ An American Eagle regional jet carrying 55 people made an emergency landing in Kansas after a smoke alarm for the jet's baggage compartment activated. The Wichita Eagle reports the Embraer ERJ 145 landed safely at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport around 7 am Monday. Airport officials say no indications of smoke or fire were found. A Wichita Airport Authority spokeswoman says the jet was flying from Grand Island, Nebraska, to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport when the alarm sounded. 


Franklin County "Farmhouse" Murder Trial Begins in Ottawa 

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors in the capital murder trial of an eastern Kansas man accused of killing a toddler and three adults have described a grisly crime scene as opening statements got underway. The Kansas City Star reports that Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting told jurors Monday that Kyle Trevor Flack was responsible for the May 1, 2013, killings of 31-year-old Kaylie Bailey and her infant daughter, Lana. He's also charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of 30-year-old Andrew Stout and 31-year-old Steven White, who were killed days earlier. The three adults were found at a farmhouse outside Ottawa, and the baby was found a week later inside a suitcase floating in a rural creek. The trial in Franklin County District Court in Ottawa is expected to last several weeks.


Kansas Man Sentenced to 57 Years in Fatal Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to 57 years and four months in prison for fatally shooting a woman and wounding a man in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that 31-year-old Scottie E. Lindsay was found guilty in January of intentional second-degree murder, attempted intentional second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm. Prosecutors say Lindsay fatally shot 37-year-old Melinda Bates Fuller multiple times during an argument on March 19, 2015, at the home of Julius Lamont Boyd. Boyd was wounded in the shooting.


Victim Killed in Wichita Identified as 35-Year-Old Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have identified a 35-year-old man as the victim of a fatal shooting in the southeast part of the city. The Wichita Eagle reports that police say Brandon Walters was shot Thursday night inside his residence. Wichita police Lieutenant Todd Ojile said last week that he made it outside before collapsing. Police are seeking a man and a woman in connection with the shooting.


Man Enters Plea in Pittsburg State Student's Killing

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — One of the men charged in the robbery and slaying of a Pittsburg State University student has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that 21-year-old Corbin Joseph Spragg, of Pittsburg, also admitted to aggravated kidnaping. As part of the agreement, charges of first degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated burglary were dropped. Prosecutors say 20-year-old engineering student Taylor Thomas was killed in 2014 when Spragg and three other men attempted to steal marijuana from Thomas's roommate. A fifth man who's accused of aiding the other four after the killing also faces charges. Spragg has agreed to testify against the other defendants and won't be formally sentenced until the other cases end. As part of the plea agreement, he faces 27-and-a-half years in prison. 


Teen Sentenced in Fatal 2014 Wichita Stabbing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A teenager who pleaded guilty in the fatal Christmas Eve 2014 stabbing of a Wichita man has been sentenced to five years in a juvenile correctional facility. The Wichita Eagle reported Monday that the male teenager was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last year in connection with the death of 32-year-old Steven D. Manuel. Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office spokesman Dan Dillon said that the teen, who was 16 at the time of the stabbing, will be subject to two years of "aftercare" once he is released. Manuel died early Christmas Day after he was stabbed several times during a fight at his home on December 24, 2014.


Topeka Cemetery Provides Special Houses for Songbirds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka cemetery is preparing for an annual influx of purple martin songbirds. the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Newcomer Funeral Service Group initiated the project five years ago. President Ren Newcomer happened to see several purple martin houses while out on a bike ride and asked accounts receivable manager Russ Burlew to establish the houses. No purple martins showed up the first year. Burlew did some research and in 2012, he purchased a CD with a recording of the purple martin call. He said he receive some strange looks when he blasted the recording from his car. But ultimately, the effort was successful in attracting the birds. They arrive in Kansas in mid-March to nest and raise their young. They leave for their migration to Brazil in August.


Ex-Kansas City Chiefs Player's Brain Donated for Research 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The family of former Kansas City Chiefs safety Caesar Belser will donate his brain to research into a degenerative brain condition. Belser's children said he died over the weekend of lung cancer. He played for the Chiefs from 1968 to 1971, including on the 1969 Super Bowl champion team. His son, Jason Belser, and his daughter, Cecilia Belser-Patton, say the family will donate Belser's brain to the University of Texas Southwestern and Dr. Bennet Omalu, a key figure in researching chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The Kansas City Star reports Belser's children say he suffered from several neurological issues late in life. Jason Belser, who played in the NFL for 11 years, has already decided to donate his brain when he dies.


It's a 'B' Game: Swarm of Bees Delays Rockies-Royals Game 

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — There was quite a buzz to the Colorado Rockies-Kansas City Royals spring training game on Tuesday. A swarm of bees sent Kansas City manager Ned Yost, members of his coaching staff and fans scurrying early in the exhibition matchup. Yost and his coaches like to sit on folding chairs outside the dugout, and the bees caused them to duck for cover and a brief delay at Surprise Stadium. The bees were removed in a plastic trash bag after the top of the third inning. Lowell Hutchinson, a retired beekeeper from St. Joseph, Missouri, came out of the stands to assist with the removal of the bees. With the scarcity of honey bees, Yost implored the bees be saved, not exterminated. Bee delays seem to occur most every spring in Arizona during at least one game. Kansas City won today's (TUE) game, 3-2. 


University of Kansas Jayhawks Named Number 1 for Second Straight Week 

The University of Kansas is No. 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll for a second straight week and for the fourth time this season. The Jayhawks (27-4) are again a runaway choice, receiving 63 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel on Monday. Michigan State (26-5), which got the other two first-place votes, remained second and was followed by Villanova, Virginia, Xavier, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia and Indiana. The same teams are in the Top 25 for a second straight week, the first time that has happened this season. The Jayhawks are preparing to play either Kansas State or Oklahoma State Thursday afternoon at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. K-State plays OSU at the Sprint Center tomorrow.


AP Source: Chiefs, LB Tamba Hali Agree to 3-Year Contract 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the Kansas City Chiefs and Tamba Hali have agreed to a three-year contract to keep the veteran linebacker in Kansas City. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Tuesday because the deal had not been announced. The 32-year-old Hali is coming off his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl, despite practicing on a limited basis much of the season because of a troublesome knee. He also had a broken thumb late in the year. Still, the Chiefs' former first-round pick finished with 6 1-2 sacks while starting 14 of the 15 games he played. That gave him 86 for his career, matching Neil Smith for second-most in franchise history.


Sporting KC Acquires Chilean Striker Diego Rubio on Loan 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Sporting Kansas City acquired Chilean striker Diego Rubio on loan from Spanish club Real Valladolid on Tuesday, giving the MLS club additional depth as it begins a busy early portion of its schedule. The 22-year-old Rubio has also played for powerhouse Sporting Clube de Portugal's reserve team, where he scored 22 goals in 52 games. He also made 20 senior team appearances for the club. Rubio has also been loaned to Romanian club Pandurii Targu Jiu and Noregian club Sandnes Ulf. He will occupy an international roster spot for Sporting KC, which beat Seattle in its season opener on Sunday. The club plays its home opener Saturday against Vancouver.


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