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Headlines for Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

Possibility of Severe Weather in Nation's Midsection

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ There's a threat of strong thunderstorms with possible tornadoes in the nation's midsection.  The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma says the areas of greatest risk for tornadoes this (TUE) afternoon and tonight are in western Oklahoma and in the eastern Panhandle of Texas. But the National Weather Service has also issued a tornado watch for part of southwest Kansas and portions of northeast Kansas are under a severe thunderstorm watch.

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Kansas Lawmakers Delay Talk of Taxes, School Funding

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers are delaying discussions about public school funding and raising taxes to fix the state budget.  House and Senate negotiators who had planned to convene today (TUE) to discuss proposals for increasing income taxes never scheduled a meeting.  Lead House negotiator Steven Johnson said he doesn't know when the group will convene again. The Assaria Republican said it's an indication that lawmakers remain divided on tax issues.  The House postponed a debate until at least Thursday on a plan to phase in a $280 million increase in spending on public schools over two years. Leaders want to give House members more time to review the details.  Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019, and the state Supreme Court ruled in March that education funding is inadequate.

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Kansas Senate Backs Away from Floor Debate on Concealed Guns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Senate has backed away from a floor debate on the state's controversial concealed carry law and opted to send a bill back to committee.  Senators voted to send back a bill that would allow public hospitals and nursing homes, community mental health centers, low-income health clinics and the University of Kansas Medical Center to ban guns in their facilities.  Under a law taking effect July 1, those health care providers will have to either allow guns on the premises or secure building entrances using metal detectors and armed guards. This latest bill would allow the facilities to ban guns without paying for the added security.  Ways and Means Committee Chair Senator Carolyn McGinn says the committee could work on the bill as soon as Wednesday.  

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Former Democratic Lawmaker Runs for Kansas Governor

ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) - Former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty says he's running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. Svaty announced his candidacy today (TUE). The 37-year-old Ellsworth resident was elected to the Kansas House in 2002 and served there until Democratic Governor Mark Parkinson appointed him agriculture secretary in 2009. His announcement sets up the first contested Democratic primary for governor since 1998. Former Mayor Carl Brewer also has declared his candidacy.  

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Kansas Boy's Slaying Prompts Call for New Home School Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas prosecutor wants tougher state regulation of home schools following the 2015 slaying of a 7-year-old boy whose remains were found in a family pig sty.  A Kansas House committee had a hearing Tuesday on a bill to require people living in a home where a child is abused to report the abuse.  But Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree says that's just a first step.  The bill is a response to the death of Adrian Jones, who authorities say was tortured and starved. His father and stepmother claimed to be home schooling him. They've been sentenced to life in prison in his death. Authorities say at least one other adult had temporarily lived in the home.  Kansas requires only that home schools be registered. Several lawmakers want more oversight.

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Jackson County Man Faces Sex-Related Charges

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man charged with sexually assaulting five women and acquitted in a case involving a teenager faces new charges.  The Topeka Capital-Journal  reports that the 13 felony counts of sexual exploitation were filed last week against Jacob Ewing. The charges stem from allegations that he viewed or possessed sexually explicit images or videos of a child under 18 in 2014 and 2015.  Allegations against the 22-year-old Holton man have divided the 3,300-resident town. He was acquitted last month of sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in a rural cemetery but remains jailed while awaiting trials scheduled for June, August and October.  The prosecutor is seeking to admit evidence at his upcoming trials that he viewed violent porn for up to four hours a day. He's entered not guilty pleas.
 
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Convicted Soldier Manning to Remain on Active Duty After Release from Ft. Leavenworth

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Army says that when transgender solider Chelsea Manning is released from military prison on Wednesday she will remain on active duty in a special status, pending her final appellate review.  An Army spokeswoman, Lt. Colonel Jennifer Johnson, said Manning will be released in accordance with former President Barack Obama's decision to grant her clemency.  Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking secret military and State Department documents and battlefield video. She served nearly seven years of her 35-year sentence at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She was known as Bradley Manning before transitioning in prison. She is appealing her court-martial conviction.  Johnson said Manning will be on unpaid active duty in "excess leave'' status, which makes her eligible for medical care at Army treatment facilities.
 
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Evaluation Ordered for Man Charged in Lawrence Apartment Death

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Lawrence man accused of killing his 19-year-old neighbor will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial.  Lawyers for 20-year-old Rontarus Washington Jr., was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday for first-degree murder in the November 2014 death of Justina Altamirano Mosso at an apartment in Lawrence.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports  an earlier evaluation found Washington suffers from several significant mental disorders and determined he was incompetent to stand trial.  Because of those findings, Washington's attorney requested he undergo the psychiatric evaluation.  Judge James McCabria granted the motion and suspended the trial until the evaluation is complete.  Washington will be committed to the Larned State Hospital for no more than 60 days for the evaluation.

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Kansas City Jail Faces Lawsuit for Allowing Rape, Providing Drugs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - An embattled Kansas City, Missouri, jail is facing a lawsuit from a man alleging he was raped by another inmate, and a guard did nothing to help. In fact, the lawsuit filed May 9 alleges that the female guard at the Jackson County Detention Center gave cocaine to the man assaulting Ryan Dumas during the attack in September.  

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KU School of Nursing to Open Salina Campus this Fall

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ The University of Kansas School of Nursing plans to open a campus in Salina this fall.  The new venture is a partnership with Salina Regional Health Center.  John Berggren, spokesman for the Salina health center, said in a news release Tuesday that the campus will accept a class of 12 students this fall.  The class sizes are expected to gradually increase until reaching a maximum of 48 students in the fifth year.  The new campus will offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to students who have completed two years of undergraduate education at another college or university.   The goal of the new campus is to educate professional nurses to work in rural parts of Kansas.

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Central Kansas Man Dies from Virulent Form of Meningitis

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Health officials are investigating a central Kansas man's death from an extremely dangerous form of bacterial meningitis.  State health officials say laboratory tests have confirmed that the death in Barton County was the result of the acute infection of the bloodstream.  Authorities are now working to identify people exposed to the man.  The bacteria can be spread through close contact -- such as sharing a drinking glass, kissing or living in close quarters with an infected person.  

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Kansas Man Convicted of Causing Fatal Wreck 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A south-central Kansas man has been convicted of causing a 2015 crash that killed two men as they walked near their home. KAKE-TV reports that a Sedgwick County jury on Monday convicted Myles Evans of two counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the August 2015 wreck. Authorities said Evans was driving under the influence when he struck 72-year-old Paul LaBrue and 70-year-old David Bell in a residential area of Goddard. LaBrue's dog also was killed. A sentencing date was not immediately set.

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Human Remains Found in Southern Kansas Farm Field

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in southern Kansas say human remains have been found in a farm field just outside of Wichita's city limits. Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lin Dehning says the remains were found shortly before 3:30 p.m. Monday by the property owner while he was mowing. Dehning tells The Wichita Eagle that it's too early to tell the age and gender of the person whose remains were found, or whether any foul play was involved. Dehning says the effort to identify the remains continues. No additional details were available.

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Recent Rain Delays Planting But Improves Kansas Pastures 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A government report says recent rainfall across much of Kansas has delayed planting but continues to improve pasture quality. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that about 84 percent of the winter wheat crop in Kansas was now headed, with 8 percent turning color. It rated about 27 percent of the wheat crop in poor or very poor condition. About 29 percent was in fair shape while 38 percent was in good and 6 percent in excellent condition. Corn planting has now reached the 60 percent point with 34 percent of the corn now emerged. About 16 percent of the soybeans and 2 percent of the sorghum has been planted so far in Kansas. Pastures are improving with the latest update pegging just 3 percent still in poor condition.

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Kansas Deputies Use Stun Gun on Suspect Accused of Wielding Machete 

HOXIE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a deputy has used a stun gun on a man who advanced toward law enforcement with a machete after a northwest Kansas chase. The Hays Post reports that the pursuit started Monday afternoon when Sheridan County sheriff's deputies spotted a vehicle linked to a domestic disturbance making a U-turn on U.S. 24. A news release says the deputies tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver sped off. The chase reached speeds of more than 100 mph, leading law enforcement to back off because of safety concerns. The chase resumed when the suspect's vehicle was spotted again. The suspect was stunned after returning to the residence where the domestic disturbance had been reported. Authorities say he ignored commands to drop the machete and surrender.

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Kansas Attorney General Seizes Patient Records from Closed Nursing Home

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas attorney general's office has seized patient records from a closed nursing home after suing the owners. The suit filed last week in Allen County stems from the closure of the Pinecrest Nursing Home in the southeast Kansas town of Humboldt. The lawsuit alleges that there have been no efforts to secure or properly dispose of the records, even though the building where they are stored has been burglarized and trespassed upon since it ceased being occupied in 2011. A court order authorized the seizure of the records. A hearing is scheduled for June 6. Defendants in the suit include Georgia-based AltaCare Corporation. The phone number for the company has been disconnected.

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Jury Convicts Wichita Man of Causing Deadly Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A southern Kansas jury has convicted a man of drunkenly causing a crash that killed two clients of an organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities. Sedgwick County jurors found Bret Blevins of Wichita guilty of 14 counts, including second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and multiple charges of aggravated battery. Authorities said Blevins was driving a borrowed vehicle in March of last year when he ran through a stop sign and hit a van occupied by three residents and two employees of Starkey Inc. The organization has dozens of Wichita-area homes and provides services to people with mental disabilities. Forty-six-year-old Dirk MacMillan and 25-year-old Dusty Atterbery were killed. During his trial, Blevins claimed he wasn't driving the SUV at the time of the crash.

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Former NBA Player Graduates from KU
 
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Former NBA player Drew Gooden has graduated from the University of Kansas, 14 years after leaving early to play professional basketball. The 35-year-old graduated Sunday after completing his bachelor's degree in communication studies.  The forward left school as a junior in 2002... and was chosen fourth overall in that year's draft.  Gooden says he's now looking into getting his master's degree and plans to send a copy of his diploma to former university head coach Roy Williams.

 

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