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Headlines for Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Here's a look at area news headlines from the Associated Press, as compiled by the KPR news staffers.

Four Middle Schoolers in Haysville Accused of Bomb, Shooting Plot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Four students at a middle school near Wichita are charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with a supposed bomb-and-shooting plot.  The names of the Haysville Middle School eighth-graders charged yesterday (MON) in Sedgwick County were not released. It was not immediately clear if they were charged as adults, or if they have attorneys.  School officials say the allleged threat surfaced last Thursday after social media posts indicated someone was plotting to bomb and shoot people on school grounds.  Police identified the students behind the alleged threat and took them into custody.  The four defendants remain in custody, awaiting hearings.


Kansas Governor Signs New Limits on Welfare Payments

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill into law that he said is aimed at freeing more people from poverty.  Opponents argue the new welfare restrictions leave families without a safety net during financial difficulties.  Under the new law, Kansas residents will be limited to 24 months on cash assistance over their lifetime. The previous limit was 36 months.  Able-bodied recipients of food assistance also will be required to participate in an employment or training program and not quit a job that offers at least 30 hours of work per week.  The Brownback administration estimates that about 9 percent of the approximately 4,900 households receiving cash assistance will reach the new lifetime limit within the next year.  


KU Coach Self, Other LLCs Avoid Taxes Under Kansas Law 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Bill Self isn't paying state taxes on the bulk of his millions of dollars of income as men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas, but that's legal due to some state tax reforms that were passed in 2012. Public radio station KCUR reports that Self earns a taxable salary of $230,000 a year. But he also gets at least $2.75 million annually from the entity that runs the school's intercollegiate sports, and that money goes to Self's BCLT II limited liability company. That's among the nearly 334,000 Kansas businesses that owe no state income taxes under Governor Sam Brownback administration's 2012 tax cuts. Self's tax break comes out to more than $125,000 a year. Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka says he likes Self. But he argues that while the cuts were meant to create jobs, Self doesn't do that.


Kansas Won't Discontinue Funding for Planned Parenthood Until July

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will not cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood until July 7 in the state's third delay in acting against the women's health care provider. A state health department attorney suggested the latest delay Tuesday during a telephone conference hearing in a federal lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against the cutoff. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson approved the latest delay. The state has asked for delays because that would give time for the parties in the lawsuit to prepare. The state initially told Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri that it would cut off Medicaid funding May 10. It postponed the action until May 24, then until June 7. The health department attorney on Tuesday said it needs yet more time to prepare because outside attorneys are withdrawing.


Kansas School Board Rebukes Federal Transgender Bathroom Directive 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday criticized the Obama administration's directive that public schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities, not their sex at birth. Board members called the directive an encroachment on local control, but voted 6-4 against issuing a public statement rejecting the federal mandate. Members agreed to discuss the issue again next month after consulting with their attorney and reviewing school districts' policies. State board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, asked that the Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback protect the state from what he called federal overreach. The board needs to take a stance on the issue, he said.


Kansas Reservoir Dredging Termed Vital to Water Supply

BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Dredging underway at an east-central Kansas reservoir is being touted as important in ensuring that area's water supply to customers who include a nuclear power plant. Governor Sam Brownback on Tuesday directed the dredging of the John Redmond Reservoir near Burlington to begin. He calls it a significant step in preserving the water resource for future generations. The Kansas Water Office says that since 1964, the reservoir has lost an estimated 42 percent of its conservation pool storage capacity, partly through sediment accumulation. That's 80 percent more than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers originally projected when it was first constructed. The water office's director, Tracy Streeter, says the reservoir serves 19 communities, six industrial users and the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant.


Senate Approves New Army Secretary After Roberts-Led Guantanamo Delay

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed the long-stalled nomination of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service. The voice vote approval on Tuesday came after Kansas Senator Pat Roberts dropped his opposition to Fanning in a dispute over Obama administration efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the U.S. Roberts said he received assurances from the administration in private discussions that the clock has run out on moving detainees to Fort Leavenworth. Fanning served as the Army secretary's principal adviser on management and operation of the service. He was undersecretary of the Air Force from April 2013 to February 2015, and for half a year was the acting secretary of the Air Force.


Largest Food Bank in Kansas Needs More Donations

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The largest food bank in Kansas says it need more donations.  Right now, Larry Gunkle, with the Kansas Food Bank, says they have beans, peanut butter and veggies... but more food is needed.  That's according to a report from KSNW-TV in Wichita.  The Kansas Food Bank is a non-profit organization that partners with hunger relief agencies across the state. It serves more than 200,000 people in 85 Kansas counties.  The hunger problem is not confined to Wichita. Organizations in western Kansas are also dealing with decreases in food bank donations.


Tax Fight with Pizza Magnate Could Affect Kansas Legislation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A multimillion dollar income tax dispute involving a former Kansas businessman could influence whether Governor Sam Brownback signs a bill allowing taxpayers to challenge rulings of the state's Board of Tax Appeals.  Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley told The Wichita Eagle  the governor hasn't decided whether to sign a bill that passed on the final night of the legislative session this month.  The measure would allow any taxpayer appealing a decision by the tax board to have a new trial in district court, where new evidence could be presented.  The governor's office tried to restrict such trials to property tax appeals.  Pizza magnate Gene Bicknell is suing to force the state to refund $42 million he paid in 2013 after an unfavorable ruling by the then-Court of Tax Appeals.

Lawrence School District Considers Changes to Discrimination Policies

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — School officials in Lawrence, Kansas, are considering changing district policies to prohibit forms of discriminatory behavior after school administrators told a high school student earlier this year that he couldn't display a Confederate flag on his vehicle while on school grounds. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the school board's policy advisory committee has recommended potential changes to the school board, which will decide whether to adopt them. The committee's recommended additions would affect three district policies: discrimination and harassment; hazing and bullying; and prohibited activity. Those policies currently prohibit verbal, physical and written discrimination or harassment. The committee recommends that the policies be expanded to include symbols and microagressions. The school board is scheduled to discuss the committee's recommendations June 13 and vote on them June 27.


No Federal Charges in Accidental Commencement Shooting

AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) — No federal charges will be filed against a concealed weapon permit-holder who wounded himself and a bystander when the gun he stuffed into his sock accidentally discharged at a southern Kansas high school graduation ceremony. The Wichita Eagle reports that there's an exception to the federal gun-free school zones law that allows holders of state-issued concealed-carry permits to carry their weapons in school zones. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman John Ham says that means the man cannot be prosecuted under the law for bringing the gun to the Augusta High School commencement on Sunday. The man was shot in the foot when he adjusted his sock. A woman was struck in the calf. State charges remain possible. Police haven't yet provided the case to county prosecutors.


63 American Indian Reservations Join Land Program: Lawyer Says More Money Needed

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) —  An attorney for an American Indian group says U.S. officials will need more money from Congress to cover the costs of an initiative to return land on reservations to tribal ownership. John Dossett with the National Congress of American Indians says the U.S. Interior Department program is working well. But he says the $1.9 billion put into it under a 2009 legal settlement won't be enough to get the work done. The program consolidates individual parcels of land with multiple owners and turns the property over to tribes to be put to beneficial use. It expires in 2022. Interior officials on Tuesday added 63 reservations in 16 states to the initiative, bringing the total number involved to 105.


Sharing Economy Comes to Agriculture

ST. JOHN, Kan. (AP) — The same mindset that has fueled online ride-sharing services like Uber has come to the farm. The Hutchinson News reports that some farmers are now listing their combines and other machinery on a new sharing website. Kansas City-based MachineryLink has more than 1,300 growers signed up. The website launched in October.


Man Gets Prison for Embezzling from Lenexa Company

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - The former controller of a Kansas company has been ordered to serve a year and three months in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $135,000 from his employer. Alan Wenk was sentenced Monday in Kansas City, Kansas. Wenk pleaded guilty in February, admitting the crimes happened while he was working as regional controller and corporate accounts payable manager for Performance Contracting Group Inc. in Lenexa.


Kansans Donate $1.8 Million to Presidential Candidates

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Federal Election Commission data shows that Kansas residents have donated more than $1.8 million to presidential candidates and hundreds of millions more through PACs and super PACs.  The Wichita Eagle  reports that Kansas ranks in the bottom 10 among states' donations between January 2015 and March 2016.  Less than 4,000 Kansas residents made donations to individual candidates. The most common individual donation was $50. About two-thirds of all donations were $50 or less.  But the average donor gave money to their candidate five times, and the most common total amount given was $250.  At this point in the 2012 campaign, Kansas residents had donated $2.4 million. Nearly twice as many Kansas residents gave money in this election cycle than in 2012, although each person has given less.


Kansas City Woman Accused o f Setting Her Boyfriend on Fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri woman is accused of felony assault for allegedly setting her longtime boyfriend on fire. Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutors charged 35-year-old Amanda Drake with first-degree domestic assault on Monday. Prosecutors requested that she be held on $100,000 bond. Online court records don't show whether she has an attorney. Prosecutors say firefighters responding to a reported blaze Monday found a man who told them he had been asleep when he felt liquid poured on his back. The man said that when he woke up, he was on fire. The Kansas City Star reports that the man sustained burns to his face and shoulders and was listed later Monday in serious condition at a hospital. Prosecutors say Drake was the only other person at the residence at the time.


Kansas Man Shot, Wounded by Police Now Charged with Assault

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas man shot and wounded by police after allegedly pointing a shotgun at officers is accused of assault. The Kansas City Star reports that Wyandotte County prosecutors have charged 38-year-old Thomas Torrence with seven counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He's also charged with single counts of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property. Police say Torrence was wounded in the leg during the confrontation early Saturday involving officers who responded to a report of a domestic disturbance. The newspaper says jail records showed that Torrence remained hospitalized as of Monday afternoon. It was not immediately clear Monday if Torrence has an attorney.


TransCanada to Replace Some Sections of Keystone Pipeline

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Canadian-based company plans to replace sections of its Keystone pipeline so the company can begin pumping oil at higher pressure. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that some of the sections of TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline didn't meet federal strength standards, so the company must replace those sections so it can pump oil at higher pressure. TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha told the newspaper that running at the higher pressure "allows us to be more efficient with our operations." The work is scheduled to begin this month and extend through 2017 in Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri. The 30-inch pipeline first went into operation in June 2010. In November President Barack Obama killed the company's plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.


Kansas State Hires Ex-Gophers Coach Jerry Kill as Associate Athletic Director 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University has hired former Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill as an associate athletic director, where he will work closely with coach Bill Snyder's football program. Kill grew up in Kansas and was a high school coach in Missouri before becoming a college coach at Pittsburg State and Emporia State. But he made his name at Northern Illinois and Minnesota, where he led the long-downtrodden Gophers back to respectability. He decided to retire from coaching last October because of his health. Kill has epilepsy and is prone to seizures, several of which had happened while he was on the sideline. Kill insisted Tuesday that "my coaching days are over" and that he was happy to begin a new phase of his career in administration in his home state.


KU to Headline CBE Classic in November in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Kansas will headline the CBE Classic at Sprint Center in November, and will be joined by Georgia, UAB and NIT champion George Washington in the championship rounds of the tournament. The Jayhawks return several key players from last season's team, which spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation. They also will welcome the nation's top-rated recruit in Josh Jackson as they begin pursuit of a 13th straight Big 12 championship. The championship rounds are November 21-22. They wrap up a weekend of festivities that includes the induction of the latest class into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. Among those who will be inducted are Dominique Wilkins, Doug Collins and Mike Montgomery.


Royals and Red Sox Rained Out; Doubleheader Set for Wednesday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The series opener between the Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox last (MON) night was postponed because of rain and will be made up as part of a split doubleheader tomorrow (WED). 


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