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Headlines for Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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

Chelsea Manning Releases 1st Statement Since Clemency Win 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A transgender soldier imprisoned for releasing classified military information has released her first statement since being granted clemency, saying she hopes to use lessons she's learned in prison to help others. Chelsea Manning issued the statement Tuesday ahead of her release next week, expressing gratitude to her supporters and to former President Barack Obama. Manning served nearly seven years of her 35-year sentence at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, before Obama granted her clemency in the final days of his presidency. The Oklahoma native was convicted in 2013 of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents and battlefield video to WikiLeaks. An intelligence analyst in Iraq, she was known as Bradley Manning before transitioning. Her attorneys say she'll be released from a military prison on May 17.

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Outside Drinking Bill Moves Forward for Kansas Cities 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A measure that would allow Kansas municipalities to establish areas where alcohol can be consumed outside of bars and restaurants has moved closer to becoming law. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a Senate committee approved the bill Monday that would permit cities and counties in Kansas to designate zones where liquor or beer could be consumed if it's in a specially marked container. The bill requires an applicant apply annually and pay a $100 fee. The zones would likely be in areas where bars and restaurants are clustered, and alcohol would only be allowed off a participating seller's property if the drink is marked with a special logo. Current law says festivals and events may apply for permits for similar zones, but those permits have a three-day maximum limit.

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Report: Kansas, Texas Lead Nation on Abortion Restrictions 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A research group that supports abortion rights says more than half of women of reproductive age live in states with unneeded restrictions on abortion facilities. The analysis released Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year striking down a widely replicated Texas law on abortion clinics. The court held the regulations were medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to an abortion. That ruling prompted Guttmacher to look at laws it says are not based in science. Abortion opponents say such restrictions protect women's health. Guttmacher analyzed laws that mandate standards for abortion providers, require waiting periods and ban abortions after 20 weeks. It found Kansas and Texas have the most such restrictions, followed by Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Kansas House Committee Approves Foster Care Task Force 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are looking to more closely oversee the state's privatized foster care system and the contractors that run it amid questions about how the state monitors the program. The House Children and Seniors Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would create a foster care task force to study the system and make recommendations. A three-part audit says the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the contractors that run foster care don't do enough to ensure children are placed in appropriate homes. The final part of the audit published last month said some parts of the state don't have enough homes for the children awaiting placement. The vote comes a day after a Kansas man was sentenced to life in prison for abusing and killing his son.

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Kansas Senate Panel Approves Bill to End Business Tax Break

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill that would repeal a tax break for farmers and business owners championed by Governor Sam Brownback as a pro-growth policy. The Assessment and Taxation Committee's action Monday sends the measure to the full Senate for debate. The bill ends an exemption granted in 2012 that allows more than 330,000 farmers and business owners to avoid personal income taxes on their profits. But the bill doesn't come close to closing projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019 or providing additional funds for public schools. The measure is expected to raise $256 million over two years. It has bipartisan support but Democrats and GOP moderates say it's only a part of a budget fix.

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Kansas Lawmakers Consider How Much to Fund Schools 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas legislators acknowledge that they're not sure a public school funding plan they're considering would satisfy the state Supreme Court. A special House committee began debate Monday on a proposal that would phase in a $762 million increase in state aid to public schools over five years. Lawmakers are responding to a Supreme Court ruling in March that the state's education funding is inadequate. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2010 by four school districts. The court gave legislators until June 30 to pass a new school finance law. House committee members said they're focused on making sure that a new law distributes state funds fairly and helps the state's lowest-performing students.

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Lawyer Advises Annual Hikes in Kansas School Funding 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  An attorney hired by the Kansas Legislature to help members as they draft a new school finance law is encouraging them to provide for annual increases in education funding. Former state Senator Jeff King of Independence told senators Monday that he believes annual adjustments based on inflation or some other factor are "vital" to satisfying the Kansas Supreme Court. The court ruled in March that the state's education funding is inadequate and gave lawmakers until June 30 to enact a new school funding law. Legislative leaders hired King to advise them. The Senate had an informal question-and-answer session with King for 90 minutes. He also said it would be helpful for lawmakers to boost funding for pre-kindergarten programs and set up a system for monitoring how well students perform academically.

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USDA Delays Animal Welfare Standards for Organic Meats 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is delaying a rule that would require organic meat and egg producers to abide by stricter animal welfare standards. Former President Barack Obama's Agriculture Department announced the rule two days before he left office. The regulations are designed to ensure that organically grown livestock have enough space to lie down, turn around and fully stretch their limbs. Poultry would have enough room to move freely and spread their wings. The rule was scheduled to go into effect in March. President Donald Trump's USDA delayed that to May and will now delay it six months until November 14, saying "significant policy and legal issues" warrant further review. Farm groups opposing the rule say it could raise food prices and force farmers out of business.

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Police Investigate Noose Found Hanging at Kansas State University Campus 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — State police are investigating the hanging of a noose at Kansas State University — another apparent racist attack on campus. The Manhattan Mercury reports the university's Office of Institutional Equity was notified Friday that the noose was hanging from a tree near King Hall on the Manhattan campus. The department fosters inclusiveness and equal opportunity. University spokesman Jeff Morris says he doesn't know what motivated the hanging of the noose. The Kansas State Police Department has removed the noose. An anti-Semitic sign was posted on campus in April during Holocaust Remembrance Day. University President Richard Myers said the school also found signs denouncing black people. Kansas State University last year distanced itself from a photo tagged to the school's website showing two women in blackface, saying neither was enrolled as a student.

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Topeka Man Admits to Lying Before Motel Shootout, Fire 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to lying about the whereabouts of a robbery suspect who later killed himself during a shootout that injured three federal agents at a Kansas motel. The U.S. attorney's office says 37-year-old Quentin Kirk Lawton, of Topeka, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of making a false statement to a federal officer. He admitted that he denied having seen 28-year-old fugitive Orlando Collins last year at the Country Club Motel in Topeka. However, surveillance cameras showed Lawton left the motel shortly before fugitive task force members tried to contact Collins at the hotel. Authorities say Collins shot two U.S. Marshals and an FBI agent. He started a fire that caused $350,000 in damage and his body was found when the fire was extinguished.

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Woman Rushing to Catch Bus Struck, Killed in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say a car has struck and killed a woman as she rushed to catch a bus in Kansas City. KMBC-TV reports that the 39-year-old woman was not in a crosswalk when she was hit Tuesday morning. She had been rushing for a RideKC bus on a street between two apartment buildings. Police say the driver of the car stayed at the scene.

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Costly Apartment Fire in Northeast Kansas Ruled Accidental 

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — An apartment fire in northeast Kansas that caused nearly $3.8 million in damage has been ruled accidental and associated with the improper disposal of smoking materials. Junction City Fire Department Chief Terry Johnson said in a statement Monday that the fire department and the state of Kansas's Fire Marshal's Office made the determination. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the April 8 fire at the Bluffs Apartment Complex damaged 28 units across the three-story building. The fire department estimates nearly 1.7 million gallons of water were used over a period of 10 hours during the fire. Johnson says the fire department urges anyone thinking of carelessly discarding an ignited item to realize it can cause a catastrophic incident that impacts many people.

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Suicide Reported at Suburban Kansas City Firing Range
 
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — Police are confirming a suicide at a suburban Kansas City gun store and firing range. The Kansas City Star reports that the suicide happened Sunday in Lee's Summit. Police declined to release the person's identity or other details. The owners of Frontier Justice declined to comment on the death, referring questions to the police.

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Man Dies from Wounds Sustained in March Stabbing in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died from wounds sustained more than a month ago in Kansas City, Kansas. Police said in a news release that the victim died Sunday. He was stabbed March 28 at a house. A person of interest in the stabbing is in custody in Topeka on unrelated charges. Police said the case is under investigation and that no other information is immediately available. Anyone with information is urged to call police or a tips hotline.

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Seizure of Kansas Student Newspaper Exposes Long-Running Dispute

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The temporary seizure of newspapers at a Kansas community college last week shone a media spotlight on a long-running dispute between administrators and student journalists. Hutchinson Community College's board of trustees is expected today (TUE) to consider the controversy. That is when suspended journalism professor Alan Montgomery plans to talk to trustees about the administration's treatment of the student journalists and its alleged use of disciplinary procedures to punish them for news stories. The administration earlier this month suspended him and cancelled his classes before the end of the semester. Montgomery calls it an absolute planned conspiracy to deny these students their First Amendment rights. HCC President Carter File defended the college's actions, saying he doesn't care what is in the paper.

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Autopsy Planned After Kansas Football Player Found Dead 

KISMET, Kan. (AP) — An autopsy is planned after a junior college football player in Kansas was found dead. The Kansas City Star reports that 19-year-old Sean Callahan was found unresponsive Sunday afternoon at a home in Kismet, Kansas. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities say the death is under investigation but is not currently considered suspicious. Callahan was a sophomore offensive lineman at Garden City Community College. He received an associate degree during spring commencement ceremonies on Friday.

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Kansas Man Gets Life Term for Killing 7-Year-Old Son 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his 7-year-old son, whose remains were found in the family's pig sty after what authorities described as systematic abuse.Forty-six-year-old Michael Jones declined the judge's offer to address the court during his Wyandotte County sentencing hearing Monday related to the 2015 death of Adrian Jones. He pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder.The boy's stepmother, Heather Jones, pleaded guilty to the same charge in November and is serving a life term. Authorities say Adrian died in September or October 2015, but his death wasn't reported. His remains were found that November after authorities responding to a domestic disturbance learned he was missing.

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Man Found Convicted of Trying to Kill Wyandotte County Deputy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old man has been found guilty of trying to kill a Wyandotte County, Kansas, deputy sheriff. The Kansas City Star reports that Charles Bowser was convicted Monday of attempted capital murder, a charge that carries a life sentence. Two other men were convicted last year in the same case. Jurors also found Bowser guilty of several aggravated battery and aggravated robbery counts. Deputy Scott Wood was inside a convenience store in Kansas City, Kansas, on March 4, 2015, when three armed robbers jumped him and took his gun. He was shot multiple times but was able to radio for help before being shot in the face. He survived. Prosecutors say the three men committed a string of robberies in Kansas and Missouri before the attack on Wood.

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Kansas Maker of Vacuum Erection Device​ Agrees to Pay $1 Million to Settle Fraud Claims

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas medical equipment supplier has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare for vacuum erection devices that are known informally as penis pumps. The U.S. attorney's office announced the settlement with Pos-T-Vac Inc. on Monday. Allegations against the Dodge City company include that it submitted claims for vacuum erection supplies that weren't medically necessary, lacked documentation of medical necessity and weren't properly ordered by a physician. The issues are alleged to have occurred from 2009 through 2012. Medicare has since stopped covering such devices. During the investigation, Medicare suspended payments to Pos-T-Vac. Under the terms of the settlement, the government will retain those funds, and Pos-T-Vac will make additional payments to the government.

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Kansas Couple Sentenced in Kidnapping of Slain Woman

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas couple has been sentenced to 28 years in prison in the abduction of a woman who was later killed. The U.S. attorney's office says 28-year-old Larry Anderson, of Manhattan, and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Marryssa Middleton, of Fort Riley, were sentenced Monday. Anderson pleaded guilty to kidnapping resulting in death, while Middleton admitted to conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death. Witnesses reported seeing 24-year-old Amanda Clemons of Junction City being placed in a car outside a Junction City motel the February 2014 night she disappeared. Prosecutors allege she was beaten in retribution for comments she had made on social media. Prosecutors say Clemons was taken to a bridge, broke free and jumped from the span, breaking her ankle before her throat was cut. Three co-defendants await sentencing.

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Man Shot by Labette County Deputies Remains in Serious Condition

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a man wounded over the weekend as southeast Kansas sheriff's deputies responded to an earlier shooting remains in serious condition. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation identified the man as 40-year-old David Whinery, of Mound Valley. The KBI says Whinery was standing in a driveway with a gun Saturday when two Labette County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a 911 call about the initial shooting at a Mound Valley home. The KBI says it appears that both deputies fired at Whinery. Neither deputy was hurt. The victim of the first shooting, 77-year-old James Bullock Sr. of Mound Valley, has been treated at a hospital and released. It's unclear what led up to Bullock being shot. The KBI says the investigation is ongoing.

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7-Year-Old Girl Drowns in Topeka Hotel Pool

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a 7-year-old girl has died after she was pulled from an indoor pool at a Topeka hotel. KSNT-TV (http://bit.ly/2pr19RW ) reports that Keniya Jones was dropped off Saturday at the Ramada Topeka West to attend a birthday party. Police say patrons attempted to resuscitate her after she was found unresponsive in the pool. Emergency responders then rushed her to a hospital, where she died Sunday night. The girl's death is believed to be accidental. 

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Government Report Assessses Effects of Recent Snow on Kansas Wheat Crop

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government's latest weekly snapshot of Kansas crops says the effects of recent snow storms and freezing temperatures are still being assessed. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 27 percent of the winter wheat in Kansas is in poor to very poor condition. About 30 percent is in fair condition while 37 percent is in good and 6 percent in excellent condition. About 59 percent of the winter wheat crop has now headed in the state. The agency says 45 percent of the corn crop has been planted in the state so far this spring. Soybean planting is at 4 percent and sorghum planting is at 1 percent.

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Royals Break Slump in 7-3 Win over Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Royals' starting pitcher Nate Karns struck out 10 while working into the seventh inning and Eric Hosmer had three hits as the Kansas City Royals busted out of an offensive slump to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 on Monday night. Kansas City matched its best run output of the year and set a season high with 13 hits. Drew Butera had two hits and drove in his first two runs of the season, helping the Royals win for the fourth time in 17 games. Kansas City had scored three or fewer runs in four straight games. Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield each had two hits for Kansas City, and Hosmer also stole two bases. Karns (2-2) allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in 6 and 2/3 innings. The Rays' Blake Snell (0-3) allowed four runs and 10 hits over five innings.
 

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