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Headlines for Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

Kansas Supreme Court Says Hike in School Aid Not Sufficient 
 
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday that legislators did not increase spending on public schools enough this year and ordered a bigger increase. The court rejected the state's arguments that a new law phasing in a $293 million increase in funding over two years was enough to provide a suitable education for every child. The state is projected to spend about $4.3 billion on funding for its 286 school districts during the 2018-19 school year under the new law. The court ruled in a lawsuit filed in 2010 by four school districts and told lawmakers to write a new school funding law before July 2018. The districts argued that the increase approved by lawmakers was at least $600 million short of what was necessary.

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Governor Brownback Calls Court's Schools Decision 'Regrettable'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —Governor Sam Brownback is calling the Kansas Supreme Court's decision on school funding "yet another regrettable chapter in the never ending cycle of litigation" over education funding. Brownback issued his statement Monday after the court rejected a school funding law that the state Legislature passed earlier this year. The law phased in a $293 million increase in spending on schools over two years, and the court said the spending is inadequate to provide a suitable education for every child. But Brownback said the court should not have substituted its judgment for the Legislature's. Top Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate are also defiant in the face of the court's ruling. Senate President Susan Wagle and Majority Leader Jim Denning issued a joint statement saying that the court is making what they called an "unrealistic demand" for more spending. But the top Democrat in the Kansas House says the ruling is no surprise. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita says many lawmakers in both parties identified some of the same flaws cited by the court. 

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Kansas Tax Collections $57 Million More Than Expected in September

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas is reporting that it collected $57 million more in taxes than anticipated in September. It was the fourth consecutive month that tax collections have exceeded projections from the state's official fiscal forecast. The state Department of Revenue said Monday that nearly $603 million in taxes was collected last month. That was 10.5 percent more than the official estimate of $545 million. Since the fiscal year began July 1, the state has collected $73 million more than anticipated, with tax collections of $1.5 billion exceeding expectations by 5.1 percent. Legislators in June rolled back past individual income tax cuts supported by Governor Sam Brownback to help balance the budget. Individual income tax collections are exceeding expectations but so are corporate income and sales tax collections.

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Kansas Governor Made Unpublicized Trip to Israel in August 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback went on an unpublicized, eight-day trade mission to Israel in late August and early September. The Hutchinson News reported that the schedule included a 90-minute meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on August 30. The trip came a month after President Donald Trump nominated Brownback to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. But Brownback administration officials said the trip promoted Kansas businesses and sought to further ties between the state and Israel. The state Department of Commerce said the schedule in Israel from August 26 until September 2 included visits to Israeli businesses and discussions, a stop at a hospital and discussions of irrigation and water treatment. The department estimates the cost of the trip at about $32,000.

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Kansas City Area Could See Month's Worth of Rain in Days
 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several bouts of thunderstorms will likely come to the Kansas City area and bring possible flooding by the end of the week. The Kansas City Star reports that storms likely beginning Tuesday are expected to bring between 2 and 4 inches of rain. Some areas could see higher rainfall totals. The storms are expected to last through Friday night. The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill says the rainfall could cause flash flooding in some areas as well as flooding along some rivers, creeks and streams. The storms could bring the amount of rain that Kansas City typically sees in all of October. The weather agency says that the city's average precipitation for October is 3.16 inches.

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2 Still Recovering After Lawrence Shooting That Killed 3 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — One man remains in a hospital and another has been treated and released after a shooting in downtown Lawrence early Sunday that killed three other people. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the city's interim police chief says a 19-year-old Topeka man is still hospitalized, but in stable condition. A 28-year-old Topeka man was treated and released after the shooting that happened early Sunday in a popular restaurant and bar area downtown. The shooting killed 20-year-old Colwin Lynn Henderson and 24-year-old Tre'Mel Dupree Dean, both of Topeka. The other victim who died was 22-year-old Leah Elizabeth Brown of Shawnee. Lawrence police say that investigators believe the shooting stemmed from an earlier altercation and was not random. 

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Man Charged in Kansas Tax Office Shooting Pleads Not Guilty 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The man accused of walking into a tax office in Wichita and shooting a state tax agent has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder. Fifty-two-year-old Ricky Wirths waived his right to a preliminary hearing and entered the plea Tuesday. Investigators say Wirths went to the Kansas Department of Revenue office September 19 and shot Cortney Holloway several times. Wirths, of Wichita, owed nearly $400,000 in outstanding tax warrants and Holloway was working on the case. The day of the shooting, agents had gone to Wirths's home to seize assets. Earlier Tuesday, Holloway's family issued a statement urging prosecutors not to allow Wirths to plead to a lesser charge, saying he should spend the rest of his life in prison. His trial was set for November 13.

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Regents Appointments Headed to Kansas Senate

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ A legislative committee has signed off on Governor Sam Brownback's reappointments of three members of the Kansas Board of Regents whose terms expired in June. Brownback reappointed Shane Bangerter of Dodge City, Ann Brandau-Murguia of Kansas City, and Helen Van Etten of Topeka to four-year terms. The reappointments were approved last week by the Kansas Senate Confirmations Oversight Committee. The full Senate will consider the reappointments when it convenes in January. Nine regents serve on the board, which oversees 32 higher-education institutions in the state. That includes six universities, along with several community colleges and technical colleges. 

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Police: Fatal Shooting of 2 Topeka Brothers Was Murder-Suicide

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say a shooting that left two brothers dead was a murder-suicide. The shooting occurred Thursday in a wooded area near the Kansas River. The dead were identified as 29-year-old Shawn Paul Jacobs and 36-year-old Robert Raymond Jacobs Jr., both of Topeka. Police spokeswoman Amy McCarter said in a news release the brothers were fishing when both of their vehicles became stuck in mud. A friend who came to help them also got his vehicle stuck in mud. As the men were trying to get the vehicles free, the brothers began arguing. McCarter says at some point, Shawn shot Robert and then shot himself.

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Charge Upgraded After Kansas Bicyclist Dies from Injuries
 
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A driver accused of intentionally hitting a Kansas bicyclist last month and fleeing faces an upgraded charge of first-degree premeditated murder after the victim died. Reno County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Davidson says 19-year-old Taylor Keenan Lukone made his first appearance Tuesday on the new charge. Lukone initially was charged with attempted first-degree murder, but the charge was amended after 51-year-old Jose Lopez died over the weekend. Lukone's attorney didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press. Davidson says he couldn't comment on the motive. The Hutchinson News reports that Lukone's vehicle had front end damage. An affidavit read in court last week said that Lukone initially told officers that his car had been stolen. But he later told investigators he intentionally "sped up" and ran Lopez down.

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Kansas Man Admits Role in $4 Million Meth Distribution Ring 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas, man who called himself rapper C-Los El Gran was sentenced to 14 years in prison for participating in a $4 million drug trafficking ring. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says 30-year-old Carl Sierra pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. As part of his plea, he admitted being a member of a drug trafficking conspiracy led by his half-brother, Edwin Pacheco. Authorities say they distributed methamphetamine throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. Investigators used confidential informants and electronic surveillance to monitor Sierra's conversations with Pacheco, during which they discussed the drug distribution. Pacheco is awaiting sentencing.

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Police: 2 Killed in Kansas Wreck After Driver Tried Fleeing 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two passengers of a car that crashed while fleeing from law enforcement in Kansas have died. The Wichita Eagle reports that passengers 27-year-old Jason Edwards and 23-year-old Amber Bledsoe died after the car wrecked on Monday. Authorities were attempting to stop the vehicle driven by a 20-year-old man. Police say the people in the car were fleeing law enforcement after an alleged theft at Cabela's, an outdoor sporting goods store. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the driver tried to turn onto a street but was hit by a westbound pickup truck driven by a 55-year-old man. Both drivers have been taken to the hospital. Police say the driver of the fleeing car was injured and the driver of the pickup truck has possible injuries.

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1 Killed, 1 in Critical Condition After Topeka Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person has been killed and another is in critical condition after a Topeka shooting. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the shooting happened around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at a central Topeka apartment building. A statement from police identified the person who died as 30-year-old Joshua Jernagin, of Topeka. The injured person was a woman. Tuesday's shooting death was the 24th homicide in Topeka so far this year. The high of 28 was set in 1994 and tied a year ago in 2016.

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Man Dies from Injuries Sustained in Kansas Home Altercation 

LORRAINE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died from a head injury that he suffered during an altercation at a central Kansas home. The Salina Journal reports that the man has been identified as 55-year-old Kevin Wagner, of Bushton. After neighbors reported a disturbance and gunshots, Ellsworth County deputies responded Thursday night to a home in the small town of Lorraine, where they found Wagner injured. He was flown to a Wichita hospital, where he died Saturday. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that an autopsy found he died of "blunt force trauma." The KBI says it appeared that Wagner and a woman had been involved in a confrontation that became violent. The woman was present when deputies arrived. No arrests were immediately made. The investigation is ongoing.

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Kansas Police Officer Recovering After Being Set on Fire

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) _ A southeastern Kansas police officer is still hospitalized but is expected to recover after being set on fire when he responded to a reported assault.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves on Monday said Baxter Springs officer Jimmy Hamilton is at a Springfield hospital and is in good spirits.  A man threw fuel on Hamilton, another officer and a woman at her Baxter Springs home Saturday, setting all three on fire. The man allegedly had been assaulting 65-year-old Sharon Horn, who died Saturday. The man hasn't been identified. A third officer was injured after trying to put out the fires. The sheriff said officers Justin Butler and Darryl Nadeau were treated and released from a hospital in Joplin, Missouri. 

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Kansas Man Sentenced in Kidnapping 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man was sentenced to 16 years in prison after admitting in federal court his role in the abduction of a woman who was later killed. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall announced the Monday sentencing of 27-year-old Drexel Woody. The former Fort Riley military base resident pleaded guilty to one count of 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 night she disappeared in 2014. Prosecutors allege Clemons was beaten over comments she made on social media. Prosecutors say Clemons was taken to a bridge, broke free and jumped from the span before her assailants fatally cut her throat. Two co-defendants were sentenced to 28 years in prison. Two others await sentencing.

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Kansas State Band Halts Song After Vulgar Chant Breaks Out 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State marching band members were forced to stop playing the "Wabash Cannonball" before the Wildcats took on Baylor because the pregame tradition had become the background music to an obscene chant. The Kansas State Collegian reports that some fans started chanting an expletive Saturday and the initials of another rival, the University of Kansas. After Band director Frank Tracz cut the song short, the school played a pre-recorded message on the video board of head football coach Bill Snyder. He asked students to not disrespect the Wabash tradition with a "vulgar chant." Tracz blamed "immature and irresponsible" youths, saying they were ruining "what so many people have spent so many years building." The song became a tradition when a 1968 fire destroyed the rest of the band's sheet music.

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Bishop from Kansas Named as New Head of Diocese of Tucson 

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A bishop from Kansas is the new head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. The Vatican on Tuesday announced that Bishop Edward Joseph Weisenburger will succeed retiring Bishop Gerald Kicanas. Kicanas submitted his letter of retirement last summer as required for all bishops after they reach age 75. Weisenburger has served as bishop in the Diocese of Salina, Kansas since 2012. He is scheduled to be installed as Tucson's seventh bishop on November 29. Weisenburger was ordained to the priesthood in 1987.

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Chiefs Beat Redskins, 29-20, to Remain Undefeated

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs' rookie kicker Harrison Butker drilled a 43-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to help Kansas City to a 29-20 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday night. The Chiefs put an exclamation point on the win when linebacker Justin Houston picked up a fumble as the Redskins (3-2) were trying to keep the game alive and returned it for a game-ending touchdown. At 4-0, the Chiefs are the league's only undefeated team. The last time there was only one unbeaten team through the first four weeks of the season was 2010, when the Chiefs were the final team standing. They went on to win the AFC West. Chiefs' quarterback Alex Smith threw for 293 yards with touchdowns on the ground and through the air. Travis Kelce hauled in seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt pounded away 21 times for 101 yards against the Redskins' stout defensive front. Washington's Kirk Cousins had 220 yards passing and two touchdowns, but his throw to the end zone with 50 seconds left was dropped by Josh Doctson and forced the Redskins to kick a field goal.

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