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Headlines for Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tests Suggest Most Kansas Students Not Ready for College 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new state report says a majority of Kansas public school students aren't on track to be ready for college based on their scores on standardized English and math tests. The state Department of Education released a report Tuesday on the statewide results from tests given this spring to 260,000 students from third through 10th grades. It was the first data from revised tests aligned with multistate Common Core academic standards. On average, 42 percent of students scored well enough on the English tests to be considered on track to be ready for college or a career. On math tests, the figure was 34 percent. The percentages were lower for 10th graders. Department officials acknowledged that they're not pleased with the results but said they expect significant future improvements.


AP Exclusive: Drilling Boom Means More Harmful Waste Spills

CROSSROADS, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. oil and gas production boom of the past decade has an unwanted side effect: Millions of gallons of briny wastewater have spilled onto land and flowed into waterways, often doing severe damage. An Associated Press analysis of state and federal record finds some nearly 22,000 spills of oilfield wastewater between 2009 and 2014. They add up to more than 180 million gallons. And officials acknowledge many releases are never reported. The spills happen primarily because of human error and equipment failures such as ruptured pipelines, overflowing tanks or illegal dumping. Experts say wastewater spills can be more environmentally harmful than oil spills. The salty byproduct turn can land into barren moonscapes where plants can't grow. Oil industry officials say they're trying to reduce the number of spills.


Data Shows 'Felt' Earthquakes Down in Kansas After Limits on Water Disposal Enacted

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Preliminary data shows the number of 'felt' earthquakes in Harper and Sumner counties has decreased since Kansas regulators set limits on drilling wastewater disposal. Early study findings suggest that as the amount of allowable wastewater disposal gradually decreased, there was a corresponding reduction in the strength of earthquakes. Seismic monitoring also indicates the number of 'unfelt' earthquakes below magnitude of 2.5 have increased at the same time. Staff from the Kansas Corporation Commission told the Harper County Commission Tuesday that it is recommending that KCC continue the existing limits. The agency said in a news release that its staff also is recommending continued study of seismic activity and its relationship to large-volume disposal, but say the data is encouraging. KCC is expected to formally review the recommendations in mid-September.


Interstate 70 Reopens After Closure in Central Topeka 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Interstate 70 in central Topeka has reopened after being closed in both directions as authorities investigated a suspicious package found on the highway. Transportation Department spokeswoman Kim Qualls says the interstate was closed Tuesday at the request of the Kansas Highway Patrol. The highway was reopened after the suspicious device was removed. No other details were immediately available.


Jury Recommends Death Sentence in Miller Trial

Relatives of the three people fatally shot by a white supremacist outside Jewish sites in Kansas are commending jurors for recommending a death sentence. A Johnson County jury came to the decision Tuesday in the trial of 74-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. The same jury convicted Miller of capital murder last week. Miller has repeatedly admitted killing 69-year-old William Corporon; Corporon's 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood; and Terri LaManno in April 2014. They were shot at two different locations in Overland Park. After the sentence was read, Tony Corporon, William Corporon's son, said he'd just "witnessed justice in action." Terri LaManno's husband, William LaManno, also said the criminal justice system worked and "the people of Kansas have spoken loud and clear." The judge overseeing the trial will now decide whether to follow the jury's sentencing recommendation.


Driver Dies When Vehicle Hits Tree in Lenexa

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — A 24-year-old driver has died after hitting a tree in suburban Kansas City. Police identified the victim Tuesday as Joshua Delaney of Lenexa. He was the vehicle's sole occupant and was pronounced dead at the scene early Monday. Police say the crash remains under investigation.


Quinter Ready to Begin Construction of New Airport

QUINTER, Kan. (AP) — The rural town of Quinter in Gove County is set to begin construction on a new airport to improve access to emergency air transport services. According to Carol Kinderknecht, executive director of the Gove County Healthcare Endowment Foundation, the foundation hopes ground can be broken for the airport's construction this fall. Kinderknecht said the foundation hopes a concrete runway that's 4,000 to 5,000 feet long can be installed in the spring. The Wichita Eagle reports the town of about 900 people, which is northwest of Wichita, received about $2 million in July from the state transportation department's Kansas Airport Improvement Program. Kinderknecht said Quinter has an airstrip, but air ambulance services cannot land on it. According to the foundation, the airport will be a public-use airport so that other aircraft may fly into it.


Kansas State to Pay Fine After Band Performance 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University says it will pay a $5,000 fine after its marching band shaped itself into the rival Jayhawk mascot and what appeared to be a large phallus during a halftime show. The school said Tuesday that band director Frank Tracz will miss the November 28 game against the University of Kansas and that university officials must approve future halftime shows. The university says it decided to pay the self-imposed fine after the Big 12 Conference warned of potential sportsmanship and ethical conduct violations. The controversy erupted after Saturday's space-themed halftime show during the team's home opener against South Dakota. One formation featured the Kansas State band forming the KU mascot and a phallic-looking Starship Enterprise crashing into it. Tracz has apologized for what he described as a "misinterpretation."


Students Enjoying Nearly $4M in Upgrades at HINU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Haskell Indian Nations University students and staff were greeted this fall semester with an updated dining hall and new furniture in dormitories as part of nearly $4 million worth of improvements to campus facilities. A large portion of the federal funding the school received was used specifically for technology. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that all residence halls now offer Internet access in the rooms. Workers also are putting the finishing touches on a new 75-student lecture classroom in Parker Hall that's expected to be completed this month. Meanwhile, the school is completing a batch of needed maintenance projects. They include installing a new heating and cooling system in the Stidham Union, which will be closed until spring for the work.


Kansas City Airport Partially Evacuates Terminal 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A terminal at Kansas City International Airport was partially evacuated after a passenger began acting suspiciously on a flight before it landed. Airport spokesman Joe McBride says in a news release that the male passenger was aboard an American Airlines flight Tuesday from Chicago to Kansas City. The crew alerted airport police, who met the passenger when the plane landed. He was taken into custody for questioning. McBride said part of Terminal C was evacuated "out of an abundance of caution." No further details were immediately available.


Wichita State Researchers See Rise in 'Economic Misery' in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Data from a research center at Wichita State University shows the economic misery index was up slightly for Kansas in the second quarter of this year. Data compiled by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University shows the misery index for the state went from 4.44 in the first quarter to 4.46 in the second quarter because of a small increase in the unemployment rate. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the index measures changes in housing prices, inflation and unemployment. Pattie Bradley, a senior research economist at CEDBR, says the theory is that people's economic contentment is generally determined by whether they have jobs, if inflation is hurting their paychecks and the current value of their home.


Overland Park Woman Dies After Being Struck by Motorcycle

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An 83-year-old woman who was hit by a motorcycle in Overland Park has died. Overland Park police said the accident occurred late Sunday when the motorcycle struck the woman while she was trying to cross in the middle of a roadway. The woman, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Police said she died Monday. The driver of the motorcycle sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene. The accident remains under investigation.


BBB Urges Caution for State Fair Purchases

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Better Business Bureau wants consumers to be cautious when making purchases at the state fair. The Topeka Capital Journal reports the Better Business Bureau says it's calling on the public to "exercise smart consumerism." The Kansas State Fair starts Friday and lasts for 10 days at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The Better Business Bureau says the Federal Trade Commission's "cooling-off rule," which lets consumers change their mind about purchases within three days, doesn't apply to state fair purchases if the value of the item is less than $25 and the goods and services are not primarily for personal, family or household purposes.


Former Kansas Governor Carlin to Speak at K-State Salina

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Governor John Carlin will be among the speakers at a Kansas State University lecture series in Salina. Carlin is scheduled to speak Thursday at Kansas State Salina's Center on Education. The presentation is part of the Salina campus's 50th anniversary celebration, which began last spring and wraps up with events September 9-11. Carlin was elected Kansas governor in 1979 and served until 1987. He's a visiting professor and executive- in- residence with the university's political science department and Staley School of Leadership Studies.


Owner: Dinosaur Skull Thought to Be New Ceratopsian Species 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas owner of a dinosaur skull found in 2012 in South Dakota field says the fossil is thought to be a new species and genus of the ceratopsian family. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the ceratopsian is a family of dinosaur that lived mostly during the Cretaceous Period and includes the triceratops. A professional fossil hunter from Buffalo, South Dakota, discovered the skull that was later purchased by Lawrence artist Alan Dietrich. Dietrich says the skull is "extraordinary" because of the placement of its 17-inch nose horn, plus other unique characteristics. He says he might display it at the Denver Coliseum Mineral, Fossil and Gem Show scheduled for mid-September.


12-Year-Old Wichita Girl Punches Home Intruder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Police say a 12-year-old girl thwarted a home invasion near Seneca by punching one of the intruders. According to Wichita Police, officers responded to a report of an attempted robbery at a residence Sunday afternoon. The girl's mother told officers her daughter answered the door and two teenagers grabbed her and pushed her inside the house. Police say the girl punched one of the suspects and both fled from the residence. Neither suspect has been found.


Board Considers Parole for Topeka Man Convicted in 1973 Murder 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 60-year-old man convicted of killing a Topeka woman in 1973 is up for parole for the 20th time. The Kansas Prisoner Review Board is considering parole for James Elder, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 1973 slaying of 23-year-old Barbara Butler in Topeka. Elder was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Kansas has considered parole for Elder 19 times before. Elder was paroled in 2005 but returned to prison for violating parole in 2007. Elder then was considered for parole but denied in 2007 and 2012. The board will accept public comments about the possible parole of 40 eligible inmates, including Elder, on September 18 in Topeka Municipal Court.


Miss America Parade Shoes Unveiled as Competition Begins 

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Contestants in the 2016 Miss America pageant will wear butterflies, snowflakes, dice, potatoes and dinosaurs on their shoes when they hit the Atlantic City Boardwalk this week. The Miss America Organization on Tuesday unveiled the footwear that each of the 52 contestants will wear during Saturday evening's "Show Us Your Shoes" parade. Most of the shoes have designs specific to their contestant's home state. Miss New Jersey, for instance, has dice and Monopoly money on her shoes, in a nod to the pageant's Atlantic City history. Miss Idaho has a potato, Miss District of Columbia honors the U.S. Marine Corps, Miss Florida has the Gators logo on her shoes and Miss Kansas sports wheat on hers. The most unusual design belongs to Miss Montana, whose shoes feature green dinosaurs.


Twins Beat Royals 6-2 in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Minnesota Twins beat the struggling Kansas City Royals 6-2 on Monday night. The Royals have been outscored 31-9 in dropping four straight games, matching their longest losing streak of the season. The Twins' Tommy Milone (8-4) held the Royals to six hits and two runs in seven innings. Royals' starter Yordano Ventura (10-8), gave up four runs, eight hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings, striking out eight. He was relieved by Joba Chamberlain, who was making his Royals debut.


Chiefs Coach: Poe and Fisher Could Both Return for Season Opener

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs could have Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe and offensive tackle Eric Fisher back for their season opener Sunday in Houston. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday that both players were recovering nicely from injuries. Poe had back surgery that kept him out for all of training camp. Fisher had a sprained ankle that kept him from playing the final three preseason games. Reid also said that Fisher, the former No. 1 overall draft pick, would move from left tackle to right tackle. Donald Stephenson has been handling the left tackle position while Fisher has been out, and Reid says he has been pleased with the way Stephenson has performed.


MLB Season to Open April 3; Mets-Royals Among Openers

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kansas City Royals will host the New York Mets in an opening-day interleague matchup next season. Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday the season will open with a Sunday night game on April 3 with teams to be named later. Thirteen games are scheduled for April 4, with the Mets-Royals matchup joined by Philadelphia at Cincinnati, Washington at Atlanta in Turner Field's last opener, Colorado at Arizona, Minnesota at Baltimore, Boston at Cleveland, San Francisco at Milwaukee, Houston at the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox at Oakland, St. Louis at Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego, Toronto at Tampa Bay and Seattle at Texas.



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