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Headlines for Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kansas News Headlines From the Associated Press

Key Kansas Lawmakers Say Deal on School Funding Plan Close 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Key Republican legislators say they're close to an agreement with Kansas school districts on a plan aimed at satisfying a court mandate to help poor schools. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ty Masterson said Wednesday that he's optimistic about a deal on a $38 million proposal. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Ryckman Jr. said the plan is likely to shift some existing education dollars to poor districts to provide extra aid. They said they've been negotiating with multiple districts. The Legislature convenes Thursday for a special session to address a state Supreme Court ruling last month that the state's school finance system remains unfair to poor school districts. The justices warned that schools might not be able to reopen after June 30 if lawmakers don't make more changes.

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Undercounted Medicaid Application Backlog Irks Lawmakers 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lawmakers are voicing frustration after the state disclosed that a backlog in unprocessed Medicaid applications is four times as large as previously thought. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the disclosure late last week that Kansas had under-counted the number of unprocessed applications by 12,000 is drawing fresh attention to the state's electronic eligibility system nearly a year into its troubled rollout. Representative Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, says the state needs to "figure this out" and described the problems as "getting pretty bad." Kansas says a reporting problem from a contractor tasked with implementing the eligibility system produced the under-counting, not the eligibility system itself. An official legislative inquiry will likely have to wait until August. House and Senate leadership have ruled out hearings during the upcoming special session.

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Brownback Ordered to Explain Delay in Replacing Judge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court is giving Governor Sam Brownback until July 11 to tell the court why it shouldn't force him to fill a vacant district magistrate position. The court on Tuesday ordered the governor to explain why he didn't make the appointment in 90 days, as required by state law. Three judges from the 26th District filed a petition with the court last week after Brownback announced he would wait until after the August primaries to consider filling the vacancy, which was created when Judge Tommy Webb of Haskell County announced his retirement in February. The petition says Kansas law requires five magistrate judges to serve the six-county district. Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley says the governor has the discretion under the Kansas constitution to make the appointment when he sees fit.

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Average Kansas Farm Income Drops to Less Than $5K in 2015

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Officials say Kansas's average net farm income has plummeted from nearly $129,000 in 2014 to about $4,500 last year. According to annual Kansas Farm Management Association data, 2015 was the lowest average level of nominal net farm income since 1985. The Manhattan Mercury reports  that the average had been more than $120,000 for several years until 2015.  Kansas farmers generally saw extraordinary returns between 2010 and 2014 because of high crop and cattle prices, driven in part by drought. But those prices fell drastically over the last 12 to 18 months, and incomes reflect that. The data presented in the 2015 analysis came from 1,159 association member farms and ranches. 

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Suspect in Kansas Detective's Death Waives Extradition 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The man accused of fatally shooting a Kansas City, Kansas, police detective has agreed to be returned to Kansas from Missouri for prosecution. Curtis Ayers had been hospitalized under guard until Monday since being shot May 9 by police during his arrest in Kansas City, Missouri, hours after prosecutors say he killed Brad Lancaster near the Kansas Speedway. The Kansas City Star reports Ayers on Tuesday signed extradition paperwork and agreed to be transferred to Kansas, where he faces a murder charge carrying the possible death penalty if he's convicted. Twenty-nine-year-old Ayers also faces charges in Missouri's Jackson County and Kansas's Leavenworth County for alleged crimes that followed the shooting involving Lancaster. Police used Lancaster's handcuffs on Ayers when they transported him Monday from the hospital to jail.

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2 Face Trial in Attack at Hutchinson Party

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ordered two men to face trial after they allegedly attacked a man at a New Year's Eve party west of Hutchinson. The Hutchinson News reports that Andrew Pruitt and Terry Reed will face trial on an amended charge of aggravated battery, causing great bodily harm. Prosecutors asked the judge to change the charge to a more serious severity level, from seven to four, which was permitted. The victim testified that Pruitt became angry with him and confronted him about why he was "being nasty" to Pruitt's nephew. He said Reed then struck him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious. Pruitt and Reed continued to punch and kick the victim, cracking at least one of his ribs. The judge said a witness recorded the incident on their phone.

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Source of Elevated Lead in Saline County Under Investigation 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials are trying to determine what is causing elevated lead levels among about 30 children in central Kansas's Saline County. Farah Ahmed, of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says an investigation will be held through July. Since the start of 2015, elevated lead levels have been detected in the blood of 32 Saline County children, age 15 and younger. The Salina Journal reports that health officials discussed the issue with the public Tuesday night in Salina. Ahmed says health officials will review the potential sources for lead exposure, including grandparents' houses, child care centers, toys, food, cosmetics and where the parents work. Saline County has a history of elevated blood lead levels, with 21 cases in 2013, and 38 in 2014.

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Dad Gets Tattoo to Match Son's Brain Cancer Surgery Scar

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The father of a Kansas boy who was self-conscious about scarring following brain cancer surgery has got a tattoo that resembles his son's scar on the side of his head. Josh Marshall tells ABC News that 8-year-old Gabriel was left with a large horseshoe scar above his right ear after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. Marshall says Gabriel said he "felt like a monster." Last August, Marshall got a tattoo to match, telling his son, "if people want to stare at you, then they can stare at both of us." A photo of the pair took first place in the St. Baldrick's Foundation's #BestBaldDad competition on Father's Day. Marshall says Gabriel is doing well. He says a small tumor remains but that it hasn't grown.

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43-Year-Old Man Killed in Kansas Harvest Accident

BELOIT, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been killed in a wheat-harvest accident in north-central Kansas. The Mitchell County Sheriff's Office identified the victim in a news release as 43-year-old Michael Alan Anderson, of Beloit. The Salina Journal reports that he was pronounced dead Tuesday at the scene of the accident. No other details were immediately released.

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Former Cowboys Player Randle Faces New Charge in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been charged with threatening a deputy while jailed on other charges in Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that Randle is charged in Sedgwick County with one count of criminal threat. He said he plans to hire a lawyer to represent him during a first appearance Tuesday via a video link from the jail. Sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant Lin Dehning said in an email that Randle is accused of threatening a deputy who was "enforcing the rules" last month at the jail. No other details were immediately provided. Randle has had a string of run-ins with the law. He's also been charged in Kansas with a casino disturbance and with backing his car into three people. The Cowboys released Randle last year.

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US Senate Panel Demands Info in Lottery Scandal

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A U.S. Senate oversight committee is demanding information about how state lotteries are increasing security after an insider allegedly rigged jackpots for years. Senator John Thune, chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, says fraud allegations in lottery games raise serious concerns. Yet he says it's not clear what the Multi-State Lottery Association is doing to address them. In a letter to association leaders obtained by The Associated Press, Thune says his committee wants answers to several questions by July 7. Investigators say the association's former security director, Eddie Tipton, installed software code that allowed him to predict winning numbers on specific days of the year. A jury has convicted Tipton of rigging a $16.5 million jackpot, and he's charged with manipulating games in four other states.

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Feds Charge Kansas Cattle Buyer with Wire Fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say a cattle buyer from Harper County has been indicted on federal wire fraud charges. The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release Tuesday that 62-year-old Randall D. Patterson of Anthony has been charged with 14 counts of wire fraud. He owned Anthony Livestock Co., and is a former president of the National Livestock Marketing Association. The indictment stems in part from an agreement Patterson had with JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding under which he would buy cattle at sales barns in Kansas and Oklahoma. Prosecutors allege Patterson ordered his employees to fax invoices to Five Rivers falsely inflating the amount paid for cattle.

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Man Sentenced in Crash That Killed Kansas Police Officer

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas man was sentenced to nearly 19 years in prison for causing a traffic accident that killed a part-time police officer.  Dana Patton, of Olathe, was sentenced Tuesday in the October 2015 crash that killed David Stubbs, a part-time officer in Louisburg. The 25-year-old Patton had previously pleaded guilty to reckless second-degree murder.  Prosecutors say Patton was driving a stolen car when he ran a red light at an intersection in Overland Park and hit Stubbs's vehicle. The Kansas City Star reports that at the time of the wreck, Patton was free on bond in several other auto theft cases.  

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Wichita Dad Gets Tattoo to Match Son's Cancer Surgery Scar

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The father of a Kansas boy who was self-conscious about scarring following brain cancer surgery has got a tattoo that resembles his son's scar on the side of his head. Josh Marshall tells ABC News that 8-year-old Gabriel was left with a large horseshoe scar above his right ear after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. Marshall says Gabriel said he "felt like a monster." Last August, Marshall got a tattoo to match, telling his son, "if people want to stare at you, then they can stare at both of us." A photo of the pair took first place in the St. Baldrick's Foundation's #BestBaldDad competition on Father's Day. Marshall says Gabriel is doing well. He says a small tumor remains but that it hasn't grown.

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Wichita State University Unveils New Visualization System 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University has unveiled a new visualization system at the school's National Institute for Aviation Research. The Wichita Eagle reports the 10-foot-tall system, known as The Cave, consists of a fixed front wall, a floor and two hinged side walls on which 12 LED projectors can display high-resolution images. The side walls allow the system to be positioned on a flat wall. The system was funded by a 2015 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and matching funds from the university. Jeff Fisher, the institute's virtual reality lab manager, says he hopes local businesses and airline manufacturers can use the system for engineering and simulation purpos

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Former Cowboys Player Randle Faces New Charge in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been charged with threatening a deputy while jailed on other charges in Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that Randle is charged in Sedgwick County with one count of criminal threat. He said he plans to hire a lawyer to represent him during a first appearance Tuesday via a video link from the jail. Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Lin Dehning said in an email that Randle is accused of threatening a deputy who was "enforcing the rules" last month at the jail. No other details were immediately provided. Randle has had a string of run-ins with the law. He's also been charged in Kansas with a casino disturbance and with backing his car into three people. The Cowboys released Randle last year.

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Kansas City Group Homes Operator Sentenced for Tax Evasion 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The former operator of several homes for the mentally and physically disabled in Kansas City will serve two years without parole in federal prison for a tax-evasion scheme. Dedree Carlisle, of Kansas City, was sentenced Tuesday for attempting to evade taxes and ordered to pay $397,213 in restitution. Carlisle owned and operated a group home health care business at several locations in Kansas City. The business leased several houses in residential neighborhoods, under contracts with the Missouri Department of Social Services. It had 12 to 20 employees. She admitted that used money she withheld from her employees' paychecks for her own benefit. She also didn't pay the business portion of employment taxes or pay taxes on her own income. Carlisle admitted that she gambled heavily at Kansas City-area casinos.

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AP Names Sarah Rafi as Central Region Deputy Editor

CHICAGO (AP) — Veteran editor Sarah Rafi, who has helped lead Associated Press coverage of such stories as the massive tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has been promoted to deputy editor for the U.S. Central Region. The appointment was announced Tuesday by Central Region Editor Tom Berman. The region oversees AP journalism in 14 states. Rafi has been an editor on the AP's Central Regional Desk since its inception in 2009. The Chicago-based office oversees, coordinates and edits coverage in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. Rafi, a Northwestern University graduate, was promoted to assistant editor in 2014, a role that includes oversight of the editing operation in Chicago.

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Kansas City Stabbing Victim Dies from Injuries

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas City stabbing victim has died from his injuries. The Kansas City Star reports that a taxi driver found the injured victim early Wednesday and called police. The man died shortly after being transported to a hospital. Police didn't immediately have any information about a suspect. Anyone with information is urged to come forward.

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Mets Edge Royals 2-1 in World Series Rematch

NEW YORK (AP) — In a rematch of last year's World Series, the New York Mets defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Tuesday night. The Mats' Yoenis Cespedes hit his 18th home run and Asdrubal Cabrera also connected for New York, which had lost three straight and six of eight. New York's Hansel Robles (1-3) and four other relievers took over after starter Bartolo Colon bruised his thumb after being hit by a line drive in the first inning. The Royals' Ian Kennedy (5-6) allowed two runs over four innings. The two teams face off again today for the second of a two-game set.
 

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