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Headlines for Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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

Kansas Lawmakers Cancel $1 Billion Tax Debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have cancelled debate on a $1 billion-plus tax increase Wednesday because leaders didn't think it has enough support. House Taxation Committee Chairman Representative Steven Johnson says the measure that was to have been debated Wednesday afternoon didn't have enough support to override a veto, and it might not have enough backing to pass. The bill would roll back tax cuts for individuals and small business owners that GOP Governor Sam Brownback has championed. Brownback vetoed a similar measure in February but declined to say Wednesday whether he would reject the new measure. A similar $879 million plan fell flat Tuesday because some lawmakers worried that it wouldn't raise enough money to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that says the state must allocate more money for schools.

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Kansas Lawmakers Hope for Progress on Schools 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas legislators hope to make progress later this week on a measure that would boost spending on public schools. A House committee on school finance on Wednesday discussed a plan to phase in a $750 million increase in aid to schools over five years. Chairman and Olathe Republican Larry Campbell said he hopes the committee can vote Friday. The state spends more than $4 billion a year on aid to its public schools. Boosting spending would provide more dollars for all-day kindergarten, special education and programs for children at-risk of failing. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in March that the state's current education funding is inadequate. But lawmakers are struggling to agree on a plan to increase income taxes to boost school spending while also closing big budget shortfalls.

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Executive Director of Kansas Democratic Party to Resign

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Democratic Party says its executive director is stepping down. The party announced Tuesday in a news release that Kerry Gooch is resigning, although he will remain during the search for his replacement. Gooch became director in 2015 at the age of 24. He joined the party as political director in 2013. Gooch says he is ready for his "next adventure," but the release provided no details about his future plans. He also said in the release that he was "proud of the progress" that the party had made and that it was time for the party to "move into the next phase" in preparation for the 2018 elections.

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Kansas Concealed Carry Opponents Uncertain About Future Path

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas lawmakers who oppose concealed guns at state hospitals have yet to settle on a path forward, though they've likely ruled out spending $24 million to secure the facilities. Spending committees in the House and Senate have decided they won't fund GOP Governor Sam Brownback's proposal that the state pay for metal detectors and armed guards at state-run hospitals for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Under a 2013 law Brownback signed, the hospitals will have to allow guns starting July 1 unless they provide security measures. Opponents of concealed carry say they want at least a partial rollback of the policy that requires public hospitals, nursing homes and universities to allow concealed guns or provide security. But they have not settled on a strategy to change the law. 

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Report: Too Early to Know Extent of Snowstorm Damage on Kansas Wheat

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Participants in the Kansas winter wheat tour say it is too early to know the full extent of storm damage on the state's crop. The first day of the annual tour on Tuesday covered wheat fields from Manhattan to Colby. The 70 participating scouts made 222 stops that day. It estimated the average yield at 43 bushels per acre for the first leg of the tour. That is down from 47.1 bushels per acre for the same area a year ago. Some effects of late April freezes were apparent in a big portion of central Kansas, but were overshadowed by the recent blizzard. Some disease damage was also found in central parts of the state. The tour ends Thursday when a statewide crop estimate is issued.

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Community College Will Publish Final Student Paper Edition 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson Community College officials changed course and decided to allow the final edition of this semester's student newspaper to be published. Earlier this week, the college cancelled journalism classes for the rest of the school year, suspended the paper's faculty adviser and said the final edition wouldn't to be published. KSN-TV reports College President Carter File said Tuesday he decided to allow the last issue of The Hutchinson Collegian to be published after meeting with Editor Loribeth Reynolds. File said he originally suspended the edition only because he didn't think it was possible to publish it this week. Journalism instructor and Collegian adviser Alan Montgomery remains suspended and no journalism classes will be held for the rest of the semester. File has not offered an explanation for Montgomery's suspension.

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Kansas Police Officer Lauded for Saving 4-Year-Old from Pond 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The mother of a 4-year-old autistic boy says she believes a police officer who rescued her son from a Topeka, Kansas, pond was sent by God. Officer Aaron Bulmer rescued Elijah Hamby from a Central Park pond Sunday. Bulmer was on another call when he saw Elijah walking alone in the park and then lost sight of him. He got out of his car and saw Elijah in the pond, gasping for air. Video from a bodycam worn by Bulmer shows the officer jumping into the pond, pulling the boy out and handing him to another man. Elijah's mother, Jaclyn, said Wednesday her son unlocked a back door while his father was in the bathroom and she was at work. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Elijah has fully recovered.

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Unused IT Equipment from Scrapped Project Worries Lawmakers 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lawmakers are expressing concerns that the state still has millions of dollars in unused information technology equipment that was bought before a cloud computing plan was scrapped. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a bipartisan group of lawmakers asked to view the equipment Monday while touring the Docking office building. But the state officials giving the tour didn't have the key. Kansas Office of Information Technology Services reports show that about $17 million was spent on the project before the first quarter of 2016, when the initiative was described as "on hold." The agency told a Senate panel last month that about $6.3 million worth of expenses was used for other projects. Democratic Senator Marci Francisco, of Lawrence, says the state should have offloaded the unused equipment by now.

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Small Plane Crashed in Johnson County Field 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a small plane has crashed near a Kansas City suburb but only one of the four people aboard was hurt. KMBC-TV reports that the crash happened Tuesday in a farm field near the New Century Airport in Johnson County, Kansas. The injured person suffered a head laceration. No word yet on what caused the crash.

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2 Charged with Murder in Elderly Wichita Man's Death 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County authorities say two people are charged in the stabbing death of an 86-year-old man. Court records indicate 28-year-old Boe Wayne Adams and 18-year-old Yvonne Mosqueda were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and other charges in the death of Otto Meyer. Police say Meyer was found dead Friday at a Wichita house he owned but in which he did not live. The two suspects made their first appearance in Sedgwick County District Court Wednesday. Bond was set at $250,000 each. They are scheduled to be back in court May 17. It was not immediately clear if the two suspects had attorneys. Police said Meyer's killing was not random but few other details have been released.

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Kansas Couple Donates $5 Million to Fort Hays State University 

HAYS, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas couple is donating $5 million to help build a student center at Fort Hays State University. The university announced Tuesday that Richard Fischli and Dolores Willis-Fischli, of Logan, recently committed the money to a center on the Hays campus that will give students a single place to stop for academic, medical and mental health help. It will also provide office space for student groups. The couple, who are Kansas natives, earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays in the 1950s before moving to Los Angeles, where they worked in the school district.  The center is expected to be completed by December 2020.  A $4 per credit hour fee, effective the fall semester of 2019, is expected to raise $5.6 million toward the center's $16.5 million cost. 

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Lenexa Police Investigate Apparent Accidental Day Care Death

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) _ The apparent accidental death of a 16-month-old boy at a home day care in suburban Kansas City is under investigation. The Kansas City Star reports that police say it appears that the child was strangled after his sweatshirt got caught on a piece of furniture. Officer Danny Chavez say officers were called last Friday to a Lenexa home after the day care operator found the child. The toddler was pronounced dead at a hospital. Chavez says the day care is licensed with the state, and the operators are cooperating with the investigation. The day care operator told police the child was out of view for ``just a few moments.'' Police are awaiting final autopsy results. The investigatory findings will be forwarded to prosecutors to determine whether charges are warranted.

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Woman Sentenced to Life for Killing Man Who Was Burned 

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been sentenced to life in prison in the killing of a man who had warned child welfare officials that she was planning to kidnap her children from foster care. The Joplin Globe reports that 38-year-old Crystal Galloway made no statement before being sentenced Monday for first-degree murder in the May 2015 stabbing death of 59-year-old Robin Fought, whose body was set on fire. Days earlier, Fought had left a message with a caseworker warning that Galloway was planning to flee the state with her children. Five of them had been taken into state custody, and she was only allowed supervised visits. Galloway also was sentenced to 13 months for arson and nine months for interference with law enforcement. She blamed the killing on a co-defendant

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Wichita Council Approves Star Bonds for New Baseball Stadium 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new ball park to replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita is one step closer to reality. The Wichita City Council on Tuesday approved a sales tax bond district to fund about half the projected cost of replacing Lawrence-Dumont. The Wichita Eagle reports the goal is to replace the 82-year-old stadium with a modern baseball park that could also be used for soccer. Star bonds are expected to pay about half of the expected $40 million cost. City officials hope that will be enough to build a new stadium, although a major renovation could be an alternative. City officials also want to replace the Wingnuts, the current baseball tenant at Lawrence-Dumont, with a higher-level minor-league baseball team affiliated with a Major League Baseball franchise.

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Salina Woman Sentenced for Murder of Nebraska Man

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A Salina woman was sentenced to nearly 31 years in prison for her role in the death of a Nebraska man. Twenty-five-year-old Amber Craig was sentenced Tuesday in the death of 32-year-old Adonis Loudermilk, of Lincoln, Nebraska. He was killed in April 2016 in the parking lot of a Starlite Motel in Salina. The Salina Journal reports Craig pleaded no contest in February to second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. She settled a separate case by pleading no contest to trafficking methamphetamine in jail May 6. Co-defendant DiAntre Lemmie, who shot Loudermilk, will be sentenced June 19 for first-degree murder and five other charges. Prosecutors say Loudermilk was shot during a botched robbery committed by Lemmie and Craig.
 
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Kansas Man Pleads Guilty in 2015 Fatal Attack

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A second defendant who took part in a fatal attack on a man whose body was found in a Wichita suburb has pleaded guilty to amended charges. According to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office, 30-year-old Jose Antonio Rojas will be sentenced June 15 for aggravated assault and aggravated battery. Court records show he pleaded guilty Monday before has was to be tried on more severe counts of first-degree premeditated murder and aggravated kidnapping. Rojas is one of five people arrested in connection with the December 2015 death of 42-year-old Moises Arias-Aranda. Authorities have said Arias-Aranda was lured to a residence in Wichita because a friend claimed he had raped someone. He was beaten, strangled and stabbed nearly 40 times. Arias-Aranda was discovered dead in an SUV in Park City with electrical cords wrapped around his feet and hands.
 
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Man Sentenced in Girl's Death at Kansas City Water Park

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A third man will spend time in prison for the death of a middle school student at a Kansas City water park. Twenty-year-old Dominic McDaniel was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for his role in the 2015 killing of 14-year-old Alexis Kane at The Bay Water Park. He pleaded guilty last year to voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. The Kansas City Star reports two other men were convicted in the death of Alexis, who was beaten and stabbed at the park. Isaac Carter was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. Nineteen-year-old Ce-Antonyo Kennedy was convicted last month guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is to be sentenced May 31.  

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Suspect in Kansas Shooting Arrested in Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a suspect in a southeast Kansas shooting death has been arrested in southwest Missouri. The Jasper County, Missouri, Sheriff's Office confirms on its Facebook page that the 46-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday. The suspect was wanted in the death of 29-year-old Kelly Glasgow. Galena, Kansas, police and emergency medical technicians discovered her suffering from an apparent gunshot wound inside a home after a shooting was reported. She was taken to a hospital, where she later died. The suspect had been on parole in Missouri. He has felony drug convictions in Jasper County from arrests in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

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Missouri Woman Sentenced to 8 Years for Embezzlement 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman who embezzled from Black & Veatch and Garmin International was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Patricia Webb, of Lee's Summit, Missouri, was sentenced Tuesday for embezzling more than $1.5 million while working in the payroll departments of the two companies. Webb pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The Kansas City Star reports Webb will pay restitution of about $1.5 million. Prosecutors say she embezzled more than $1.2 million from Garmin between February 2012 and May 2014. She then took a job at Black & Veatch, where she embezzled more than $300,000 before the crimes were discovered. Webb previously was prosecuted under the name of Patricia Holmes for forging checks while working at John Knox Village in Lee's Summit.

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2 More Plead Guilty in Plot to Lure Victims with Online Ads 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man and a woman have admitted using online ads for sexual services to find victims for armed robberies. Thirty-four-year-old Nicole Covey, of Sugar Creek, Missouri, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Kansas to conspiracy to commit robbery and five counts of aiding and abetting. And 22-year-old Devon Davis-Aumua, of Independence, pleaded guilty to the same charges. Prosecutors say Covey's picture was posted on Craigslist, Backpage and Skout in ads offering sexual services. Those who responded were confronted by other people, who robbed them at gunpoint. Federal prosecutors said that the group robbed seven people in 2015 and 2016. A third defendant in the case, 35-year-old Sage Harrison, of Independence, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy and to two counts of aiding and abetting robbery.

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