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Headlines for Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Here's a summary of the day's AP news headlines for our area, mostly Kansas.

Woman Charged in Fire that Killed 2 KC Firefighters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A woman is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in a fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters.  The Jackson County, Missouri prosecutor announced the charges against Thu Hong Nguyen, an employee of a nail salon and spa that was one of several businesses and apartments destroyed in the fire.  The firefighters died when a wall collapsed on them while they were fighting the blaze. Two other firefighters were injured.  An investigator says the fire was intentionally set in storage room of the salon.


Clinton Comes to Kansas in November; Receiving Dole Leadership Prize

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Kansas.  Next month, Clinton will receive the 2015 Dole Leadership Prize at the University of Kansas.  The  Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics says Bill Clinton will receive the award at KU on November 23.  Dole, a former senator from Kansas, said in a statement that he speaks with Bill Clinton "now and then,'' and that he and the former president have become friends.  Clinton served as president from 1993 to 2001.  Previous winners of the The Dole Leadership Prize, which is awarded each year, include Nelson Mandela, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former President George H.W. Bush.  


Health Officials Bash Plan to Ask About Legal Status

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Sedgwiick County Commissioners are considering a plan that would require county health department clinics to ask about the immigration status of people seeking immunizations and disease screenings.  Health officials have concerns about that idea.  They fear such a move would jeopardize the health of the entire community.  Supporters say they want to collect data to see if immigrants who are living in the country illegally are getting taxpayer-funded services and contend no one would be denied immunizations. But opponents contend the practice would scare people away from seeking services from a public health program whose purpose is to prevent the spread of diseases.  


Saline County Grapples with Syphilis Outbreak

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ Health officials say Saline County is dealing with an outbreak of syphilis.  The Salina Journal reports that through June of this year Saline County did not have any reported cases of syphilis. But Jason Tiller, coordinator for the Saline County Health Department, says that in the past  75 days more than 11 cases have been reported in the county.  Tiller told Saline County commissioners Tuesday that officials think more cases of syphilis are going undiagnosed, and the department is trying to raise awareness.  Tiller says syphilis is a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact, and is easily treatable with antibiotics during the first year after infection. It can be treated later, but it's more difficult to treat.


Kansas Woman Convicted in 10-Year-Old Son's Death

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) _ A south-central Kansas woman has been convicted of fatally beating and stabbing her 10-year-old son to death in his bedroom.  Lindsey Nicole Blansett of Wellington was found guilty yesterday in Sumner County ....of first-degree murder in the December 2014 death of her son, Caleb.  She told police she was concerned about her son's future and wanted him to "go to heaven tonight.'' She underwent mental exams and was deemed competent for trial.


State Waits on Results of Kansas Tax Amesty Program

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ It could be weeks before Kansas lawmakers know if a tax amnesty program took in as much money as they hope it did. The revenue department is still processing paper applications and a dollar amount isn't likely before mid-November. Some legislators say the $30 million projection for the amnesty program included in the budget is too optimistic.  


Nation's Report Card Shows Dip in Math Scores for Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas schoolchildren are faring worse on a test known as the nation's report card.  The state's performance dip follows a national trend of falling scores on the National Assessment of Educational progress. The scores were released Wednesday. They show that the math scores of Kansas fourth and eighth graders slipped over the last two years, which is similar to what happened with students nationally. Reading scores dropped slightly for Kansas fourth graders, while nationally they were flat. Among eighth graders, reading scores held steady in Kansas and were lower nationally.  Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said in a statement that the reason for the decrease isn't clear. But he added that state officials would ``take it seriously.''  Governor Sam Brownback says the scores "reflect the need for real education reform.''


Douglas County Seeks Reduction in Mentally Ill Inmates

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Douglas County Sheriff's Office wants the county to commit to reducing the number of jail inmates who are seriously mentally ill. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the sheriff's office will ask the county commissioners to commit to the reduction during a meeting Wednesday. Mike Brouwer, re-entry director for the sheriff's office, says the request is part of a national initiative and coincides with recent developments on a potential county jail expansion and a mental health crisis intervention center project. In September the sheriff's office was also awarded nearly $200,000 to hire two case managers to assess potential inmates each month and divert an estimated 25 to treatment alternatives.


Wichita schools disable computer system amid hacking attempt

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita school district has disabled a computer system while the district investigates a recent hacking attempt. The school district disabled its Synergy computer system to investigate the hacking attempt discovered last week. The system was still down Tuesday afternoon. The Wichita Eagle reports that the disabled computer system has caused some problems for high school students needing transcripts for college or scholarship applications. The system authenticates student transcripts, which many high school seniors need to send to colleges by Sunday to meet early application deadlines. District officials heard Tuesday from a couple schools where students were concerned about being able to get those transcripts. Officials say they're working with Wichita police and a cyber-security consulting company to determine the extent of the hacking attempt.


Man Charged in Fatal Shooting of Teen at Wichita Party

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been charged in the death of a 17-year-old Wichita boy who was shot in the head at a private birthday party. The Wichita Eagle reports that 41-year-old Grover James was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Authorities say Leon McClennon died just before 3 a.m. on May 9 in the basement of Parrot-fa-Nalia Unique Boutique, where about 20 people had gathered for the party. Police say an argument involving two men escalated and one of them pulled out a gun and fired shots, striking McClennon. Authorities say the victim was not involved in the argument. James is being held in jail on a $500,000 bond. It wasn't immediately clear if James has an attorney.


17-year-Old Boy Dies in Central Kansas House Fire

LYONS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person has died in a central Kansas house fire. Lyons Fire Chief Brad Reid says crews responded to the fire around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. KWCH-TV reports that the parents made it out of the home safely. But Reid says their son, who was living on the second floor, did not. The Lyons School District sent a note out to students and parents saying 17-year-old Dylon Pavlus-Newill, a junior at Lyons High School, died in the fire.


De Soto Man Pleads Guilty in 2013 Killing of 21-Year-Old Man

DE SOTO, Kan. (AP) — A De Soto man has pleaded guilty in the death of a 21-year-old Prairie Village man. The Kansas City Star reports that 32-year-old Dustin Adam Maynard pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the killing of Jordan MacDonald. Prosecutors say MacDonald was stabbed and strangled. Authorities say the victim's body was found partially burned in a grassy area near Maynard's apartment on October 30, 2013. Authorities say the two men had been at a De Soto bar together the night before and that the victim had given Maynard a ride home. Maynard is scheduled to be sentenced December 11.


Mountain Lion Carcass Found Near Dodge City

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — The recent discovery of a dead mountain lion in western Kansas brings to five the number of mountain lion confirmations in the state since August. The state Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism says before 2007, Kansas went more than a century without a confirmed wild mountain sighting. But there have been 14 confirmations since 2007. The Wichita Eagle reports the previous four confirmations this year have been trail camera photos, sightings and videos. A landowner near Dodge City contacted the department last week after finding an underweight dead mountain lion in a shed. The department says Kansas is one of many states to have increased mountain lion confirmations over about the past decade. It's thought many of the cats have wandered from South Dakota or the Rocky Mountains.


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