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Headlines for Saturday, January 10, 2015

Credit Agency Critical of State Budget Outlook

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A leading bond-rating company says projected funding shortfalls and a recent court ruling that Kansas must spend more on its public schools appear to be creating growing budget problems. Standard and Poor's said yesterday (FRI) in a release that Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to address a $279 million shortfall in the current budget doesn't "appear to significantly address the mismatch between recurring revenues and expenditures." Under the plan, a shortfall for the next fiscal year — previously projected at $436 million — would grow to $648 million.  The release noted that the state has been spending down reserves and said that "indicates credit stress."  Standard and Poor's downgraded Kansas' credit rating in August to AA from AA+. The budget gaps arose after aggressive personal income tax cuts.


1 Killed, 3 Injured in Botched Robbery at Gun Shop

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a business owner and three suspects have been injured by gunfire in a botched robbery at a suburban Kansas City gun shop.  Shawnee police Major Dan Tennis says four people tried to rob "She's A Pistol" yesterday (FRI). Three were shot. Two of them were critically injured. Another had less-serious wounds and was arrested with the fourth suspect in a residential area nearby.  44-year-old John Biekder died in the robbery attack.  His wife and co-owner wasn't shot but sustained minor injuries to her face.


Kansas Doctor Still Barred over Abortion Referrals

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas board won't reinstate a doctor after concluding she kept inadequate records about young patients whom she referred for late-term abortions.  The State Board of Healing Arts yesterday (FRI) upheld its 2012 revocation of the license allowing Doctor Ann Kristin Neuhaus of Nortonville to provide charity care.  The board previously said she performed substandard mental health exams in 2003 for 11 patients aged 10 to 18 years. A Shawnee County judge earlier this year overturned that finding but agreed Neuhaus kept inadequate records. The judge returned her case to the board.  Board members said Friday that inadequate records hinder patients' future care. Neuhaus's second opinions on the young patients' mental health allowed the late Doctor George Tiller's clinic in Wichita to terminate their pregnancies.


Judge Nixes Bid for Disclosure of Mass Surveillance in Plot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to order the government to disclose whether mass surveillance led investigators to a Wichita man accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack at a Kansas airport. The possible existence of that evidence has been an issue in the terrorism case against Terry Loewen. The former avionics technician has pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida.  U.S. District Judge Monti Belot said in a ruling Friday that the government has neither admitted nor denied the existence of any materials gathered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The judge said the issue is moot because the government has not given notice of its intent to use FISA evidence in the case.


Elderly Kansas Woman Killed in House Fire

VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — An elderly south-central Kansas woman is dead after a fire broke out in her home. The Wichita Eagle reports the woman was alone when the blaze was reported shortly yesterday (FRI) at her Valley Center home. Her husband saw smoke and flames coming from the house as he returned home and called 911.  Smoke alarms were sounding when firefighters arrived at the two-story, four-bedroom house. Police officers had to prevent the woman's husband, who was treated at the scene, from going back inside the residence. Neighbors say the woman used oxygen to help her breathing and required a wheelchair at least part of the time. Valley Center Fire Chief Lonnie Tormey said he had little information about the circumstances of the blaze.


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