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Headlines for Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lawyer Vows to Monitor School Funding After Kansas Supreme Court Ruling

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An attorney representing four local public school districts in Kansas is promising to continue monitoring the state's education funding in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling. The high court declared Friday that the state's funding is adequate following the passage of law this year that boosted it roughly $90 million a year. Four districts sued the state in 2010 and argued that the new law still wasn't adequate. Attorney Alan Rupe said he is disappointed in the result. But Rupe said it's a "huge victory" that the Supreme Court declined to end the lawsuit so that the justices can ensure that the state keeps its funding promises. Rupe said the districts will go back to the Supreme Court if they feel the state is not meeting its commitments.


Kansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Cap in Injury Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has struck down the state's statutory cap on noneconomic damages in personal injury cases. The high court ruled Friday that capping damages that an injured person is allowed to receive in a lawsuit violates the right to trial by jury set out in the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights. Its decision comes in a case filed by Diana Hilburn, who was injured in a 2010 accident when a semi-truck rear-ended the car she was riding. A jury awarded Hilburn $33,490.86 for medical expenses and $301,509.14 for noneconomic losses. She appealed when the jury's noneconomic damages were capped at the time at $250,000. The court found the limitation intrudes upon the jury's determination of the compensation owed her to redress her injury.


Kansas Governor Plans to End KC Economic "Border War"

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she plans to issue an executive order to end a longstanding economic border war between her state and Missouri in the Kansas City area. Kelly told reporters Friday that her executive order will mirror a new Missouri law that prevents incentives from being used to lure businesses across the border in the metropolitan area. The Missouri law takes effect only if Kansas acts. It was the first time that Kelly publicly committed to issuing an executive order. In Missouri, such a policy requires a change in state law. Both states have spent millions of dollars luring businesses across the state line over the past decade. Area officials see such efforts as wasteful and want to focus on attracting businesses from outside the region.


Reno County Commission Rejects Proposed Wind Farm

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Reno County Commission has denied a proposal to build a wind farm in the county. The commission voted 2-1 Thursday on a proposal from Florida-based NextEra Energy for a 200-megawatt wind farm with more than 80 turbines in the southern part of the county. The Hutchinson News reports the permit required the commission's unanimous vote for approval. The commission must formalize the vote by resolution next week. NextEra spokesman Conlan Kennedy said the company was disappointed by the vote and is weighing its options. The project has created controversy since it was proposed. Opponents said the wind farm could hurt property values, generate noise and kill birds that fly into turbines. Supporters said the wind farm would bring economic and energy benefits to the county.


Man Sentenced in Murder, Doughnut Shop Robbery

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to 46 years and two months in prison for breaking into a Topeka home with three other people and killing a man after they robbed a doughnut shop. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Erion Kirtdoll was sentenced Thursday for second-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the death of Tyrone Baggett. District Attorney Mike Kagay says Baggett was shot in February 2018 when four men broke into his home. Detectives also connected the four to an armed robbery about 45 minutes earlier at Daylight Donuts. Another suspect, Dion Troupe, is awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to second-degree murder and three counts of aggravated robbery. And a plea hearing is scheduled for next week for a third man, Eli Perry.


Feds seek Forfeiture of $470,000 Cash Seized in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of $470,000 in suspected drug money that was seized earlier this year during three Kansas traffic stops. The Wichita Eagle reports that one stop alone yielded $250,000 in cash. A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper found that money in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and a duffel bag after stopping a rented car in February on Interstate 70 in Ellsworth County. Three days earlier, $55,000 was found during a traffic stop along I-70 in Wabaunsee County. Another $165,000 was found in March wrapped in plastic and hidden inside the rear fender panel of a sport utility vehicle that was pulled over on Interstate 35 in Chase County. For now, the money that the government wants to keep is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.


Endangered Wolf Pups from Wichita Zoo Released into Wild

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two endangered Mexican wolf pups from a Kansas zoo have been released into the wild in Arizona. The Wichita Eagle reports that a male puppy, named Traveler, and a female puppy, named Jaunt, were born at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita. They were 2 weeks old last month when they were placed with a litter whose mother is wild. Mexican wolves are considered critically endangered with fewer than 150 members of the species remaining in the wild. They are native to the southwestern United States in Arizona and New Mexico, and in Chihuahua, Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remotely observe the pack to monitor the results of the cross-fostering. But senior zookeeper Nancy Smith says the pack seems to be doing well.


Garmin Co-founder Dies at Age of 81

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Gary Burrell, who co-founded GPS device-maker Garmin and helped grow the startup into a global operation, has died. He was 81. Garmin spokeswoman Krista Klaus says he died Wednesday at his home in southern Johnson County from "complications relating to longstanding health issues." He used his background working at marine and aviation electronics companies when he started Garmin in 1989 with fellow engineer Min Kao. The Olathe, Kansas-based company now has more than 13,000 employees in 60 offices around the world. It recorded earnings of $3.3 billion last year. Burrell retired in 2002 and continued to serve as Garmin's co-chairman until 2004 when he was named chairman emeritus. Kao said in a news release that it was a "great privilege and a blessing to have known this amazing man."


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