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Headlines for Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Lawyers Seek Up to $1.5 Billion More for Kansas Schools

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for four public school districts suing Kansas are arguing that a new school funding law is as much as $1.5 billion short of providing adequate funding.  The attorneys filed legal arguments Monday with the Kansas Supreme Court against a new state law that phases in a $548 million increase in spending on public schools over five years.  Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt argued Monday that the GOP-controlled Legislature approved a "massive" funding increase.  The districts' attorneys say that after the first year, the increase would barely keep up with inflation. The state Supreme Court ruled in October that Kansas' current funding of more than $4 billion a year isn't adequate. It plans to hold a hearing May 22 on the new law.

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Feds Reject Kansas Proposal for Lifetime Medicaid Limits

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal officials have rejected the request from Kansas to limit some people to three years of Medicaid coverage in a lifetime.  The Kansas City Star reports that Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the American Hospital Association that her agency is open to many new ideas about reforming Medicaid but is determined to make sure it "remains a safety net for those that need it most."  Kansas was one of five states, all led by Republicans, that requested lifetime limits. The others were Maine, Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin.  Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer said in a statement Monday his office had received Verma's letter rejecting the proposal, but his administration had already said in an April legislative hearing that it was pulling it back.

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Attorney: Kansas Agency Knew of Abuse Before Boy's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Children and Families knew that a 2-year-old boy who died after being injured in his home last week was being abused and did not take steps to protect him, according to an attorney for the boy's grandparents. Anthony Bunn died Friday at a Wichita hospital after officers found him with head and face injuries, police said. His mother, Elizabeth Woolheater, 22, and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Lucas Diel, are being held in Sedgwick County jail on suspicion of murder and endangering a child. Shayla Johnston, an attorney for the boy's maternal grandparents, says in a court document filed during the weekend that the state was aware of a previous abuse report involving Anthony in October 2017 and didn't follow procedures to find permanent placement for him, The Wichita Eagle reported . The allegation comes as the department faces criticism for other cases in which young children died after law enforcement and the state agency received reports they were being abused. One of those cases involves Johnston's nephew, 3-year-old Evan Brewer, whose body was found in concrete in September. Evan's relatives have said they repeatedly reported abuse to the state and police. His mother and her boyfriend are charged in his death. And relatives of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez, who disappeared in February, also say they called the state to report suspected abuse. Johnston said in a document filed in Sedgwick County District Court that after Anthony was abused in October 2017, he was safe in the custody of his grandparents, Zachary and Nancy Woolheater, for 12 days but he was eventually returned to his mother. The state agency on Monday confirmed it conducted a joint child abuse investigation concerning Anthony with Wichita law enforcement in October 2017. "We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy ... and staff are reviewing this case to determine whether personnel, policy or procedure changes are necessary to prevent further tragedies from occurring," the statement said. Johnston filed the document in Anthony's death as part of the grandparents' effort to intervene legally on their grandson's behalf and to deal with his end-of-life medical care. A redacted report from Wichita police said officers investigated an abuse complaint involving Anthony in October but not enough evidence was found to file charges. The report said the possible abuse began on July 23, 2017, and ended on October 16, 2017. The county's district attorney's office confirmed Monday that the earlier case was presented as a child abuse case to prosecutors in November. District Attorney Marc Bennett was expected to make a statement Tuesday after investigators present the new case to prosecutors, said spokesman Dan Dillon.

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Data: Kansas to See More Students Needing Help with English

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — New figures show that in five years more than a quarter of Wichita public school students will need help learning to speak, read and write English. The Kansas Association of School Boards' projections show that while overall Wichita student enrollment is expected to drop slightly, the number of students who aren't native English speakers will increase from about 23 percent to about 27 percent in 2023. The Wichita Eagle reports that the change is echoing a statewide trend. The number of students in Kansas public schools rose about 1 percent from 2012-2017. Over the same period, the number of English language learners increased nearly 42 percent. School officials say English language learners cost more to educate because they require a multitude of additional services. Figures show most English learners were born in the U.S.

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Kansas Teacher Arrested Amid Inquiry into Sex with Student

MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Wichita high school teacher has been arrested on suspicion of sex crimes involving a student.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the teacher was booked Monday into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of two counts of unlawful sexual relations and one count of failure to report suspected child abuse.  Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said in a news release that the arrest came after an investigation into possible sexual relations between the teacher and a 17-year-old student.  Maize school district superintendent Chad Higgins said in an email to families that the school system is cooperating with investigators and that the teacher won't be permitted to return to work pending a law enforcement investigation.

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Report: Half of Kansas Wheat Crop in Poor Condition

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The latest update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service shows half of the Kansas winter wheat crop is in poor to very poor condition.  The agency reported Monday that just 36 percent of the state's wheat crop is in fair shape with 14 percent rated as good.  Its report also shows plant development is running well behind normal for this late in the season.  Just 19 percent of the wheat has headed. That is significantly behind the 57 percent at this time last year and behind the 41 percent for the five-year average.  Farmers have also been making progress in planting spring row crops.  Corn planting is at 47 percent followed by soybeans at 8 percent, sorghum at 1 percent and cotton at 2 percent.

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ACLU Seeks $51,646 as Damages in Contempt Ruling

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to order Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to pay $51,646.16 in attorney fees and other damages as punishment for violating a court order.  The ACLU detailed its costs in a court filing Monday. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found Kobach in contempt of court last month for violating her order in a lawsuit challenging a Kansas law requiring proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote.  Robinson didn't impose a fine at the time but ordered Kobach to pay for damages, including attorney fees.  The ACLU sought the contempt ruling after Kobach refused to update the state's election guide or ensure that county officials sent postcards to residents who registered at driver licensing offices without providing citizenship documents.

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SWAT Team Discouraged Entering Home Before Deadly Shooting

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Body camera footage shows that law enforcement ignored the advice of SWAT team members when they entered a suburban Kansas City home and fatally shot a mentally distressed woman.  The Kansas City Star reports that it obtained 23 hours of footage tied to the Aug. 23 shooting of 26-year-old Ciara Howard in Olathe after suing.  It shows that officers had been briefed that she was acting irrationally and had access to her boyfriend's handgun when they arrived to arrest her on a warrant. It was for walking away from the county's adult residential center where she'd been required to report after her latest conviction. None of them were for serious or violent offenses.  Olathe police said in a statement that Howard's death was a "tragedy for everyone involved."

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Police: Woman Struck by Car Ran into Traffic During Argument

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Missouri police say a 23-year-old Independence woman was struck by a car and killed Sunday on Interstate 70 when she ran into traffic during an argument.  The Independence Police Department said in a written statement Monday that shortly before 2:30 p.m. officers responded to a verbal disturbance between two people in the parking lot of Children's Mercy East hospital.  The Kansas City Star reports that one of the people involved, Tabetha L. Estep, ran onto the eastbound lanes of nearby I-70, where she was struck by a 2014 Dodge Dart.  She was pronounced dead at the scene. No one in the vehicle was injured.

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Kansas City Woman Pleads Guilty to Selling Heroin

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty to selling heroin that led to one of her customers nearly dying. The customer overdosed at a home in Overland Park, Kansas, in April 2016. She was found unconscious and revived when emergency responders administered Narcan. After the near-death experience, the user began cooperating with investigations into drug activity of 34-year-old Loretta Gilliard. The drug user had purchased heroin from Gilliard about 100 times and made several more buys while cooperating with investigators. Gilliard pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute heroin. Under a plea deal, she will serve seven years in prison.

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Kansas Teacher Arrested Amid Inquiry into Sex with Student

MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Wichita high school teacher has been arrested on suspicion of sex crimes involving a student.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the teacher was booked Monday into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of two counts of unlawful sexual relations and one count of failure to report suspected child abuse.  Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said in a news release that the arrest came after an investigation into possible sexual relations between the teacher and a 17-year-old student.  Maize school district superintendent Chad Higgins said in an email to families that the school system is cooperating with investigators and that the teacher won't be permitted to return to work pending a law enforcement investigation.

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Kansas Police Search for Man Who Escaped While in Handcuffs

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a man who escaped from Kansas City, Kansas, police while wearing handcuffs.  Police said in a news release that officers had taken 21-year-old Deron McAfee into custody for felony charges late Monday when he escaped. WDAF-TV reports that McAfee was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of assault. In 2017, he was booked into jail on suspicion of burglary, theft and resisting arrest.  He was last seen wearing a plaid shirt.

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Man Convicted After Sex Cartoons Left on Library Printer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man who printed sexually explicit cartoon images of children at a public library has been convicted of child pornography. The jury found 63-year-old David Buie guilty Tuesday of possessing obscene images of the sexual abuse of children. He had a prior felony conviction for possessing child pornography. Prosecutors say in July 2017 Burie tried to print about 50 pages from a computer at a Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City. Only about half the pages printed before the printer ran out of ink. The remaining images printed when the toner was replaced after Buie left the library. Investigators identified Buie because his library card was used and he was seen on security cameras using the computer. He was on supervised release at the time. Buie faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

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Man, Woman Plead Guilty in Scam Unrelated to Slaying

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Two people under suspicion in the slaying of a Nebraska woman have pleaded guilty to charges in an unrelated gold coin scheme. Federal prosecutors say 24-year-old Bailey Boswell and 51-year-old Aubrey Trail each pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lincoln's U.S. District Court to a count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Prosecutors agreed to drop several other counts in return. Each faces up to 10 years in prison when they're sentenced August 3. Investigators say Trail and Boswell defrauded two people of thousands of dollars in a scheme to buy, then sell, a coin they falsely claimed was valuable. The two are considered persons of interest in the death of 24-year-old Sidney Loofe, although neither has been charged in that crime. Loofe disappeared November 15, a day after going on a date with Boswell. Loofe's body was found in December in rural Clay County. Trail and Boswell were arrested November 30 near Branson, Missouri.

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Kansas Man Dies in Horse-Related Ranch Accident

BAZAAR, Kan. (AP) — Chase County officials say a man died after a horse rolled over him during a ranching accident. Sheriff Rich Dorneker says emergency responders were called Monday night to a ranch south of Bazaar, an unincorporated town near Emporia. The Emporia Gazette reports responders found 58-year-old Clifford Cole injured after an accident while working with cattle on horseback. Dorneker says Cole and another person were moving the cattle when a calf ran in front of Cole's horse. The horse hit the calf and Cole was thrown off. Dorneker says the horse rolled over Cole twice. Dorneker says the other person attempted to give Cole medical attention. Cole was taken to Newman Regional Health, where he was later pronounced dead.

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Program May Offer Aviation Production and Maintenance Training in Wichita High Schools

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita students may soon be able to study aircraft production and maintenance in high school under a program that allows them to work toward professional certificates and possible jobs after graduation.  The proposed new curriculum in Wichita schools is called Aviation Pathway. The Wichita Eagle reports it would be the first such aviation technical education in the local schools. It was announced Monday on the production floor at Textron in Wichita.  The program would launch at North, Northwest, Southeast and West high schools this fall if it is approved by the Kansas Board of Education this summer.  The Kansas Department of Labor says the average entry-level annual wage for an avionics technician is $45,961, and the average entry-level wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians is $40,496.

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AP: 6 Kid-on-Kid Sex Assault Cases at Army Base in Missouri

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (AP) — Army officials are now acknowledging they've investigated reports of child-on-child sexual assaults at Fort Leonard Wood.  The disclosure comes amid an Associated Press investigation that found many sexual assault reports among children at U.S. military bases where service member families live have languished in a dead zone of justice, in which victims and offenders go without help.  New documents released to AP show Army criminal investigators opened at least six cases at Leonard Wood over a recent 10-year period. They concluded all were true.  Initially, Army's Criminal Investigation Command released a list of 223 sexual assaults among juveniles that showed none at the central Missouri base.  After reporters challenged the list's accuracy, the agency added 86 cases. It declines to share the number of reports that are still being investigated.  Military seeks to limit Congress on fixing child sex assault

- Related-

Military Seeks to Limit Congress on Fixing Child Sex Assault

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military officials want to limit congressional efforts to address child-on-child sexual assaults on bases, even as new data show the problem is larger than previously acknowledged.  Members of Congress demanded answers after an Associated Press investigation revealed that many reports of sexual violence among military kids on installations languish, leaving both victim and offender without help.  With lawmakers drafting legislative fixes, military officials have offered a clear message during congressional briefings: We can handle this.  The pushback against legislative efforts comes as the Army acknowledged that it had investigated 86 more sex assault reports than initially disclosed to AP, most of them confirmed as crimes.  After adding those new cases, AP's count of juvenile-on-juvenile sexual assault reports on bases reached nearly 700 over a recent 10-year period.

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Frontier Airlines Returns to Wichita; Will Fly to Denver

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Frontier Airlines plans to return to Wichita and offer new service to Denver. The airline will offer once-daily flights on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, beginning Aug. 30. The flights will use an Airbus A320 narrow-body aircraft, which carries about 180 passengers. Frontier previously offered service to Denver from Wichita, but left the city in 2012. Flights will depart Wichita at 6 p.m. and arrive in Denver at 6:39 p.m. local time. Return flights will depart Denver at 2:40 p.m. and arrive in Wichita at 5:09 p.m. Currently, United Airlines is the only carrier offering nonstop service from Wichita to Denver.

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Mexican Man, Woman Charged for Possessing Fake US Documents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man and woman from Mexico are each facing charges for unlawfully possessing identification documents after a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper found hundreds of fake U.S. identification documents in their rental car. The Wichita Eagle reports that Lilia Arratia and Sergio Adame of Mexico were pulled over last month by Trooper Robert Kraus for speeding and driving erratically. They were in the U.S. legally on visas. A police affidavit says the car contained envelopes with 353 possibly counterfeit identification documents. It says about two thirds of the documents had names on them. The affidavit says Adame told the trooper that he'd picked up the envelopes from an attorney's office in Texas to take to his cousin in Dodge City who said they contained immigration documents that he needed to sign.

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Kansas Woman Receives Proposal During Half-Marathon

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman is engaged after receiving a proposal while running a half-marathon.  The Wichita Eagle reports that Justin Scott proposed to Sarah Hoover 7 miles (11 kilometers) into the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in Wichita on Sunday.  Hoover was running with Scott's father when she saw her now-fiance holding a sign that said: "Sarah will you marry me?"  Scott says he opted for proposing in the middle of the race instead of at the end because he knew Hoover isn't one for large crowds.  Hoover had to complete the race after the proposal, but she says she just wanted to celebrate.  The couple has been dating for a year and a half and has been talking about marriage. Hoover says she knew it was coming but didn't know when.

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Ray Szmanda, TV Pitchman for Menards Stores, Dies at 91

ANTIGO, Wis. (AP) — The enthusiastic television pitchman who told viewers they could "save big money" at Wisconsin-based home improvement chain Menards has died. Ray Szmanda was 91.  Szmanda's son, Charles Szmanda, says his father died Sunday in home hospice care in Antigo, Wisconsin, of congestive heart failure.  Ray Szmanda was featured in advertising for Eau Claire-based Menard Inc. starting in 1976 until his retirement in 1998. He was known as "The Menards Guy."  A Milwaukee native and World War II Navy veteran, Szmanda founded a broadcasting school in Wausau. He also narrated a recording of the Bible.  Menards said Szmanda's "friendly, enthusiastic and fun loving personality have made a lasting impression" on the family-owned company and its customers.  Menards has stores in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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K-State Baseball Coach Brad Hill to Step Down After Season

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University baseball coach Brad Hill will step down after this season as the school's winningest coach, ending a tenure that includes four NCAA regional appearances and a Super Regional berth. Wildcats athletic director Gene Taylor announced Hill's decision in a statement Tuesday. Hill has 463 wins since taking over in 2004, including a school-record 45 wins during a breakthrough 2013 season. The Wildcats won their first conference championship since 1933 before coming within a game of making the College World Series for the first time. Hill has had 58 players selected in the Major League Baseball draft, including 46 with Kansas State, and has a career record of 964-530-3 with stops at the Division II and junior college levels. Taylor said a national coaching search will begin immediately.

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