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Weekend Headlines for March 17-18, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Hacker Who Turned in Chelsea Manning to FBI Dead at Age 37 in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Kansas have confirmed the death of the computer hacker who turned in Chelsea Manning to law enforcement for giving thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. Sedgwick County spokeswoman Kate Flavin said Friday that Adrian Lamo's body was at the morgue in Wichita, but she had no other details about the 37-year-old's death. Manning, who is transgender and went by Bradley at the time of her arrest, was convicted in 2013 of leaking a trove of classified documents. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence and Manning was released from military prison in May after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence. Lamo testified that Manning contacted him because of his notoriety in the hacking community. Lamo was convicted of computer fraud after he was arrested in 2004 for hacking The New York Times and Microsoft.


Report: Better Kansas Schools May Cost $2 Billion More

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new report from two out-of-state consultants says improving student performance in Kansas public schools could cost the state as much as $2 billion more a year. The report released Friday stunned some legislators. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state's more than $4 billion in spending a year on aid to public schools isn't sufficient under the state constitution. The report outlined multiple spending scenarios, and all assumed that the state would boost its high school graduation rate from 86 percent to 95 percent within four years. That would be the nation's highest rate. The consultants' lowest projected increase in annual spending would be $451 million, or almost 10 percent. The largest figure tops $2 billion. The consultants suggested phasing in any increase over five years.


Judge Excludes Child Porn Images from Kansas Bomb Plot Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Jurors who will decide the fate of three militia members accused of conspiring to bomb an apartment complex housing Somalis in the Kansas will not hear evidence about alleged child pornography found during searches. U.S. District Eric Melgren excluded the images found on a computer and drives Friday. Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright, and Curtis Allen have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights. Stein also faces a weapons-related charge and Wright faces an additional charge of lying to the FBI. The trial is set to begin Tuesday. Stein pleaded not guilty in a separate case that will be tried in July accusing him of possession of child pornography.


Dog Returned to Kansas Family after Overseas Flight

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A dog who was mistakenly flown to Japan is back with his family in Kansas. The German Shepherd, named Irgo, arrived at a Wichita airport Thursday night after a flight on a private plane from Japan. Kara Swindle and her two children were flying on United Airlines from Oregon to Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday during a move to Wichita, Kansas. When they went to pick up Irgo, they instead were given a Great Dane. United said in a statement that the dogs were somehow put on the wrong flights during a connecting flight in Denver. Irgo's misadventure began a day after a French bulldog puppy died aboard a United flight after a flight attendant required a passenger to put her pet carrier in the overhead bin.


Kansas Judge Rebukes DCF Head's Reversal on Adoption

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge in south-central Kansas says the state's newly confirmed secretary for children and families has improperly reversed an adoption decision for three children in foster care. The Wichita Eagle reports that DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel recently said the children should go to their grandfather instead of being adopted by their foster family like originally decided. Sedgwick County Judge Kevin Smith says Meier-Hummel's decision "potentially placed all three children in serious harm." Smith says he considered all necessary factors in selecting the foster parents to adopt and says the children should remain with them while continuing visits with their grandfather. Meier-Hummel says her decision was based on "serious concerns raised by the grandfather," who's tried to adopt the children for two years. Smith says he expects Meier-Hummel to attend a hearing about the adoption next month.


Forecasters Warn of Fire Danger, Crop Damage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters and climatologists say the amount of moisture received across the United States' southern high plains since October has been ridiculously low, resulting in critical fire danger and winter wheat crops being reduced to stubble across several states. Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said Friday during a national briefing that some areas in the region have received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain in the past five months. He said the lack of rain has combined with above normal temperatures across parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas to make for record dry conditions in some spots. He warned that the warm and dry weather is expected to continue through the spring, resulting in continued crop damage, dwindling irrigation supplies and more wildfires. He showed satellite maps that show smoke and dust plumes moving across the region.


Freeze on Social Activities at KU Fraternities Reversed

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The organization governing fraternities at the University of Kansas is canceling a policy announced earlier this week that temporarily froze social activities for the 24 fraternities. The University of Kansas Interfraternity Council voted Thursday to rescind the freeze, which was instituted Monday. The council said the proposed social activities freeze was unconstitutional and was imposed without following proper procedures. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the council said the freeze was not voted on by the General Assembly and was supported by only two of the four executive board members. The university said Monday the council had self-imposed the freeze because of systemic problems at the fraternities, although school officials have declined to be specific about the problems. The four members were relieved of their IFC duties on Tuesday, pending an investigation.


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