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Weekend Headlines for March 3-4, 2018

Area news headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Voting Rights Trial May Have National Implications

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A legal challenge to a Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote is set to go on trial in a case with national implications for voting rights. At issue in the trial that begins Tuesday is the fate of a Kansas law championed by Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. That law requires people to provide citizenship documents such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or passport at the time they register to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union says the case is about national standards for voter registration and the false narrative of  noncitizens participating in elections. Kobach has argued in court filings that the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud. To win, he will need to show there's a substantial problem of noncitizens voting.

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Johnson County Jail Inmate Found Unresponsive in Cell, Dies

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a prisoner has died after being found unresponsive in her cell at the Johnson County Detention Center in Olathe. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says in a news release that 59-year-old Wanda Denise Kendrick was found unconscious in her cell Friday morning while jail staff were conducting a welfare check. Staff attempted to resuscitate her, and she was taken to a nearby hospital. She was declared dead later that afternoon. Officials say Kendrick was alone in the cell. She had been jailed since Feb. 23 on two counts of misdemeanor theft and  one count of obstructing legal process. Officials say they don't know how she died, and an investigation is being conducted.

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First Responder Accused of Spitting on Child, Using Slur in KC-Area Restaurant

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police say charges are pending against a person identified as a first responder who allegedly spit on and called a child by a racial slur in a suburban Kansas City restaurant. The incident happened Monday night at a Hooters restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. Police Sgt. John Lacy told The Kansas City Star that the suspect is a first responder, but didn't say for which agency. Lacy says the person doesn't work in Kansas. Police told KCTV that possible charges could include battery and making a criminal threat. Police haven't released the person's name. Witnesses and family members of the child told police the suspect called the child, who is black, a slur while saying someone should get the child "up off the floor." Police say the boy's family was at the restaurant celebrating a birthday.

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Lawrence Wants High Schoolers to Get More Sleep

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence is making plans for its high schools to start 25 minutes later in August 2019 because research shows teens need the sleep. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that school board member Rick Ingram has long called for later start times. He cites research that indicates it improves academic performance, attendance and graduation rates while  reducing tardiness, teen vehicle accident rates and sports injuries. This past week, the board directed staff to begin planning to start high school classes at 8:30 a.m. during the 2019-2020 school  year. Planning for the change will include forums with students, parents and staff. The district will also meet with its busing contractor. It's estimated that the change will add $100,000 per year to  district transportation costs.

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Wheat Report: Everest Top Kansas Variety

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — No crop is probably as synonymous with Kansas as winter wheat, and the latest government report is now offering industry watchers a variety-by-variety breakdown. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that the leading variety of wheat seeded in Kansas for the sixth consecutive year is Everest. It accounts for 9.3 percent of the state's 2018 planted wheat acres. That is followed by a variety called SY Monument at 6.6 percent and one called T158 at 6 percent. The wheat variety project is funded by the Kansas Wheat Commission.

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14 Taken to Hospital, 1 Critical, After Bus-Car Collision

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say one person was critically injured and 14 people were taken to hospital as a precaution after a city bus and car collided.  Police say the crash happened Friday near Children's Mercy Hospital in downtown Kansas City.  A man sitting in the back of the bus was critically injured. A woman and a 2-year-old in the car also were taken to the hospital.  Eleven people on the bus were also taken to a hospital as a precaution.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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In Kansas, Maligned 'Gut and Go' Tactic Gets Laws Enacted

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators expect to keep relying on a "gut and go" tactic to pass major bills even though they know the move sounds sketchy and looks underhanded.  They acknowledge that it makes it harder for people outside the Statehouse to follow what's going on under the dome.  The tactic strips out a bill's contents and replaces them with the contents of another bill that's often on a different subject.  Senate President Susan Wagle says the tactic is crucial to allowing lawmakers to finish their work when they're supposed to remain in session only 90 days a year.  But lawmakers in both parties have said making government more open is a top priority this year, and the gut and go is getting scrutiny. A House bill would ban the practice.

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Kansas Senator Worried About Proposed Trump Tariffs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says President Donald Trump's unexpected announcement about tariffs on imported steel and aluminum "is not going to go down well in farm country."  The Wichita Eagle reports that Roberts and other Republican senators received no formal warning from the White House before Trump said Thursday he'd impose a 25 percent import tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum to boost U.S. manufacturers.  Roberts says he and other Republicans from farming states and from the Senate Finance Committee have lobbied Trump hard in efforts to convince him that raising tariffs would negatively impact the rural and middle-class voters who supported his 2016 election.  The senator fears a foreign backlash will hit U.S. agricultural exports.

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Man Convicted of Shooting, Wounding Topeka Detective

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been convicted of shooting and wounding a Topeka police detective after a convenience store robbery.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that jurors found 30-year-old Christopher Harris guilty Thursday of attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Detective Brian Hill spent 20 days in the hospital after he was wounded in November 2016 while trying to apprehend Harris and Jermaine Patton following the convenience store robbery. Hill retired in September and said at the time that the shooting "definitely" was a factor.  Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay says Harris faces life in prison without parole for at least 25 years when he is sentenced May 3.  Patton pleaded guilty in September to federal aiding and abetting charges.

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Missouri Man Already Charged in 3 Deaths Indicted in 3 More

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man already charged with killing three people in the Kansas City area has been indicted by a grand jury in three other killings.  Jackson County prosecutors said Friday that 23-year-old Frederick Demond Scott of Kansas City was indicted in the deaths of three men who were shot in surprise attacks close to hiking and biking trails in south Kansas City. Scott was charged in August in the deaths of two men and a woman.  The Kansas City Star reports all five of the male victims were shot, mostly from behind, in apparently unprovoked attacks. The one woman killed was homeless. She was found dead inside a tent in woods in nearby Grandview.  The killings all happened within a year, from August 2016 to August 2017.

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Fire Forces Evacuation of Kansas State Residence Hall

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A fire at a Kansas State dormitory displaced about two dozen students.  University officials say the fire early Friday started on the fourth floor of Wefald Hall. All students were evacuated for about three hours. No injuries were reported.  Sprinklers extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived.  The Manhattan Mercury reports that Manhattan officials say the fire apparently was caused by a faulty fan.  University officials say the fire caused $5,000 of damage to the building and $3,500 of damage to contents. Water also damaged some areas, prompting the school to relocate 24 students.  The coeducational dorm houses 540 students. It was built in 2016 on the west side of the Manhattan campus.

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Plea Hearing Set in Kansas Possible Hate Crime Killing

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The man charged in a possible hate crime killing in a suburban Kansas City bar is scheduled for a plea hearing next week.  Johnson County Court records show the hearing is scheduled Tuesday for 52-year-old Adam Purinton.  Purinton is charged with first-degree murder in the February 2017 shooting death of 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe.  In Johnson County, Purinton also is charged with two counts of attempted murder after two other men were injured during the shooting.  Federal prosecutors allege Purinton targeted Kuchibhotla and another Indian man because of their race or ethnicity. The third man was injured when he tried to help the victims.  Purinton also faces federal hate crime charges. He has pleaded not guilty in the federal case.

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Kansas Lawmakers Consider Some Gun Issues but Not Big Shift

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Even Kansas lawmakers who are pursuing legislation on gun issues aren't sure it signals a big shift in the Republican-leaning state's political climate.  Legislators are considering proposals to allow judges to temporarily confiscate guns from people who deemed a risk to themselves and others.  They're also advancing a measure designed to ensure that fugitives and domestic abusers are prosecuted for illegal gun possession.  But proposals to ban bump stocks and limit the sale of semi-automatic weapons aren't being seriously considered.  Moderate Republican Rep. Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park says she doesn't know how she would get rural lawmakers to vote for such measures.  House Republicans are working a package of school-safety initiatives but it's likely to focus on seeing that schools develop good safety plans and not gun control.

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2 Missouri Men Sentenced for Killing Kitten, Posting Video

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Two southwest Missouri men will be sent to state prison for dragging a kitten behind a truck and then killing it after it survived.  Eighteen-year-old Kyle Williams was sentenced Friday to consecutive terms of four years for animal abuse and three years of armed criminal action. Nineteen-year-old Jordan Hall was sentenced to four years for animal control.  Taney County prosecutors say the crimes were recorded in June 2017. The kitten was not dead after it was dragged, so Williams killed it.  Prosecutors say Williams posted the cat's death on Facebook in an effort to get his audience to buy him pizza.  Williams was also sentenced to a concurrent five-year prison sentence for sharpening a spork into a shank while in jail.

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Wichita Women Will Pay Back Money from Faulty ATM

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman and her daughter will repay a bank after repeatedly withdrawing money from an ATM that was dispensing $100 bills rather $5 bills.  Central National Bank sued Christina Ochoa and her mother, Christy Ochoa, after they withdrew more than $14,000 in January. The bank contended the women returned to the ATM more than 50 times after realizing the machine's malfunction. Most of the trips were in the middle of the night.  The Wichita Eagle reports court records indicate the women have agreed to repay $12,643 plus interest, as well as costs.  The women earlier told the newspaper they wanted $1,485 to make a "money cake" for a friend. They said they made repeated withdrawals because they couldn't get the exact number of $5 bills they needed and the bank was closed.

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