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Weekend Headlines for September 22-23, 2018

Thousands Gather in Wichita to Remember Slain Deputy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Flags are waving throughout Wichita as thousands remember a sheriff's deputy who killed his attacker in his final moments in an act his boss said saved lives. The Wichita Eagle reports that an honor guard of law enforcement officers in dress uniforms and white gloves escorted Sedgwick County Deputy Robert Kunze's flag-draped casket into a church before services began. Army veteran Tim Wooding says he had planned to go out of town, but instead stood in the drizzling rain hanging flags along the route that the hearse carrying Kunze's coffin would follow to his final resting spot. Wooding says all the community can do is "be here." Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says others could have died Sunday if the mortally wounded Kunze hadn't killed his attacker, 29-year-old Robert Greeson.

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Kansas State Fair Reports Uptick in Attendance

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State Fair officials are crediting good weather and concerts for an uptick in attendance. The Hutchinson News reports that preliminary tallies for the 2018 fair show nearly 330,000 people came through the gates during the fair's 10-day run from Sept. 7 to Sept. 16. That's a 1.76 percent increase over the 2017 fair. Initial reports also show growth in revenue. Interim General Manager Bob Moeder said in a news release that the fair is "at a pivotal turning point." Starting in 2017, tickets were counted more accurately using a scanning e-ticket system. Previous tickets were weighed. Because of the previous way the fair measured attendance, there is no way to know if totals before 2017's are accurate or compare correctly.

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Critics Question Kobach's Proposal to Capping Valuation Hikes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach is proposing capping property appraisal increases, which he said would give taxpayers a more predictable property tax bill, but some experts say the change likely would require changes to the state constitution. Kobach's plan would cap property appraisal increases at no more than 2 percent a year, regardless of how much the property increases in actual fair market value, The Lawrence Journal-World reported . He said the change would especially help the elderly and those on fixed incomes. Property taxes are based on annual property appraisals. Linda Terrill, a Johnson County attorney who has practiced property tax law for about 40 years, said Kobach's plan might violate a constitutional amendment that requires the state to have "a uniform and equal basis of valuation and rate of taxation of all property subject to taxation." She said capping increases would mean properties that appreciate in value over time would no longer be valued or taxed at their actual fair market value, while other properties would be, and that could cause problems for local governments and some taxpayers.

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Director: Kansas Stem Cell Center Needs More Money

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The new director of a stem cell research facility at the University of Kansas Medical Center says the center needs more money, not more space. Sunil Abhyankar, an oncologist who specializes in blood cancers, was introduced to the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center Advisory Board as the center's new director this week. His predecessor, Buddhadeb Dawn, left this summer for a new job. Dawn told lawmakers in March that a decision last year to reduce the lab's size from 8,200 square feet to about 3,860 square feet hurt research efforts. The Kansas City Star reports Abhyankar said the center has enough room for now, but needs more money from the state. The center was established in 2013 by conservative legislators who wanted to highlight alternatives to embryonic stem cell research.

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Manhattan Group to Reopen Building Where Mold was Found

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Manhattan Housing Authority will move its office and residents back into apartments for low-income housing where black mold was found five years ago. Authority director JoAnn Sutton said administrators are likely to move into the Apartment Towers in the first week of October. The Manhattan Mercury reports residents will return in the second and third weeks of October. The mold was discovered in August 2013 and the towers have been vacant since 2016. Black mold is considered a sign of poor air quality. The federal government provided $5.4 million for mold and asbestos removal, HVAC replacement and replacement of  furnishings, but would not fund window replacement and sanitary sewer improvements. The city gave the housing authority a $1 million loan to complete the project.

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Water Released from Missouri River Dams Reduced

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water being released into the lower Missouri River will be temporarily reduced because of recent heavy rains in southeastern South Dakota and northwestern Iowa. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it is reducing the amount of water being released from the Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams to allow area rivers to return to normal levels. The Corps says the releases from Gavins Point dam will be reduced until the Missouri River crests near Sioux City, Iowa, which is expected in the next several days. The releases will be restored to near 60,000 cubic feet per second after the river level recedes.

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Former Wyandotte County Deputy Charged with Sexual Battery

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A former Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy has been accused of sexual misconduct against another law enforcement officer. Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree announced Friday that John Warczakoski is charged with two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. The female officer continues to work at the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office. Warczakoski was a deputy for 12 years before resigning earlier this week. The Kansas City Star reports the incidents allegedly happened in June and early September while the deputy was on and off duty, the district attorney said. Dupree said the alleged incidents occurred in June and early September while the deputy was on and off duty. Warczakoski was issued a summons. He is scheduled to appear in court October 2nd.

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Kansas Court Considers Challenge to Railroad Regulation

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — BNSF Railway is challenging a Kansas law that limits how long trains can block intersections. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday in the case involving a lengthy blockage of two Chase County railroad crossings in December 2016. The Texas-based railway company's court challenge could have ramifications for railroad crossings throughout Kansas. The law in question says railroads can only block a crossing for 10 minutes. The Chase County Sheriff's Department cited BNSF, alleging the company parked a train on a siding for four hours and blocked the only crossings that provide access to several farms. BNSF denies the length of the blockage. The company also says the state doesn't have a right to regulate how long a train can block a crossing.

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Man Charged after KCK Police Chase, Fatal Wrong-way Crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 24-year-old man has been charged after a police chase ended with a fatal wrong-way crash on Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Kansas. Wyandotte County authorities charged Collan Leigh Cross Friday with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, possession of a controlled substance and criminal damage to property. The Kansas City Star reports 29-year-old Chrissy Sale died in the crash. The chase began Thursday when Kansas City, Kansas, police followed a car onto a dead end street before the driver struck a police car and drove off, crossing into Missouri before returning to Kansas. The car eventually drove the wrong way on the interstate and collided with another car. Sale was a passenger in Cross' car. Cross and the other driver were treated at a hospital for injuries.

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