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Headlines for Monday, October 26, 2015


Lower Oil Prices Hurting Some Western Kansas Counties 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lower energy prices are benefiting consumers at the gas pumps but oil- and natural gas-producing counties in western Kansas are reeling from the financial hit. It's forcing counties to cut spending or increase property taxes just as the state is ending an aid program meant to protect them. The state Department of Revenue said oil and gas property values declined an average of 52 percent this year. Sixteen western Kansas counties saw their total property values decrease more than 20 percent, crimping their ability to raise local tax revenues. Kansas created a trust fund in 2005 and set aside taxes from oil and gas production for counties to tap into when the industry experiences a downturn. But legislators in 2014 halted the program and the last payments to counties were made earlier this month.


Kansas League of Women Voters Proposes College Course on Registration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The League of Women Voters of Kansas is proposing a course to teach college students how to register to vote. The proposal, unveiled Saturday in Topeka, is aimed at younger voters because they make up a majority of the state's suspended voter list. Marge Ahrens, with the League of Women Voters, says new laws in Kansas have made registering to vote more complex. The course will begin this fall at Washburn, Emporia State and Fort Hays State universities. Students will learn how to register themselves and others. The Wichita Eagle reports that more than 40 percent of the nearly 37,000 people on the suspended voter list are under the age of 30.


Group Supporting Medical Marijuana Plans Rally in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Kansas are planning a protest at the state Capitol next month. The group, Bleeding Kansas, is planning the "Day of the Kansas Dead" rally in Topeka on November 7th. Leaders of the organization, say the protest will memorialize those who have died without the right to use marijuana to heal them or ease their pain. The group contends a majority of Kansas residents support medical use of marijuana but the Kansas Legislature has refused to consider a medical marijuana proposal. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the group hopes to organize an educational forum for legislators to hear from scientists on the medical benefits of the drug. 


Victims of Homecoming Parade Tragedy Remembered Before OSU-KU Game  

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Football fans at Oklahoma State University observed a moment of silence Saturday for the victims of a fatal crash hours earlier at OSU's annual homecoming parade. The flag was lowered to half-staff at Boone Pickens Stadium before kickoff of the OSU Cowboys' homecoming game against the Kansas Jayhawks. Officials had considered postponing the game but decided to play it as scheduled and honor the victims. After running out onto the field before the game, most of the Oklahoma State players knelt in prayer by the OSU sideline. Four people were killed and dozens injured when a car careened into a crowd at the homecoming parade. The driver of the car was arrested on a DUI charge.


Pilot Injured in Ottawa County Plane Crash

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ A man was injured after his small, home-made aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff in southern Ottawa County Sunday. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash happened around 5:40 p.m. Sunday north of the Saline-Ottawa county line. Authorities say the plane had only traveled about 200 yards before the pilot tried to return to the air strip but the aircraft lost power and crashed. The pilot was transported to the Salina Regional Medical Center. His condition is not known at this time. An FAA spokesman says the experimental plane was destroyed in the crash. 


Police: Wichita Man Kills Himself After Chase

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County authorities say a man suspected of an armed robbery fatally shot himself after trying to elude officers. Sedgwick County Sheriff's Sergeant Lanon Thompson says the man held up a poker room early Saturday. A witness followed him until officers arrived. A short chase ended when the man's vehicle crashed. Thompson says the suspect was found dead in the vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say it's unclear if the suspect shot himself before or after the crash. The man's identity has not been released.


Clay Center Zoo Raising Funds to Stay Open

CLAY CENTER, Kan. (AP) - The Clay Center Zoo is trying to raise $500,000 in order to stay open. Bill Callaway, director of Clay Center Public Utilities Commission, told The Salina Journal that  the zoo was $320,000 short of its fundraising goal. He says the 70-year-old zoo needs to be modernized, and first-phase plans include a new main entry building, indoor and outdoor exhibit space, utility improvements and landscaping. The fundraising effort comes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the zoo over the past three years for infractions, including such things as a loose wire in a fence and a watering pond with moss growing in it. Callaway says the zoo was fined $7,500.


Family Upset About 'Ghost Tour' of Site Where Grandfather Died

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man is protesting a ghost tour that is charging people to enter a site where his grandfather was shot to death while working as a police officer. Ghost Tours of Kansas hosted an event at Topeka's Moose Lodge earlier this month. The lodge is where Clarence Shields, a police officer, was shot to death in April 1955 when he surprised two burglars. The Wichita Eagle reports Shields' grandson, Joey Little, says his family is bothered because the tour operator was charging admission to the murder site. Cathy Ramirez, owner of Ghost Tours of Kansas, says three quarters of the proceeds went to the Moose Lodge for maintenance.


Rare Eel Caught Near Lawrence's Bowersock Dam

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — State officials say a Kansas man recently caught an eel near Lawrence that apparently migrated from the Atlantic Ocean. Fisherman Tim Smith, of Larned, pulled the 30-inch American Eel from the Kansas River near the Bowersock Dam in September. Ron Kaufman, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, says the eel spawns in the Atlantic Ocean and apparently migrated up the Mississippi River and across Missouri to the Kansas River before being stopped by the dam. Kaufman says it's possible other eels are in the river near the dam. 


Chiefs Beat Steelers 23-13 to Snap 5-Game Losing Skid

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith threw for 251 yards and a touchdown as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-13 on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak. Charcandrick West added 110 yards rushing and his first career touchdown for the Chiefs (2-5), and Eric Berry intercepted his first pass since his cancer diagnosis last December. Meanwhile, the Chiefs shut down Pittsburgh QB Landry Jones, who made his first NFL start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger. Jones threw for 209 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off twice and lost a fumble.


Sporting KC Slips Past LA Galaxy 2-1, to Clinch Playoff Spot

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dominic Dwyer scored the go-ahead goal in the 65th minute as Sporting Kansas City secured a playoff berth with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday night. Sixth-seeded Sporting Kansas City will face third-seeded Portland on Thursday night, while the Galaxy will play Seattle on Wednesday night. Both are knockout-round matches. Sporting KC's Benny Feilhaber raced down the center of the field and passed the ball through three defenders to Dwyer. Dwyer shot just outside the 6-yard box and beat the Galaxy's diving goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for his 12th goal of the season.


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