Kansas Democrats upbeat about governor's race
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Democrats feel upbeat about their chances of unseating Republican Governor Sam Brownback this year as Democratic challenger Paul Davis makes school funding a major issue.
Several hundred Democratic officials and activists gathered Saturday for Washington Days, the party's biggest annual meeting.
Caucus meetings and speeches Saturday came a day after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state's school funding is unconstitutional. It directed lawmakers to improve aid to poor districts by July 1st and ordered more lower-court hearings on whether the state is spending enough money overall.
Prominent Democrats said the ruling validates Davis' arguments that the state isn't adequately funding schools.
But Kansas Republican Party Executive Director Clay Barker disagreed. He said parts of the decision focuses on educational outcomes, rather than just raw spending.
TORNADO PATH STUDY
Researcher seeks clue to some tornadoes' paths
(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Weather officials will be watching major thunderstorms this year for a clue that may help indicate the path of potential tornadoes.
The research stems from tornadoes last year in Kansas and Oklahoma that baffled weather researcher Jon Davies. The two large tornadoes - one near Bennington in north-central Kansas on May 28th, and another near El Reno in Oklahoma on May 31st - took unpredictable paths.
Davies studied those tornadoes and found they had fairly weak winds between 10,000 and 30,000 feet above the surface.
The Wichita Eagle reports Kansas weather officials say they'll look at midlevel winds with strong thunderstorms this season to see if they can correlate those wind speeds with tornado paths. Forecasters may get a bearing on whether a supercell thunderstorm's tornadoes will be erratic.
Kansas City-area spelling bee finally ends
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A marathon spelling bee finally has a conclusion - after nearly 100 rounds and two weeks of anticipation.
A seventh-grader and fifth-grader exhausted the Jackson County Missouri spelling bee's initial word list February 22nd, forcing another day of competition.
On Saturday, the seventh-grader was declared the winner after his opponent stumbled on "stifling" in the 28th round.
Kush Sharma, who attends a Kansas City charter school, accurately spelled "definition" in the next round to claim the title and move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Lee's Summit, Missouri fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman took second place.
Sharma and Hoffman were the last two standing last month after 19 rounds. It took them several hours and an additional 47 rounds to force Saturday's deciding event.
Body found, police say no foul play suspected
(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence police say they don't suspect foul play in the death of a 44-year-old Lawrence man whose body was found near the Kansas River.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports emergency responders were dispatched at 8:48 a.m. Saturday after a member of a river cleanup group reported finding the body.
Police spokesman Sergeant Trent McKinley says a preliminary examination by a coroner and crime-scene investigators indicated there was no foul play.
The body was found near an area where homeless camps have been found and unattended deaths have been reported several times since at least 2008.
McKinley says he didn't know whether the man had a home or was between homes at the time of his death. He said he didn't see a campsite, but saw a campfire ring nearby.
Kansas woman seeks leniency for fake goods sales
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita business owner is asking a federal judge to spare her from prison for trafficking in counterfeit luxury items.
The court filing on Friday came before Glenda Sue Morgan is due Monday in U.S. District Court in Wichita for sentencing. She has pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in goods bearing counterfeit trademarks at her Wichita business, The Fabulous Store.
Her defense attorney is asking the court to impose a sentence of probation that includes home detention and a fine.
The filing argues Morgan did not profit substantially and only received a modest income of $1,200 a month from the store's sales. It also contends the publicity the case has received serves as a deterrent from any repeat conduct.
Seattle shuts out Sporting KC 1-0 in Pacific NW
SEATTLE (AP) - Chad Barrett scored in the final moments of second half-stoppage time to give the Seattle Sounders a 1-nil shutout of Sporting Kansas City on Saturday in the Major League Soccer opener.
Seattle shocked Kansas City with a goal in stoppage time for the fifth time in the past eight matches. Barrett scored in his Sounders debut after Clint Dempsey's header clanged off the crossbar and goalkeeper Eric Kronberg was caught out of his net.
Kronberg had been solid in his debut for Kansas City, replacing long-time starter Jimmy Nielsen, but was caught out of position in the goal.
Dempsey came on in the 57th minute just a few days after playing 90 minutes for the U.S. national team in an exhibition loss to Ukraine in Cyprus.
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