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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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ALLIANCE-STUDENT SUCCESS

University group aims to boost graduation

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The University of Kansas is joining 10 other major institutions in an initiative to increase graduation rates for low-income and first-generation college students.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports (http://bit.ly/1u3RGwh ) the University Innovation Alliance will develop what the group calls a "playbook" on how to help such students complete their degrees.

Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was in Washington on Tuesday as the alliance was announced. Gray-Little says the initiative will allow university leaders to share and adapt ideas that have proven to help students from all backgrounds.

The group said studies show students from wealthy families are seven times more likely than low-income students to earn college degrees.

All of the participating universities have large numbers of low-income and first-generation students and have developed programs to help them succeed.

CHILDREN'S VIRUS

Severe respiratory illness confirmed in 12 states

NEW YORK (AP) - Health officials say 12 states now have respiratory illnesses caused by an uncommon virus - enterovirus 68.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania together have 130 lab-confirmed cases. All are children.

The virus can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Kids with asthma have been especially vulnerable. No deaths have been reported.

The strain is not new but only a small number of labs can test for it. Since mid-August, there's been an unusual spike in identified cases. The CDC has tested more than 200 specimens from more than 30 states.

Investigators say it's not yet clear what triggered the outbreak or whether it's worsening.

PLANE-DRUG CHARGES

Feds seek forfeiture of business jet in pot bust

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of a business jet after the pilot was arrested in July at a Kansas airport and accused of possessing more than 50 kilograms of marijuana with the intent to sell it.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says 58-year-old Kenneth Weaver of Denver also is accused of conspiracy and interstate travel in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Prosecutors say Weaver was arrested on July 11 after agents executed a search warrant on the plane at the airport in Iola and seized a load of marijuana.

The superseding indictment seeks the forfeiture of a 1979 Israel Aircraft Industries jet, a 2007 Bentley Continental GT-C automobile and more than $450,000 in cash seized Aug. 8 in Sylmar, California.

Weaver's attorney didn't immediately return a call Tuesday seeking comment.

KANSAS SCHOOLS-TESTING

Feds allow Kansas to withhold test data

(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com )

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Federal education officials have granted a request from Kansas to not release assessment test results that experts say are invalid because of technical problems and cyberattacks.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1pitylL ) only generalized information about how Kansas students did on certain test items will be made public. The decision means parents, teachers and administrators won't be able to see how specific students, schools or districts performed in math and reading assessments.

Kansas State Board of Education chairwoman Jana Shaver says there were so many problems it was not feasible or fair to release the data.

The Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas department administers the tests. It says problems affected up to one-third of this year's math tests and two-thirds of the English tests.

DOLE-HOMECOMING TOUR

Dole resuming Kansas homecoming tour

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) - Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole returns to Kansas next week for the latest of several planned trips to his home state this year.

The 91-year-old Russell native lives in Washington, D.C., and is making the homecoming tour to greet longtime friends and supporters throughout the state. He spends an hour at each stop, chatting with fans and old acquaintances.

Next week's trip is Dole's eighth of the year and will take him to southwest Kansas. The tour begins the evening of Sept. 22 in Dodge City, with stops in Kinsley, Greensburg, Ashland, Meade and Liberal the following day.

On Sept. 24, Dole will visit Hugoton, Elkhart, Johnson City and Ulysses. He plans to conclude the tour Sept. 25 with stops in Satanta and Cimarron.

BONDSMAN-SEX CHARGE

Ex-bondsman convicted of forcing women to have sex

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - An ex-Kansas bail bondsman has been convicted of six counts for coercing women he bailed out of jail to have sex with him.

A Reno County jury on Tuesday convicted 66-year-old Dwight Jurgens on six of nine counts in a human trafficking case.

He was found guilty on two counts of aggravated human trafficking, two counts of rape and two counts of attempted aggravated human trafficking. He was acquitted of criminal sodomy and two counts of aggravated human trafficking.

Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 24.

Prosecutors alleged Jurgens told four women he would revoke their bonds if they didn't have sex with him. The crimes occurred while Jurgens was a bonding agent for TNT Bonding.

Defense attorney Dam Kepfield said he anticipates that the verdict will be appealed.

LYONS GOLF COURSE

Businessman considering making Lyons course public

(Information in the following story is from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com )

LYONS, Kan. (AP) - A Rice County businessman is considering buying a nine-hole private golf course in Lyons and making it public.

Gene Zaid, founder of JACAM Chemicals, said discussions about the Town and Country Club are in its preliminary stages. He has asked the Lyons City Council for breaks on city water rights for irrigation at the club. Any deal on the course would not involve the chemical company.

The Hutchinson News reports (http://bit.ly/Xcy7qM ) that the Lyons City Council will take up a formal resolution on the water rate request next week but it voted last week to waive fees on half the annual irrigation costs for the course, with a cap of $6,500.

The 40-acre private course is a 2,902-yard, par-35 course, with an appraised value of $174,540.

CHILDREN'S VIRUS

Severe respiratory illness confirmed in 12 states

NEW YORK (AP) - Health officials say 12 states now have respiratory illnesses caused by an uncommon virus - enterovirus 68.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania together have 130 lab-confirmed cases. All are children.

The virus can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Kids with asthma have been especially vulnerable. No deaths have been reported.

The strain is not new but only a small number of labs can test for it. Since mid-August, there's been an unusual spike in identified cases. The CDC has tested more than 200 specimens from more than 30 states.

Investigators say it's not yet clear what triggered the outbreak or whether it's worsening.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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