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Headlines for Monday, March 3, 2014





Kansas Revising Teacher Licensure Process

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas education officials are preparing new regulations aimed at helping school districts hire instructors to meet the growing demand for technical education. The proposed changes are being written by the state Department of Education and would create rules for private-sector professionals to receive licenses to teach skills in public schools. The changes are being designed to help districts hire people who have industry certification or career experience in a variety of technical fields, such as plumbing or welding. Individuals receiving the licenses could then teach on a full- or part-time basis. Districts have seen more demand for technical education since 2011, when Kansas created an incentive program to help high school students accelerate their education to fill industry needs.


KU Professor Documented Kaw Language

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Leaders of the Kaw Nation say Robert Rankin, a University of Kansas linguistics professor who died recently, will be remembered for his efforts to document and preserve the Kaw language. Jim Pepper Henry, a Kaw tribal member who is now director and CEO of the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art in Phoenix, told The Wichita Eagle if it wasn't for Rankin, the tribe wouldn't have its language. The Bowen Donaldson funeral home in Tifton, Ga., where Rankin grew up, says Rankin died Feb. 24 at a Kansas City hospice. He was 75. Rankin, who taught at the University of Kansas from 1969 through 2005, produced several tapes of remaining speakers in the Kaw language. The tapes were digitized and converted to compact discs in 1996.


Cal-Maine Completes Purchase of Egg Farms

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Cal-Maine Foods Inc. says it has completed its purchase of the remaining half of Delta Egg Farm LLC. Cal-Maine is paying $17 million to a unit of Moark LLC of Fontana, Calif., to buy the half of the Delta Egg operation that it doesn't own. Delta Egg Farm includes a feed mill and 1.2 million-hen capacity egg complex near Delta, Utah. It also includes a 400,000-hen capacity organic egg complex near Chase, Kan. Based in Jackson, Miss., Cal-Maine is the largest producer of fresh shell eggs in the United States, selling its eggs in 29 states.


Topeka Video Teen Pleads Not Guilty to Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka teenager known for videotaping police officers while they work has pleaded not guilty to three recent citations. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 17-year-old Addison Mikkelson has videotaped law enforcement officers in Topeka doing their jobs in recent months. He also posts the videos online, including one he took of Topeka police officers arresting him for crossing against a red light. He pleaded not guilty to that charge Monday, along with two others he picked up Friday related to video recording while he was driving. In the clips, Mikkelson says that he is exercising his First Amendment rights. Mikkelson's trial is set for April 7.


Free Kansas Dental Clinic Serves Nearly 1,200

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Dental Foundation says a free dental clinic in Dodge City served nearly 1,200 patients during the weekend. The foundations say volunteers donated their time during its Mission of Mercy Friday and Saturday. The dental services are valued at more than $803,000 The foundation says that since the annual project began in 2003, it has provided nearly $13 million in free care. KWCH reports next year's Mission of Mercy will be held Salina.


First Queen of Kansas Town's Festival Dies at 102

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The first woman to be crowned queen of a south-central Kansas town's annual fall festival has died in Oklahoma at age 102. The Arkansas City Traveler reports that Dorothy Moore Harbaugh died Saturday in Enid, Okla. Her daughter told the newspaper that Harbaugh had been suffering from an intestinal virus. Harbaugh was born in Arkansas City and was crowned queen of the inaugural Arkalalah festival in 1928. According to an obituary posted by an Enid funeral home, Harbaugh moved to the Oklahoma town after she married following World War II, but she returned to Arkansas City for the festival as often as possible — most recently in 2011, at age 100. A $500 scholarship in Harbaugh's name was established last year for Arkalalah festival queens.


Two People Killed in Douglas County Collision

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence teenager and a Wellsville man are dead after a two-car collision in southern Douglas County six miles east of Baldwin City.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says 53-year-old Rodney Strickell was driving south on a county road around 7pm Saturday when he failed to stop at the U.S. 56 intersection and was struck on the passenger side by an eastbound SUV.  Both vehicles went into the southeast ditch, with Strickell's car coming to rest on its top.  Strickell and 17-year-old passenger Dylan Strickell of Lawrence died of their injuries.  Two adults and a 14-year-old girl in the SUV, all of Overland Park, sustained possible injuries.


Gunfire Reported Near 3 Kansas City Gas Stations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are looking for gunmen who fired high-powered weapons at patrons of at least three gas stations around the city.  The Kansas City Star reports that there were no injuries in the shootings, which happened around 10pm Saturday, nor do they believe any of the businesses had been robbed.  Shots were fired at service stations at Truman Road and the Paseo, 27th Street and Brooklyn Avenue, and near Gregory Boulevard and U.S. 71, all on the city's east side.  Police say they had no description of the gunmen and did not know how they were traveling between stations.


Hard 50 Sentence Sought in Quadruple Murders

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to seek a Hard 50 sentence for two first-degree murder charges against a man accused of killing four people at an eastern Kansas farm last year.  Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting says in an amended complaint that he will seek the sentence against Kyle Trevor Flack of Ottawa for the deaths last April of 30-year-old Andrew Adam Stout and 31-year-old Steven Eugene White.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the amended complaint also includes a capital murder charge, alleging that Flack killed 21-year-old Kaylie Kathleen Bailey and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh Bailey in acts that were connected.  The four were killed at a farm in rural Franklin County in late April and early May.  Flack is being held in Franklin County on $1 million bond.


Kansas Lawmakers Take 2-Day Break from Session

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are taking a long weekend off following a major deadline during their annual session.  The Legislature will be out of session today (MON) and tomorrow (TUE), leaving the Statehouse relatively quiet after a flurry of debates in the House and Senate the previous week.  Friday was the so-called "turnaround" deadline, when most bills must clear their house of origin to be considered further during the year.  Legislative sessions are scheduled to last 90 days, though they can go longer. Friday was the 47th day, a count that has included weekends.  But with lawmakers officially out of session, the next day to count is Wednesday, the 48th day.  The next major deadline is March 26, when most bills must clear their second chamber.


Gay Rights Backers in KS Seek New Anti-Bias Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gay rights advocates aren't content with simply blocking a measure they believed encouraged businesses and government workers to refuse to serve gays and lesbians.  They're seeking new protections against bias in hiring, employment, housing and public accommodations.  Kansas legislators begin the second half of their annual session later this week.  Gay rights supporters will push to rewrite state anti-discrimination laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. They see a chance because the Senate's conservative Republican leaders to declare a House-passed "religious freedom" bill dead earlier this month.  Conservatives still want new protections for people, groups and businesses refusing for religious reasons to have any involvement with gay weddings.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to have a hearing Thursday on religious liberties issues.


KS Senate Panel Considers Offensive Materials Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas senators are considering a bill that would make it easier to prosecute teachers, librarians or school principals for exposing students to offensive materials.  The Wichita Eagle reports the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure last week. Shawnee Republican Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook introduced the bill in response to an incident in January in which a poster used in sex education classes was put on a classroom door at a Shawnee Mission middle school.
Supporters say the current law protects materials that are part of an approved course or program of instruction, which allows schools to ignore community standards for what might be considered offensive.  Opponents say the measure amounts to broad censorship in response to a problem that doesn't exist.


Kansas Military Unit Conducts Weather Exercise

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Airmen of a Topeka-based Kansas National Guard unit will test their response skills this week to see how they would respond to a severe weather disaster.  The 190th Air Refueling Wing based at Forbes Field will conduct the training exercise Wednesday. The event will involve military personnel as well local and state government agencies and emergency responders.  The scenario will run from 9am until 2pm and simulate how the military staff would respond to a storm that damages structures and equipment on the air base, as well as causes injuries.  The 190th Air Refueling Wing flies KC-135 tankers that conduct aerial refueling operations worldwide.


Police: Home Invasion Hoax in Hays

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Federal investigators are working with Hays police to find out who made a prank call last week that prompted law enforcement to surround a home where officers thought a home invasion had just happened.  Police Chief Don Scheibler says the home's occupants were victims of what is called "swatting," in which someone falsely called police to report a serious crime was underway.  The Hays Daily News reports police received a 911 call late Wednesday afternoon in which the caller, claiming to be a child in the house, reported seven people with guns had entered the home, and that his father had been struck on the head.  Investigators determined the incident was a "cruel hoax. The FBI and a local high-tech crime unit are helping with the investigation.


Hundreds in Tennessee Honor Kansans Killed in Plane Crash

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hundreds of people attended a memorial service at a Nashville YMCA to honor four people killed in a plane crash last month.  The Tennessean reports that those who came to the Bellevue Family YMCA on Saturday night wiped away tears as they honored a feedlot owner from Pawnee Rock, Kansas his wife and the couple's daughter and granddaughter.  Family and friends of Glenn and Elaine Mull, their daughter Amy Harter and their granddaughter Samantha Harter came to the service from Kansas and around the world. The victims had been traveling to Nashville for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Trade Show when the plane crashed yards away from the YMCA building.  Hundreds of condolence cards written by YMCA members since the February 3rd crash were given to the victims' family.


Wichita Considers Changing Mid-Continent Airport's Name

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita City Council members are expected to vote this week on whether to rename Mid-Continent Airport in honor of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene and, as a five-star general, led the Allies to victory in World War Two.  The city's airport advisory committee has recommended the name change, an idea that took root in October when a group called Citizens for Eisenhower Airport presented the City Council with a petition supporting the move.  The Wichita Eagle reports the council is scheduled to vote tomorrow (TUE) on changing the name to Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.  Supporters say the change provides the airport with recognizable branding.  Opponents question whether Eisenhower's ties to Wichita and its aviation industry are enough to warrant the change.




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