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Headlines for Monday, May 12, 2014


UPDATE: Kansas Board Upholds Senator's Re-Election Filing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state elections board has rejected a claim that U.S. Senator Pat Roberts is not truly a Kansas resident, allowing him to seek re-election this year. The State Objections Board's decision Monday means the three-term senator will be on the ballot in the August 5 Republican primary. Four northeast Kansas residents had objected to the ballot listing, arguing that Roberts lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and not Dodge City, Kansas. GOP tea party challenger Milton Wolf has raised the issue repeatedly. Roberts owns a home in Alexandria, Virginia, but is registered to vote at the Dodge City address of a couple who supports him and rents him a room and bathroom. He and his wife also own a duplex unit in Dodge City but rent it out.


Few Answers in Wake of Planned Parenthood Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is saying little about the fate of its clinics in Hays and Wichita after dropping a legal challenge to a Kansas law that stripped them of federal family planning money. The clinics provide reproductive health care for more than 5,700 people. On Monday, a federal court formally closed the case at Planned Parenthood's request. Kansas health officials say they are looking to make sure people across the state have access to family planning. Defunding Planned Parenthood leaves Ellis County without a Title X health care provider. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment suggests the Sedgwick County Health Department could fill the gap in Wichita. But it is unclear how Sedgwick County could immediately absorb more than double its patient population to meet those family planning needs.


Family Tests Kansas Water Law, Claims Impairment

SUBLETTE, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas family concerned about the future of the Ogallala aquifer is testing a state water law that allows senior water rights holders to force junior rights holders to reduce irrigation or be shut off completely. Fifth-generation farmer Jay Garetson and his brother Jarvis first filed an impairment claim in 2005 in Haskell County but dropped it two years later because of backlash and threats from the community. The Hutchinson News reports that the brothers filed another impairment claim in 2012. Last week a judge issued a temporary injunction against a plaintiff forbidding him from pumping water from his junior wells to irrigate crops. Governor Sam Brownback's administration has said the state's water resources could be nearly exhausted in 50 years if pumping continues at the current pace.


Topeka Officials Begin Downtown Project

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Civic and government leaders in Topeka have broken ground on a revitalization project they hope brings new activity to the core of the capital city. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a ceremony was held Monday morning to start the project along Kansas Avenue east of the Statehouse. City leaders have spent the past five years developing the $5.8 million project. Elements include wider sidewalks, streetscapes and updated utilities. Construction will start on the northbound lanes of Kansas Avenue. The work is to be completed by October 2015. Numerous private-sector projects are planned along the corridor that will be financed by private donations.


Crime Down Sharply at University of Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas police say crime at the school last year was down significantly from the year before. The university's public safety office says it handled 670 criminal offenses during 2013, compared with 818 the previous year. Violent crimes accounted for only 1 percent of all offenses, while property crimes such theft and burglary made up the majority. There were 36 burglaries reported in 2013, including 10 auto burglaries. Campus police chief Ralph Oliver says increased use of closed-circuit cameras on campus allows his department to monitor parking lots for suspicious activity.


1 Man Dead After Shooting at Mother's Day Cookout

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police in Lawrence say a 26-year-old man who was fatally shot at a Mother's Day cookout had an ongoing dispute with the suspected shooter. The victim was identified Monday as Lawrence resident Charles T. Brockman. The confrontation happened around 6 pm Sunday at an apartment complex where dozens of people were attending the cookout. Police said Brockman got out of a vehicle carrying a shotgun, prompting another man to run into a building and try to enter an apartment. Witnesses said Brockman ignored pleas from others to leave and ran toward the same building. Gunfire erupted, and police say Brockman was shot by the person he was pursuing. That man was questioned and released Sunday night. No charges were filed Monday while police continued their investigation.


KS Considers Revised Permit for Coal Plant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The state's top environmental regulator is considering whether to clear the way again for a new coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas. But environmentalists contend Governor Sam Brownback's administration is taking short cuts to ensure that the $2.8 billion project is built. Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corporation needs a pollution-control permit from the state Department of Health and Environment for its proposed plant outside Holcomb in Finney County. Sunflower already has another coal-fired plant. It obtained a permit in December 2010, but eight months ago, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered the department to revise it to impose tougher air-quality standards. Health & Environment Secretary Robert Moser is reviewing a proposed amendment drafted by the department's staff, and his approval would allow Sunflower to go forward with the project.


KS Congresswoman Keeps CPA Title Despite Permit Expiration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas regulators have allowed Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins to continue tagging congressional and campaign materials with a CPA label although her state permit to work as a certified public accountant expired nearly two years ago.The arrangement was approved by the Kansas Board of Accountancy in 2011 before her permit to practice as a CPA expired in 2012.


Regents to Vote on Social Media Policy

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Members of the Kansas Board of Regents are expected to vote this week on a revised social media policy that would allow university leaders to fire faculty or staff who violate the policy. The Board of Regents Governance Committee approved the policy last week. Regents Chairman Fred Logan said the committee made some changes to the proposed policy in response to public comment. Logan said the revised policy includes "strong support of academic freedom,'' and will go to the full regents for a vote on Wednesday. The Regents developed the social media policy after an anti-NRA tweet in September 2013 by a University of Kansas journalism professor.


Missouri Man Dies in Multiple Motorcycle Accident

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A Missouri man has died in an accident involving three motorcycles near Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 47-year-old Todd Stevenson of Gladstone, Missouri was driving his motorcycle Saturday evening on U.S. Highway 24 when he tried to pass on a curve and hit a group of motorcyclists.


KU Gets New Bee Colony

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A new bee colony is on exhibit at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum after the previous denizens of the sixth-floor display succumbed to cold weather and wind. The university says it received the bees Friday. The bees are expected to be busy soon flying from the simulated tree hive across the Lawrence campus gathering food and pollinating flowers. A university alumna donated funds to replace the colony in honor of Lawrence B. and Frances Moore, residents of Lawrence. The exhibit was enhanced with addition of a new camera that is linked to the Grit Magazine. Officials say other enhancements to the exhibit are being planned.


Kansas Board to Meet at Brown Historic Site

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education will hold part of its monthly meeting at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka to mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark desegregation ruling. Board Chairwoman Jana Shaver will read a statement Wednesday on the steps of the former Monroe School before the start of the board's meeting. Shaver will discuss the importance of the ruling on education and the nation. Saturday is the anniversary of the ruling, which outlawed segregation in public schools. The Brown site is housed in a former all-black school where the lead plaintiff's daughter and another plaintiff's child in the desegregation case were students. Exhibits tell the story of the 1954 Supreme Court decision.


3D Scanning Technology Eyed for KS Law Enforcement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Officials for several law enforcement agencies in Kansas are learning how to work together to create three-dimensional scans in the event the state ever becomes home to a massive crime scene. The Wichita Eagle reports that about three dozen officers and officials from multiple agencies gathered at the Kansas Aviation Museum this week to experiment with using the technology. They were using five scanners to digitally record 3D images of the exterior of a Boeing WB-47 Stratojet and a Boeing B-52D Stratofortress on display at the old airport tarmac. Kansas Bureau of Investigation Special Agent David Klamm says the agencies have not had a real-life collaborative effort using their 3D scanners to capture a crime scene. But he says they feel it's only a matter of time.


Washburn University Seeks Jurors for Mock Trials

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Plenty of Kansas residents try to avoid the real thing, but Washburn University's law school hopes that several dozen Topeka-area residents will volunteer to do jury duty for mock trials to help train aspiring attorneys. The law school says it needs 60 people to serve on the juries for mock trials on the morning of May 24 at the Shawnee County Courthouse. The mock trials will cap a week of training for law students. The Intensive Trial Advocacy Program is designed to build their skills in using evidence, questioning and cross-examining witnesses and making opening and closing statements. They'll try a civil lawsuit, and jurors will get to render a verdict. People interested in participating may call 785-670-1105 or sign up online.


Robber Sentenced for Shooting McDonald's Manager

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to slightly more than eight years in prison for a robbery at a McDonald's restaurant in Kansas where the manager was shot and wounded. The U.S. Attorney's office says 26-year-old Nicholas Martell McGinnie, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. McGinnie pleaded guilty to robbing a McDonald's in Leawood, Kansas, in December 2012. After hiding in a restroom while waiting for the restaurant to close, McGinnie confronted the manager at gunpoint and demanded money. The manager was shot in the legs while trying to push McGinnie out the door. McGinnie will serve the 100-month Kansas term after completing a five-year sentence from federal court in Missouri for illegal possession of a firearm.


Former KS Amusement Park Items Find New Homes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Some familiar parts of a closed Wichita amusement park are getting new life. The merry-go-round from Joyland is moving to Botanica Gardens in Wichita. And a preservation group last week announced it had purchased six items that had been in storage since the park closed in 2006. The Wichita Eagle reports the items include a clown sign, which greeted visitors at the park's entrance for more than 60 years. Greg Kite, president of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita and Sedgwick County, says the sign and other items the group purchased will be restored. For now, though, they'll just be moved to another storage area. Joyland owner Margaret Nelson Spear announced last week that the merry-go-round was donated to Botanica Gardens.


Ex-Sedgwick County Deputy Not Contesting Sex Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Sedgwick County detention officer has pleaded no contest to trying to have sex with inmates at the county jail. Former deputy David Kendall had faced more than a dozen counts of sexually assaulting or attempting to assault six inmates over a three-month period in 2012. He pleaded no contest Monday to six counts of attempted unlawful sexual relations and one count of making a false information. The plea came the same week that Kendall was to go on trial. Sentencing is set for June 27 before Judge Joseph Bribiesca.


Bridges of Mitchell County Nominated for Register

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Three historic limestone bridges in north-central Kansas are among 11 properties nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. The Salina Journal reports Brown's Creek Tributary Masonry Arch Bridge, Antelope Creek Masonry Arch Bridge and North Rock Creek Masonry Arch Bridge in Mitchell County were built using locally quarried limestone between 1936 and 1940. They were projects for the Works Progres Administration, a federal work relief program. They bridges have been nominated for their local significance in areas of government, social history and engineering. Other nominated sites include the Town House Hotel in Kansas City and the First Presbyterian Church in De Graff. The nominations will be evaluated by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places in Washington.


Mercy Hospital Plans Telemedicine Center

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Doctors, especially specialists, are hard to come by in many corners of America. A suburban St. Louis hospital chain is addressing the problem with plans for a "virtual care center" that will offer telemedicine to underserved regions. Mercy Health is breaking ground Tuesday on a $50 million four-story, 120,000-square-foot telemedicine center in Chesterfield, Missouri. Plans call for the center to open next year with nearly 300 physicians, nurses and support staff. The center will deliver medical care all day, every day, through audio, video and data connections. It will provide medical care for people in remote rural areas and underserved inner cities. Mercy operates 32 hospitals in four states — Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. But CEO Lynn Britton says the telemedicine center won't be limited to those regions.




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