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Headlines for Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pilot Killed in Single Plane Crash in West Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A twin-engine Cessna 310 crashed near a west Wichita neighborhood yesterday (FRI), killing the pilot. Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell says the plane crashed in a wooded area behind some homes. Blackwell says the pilot was the only person on board the plane. He says there was no fire at the crash site and no homes in the area were seriously damaged. The pilot had taken off from a Wichita airport and then radioed that the plane was experiencing problems. Blackwell says the pilot was told to return to the airport and that is when the plane went down. The fire chief says the investigation is continuing. The pilot's identity and the flight plan of the plane were not immediately available.


Kansas Man Accused of Stealing Combine, Assaulting Officers

ELLINWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A 37-year-old central Kansas man accused of leading law enforcement on a slow-speed chase in a stolen combine and ramming two patrol cars with it is charged with aggravated assault of a law officer. Barton County prosecutor Doug Matthews also charged Kenneth Lamb Jr. of Ellinwood on Friday with theft, vehicle burglary, criminal damage to property and reckless driving in the Tuesday incident. Lamb is accused of stealing a combine from a farmer's field and driving it erratically through Ellinwood, striking power poles and a pickup truck. The ensuing pursuit ended when two officers fired 18 shots into the machine to disable it after it rammed a deputy's patrol car outside of town. Lamb's attorney didn't immediately return a call left after his office was closed yesterday (FRI) afternoon.


Brownback's Office Sends E-mail on Welfare Policies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has sent a message criticizing government dependence and touting his welfare reforms to his supporters. The email was sent Wednesday night by governor's office spokeswoman, Melika Willoughby. The Wichita Eagle reports that Brownback's office regularly has sent out emails lauding his policies since he was re-elected. In the email, the Republican governor accuses Democrats of trying to "increase the number of Americans who are dependent on the government." A bill Brownback signed in April that solidified a work requirement for able-bodied welfare recipients without dependents also was praised in the email. The email sparked backlash on social media, with critics pointing out that Brownback hasn't fulfilled his promise to create more jobs.


Kansas Congressman Pleased by Boehner's Resignation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp hopes to eventually regain a seat on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee now that Speaker John Boehner has announced plans to resign. But Huelskamp said yesterday (FRI) that he's focusing first on fellow Republicans picking a replacement for Boehner. Huelskamp clashed with the Ohio Republican, and Boehner stripped him of an Agriculture Committee seat late in 2012. Huelskamp said Republicans need new leaders and that voters are tired of the political establishment. The western Kansas congressman said GOP House members returned to Washington after their latest recess tired of defending Boehner back home. Other Kansas Republicans were complimentary of Boehner, including former presidential nominee and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Dole said Boehner had been plagued by, in his words, a group of Republican naysayers.


Head of KCK District Named State's Top Superintendent

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The woman at the head of the Kansas City, Kansas, school district has been named the state's top superintendent. The Kansas School Superintendents Association announced Thursday that peers of Cynthia Lane picked her as 2016 Superintendent of the Year. Since 2010, Lane has led the 22,000-student district. Lane said in a written statement that she was "humbled and honored." The district has been pushing its students to graduate with college credits or technical training. Association executive director G.A. Buie said in a statement that Lane is "a passionate advocate not only in her district, but for students across Kansas."  Lane will now be considered for National Superintendent of the Year. The association also provides a $1,000 scholarship to a high school senior to be selected by the Kansas winner.


Court says KU Can't Expel Student Over Off-Campus Tweets

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Court of Appeals says the University of Kansas can't expel a student for offensive tweets he sent from off campus. The court ruled yesterday (FRI) that Navid Yeasin must be reinstated. Yeasin was expelled in 2013 after posting several tweets about his ex-girlfriend. The university said the tweets violated a no-contact order it had issued prohibiting Yeasin from having any contact, including electronic or written communication, with the woman. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the university argued it had to extend its student code of conduct to off-campus behavior to comply with federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment, at educational institutions. The court rejected the argument, saying it was "obvious" the university can control student conduct only on campus or at university-sponsored events.


Public Defenders Try to Block TV crew From Filming at Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Public defenders are seeking to block a television crew from filming a prison documentary at the Sedgwick County jail. The MSNBC show "Lockup" has been filming there since September 8 for a show profiling life in prison. The Wichita Eagle reports that the objections come from the Sedgwick County Public Defender's Office, the Sedgwick County Conflicts Office and the Death Penalty Defense Unit. Their motion filed Thursday seeks a court order that prohibiting the TV crew from entering the facility to interview and recording inmates. Defense attorneys fear defendants could incriminate themselves. 44 Blue Productions referred comment Friday to its public relations firm, which did not immediately return a message. Sheriff Jeff Easter says everyone who appears on the show must sign a waiver agreeing to be filmed.


Kansas State Parks Free to the Public on Saturday

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas state parks are opening their gates to the public for free Saturday. The Wichita Eagle reports that numerous free activities are planned. They include an archery clinic at El Dorado State Park and a fishing clinic at Elk City. The event is a celebration of National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. The parks typically open free of admission two days out of the year, but this is the first time the department added the third free day of the year. The parks typically cost $5 a day for each car. People still have to pay to camp at the parks on Saturday. BlueCross/BlueShield of Kansas partnered with the parks department to sponsor the events and encourage people to get active outdoors.

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