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Headlines for Thursday, January 8 2015

Grand Jury Investigating Loans to KS Gov's Campaign

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A subpoena obtained by The Associated Press shows a federal grand jury is looking into loans made to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.  The subpoena orders the executive director of the state Governmental Ethics Commission to appear next Wednesday in Topeka and to provide documents pertaining to loans Brownback's campaign received in 2013 and 2014.   The subpoena doesn't say which specific loans are being investigated, but the only loans listed on campaign disclosure reports for those years are one from Brownback himself and others from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.  Colyer loaned Brownback's campaign $500,000 in August, the third such loan Brownback's running mate made to the governor's re-election bid.  The governor's office said today (THUR) that it was unaware of the investigation. The U.S. attorney's office declined comment. 


New Report: Transfer of Highway Funds Could Delay Projects

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ Governor Sam Brownback's plan to transfer $96 million dollars from the state highway fund could have devastating consequences for Kansas roads. That's the conclusion of a new report by The Road Information Project, a national group that's partially funded by the highway construction industry. The report says transferring nearly $100 million dollars out of the road construction fund could mean some roads will deteriorate, others will become more congested and some projects that are already underway could be stalled. Republicans in the state legislature say the funds transfer is necessary to help fill a $297 million dollar gap in the state budget. Governor Brownback says the proposed transfer will not delay any projects in the state's current highway plan.


11 Kansas Hospitals Penalized for High Infection Rates

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ Eleven Kansas hospitals are among hundreds nationwide that have been penalized for having high rates of infections or patient injuries. Medicare reimbursements at the hospitals will be reduced by 1 percent during the fiscal year that began October 1, 2014. Medicare evaluated 51 Kansas hospitals. The hospitals penalized were Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, South Central Kansas Medical Center in Arkansas City, Sumner Regional Medical Center in Wellington, Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Miami County Medical Center in Paola, Saint John Hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita, the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Saint Luke's South Hospital in Overland Park and Coffeyville Regional Medical Center.  


Mental Evaluation Ordered for Kansas Mom Accused of Killing Son

WELLINGTON, Kan. (AP) _ A judge has ordered a Wellington woman charged with murder to undergo a mental evaluation to determine if she's competent for a trial.  33-year-old Lindsey Blansett is accused of beating and stabbing her 10-year-old son to death last month at their home.  


Officer-Involved, Fatal Shooting in Saline County

ASSARIA, Kan. (AP) —A 35-year-old central Kansas man is dead after being shot by a sheriff's deputy who responded to a call from a woman concerned for the safety of her child. Saline County deputies were called to a rural Assaria home around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday. Sheriff Glen Kochanowski says a deputy talked with Brock Nichols, who apparently had been drinking in violation of a court order. Kochanowski says Nichols got frustrated while waiting for court documents to get details of the order. The sheriff says Nichols needed to go to the bathroom and was being escorted by deputies when he went into a dark room. Kochanowski says a deputy shot Nichols after turning on the light and seeing Nichols pointing a semi-automatic handgun at him.


Sheriff: Homeowner Shot Man during Haysville Break-In

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County authorities say a homeowner shot and killed a man who was trying to break into his home in Haysville.  Authorities say the homeowner shot 27-year-old Cody Don Reid on December 29.  Authorities don't plan to arrest the 57-year-old homeowner. Prosecutors will decide whether charges will be filed. 


Salina Man Gets Nearly 11 Years in Prison for Selling Meth

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a central Kansas man will serve more than 10 years in federal prison for trafficking methamphetamine.  Thirty-year-old Lofton H. Clark of Salina pleaded guilty to one count of distributing methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney for Kansas said in a news release that Clark admitted he tried to sell nearly an ounce of the drug in February 2013 to undercover members of the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force in Salina.  The federal attorney says Clark has been sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in prison.


Red Light Traffic Refunds Coming to Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Nearly 900,000 people who paid fines for red-light violations in Missouri can apply for partial refunds as part of a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed against American Traffic Solutions, which operated the cameras in 27 Missouri cities, including Kansas City.  The settlement is for violations between 2005 and November 2014. 


Bill Would Raise Kansas' Minimum Wage by $3 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Wichita Democrat is sponsoring a bill that would raise the state's minimum wage by $3 dollars by 2017. Representative Jim Ward's proposal would raise the wage by $1.00, to $8.25 an hour, on July 1. The wage would then go up to $1.00 a year during the next two years. Ward says a full-time worker should not be living below the poverty line in Kansas. Currently a full-time worker making minimum wage earns about $15,000 a year, slightly above the poverty line for a family of two. The state last raised its minimum wage in 2009. Democrats have tried unsuccessfully since then to boost the minimum wage.


Wichita Activists Submit Petitions to Reduce Marijuana Penalties 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Supporters of an effort to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Wichita have delivered petitions to the city. If the petitions contain enough valid signatures, the City Council will decide whether to adopt the proposal or put it on the April 7 ballot. Petition organizers say they collected 4,500 signatures. They need 2,928 signatures to have the petitions validated. The proposal would make first-offense  possession of a small amount of marijuana a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. The suspect would receive a summons or citation rather than being arrested. It would apply only to those 21 or older who have 32 grams or less of marijuana.  

5-Star Prospect Picks Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ One of the nation's top basketball prospects, Carlton Bragg, of Ohio, is headed to the University of Kansas.  A 6-foot-9 power forward, Bragg chose the Jayhawks over Kentucky and other schools.  He's the 14th-ranked player in the 2015 recruiting class, according to


K-State's Bill Snyder Headed to College Hall of Fame?

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ There are reports that K-State football coach Bill Snyder has been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame. A formal announcement is expected tomorrow (FRI) in Dallas.  Snyder is the winningest coach in school history with a record of 187-94-1. He's led the Wildcats to two Big 12 titles and 16 bowl games.  


Haskell Receives Grant for Remedial English Classes 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Haskell Indian Nations University will use a federal grant to provide a summer literature program for freshmen who need to improve their remedial English. The university in Lawrence announced that the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded it a $99,800 grant to develop a ``Summer Bridge Program in Literature.'' The university has been studying ways to help students who arrive on campus unprepared for regular college work. The Lawrence Journal-World reports about 10 percent of students admitted to Haskell need remedial classes but the school has limited funds to provide them. About 60 students will be selected for the summer program, which will be offered for four weeks each in the summers of 2016 and 2017.  


26 Claims Dismissed in KS Age-Discrimination Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has tossed out the remaining age discrimination claims in a long-running lawsuit against the Boeing Company and Spirit AeroSystems. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said in a ruling handed down Wednesday that he was dismissing the claims of the remaining 26 plaintiffs as a sanction for their refusal to obey a court order to give their tax returns to the companies. The ruling deals a major blow to a suit that has already spanned nine years. When the courts rejected the collective action claims, 87 former workers filed individual age discrimination complaints. The lawsuit was eventually whittled down to 26 plaintiffs as some settled out of court or simply dropped out of the lawsuit. The plaintiffs say they plan to appeal.


Farm Bill Meetings Set across Kansas as Decisions Loom

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is hosting 15 educational meetings across the state as farmers face major decisions by the end of March under the new farm bill.  Agricultural economists Art Barnaby and Mykel Taylor from Kansas State University plan to travel the state in January and February to provide information on commodity programs and changes to crop insurance. They will be joined by representatives from the Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency.  The first event is Monday in Wichita. That meeting will be unlike the other 14 meetings because it is the only one in which the new cotton program will be covered.  Meetings also will cover tools funded by the Agriculture Department designed to help farmers make decisions.


3 Convicted Killers Among Kansas Parole Applicants

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Three convicted killers who have spent a total of more than 90 years in prison are among 29 Kansas inmates eligible for parole. The Kansas Prisoner Review board will hear public comments regarding the inmates on January 16 in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports 59-year-old Albert D. Williams, 73-year-old Marvin "Butch" Thornton and 47-year-old Clyde Sullivan are among inmates up for parole. Williams is serving two life sentences for killing 24-year-old Pamela Parker and 19-year-old Pam Smith in early 1978. Thornton is serving time for second-degree murder in June 1977, while Sullivan was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in January 1986. Both Thornton and Sullivan previously were paroled but sent back to prison for violating conditions of their release.


K-State Experts to Host Farm Bill Forums

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is hosting 15 educational meetings across the state as farmers face major decisions by the end of March under the new federal farm bill. Agricultural economists from Kansas State University plan to travel the state in January and February to provide information on commodity programs and changes to crop insurance. They will be joined by representatives from the Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency. Meetings will cover tools funded by the Agriculture Department designed to help farmers make decisions. The first event is Monday in Wichita. 


Kansas Beats Baylor 56-55 in Conference Opener

WACO, Texas (AP) — The Kansas Jayhawk's Wayne Selden made three consecutive baskets when No. 12 Kansas needed them most, and KU held on for a 56-55 victory over No. 21 Baylor on Wednesday night to win their 24th consecutive conference opener. Selden was 1-for-6 shooting before scoring seven points in a row, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:17 left that put the Jayhawks (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) ahead to stay. Jamari Traylor had 13 points for Kansas and Brannen Greene scored 12. Kenny Chery led Baylor (11-3, 0-2) with 25 points. Kansas hasn't lost a conference opener since January 1991, when the Jayhawks were still in the Big Eight.


K-State Snaps Losing Streak, Defeats TCU, 58-53

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Marcus Foster scored 23 points off the bench to help Kansas State defeat TCU 58-53 Wednesday night. The Wildcats' victory snapped a three-game losing streak. Kansas State led most of the way, but TCU was still within 4 points with 1:14 left when Nino Williams was fouled near midcourt. Foster was picked to shoot the free throws, calmly draining both to extend the Wildcats' lead. Williams finished with eight points and nine rebounds for K-State (8-7, 1-1 Big 12). Trey Zeigler had 19 points to lead the TCU Horned Frogs, who have dropped their first two Big 12 games. 


AP Source: Chiefs Sign Backup QB Terrelle Pryor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Terrelle Pryor to a one-year deal to provide competition at the backup quarterback spot, a source told The Associated Press. The signing could mean the end of backup Chase Daniel's run in Kansas City. The Chiefs are tight against the salary cap, and parting with Daniel could save nearly $4 million. The Chiefs also have developmental quarterbacks Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray on the roster.



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