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Headlines for Tuesday, March 4, 2014




Missouri House Backs Business Truce with Kansas

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A proposed truce in the Kansas City business battle between Missouri and Kansas has gained another endorsement in Missouri. The state House voted 151-3 Tuesday to pass a bill that would stop offering incentives for businesses to move from any of four Kansas counties to any of four Missouri counties in the Kansas City region. The Missouri Senate passed a similar measure last week. The two states have together waived hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues in recent years by offering specialized incentives for businesses to relocate across the state line. For the proposed truce to take effect, both Missouri chambers must pass an identical bill and have it signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. The Kansas Legislature or governor also must enact a similar measure.


Obama Budget has $300M for Kansas NBAF Project

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Barack Obama is proposing Congress provide another infusion of cash to continue construction of a new biosecurity lab in Kansas. The president's budget was announced Tuesday and includes $300 million for the Department of Homeland Security to continue work on the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility under construction near Kansas State University. The $1.25 billion new lab is designed to conduct research on large animals and related diseases to replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y. Construction began in 2013 on a central utility plant that will provide power and other services for the lab. DHS says construction on the main lab is expected to begin sometime this year, with the beginning operations at a date yet to be announced.


Wichita Renames Airport to Honor Eisenhower

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita's main commercial airport will soon be known as the "Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport." The City Council vote Tuesday to rename Wichita Mid-Continent Airport to honor the former president, who grew up in Abilene. It will cost the city about $140,000 to change signs at the airport. It wasn't immediately clear when the new name would be posted. Two city radio personalities started a petition drive to rename the airport in October. Supporters said it would bring recognition to the city and honor a Kansas native who led during wars and difficult times. Critics said Eisenhower had no direct connection to Wichita and money spent on the change could be put to better use.


Man Admits Fooling 12-Year-Old Girl into Video Sex

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man is facing a minimum of 15 years in prison after admitting he tricked a 12-year-old girl into performing sex acts on an Internet video connection. The U.S. Attorney's office says 30-year-old Kristopher K. Sims, from the south-central Kansas town of Augusta, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to one count of producing child pornography. The girl lives in New York state. Prosecutors said Sims first met her on Facebook when she was 11, and he pretended to be a teenage boy. The two communicated in chats and video messaging for several months. Sims admitted in his plea that he persuaded the girl last November to engage in a sexual act which he captured in a live video feed. A judge scheduled sentencing for June 2.


Wichita Cabbie Convicted of Rape on Registry

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A lawsuit says a Wichita cab driver convicted of raping a passenger should have been denied a taxi license because he was on a state sex offender registry when he applied. The Wichita Eagle reports Bryon Scott Spohn was sentenced to 48 years in 2013 for raping a passenger. He had applied for a taxi driver's license in late 2012 when he was on a state sex offender registry for possession of child pornography. A city ordinance that went into effect in July 2012 says a taxi driver's license shall not be issued to anyone who's been registered as a sexual offender. City officials say the change banning registered sex offenders was new when Spohn applied and hadn't been communicated to staff. The city says it's fixed that problem.


Republican Group Shows Support for Gay Marriage

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A group of current and former Republican lawmakers say they support making same-sex marriage legal in Utah and Oklahoma because it's consistent with Western conservative values of freedom and liberty. A group that includes former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas plan to file a friend of the court brief Tuesday to a federal appeals court in Denver that is reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. A draft provided to The Associated Press shows they cite beliefs from former President Ronald Reagan and former Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Denver attorney Sean Gallagher, whose firm wrote the 30-page argument, says many Republicans are re-examining their stance on gay marriage. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has hearings in mid-April for both cases.


Body in Tuttle Creek Identified as Kansas Woman

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A body recovered from Tuttle Creek Lake has been identified as a 56-year-old woman from rural St. George. Pottawatomie County Sheriff Greg Riat said in a news release that the body found last Friday was that of Jane Peterson, who worked in the physics department at Kansas State University. Peterson's family reported her missing on Jan. 19. Two days of searches after she disappeared were unsuccessful. Riat said foul play is not suspected in Peterson's death. A pathologist indicated drowning and hypothermia were the cause of death.


Runner in England Wins 65th Annual Pancake Race

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — An English runner won the 65th annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race, again beating the winner of the southwest Kansas leg of the race. The Leader and Times reports 20-year-old Devon Byrne, of Olney, England, covered the 415-yard course in a record time of 55.61 seconds. Byrne beat 25-year-old Summer Parsons, who won the leg of the race in Liberal, Kan., six hours later with a time of 63.5 seconds. It was Byrne's third win in a row. Byrne's mother also was a three-time winner of the competition in which Olney and Liberal women in aprons and head scarves run the course with a pancake in a pan. Olney has won the race 28 times, and Liberal has 36 wins.


St. John's Military School Settles Suit on Eve of Trial

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ An attorney for St. John's Military School in Salina says the issues brought in a lawsuit against the school have been resolved.  The lawsuit was filed by 11 former cadets who claimed they were tortured and abused at the school.  The attorney for St. John's Military School, John Schultz, said in an email yesterday (MON) that the federal case is being dismissed.  The court confirmed that the trial scheduled to begin
today (TUE) in Kansas City, Kansas, has been cancelled.  So far, no other details have been released, but it's clear some kind of settlement has been reached.  The lawsuit was filed by former cadets who claimed the school's practice of giving higher ranking cadets the power to discipline younger ones encouraged physical and mental abuse.  The 126-year-old Episcopalian boarding school has long denied the claims of mental abuse and physical torture.


Feds Sue Sprint over Company's Wiretap Expenses

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Federal officials have filed a lawsuit alleging that Sprint Communications Inc. overbilled government agencies $21 million for wiretap services.  The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco alleges that that Sprint Corp. subsidiary collected unallowable expenses from the FBI and other government agencies while carrying out court-ordered wiretaps and other electronic intercepts of its customers. Communication companies are allowed to recoup the cost of installing and maintaining wiretaps when courts order them to intercept customers' communications. The Department of Justice claims in its lawsuit that Sprint also sought and received reimbursement for modifying its equipment and facilities to more efficiently intercept electronics communications. In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission prohibited carriers from passing on those expenses to the government.  A Sprint spokesman says the company denies the allegations.  


Audit Begins in Auburn; Ex-Clerk's Work Under Review

AUBURN, Kan. (AP) _ The longtime clerk in a northeast Kansas town has resigned and an auditor has been hired to review the town's finances.  Auburn city clerk Alice Riley resigned last month, about two weeks after she was placed on paid leave.  Councilman Mike Robinson says Riley was given chances to answer questions about the finances but refused and eventually resigned.  He says an auditor will study Auburn's finances back to 2011.  Alice Riley was clerk in Auburn for 31 years.  


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.  


Free Dental Clinic in Dodge Serves More than 1,100

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Dental Foundation says a free dental clinic in Dodge City served more than 1,100 patients over the weekend.  The foundation says volunteers donated their time during its latest Mission of Mercy.  The dental services were valued at $800,000.  The foundation says that since the annual project began in 2003, it has provided nearly $13 million in free detal care.  


KS Crash Victim's Car, Possessions Stolen

BRIDGEPORT, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities in central Kansas say a 20-year-old man survived a crash on an icy highway, only to have his car and his possessions stolen from the accident scene. David Isaac was moving from Abilene to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, when the accident happened on Interstate 135.  The Highway Patrol says Isaac was a passenger in a pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with his 1995 Honda Civic, which was packed with his belongings. The trailer fishtailed on a bridge, sending the pickup spinning into a median.  A towing company removed the damaged pickup and planned to return Sunday for the trailer, which had slid into a ditch.  But sometime Sunday, authorities say, the trailer and Isaac's car were taken from the scene.  


KS Conducting Statewide Tornado Drill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas emergency managers are conducting a statewide tornado drill to prepare residents for the spring storm season and reinforce the need to be prepared.  
The drill is scheduled for this (TUE) afternoon as part of the state's severe weather awareness week.  Angee Morgan, of the Kansas Emergency Management Division, says the state had 56 tornadoes last year -- the first on April 7 and the last on August 13.  Morgan says residents, schools and businesses are encouraged to use today's (TUE) drill to check procedures for responding to severe weather, including making sure emergency kits are stocked and response plans are in place.


Washburn Administrative Hall Getting Update

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Renovations at Washburn University are designed to create a new "front door'' for the school in Topeka.  The $17 million project has begun at Margaret Mulvane Morgan Memorial Hall, which houses offices such as financial aid, admissions and business offices.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports workers are removing a tower and clock faces that have become landmarks on the university's campus.  Demolition is set to start next week at the hall's northwest corner.  The project is expected to be completed next year in time for Washburn's 150th birthday. Besides creating a newer first impression of the school, the renovation will consolidate administrative functions into a one-stop shop for students.  Donations and university reserves will finance the project.  


KU Professor Documented Kaw Language

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Leaders of the Kaw Nation say a University of Kansas linguistics professor who died recently will be remembered for his efforts to document and preserve the Kaw language.  That professor is Robert Rankin, who died last month at the age of 75.  Jim Pepper Henry, a Kaw tribal member, told The Wichita Eagle that -- if it wasn't for Rankin -- the tribe wouldn't have its language.  Among other things, Professor Rankin produced several recordings of some remaining speakers of the Kaw language.


Wichita Weighs Naming Airport for Eisenhower

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Officials in Wichita are weighing whether to rename Mid-Continent Airport for one of Kansas' most famous citizens.  The City Council scheduled a discussion Tuesday of renaming the facility as the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.  KWCH-TV reports the proposal follows a petition drive.  Eisenhower was 2 years old when his family moved in 1892 from Texas to Abilene, Kan. He grew up to command Allied forces in Europe in World War II and to serve two terms as president of the United States.   Wichita City Council member James Clendenin says naming the airport for Eisenhower would help market the city and connect it with a Kansas hero. But fellow Council member Jeff Blubaugh says there are people with direct Wichita ties who also deserve the honor.  


Liberal, KS Ready for 65th Annual Pancake Race

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) _ It's time for the annual race that pits pancake-flipping women in Liberal, Kansas, against women in Olney, England.  Nine Kansas women are expected to race today (TUE)  against 25 women in England in the 65th running of the International Pancake Day Race.  Liberal street crews were out last (MON) night removing about 2 inches of snow from the ground in preparation for the race.  The race started in Olney in 1445. Legend has it a woman who was late to church ran to services while flipping pancakes in her skillet. Liberal challenged Olney to a friendly competition in 1950.  The race is part of a four-day festival in Liberal, which leads the competition with 36 wins to Olney's 27.  One year's score was disqualified.





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