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Headlines for Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Kansas Governor Shuffles Agency Heads

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is shuffling his administration, naming the head of the state's aging and disabilities agency to be his new budget director. The governor announced Tuesday that Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Department for Aging and Disabilities Services, will be the state's new budget director. He takes over for Jon Hummel, who had filled the post on an interim basis. Sullivan will remain director of hospitals while serving as budget director. Brownback is filling the KDADS vacancy with Kari Bruffet, who has been serving as director of the Division of Health Care Finance in the Department of Health and Environment. Bruffet has played in a lead role in implementing the state's KanCare Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. Both appointments are effective June 9.


Lawrence Knife Law Stymied by New State Measure

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Bar patrons soon will be able to bring their daggers, dirks and stilettos into drinking establishments and anyplace else in Lawrence, thanks to a new state law that goes into effect July 1. City commissioners were slated to hear Tuesday about how the law will nullify a longstanding city ordinance that made it illegal for people to carry certain types of knives inside the city limits. The Kansas Legislature passed a law this year aimed at creating a uniform set of regulations for firearms and knives across the state. The Lawrence Journal-World reports assistant city attorney Maria Kaminska says a city ordinance prohibiting people from bringing a concealed firearm into any city drinking establishment should be repealed because of that law.


Kansas Wheat Condition Declines as Drought Endures

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The condition of the Kansas winter wheat crop continues to decline despite spotty rains that relieved drought pressure in central eastern parts of the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 59 percent of the winter wheat is in poor to very poor condition. About 29 percent is listed as fair, with just 11 percent rated as good and 1 percent excellent. The agency says that with pasture grasses shortened by drought, some producers are turning cattle out to graze the failed wheat. The weekly report also said cool temperatures slowed crop development, and freezing temperatures in parts of Kansas kept many farmers from putting seed in the ground. About 86 percent of the state's corn has now been planted, along with 7 percent of sorghum and 32 percent of soybeans.


Crum to Retire from Kansas House

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas Republican is retiring from his seat in the state House of Representatives and will not seek re-election this fall. The Wichita Eagle reports Tuesday that Representative David Crum of Augusta has decided to leave the Legislature after serving for eight years. Crum has served as chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee and the Bob Bethel Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight. KanCare is the state's privatized Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. Crum is a retired optometrist. He joins House Taxation Committee Chairman Richard Carlson of St. Marys among Republicans not seeking re-election in the fall.


Feds: $10 Million Stolen from KS Credit Union

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ $10 million is missing from the former Parsons-Pittsburg Credit Union. An investigation is underway and so far, it has focused on a fired employee who is believed to have gambled with the credit union's money. Documents filed last week in federal court reveal the magnitude of losses that led the Kansas Department of Credit Unions in January to place the credit union into conservatorship. Golden Plains Credit Union of Garden City assumed the operations of the defunct credit union in March. An FBI affidavit says the majority of the missing deposits were diverted from credit union accounts to accounts controlled by the suspect in the case. Authorities think the suspect and his wife gambled the money away.


Coroner Rules Suspect Killed by Police

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A county coroner has ruled that a northeast Kansas man who died after a standoff with police was killed by shots fired by officers. The Kansas City, Kansas police department announced the ruling by the Wyandotte County coroner on Tuesday. Police went to an apartment in the city Friday evening on a report of a disturbance. Someone inside opened fire on the officers, prompting the evacuation of the nearby area as police fired back. Tactical officers entered the apartment and found 24-year-old Charles Broadway dead. The investigation was continuing Tuesday.


Salina Man Killed by Pipe Bomb

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Salina say an explosion that killed a man in a pickup truck was caused by a pipe bomb in the vehicle's cab. KSAL-AM reports that the man was identified Tuesday as 46-year-old Salina resident Wayne Guerrant. The blast happened around 12:30 pm Monday while the pickup was parked near a sand volleyball court at a city park. Police found Guerrant badly injured outside the burning vehicle. He later died at a hospital. Investigators have not determined if the detonation was accidental or intentional. The pipe bomb was described as 5 to 6 inches long. No other explosive devices were found in the park, but police did find a container of black powder at Guerrant's home. Authorities don't know what Guerrant had planned to do with the bomb.


Libertarian Umbehr Files for Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Libertarian Keen Umbehr has put his name on the November Kansas ballot for governor, saying residents want a government that is fair for all people all the time. The 55-year-old Alma attorney filed the paperwork and paid a fee Tuesday to make his bid official. Umbehr says taxes and civil liberties are first on his agenda. His running mate is his son, Dr. Josh Umbehr, a Wichita physician. Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, filed last week for their bid for a second term. Democrat Paul Davis, the current House minority leader, is running for governor with Jill Docking as his running mate, but they have yet to file. The filing deadline is June 2. No other Democrats have entered the race.


FCC Fines Sprint $7.5 Million in Do Not Call Case

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Communications Commission says Sprint will pay $7.5 million in the largest Do Not Call settlement to date for making unwanted telemarketing calls and sending texts to consumers. The FCC says Sprint will also put a two-year plan in place to make sure it complies with commission requirements designed to prevent people from receiving unwanted marketing calls. The settlement follows an earlier one in 2011 in which Sprint paid $400,000 due to similar complaints. Sprint Corp. says the issues with Do Not Call were due to "technical and inadvertent human errors.''


Inmate Captured After Mistaken Release

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas inmate is back in custody, four days after he was mistakenly released during a transfer to the state Department of Corrections. WIBW-AM reports that 35-year-old Armando Jimenez was captured Tuesday in Topeka. A spokesman for the Corrections Department says Jimenez was taken into custody without incident. The agency says a procedural error allowed the Lawrence man to be released Friday when he was supposed to be transferred from the custody of Douglas County. Officials would not give details of the error. Jimenez has recent convictions in Douglas County for making a criminal threat, domestic battery and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. The Corrections Department's website also shows he was sentenced in 1999 for aggravated battery and other offenses, also in Douglas County.


Kansas Working Through Teacher Licensing Changes

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Changes are in store for the Kansas teacher licensure process under a new state law aimed at making it easier for people without education degrees to get into classrooms. The Lawrence Journal-World reports legislators passed the measure as education officials sought to increase the available pool of teachers in science, math, engineering and technology. The law takes effect July 1. It will allow people with bachelor's degrees and significant work experience in the designated fields to teach in secondary schools. The Kansas Department of Education was already in the midst of retooling the licensure process when the law was passed. The State Board of Education will review proposed rules and regulations in the coming month to implement the new state law.


Court Extends Stay in Kansas and Arizona Voting Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A federal appeals court has extended its order allowing Kansas and Arizona residents to continue registering to vote using a federal form without having to show proof of citizenship. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its order late Monday and granted an expedited hearing on the merits sought by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and voting rights groups. Earlier this month, the appeals court issued its emergency stay of U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren's ruling ordering the commission to modify its federal voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about those states' proof-of-citizenship requirements. Kansas has said if the law is stayed it would implement a system like Arizona's in which voters who registered.


Report: Plane Broke Apart Mid-Air in 2012 Crash

LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) — A National Transportation Safety Board report details how a small plane carrying a Kansas businessman, his wife and their four children plunged to the ground after parts of both wings and the horizontal stabilizer broke off in mid-air. But the report released Monday doesn't say why the June 7, 2012, crash occurred. Agency spokesman Eric Weiss says a probable cause report will be released in six to eight weeks. The Ledger of Lakeland reports pilot Ronald Bramlage was trying to avoid stormy weather before the plane dropped nearly 12,000 feet in about 36 seconds. The family was headed from the Bahamas to Junction City, Kansas. Bramlage, his wife Rebecca and their children — ages 15 to 8 — all died in the crash in a remote area of Polk County, Florida.


Wichita Sites Offering Children Free Summer Meals

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Several school cafeterias and other sites across Wichita will be offering free breakfasts, lunches or afternoon snacks to the city's hungry schoolchildren after they head home for summer break. The Wichita Eagle reports 35 sites are participating in the Summer Food Service Program, run by the Wichita School District and paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program is open to all children younger than 18, but it is mainly targeted toward those who are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches during the school year. About 75 percent of the 51,000 students who attend Wichita schools are eligible for free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches. The program begins May 28 and runs through July 24. No proof of residency or income is required for the meals.


Kansas Man Gets Probation in Child-Sex Sting

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man who repeatedly exposed himself over the Internet to a Missouri deputy sheriff posing as a 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to five years of probation. The Joplin Globe reports 47-year-old Olathe, Kansas, resident Richard Calohan was sentenced Monday in Jasper County, Missouri, for sexual misconduct with a child on the Internet. Investigators say Calohan had repeated contact with Jasper County Sheriff's Detective Ed Bailey online between July 25, 2011, and March 20, 2013, while the detective posed as a teenage girl. Bailey says Calohan exposed himself frequently on a webcam, sent nude photos of his wife and kept requesting photos of the girl. Calohan must register as a sex offender and undergo a psychosexual evaluation, along with several other stipulations as part of his probation.


Accused Man Pleads Not Guilty to Highway Shootings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man accused in a series of highway shootings around the Kansas City area has pleaded not guilty to 20 felony counts, including 10 each of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action. Mohammed Whitaker of Grandview remains in jail on $1 million bond. One of the shootings occurred in Leawood; Whitaker is suspected in that incident, but he hasn't been charged.


Topeka Teen Dies in Crash after Commencement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Officials of a Topeka school district say a teenager who died in a traffic accident had received his diploma just hours earlier. Ronnie Graham was alone in his pickup truck when it struck a tree on a residential street around 3:30am Monday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Graham had just finished his senior year at Seaman High School in Topeka. The school held its graduation ceremony on Sunday afternoon at the Kansas Expocentre. Seaman High School recently lost two other students to traffic accidents. Eighteen-year-old senior Emma Jo Pisocki and her father were killed in a head-on crash in Ottawa County in April, and 15-year-old Alayna Hutchinson died in February when the vehicle she was driving wrecked in Topeka.


Lottery Officials Seek $2M Winner

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ All Kansas lottery officials will say about a Powerball winner is that the ticket was sold somewhere in a 21-county area of northeast Kansas. The winning ticket matched five numbers in Saturday's drawing and is worth $2 million. Officials are waiting for the person with the ticket to come forward.



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