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Regional Headlines for Friday, June 14, 2013


Petersen-Klein Out as KCC Director

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The executive director of the Kansas Corporation Commission no longer works for the commission. KCC spokesman Jesse Borjon told The Topeka Capital-Journal that as of Friday, Patti Petersen-Klein is no longer employed by the commission. He did not specify if she was fired or quit. Controversy erupted recently after a consultant's report stated a rift had developed between Petersen-Klein and staff at the KCC, which regulates the electricity, natural gas, oil, telephone and transportation industries in Kansas. Borjon says KCC commissioner Tom Wright made a motion to terminate Petersen-Klein in an open meeting Thursday, but that motion failed. The commission then entered closed session but adjourned without any action. He says Jackie Montfoort-Paige, KCC's director of administration and finance, will be executive director until the position is filled permanently.


Detective Who Testified in DEA Beating Appeals

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas City, Kan., police detective has filed an appeal after losing a lawsuit claiming he was punished for refusing to conceal a motorist's beating by federal agents. Attorneys for Max Seifert filed a notice of appeal Friday seeking to reverse the summary judgment granted two days earlier to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, the sheriff and an undersheriff. Seifert wants the opportunity to present his claims to a jury. Seifert alleged in his lawsuit he was retaliated against after investigating Drug Enforcement Administration agents involved in a 2003 road-rage incident that left a man with permanent brain damage. His attorneys said in a statement Friday that Seifert's testimony was crucial in that case in proving the agents had "mistreated and beaten a helpless citizen."


Teens Charged in KCK Shootings that Left Two Dead

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two teenagers are charged in a fatal shooting at a Kansas City, Kan., apartment building that also left a suspected co-conspirator dead. The Wyandotte County district attorney's office said Friday that Deon Graham and Tiara Harden are both charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 27-year-old Shavar Buckner. The two suspects, both 18, are also charged with aggravated robbery and conspiracy. Police found Buckner and 17-year-old Earnest Stamps shot to death Tuesday morning in a basement hallway. The charges allege the two 18-year-olds conspired with Stamps to rob Buckner. Authorities believe Stamps and Buckner exchanged gunfire during the attempted robbery, leaving both dead. Graham and Harden were being held on $1 million bonds. They did not yet have attorneys.


Searchers Recover Body at Kanopolis Lake

MARQUETTE, Kan. (AP) — Crews have recovered a body matching the description of an 18-year-old man reported missing while kayaking on Kanopolis Lake. Ellsworth County Sheriff Tracy Ploutz says the body was found Friday morning in the southwest part of the lake. The Salina Journal reports that Derek Wheeler of Salina has been missing since early Tuesday when he set out with two other people in kayaks from Sand Plum Campground. A man fishing from a boat Friday morning noticed something at the shoreline and notified searchers in law enforcement boats. Ploutz says officers confirmed it was a body. The sheriff says Wheeler's family has been notified.


Man Working for Third Political Party in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Manhattan man says he wants moderates of both the Democratic and Republican parties to form a new political party in Kansas. Aaron Estabrook says his proposed political party would give moderates a voice to respond to extremism he sees in the current political parties. Kansas also currently recognizes the Libertarian party. Early this year, Estabrook filed political action committee finance papers for the Moderate Party of Kansas. Estabrook once voted for Republicans and worked for Tim Huelskamp when he was a state senator. But he switched to the Democratic party in 2006, citing the Iraqi war as one reason. The Hutchinson News reports the Moderate Party must collect nearly 17,000 signatures on petitions by June 1, 2014, in order to be recognized as an official party.


Site of Superman's Kansas Hometown Up for Debate

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hutchinson officials have agreed to rename their community Smallville for one day in a nod to its claim as boyhood home of one of the world's most recognizable superheros. But while many agree that Superman's hometown is somewhere in Kansas, The Kansas City Star reports there's no consensus that Smallville is in the south-central part of the state. Some fans think Smallville is west of Salina, while others are pretty sure its southwest of Lawrence. The new Superman movie, "Man of Steel," opens Friday. It shows Clark Kent watching a University of Kansas football game on TV and being quizzed as a boy about Sunflower State history. Hutchinson's name change happens June 21, the day Clark Kent is inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame.


Group from Hutchinson Helps Fight Colorado Wildfire

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A 10-member contingent from Hutchinson Community College is heading west to help fight Colorado's massive wildfire.  KSNW-TV reports that the group is made up of students, former students and instructors in the college's fire science program. They expected to leave for the Colorado Springs area Friday.  The group includes Jessica Peters, a Wichita resident and second-year student in the program. Peters said Thursday she knows the dangers but feels it's an honor to have the chance to help.  Her assignment will be to help an engine crew fighting the flames that have burned more than 15,000 acres of the Black Forest.  Rodney Redlinger, an instructor in the Hutchinson college program, says it's a good opportunity for students to find out if battling wildfires is what they really want to do.


Kansas A-G Urges Gov to Veto Lines in KS Budget

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is urging Governor Sam Brownback to veto provisions in a proposed state budget for each of the next two years.  Schmidt said in a statement Thursday that he and county prosecutors object to two provisions that would take funds from his agency. Both Brownback and Schmidt are Republicans.  Schmidt opposes a provision diverting $600,000 in fees from applications for concealed carry permits, saying the money shouldn't be used for general government programs.  He also opposes a salary cap for state agencies.  Brownback has until Sunday to act on the budget bill. The measure authorizes more than $14 billion in spending for each of the next two fiscal years, starting in July.  The governor has the power to veto individual line items in budget legislation.


KS Gov Heads to Paris Air Show Next Week

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback plans to lead a Kansas delegation to an international air show in Paris next week to promote the state's aircraft industry.  The governor's office says Brownback and state Commerce Secretary Pat George expect to spend a week in Paris, starting Monday.  They'll be joined by representatives of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition and several Kansas-based aviation businesses. Wichita is an aviation hub, and the state has more than 30,000 aviation workers and 200 industry suppliers.  Brownback also is touting the state's tax climate as attractive to aviation. The Republican governor has pushed over the past two years to decrease personal income taxes.  Kansas had nearly $12 billion in exports last year, with aircraft sales topping $2 billion.


Topeka Police Search for Suspect in Fatal Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Topeka are searching for a shirtless man spotted running from an apartment building where another man was found dead. Officers found 24-year-old Benjamin Jackson inside an apartment Thursday afternoon, where he was pronounced dead. The shooting is being investigated as a homicide.


Wichita Boy Wounded by Shots Fired Outside Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police believe the shooter who fired on a home and struck a sleeping 4-year-old boy targeted the wrong address.  The shooting happened around 3am Thursday. Police say the boy and his mother were asleep in a bedroom of a duplex at the time.  The 4-year-old was taken to St. Francis Hospital with a gunshot wound in his back. Police said he was in stable condition after surgery and is expected to recover.  Police said five shots were fired from outside the home. A search for suspects continues.


Kansas Issues Algae Warning for 3 Lakes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials are cautioning people to stay out of three lakes where toxic blue-green algae has been confirmed.  The Department of Health and Environment issued warnings Thursday for Logan City Lake in Phillips County, Veterans Memorial Park Lake in Great Bend and the Marion Reservoir in Marion County.  The agency says people, pets and livestock should not drink or have contact with water in the lakes. Any fish caught in the lakes should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water, and only the fillet portion should be eaten.  KDHE says boating and fishing may be safe, but urges people to avoid direct contact such as swimming in the water.


Shawnee County Seeks 6-Month Delay of Concealed Carry

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Concealed weapons will not be allowed in public buildings in Shawnee County for another six months.  The council commission voted Thursday to seek a delay in a new state law that allows concealed-carry permit holders to bring weapons into public buildings, beginning July 1.  The law permitted local governments to seek a six-month delay until January 1, 2014.  Before Thursday's vote, Commissioner Kevin Cook said county leaders need time to consider all options.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Earl McIntosh, the 2nd Amendment chairman for the Kansas Libertarian Party, asked the commission not to seek the delay, which he said put people in public buildings at risk.  The commission would have to supply adequate security measures for each public property to be permanently exempt from the law.


State Sets Meeting for Scale Service Companies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Department of Agriculture officials are asking all licensed scale service companies to attend a meeting to discuss the low accuracy rate of heavy-capacity scales.  The meeting will be June 27 at the department's Topeka headquarters.  Tim Tyson, director of the department's Division of Weights and Measures, said in a letter that large scale accuracy rates are lower than in recent years. Thbe state also has a new policy requiring a third party to place scales on new scale installations.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reported this week that state inspectors approved only 19 of the 72 heavy-capacity scales between July 2012 and February 2013. Almost half the scales did not meet state accuracy standards.  About 4,000 heavy capacity scales in Kansas weigh agricultural products, scrap metal, recyclables and other materials.


Former KC Area Cub Scout Leader Convicted of Abuse

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — A western Missouri jury has convicted a former Cub Scout leader on several charges of sexually abusing two girls.  The Kansas City Star reports that Daryl D. Lemasters will be sentenced in August in Platte County Circuit Court. The 54-year-old Platte City man was convicted Wednesday on four counts including statutory sodomy, sexual exploitation of a minor and child enticement.  Lemasters was charged after the Platte County Sheriff's Office investigated allegations in 2011 of sexual abuse against two girls, ages 11 and 9.  Jurors recommended a 30-year sentence on each count for Lemasters, who worked with boys in an area Cub Scout pack from about 2000 through 2010.


Non-Partisan PAC Wants More Women Elected

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Members of a political action committee say they want more women to seek political office in Kansas.  The PAC, called Kansans Advancing Women, was created last November. One of its creators, Laurel Maslowski of Lawrence, says women have experiences and voices that need to be a bigger part of the political process.  Maslowski says the PAC is recruiting progressive female candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties. She noted only 39 of the 165 people in the Kansas Legislature this session were women, the lowest number in 15 years.  She says the state has a history of electing women to political office and needs to return to that value.  6NewsLawrence reports that Maslowski hopes to recruit both men and women to join the PAC's efforts.





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