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Regional Headlines for Friday, October 12, 2012


Eastern Kansas, Western Missouri in Line for Storms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Severe weather is in the forecast for eastern Kansas and western Missouri on Saturday, with a slight risk of tornadoes. Thunderstorms are expected late Saturday from north of St. Louis west to Kansas City and south to Springfield, Joplin and Wichita. The National Weather Service says unstable conditions are likely Saturday evening and into the night, with heavy rain and high winds possible. Forecasters say high dew points, wind speeds and general instability could create favorable conditions for super-cell thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes. The highest risk area extends from Des Moines through Kansas City and into eastern Kansas.


Feds Remove Female Prisoners from State Prison

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal officials have removed four female inmates serving federal sentences from the state-operated Topeka Correctional Facility. The Federal Bureau of Prisons arrived Thursday to take the prisoners away. The action comes after the U.S. Department of Justice released a report in September concluding there was widespread sexual abuse of inmates at the Topeka prison. However, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections says federal officials didn't given any explanation for the decision to remove the inmates. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons declined to say why the inmates were transferred to other prisons. The Topeka prison is the only state prison for women in Kansas.


UPDATE: Kansas Governor's Attorney Applies for Appeals Court 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's top staff attorney is among 21 applicants for an opening on the state's second-highest court. Brownback Chief Counsel Caleb Stegall was joined by five lower-court judges in meeting Friday's deadline to apply for the Court of Appeals. They included Sedgwick County District Judge Tony Powell of Wichita, a former Kansas House member. The applicants are seeking the seat held by Judge Christel Marquardt. She plans to retire in January after 17 years on the 13-member court. A statewide nominating commission will interview the applicants next month and send the names of two or three finalists to Brownback. It will be the conservative Republican governor's second appointment to the Court of Appeals. The court also has another vacancy because Chief Judge Richard Greene died earlier this week.


Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Murder Conviction

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a Wichita man for the shooting death of a security guard who tried to break up a fight between gang members. The court on Friday rejected an appeal from Kamaronte D. Jones, who was convicted in the 2007 killing of Keith Peters. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that when a fight between Bloods and Crips members broke out inside a private home, Peters intervened and was shot by Jones. Jones was sentenced to a hard-25 life sentence. In his appeal, Jones's attorney argued evidence of Jones's gang activity should not have been admitted at his trial. The Supreme Court ruled that evidence of gang activity can be introduced when it helps explain the events surrounding a crime.


Washburn University: Little Chance of Possible Campus TB Outbreak 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Washburn University officials say they are not concerned about a possible tuberculosis outbreak on campus after a student tested positive for the disease this week. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the male student is taking classes from home while he recovers. He was diagnosed by his primary doctor. Washburn's director of student health, Shirley Dinkel, says students, faculty and staff who may have had contact with the student are being notified by email. They will be offered TB blood tests next week. Dinkel says only a few faculty and students had even remote contact with the student, making it unlikely that anyone else on campus has the infectious disease. Officials say the student is expected to make a full recovery.

Kansas Highway Patrol Moves to Electronic Citations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Highway Patrol troopers will be issuing electronic citations instead of written ones starting next week. The system will first be used in the northwest part of the state, with the other six regions to make the switch in a few months. District courts throughout the state support the move because it is expected to reduce lag time in getting ticket information to the courts and help law enforcement track violations. A news release from the Highway Patrol says motorists being issued a ticket won't see much of a delay, and their signature won't be required. The system also won't allow fine amounts to be changed. The patrol says no new hardware was required to implement the system in patrol vehicles.

Central Kansas Town of Nickerson to Drop Police

NICKERSON, Kan. (AP) — The central Kansas town of Nickerson is dropping its police force because of budget concerns. The Hutchinson News reports that the city council made the decision in a 4-3 vote Thursday night. The last police shift in the town of about 1,000 residents will end at midnight Saturday. And the Reno County Sheriff's Office will be the primary law enforcement agency in Nickerson after Tuesday, when the department officially will be eliminated. The county already responds to about half the city's calls, and questions had been raised about the actual effect of the city's mostly part-time police staff. Mayor Jim Gladden says he would be open to reinstating the department once the city could make budget adjustments. He wants to re-evaluate the situation in six months to a year.


Kansas Bank Robbery Suspect Makes Court Appearance

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas bank robbery suspect has been charged with firing at a trooper who pursued him as he fled with a woman and three children in a sport utility vehicle. The Salina Journal reported that a Saline County judge appointed a public defender Friday to represent 30-year-old Jason Michael Gleason. The public defender's office didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press. Gleason is charged with attempted first-degree murder for shooting at the trooper after crashing his SUV Tuesday night near Gypsum. The officer returned fire, and two people in the SUV were injured. Authorities haven't released the ages of the children in the SUV or said why they or the woman were with Gleason. Other charges against Gleason include four counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Trial for Kansas Anti-Abortion Activist Delayed

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has again delayed the trial of a Kansas anti-abortion activist accused of sending a threatening letter to a Wichita doctor training to perform abortions. The trial of Angel Dillard of Haysville was reset for October 29, 2013. That would be nearly three years after she is accused of sending Dr. Mila Means a letter saying people were watching and mentioning that someone could place explosives under her car. The Justice Department sued Dillard under a federal law aimed at protecting access to reproductive services. The case has languished since its filing in April 2011. The court docket shows 23 motions have sought extensions of various deadlines for filings and proceedings. Nearly all those requests were filed by the defense. One other trial delay also was granted.

Kansas Governor Planning 'Skills Summit' in Wichita

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback will attend an event later this month in Wichita to discuss ways to improve the state's recruiting and training of workers. The Kansas Skills Summit is scheduled for October 29 at the National Center for Aviation Training. It will be a four-hour round-table discussion. Brownback and state Commerce Secretary Pat George are planning to attend, along with representatives of various industries needing highly trained workers. The governor's office says the goal is develop ways to standardize skills among workers and develop a system for providing credentials to businesses. State official believe that such a system will help Kansas companies find skilled workers and keep them competitive.

Kansas Secretary of State Employee Retires at 86

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A veteran employee of the Kansas secretary of state has retired after working 29 years as a proofreader. Madeline Cowell finished her tenure with the agency on Thursday, which was also her 86th birthday. Cowell started with the office in 1983, when she was hired by Secretary of State Jack Brier as a part-time proofreader. Current Secretary of State Kris Kobach complimented Cowell for her professionalism and attention to detail during her time at the office. Her duties included reading several legal publications produced by the department, including the Kansas Register, the agency's weekly document. A cake was presented to Cowell with images of the publications she reviewed, each naming a different secretary she served. It also included two books that she wrote.

Kansas State Fair Saw $200K Spike in Gate Receipts

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Fair collected 14 percent more in ticket sales this year than last year as attendance increased. Fair officials reported the $200,000 boost in gate receipts Thursday as they set the 2014 budget. The Hutchinson News reports that the fair had nearly 4,000 more fairgoers than in 2011. This year also saw the price of adult tickets bought at the gate increase by $2 to $10. Plus, advance tickets increased by $1. The 2012 event also netted the fair $1.79 million in sales, up from $1.77 million from last year. The sales category includes the percentage of sales for food, carnival and other revenues that vendors pay the fair, along with carnival space fees.

Kansas Jail Escapee Sentenced for Carjacking

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An inmate who fled from a north-central Kansas jail has been sentenced to another 18 years in federal prison for carjacking. Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that 22-year-old Eric Jerome James received the sentence after pleading guilty to stealing a vehicle following his escape from the Ottawa County Jail. The Wichita Eagle reports that James escaped along with three other men who had been transferred to the jail from an overcrowded state prison. James was the last to be captured when he was arrested two days later in Omaha, Nebraska. James admitted that after escaping, he assaulted a man who was leaving his Ottawa County home for work and stole the victim's Nissan Altima. Under a plea agreement, James was not charged for the jail escape.


Missouri Man Leads Lawrence Police on Chase

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ A Missouri man with several warrants out for his arrest has crashed his vehicle in a yard while fleeing from Lawrence police. Lawrence Police Sergeant Craig Shanks says the man recently purchased the purple Dodge Intrepid he was driving. When he failed to return the tags to the owner, the owner reported the tags stolen. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the chase started Thursday night when police officers attempted to stop the vehicle. Police called off the chase before the vehicle crashed into a fence. The man then tried to run before police caught him in a nearby yard. Shanks says the man had several warrants out for his arrest, including one for burglary. He also was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving, and fleeing and eluding.

Man Found Guilty of 2nd-Degree Murder in Fatal Crash

CAMDENTON, Mo. (AP) — A Jefferson City man has been convicted of two counts of second-degree murder for causing an accident that killed two people in August 2011. The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports a Camden County (Missouri) jury on Friday also found 41-year-old Damien Bryan guilty of driving under the influence. The victims of the crash were 58-year-old Donald Edwards of Russellville and 75-year-old Joan Hamilton of Lenexa. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Bryan failed to yield and hit Hamilton's car, causing it to overturn into the path of Edwards's car. The accident happened in Jefferson City. Court records indicate Bryan had at least three prior guilty pleas for driving under the influence of alcohol.

New Wichita State President to Be Inaugurated

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University is inviting the public to the inauguration of its 13th president. John Bardo took over the job in July, replacing Donald Beggs, who stepped down after 12 years. The ceremony is scheduled for 2 pm Friday at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex in Wichita. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren will administer the oath. Governor Sam Brownback will present the presidential medallion and give inaugural remarks. Bardo began his career at Wichita State, where he chaired the sociology and social work department from 1978 to 1983. He later worked at the University of North Florida and Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. More recently, Bardo was chancellor of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina from 1995 to 2011. He returned to the classroom last year to teach education.

Sedgwick Residents Organize Fundraisers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — South-central Kansas residents are raising money to defray medical costs and funeral expenses for the family of a young mother killed in a train crash. Eighteen-year-old Taylor Sowell of Newton died October 6 when the car she was driving collided with a BNSF freight train near Walton. Her husband and brother were injured. The newlywed couple's 8-month-old daughter was with a baby-sitter. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Wichita venue Innovo will take cash and check donations at the door during a concert Saturday. Then on Sunday, a barbecue dinner and auction is planned at Sedgwick Grade School. Later in October, Sedgwick's Salon Halo is hosting a "Cut-A-Thon" to benefit the Sowell family. Donations also may be made to a memorial fund at Legacy Bank in Sedgwick.

KCK Middle Schooler Injured in School Bus Crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas middle school student has suffered serious injuries in a school bus crash. Broadcaster KCTV reported that an occupant in another vehicle also was injured. District spokesman David Smith says the crash happened around 5 pm Thursday as the bus was transporting students from after-school activities. Smith says the injured student was taken to a hospital but is expected to survive. The cause of the crash is under investigation.'


Texas Men Killed in Wyoming Plane Crash Identified

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of four east Texas men killed in a plane crash in the mountains of Wyoming. Searchers looked for the plane for almost two days before they found the wreckage of the single-engine Piper plane toward sunset Thursday. There were no survivors. Albany County officials said Friday those killed were 52-year-old Charles Ford and 29-year-old James Morgan, both of Marshall, Texas; along with 21-year-old Maverick Cayce, of Longview, Texas; and 65-year-old Billy Gee of Karnack, Texas. The plane had been scheduled to land Tuesday evening at the Casper airport after taking off from Marshall, Texas, and stopping for fuel in Dodge City, Kansas. The plane went missing in foggy weather. A pilot spotted the wreckage on Laramie Peak in a remote area of southeast Wyoming. The crash is being investigated and authorities plan to remove the wreckage.

Arkansas City Woman Sentenced in Toddler's Death

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 25-year-old south-central Kansas woman was sentenced to three years of probation in the death of a 2-year-old boy who died after drinking rust remover. Jennifer Bowman of Arkansas City was sentenced Thursday for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Davin Manly. The boy died last October after he drank the rust remover while Bowman was babysitting him. Authorities said the substance was in a plastic beverage bottle. Several witnesses spoke on Bowman's behalf during Thursday's sentencing. As part of her sentence, she must undergo drug screening and mental health counseling. KSNT-TV reports the judge could have sentenced Bowman to prison, but he said that would have hurt her three children.

Stiles to Help Coach Benefit Basketball Game

COLDWATER, Kan. (AP) — A benefit basketball game in southwest Kansas will have some star power on the sidelines. Kansas native Jackie Stiles, a basketball star at the high school, college and professional level, will coach at the game October 26 at South Central High School in Coldwater. Other former college and women's professional basketball players also will participate in the game. The Wichita Eagle reports proceeds from the game pay for cancer screenings for women in Wilmore, Englewood, Protection, Ashland and Coldwater. Organizers say the first three games raised enough to fund more than 700 screenings. Stiles is an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount University. She starred at Claflin High before setting the women's career NCAA scoring record at Missouri State University and becoming the WNBA's rookie of the year in 2001.

Nebraska Collision Victim Identified

LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a Lexington, Nebraska man who was killed when his vehicle was struck by a pickup being chased by a state trooper. Dawson County Attorney Elizabeth Waterman identified the victim as 68-year-old Ruben Maravilla-Cortes. He was pronounced dead early Tuesday morning at the scene along U.S. Highway 283 in Lexington. Waterman says 22-year-old Destry Swartz, of Coats, Kansas was driving the pickup being chased. He and a 17-year-old Lexington boy were not hurt in the collision. Swartz is charged with vehicular homicide while driving drunk and four other charges. A Dawson County jailer said Swartz remained in custody on Thursday, pending $500,000 bail. Online court records don't list his attorney's name.

Vestas Company to Lay Off Wind Turbine Workers in Colorado

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) — Vestas says it has laid off about 29 percent of workers at its blade factory in Windsor, Colorado, days after confirming it was laying off 75 workers at its blade factory in Brighton. The Danish wind turbine manufacturer said Thursday that the cuts in Brighton and Windsor amounted to about 18 percent of its remaining Colorado manufacturing workforce, suggesting about 200 people in Windsor lost their jobs. The company says its Colorado manufacturing workforce this year has dropped from about 1,700 employees to about 1,200 due to attrition, relocations and cuts. Vestas has blamed the slowdown in the U.S. wind industry on uncertainty about whether Congress will renew a wind production tax credit. Overall, Vestas employs about 2,600 in the U.S. and Canada, down from more than 3,400 earlier this year.

Driver Charged in KC Wreck That Killed Passenger

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 19-year-old man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in an April wreck that killed his 17-year-old passenger. Court records say Dawontay D. Frazier of Kansas City recklessly caused the death of Alycia Cornelius by driving more than 100 mph in an area with a 40 mph speed limit. The Kansas City Star reports that witnesses told police it appeared as if Frazier's car was racing another car. Ultimately, he lost control of his car, which left the road and struck two trees. The impact split the car into two sections and ejected its occupants. Frazier suffered critical injuries. Court records say he told detectives he never meant to hurt Cornelius and was sorry. Bond was set at $100,000. No attorney is listed for Frazier in online court records.

Man Found Guilty of Killing KC Businessman

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 30-year-old Kansas City man will be sentenced November 21 for killing the owner of a tool and equipment rental company. Andre M. Broadus was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder in the May 2011 shooting death of 50-year-old David W. Bledsoe. Broadus also was convicted of robbery and two counts of armed criminal action. Bledsoe died after being shot at Bledsoe's Rental. He was shot just after two gunmen entered the store. He chased the robbers after they fled but collapsed not far from his store and died later at a hospital. The second gunman, Anthony C. Britton, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday after being convicted earlier this year of the same charges as Broadus.


Applicants for Kansas Appeals Court Face Deadline

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A deadline is looming for attorneys and lower court judges who hope to fill a coming vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. They had until Friday to submit their applications to a statewide nominating commission. It will interview the candidates and send the names of two or three finalists to Governor Sam Brownback. The 13-member Court of Appeals is the state's second-highest court. Applications due Friday are for the seat held by Judge Christel Marquardt. She plans to retire in January after 17 years on the bench. But the court has another vacancy because Chief Judge Richard Greene died earlier this week. Since Brownback took office in January 2011, he's made one appointment to the appeals court.

**this story has been updated. Please see above. 



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