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Regional Headlines for Monday, April 8, 2013




Kansas 2014 Budget in Flux Until Tax Plan Settled

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are on a monthlong break, having left behind a budget still considered a work in progress and more possible changes to the state tax code. Lawmakers adjourned late Friday having approved several issues after more than a week of negotiations. But many of the spending cuts favored by majority Republicans remain in play. One area is higher education. The Senate is recommending a 4 percent cut for state universities and community colleges. The House favors a 2 percent cut. The Legislature returns to work May 8. Republican leaders say the budget picture will come into focus before then, with the release of a new estimate of state revenue. The revenue report also will help settle the debate on further cuts in Kansas income taxes.


Experts: Anti-Abortion Legislative Wins in KS Create Tactical Dilemma

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has enacted a wave of stricter abortion laws in recent years, but those successes now have abortion opponents reconsidering their tactics. Some abortion foes want to pursue measures to ban most abortions as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. Others support amending the state constitution to declare that it protects the rights of individual starting at fertilization. Legislators have been encouraged to pursue less dramatic changes by Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-abortion group at the Statehouse. It argues that such an approach is more effective than enacting headline-grabbing measures that will be challenged in court. But with last week's approval of another annual round of anti-abortion legislation, some abortion opponents wonder whether the pursuit of incremental changes has run its course.


Even in Pro-Gun States, Bids to Arm Teachers Stall

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — When a gunman killed 26 children and staff at a Connecticut grade school, proposals to let teachers carry hidden guns into the classroom soon proliferated in many Republican-led states. But less than four months later, the quest to put guns in schools has stalled in many traditionally gun-friendly states after encountering opposition from educators, reluctance from some governors and ambivalence from legislative leaders more focused on economic initiatives. So far, South Dakota is the only state to respond with a new law allowing school personnel to carry guns into elementary and high schools. A similar proposal is poised for passage in Kansas. And Arkansas has enacted a new law allowing colleges to let staff with concealed gun permits bring their weapons on campus.


Brownback Names New Kansas District Judge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has named Faith Maughan to fill a vacancy in the 18th Judicial District in Sedgwick County. Maughan is currently a judge for the city of Colwich in south-central Kansas. Brownback announced Monday that she would fill the vacancy left by Judge Anthony Powell, who was appointed earlier this year to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Maughan earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. In addition to being a judge in Colwich she serves as city prosecutor for Maize, Park City and Cheney. She is also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and serves in the Judge Advocate General's corps. The 18th Judicial District is based in Wichita and covers all of Sedgwick County. Kansas has 31 judicial districts.


K-State Employee and Retired Doctor Killed in OK Plane Crash

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Tee two people who died in Sunday's small plane crash near the suburban Tulsa city of Collinsville have been identified. One was an employee of Kansas State University. School spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson says Chris Gruber, the development director for the college of veterinary medicine, was aboard the aircraft that crashed. Peterson says Gruber had worked for the school for more than eight years. The other fatality has been identified as Ronald Marshall, a retired gynecologist who lived in Manhattan. Federal records show the plane was registered to Ronald Marshall out of DeWitt, Neb., where he owned land. The Federal Aviation Administration had reported Sunday that there were as many as three dead. The FAA says the single-engine aircraft departed Tulsa around 5:50 pm Sunday en route to Manhattan, Kansas. The plane crashed inside the city limits of Collinsville, about 30 minutes northeast of Tulsa.



Report: Corn Planting Begins in Eastern Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers are getting ready to seed their spring crops, with a few fields of corn already planted in eastern sections. Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service provided the update in a weekly report Monday that also said spring calving is nearly finished in the state. Livestock producers are still worried about having enough stock water. Supplies are reported as "adequate" in just 36 percent of Kansas. South-central Kansas got some welcome rain in the past week. But drought-stricken pastures have yet to recover statewide, with 77 percent now reported in poor to very poor condition. The agency also says 31 percent of the winter wheat crop is in poor to very poor condition. About 38 percent is reported in fair shape, with 29 percent rated good and 2 percent in excellent condition.


Trial Postponed in Great Bend Homicide Case

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) _ A man charged with killing a Great Bend man and leaving his body in a roadside ditch will not go on trial until August. Thirty-one-year-old Jeffrey Wade Chapman of Great Bend was scheduled to go on trial this week for first-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Damon Galyardt. The Hutchinson News reports the trial was delayed until August 5 after new attorneys were appointed to represent Chapman. Chapman pleaded innocent in November. Hunters found Galyardt's body in November 2011 in a roadside ditch southwest of Great Bend. Testimony during Chapman's preliminary hearing in October indicated Chapman was angry because of the way Galyardt treated a woman with whom he was living.

Missing Jogger Found Dead in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police say the body of a missing jogger has been found in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. Twenty-four-year-old Raheel Morani was located Saturday in a heavily wooded area near a housing subdivision that is under construction. Morani was reported missing Thursday night when he didn't return home from a run. Overland Park police spokeswoman Michelle Koos says police haven't determined a cause of death or whether foul play was involved. An autopsy is scheduled.

1 Dead, 3 Hospitalized After Manhattan Shooting

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — One person has been taken into custody after an early morning shooting in Manhattan left one person dead and three others hospitalized. The Riley County Police Department said the shooting happened around 4:10 am Sunday at an apartment complex. Police reassured the public that there didn't appear to be "any further danger." Anyone with information was urged to call Manhattan/Riley County Crime Stoppers. No other details were immediately released, including the name of the victim or the person who was arrested.

Kansas Receives $4M from Feds for Schools

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal education officials have awarded Kansas $4 million in school improvement grants to help turn around low-performing schools. The grant for the Kansas Department of Education was announced Monday. The state was one of 13 nationwide to earn the grants, ranging from $26.8 million for Florida to $1.4 million for Delaware. Kansas is one of six states to receive the money to begin a competition among previously unfunded, low-performing schools in the state. The other seven states are receiving funds for the third year of the school improvement grant program. Local school districts will make grant applications to the state for a portion of the funds.

Study Indicates Death Rates Worse at Rural Hospitals

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new study says the death rates in small rural hospitals are worse than at most hospitals. The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes that the death rate in remote hospitals got worse between 2002 and 2010. The death rate at other hospitals improved over that same time period. Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and Kansas are the states with the most critical-access hospitals. Nebraska has 65 of the smaller, rural hospitals that qualify for special treatment from Medicare because they provide critical access to care. The study's lead author, Doctor Karen Joynt, says it may be harder for rural hospitals to afford the latest technology and advancements that are helping other hospitals.


Conservation Easement Acres Increasing in Kansas

KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) — About 120,000 acres of Kansas land are in conservation easements and the director of the Nature Conservancy of Kansas says the number is growing. The easements allow landowners to restrict the use of their land forever, generally to keep the property in its natural state. Rob Manes, director of the Nature Conservancy of Kansas, says his group's goal for easement is protecting critical habitats, like remnants of the tallgrass prairie. Other conservation groups also promote the easements. He says more landowners consider easements out of fear the grasslands will be developed or become a patchwork of wind farms. The Wichita Eagle reports that financial compensation is available to landowners, to offset the drop in the land's value after the easement is in place.

Prosecutors: Trio Couldn't Keep Up with K2 Demand

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say three Kansas men accused of selling millions of dollars' worth of synthetic marijuana around the world produced 5 to 10 kilograms of K2 a night but couldn't keep up with demand. An indictment handed down last week charges 55-year-old Bradley Miller of Wichita; his 54-year-old brother Clark Sloan of Tonganoxie; and Sloan's 32-year-old son Jonathan Sloan of Lawrence, with mislabeling drugs, conspiracy and several other crimes. Prosecutors say Miller returned from a trip to China in 2009 with the idea to sell K2 at a Lawrence herb shop he co-owned, but distribution soon expanded worldwide because it was marketed as a legal alternative to marijuana. Attorneys for Miller and Jonathan Sloan declined to comment. As of late Friday, it was unclear if Clark Sloan had an attorney.


Kansas Thief Drives Off with Furniture Trailer

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Salina are looking for the thief who drove off with a trailer containing the belongings of a woman moving into an apartment. The Salina Journal reports that the crime happened sometime Friday while the trailer was parked in the lot outside an apartment building. Police say the thief hooked the trailer up to a vehicle and towed it away. Items in the trailer included a love seat, bed, mattress and other household goods. The loss is estimated at $3,000.

Sedgwick County Cracks Down on Jail Graffiti

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office is taking a tougher approach to graffiti at the jail by starting a cleanup program and threatening charges against inmates who mark up their cells. Undersheriff Danny Bardezbain said graffiti has been a problem for years, and that now nearly all of the cells at the 1,122-bed facility have been tagged. Graffiti includes sweeping murals, profanity, gang signs and references to the Ku Klux Klan. Jail officials have instituted new guidelines that include charging inmates with vandalism when they deface cell walls. They've also ordered some inmates to clean the defaced walls and paint over graffiti. Jailers have also replaced inmate's pencils with a softer, flexible version that makes defacing jail property more tedious.

Kansas Summit on Homelessness and Housing to Kick Off

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A three-day summit meeting on homelessness and housing in Kansas takes place next week in Pittsburg. The annual gathering is designed to help community members, law enforcement, educators and others better serve the homeless population. This is the 14th year for the summit, which will take place April 15-17 at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium. The hosts are the Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition and the nonprofit SEK-CAP Inc., the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program. Sessions will focus on programs for the homeless and the effects of gambling on homelessness. There will also be a poverty simulation, and sessions on fair housing and other topics.

Google Names KC Company to Test Google Glasses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Google has selected a Kansas City company to test Google Glass, the search giant's wearable computer device. The Kansas City Star reports that Engage Mobile will join other Google Glass testers. The goal is to prepare Google Glass for launch next year. Engage Mobile is a mobile strategy, development and marketing firm. Founder and CEO Darrin Clawson says it was chosen because of its experience developing software for medical industry companies like Cerner Corp. Google's test also involves coming up with software applications for Google Glass. Clawson says he's proposed using the eye-glass like device to help patients and doctors monitor personal medical devices like heart rate monitors.

Medal of Honor Winner's Hometown Proud, Planning

PILSEN, Kan. (AP) — A small Kansas town is preparing for the spotlight after a native son is awarded the Medal of Honor this week. President Barack Obama will present the nation's highest military honor for valor this week to the family of the Reverend Emil Kapaun, who was credited with saving hundreds of lives while serving a chaplain in the Korean War. Kapaun's family says they plan to give the medal to the town of Pilsen, which is home to about 40 people an hour northeast of Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that Pilsen residents are discussing how to keep the medal secure, and how to handle visitors who want to know more about Kapaun's story. The town already has a mini-museum honoring the priest, but residents say they know more will be needed.


Hays High School Crowns 2 Prom Kings After Tie Vote

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Hays High School now has two prom kings to accompany their new queen. A tie vote led the school to announce seniors Dustin Mulkey and Blake Ruder as kings at Saturday's prom. Millie Cooper was crowned queen. Hays school registrar Tammy Stewart says she's worked at the high school's prom since 1999 and can't remember another tie vote for any of the school's major events. The Hays Daily News reports that teachers choose the prom candidates, and junior and senior classes vote for king and queen. The two classes have a total of about 370 students.

KU Law School Reports Better Employment Picture for Grads

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — After years of declining numbers, The University of Kansas Law School says its 2012 graduates had improved success in finding jobs. Law school dean Stephen Mazza says the school is pleased with data from the American Bar Association. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the association found that 85.6 percent of the university's law school's 2012 graduates found jobs nine months after graduation. That's the best rate in five years, ranking the university No. 95 in the country in graduate job placement. In 2011, only 80.5 percent of the law school's class found jobs at the same point, a rank of 151. Mazza credited assistant dean Arturo Thompson and other newly hired career services staff for improving the focus on finding jobs for graduates.

Dodge City Officials Grapple with Statue Display

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dodge City officials are not quite sure just where to put two massive sculptures donated by the Dennis Hopper Art Trust to the city where its namesake was born and raised. The pieces are known as La Salsa Man and Mobil Man. They are 26 and 21 feet tall respectively. The trust administrator calls them a "large, impactful and a defiant blend of Californian and Southwestern culture mixed with Hollywood grandeur." County Commissioners unanimously voted to put the statutes at the special events center. The city commissioners unanimously voted against that placement, suggesting instead displaying them at a park in town. The Dodge City Globe reports that the arts council is working on details of getting the large pieces to Dodge City. An unveiling is planned May 17.

Man's Death in Hit-and-Run Second Family Tragedy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man from a Kansas City suburb who died in a hit-and-run accident had endured the death of his wife and daughter in a drunken driving accident in 2011. Kansas City police say 57-year-old Leroy A. Bronson of Belton died early Sunday when his motorcycle was hit by a pickup truck. The driver of the truck fled on foot and has not been found. In July 2011, Bronson's wife, Diane K. Bronson, and their 11-year-old daughter, Anna, died after their car was hit by a vehicle going the wrong way on Interstate 435. The driver, Felix Solano-Gallardo, is serving 15 years in prison. The Kansas City Star reports that Bronson was raising two stepsons.


Missouri Girl Found Safe After Being Taken from Father's Home

GLADSTONE, Mo. (AP) — A 5-year-old suburban Kansas City girl has been found safe with family members after being taken from her father's house Sunday night. Gladstone police declined to say which family member had Lili Justine High when she was found around 2:15 pm Monday. Lili had been the focus of an Amber Alert that was issued after police say a friend of her mother's took the girl from her father's home after he briefly left the room Sunday night. The woman who is believed to have taken the girl, Tammi J. Lampkins — also known as Tammi J. Kelly — was taken into custody Monday morning after police say she saw herself on a television news broadcast and turned herself in.

Woman Apprehended After Wichita Chase

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 24-year-old woman accused of threatening her ex-boyfriend with a knife has been captured after fleeing from officers through Wichita. Officers caught the woman Saturday after she caused an accident. A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor says two people suffered minor injuries in the crash. Wichita police Sergeant Bruce Watts says a knife was taken from the woman several hours earlier after she threatened to cut her ex-boyfriend's throat. When her ex-boyfriend returned from eating out, he found that his car's tires were slashed and the windows smashed. Police later received a call that the woman had shown up at her ex-boyfriend's employer with a knife. Responding officers saw the woman speed off and pursued her. Her vehicle reached speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour.

NW Missouri Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A northwest Missouri man has pleaded guilty to defrauding an elderly couple out of more than $110,000. The office for the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri says 42-year-old David J. McConkey of Albany has pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud. The prosecutor's office said in a release Friday that McConkey admitted he told the Maryville couple he was aware of an incident involving their adult daughter that allegedly occurred nearly three decades ago. He said he would keep her out of prison if they paid him $119,950. The prosecutor's office says McConkey's information was false. The couple gave McConkey a $119,950 cashier's check. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus fines up to $250,000 and restitution. Sentencing hasn't been scheduled.

Kansas Bishop to Become Archbishop in Eastern Iowa

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Kansas bishop has been chosen to lead the eastern Iowa archdiocese. The Dubuque Archdiocese says Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita has been appointed by Pope Francis to be the new archbishop of Dubuque. Jackels replaces Archbishop Jerome Hanus (HAH'-nuhs). The Wichita diocesan website says Jackels was named the Wichita bishop in January 2005 by Pope John Paul II. Before being named to the post, Jackels worked for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for eight years. Hanus will introduce Jackels at a news conference later Monday morning at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Dubuque. Hanus also will announce his plans for the future.


Husband of Slain Iowa Woman Charged with Murder

BOONE, Iowa (AP) — The husband of a slain Boone, Iowa woman found in a bathroom last year has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says 39-year-old Alexander Fazzino was arrested Sunday in the parking lot of a sporting goods store in the Kansas City area. He remains at the Lee's Summit Police Department jail on a $1.5 million bond. The Boone Police Department found 32-year-old Emily Fazzino unresponsive on a bathroom floor on January 29, 2012. Alexander Fazzino told police his wife killed herself by overdosing on prescription pills. The Iowa Medical Examiner's Office says Emily Fazzino's remains had no sign of drug abuse or a drug overdose. Her autopsy identified several areas of trauma, including the neck, throat, and head.


K-State Forward Adrian Diaz Transferring

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State sUniversity ays sophomore forward Adrian Diaz has decided to transfer. Coach Bruce Weber said Monday he was disappointed, but Diaz expressed an interest in playing closer to his home in Miami. The 6-foot-10 Diaz averaged 2.9 points on 54.8 percent shooting with 1.9 rebounds in 49 career games from 2011-13. He has two years of eligibility remaining.


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