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Regional Headlines for Monday, February 13, 2012


KS Lawmakers Resume Debate over Competing Tax Plans

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Legislative committees have scheduled additional hearings this week to consider several plans to cut the Kansas tax rates. Today (MON), House Republicans are expected to introduce their plan to cut individual income tax rates. The plan builds on a proposal from Republican Governor Sam Brownback, but makes modifications in the elimination of tax credits and the state sales tax rate.
Senators have hearings planned Tuesday and Wednesday on the governor's plan, which would reduce the number of income tax brackets from three to two and cut rates. It also would eliminate the earned income tax credit for low-income taxpayers. The House plan keeps the three tax brackets but reduce the rates. It also cuts the earned income tax credit in half.


Kansas House Panel Opens Hearings on Immigration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee has opened a week of hearings on immigration issues and will study competing proposals that represent opposing philosophies. The Federal and State Affairs Committee started Monday with a bill backed by a coalition of business groups to help some illegal immigrants hold down hard-to-fill jobs in agriculture and other industries with labor shortages. The committee planned two days for hearings on the bill drafted by the coalition, which includes agriculture groups and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. But the committee also plans to start hearings Wednesday on multiple bills designed to crack down on illegal immigration. Those measures are backed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the former law professor who helped draft tough immigration laws in Alabama and Arizona.

Abortion Providers in KS Lawsuit Seek Attorney Fees, Costs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas abortion providers who won a federal injunction to keep temporary clinic regulations from taking effect are asking a judge to award them more than $221,000 in attorneys' fees and costs. Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser, filed a motion Monday seeking about $174,000 in attorneys' fees, expenses and costs. A second Kansas clinic, Central Family Medical, also filed its own motion Monday seeking $47,000 for its attorneys' fees and costs. Their federal lawsuit named the Kansas health secretary as a defendant. The parties have jointly moved to dismiss that lawsuit once the court decides on the attorneys' fees and other costs. Abortion providers have filed a separate lawsuit in state court in Shawnee County challenging the final version of the health and safety regulations for abortion clinics.


12-year-old KS Girl Dies after Being Hit by Police Car

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Investigators say a 12-year-old girl who died after she was hit by a police car ran in front of the car at a south Wichita intersection. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the patrol car was responding to a burglary when the accident occurred Sunday. Deputy Chief Nelson Mosley said the girl and her 14-year-old cousin ran into the street. Witnesses said the 14-year-old stopped on the median and told her cousin to stop as well, the the 12-year-old ran into the patrol car's path. The Wichita Eagle reports Mosley would not say how fast investigators think the patrol car was traveling at the time. Police say investigators are trying to determine if the officer's view was obstructed by an SUV that was in the lane next to him. 


1 to 3 Inches of Snow Hits Sections of KS

Wichita, Kan. (AP)_ A storm dropped between 1 and 3 inches of snow across central and eastern Kansas.  That caused cars to slide off the roads in the season's first measurable snowfall for many areas.  Dozens of accidents were reported in parts of Sumner, Butler and Cowley counties. Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls said highways in northeast Kansas were completely snowpacked, except where they were treated in the Topeka and Kansas City regions.   The weather service said flurries were likely to end in much of the state by late morning, followed by a cold, windy day with highs in the mid-30s and winds sometimes reaching 30 mph.


Independence, Missouri Woman Found Dead in Apartment

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Independence police say a woman died long before her body was found in her apartment. Police were called to the apartment complex Sunday afternoon after a janitor found the woman dead in her apartment. Police are unsure how long the woman was dead but said it apparently was an extended period of time. KSHB-TV reports that neighbors said that they hadn't seen the woman in two to three weeks. They said she lived in a part of the apartment complex that didn't have many residents or visitors. The woman's identity was not released, but police said she was a senior citizen.


Death of Former KC Med School President, Karen Pletz, Ruled Suicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A medical examiner has ruled the death of a former Kansas City medical school president as a suicide. Karen Pletz, former president of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, was found dead November 22nd in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Kansas City Star reports that Darin Trelka, interim chief medical examiner of Broward County, ruled Friday that Pletz died of acute intoxication from a combination of drugs and alcohol. Pletz led the osteopathic medical school for 14 years. In 2009, she was fired amid questions about her handling of the school's finances. A federal grand jury indicted her last year, alleging she had embezzled more than $1.5 million from the medical school, engaged in money laundering and falsified tax returns. The charges were dismissed after her death.

Woman Sentenced for Credit Union Robbery

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A central Kansas woman has been sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison for the 2009 holdup of a Wichita credit union. The U.S. Attorney's office says 52-year-old Vicki Arce, of Moundridge, must also pay more than $15,000 in restitution under the sentence she received today. Arce pleaded guilty earlier to one count of bank robbery, admitting she held up the Telephone Employees Credit Union in Wichita on April 30, 2009. Prosecutors said Arce handed a teller a plain white envelope and said she needed the teller's cash. She also told the teller there was "someone in the car with a gun." The teller handed over some cash, and Arce left the bank.


6th Grader Submits Antifreeze Law to KS Legislature

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas elementary school student is honoring the memory of his dog by asking the Kansas Legislature to regulate antifreeze. Wichita 6th grader Aaron Coash says his dog, Nikko, died in January after wandering from home and at some point drinking anti-freeze. KAKE-TV reports that Nikko is one of about 10,000 animals and 1,400 children who die each year from poisoning from anti-freeze, which smells and tastes sweet. Coash and the Humane Society of the United States wrote a bill that asked the state Legislature to require manufacturers to put a bittering agent into antifreeze. The chemical would make it less likely that anyone would accidentally drink antifreeze. The bill was submitted Friday, and Coash is now waiting to hear back from state senators.


Topeka Man Charged with Poaching 14-Point Buck

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Topeka man has been charged with poaching a 14-point whitetail buck that could have broken a state record that has stood for more than 35 years. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says David V. Kent was charged in Osage County with eight counts related to the November 11 shooting of the deer. He faces charges of hunting with an artificial light and hunting during a closed season. A message left for Kent at his business Friday was not immediately returned. The Wichita Eagle reports that the deer was unofficially scored at 198 7/8 inches of antler on the Boone & Crockett system. The state record for a typical whitetail deer shot with a gun is 198 2/8 and is from 1974.


KS Legislature Considering Several Alcohol Bills

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature is spending more time than usual on alcohol-related bills during the current session. The Topeka-Capital Journal reports one lobbyist said 13 alcohol-related bills are in various stages of the legislative process. Senator Pete Brungardt, chairman of the Federal and State Affairs Committee, says much of the liquor legislation is minor tweaking of current laws. But he acknowledges that it's unusual to have so many bills on liquor in one session. The bill that has drawn most of the attention would allow groceries and convenience stores to acquire liquor licenses. Opponents and supporters argued the merits of the bill during two days of testimony before a House committee. The bill has been referred to House subcommittee, while a similar bill sits in a Senate committee.


AP Analysis: KS GOP Defensive Over Private Meetings

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican legislators in Kansas are growing defensive over ongoing questions about whether private gatherings they had with GOP Governor Sam Brownback at his official residence violated the state's Open Meetings Act. A pattern emerged from interviews by The Associated Press with three dozen of the 91 legislators invited to seven dinners in January at Cedar Crest, the governor's residence. The interviews revealed that, during several events, Brownback made remarks that touched on legislative issues and took a few questions. Republican legislators' irritation also surfaced during interviews. Lawmakers attending the events generally saw them as social events, not business meetings worthy of the investigation launched by Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor. The legislators said the events weren't different from past gatherings with Democratic governors.


KS Judge Rejects Change-of-Venue Bid in Longoria Murder Trial

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has refused to move the trial of a  man charged with killing a 14-year-old Great Bend girl. A spokesman for the state's judicial branch said Monday he received an email from the office of Barton County District Judge Hannelore Kitts indicating she denied a change of venue for 38-year-old Adam Longoria. Longoria faces trial March 26 on charges of capital murder and sexual offenses in the August 2010 death of Alicia DeBolt. Defense attorneys contend Longoria can't get a fair trial in Barton County. They cite a survey of 400 county residents that found all were familiar with the case and 94 percent thought Longoria was guilty. But the judge sided with prosecutors who say Longoria can get a fair trial in Great Bend.


GPS Evidence Considered in KC Area Murder Trial

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man accused of killing his wife is expected to find out this week if prosecutors can use GPS evidence collected after his wife disappeared three years ago. The Kansas City Star reports that lawyers for 39-year-old Shon Pernice asked that the evidence be omitted because investigators failed to obtain a search warrant to place the GPS device on Pernice's vehicle. Pernice faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Renee Pernice, who disappeared in January 2009. Her body has not been found.
At a hearing Friday, an officer testified about how the GPS device monitored Pernice's movements. His lawyers have cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that restricts authorities' ability to use GPS devices to track suspects. Pernice's trial is scheduled to begin February 27.


Trial Set in Sedgwick County Jail Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The federal trial is scheduled to begin this week in Wichita in the case of a jail inmate whose family is suing two Sedgwick County jail deputies. Relatives of 46-year-old Terry A. Bruner are seeking a total of $10 million. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Sedgwick County jail deputies said they didn't think Bruner was seriously ill when he was incarcerated. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita says Bruner died of streptococcal meningitis. The family contends Bruner wrongly suffered without medical help before he died a "completely preventable" death in 2008. The jury will decide if two deputies showed "deliberate indifference" to his serious medical needs -- or whether Bruner didn't show serious medical problems.


Funds Available in KS for Saving Water

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers and producers can now apply for federal funding for conserving water. The Garden City Telegram reports that the deadline for applying for the funding from the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative for fiscal year 2012 is Februrary 24. The funding is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. The vast Ogallala aquifer supplies water to several states, but it's being depleted, largely from widespread irrigation. The NRCS in Garden City says the funding is available for farmers and producers who engage in water-conservation practices such as switching from irrigated crops to dryland crops and converting flood irrigation system to center-pivot irrigation systems. The land has to be used for agriculture or livestock production that produces at least $1,000 of products within the year.


No Powerball Jackpot Winner in KS, $336 Million Prize Ticket Sold in Rhode Island

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Lottery officials say the winning ticket in Saturday's $336.4 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a Stop & Shop supermarket in Newport. Officials said Monday that no one has come forward yet to claim the prize. The winning numbers were 1-10-37-52-57 and the Powerball was 11. The jackpot was the third largest in Powerball history. The ticket price increased from $1 to $2 last month, and rising sales nearly doubled the jackpot from $173.5 million on February 1. Powerball is played in 42 states, including Kansas. The chance of matching all five numbers -- plus the Powerball number -- is about 1 in 175 million.


KU Women's Basketball Loses Leading Scorer to Knee Injury  

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Leading scorer Carolyn Davis will miss the remainder of the season for the University of Kansas women's basketball team after tearing her ACL and dislocating her left knee in a loss to Kansas State. Jayhawks coach Bonnie Henrickson announced the extent of the injury Monday. Davis felt to the court clutching her knee in the opening minutes of the Jayhawks' 47-43 loss Sunday. Her leg was immobilized and she was removed from the arena on a stretcher. The 6-foot-3 junior had been averaging 17.5 points and scored at least 20 points eight times this season. KU (17-7, 6-6 Big 12) missed a big opportunity to improve its NCAA tournament resume against the Wildcats, and now must play the stretch run without its best player. The Jayhawks' first game without Davis is Wednesday night at Iowa State.


Big Monday Game: Sunflower Showdown Looms in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas, ranked 4th in the nation in this week's Associated Press college basketball poll, is hitting the road for another Big Monday matchup. This time, the Jayhawks visit rival Kansas State for the marquee televised game. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, the Jayhawks are 43-16 on Big Monday, though just 18-15 on the road. That includes a 24-8 mark since Bill Self took over as KU's coach. Only recently has Kansas State risen to the level of such marquee matchups, making four Big Monday appearances last season. Their game against the Jayhawks is their only one this season. The quick turnaround from a Saturday game to Monday night is one of the reasons that Kansas State coach Frank Martin says he has such respect for Bill Self and Kansas.


Judge in Great Bend Expected to Rule on Murder Trial Location

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Barton County Judge Hannelore Kitts is expected to rule today (MON) on whether to move the trial of a Kansas man accused with killing a 14-year-old Great Bend girl. Attorneys for 38-year-old Adam Longoria contended at a hearing last week that their client can't get a fair trial in Barton County because most residents already think he is guilty. A survey of 400 Barton County residents conducted through Pittsburg State University found all were familiar with the case and 94 percent thought Longoria was guilty. Prosecutors say the survey is not representative and argue Longoria could still get a fair trial. He is scheduled to go on trial March 26 on charges of capital murder and sex crimes for the August 2010 death of Alicia DeBolt.



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