LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Regional Headlines for Monday, January 6, 2014


Bitter Cold Moves Into Kansas, Grips Much of the Nation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Several Kansas school districts are canceling classes today because of bitter cold temperatures. The National Weather Service says wind chill advisories and warnings are in effect through noon Monday for all but extreme southwest Kansas. Meteorologist Audra Hennecke says northeast sections of the state are expected to see wind chills of minus 25 to 30 degrees. The cold snap comes after an area of east-central Kansas was coated this weekend with 3 to 4 inches of snow. Elsewhere accumulations ranged from 2 to 3 inches in southeastern Kansas to 1 to 3 inches in far northeast and south-central sections of the state. Hennecke says strong winds are leading to widespread areas of blowing and drifting snow. Districts canceling classes include Kansas City, Kansas and Shawnee Mission.


Concerns for KS Homeless Rise During Deep Freeze

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Concerns about the homeless in northeast Kansas have risen as temperatures have plummeted. Topeka Rescue Mission Executive Director Barry Feaker said Monday that arctic weather has made its outreach efforts more urgent. The mission had a team of four people out looking for homeless Topeka residents. Feaker said the mission sends the team out regularly to connect the homeless to services and to offer them shelter. He said the team went to encampments late last week to warn residents that frigid weather was coming. In some cases, the mission will help with warmer clothing and tents if people won't leave the streets. Feaker said more than 300 people stayed at the rescue mission Sunday night, with at least a few new residents because of the weather.


KS Ranchers Brave Deep Freeze to Care for Cattle

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas farmers are coping with frigid conditions as they look after cattle herds. Most Kansas ranchers have not begun calving yet. But the lack of snow on the ground means cattle can stay dry and better weather the subzero weather. But it also means there is little protective cover for exposed winter wheat crops. It will be spring before farmers know the full extent of freeze damage. The National Weather Service says Garden City and Cottonwood Falls had the state's lowest temperatures early Monday at minus 12 degrees. Temperatures elsewhere varied widely, with southeast and northeast Kansas seeing lows around minus 11 degrees. It was minus 5 degrees in Wichita at 6:25 am Monday.


Some Ex-GOP Lawmakers Backing Democrat in KS Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democrat Paul Davis is getting help from some former Republicans in the Kansas Legislature in his bid to unseat GOP Governor Sam Brownback this year. The Davis campaign announced Monday that the group Republicans for Davis will be chaired by former House Speaker Wendell Lady, of Overland Park, and former House members Fred Gatlin, of Atwood, and Charles Roth, of Salina. Lady was speaker from 1979 through 1982. Davis, of Lawrence, is the House minority leader. He said as governor he would be committed to bipartisan cooperation. Close Brownback ally David Kensinger said the pro-Davis group's reported 400 members are only a tiny fraction of the state's registered Republicans. A group called Democrats for Brownback is led by James Echols, board president of a Kansas City, Kansas anti-poverty group.


Bombardier to Furlough 300 Learjet Workers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Bombardier says it will put about 300 of its Learjet employees on furlough during the first half of the year. The company said in a memo to employees that the furloughs will take place in two-week blocks over a six-week span. The memo from vice president and general manager Ralph Acs on Friday that the furloughs involve production of the Learjet 70 and 75 and direct support staff members. Employees will find out this month who is affected and what dates they will be furloughed.

KS Concealed Carry Permits Set Record in 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorney General Derek Schmidt says more Kansas residents sought and obtained permits for concealed carry permits for guns in 2013 than any year since the law took effect. Schmidt's office issued a report Monday saying that 24,000 applications were filed last year, an increase of more than 50 percent over 2012. The office received 24,181 applications in 2013, including 1,036 in December, which take an average of 30 days to process. More than 75,000 active permits have been issued in Kansas. Permits are good for four years before they have to be renewed. Permit holders who allow their licenses to lapse more than six months from their expiration date must complete required training to have it reinstated.


2 Arrested in Theft from Dying Wichita Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say they arrested two 19-year-old men and are searching for a third man after the robbery of a woman who was unconscious after falling ill at a fast-food restaurant. Danielle Zimmerman died after she suffered a brain aneurysm December 29 at a Wichita Taco Bell and her car crashed into a speaker in the drive-through lane. Before emergency help arrived, someone stole her purse, credit cards, telephone and wedding ring. Captain Brent Allred said Monday that the men were arrested Friday night after police received an anonymous tip. They have not yet been charged. Some of Zimmerman's missing property has been recovered but her wedding ring is still missing.


Geary County Gets $16M for New Fort Riley School

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Department of Defense has awarded the Geary County school district $16 million for construction of a new elementary school at Fort Riley. The Geary County district maintains buildings on the northeast Kansas Army post. The grant announced Monday is for a 500-student school that will relieve overcrowding and improve facility conditions. Fort Riley was placed on a priority list for new school funding in 2011, in part because of the increased number of soldiers and families assigned to the post since 2006.


Kansas Universities Unite in Budget Fight

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas universities are uniting in an appeal to restore slashed higher education spending. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that political debate about the future of taxpayer financing of the 32-school Kansas Board of Regents system returns to the forefront in mid-January when the 2014 Legislature assembles in Topeka. Officials at Washburn University, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas say they won't be shy about laying down arguments at the Capitol for stronger state investment in higher education. They want to see the restoration of $23 million in the current fiscal year and $25 million that was scheduled to be withdrawn in the upcoming fiscal year. Kansas State president Kirk Schulz says industry will go elsewhere if the state can't produce the workforce it needs.


KS Officials Confirm Cause of Illness Outbreak

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — State health officials have confirmed the cause of an illness that struck patrons of a southwest Kansas restaurant last month. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Monday the gastrointestinal upset among people who ate food from a Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches in Garden City was caused by norovirus. County and state agencies began investigating the outbreak December 18. KDHE says it found that 209 people came down with norovirus symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea within three days of eating the restaurant's food between December 10 and Christmas Eve. The Jimmy John's closed for three days in late December for a special cleaning and disinfection. State officials say no new cases of the illness have been reported since the restaurant reopened on December 27.


Svaty: Aquifer Depletion Also Affects Eastern KS

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas secretary of agriculture says water supply issues and the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer aren't just a western Kansas problem. Former secretary Josh Svaty told environmentalists with the group Lawrence Ecology Teams United for Sustainability on Sunday that the agriculture economy in western Kansas flows toward the eastern part of state. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that roughly 90 percent of the water pumped out of the Ogallala is used for irrigation to grow corn, soybeans and milo, which is used to feed livestock. Svaty says the livestock industry also has a big presence around the Kansas City and Johnson County areas in eastern Kansas. He says water levels in some parts of western Kansas have declined rapidly since large-scale irrigation began there in the 1970s.


KS Woman Signs Plea Deal in TX Military Contract Scheme

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Two former officials of a San Antonio military medical center have signed plea deals to admit their guilt in a fraudulent scheme involving more than $7 million in military contracts. The San Antonio Express-News reports that retired Army Master Sergeant Lawrence Peter Fenti of New Braunfels and Dr. Heidi L. Webster of Manhattan, Kansas will plead guilty in court Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The 42-year-old Fenti also has agreed to plead guilty to accepting a bribe, while the 50-year-old Webster will plead to giving him one. Fenti was the chief administrator for Brooke Army Medical Center's radiology department and Webster worked at the center. Prosecutors say they steered contracts to two Kansas companies run by Webster that she registered as defense contractors.


Former Kansas Guardsman Sentenced for Wire Fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas Air National Guard senior airman has been spared prison time but must repay nearly $55,000 in travel reimbursements that she fraudulently collected. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot on Monday placed 29-year-old Eledria J. Bradley on three years of federal probation. A federal jury convicted Bradley in June on one count of wire fraud. Prosecutors say Bradley went online and changed her address to Chandler, Arizona while she was deployed to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, where she lives. The Arizona address placed Bradley outside the commuting distance for McConnell, allowing her to collect two years' worth of benefits for lodging and per diem expenses.


2.9 Quake Rattles Part of Southeast Nebraska

WYMORE, Neb. (AP) — A minor earthquake has rattled a portion of southeast Nebraska. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake occurred at 11:56 pm Sunday about three miles beneath the earth's surface, 6½ miles southeast of Wymore. It measured 2.9 on the Richter scale. Wymore sits 51 miles south of Lincoln in Gage County, about eight miles from the Kansas border. Gage County emergency management coordinator Mark Meints told Beatrice station KWBE that he and one of his children felt his house shake for a few seconds. Dee Fritsch at the Beatrice Communications Center says the center received about 30 calls from people reporting the temblor. No damage has been reported. USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso says an earthquake generally must hit 5 or 5.5 on the scale to cause injuries and significant structural damage.


Ex-KS Bank Worker Admits Stealing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A fourth defendant in the embezzlement of up to $84,000 from a southwest Kansas bank has pleaded guilty. The U.S. Attorney's office says 33-year-old Hattie Wiginton pleaded guilty Monday to one count of theft from Western State Bank in Ulysses. She faces up to 10 years in federal prison at her sentencing March 24. Three of Wiginton's former co-workers at the bank pleaded guilty earlier. Ashley Cravens, Linda Wise and Amber Gutierrez, all of Ulysses, will be sentenced in February. Prosecutors said the defendants began stealing in 2008 by making deposits into each other's accounts, hiding the shortage by lying about the balance in the bank's vault. In July 2010, three of the women staged a holdup of the bank to cover up the shortage of cash in the bank.


KS School Board Group Selects New Leader

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The president of a south-central school board has been elected to the leadership of the Kansas Association of School Boards. A recent delegate assembly in Wichita chose Don Shimkus, of Oxford, as the association's president-elect designee. He will begin serving as president-elect on July 1 and serve as president on July 1, 2015. Shimkus says he will work to ensure that all Kansas communities have the resources they need for public education. The association has nearly 5,000 members representing school boards, community colleges and technical schools.

Lawrence Officials Won't Recommend Natural Gas for Buses

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials are recommending against powering the city's fleet of transit buses with compressed natural gas. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that commissioners will formally receive the recommendation at a meeting Tuesday. They'll also be asked to approve a contract to purchases two diesel-powered buses and one diesel-electric hybrid bus. Natural gas is cheaper than diesel, but using it would require the city to spend an estimated $2 million to build a fueling station. Transit administrator Bob Nugent estimated in a memo that the city would recoup its upfront investment in compressed natural gas equipment in nine to 10 years. Then the question becomes whether compressed natural gas prices will continue to remain lower than diesel prices for the long term.

Crews Investigate Topeka Creek Hazmat Spill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say they have contained a hazardous material spill in a Topeka creek and determined it posed no threat. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Topeka Fire Department's hazardous materials team responded around 3:30 p.m. Saturday to Shunga Creek. Topeka fire shift commander Cindy Holt says the city's water pollution division and the state's fire marshal investigated the spill, determining it to probably be some sort of gasoline, likely diesel fuel. Holt says she isn't sure when the substance will be cleaned up. Officials will be back out to continue the investigation and attempt to pinpoint what caused the spill and its source.

20-Year-Old KS Driver Arrested in Fatal Crash

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man involved in a single-vehicle crash that killed a 17-year-old boy has been taken into custody. The Manhattan Mercury reports that Riley County police arrested the 20-year-old suspect Friday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and failure to stop at an injury accident. He was released on $10,000 bond. The October 19th crash two miles northeast of Leonardville killed Trevor Redding. Authorities said the accident happened when the suspect's vehicle skidded, entered a ditch and struck a rock wall. The vehicle then rolled, ejecting Redding, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lawrence Considers Placard Requirement for Rental Units

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Some Lawrence city commissioners are reconsidering their support for a proposal to require a city-approved placard to be placed inside all rental units in the city as part of a new licensing program. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the commission voted 3-2 last month to have city staff draw up an ordinance that includes the placards requirement. Questions have arisen since then about where they would be placed inside of the roughly 18,000 rental units, and whether they're needed at all. Commissioner Jeremy Farmer proposed requiring placards that provide information for renters on how to contact the city's enforcement office. Bob Schumm was one of the three commissioners in favor of the placards, but he now says he's not sure that's the best way to disseminate information.


Wichita Police Frustrated over 4 Unsolved Killings

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say the city's residents can feel good about having one of the lowest homicide totals in a decade last year with 16. But it's the four that remain unsolved that have local law enforcement frustrated because nobody is stepping forward with information that could bring the killers to justice. The Wichita Eagle  reports two of the unsolved homicides were gang-related, while the other two involved gang members. Two of the victims — 27-year-old James Gary Jr. and 25-year-old Kolby Hopkins — were shot in the midst of large crowds. Aaron Bohannon was with Hopkins when he was fatally shot in the city's Old Town district. Bohannon says it's tough to start the healing process without knowing who is responsible for taking his friend's life.


Agencies Plan Active-Shooter Exercise in SE Kansas

CHANUTE, Kan. (AP) — The public can expect sirens, helicopters and blocked roads in Chanute this week as law enforcement agencies converge on the southeast Kansas town for an active-shooter exercise. The mock event is scheduled Tuesday at Neosho County Community College. Police, fire, medical and media units from local and regional agencies will participate. Officials say the purpose is to prepare, practice and reflect on a response to a major crisis situation. The exercise begins at 10 am and is expected to last about four hours.

Flight Makes Emergency Landing at KCI

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An American Airlines flight made an emergency landing Sunday at Kansas City International Airport after a flash drive was found in a bathroom. Airport spokesman Joe McBride says the discovery was made Sunday afternoon as Flight 24 was headed from San Francisco International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. McBride says the Boeing 767 was taken to an area away from the terminal and was being searched. The 227 passengers and crew members were evacuated. McBride says it is "a new day and age since 9/11" and that officials take precautions if something is deemed suspicious.

KS Shelter Receives Grant for Train Safety Education

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka homeless shelter has received a $5,000 train safety education grant after two recent railroad track deaths of residents. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Topeka Rescue Mission is among 21 public safety agencies and other groups nationwide receiving such grants from Union Pacific. A woman staying at the Rescue Mission died in May on nearby tracks in a suicide, and a male guest died in July in what was believed to be an accident. Rescue Mission executive director Barry Feaker says at least six people have been fatally injured on the tracks in the past 25 years. Feaker says the grant will be used to create educational materials and expand safety education efforts.

KU Restoring Museum Panorama

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas Natural History Museum is restoring a 360-degree wildlife panorama that was installed in 1903. The panorama in the university's Dyche (dike) Hall was damaged by temperatures, lights and humidity. Leonard Krishtalka, director of the KU Biodiversity Institute, says the building is now equipped with LED lights and temperatures controls that will help preserve the specimens. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the first step in the restoration process was completed in December when researchers conducted a chemical analysis of the exhibit. In March, researchers will analyze the exhibit for degradation such as the splitting animal hides or loss of color in background paintings. Krishtalka says that specimen-by-specimen analysis should be completed by mid-summer.

KS Group to Hold Alternative Fuel Meeting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A coalition that's being formed to promote the use of alternative fuels is inviting businesses, groups and individuals to attend a meeting in downtown Wichita later this month. The Wichita Eagle reports Central Kansas Clean Cities is one of about 100 such groups across the country formed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities initiative. The group says its mission is to expand the use and availability of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. The central Kansas group is being formed under the auspices of the Kansas City-based Metropolitan Energy Center.

Rebuilding in Pretty Prairie After Microburst

PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. (AP) — Five months after a microburst caused major damage to the south-central Kansas town of Pretty Prairie, the rebuilding effort is showing mixed results. The local steakhouse, which serves as a gathering place for leaders in the town of about 600 residents, reopened last week. But the town's theater is still in ruins. Both buildings on Main Street were closed after two storms packing hail and 80 mph winds hit last July 23. The Hutchinson News reports that the Pretty Prairie Steakhouse and Lil' Rascals Lounge reopened, thanks to insurance money and help from volunteers in the town. The Pretty Prairie Civic Theatre has remained closed since the storm because of structural damage. Before the storm, residents gathered on Saturday nights to watch classic movies.


2 Arrested Following Body Discovery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City police detective says a 20-year-old man and a juvenile male have admitted repeatedly beating and torturing a 58-year-old Liberty man who was giving them a ride home. The body of Mark Thomas was found early Sunday in a women's restroom at Smithville Lake north of Kansas City. Police say his feet were bound with jumper cables and a bag was placed over his head and tied down with wire, and his ring finger was partially severed. Twenty-year-old Zachary Lisle has been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and armed criminal action in Thomas's death. The Clay County (Missouri) prosecutor's office declined to say what, if any, charges will be filed against the juvenile. Police say Thomas left his home late Friday to give the two a ride.

Volunteers Restoring B-29 Superfortress in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Volunteers restoring a World War Two-era B-20 bomber in Wichita are racing the clock as they aim to fly the historic Superfortress at a Wisconsin air show in July. The Wichita Eagle reports the overhaul of the Wichita-built plane began in 2000, but was put on hold for a few years. The project resumed in 2013 with about 50 to 60 volunteers. They're replacing wires, cables, pulleys and skin panels corroded by salt and sand during the years the 1944 plane spent stored in California's Mojave desert. But more work is needed. The group is looking for more volunteers with certain skills, including aircraft electricians and sheet metal mechanics. Once the plane is restored, the group hopes to find a permanent home for it in Wichita.


Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)