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Regional Headlines for Monday, July 22, 2013


Kansas Regulators Considering New Fracking Disclosure Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas utility regulators are considering new rules to require oil and natural gas companies to disclose some information about the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that the Kansas Corporation Commission outlined the proposed rules to legislators on Monday. The KCC also plans a public hearing August 10 in Wichita on the proposals. The rules would require companies to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking with water under high pressure to crack open rock formations and release oil and natural gas. The information would have to be listed on a KCC database or an online industry database. Companies could avoid some disclosures if their chemicals were a trade secret.  Environmentalists said the rules don't go far enough.


Kansas Democrats Expect Governor Hopeful to Arise Soon

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some prominent Kansas Democrats expect their party's top candidate for governor to emerge by Labor Day for a challenge to Republican incumbent Sam Brownback. The Democrats most often mentioned as potential candidates are Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence; businesswoman and former Board of Regents member Jill Docking of Wichita, and former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty, a native of Ellsworth County. Democrats acknowledge that their nominee will need to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and build statewide name recognition early. In 2010, the Democratic nominee, state Senator Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, was hampered by a relatively late start in February of that year. Kansas Republican Party Executive Director Clay Barker says the GOP doesn't see Brownback as vulnerable.


Wichita Officials Examining Downtown Drillers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Issues have arisen with two figures Wichita is negotiating with to extract oil from beneath the Century II exhibition hall in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports that one man has unpaid state taxes, loan defaults and debt recovery judgments. A second key figure in the negotiations ran a company that has a tax dispute with the state. The Eagle reported that city officials had no idea about the issues until the newspaper found the financial cases in Sedgwick County District Court last week. The discovery came weeks after city planning officials began discussing a mineral rights lease with the men. The discovery has put the drilling project on shaky ground. Several city officials now say they won't partner with any driller who has financial issues.

Direct Water Contact Banned at 6 Kansas Lakes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Swimming, skiing and other direct water contact is banned at six Kansas lakes because of toxic blue-green algae. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the lakes are Buhler City Lake in Reno County, Colwich City Lake in Sedgwick County, Logan City Lake in Phillips County, Memorial Park Lake in Barton County, Riggs Park Lake in Sedgwick County and South Park Lake in Johnson County. At two other Kansas lakes, direct water contact is discouraged. Those lakes are Marion Reservoir in Marion County and Milford Lake in Dickinson and Geary counties. The KDHE urges visitors to the six lakes where direct water contact is banned and the two where it's discouraged to keep their pets from drinking untreated water. Any fish caught in the lakes should be cleaned well.

Kansas Seeks Proposals for Clinton Reservoir Resort

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is seeking proposals from developers to build a large resort and convention center at Clinton State Park near Lawrence. A feasibility study found that the park could support a resort with about 175 rooms, two restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, a pool-side bar and grill, spa, fitness center and 15,000 square feet of meeting space. The Wichita Eagle reports that the study was conducted for the state by a resort consulting company. Kansas Department of Commerce deputy secretary Steve Kelly says he thinks the facility could attract people who've been leaving to go to places like Lake of the Ozarks for business meetings or retreats. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism head Robin Jennison says he's expecting five or six developers to submit proposals later this month.


Bicyclist Dies After Being Struck by Vehicle

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 29-year-old woman died when she was hit by a vehicle while riding her bicycle. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Hayley M. Berrios died Sunday evening while riding her bike on the South Lawrence Trafficway at 27th Street in Lawrence. She was declared dead at the scene. A 67-year-old Lawrence man who was driving the truck that collided with Berrios was not injured.


University Hosts Dole Birthday Bash

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A steady stream of visitors has been filing into the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence to wish the former U.S. senator a happy 90th birthday. Monday's event on the campus of the University of Kansas featured cake and giant greeting cards. Dole himself was not in attendance. Visitors recalled Dole's leadership and ability to compromise for the greater good. The Russell native served in the Senate from 1969 until he resigned in 1996 to run for president as the Republican nominee, eventually losing to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole is a World War II veteran who served in Europe, where he was severely wounded in battle in Italy.


Storm Knocks Out Kansas Water Treatment Plant

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Independence, Kansas has declared a water emergency after a powerful thunderstorm knocked out power to the local treatment plant. Officials told The Independence Daily Reporter it could be 18 hours before Westar Energy can repair the damage caused by the storm around 8 am Monday in the southeastern Kansas community. The outage occurred when a possible microburst toppled a pole that supports transformers and power lines that supply the water treatment plant. City officials were working to shut down heavy water users such as fast-food restaurants, while nursing homes and industries were being asked to conserve water. More than 3 inches of rain fell during the morning.


Kansas, Chinese Province Pledge Agricultural Partnership 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback is celebrating an agreement between Kansas and central China's Henan province as a significant development in their trade relationship. Brownback said Monday the state and the province have agreed to work on projects related to agriculture, food safety and the biosciences that include education, research, and developing commercial projects from research. Brownback and Henan's provincial governor signed the agreement last week during a Kansas trade mission to China. The Kansas delegation also included state Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman and Commerce Secretary Pat George. Brownback says the agreement follows up on three decades of goodwill missions involving Kansas and Henan province. The Kansas delegation also visited Guangdong province in southern China before returning early Monday.


Joplin Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Selling K2

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The owner of Joplin business pleaded guilty to mail fraud conspiracy and money laundering related to the sale of synthetic marijuana known as K2. Fifty-one-year-old Timmy J. Ridgway, of Weir, Kansas, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court. Prosecutors say Ridgway and others distributed K2 at his business, The Looking Glass. The synthetic product mimics the effect of marijuana but in a more intense way. Law officers searched the business March 4 and seized about nearly 900 packages of synthetic marijuana and $7,575 in cash. They also seized $123,512 from two bank accounts. Ridgway was ordered to forfeit $285,949, his business in Joplin, a residential property in Pittsburg, and the funds seized from his business and bank accounts on March 4.


Kansas Man Wins $1M in Powerball Drawing

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas man plans to pay off his house, buy a swing set and make some investments with the $1 million he won in the latest Powerball drawing. The Kansas Lottery says 43-year-old Nelson Worley, of Osawatomie, matched the first five numbers but not the Powerball number in Saturday night's drawing. The jackpot was $141 million, but Worley says he's not complaining about winning just $1 million. Worley runs a stucco contracting business in Osawatomie. He and his wife have five children and one grandchild between them. It's the second recent stroke of luck for Worley, who nearly died about 18 months ago when he went into cardiac arrest at a go-cart track in Olathe. A good Samaritan whose name he never learned provided CPR until first responders arrived.


Sentencing Date for Kansas Veteran Set for October

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 67-year-old veteran convicted of possessing grenades at his Eureka apartment is scheduled to be sentenced in October. A federal judge Friday set an October 21 sentencing date for Alfred Dutton. A federal jury this week convicted Dutton of one count of unlawful possession of unregistered explosive devices. Dutton faces up to 10 years in federal prison, although he is likely to get far less time under sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors told jurors at his trial in Wichita that Dutton added chemicals to gunpowder to increase the explosive power of the grenades he was making. His defense attorney portrayed his client as a tinkerer who was experimenting with making fireworks and was working on creating a mock grenade that he planned to sell on eBay.

Sedgwick County Proposing Way to Keep Riddel Ranch Open

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County officials working to keep the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch open are suggesting the state should create a new classification of residential centers for juveniles. The suggestion would create a new tier of residential juvenile homes, with the state paying more for the service. The Riddel center in Goodard is classified as a youth residential centers II. The county considered closing the ranch this year because what the state currently pays requires the county to pay $75 per day per boy. The Legislature approved an additional $750,000 lump sum for this fiscal year for the ranch. The Wichita Eagle reports that county officials say the money doesn't address the long-term financial problems. The county still wants the state to increase the daily rate it pays the ranch.


Kansas Man Charged in Killing to Claim Self Defense


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man charged with shooting another man to death will claim self-defense at his trial next month. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the attorney for 22-year-old William Spangler discussed planned the self-defense claim during a hearing Friday in Shawnee County District Court. Spangler is charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the March shooting death of 22-year-old Faustino Martinez of Wichita. Martinez was shot at an apartment building a short distance west of the Statehouse. Spangler turned himself in to police less than seven hours after the shooting. Police said Spangler was seen leaving the apartment building and was possibly armed with a rifle. Spangler was free on bond on a charge tied to a bar fight when Martinez was killed.


Salinan Worries About Daughter's Afghanistan Grave

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — An 89-year-old Salina woman finally has some peace of mind, knowing that her daughter's grave in Afghanistan has not been disturbed by the war in that country. Ruby McBee had to leave her daughter's grave behind when she and her husband left that country in 1955. Their 10-year-old daughter, Marilyn, died in 1954 from polio and the couple could not leave the country with her body. She was buried in a cemetery at Menzel Bagh. Recently, McBee decided to see if someone could confirm the grave was still there. The Salina Journal reports that U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Addleton found an Afghan colleague who visited the cemetery and took pictures. The cemetery is closed and overgrown but the grave is still there. McBee says that's enough for her.



Former Kansas School Added to Historic Register


KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The National Park Service has added a former elementary school in Kansas City, Kansas, that's long been used as a community center to the National Register of Historic Places. The Kansas State Historical Society says the former Franklin Elementary School building is now one of about 1,300 Kansas sites on the national list of historically significant properties. The Park Service added the school in the Argentine section of Kansas City, Kansas, to the register last month. The school opened in 1898, with four teachers and students in first through eighth grade. In 1910, the school was expanded to add six new classrooms. The school closed in 1973, a victim of declining enrollment. However, a nonprofit community group later purchased the building for a center.


Woman, Child Injured When Train Hits Vehicle

WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) — Police say a woman and her granddaughter are hospitalized after their vehicle was hit by an Amtrak train in Warrensburg. Warrensburg police say the vehicle was hit by the train Sunday evening. Corporal Dustin Mayden says a train conductor and an unidentified person pulled the 3-year-old granddaughter from the vehicle. The girl and her 43-year-old grandmother were in serious condition Sunday night at Kansas City hospitals. Their names have not been released. Authorities have conflicting statements from witnesses about whether the electronic crossing arms at the intersection were working. None of the 170 people on the Amtrak train were injured. The train was delayed about an hour before it continued to St. Louis.


KU Researcher: T.Rex Was Predator, Not Scavenger

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Paleontologists long have debated whether the Tyrannosaurus rex was a vicious killing machine or a scavenger. But now David Burnham of the University of Kansas says new evidence shows the dinosaur is "the monster of our dreams." The new evidence is a T. rex tooth lodged in the fossilized spine of a hadrosaur. The plant-eater seems to have survived the attack. And because the T. rex regularly shed teeth, the hunter would have simply grown a new one. The university said in a news release that Burnham was part of a team that analyzed graduate student Robert DePalma's fossil discovery from the Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota. The team describes the find in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Ballet Wichita Unveils Artwork Created by Runners

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new work of public art has joined the Wichita skyline. The Wichita Eagle reports that runners created a unique billboard last month during a 5-kilometer run sponsored by Ballet Wichita. After crossing the finish line, runners walked across a 35 by 14 feet canvas with their feet slathered in paint. Ballet Wichita's executive director, Barbara Yarnell Chamberlin, says about 220 participants loaned their colorful footprints to the project. The billboard was unveiled last week. Chamberlin says next year's race will feature three to four different public art projects. She hopes the event draws more of Wichita's young professionals into the arts scene.


Chiefs Trickle into Reid's First Training Camp

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are arriving on the campus of Missouri Western for their first training camp under coach Andy Reid. Rookies and quarterbacks were reporting Monday ahead of the full squad, which will begin practice in earnest on Friday. The Chiefs play their first preseason game August 9 at New Orleans, and then open the regular season September 8 at Jacksonville. After going 2-14 last year, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt fired coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli this past offseason. Longtime Packers personnel man John Dorsey was brought in as the new GM and Reid was hired after spending the past 14 years with the Eagles. Together, they've overhauled the roster in the hopes of a quick turnaround.


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