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Regional Headlines for Monday, June 10, 2013


Ottawa Police Investigating Woman's Death

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Ottawa police are investigating the death of a 29-year-old woman.  Officers were called to an apartment yesterday (SUN) morning to investigate after the woman's body was found. The home is located next to Ottawa University.  Police said in a news release that they have a preliminary identification of the woman but her name was not released.


Kansas State's Post-Season Baseball Run On the Line Tonight

Kansas State's chance of advancing to the College World Series in Omaha rides on the outcome of tonight's (MON) game in Corvallis, Oregon.  In the best-of-3 NCAA super regional, the Oregon State Beavers beat the Wildcats last (SUN) night, 12-to-4, to even-up the series at one game apiece.  Tonight's (MON) deciding game against the third-seeded Beavers will start at 9 o'clock.  The Wildcats have never been this close to making the field of eight at the College World Series.


Lawrence Gets $1.2M Grant to Renovate Train Depot

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to fix up a 1950s-era train depot that serves Amtrak passenger trains.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the grant will cover 80 percent of the cost of renovating the Santa Fe depot, which is a stop on the twice-daily Amtrak Southwest Chief.  Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway owns the building, which needs a new roof, heating and cooling systems and other repairs. The depot has already received $1.5 million from Amtrak to make its boarding platform ADA-compliant.  The new funding is a federal Transportation Enhancement grant awarded by the Kansas Department of Transportation.  Burlington Northern officials have expressed interest in the past in selling the station to the city for a nominal amount.


Lawrence Native Erin Brockovich Arrested in Nevada

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie about her fight over the pollution of a California town, is apologizing after she was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated at Lake Mead near Las Vegas.  In a statement issued Sunday, the Lawrence native stressed that she did not operate the boat in open waters and said "there was no public safety risk." She added that the Friday night arrest "was clearly a big mistake."  A Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman says Brockovich was arrested after breath tests showed her blood-alcohol level was just over twice the legal limit of .08. She was released after posting $1,000 bail.  Brockovich's efforts to sue Pacific Gas & Electric for polluting the water supply of a small Southern California town were adapted into a big-screen story, "Erin Brockovich."


Psych Exam Dropped for Mom of Child Kept in Closet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Documents show the mother of a Kansas City child found locked in a closet had been ordered to undergo a psychological exam years before, but a family court commissioner canceled the exam without explanation.  The then-10-year-old girl weighed only 32 pounds when she was found in the closet in June 2012. She told authorities she wasn't allowed to eat some days and hadn't been to school since kindergarten.  The child's mother has pleaded not guilty to child abuse, child endangerment and first-degree assault.  The Kansas City Star reports that the child's mother told investigators voices had been telling her to do bad things to the child since 2007.  When a psychological exam was scheduled for the mother in 2006, the commissioner canceled the exam and ordered her to therapy instead.


KS Superintendents to Support Common Core

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Superintendents from across Kansas plan to gather in Topeka to show support for the Common Core education standards.  The superintendents will attend the Kansas State Board of Education meeting tomorrow (TUE) to support the national math and English standards as good for Kansas schools. They also want to say the Education Board, not the Legislature, should be in charge of curriculum standards.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the gathering is a response to opponents of Common Core, who packed the State Board of Education meeting last month and pleaded against the standards.  Cheryl Semmel, executive director of the Kansas School Superintendents Association, said superintendents want to thank some members of the board who worked in the Legislature to stop an effort to block or delay the standards in Kansas.


Timing Uncertain for Vote on KS Science Standards

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The chairwoman of the Kansas State Board of Education says it's uncertain when the panel will vote on proposed science standards for public schools.  The board's agenda for tomorrow's (TUE) meeting includes a vote on guidelines that would replace standards adopted in 2007. But Chairwoman Jana Shaver said she isn't sure the board will want to vote then.  The Independence Republican noted the vote is scheduled shortly after a public comment period. Shaver said members may consider delaying the vote depending upon the comments made.  The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by 26 states, including Kansas. They emphasize hands-on projects and starting instruction about core concepts in kindergarten.  Past debates on science standards in Kansas have centered on teaching evolution. Both the existing and proposed standards are evolution-friendly.


Topeka Teens Help Kids in Tornado-Ravaged Oklahoma

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka group is teaming up to help young people affected by the tornadoes that hit the Oklahoma City area.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Topeka Youth Project's Youth Council is coordinating with local youth groups and collecting items for teens and day care-aged children in Moore and El Reno, Okla., and the surrounding areas that were hit by the recent tornadoes.  Georgianna Wong, executive director of the Topeka Youth Council, says items being collected for teens include curling irons, hair dryers, shampoo, conditioner, flip flops and clothing. For day care-aged children, riding toys, books, coloring books, crayons, sidewalk chalk, card games, small chairs and tables, dolls, trucks and general toys are being gathered.  Items are being collected until July 15.


Garden City Native Gets Naval Command

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Garden City native has been named commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Annapolis.  The Garden City Telegram reports that Capt. Logan Jones was given the command May 30.  His parents are also both from Garden City. Jones graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 with a degree in oceanography. Following commissioning, Jones completed the naval nuclear power training program before reporting to his initial assignment on board the USS Yorktown. He has also served on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Enterprise, USS Barry and USS Cole.  He also served on the commander's staffs at Naval Air Forces East and U.S. Joint Forces Command. Prior to taking command of Naval Support Activity Annapolis, he commanded the USS Vicksburg.


Teachers Hall of Fame to Honor Slain Educators

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on a memorial honoring educators killed on the job.  The ceremony for the Memorial to Fallen Educators is Thursday in Emporia. The Wichita Eagle reports the 10-by-10 black granite monument shaped like a book will be be inscribed with the names of about 50 educators killed while on duty.  Carol Strickland, executive director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, says among those whose names will be on the monument include four teachers, the principal and a school psychologist from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and a teacher from Columbine High School in Colorado.  Strickland also encourages school districts to notify the Teachers Hall of Fame of people who should be considered for the memorial.  


Man's Note Demanding Money Written on His Bank Form

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A would-be robber wrote a note demanding money at a Wichita restaurant. But he wrote the note on his own check reorder form.  Wichita police say the man entered the Spangles restaurant in east Wichita early Saturday. Police Sergeant Scott Brunow told WIBW that the man handed the note demanding money to a cashier. However, he left on foot a short time later after not getting anything.  When police looked at the note, they discovered it had been written on a check reorder form and had the man's name and address on it.  Officers went by the address and saw the 38-year-old man standing outside. Police say he was taken into custody and booked into the Sedgwick County Jail.


Closing Arguments Begin in ex-KS Lawman's Trial 

KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) — A jury now will decide whether a former Kansas lawman killed his wife and set their house on fire while their young sons slept down the hall. Jurors met for about a half hour Monday before going home after listening toclosing arguments. The jury resumes deliberations Tuesday. Prosecutors portrayed Brett Seacat as a manipulative man who used his law enforcement background to make it look like his wife shot herself. The defense contends even an experienced coroner couldn't decide whether the death was suicide or homicide. Seacat is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of child endangerment in the April 2011 shooting death of 34-year-old Vashti Seacat. Seacat is a former Sedgwick County deputy who also was an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.


Overtime for State Workers Continues to Increase

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Many state workers in Kansas are continuing to work long hours of overtime, with agency heads blaming most of the increase on staff shortages and turnover. Overtime pay increased from $10.2 million in fiscal 2010 to $12.7 million in fiscal 2012. The Kansas Department of Administration reports overtime costs were at slightly more than $13?million through May 25 of this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The Wichita Eagle reports state agencies have paid a total of $46.5 million in overtime from 2010 through 2013. Records indicate the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Highway Patrol, and the state's mental health hospitals and corrections facilities are paying the most overtime. Much of the KDOT overtime is for inspections of construction projects, while the hospitals face severe staff shortages.


Barton County Inmate Recaptured After Escape

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — An inmate who escaped from the Barton County Jail in Great Bend has been recaptured. Barton County Sheriff Brian Belledir says Lee Dean was found about noon on Monday at a home in Great Bend after officers received tips from the public. Dean and another person inside the home surrendered without incident. The 23-year-old Dean was discovered missing from the Barton County Jail late Sunday during an inmate count. He was being held on a probation violation.


Kansas Withholding Funds for Vehicle System

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will be holding back its final payment to a Minnesota company handling the state's new motor vehicle system until it is fully active and its problems are resolved. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports  on Monday that the state previously said it was withholding the final 10 percent of its payment on the $25 million contract until all the known problems with the system were rectified. Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda says the final $2 million payment is being held until the system is free of issues. Kansas was supposed to launch the new system for residents to register their vehicles in October 2012 but a series of issues caused a delays. The delays led to long lines and sharply increased overtime in many license offices.

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