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Regional Headlines for Monday, November 26, 2012



Kansas Agency Posting Tax Guidance Ahead of New Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Revenue is posting guidance regarding two provisions of the state income tax law ahead of changes that take effect in January. Spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda says that the guidance lets accountants, tax attorneys and residents know how the agency will be interpreting inconsistencies within the law. One of the items deals with how the taxpayers will be able to use itemized deductions to reduce their tax liability. Koranda says the revenue department will ask the 2013 Legislature to make changes to the law to codify the guidance. The new income tax changes eliminate the individual income tax for about 190,000 qualifying businesses, including limited liability companies and sole proprietorships. In addition, the overall rate for individual taxpayers will decrease effective with their first paycheck in January.

Kline Lawyer Wants Probe of Research Attorneys

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Phill Kline's attorney alleges that the court record in an ethics case may have been tainted by a research attorney fired for posting disparaging Twitter comments about the former Kansas attorney general. Tom Condit wrote a letter to the disciplinary administrator for the judicial branch, asking for a review of all research attorneys working for judges and justices to determine whether there was bias among the group. Sarah Peterson-Herr was fired on November 19, four days after she posted comments about Kline as he appeared before the Kansas Supreme Court over alleged misconduct during his investigation of abortion providers. A court spokesman declined to comment about Condit's letter or what action, if any, the disciplinary administrator would take to address the concerns.

State Christmas Ornament to Be Presented Monday

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will unveil its official Christmas tree ornament during a ceremony at the governor's mansion in Topeka. The ceremony Monday night at Cedar Crest will also include the lighting of a 9-foot-tall Scotch Pine donated by Windy Knoll Tree Farm near Derby. A 14-foot Scotch pine from Country Christmas Trees in Wakarusa was lit Friday at the State Capitol. Last year, Governor Sam Brownback's administration kept the live trees outside after deciding state fire codes did not allow the trees inside the buildings. The Wichita Eagle reports the administration determined this year that a living tree is allowed inside Cedar Crest because it is a private residence. And the administration decided a live tree was allowed inside the Capitol because it has the required sprinkler system.


High Court Rejects Appeal over Insanity Defense

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is refusing to consider whether a criminal defendant has a constitutional right to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from convicted killer John Joseph Delling of Idaho, one of four states that bar defendants from claiming that they were legally insane, or unable to appreciate that what they did was wrong. The other states are Kansas, Montana and Utah. Delling was convicted of killing two college students during a trip across the west in 2007. Delling suffers from acute paranoid schizophrenia and says he was in the grip of severe delusions when he killed the two men and wounded a third. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have heard the case.


Kansas Plots Teacher Evaluation Course

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas teachers and administrators are working with the state Department of Education to develop an evaluation system to measure their performance. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the evaluation system, called the Kansas Education Evaluation Protocol is a pilot program being used in about two dozen districts statewide. It is part of the state's efforts to comply with the requirements of a federal waiver it received under the No Child Left Behind Act. All school districts will have to implement some system of evaluation by the 2014-15 school year. Some may use the KEEP system, while other districts could use programs already in place. State officials say the next step will be linking the evaluation system with student performance. A commission of teachers and administrators are working on that transition. 


Topeka Man Sentenced to 33 Years in Fatal 2011 Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man will serve 33 years in federal prison without parole for shooting a liquor store clerk on Christmas Eve 2011. Federal prosecutors say 45-year-old Matthew Daniel Myers was sentenced Monday for one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Myers pleaded guilty in August to the federal firearms charge in a deal that included dismissing state charges of murder and robbery. Myers admitted that he shot 41-year-old Matthew Hill at a Hudson Liquor store in Topeka. He demanded money from Hill, who tried to retrieve a .38-caliber pistol from a drawer. Myers hit Hill with a crowbar, seized the pistol and shot him three times. A surveillance camera captured the shooting.

Kansas Deer Hunting Season Opens Wednesday

PRATT, Kan. (AP) — The regular firearms deer hunting season in Kansas opens Wednesday. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says on its website the season runs through December 9. Hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Hunters need a deer permit and a Kansas hunting license unless they qualify for an exemption. The department also reminds hunters that they must tag their deer before moving the carcass from the kill site.


Police ID Teen Killed in Wichita Store Holdup

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a 16-year-old boy shot to death by a convenience store clerk on Thanksgiving also robbed the business a week earlier. Authorities identified the boy Monday as Giorgio Rock. Police said he and two others tried to rob KC Gas & Groceries on North Broadway around 7:30 pm Thursday. Investigators said Rock was one of two armed robbers who forced a clerk back inside just after closing time on November 16. They emptied the cash registers and ran off. In the Thanksgiving holdup, police say Rock and a 19-year-old entered the store while another 19-year-old waited outside. Officers said Rock crawled under a counter and pointed a realistic-looking pellet gun at the clerk, who grabbed a handgun and opened fire. Both 19-year-olds are under arrest.


Topeka Man Arrested in Steak Heist

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man is under arrest after allegedly swiping $150 worth of steaks from a grocery store, then trying to sell them at a nearby hookah bar. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the 43-year-old man was taken into custody Sunday evening outside another bar. He was being held Monday on suspicion of theft, obstruction and disorderly conduct. According to police, employees of  Genie Hookah House called authorities saying a man carrying a milk crate full of steaks was trying to sell them to customers. When the customers declined, the man reportedly became upset and hinted he had a gun. Police later found him outside a bar and grill a block away. The steaks were determined to have been stolen from a grocery store.

Escaped Prisoner Pleads Guilty in Kansas Case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A prisoner who walked away from a halfway house in Leavenworth has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of escape from custody. Timothy Whittington admitted Monday that he left the Grossman Community Corrections Center in Leavenworth on July 19 and reported to work at a convenience store in Kansas City, Kansas. Video footage showed him removing $1,500 from the safe before leaving work. He never returned to the halfway house. Authorities arrested him on July 25. Sentencing was set for March 11. The plea deal included a recommendation for a 20-month sentence. Whittington had been initially sentenced in 2006 to 103 months for possession of a short-barreled shotgun. He had been transferred to the halfway house in April to serve the remainder of his sentence before escaping.


Old SE Kansas Mining Pit Searched for Missing Man

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A 911 call to Pittsburg police has prompted a search of an old strip mining pit in southeast Kansas for a man whose whereabouts are unknown. The Joplin Globe reports that a hiker called authorities on Saturday morning saying an adult male had fallen into the pit at Wilderness Park. Police on Monday identified the missing man as 22-year-old Pittsburg resident Mateo Vincent Lorenzo. While the search goes on, investigators are also hoping to hear from anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts. Authorities were sending boats and divers into the pit, which is described as 15 to 20 feet deep. It's one of at least four old pits in the park, which has more than four miles of biking and hiking trails on formerly mined land.

Fire Destroys Restaurant in Burrton

BURRTON, Kan. (AP) — The state fire marshal is expected to be in a small central Kansas town Monday to determine the cause of a blaze that destroyed a family restaurant. The Paradise Grill in Burrton was reduced to rubble after a fire Sunday night. Police Chief David Becker says the restaurant had closed about 6 pm and no one was in the building when the fire was reported about 8:30 pm.

Westwood Teen Killed in ATV Accident in Miami County

PAOLA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified the Johnson County high school senior killed in a weekend ATV accident in eastern Kansas. The Miami County Sheriff's Office said Monday that Tyler Rathbun, a 17-year-old senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, died early Sunday when the ATV he was on rolled in a field outside Paola. The ATV driver was flown to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and two other passengers were uninjured. The Kansas City Star reports that Rathbun was the top soccer player for the Lancers. He also was offensive player of the year for the Sunflower League and received all-league and all-state honors last season after scoring a team record 22 goals. Shawnee Mission East coach Jamie Kelly says Rathbun's number 14 jersey will be retired.

Kansas Wesleyan to Offer Emergency Management Degree

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina will offer the state's first four-year degree in emergency management, beginning this spring. The first two classes will be offered in the spring semester, with additional classes starting in the fall of 2013. John Burchill, an associate professor at Wesleyan, says the program is already drawing a lot of interest. Burchill expects most of the students to be from the private sector, with about half already working in an emergency management field. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that people in emergency management have at least a bachelor's degree in the field. The Salina Journal reports that's been difficult in Kansas, where only two colleges offer associate degrees. Students in the program will focus on homeland security, victim services or nongovernment organizations.

KU Creates Center for Multimedia and TV Production

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Storytellers and media producers are being encouraged to use a new center on the fourth floor of the University of Kansas student union. The center is a joint venture between the university's school of journalism and the Union. It provides three video cameras, a "green screen" wall, a control room and other tools. Associate journalism professor Scott Reinardy says the center's activities will be determined by those who use it. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that officials envision as a community news center. Students, others on the campus and Lawrence residents will be able to use the center to tell stories they can't present just on phones or laptops. The center opened in September and an official grand opening is likely this semester.

Google Buys Wi-Fi Provider ICOA for $400 Million

NEW YORK (AP) — Google has bought an operator of Wi-Fi hotspots in high-traffic locations such as airports, hotels and fast-food restaurants. Google is paying $400 million for ICOA Incorporated, a Warwick, Rhode Island company, as part of the search company's efforts to diversify its portfolio. ICOA owns or operates Wi-Fi wireless access services in 40 states. It also sells technology for others to run similar Wi-Fi networks under their own brands. It's not Google's first venture into Internet access. The Mountain View, Calif., company is building an ultra-fast wired Internet service in Kansas City, primarily to showcase for what's technically possible and to test new ways to use the Internet. Shares of Google fell $6.07, or 0.9 percent, to $661.90 in morning trading Monday.

Kansas Town Hopes to Reopen School as Charter

MOUNT HOPE, Kan. (AP) — An associate professor and graduate students at McPherson College want to transform a recently closed school into a public charter school. The Hutchinson News reports that the school being targeted is located in the central Kansas town of Mount Hope. Mark Malaby of McPherson College says that to be financially sustainable, the Mount Hope charter school has to attract students not currently enrolled in the Haven district. That would allow it to bring in additional state aid. The plan calls for a project-based "rural life" charter school. It would serve kindergartners through high-schoolers, possibly with an entrepreneurial focus for Grades 7-12. The hope is that such a school would appeal to families in northwest Wichita, less than 30 minutes away, or to families who are home-schooling children.

UMKC Pulls Plug on Derrick Thomas Academy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri-Kansas City is pulling the plug on a Kansas City charter school called the Derrick Thomas Academy. In Missouri, charter schools are required to have sponsors, generally universities. Sponsors are tasked with monitoring the progress of the charter schools. If sponsors aren't satisfied, they can decide not to renew a school's charter. And that's what UMKC did this past week. The Derrick Thomas Academy is named after a famed Kansas City Chiefs player who died in 2000. It serves about 950 pre-kindergarteners through ninth-grade students. But UMKC Charter School Center director Phyllis Chase says the 10-year-old school "continues to struggle with governance, organizational and academic performance challenges." It's been placed on academic probation three times in four years. UMKC plans to ensure students complete this school year without interruption.

KC Art Institute Sues over Unfulfilled $5M Pledge

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Art Institute has taken a southern California couple to court over an unfulfilled $5 million pledge. Larry and Kristina Dodge say they're facing hard times and can no longer honor the commitment. The Kansas City Star reports that they still owe $4 million. Based on the pledge, a $7 million building was constructed on the Kansas City campus, and the Dodges' names are prominent on it. The art institute pursued them in the California Superior Court of Orange County, winning a judgment. But it is not clear when or if it will ever see the rest of the money. Kristina Dodge calls the organization "ruthless." She and her husband say they even struggle to pay for child care for their 2-year-old triplets.

Oklahoma Power Line Access Shortage Hampers Oil Production

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Producers trying to recover oil and natural gas from the Mississippi Lime formation and other fields in northwest Oklahoma and western Kansas are dealing with insufficient access to electricity. The Mississippi Lime is a dense rock formation. Oil companies can use electric generators to drill and complete wells there, but The Oklahoman newspaper reports the pumps needed to suck the oil to the surface require vast amounts of power. Western Farmers supplies the electricity needs of more than two-thirds of mostly rural Oklahoma. The utility is building 135 miles of new transmission lines in northern Oklahoma to help meet some of the sudden new power needs, but The Oklahoman says the new lines can't be built fast enough for the oil companies.

Cross on Central Kansas Sign Spurs Complaint

BUHLER, Kan. (AP) — The central Kansas town of Buhler is redesigning its seal after a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation complained that it contained a religious cross. The Hutchinson News  reports that the city also will replace a large sign in the city's park that also contained a religious cross. Mayor Daniel Friesen says city officials sought legal opinions from several different sources before making the decision to alter the seal. Residents were informed of the decision in an email Friday. The cross has been part of the city's seal since 1988. The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the city in September. The organization argued that the sign violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The group said including the cross indicated government endorsement of Christianity.

Missouri Boy Shot While Discussing Gun Safety with Father

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — St. Joseph police are investigating after a father accidently shot his 11-year-old son in the cheek while discussing gun safety. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that the boy sustained serious injuries Friday night while cleaning guns and planning a hunting trip with his father. Detective Richard Shelton says "ironically enough" the father and son were discussing gun safety at the time of the shooting. Shelton says the projectile lodged below the boy's jaw. The boy was able to walk to the ambulance. He was taken to a St. Joseph Hospital and then flown to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Authorities will present evidence to the prosecuting attorney for consideration of charges this week. The name of the wounded boy wasn't immediately released.

KU Men and Women's Basketball Teams Move Up in National Poll

Indiana is still ranked number 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll. The holiday weekend tournaments caused a lot of change, with Duke moving up to replace Louisville at number 2. The University of Kansas men were ranked tenth in the national poll. In the women's national rankings, Stanford and Connecticut retained the two top spots. KU's women's team moved up two spots this week, and is now ranked twentieth in the nation.

KU Men Lead Field for 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — The University of Kansas men's basketball team is headlining the field for the 2013 "Battle 4 Atlantis." Seven of the eight teams in next year's field were announced Saturday night after number 5-ranked Duke beat number 2-ranked Louisville 76-71 in the 2012 title game. Joining the Jayhawks are Villanova, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Southern California, UTEP and Xavier. The eighth team will be announced at a later date. The tournament started in 2011 when Harvard beat Central Florida in the championship game. The games are played in the Imperial Arena, a grand ballroom at a Bahamas resort which is turned into a basketball venue.

KU Basketball Women Defeat Creighton 58-48

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Monica Engelman and Carolyn Davis had 12 points apiece and the University of Kansas Jayhawks defeated Creighton University 58-48 on Sunday. Davis also had seven rebounds, Angel Goodrich had nine assists and CeCe Harper scored 10 points for the Jayhawks (5-0), playing in their first road game of the season. KU led 30-18 at halftime and by as many as 19 points in the second half. McKenzie Fujan, Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson all scored 11 points for Creighton (2-2), which lost for the second time this season to a ranked team. The University of Oklahoma won 69-48 in the Bluejays' opener November 10. KU has won 10 in a row in the series between the teams.

Manning's 2 TDs Lead Broncos Past Chiefs, 17-9

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Peyton Manning threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and the Denver Broncos rallied to beat the woeful Kansas City Chiefs 17-9 on Sunday for their sixth straight win. Manning hit tight end Jacob Tamme late in the first half and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter, and that was more than enough to overcome three field goals by the Chiefs' Ryan Succop as Kansas City lost its eighth straight game. Knowshon Moreno added 85 yards rushing for the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-3). Moreno got the start in place of Willis McGahee, who went on injured reserve this week with a knee injury. Jamaal Charles ran for 107 yards for the Chiefs (1-10), who failed again to punch the ball into the end zone. They still haven't scored a touchdown since the first quarter against Pittsburgh on November 12, a span of more than 11 quarters and 173 minutes of game time.

Chiefs' McCluster Leaves Game with Head/Neck Injury

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster left Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos to be evaluated for a head and neck injury. It was unclear when McCluster was hurt, but the injury was announced at the beginning of the second half. McCluster had been active over the first 30 minutes, running twice for 23 yards and catching a game-high four passes for 21 yards. Kansas City chose to go thin at wide receiver against the Broncos. Steve Breaston and Devon Wylie, the best two options to replace McCluster in the slot, were both inactive.

Topeka Girl Gets Double Lung Transplant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 12-year-old Topeka girl has undergone a double-lung transplant in St. Louis. Madison Taliaferro, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 2, underwent the double-lung transplant November 5 at St. Louis Children's Hospital. She has been discharged from the hospital but has to stay in St. Louis, Missouri with her parents, Desiree and Mike Taliaferro, for three months while doctors monitor her progress. Doctors expect Madison to be on medications for the rest of her life to fight against the rejection of her new lungs. At the top of Madison's wish list now is spending the night with her best friend.

NE Kansas Woman Stitches a Bit of Political History

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton will always have a special place in the heart of Leavenworth resident Martha Jones, and on the one-of-a-kind quilt she spent the last two years creating. Jones tells The Leavenworth Times that Clinton was the first of the dozens of current and former politicians from whom she solicited signatures to send back an autographed quilt block. Now, the two-term Democratic president is stitched into one of the 24 patches bearing the political signatures. The one-of-a-kind work also reunites Clinton with his 1996 Republican challenger, former Kansas Republican Senator Bob Dole. Vice President Joe Biden is there, along with Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, both Republicans; and Republican Governor Sam Brownback and the previous Kansas governor, Democrat Mark Parkinson.

Wichita State Researcher Focuses on How Cancer Spreads

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita State researcher is focusing on how cancer cells spread and kill. The work of assistant chemistry professor Moriah Beck involves the analysis of something called palladin. The critical protein is produced in large amounts in highly mobile cells. Beck says the goal is to detect and eliminate harmful cells before they have the chance to migrate throughout the body. Scientists from Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Virginia, Washington University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are collaborating with Beck's team. Beck came to Wichita State last year from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she began her research on palladin and collaborated with the person who discovered the protein. Beck was awarded two grants for her research in 2011.

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