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Regional Headlines for Monday, September 23, 2013


KS Voters Can Be on Hold for Years

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — As Kansas election officials deal with prospective voters who've not yet complied with a proof-of-citizenship law, hundreds of registrations have remained on hold for more than a year for other reasons, an Associated Press computer analysis shows. The analysis of state data suggests that registrations being put on hold now over the proof-of-citizenship requirement could remain in limbo as next year's elections approach. Those registrations have ballooned to more than 21,500 since the law took effect in January, requiring new voters to produce papers proving their U.S. citizenship when registering. The AP used an open records request to obtain the statewide list of registrations on hold as of Friday. Some 3,500 pre-date this year's proof-of-citizenship law. More than 2,500 — or almost 12 percent — are more than a year old.


KU: No Early Sabbatical Approved for Professor

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is disputing a journalism professor's contention that he began a planned sabbatical early amid fallout from his tweet about the Navy Yard shootings. Timothy Caboni, the university's vice chancellor for public affairs, said in a statement Monday that David Guth is on indefinite administrative leave with pay. He says Guth is not on sabbatical this semester. Guth told The Associated Press in an email Saturday that he agreed to step away from the classroom and, in essence, begin a planned sabbatical early to allow time for cooler heads to prevail. In February, Guth was awarded a sabbatical to start in spring 2014 to research how rural community journalists survive in the 21st century.


KU Student in Immigration Limbo Gets Proposals

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 25-year-old graduate student at the University of Kansas has turned down several marriage proposals since she's been caught in immigration limbo and may have to leave the U.S., where she's lived since she was 12. Tamara Vitale, the child of legal immigrants, graduated from Olathe East High School in suburban Kansas City. She told The Topeka Capital-Journal that when she was 19 an immigration attorney made mistakes that left her as the only family member to not receive a green card. Among the several marriage proposals is one from her boyfriend, but Vitale has brushed them all aside, for now. She says she wants to continue to search for a legal remedy to secure a place in the U.S.


Wichita Police Seek Tips in Old Town Shootings

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are asking the public for tips in a weekend shooting that left one man dead and six others wounded in the Old Town entertainment district. The Wichita Eagle reports police on Monday identified the victim as 25-year-old Kolby Hopkins. Police Lt. Randy Reynolds says Hopkins died after being shot in the head around 2 a.m. Sunday outside a club. The wounded were in their 20s and 30s. All are expected to recover. Hundreds of people were in a nearby parking lot when the shooting began. Police were able to interview a few of them, but they're hoping others will come forward with cellphone videos. Investigators believe one person fired multiple shots amid an argument in the street.


Silver Lake Rallies Around Family Who Lost Home

SILVER LAKE, Kan. (AP) — The Silver Lake community is rallying around a family who lost everything in a house fire. Heather and Greg Pearson rented the home that was destroyed Sunday night and had no insurance. The blaze destroyed the house, along with clothes, toys personal items and medical supplies for Greg Pearson, who is paralyzed. Neighbors tell WIBW that an account has been set up at the Silver Lake Bank for the Pearsons and their four children. Friends also are organizing a drive to collect donations for the two parents and their children. The Red Cross in Topeka is helping the family with short term needs such as with clothing, food, water and housing. No one was seriously injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Vatican Official to be in KS For Sainthood Nod

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Vatican official is expected in Kansas to complete an investigation into a possible miracle that could help elevate a Kansas priest to sainthood. Italian lawyer Andrea Ambrosi returns to Kansas on Saturday to finalize the investigation into whether the Rev. Emil Kapaun, a Kansas priest who died in 1951 in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp, will become a saint. The recovery of Avery Gerleman, a student at Hutchinson Community College, is a possible miracle being investigated by the Vatican. When Avery was 12 she was stricken with an autoimmune disorder and wasn't expected to recover. Her family and friends began praying for Kapaun's intercession. She has since recovered. The Wichita Diocese says it could still be a while after this visit from the Vatican official before a final decision.


One Dead, Six Injured in Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One man has died and six have been injured in a shooting in Wichita. Wichita Police Sergeant Scott Brunow told The Wichita Eagle a 25-year-old man died after he was shot shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday. Sergeant Bob Gulliver told KWCH-TV that officers were helping clear the area after the bars closed when they heard about 10 gunshots. The victims were taken to Via Christie Hospital St. Francis in Wichita. Hospital house manager Joye Mock told The Associated Press on Sunday a 26-year-old man was in serious condition and a 25-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were in fair condition at the hospital. She said a 26-year-old man had been treated and released. Wichita police would not provide any further details about the shooting.


KS Sheriffs Group Calls Sheriff's Arrest Disappointing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The head of a state sheriffs group says the arrest of a southwest Kansas sheriff last week is offensive to other top law enforcement officials who are bound to a higher code of ethics because of their positions. The Wichita Eagle reports Hamilton County Sheriff Richard Garza was arrested last Sunday morning on suspicion of aggravated assault. Scott County Attorney John Shirley — appointed special prosecutor in the case — told The Associated Press the incident was a "family matter" and there was no physical violence. Kansas Sheriffs Association executive director Sandy Horton says such arrests are disappointing because it takes a long time to rebuild trust with the public. Two other Kansas sheriffs also have been criminally charged in the past two years.


Analysis: Another KS Debate Over Medicaid Likely

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are likely to have another debate next year over expanding the state's Medicaid program Antipathy from conservative Republicans toward the federal health care overhaul prevented such a move this year by either Governor Sam Brownback or the GOP-dominated Legislature. But a debate appears to be coming because of what advocates of an expansion see as a perverse result. They expect thousands of poor Kansas adults to remain without health coverage, even as the federal government provides subsidies to better-off neighbors. Advocates of a Medicaid expansion expect word-of-mouth among poor Kansans and their neighbors to pressure legislators to reconsider. Prominent Democrats also want to raise the issue ahead of next year's campaign against Brownback's re-election. Even Republicans who still oppose an expansion expect a debate.


Experts: KU Prof's Case Raises Legal Questions

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Employment law experts say the case of a University of Kansas professor who posted divisive remarks on Twitter raises legal questions about how far employers can go in holding employees accountable for what they say on social media. The university announced Friday it had placed journalism professor David Guth on administrative leave for posting, "blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters" after a mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Mike Selmi, who teaches employment law at George Washington University in Washington, says public employees usually enjoy stronger First Amendment protection than private-sector employees. A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union says he didn't like Guth's comment, but he believes it's protected speech.


Wyandotte County Law Enforcement Pushing Education

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County law enforcement officials have endorsed a plan that calls for investing in early childhood education as a way to cut down on crime and prison costs. Sheriff Don Ash, District Attorney Jerry Gorman and jail administrator Jeffrey Fewell have endorsed a proposal from the Obama administration to spend $75 billion over 10 years for a high quality state-federal government program. They say it's the same amount spent every year to incarcerate the country's inmates. The Kansas City Star reports that officials also released a report that says a national early education program for children from low- and moderate-income families could save Kansas $35 million a year in incarceration costs. The report says children in such programs were less likely to be incarcerated.


Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra in Financial Trouble

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra is struggling to make sure the show goes on. Officials say a combination of budget cuts and a drop in donations is endangering the 49-year-old orchestra's future. The group's 2013 through 2014 season was reduced from four concerts to three. Hutchinson Symphony Association board member Ann Roehm told The Hutchinson News reductions in state arts funding cost the orchestra aid and federal matching dollars. Those two sources previously made up 21 percent of the orchestra's annual budget. The city of Hutchinson reduced its support from $9,600 in 2012 to $8,600 this year. The city has not determined how much it will give the orchestra for next year. Roehm says some private foundations have helped but the orchestra is far from achieving its goal.


KS Search, Rescue Crews to Hold Training Event

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Search and rescue teams from throughout Kansas will gather near Salina this week for three days of training. The annual Kansas Technical Rescue Conference opens Tuesday at Crisis City, located at the Great Plains Joint Training Center. Crisis City features a variety of training sites including a collapsed building, piles of rubble, a simulated rail disaster and a high-angle rescue tower. The conference allows teams from the state's seven response regions to train together under a uniform set of standards. Classes will include technical rope rescue, shoring operations and K-9 search and rescue. Several Kansas agencies are sponsoring the exercise.


St. Joseph Girl Wins International Honor

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A 10-year-old St. Joseph girl is being honored with an international award for helping raise money to build a freshwater well in Africa. The St. Joseph News-Press reports Madilynn Maretoli is headed to New York this week to accept the Humanity4Water International Award at the United Nations. The award recognizes one person internationally each year, and is being given in connection with the launch of UNICEF's Global Interfaith Alliance. Madilynn helped raise $5,600 for the well this summer after reading the book "I Walk for Water," by Lindsey Andrews. The book is about a boy in Africa who walks long distances for water. So far, Madilynn has raised enough to cover the cost of one well. But she's continuing to raise more money.


High School Sweethearts Get Married 60 Years Later

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — High school classmates who shared a first kiss as teenagers back in 1951 have tied the knot six decades later. Jane Dusanic and Jim Thorp were married Saturday at Jane's lakeside home in western Indiana's Vigo County with their respective children and step-children in attendance. She's 77 and he's 76. They attended Central High School in Kansas City, Mo., but both married someone else and had families. They didn't see each other again until their 1989 high school reunion. Thorp eventually got divorced and Dusanic's husband died in 2011. They began emailing each other last year, and this year love bloomed when Thorp visited his former high school classmate. Dusanic tells the Tribune-Star they're very happy, "really good friends" and share many interests, including music, art and politics.


Couple donates $1 million to Fort Hays State

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A Hays couple has donated $1 million to Fort Hays State University to be used for scholarships. The university announced the gift from Ed and Donna Stehno on Friday. University President Edward Hammond says the money will mostly go toward athletic scholarships but isn't targeted to a particular sport. Ed Stehno was a Fort Hays State professor in the Department of Education Administration and Counseling until he retired in 2004. Donna Stehno earned a degree from the university and was a school nurse. The Hays Daily News reports the Stehnos' three children set up the Stehno Family Scholarship Fund at Fort Hays State to celebrate the couple's 50th wedding anniversary.



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