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Regional Headlines for Sunday, August 18, 2013


Ranchers Consider Restocking Herds as Pastures Green Up

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Recent rainfalls across most of the nation's key cattle grazing areas are greening up pastures and refilling farm ponds. That's fueling optimism among ranchers that they may soon begin the difficult process of rebuilding herds decimated by years of drought. The parts of the nation that encompass the vast majority of the grazing lands for cattle have seen improving pasture conditions. Extension beef specialist Glynn Tonsor says week-to-week cow slaughter numbers were still fairly high 90 days ago. More recently they have been down. He says ranchers sending cows to market are doing so by choice. It's no longer the case that there isn't enough healthy pastureland for them to graze. He says ranchers are now at the point of thinking about rebuilding herds.

Johnson County Investigating 2 Related Robberies

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Johnson County say two robberies and an attempted robbery appear to be related. The Kansas City Star reports the first incident happened Friday morning in an Overland Park parking lot when an armed man forced a woman to drive to her bank and withdraw money. Another woman reported later being robbed in an Overland Park parking lot by an armed man. He ran after she refused to get into his car. A third woman said she was accosted while running in Leawood. He fled when she yelled for help. The man is described as being Hispanic, in his 20s and about 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall. In two cases, he was described as wearing a tight, possibly long-sleeve black shirt and baggy black shorts.

Kansas Supreme Court Affirms Conviction

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction and sentence of a man imprisoned for raping a child. The Lawrence Journal World reports that Eric Ochs was sentenced to life in prison with an eligibility of parole after 25 years in the 2009 rape of an 11-year-old girl. He was 21 at the time. Ochs argued on appeal that the closing statement in the trial by Douglas County prosecutor Amy McGowan constituted misconduct. In that statement, McGowan said the girl was protected "and that protection she had was the truth." Prosecutors' closing comments are generally confined to evidence presented during the trial. In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court agreed that while McGowan's statement was out of bounds, it didn't impact the verdict against Ochs.

Wichita Standoff Suspect Died of Multiple Gunshots

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An autopsy report says the 24-year-old suspect killed in a 32-hour standoff with police in Wichita was high on meth and painkillers and died of multiple gunshot wounds. Police said Jared Woosypiti had been wanted for attempted first-degree murder in a July stabbing in Derby when the standoff began July 10th, shortly after Woosypiti fired multiple rounds inside a Kmart while trying to rob the pharmacy. He fled to an apartment where he barricaded himself until he was shot the next day. The Wichita Eagle reports the autopsy shows each of the four rounds that hit Woosypiti came from a distance, which corresponds with official reports that police fired upon Woosypiti, ending the standoff. The report also says Woosypiti tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine, marijuana and painkillers.

Cleanup Continues After Train Derailment in Hays

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Cleanup continues in Hays from the freight train derailment last month. A Union Pacific freight train derailed at the Hays rail yard on July 16. Three of the derailed cars contained beer, six had wood products and one had poultry meal. The Hays Daily News reports that UP says the contractor responsible for removing the chicken meal has completed transferring the stockpile to the Barton County landfill. The contractor is removing soil with meal and diesel fuel, and that work is expected to be finished by Friday. The railroad also says work to remove the damaged rail cars should be finished Thursday. City Manager Toby Dougherty says Union Pacific has been billed about $39,000 for use of city equipment and labor to put out the fire after the wreck.

Copper Thefts a Problem in Segdwick County

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County is asking for the public's help in fighting the growing problem of copper thefts. The Wichita Eagle reports the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office received 42 copper-specific theft reports between August 15th and the same date last year. Air conditioning units at homes and businesses, copper awnings and parts of agricultural irrigation systems are all targets. Even local utility substations are drawing copper criminals. Sheriff's spokesman David Mattingly says the thefts are causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and power loss to customers. Authorities are encouraging the public to call 911 if they see suspicious activity, such as someone backing up to an air conditioning unit or trucks carrying large amounts of copper in their neighborhoods.

Cerner Plans KC's Largest Office Development

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cerner Corporation, a Kansas City-based health care technology company, has proposed building the biggest office development in Kansas City history. An application filed with the city says Cerner is planning a 4.5-million-square-foot campus on 251 acres in south Kansas City. The plan says the $4 billion development would be built in 14 phases and completed in 2024. The Kansas City Star reports that the application filed with the city this week says Cerner is seeking about $1.2 billion in tax incentives if the office project is completely built. The company is also proposing an investment of $2.9 billion of its own resources, making the project's funding a 70-30 private-public split. The city development agency will consider the application next month.

Royals Player Suspended for Drug Use

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Major League Baseball has suspended Kansas City infielder Miguel Tejada for 105 games after he tested positive for using an amphetamine. A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Tejada tested positive for Adderall, a substance the 39-year-old has used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. Tejada previously tested positive under the league's amphetamine policy, subjecting him to a 25-game ban for a second test and an 80-game suspension for a third.

PSU Students Safe After Bus Catches Fire

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The Pittsburg State University students on a charter bus to the Kansas City area are safe after the bus caught fire. University officials told The Joplin Globe the students were headed to the annual Fraternal Leadership Summit in Overland Park when the bus caught fire early Saturday. The bus was heavily damaged, but no injuries were reported. About 40 members of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority were on the bus and safely exited the bus while emergency responders extinguished the flames. Another bus was sent to take the students to the summit. The Crawford County Sheriff's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.


Folk Art Installation Grows Near Topeka

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A couple's spat with bureaucracy has led to the creation of a folk-art installation that draws about 2,000 visitors each year to their Topeka-area farm. The Kansas City Star reports that the project started when officials told Ron and Linda Lessman the rusty trucks on their property were a hazard because they live in a flood plain. But instead of moving them, Ron Lessman sank the trucks in concrete and dubbed them Truckhenge. When there were complaints about some nonfunctioning boats on his property, along came Boathenge. Other projects have followed. The latest is a line of fencing festooned with fake Christmas tree branches. It's titled the "Wall of Lame" and dedicated to arts organizations in Topeka that have so far declined his invitations to view his art.


Family to Receive Soldier's War Medal 88 Years Later

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman and a couple from Augusta have worked to find the family of a World War One soldier awarded the Army's second-highest honor. Patti McDonough told The Wichita Eagle that after her father died she found among his things a note with names and phone numbers attached to an original certificate for a Distinguished Service Cross. The certificate was awarded in 1925 to Benjamin Foust for his heroics during The Great War. The certificate says he saved many lives after he was wounded. McDonough enlisted the help of Gary Rogers, commander of the American Legion Post in Augusta. Rogers and his wife Myrna found Foust's closest relative, 93-year-old Lola Johnson in Cass County, Missouri. They plan to give the framed certificate to Johnson this weekend.

IU Professor Emeritus to Serve on Eisenhower Memorial Board

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to appoint an Indiana University professor to a commission overseeing a planned national memorial to Kansas native Dwight Eisenhower. IU Professor Emeritus Bruce Cole would join a commission that's in charge of completing the memorial honoring Eisenhower, who was commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War Two and later served two terms as president. IU President Michael McRobbie praised Cole's selection and called him a distinguished scholar of Renaissance art. Cole is professor emeritus of art history and comparative literature. He also is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington. Cole also served as chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities from 2001 to 2009. He is the longest-serving chairman in endowment history.

GM Workers Sing About GM Cars

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three line workers at the GM assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas have put together a musical group that sings the praises of GM cars. The Kansas City Star reports the workers have a CD with four songs celebrating GM vehicles and the company's turnaround from bankruptcy. Dwayne Hawkins, a member of the group, says they "make cars by day and music at night." He says their dream is to take part in one of GM's commercials. The automaker isn't making any promises though. But Hawkins and the other members of the group, Tremaine Stephens and Terrence Thomas, figure they have an advantage with about 50 years of experience among them building GM cars and light trucks. He says no one knows GM cars better than they do.

Jordan Taylor Wins Grand Am Race at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Jordan Taylor held off Scott Pruett, crossing the finish line under the lights to win the first Grand-Am race at Kansas Speedway. Taylor usually leads off and is replaced by veteran Max Angelelli, but this time it was the son of team owner Wayne Taylor who climbed in for the finish. Taylor took the lead with 38 minutes left in the 2-hour, 45-minute race before securing their third Daytona Prototype win this season. Pruett finished second in his BMW Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He nearly overcame a 60-second penalty that teammate Memo Rojas received earlier in the race for avoidable contact, finishing half a second behind Taylor on the 2.37-mile course. Alessandro Balzan teamed with Leh Keen for his first GT win of the season in their Sucderia Corsa Ferrara 458. Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez won their second straight GX race.


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