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Regional Headlines for Sunday, February 9, 2014


Kansas Bill Would Abolish No-Fault Divorce

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member has introduced legislation to abolish no-fault divorce in the state.

The Wichita Eagle reports the bill would remove "incompatibility" as a valid reason for divorce. Instead, people who file for divorce would have to prove their spouses' fault.

Republican Keith Esau of Olathe introduced the bill Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee for a fellow lawmaker whom he said he did not have permission to identify.

But Esau — who serves on the judiciary panel — says he supports the measure. He says no-fault divorce gives people an easy way out of marriage.

Another Judiciary Committee member, Democrat Jim Ward of Wichita, opposes the idea. Ward has handled divorces in his law practice and says contentious divorces are especially hard when children are involved.


Officials At Odds Over Kansas School Testing Gaps

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Education policy experts differ over the causes of achievement gaps among Kansas public school students and whether the state is putting the right focus on how to boost scores.

The discussion occurred Thursday during a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees to review state scores on a national reading assessment and state funding for schools.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that state Education Commission Diane DeBacker and Dave Trabert, executive director of the Kansas Policy Institute, did agree that achievement gaps were widening between poor and wealthy students. The two disagree on whether state funding earmarked for helping students at risk of failure was working or appropriate.

Legislators were reviewing scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress which measures students in math and reading.


Steiger Wins William Allen White National Citation

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A longtime managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and founding editor of the investigative news site ProPublica has been awarded William Allen White Foundation's 2014 National Citation by the University of Kansas School of Journalism.

Paul Steiger was presented Friday with the award, which has gone to prominent journalists, editors and publishers such as Arthur Sulzberger, Bob Woodward and Walter Cronkite.

Steiger is a 1964 graduate of Yale who was managing editor of the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2007. The newspaper's staff won 16 Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.

At a ceremony Friday, Steiger said journalists, publishers and others need to find a way to get paid enough to cover the cost of doing journalism in a rapidly changing industry.


Bond Approved for Scientists Charged in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — One of two scientists from China accused of stealing trade secrets from a Kansas research facility hasn't been able to make bond because a bank wouldn't give his wife a loan.

A federal grand jury indicted Weiqiang Zhang and Wengui Yan in December on conspiracy to steal trade secrets and theft of trade secrets. They're accused of stealing rice seeds from Ventria Bioscience's facility in Junction City, where Zhang worked. Yan worked at a federal rice research center in Arkansas.

A judge in Kansas signed orders January 31st allowing their release on $50,000 appearance bonds. It's unclear if Yan has been released.

Zhang remains in custody. A motion filed Friday shows a bank denied Zhang's wife's loan request on their Kansas home because of concerns over Zhang's creditworthiness.

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