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Regional Headlines for Sunday, January 27, 2013



Solomon Lays Off 33 Workers, 22 at Home Plant

SOLOMON, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas company that rebuilds, repairs and recycles electrical distribution equipment has laid off 33 employees amid a business slowdown. The Salina Journal reports that 22 of the laid off workers come from Solomon Corporation's operations in its namesake town. Solomon Corporation vice president Tom Hemmer says the layoff amounts to a 7 percent reduction in the company's workforce. Economic conditions caused the reduction that trimmed employment to 467 companywide, 328 in Solomon. Solomon Corporation also has plants at Grand Junction, Colorado, Georgetown, Texas, and Decatur, Tennessee. Hemmer says the layoff affected every department and every facility in the company.


Topeka Schools' Director of School Safety Wants More Firepower

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Topeka school district's police force is requesting high-powered semi-automatic rifles after reviewing its security policies following the deadly school shooting in Connecticut. The nearly 14,000-student Topeka district has 10 officers on a district-led force and contracts for another 10 officers through the local police department. Director of school safety Ron Brown says the district's force carries only semi-automatic handguns, while the officers contracted through the police department also carry semi-automatic rifles. When the semi-automatic rifles are in the schools, they are secured in gun safes. Brown recently told the school board that he wants his officers to have semi-automatic rifles, too. He is requesting Colt AR-15s. He says that would equalize the firepower in a confrontation with someone armed with an assault rifle. No action has been taken.


Topeka Mayor Candidate Randal Trackwell Fined $1K

(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka mayoral candidate who wants to rid the city of its code enforcement department has been fined $1,000 for failing to maintain a vacant home he owns. Under the sentence imposed Friday in Topeka Municipal Court, Randal Trackwell has 60 days to fix the home or he could face two months in jail. A judge will assess progress on the home during a hearing set for April 12th — 10 days after the general election. The 66-year-old Trackwell plans to appeal. He says Topeka code enforcement officers stole lumber he purchased to fix the two-bedroom home and were unclear about what needed to be done. Trackwell calls the codes department "property police" and describes it as something a communist nations would have.


Kansas Deputy Saves Trapped Driver from Train

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy is being lauded as a hero after pulling a driver from a crashed cement truck just a minute or two before a freight train smashed into it. The Wichita Eagle reports that the truck rolled over Friday morning in south Wichita. The driver was pinned inside the vehicle when deputies arrived and noticed a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train approaching at about 35 miles per hour. Deputy John Scaglione is credited with pulling the driver through the front windshield. Sheriff's Lieutenant Brad Hoch described the deputy's actions as "very heroic" and said he "didn't think twice about what he was doing." The unidentified 35-year-old driver was taken to a Wichita hospital with shoulder injuries, cuts and scrapes. Authorities are investigating why the truck rolled over.


Douglas County Food Council To Consider 'Food Hub' for Local Produce

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence group says it wants to find a central place to make locally produced food available to larger institutional buyers. The Douglas County Food Policy Council says a "food hub" would link farmers to institutions like schools, hospitals and restaurants. Council director Eileen Horn says larger institutions are interested in using more locally produced food but often can't get a consistent supply. But Horn says smaller-scale producers in Douglas County and surrounding counties are growing large volumes of food, particularly fruits and vegetables. A food hub would make it easier for institutions to connect to the smaller growers. The food council tells the Lawrence Journal-World that creating the food hub will be one of its top priorities this year.


Kansas sites Added to National Register

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The list of Kansas' historic locations continues to grow with the addition of several new properties to the latest listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the new additions were two former hospital buildings, an early 20th century photography studio, a public school complex, former railroad depot and a Jewish cemetery. The Kansas Historical Society announced Thursday that the locations were included in the National Register on January 2nd. Two Kansas properties were removed from the register because they were either significantly altered from their historic condition or have been demolished. Since 1996, the United States has compiled a list of historic properties under the National Historic Preservation Act. The intent is to identify historic properties and protect them for cultural purposes.

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