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Regional Headlines for Thursday, August 8, 2013


Heavy Rains Continue in South Central Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Much of soggy south central Kansas remains under a flood warning as more rain is forecast to fall into already full waterways. The National Weather Service says 5 to 6 inches of rain fell early Thursday in Clark and Ford counties. Several county roads are impassable, particularly near Kingsdown and Blooms. In Sedgwick, Harper, Sumner, Kingman and Reno counties, between 3 and 4 inches of rain have fallen since midnight, and another 2 to 3 inches are possible. The high water closed about 40 campsites at the Marion Reservoir and park officials said reservations in the Cottonwood Point and Hillsboro cove are cancelled until August 29. And students in Argonia will get two more weeks of summer vacation, after earlier storms blew off roofs of two schools, soaking classrooms.


Flooded Basements, Sewage Plague Some Kansas Homes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Emergency responders say most of the flood damage to Kansas homes has been water in basements and sewage backups. Megan Hammersmith, director of the Central Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross, said Thursday Reno County has some of the worst damage, mostly stemming from Sunday's downpour. There has been no new flooding to homes reported from Thursday's latest round of rainfall. The agency says four homes in Reno County were totally destroyed by flooding and 11 homes have major damage. Another 180 homes have minor damage and 56 other homes were affected. Mostly minor damage was reported to 30 homes in Harvey County and 60 homes in the city of Ellinwood. About 122 homes were flooded last week in Lindsborg.


Argonia School Opening Delayed by Storm Damage

ARGONIA, Kan. (AP) — Recent storms in south central Kansas will mean two extra weeks of summer vacation in one town. Officials in the Sumner County town of Argonia say consecutive storms blew off roofs and soaked classrooms in two school buildings. School was scheduled to start August 22, but will now be delayed until September 3. Superintendent Julie Dolley says the storms caused an estimated $886,000 in damage. KWCH reports restoration crews say it takes about 10 days for buildings to dry out after heavy rain. The process has had to be restarted in Argonia because the storms have been constant over the past two weeks.


Reno County Warns People to Stay Out of Water

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas county is cracking down on people who place themselves in danger in rain-swollen rivers and creeks. Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson says deputies issued nearly 25 tickets Wednesday for driving around barricades on flooded roadways. Henderson issued a notice of possible prosecutions Wednesday after authorities learned a group of high school students planned to go tubing in South Hutchinson. He says it is too dangerous to go wading, swimming or canoeing in the swollen rivers. Reno County emergency crews have already conducted four water rescues during the past three days due to vehicles being swept off roadways.


Halstead to Close Floodgate as River Rises

HALSTEAD, Kan. (AP) — Volunteers are filling sandbags in the south-central Kansas town of Halstead amid preparations to close a floodgate against the rising Little Arkansas River. KAKE-TV reports that the first of Halstead's three floodgates will close as soon as volunteers finish filling the first 500 sandbags. The city was asking Wednesday for help filling a total of 1,500 sandbags. The community of more than 2,000 people is located about 30 miles north of Wichita. It is protected by a three-and-a-half mile levee built more than 20 years ago to separate the city from the river. Kansas Highway 89 into Halstead is closed due to high water.


Marion Reservoir Campsites Closed Due to High Water

MARION, Kan. (AP) — High waters will keep campers away from much of Marion Reservoir in east central Kansas for several weeks. Park rangers say about 40 campsites around the lake in Cottonwood Point and Hillsboro cove are temporarily closed due to flooding, and reservations for those locations will be canceled until August 29. KAKE-TV reports that waters washed away parts of one of the main roads in Cottonwood Point and another 45 campsites on one side of the impassable road will be closed, probably until the end of the year. All of the reservations for those campsites are canceled through the end of the year.


Kansas House Minority Leader Forms Committee for Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis has formed a campaign committee for a potential run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year. Davis announced Thursday that he's created the committee and appointed former state Representative William Kassebaum, of Burdick, as his treasurer. Kassebaum is the son of former U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker and served in the House as a moderate Republican. Davis is a Lawrence attorney and is the first prominent Democrat to publicly show an interest in challenging Republican Governor Sam Brownback. But Davis spokeswoman Haley Pollock emphasized that he's not yet formally announcing his candidacy. Davis has served in the House since 2003. He's been repeatedly mentioned by prominent Democrats as a potential challenger to Brownback.


Ex-Kansas AG Kline Seeking Law License Renewal

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A critic of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline says the ex-prosecutor has the right to renew his Kansas law license while a ruling from the Supreme Court on his conduct is pending. Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka attorney who faced Kline in several abortion investigations, says Thursday that the state's legal system is structured to protect Kline's rights to practice law. Kline, once a national figure for investigating abortion providers, had allowed his Kansas law license to lapse for several years. Kline said Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he completed the necessary requirements to retain an active license. He is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court in a disciplinary case regarding his alleged misconduct in prosecuting abortion clinics while attorney general.


Governor to Hold Kansas Transportation Summit 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback will lead a summit meeting next month at Emporia State University on the future of transportation in Kansas. The September 5 event is sponsored by the state Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which oversees the maintenance and operation of the state's only toll road. Brownback and Transportation Secretary Mike King will act as hosts. Officials describe the summit as an opportunity for business, community and government leaders to help chart a course for growth and prosperity. Brownback plans to moderate a panel discussion among transportation industry leaders. The public is invited to attend. But space is limited, so the Transportation Department is asking people to register on its website by August 15.


Visa Problems Threaten Foreign Teachers in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some foreign teachers recruited to work in Topeka schools are facing the possibility having to return home because of problems with their applications for permanent residency. The Topeka school district currently has 29 teachers from abroad. In June, the district found out that some of the teachers' applications for permanent residency had been rejected. The district is appealing, but if the appeal is denied, six teachers will be sent home. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the U.S. Department of Labor rejected the district's argument that there is a shortage of teachers qualified and willing to do the jobs the foreign teachers have filled. The district says it has a continuing problem filling some teaching jobs, particularly special education, math and science positions.


Knight Weighs Run for Wichita Mayor

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Former Wichita mayor Bob Knight is considering another campaign for that office. Knight told KWCH-TV on Wednesday he's been approached by several people encouraging him to run when current Mayor Carl Brewer leaves office in 2015. Term limits prevent Brewer from running again. Knight, now 72, served multiple terms as mayor between 1980 and 2003. He was also the Kansas commerce secretary from 1992 to 1995, and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in 2002. Knight says he expects to make a decision about seeking the mayor's office in the next few months.


Wichita Man Struck, Killed by Freight Train

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have identified a pedestrian struck and killed by a freight train, but they're not certain why the man appeared not to notice the danger before it was too late. KFDI-FM reports that 26-year-old Robert L. Wells, of Wichita, was dead at the scene of the accident late Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses told investigators Wells was crossing the tracks and turned to see the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train just before he was struck. The train's crew had sounded a horn but could not stop the train in time. Police Lieutenant Joe Schroeder says the victim did not have any disabilities, and the death doesn't appear to have been a suicide. He also says Wells was not wearing headphones.


Gator Pulled from Kansas Lake Had Been Shot

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in northeast Kansas say a small alligator spotted in a lake was shot and wounded in the snout before it could be rescued. Fishermen spotted the 3-foot-long alligator on Saturday in Atchison County Lake. Sheriff's deputies monitored the animal until the Atchison County Humane Society helped catch it Monday using a dog kennel and other tools. KMBC-TV reports that investigators learned of the shooting while arranging to transfer the alligator to a sanctuary near Lee's Summit, Missouri. Experts at the Monkey Island sanctuary say the bullet traveled between the gator's eyes through its body. They expect it to recover. The Atchison County sheriff says a 53-year-old Horton man has been cited as the shooter. Deputies are still looking for whoever dumped the alligator in the lake.


Kansas Doctor Seeks Release in Prescription Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for a northeast Kansas doctor accused of having employees illegally dispense prescriptions are trying again to persuade a federal judge that he won't flee if he's released on bail. Dr. Michael P. Schuster's lawyers said in a federal court filing Wednesday that the Manhattan doctor's wife has moved $474,000 from overseas accounts back to the U.S. since May. The defense also said the couple is willing to surrender personal property and the deeds to their real estate holdings. Schuster is being held without bail on four counts involving what authorities contend was the illegal distribution of drugs from his pain clinic for at least five years, starting in 2007. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says the office plans a written reply.


Kansas Police Chief Takes Guatemala Job

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas police chief is leaving his department September 23rd for a job in Central America. Sean Wallace has been with the Arkansas City Police Department for 20 years, the last seven as chief. Wallace told KAKE-TV on Wednesday he has a one-year contract with the U.S. State Department to serve as a community policing adviser in Guatemala. Wallace is a fluent Spanish-speaker and has provided international police training in the past. His wife, Robin Wallace, is an assistant principal at Derby High School and will remain with the district for the next academic year. Sean Wallace says he'll decide after his one-year State Department contract is up whether he'll continue working in Guatemala.


$1M Powerball Ticket Sold in NW Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Someone in northwest Kansas missed Wednesday night's $425 million jackpot by one number but will claim a $1 million prize. State lottery officials announced the $1 million ticket Thursday but did not indicate where it was purchased. The 15 counties where the ticket could have been sold are: Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham, Rooks, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Trego and Ellis. The winning numbers are 5, 25, 30, 58 and 59 with a Powerball number was 32. The Kansas ticket matched the five numbers without the Powerball. Two tickets sold in New Jersey and one in Minnesota matched all five numbers and will share the $425 million jackpot.


Large Collection of KU Memorabilia Headed to Auction Block

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A collection of more than 1,000 pieces of University of Kansas memorabilia that has been housed at the university's Student Union will soon be up for auction. The collection's owner, Bud Jennings, says he started gathering the items in 1939. He let it go on display at the union in hopes a collector would buy it all. But no one came forward with the $130,000 price tag. He gave the university three years to raise the money but marketing director Mike Reid said those efforts failed. 6News Lawrence reports that Jennings will sell some pieces at an auction and others on eBay. He says the proceeds will go toward his retirement. Jennings says he's not sure when the auction will occur.


K-State Alumnus, Wife Give $10M for Business Building

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Two longtime Kansas State University supporters have donated $10 million to support a new building for the school's College of Business Administration. Paul and Sandra Edgerley of Brookline, Massachusetts have provided financial support for years to the university, from which Paul Edgerley graduated in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in business. He is managing director of Bain Capital Partners in Boston, while Sandra Edgerley worked at Bain for 10 years and is an active leader in a number of Boston-based charitable institutions. The couple previously established the Edgerley family chair in the College of Business Administration and many other academic and athletic initiatives. The university says the proposed new building will have 140,000 square feet of space featuring classrooms, a lecture hall, computer labs and executive conference room.


Bandanna Marks Anniversary of Quantrill Raid

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence man has created a commemorative bandanna to recognize the 150th anniversary of William Quantrill's raid that left more than 180 residents dead. Conrad Altenbernd III's great-grandfather and his family spent the day and night of the raid hiding in their farm's cornfield. Altenbernd says he grew up hearing family stories about how they watched Lawrence burning at the hands of the Missouri invaders August 21, 1863. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Altenbernd has printed 300 bandannas. He plans to sell 200 of them for $10 each and give away 100 to elected officials, local leaders, museums and others with ties to Lawrence's history. Altenbernd is a lifelong resident of Lawrence and still has the family's original homestead.


Maldives Officer Joining Next Army Command Class

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — An officer from the Maldives is making history this fall by becoming the first member of his nation's military to attend the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. The officer from the Indian Ocean island republic will be among 70 foreign students presenting their flags Monday during a ceremony to open the 2013-14 academic session. More than 7,500 international officers have studied military tactics and strategy alongside U.S. counterparts at Fort Leavenworth. The officer from the Maldives brings to 161 the number of countries represented at the college since 1894. The international officers will be joined this year by nearly 1,000 U.S. military officers and government civilians studying at the northeast Kansas Army post.


Civil Suit Filed in Horse Neglect Incident in Hutchinson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson woman already serving a year's probation for neglecting more than two dozen horses is now facing a civil nuisance lawsuit. Sixty-one-year-old Lindasue Adams pleaded no contest in July to two counts of animal cruelty for neglecting more than a dozen horses. County Counselor Joe O'Sullivan told county commissioners a civil nuisance case against Adams is scheduled for trial later this month. O'Sullivan says the lawsuit contends that because Adams' suffering horses were visible from the roadway, the situation created a public nuisance. Several people called law enforcement and others stopped to feed the horses. Because Adams has a pattern of neglecting horses, the county will ask that she be prohibited for life from owning horses. The Hutchinson News reports the trial is scheduled for August 29.


Sedgwick County Rejects More Funds for Boys Ranch

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County commissioners have adopted a 2014 budget that puts the future of the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch in jeopardy. The commissioners on Wednesday adopted a $414 million budget that does not include any extra money for the ranch in Goddard, which treats troubled juveniles. The state pays the county $126 a day per boy at the ranch. The county pays more than $200 a day per boy. The state gave the county a one-time $750,000 grant for the ranch in the current fiscal year — half of what the county requested. The Wichita Eagle reports supporters say the ranch saves money because the boys stay out of juvenile detention facilities. Others said the county cannot continue to bear the cost of operating the ranch without more state help.


Group Aims to Save NY Home with 'Wizard of Oz' Tie

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — If it weren't for one home in Syracuse, New York, there would be no Wizard of Oz. That's the contention of the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation, named for the central New York native who wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The book was the basis for the 1939 Judy Garland film. The foundation is holding fundraisers this week in Syracuse to try to save a derelict home where Baum's sister, Harriet Baum Neal, lived in the 1880s. Foundation members tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse  that Frank Baum met his future wife, Maud Gage, at the home. The organization says Gage's mother was a prominent supporter of women's rights whose ideas influenced Baum's vision of Oz, where powerful women such as Glinda the Good Witch act for the betterment of society.


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