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Regional Headlines for Thursday, December 27, 2012




KanCare Networks Have Coverage Gaps

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Despite strong primary care doctor networks, the three managed care companies that will take over Kansas Medicaid services have some gaps in their Shawnee County provider networks. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that according to data collected earlier this month, Sunflower State Health Plan had no providers within 25 miles of Shawnee County in nine of 22 medical specialties. Amerigroup didn't have any providers in nephrology, physical medicine/rehabilitation and plastics and reconstructive surgery in the 25-mile range, and United Healthcare had no neonatologists in that range. The three companies have been building provider networks since this summer when they were announced as the recipients of contracts for KanCare, the managed care plan for Medicaid. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says provider networks will continue to grow.


Drought Unrelenting Despite Recent Snowstorms

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The snowstorm that pummeled the upper Midwest last week is helping ease dry conditions in Iowa but hasn't done much to relax the overall grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that roughly 62 percent of the continental U.S. remains in some form of drought, unchanged from the previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July. Nearly 22 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That also is unchanged from the previous week. All of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota are in drought. But thanks to last week's snow, the amount of Iowa in extreme or exceptional drought fell 9 percentage points to 32 percent.


Time Running Out to Save Art Deco Train Depot in Marysville

MARYSVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Time is running out to rescue a train station that has fallen into disrepair in the northeast Kansas town of Marysville.  The Kansas City Star reports that Union Pacific offered to give the 1929 building and the land it sits on to the city. But the plan by the nonprofit group trying to save it, Landmark Enterprises, includes a theater on adjoining land, also owned by the railroad.  If Landmark comes up with the purchase price, the city would then give the station with its art deco carvings to the group. Preservationists say it could be used again, for community arts.  But so far they've come up with less than half of the necessary fare of $132,000, and the deadline to come up with the money passed in November.


KS House Member Expects Local Elections Debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member says lawmakers are likely to debate proposals next year to change the scheduling of local elections around the state.  Elections Committee Chairman and Olathe Republican Scott Schwab said yesterday (WED) that there's been House interest in the matter because local elections typically have a low turnout.  Schwab acknowledges the Kansas Senate has shown little interest in the subject. But that could change, as the 40-member Senate opens the 2013 session with 16 new members.  General elections for city offices and local school boards are usually held the first Tuesday in April in odd-numbered years, with primaries in late February or early March.  Schwab said one proposal is to move local general elections to the first Tuesday in November in odd-numbered years.


KU Medical Center Names New Vice Chancellor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The senior associate dean for clinical affairs will take over in February as executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center.  Officials say Dr. Douglas Girod was selected from among three candidates to fill the position. He replaces Barbara Atkinson, who retired in June as dean of the medical school and executive vice chancellor of the medical center in Kansas City, Kansas.  Girod, a surgeon, joined the medical faculty in 1994. He is also chairman of the medical school's Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery.  Girod earned his medical degree in 1985 from the University of California at San Francisco. He completed two residencies and a National Institutes of Health research fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle.


Driver Accused of Trying to Run Down KC Officer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man who was arrested in Kansas after allegedly trying to run down a police officer now faces criminal charges.  Prosecutors in Jackson County, Missouri have charged 45-year-old Elliott Robertson with assault on a law enforcement officer and armed criminal action.  Investigators say the incident began early Wednesday when two Kansas City officers spotted a parked car matching one that eluded police the previous night. One of the patrol officers ordered the driver to raise his hands.  At that point, police say, the motorist drove toward the officer. Both officers fired at the car as it sped away.  Robertson was chased and arrested a short time later by police in Kansas City, Kansas. He was being treated in Kansas for a gunshot wound and faces extradition back to Missouri.


KS School District to Get $120K Less than Anticipated

HAVEN, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas school district will have $120,000 less to spend because of a mix-up with the county officials who collect tax dollars.  The Hutchinson News reports that the Haven school district raised the capital outlay mill levy from six mills to eight mills.  Reno County officials say they never received a copy of the resolution authorizing the two-mill increase.  Superintendent Patrick Call says the resolution was sent twice, and records show the district's budget was received. That budget shows a levee increase had been authorized.  But County Clerk Shari Gagnebin says the office doesn't read through entire budgets.  Call says the board will discuss the issue when it meets again January 14. He says the shortfall likely would delay the purchase of technology supplies.


Retailers Recall 150,000 Baby Recliners for Safety Issues

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four national retailers have agreed to recall more than 150,000 Nap Nanny baby recliners after at least five infant deaths and dozens of reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the four retailers —, Buy Buy Baby, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us — agreed to voluntarily participate in the recall of the Nap Nanny because its manufacturer is unable or unwilling to participate. The manufacturer, Baby Matters of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, told The Associated Press that it had gone out of business.  CPSC is warning that the Nap Nanny contains dangerous defects in its design, warnings and instructions. The recall covers Nap Nanny Generations One and Two, and the Chill model infant recliners sold between 2009 and 2012.


Victims of South Kansas City Home Fire Identified

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of two adults killed in a Kansas City house fire.  The Kansas City Star reports that the victims are 48-year-old Jerry J. Latorre and 31-year-old Amelia L. Maasen, both of Kansas City.  Fire crews were called to the blaze Sunday. Latorre's body was found in the lower level and Maasen's on the home's main level.  Initial police reports say the cause of the fire is undetermined, but no foul play was involved. The structure is a total loss.


Stolen RV Recovered in Salina

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Salina had no trouble finding a vehicle reported stolen from a storage lot.  The vehicle was a 36-foot-long recreational motorhome that didn't exactly blend in with the traffic. An officer spotted it being driven on a city street around 2:30am on Christmas Eve.  The Salina Journal reports a 42-year-old man who said he was homeless was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property.  The motorhome is valued at $40,000. It was reported taken from the storage lot sometime between December 19 and Sunday.


Five KC Chiefs Players Heading to Pro Bowl

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite a 2-and-13 record, five Kansas City Chiefs players have been voted into the Pro Bowl. Running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry, punter Dustin Colquitt and linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson all made the AFC roster. The Pro Bowl is January 27th in Honolulu.



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