LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Regional Headlines for Thursday, May 9, 2013



Kansas Senate Leader Says Session Likely to Extend Past 80 Days

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republicans in the Kansas Legislature had dreamed of ending its annual session in 80 days, a show of efficiency that would have trimmed 10 days off the normal but often-violated schedule. But Senate President Susan Wagle said Wednesday that it's unlikely lawmakers can meet the goal because of an impasse over tax cuts. The Wichita Republican predicted during a meeting of GOP senators that the session could last most of next week. The 80th day is Monday. Legislators often worry about how going longer than 90 days will play with their constituents. Last year's session lasted 99 days. The record is 107 days, set in 2002. Asked about Wagle's comments, House Speaker and Stilwell Republican Ray Merrick said, "I guess that's her decision."


Kansas House Panel Approves Governor's Services Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican-dominated Kansas House committee has approved GOP Governor Sam Brownback's proposal to shift projected savings from an overhaul of the state's Medicaid program to in-home services for the disabled. But the House Appropriations Committee added a new provision Thursday that's likely to frustrate advocates for the developmentally disabled. The new language says there won't be extra money for services for the developmentally disabled unless the services are brought into the Medicaid overhaul. Advocates want those services to remain separate. Medicaid covers health care for the disabled and needy. Kansas has turned the program's administration over to private insurance companies, except for in-home services for the developmentally disabled. Brownback has proposed using $8 million in savings from the Medicaid overhaul for services for the physically and developmentally disabled.


Brownback Chief of Staff: Most Recent NBAF Estimates 'Solid'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's chief of staff says the latest cost estimates for a new, national biosecurity lab and commitments from federal officials about its funding are "pretty solid." Landon Fulmer sought to assure Democrats in the Kansas Senate on Thursday that the state is unlikely to face committing more funding for the project if it issues an additional $202 million in bonds. Fulmer said federal officials don't intend to ask Kansas for further commitments. Some legislators have misgivings about more bonds even though they support the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University. The $1.15 billion lab will research dangerous animal diseases. The state already has authorized $105 million in bonds, but costs have escalated. President Barack Obama's latest proposed budget includes $714 million for the project.


UPDATE: After Hesitating, Kansas House Panel OKs NBAF Bonds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback's administration has overcome fresh resistance from the Kansas Legislature to the authorization of an additional $202 million in bonds for a national biodefense lab. The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday initially postponed a decision to the governor's proposal for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University. But after a briefing from Brownback's chief of staff, the committee approved the proposal. However, it added language to prevent the bonds from being issued without the federal government first funding the bulk of the $1.15 billion in construction costs. The state has already authorized $105 million in bonds for the lab, which will research dangerous animal diseases. Kansas pursued the project because it promises to generate more than 300 high-paying jobs.


Kansas House Panel Approves Plan to Fund Stem Cell Center

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee has approved a proposal to spend $1.2 million to fund a new research center for potential medical cures with adult stem cells. The Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to direct House budget negotiators to push for the spending. Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill last month creating the new center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The law prohibits the new center from using money or resources on research with embryonic stem cells. Instead, the aim is to make Kansas a leader in research with adult stem cells. Three senators and three House members are negotiating the final version of a $14.5 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.


Officials: Missing Toddler Likely Dead

The Lawrence Journal-World and the Kansas City Star newspapers are reporting that Franklin County officials believe missing toddler Lana Bailey is dead. However, law enforcement officials say they will continue the search for the child. The 18-month-old's mother and two men were killed at a house in rural Ottawa. A suspect in the case has been arrested. Kyle T. Flack, 27, of Ottawa, who had been held for questioning since Wednesday, was booked into Franklin County Jail this (THUR) morning on suspicion of first-degree murder. Flack was taken in for questioning as a "person of interest" in the case. The nature of his relationship with the victims is still unclear. Flack served four years in prison for the 2005 shooting of Ottawa resident Steven Dale Free. Flack was convicted of attempted second-degree murder and was paroled in 2009. Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting said his office has yet to determine what charges to file against Flack. Eighteen-month-old Lana Bailey was last seen alive on April 28, but was reported missing along with her mother on May 3. The Kansas City Star reports that a mounted search and rescue team from Johnson County is helping with the search effort, and that the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children has sent representatives to assist.


Drug Investigation Nets 81 Arrests in Northeast Kansas

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of investigation says 81 people were arrested on drug-related charges after a lengthy investigation by local and state authorities. The KBI said in a news release Thursday that arrests were made Tuesday and Wednesday in and around Junction City, Manhattan, Grandview Plaza and Ogden. Many of the arrests involved conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Investigators seized a variety of narcotics and 17 firearms. The KBI says several children were placed in protective custody after the arrests. The 13-month investigation was conducted by the KBI, Geary County law enforcement, Junction City police and Grandview Plaza police. More than 180 members of law enforcement worked on the operation.


Salina Police Arrest Man in Woman's Disappearance

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Saline County authorities say they have arrested a man in the recent disappearance of a 27-year-old Salina woman. Kristin Tyler has been missing since April 25. The mother of four was thought to be headed to a convenience store when she disappeared. Officers searched a salvage yard about a mile outside Salina on Wednesday. KAKE-TV reports that police said Thursday they have arrested a 24-year-old man as a person of interest in the case. The man was arrested at a hotel in Abilene and is being held on an unrelated probation violation.


Kansas Woman Struck, Killed by Freight Train

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a pedestrian who was hit by a freight train in east-central Kansas. The Emporia Gazette reports that police on Thursday identified the woman as 28-year-old Haylee Frazier, of Emporia. BNSF Railway says the accident happened shortly before midnight Wednesday. Frazier was found near the tracks and pronounced dead at the scene. BNSF spokesman Andy Williams says the westbound train had three locomotives and 49 cars. He adds that the accident did not happen at a crossing. It's not clear why Frazier was near the tracks. Williams says the speed limit through Emporia is 40 mph and the train was not speeding at the time.

Kansas Senate Panel Approves $202M in NBAF Bonds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill authorizing an additional $202 million in bonds for a national biodefense lab after adding limits designed to address some conservative Republicans' concerns. The Ways and Means Committee's voice vote Wednesday sends the measure to the full Senate for debate, possibly as early as Friday. Kansas has authorized $105 million in bonds for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University. Republican Governor Sam Brownback has said the new bonds are necessary to fulfill the state's promise to cover part of the construction costs. The $1.2 billion facility will research dangerous animal diseases. Some conservative GOP senators questioned authorizing new bonds. The bill says they can't be issued until the federal government signs a contract with a construction contractor.


Kansas Doctor Denied Bail on Federal Drug Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas doctor accused of illegally distributing prescription drugs will remain in federal custody for now. Fifty-three-year-old Michael Schuster was indicted May 1 on multiple counts alleging he operated a pill mill from his clinic in Manhattan. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius on Thursday denied Schuster's request to set bail, calling him a flight risk. Sebelius said Schuster and his wife had misled authorities about their assets and the whereabouts of their passports after the charges were filed. Schuster pleaded not guilty earlier this week to charges alleging he engaged in a scheme to unlawfully distribute controlled substances from April 2007 until at least August 2012. He's accused of directing and allowing staff members to dispense controlled substances in his absence, using blank, signed prescription pads he left behind when he traveled.


Northeast KS Drought Conditions Improve Slightly 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Northeast Kansas is seeing a little improvement in the weekly update on drought conditions across the country. Much of that part of Kansas is now in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. The western half of the state remains in extreme or exceptional drought.


Wichita Facing 2nd Lawsuit over Driving Pursuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A second lawsuit has been filed against Wichita alleging one of its police officers drove dangerously in pursuits. The Wichita Eagle reports that 23-year-old Juan M. Santiago filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the city. It alleges negligence by the officer in a high-speed chase in which a fleeing driver ran a red light and struck Santiago, injuring him. Santiago's attorney, Blake Shuart, says a high-speed chase wasn't warranted and was too risky for the circumstances. In December, the parents of 12-year-old Suhani Bhakta filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and the city. It says the officer was speeding while driving without lights and sirens when his patrol car struck the girl as she darted across a street. A city attorney says she can't comment on pending litigation.

Bowersock Power Plant Ceremonial Opening Scheduled for Friday

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A new $25 million hydroelectric power plant in Lawrence will officially open on Friday. The Bowersock Mills and Power Company plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the plant on the north bank of the Kansas River near downtown Lawrence at 4 pm Friday. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the plant began operating in late November and started producing enough electricity to run the turbines in early April. The project more than tripled the amount of electricity the company can produce on the Kansas River. All of the power produced by the plant is sold to the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities. Friday's event will include tours of the new plant and remarks from Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison.


2 Dead in Northwest Missouri Highway Crash

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Highway Patrol says a van carrying 10 people to work struck two other vehicles on Interstate 29 near St. Joseph, killing two and injuring at least nine. The patrol identified those killed in Thursday's crash as 42-year-old Phun Bik, the van's driver, and his wife, 36-year-old Rose Mery Thlia. KQTV reports that all 10 people in the van were Kansas City, Kansas residents employed at the Triumph Foods pork processing plant in St. Joseph. The crash happened shortly before 5 am on northbound I-29, just south of St. Joseph. The patrol says the van came upon several vehicles that were stopped after an earlier accident and hit a tractor-trailer and a car. Eight other people in the van and the driver of the car were taken to hospitals.


Petro Securities Fraud Trial Nears End of 3rd Week

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal trial for five people involved with Kansas City-based Petro America Corporation is nearing the end of its third week with testimony from defense witnesses who say they still believe in the company. Isreal Owen Hawkins and four others are accused of selling $7.2 million in unregistered Petro stock to unqualified investors with promises that they would all become millionaires when the stock went public. Federal prosecutors say Petro America did not have $284 billion in assets, as its leaders had touted, and had received cease and desist letters from both Missouri and Kansas. They say the company's claimed assets are worthless. At least three Petro shareholders testified Thursday that they still believe in the company, despite the federal charges. Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday.


Missouri River Basin Remains Dryer than Normal

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Despite wet weather in April, the amount of water flowing into the Missouri River remains below normal because of slow runoff and the ongoing drought. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday that the cold weather reduced the amount of runoff from snowmelt in the past month. The corps is predicting the amount of runoff flowing into the river basin this spring to be about 79 percent of normal. So the corps will continue imposing drought conservation measures. But the corps Jody Farhat says conditions in the basin can change quickly and some areas could see flooding after heavy rains. The amount of water released out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border averaged 17,800 cubic feet per second during April.

Via Christi in Wichita Revives Kidney Transplant Program

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita hospital says it plans to reinstate its kidney transplant program within the next six months. Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis voluntarily suspended the program last May after four patients who received kidney transplants died within three weeks. The Wichita Eagle reports an investigation found no common cause for the deaths. Laurie Labarca, chief operating officer of the hospital, says the hospital was given preliminary approval last week for a six-month extension that will allow it to avoid going through the entire accreditation process again. The hospital is recruiting and interviewing two surgeons and a doctor who specializes in kidney care. A transplant program administrator has been hired and most of the 17 employees who were shifted to other duties will return to the kidney program.

Kansas Man's Belt Buckle Collection Stolen

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man who lives in western Sedgwick County is hoping police can recover a belt buckle collection stolen by a burglar. The thief got away with $9,000 in loot from the rural home, including the belt buckles, guns and coins. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says the burglar forced open a door at the home between April 30 and May 1. Home owner Victor Leis says he has collected about belt buckles since he was a child, dating back to 1974. He tells KWCH that his parents gave their children belt buckles at Christmas and he had continued that tradition.


Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)