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Regional Headlines for Thursday, October 17, 2013


KS A-G's Office: Suspect in Slayings Dies in Shooting

EUREKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a man wanted in connection with two slayings was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers in southern Kansas. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says 35-year-old Kevin Robert Welsh of Toronto, Kansas was killed Wednesday night. The shooting happened in Eureka after an officer noticed that the entrance to an unoccupied structure had been tampered with since the last time it was checked. The KBI said initial reports indicate that agents shot Welsh after he pointed a handgun at them. Welsh was pronounced dead at a hospital. Authorities had been searching for Welsh since his ex-girlfriend was seriously injured and her mother and stepfather killed October 2 near Eureka. The KBI says the Greenwood County attorney will appoint a special prosecutor to review what happened.


All-GOP KS Congressional Delegation Splits over Budget Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The all-Republican Kansas congressional delegation was divided over legislation raising the federal debt ceiling and ending the partial shutdown of the federal government. Senator Jerry Moran and 2nd District congresswoman Lynn Jenkins voted for the measure. Voting against the package were Senator Pat Roberts, 1st District congressman Tim Huelskamp, 3rd District congressman Kevin Yoder and 4th District congressman Mike Pompeo. The four of them said the budget deal failed to address what they described as the nation's out-of-control spending. Moran and Jenkins said they voted yes to end the government shutdown and avoid having the U.S. default on its debt should the federal government hit its borrowing limit. Jenkins is a member of the House GOP leadership team, and Speaker John Boehner voted for the package.


KS Federal Sites Resume Operations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The end of the partial federal shutdown means Kansas National Historic Sites will reopen, the military is resuming normal training schedules and checks are being issued to participants in a special nutrition program. Across Kansas Thursday, federal employees were returning to their posts, including the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. Army units also were resuming normal training schedules. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment advised local health clinics they could resume issuing assistance checks to mothers and families as part of the Women, Infants and Children program. Payments were halted October 9 for the program because of uncertainty about federal funding. The program provides financial assistance for the purchase of nutritious foods, breastfeeding support and nutrition education.


Kansas Military Units Resuming Functions

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — Soldiers at Fort Riley will be able to resume normal training and education functions as the flow of federal money resumes to the nation's military. Activities had been curtailed for more than two weeks during the partial federal government shutdown. Major Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, says Thursday that soldiers would begin returning to regular activities once funding is available. Fort Riley also will be able to resume normal community relations functions, such as supporting local parades or other gatherings. Most of the civilian employees who were initially furloughed October 1 were already at work after being recalled by the Department of Defense. O'Donnell says any remaining furloughed employees would be returning to work.


State of Kansas to Begin Campaign to Encourage Exercise

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Governor's Council on Fitness wants Kansans to get moving. The Wichita Eagle reports that a statewide campaign to encourage exercise and combat obesity begins Saturday. The campaign is called Get Active Kansas and features a new website where residents can log their physical activity. Participants can receive credit for up to 60 minutes of exercise each day. The goal is to complete at least 600 minutes a month. That amounts to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. About two-thirds of Kansas adults were classified as overweight or obese in 2012. And the 2011 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that nearly one in four Kansas high school students were classified as overweight or obese.


KS Representatives File Campaign Finance Reports

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican congressman Mike Pompeo has built the biggest stockpile of campaign cash of any Kansan seeking re-election to Congress next year. Pompeo's campaign reported this week that it ended September with $2 million in cash after collecting $656,000 in contributions during the previous three months. Pompeo represents the 4th District of south-central Kansas. In the 3rd District of the Kansas City area, incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder collected net contributions of about $285,000 during the previous three months. Yoder ended September with almost $1.78 million in cash. Republican congressman Tim Huelskamp of the 1st District of western and central Kansas ended September with about $716,000 in cash on hand. He raised about $92,000 during the third quarter. No reports were available online Wednesday for Yoder's and Huelskamp's Democratic challengers.

AT&T Announces 100 New Jobs in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — AT&T is planning to hire about 100 new employees in cities across Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that AT&T said Wednesday it will have 15 openings in Topeka and other openings for technicians in Olathe and Wichita. The company also plans to hire retail salespeople in Atchison, Dodge City, Garden City, Kansas City, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Liberal, Manhattan, Olathe, Overland Park, Shawnee and Wichita. An AT&T call center in Wichita will also add 10 jobs. About 1,700 people in Kansas work for AT&T, which invested about $110 million to upgrade and expand its networks in the state this year.


Belgian Firm Buying Missouri's Boulevard Brewing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of America's largest craft beer makers, Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing, is being sold to Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat. Boulevard founder John McDonald says in a letter posted Thursday on the company's website that the sale is designed to "take Boulevard to the next level." Boulevard has grown rapidly since its founding in 1989. The Kansas City Star reports that Boulevard produces 185,000 barrels of beer annually and sells it in 25 states. It also has a small presence in Scandinavia. McDonald says he approached Duvel three months ago and struck a deal that's expected to close by the end of the year. Financial details were not disclosed. Duvel brewed 700,000 barrels of beer last year and employs 900 people. Boulevard has 125 employees.


Brownback Names KC-Area Attorney as Chief Counsel

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City-area attorney will be joining Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's staff next month as his chief counsel. Brownback announced Wednesday that he had named Brant Laue (LAU) to the job. Laue will replace Caleb Stegall, named by Brownback to the state Court of Appeals and confirmed by the Kansas Senate last month. The governor's office said Laue will become chief counsel November 4th, but Stegall will remain on Brownback's staff for several weeks to help with the transition. Stegall will be sworn in as a Court of Appeals judge January 3rd. Laue is a native of Hanover, and his family has a cattle ranch there. He is a 1986 graduate of the Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York and formerly worked for the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.

KS Woman Charged with Killing Man, Abandoning Body

AUGUSTA, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas woman has been charged with killing a man and leaving his body to decompose for weeks on her property. KWCH reports that 54-year-old Susan May made her first appearance Wednesday on charges that include first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege that May intentionally shot 55-year-old Richard Hrejsa around September 18th. His decomposing body was found Monday evening after authorities were called to May's home near Augusta for a welfare check. May also is charged with trying to keep law enforcement from finding out or investigating Hresja's death and deliberately trying to keep a deputy from serving a legal warrant. Bond is set at $250,000. No information about the case is listed in online court records, and it's not immediately clear if May has an attorney.

Kansas Woman Killed After Contact with Power Line

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Leavenworth police say a 26-year-old woman died when she came in contact with a power line after her car ran into a power pole. Police Chief Pat Kitchens said when Lachelle M. Kemp of Leavenworth got out of her car after it hit the pole Wednesday and was apparently trying to get two children out of the vehicle when the power line touched her. Kemp was unresponsive when police arrived and was pronounced dead at a hospital. A 3-year-old boy and an infant girl were not harmed. Kitchens said an autopsy would be performed.


Douglas County Tinkers with Agritourism Plan

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Douglas County officials are considering changes to a new policy that was designed to promote tourism in agricultural areas. County commissioners voted Wednesday to ask the Lawrence-Douglas County Commission to draft changes to the "agritourism" zoning codes. The commission also imposed a moratorium on new agritourism permits until April 30, 2014. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the zoning codes were enacted less than a year ago. They were intended to promote certain kinds of tourism businesses in land zoned for agriculture use. But the effort came under fire last month, when residents in southeast Douglas County objected to a plan from a Johnson County couple to run a large commercial pumpkin operation. The owners withdrew the application, with the intention of resubmitting it later.


Spokeswoman: Adult Son of KC Mayor Dies

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A spokeswoman for the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri says the mayor's adult son has died after a prolonged illness. Joni Wickham, spokeswoman for Mayor Sly James, said Thursday that Eric James died Tuesday in Springfield, where he lived. Wickham said Eric James was in his early 40s. Wickham did not disclose the cause of death, but said James had been ill for a while. Funeral arrangements were pending. On his Twitter account Thursday, the mayor thanked people for their "kind words and wishes" and said he "may be a bit out of touch over the next few days."


Race Car Beaten with Sledgehammer at Hays Track

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in northwest Kansas are looking for whoever took a sledgehammer to a race car at the RPM Speedway in Hays. The Hays Daily News reports that the damage apparently happened Saturday as driver Chadd Brown was watching the final three races with relatives. Brown had left his modified dirt-track racer on an open trailer in the overflow pit area northeast of the track. Brown says a track official heard someone beating and banging but thought it was a racer working on his car. Damage is estimated at about $9,000. Brown says he "can't believe someone would stoop to that level." Ellis County authorities are asking the public to call with tips. And Brown's friends are offering a $1,000 reward to help solve the crime.


Registered Sex Offender Charged with Kansas Rape

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man who appears on the national sex offender registry is charged with raping a 13-year-old girl. The Wichita Eagle reports a complaint filed in Sedgwick County District Court charges 40-year-old Terrill L. Andrews with having unlawful sexual intercourse with the girl late last week. Police reported receiving a call Saturday from a woman saying the 13-year-old had been "forcibly raped" three times in two days. Sedgwick County Jail booking records showed Andrews being held Thursday on $350,000 bond. No information about the case was listed in online court records, and it was not clear if Andrews has an attorney. Andrews was convicted of rape and sodomy in 2003 in a Great Lakes, Illinois case.


Trial Delayed in Garden City Stabbing Death 

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — The trial for a Garden City man charged with stabbing another man to death will not begin until next year. Thirty-four-year-old Fred Schmidt Jr. was scheduled to go on trial Monday for first-degree murder and other charges in the March 2011 death of Jeffrey Nichols. Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier says the trial was delayed after Schmidt's attorney, Kristi Cott, requested a continuance until the first of the year. The Garden City Telegram says Nichols was killed during a fight with Schmidt. Forensics reports indicated that Nichols was stabbed 45 times. Schmidt pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Former KU Football Player Sentenced in Armed Robbery

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Former University of Kansas football player Jeremiah Edwards was sentenced to three years of probation for his part in a home invasion robbery in Lawrence. Edwards, of Garland, Texas, was sentenced Wednesday. He was arrested in May along with former KU football players Chris Martin and Chris Omigie, and his brother, Joshua Edwards. Jeremiah Edwards never played for Kansas after being red-shirted for a heart condition in 2010. He kept his scholarship and will graduate in May.If Edwards violates probation, he would face up to 32 months in prison. He was also ordered to stay away from Martin. 6News Lawrence reports that Omigie will be in court later this month and Martin is scheduled to appear in November. Joshua Edwards was sentenced in August to two years' probation.

Girl Left at Kansas School While Parents Buy Drugs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say a 7-year-old girl was left at school while her parents allegedly were trying to buy drugs. The Wichita Eagle reports that the girl was left at a south Wichita elementary school Tuesday while waiting to be picked up. When the parents didn't show up, the child's grandmother asked police to go to the girl's home to check on the mother. Lieutenant Jeff Weible says investigators found indications the parents were out trying to buy drugs. The girl and her 4-year-old sister were placed in protective custody.


Funds Sought for New Kansas State Fair Barn

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State Fair officials say a nearly 50-year-old barn and show ring is showing its age and needs to be replaced. The Hutchinson News reports the officials plan to ask the Legislature for money for the project. A contractor estimates that it would cost between $4.7 million and $5.5 million to demolish the building, known as the Expo Center, and replace it with one of similar size. Built in 1964, the Expo Center is one of the fair's most-used buildings in the offseason. It's often rented for horse shows, rodeos and other livestock events. Fair Board member Brad Rayl said Wednesday that without repair or replacement, the building will eventually "get to a place where it is structurally unsound."


Slow Growth Likely in Rural Parts of 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new report suggests the economy will continue growing at a slow pace in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states in the months ahead. The overall index for the report released Thursday rose to 54.3 in October from 52.4 in September. Any score above 50 suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the recent decline in crop prices will likely slow economic growth. The index is based on surveys of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. A score above 50 suggests growth in that factor in the months ahead. October's hiring index for the region jumped to 56.1 from September's 53.2 in an encouraging signal.


MO A-G Announces Settlement in Honor Flight Dispute

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says a hospice company has agreed to turn over nearly $40,000 in donations to send elderly military veterans to Washington. The attorney general's office said Kendallwood Hospice Company will send money held for Honor Flight Network of Kansas City Inc. to the national Honor Flight Office. Koster's office filed suit earlier this month and announced the settlement Wednesday. In addition to returning the money, Kendallwood agreed to provide bank statements so the attorney general's office can verify the donations have been accounted. Koster says he is pleased the donations can go to help Kansas City veterans as donors had intended.

University of Kansas to Award 2 Honorary Degrees

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A world-renowned opera singer and a Nobel Prize-winning economist will receive honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Kansas during graduation ceremonies next May. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and economist Vernon Smith were chosen for the honors by a special selection committee. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the recommendations Wednesday. DiDonato will receive an honorary doctorate in the arts for her contributions to opera. The Prairie Village native studied vocal education at Wichita State University and has performed with major opera companies throughout the world. Smith is a Wichita native who holds a master's degree from KU and a doctorate from Harvard. He shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics and will receive an honorary doctorate in science for his work in experimental economics.

Garden City Addresses Its Feral Cat Population Problem

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Volunteers have a new plan to reduce the feral cat population in Garden City. The Garden City Telegram reports that the Finney County Humane Society is planning a trap, neuter and release program. The effort will use Humane Society volunteers to capture the cats and take them to participating veterinarians. Captured cats will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, dewormed, tested for feline leukemia and treated for ear mites. After three days, the cats will be returned to the location where they were trapped. Kay Gillespie is leading the program. She says the effort will end bothersome cat behaviors, such as females going into heat and howling all night. The program won't involve city animal control or the city's animal shelter.


Nelson-Atkins Museum Receives Picasso Photos

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has received 161 photos from acclaimed photographer David Douglas Duncan, including 159 of artist Pablo Picasso. Duncan, a Kansas City native who is now 97, has lived in France since the 1950s. He met Picasso in 1956 and was a frequent guest in the artist's home. The first book of those pictures was published in 1958. The Kansas City Star reports that Duncan also documented the Korean and Vietnam wars and many other historic events of the 20th century. The museum announced Wednesday in a news release that some of the photos will be on display in the Bloch Building lobby of the gallery from October 25 to January 26.


KS Schools to Attend Regional Show Choir Event in Nebraska

PERU, Neb. (AP) — Peru State College in Nebraska expects 27 high school show choirs from Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas will attend its 42nd Annual Show Choir Festival next week. Performances are scheduled to begin at 8:30 am Tuesday and 8 am Wednesday in the College Theatre. Awards will be presented for the best high school show choir in each class. The performances are free and open to the public. More information is available online at or at 800-742-4412.


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