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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, June 11, 2013





KS Board of Ed Approves New Science Standards

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas state school board has approved new science standards for public schools that treat both evolution and climate change as key concepts to be taught from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The board voted 8-2 on Tuesday for standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council. The new guidelines are designed to shift the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects and experiments and blending material about engineering and technology into lessons. Past work on science standards in Kansas have been overshadowed by debates about how evolution should be taught. The latest standards were adopted in 2007 and treat evolution as a well-established, core scientific concept. Kansas law requires academic standards to be updated at least once every seven years.


State Seeking 'Hard 50' Sentence in Seacat Killing

KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) — The former Kansas lawman convicted in the death of his wife could face a punishment that would keep him in prison for decades. Jurors found Brett Seacat guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his 34-year-old wife, Vashti Seacat, in their home just days after she filed for divorce in 2011. Sentencing was set for Aug. 5, and prosecutors say they intend to seek a "hard 50" sentence, which means Seacat would have no chance for parole for at least 50 years. Investigators found Vashti Seacat's body among the charred remains of the Kingman house where the couple lived with their two sons, ages 2 and 4. Brett Seacat, a former police instructor and sheriff's deputy, escaped the blaze safely with the two boys.


Softbank Sweetens Offer for Sprint by $1.5 Billion

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Japan's Softbank says it has sweetened its offer for No. 3 cell carrier Sprint Nextel Corporation by $1.5 billion, raising it to $21.6 billion.  The revised deal announced Monday also calls for Sprint shareholders to get more cash: $16.6 billion, up from $12.1 billion in the previous offer. Softbank will own about 78 percent of Sprint if the deal is completed, compared with a previous 70 percent.  Satellite TV broadcaster Dish Network Corporation has launched a competing bid it values at $25.5 billion. But Sprint says a special committee of its board has determined Dish will not be able to come up with an offer superior to Softbank's.  Sprint's second largest shareholder, Paulson and Company, says it will vote all its shares in favor of Softbank's sweetened offer.


University Flags Racy KU Merchandise, Sites

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas officials are asking a racy online site to stop selling merchandise with the official school trademark. The university's official licensing company wrote to the owners of a website called in May ordering them to stop selling merchandise by Wednesday. That site was taken down as of Tuesday by web hosting company Go Daddy. Messages left with Go Daddy seeking an explanation for the action were not immediately returned. The online store has companion sites on Facebook and Twitter encouraging people to submit photos of women wearing KU or Jayhawk T-shirts showing their chests. The letter also asks the website's owners how much merchandise with university trademarks they sold so that damages could be assessed.


Teens Accused in Sexual Assault on Wichita Widow

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two teenagers are under arrest in Wichita, accused of sexually assaulting a 76-year-old widow and stealing items from her home.  The Wichita Eagle reports police expect charges to be filed today against the male suspects, who are 17 and 18 years old.  The teens were arrested around 6am Friday, shortly after the attack.  Investigators said the woman was asleep when two males — at least one of them armed — kicked in a door at her home. After one of the pair raped the woman, they left with jewelry and TV sets.  The teens were found at the home of a 22-year-old woman, who was arrested on suspicion of helping a felon.  Police Lieutenant Randy Reynolds said the 76-year-old woman was living alone since her husband's recent death.


Ex-Law Officer Wants Rape Conviction Set Aside

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas sheriff serving a 27-year sentence for sex crimes involving a 13-year-old child wants his conviction set aside.  Attorneys for James Bloom argued during a Reno County hearing Monday that his former attorneys provided ineffective counsel before his 2006 trial. Bloom claimed they did not tell him the maximum sentence he could receive if he was convicted of rape and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.  Bloom was an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and former Trego County sheriff.  His former attorneys testified that they discussed possible sentences for each of six plea agreements offered by the prosecution.  The Hutchinson News reports that Judge Trish Rose took the case under advisement and said she would issue a ruling later.


Hutchinson Man Convicted of Shooting Wichita Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson man faces a minimum of nine years in prison after being convicted of killing a Wichita woman.  Forty-eight-year-old Ronald Harner was convicted Monday in the June 2012 death of Jolie Crosby in her east Wichita home. Sentencing is scheduled for July 31.  Prosecutors argued that Harner either intentionally shot Crosby or recklessly handled a revolver while the two were drinking at her home.  In statements to police, Harner said the gun discharged accidentally while he was unloading it.


Woman Sentenced for Unpaid Taxes on Stolen Money

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 65-year-old Kansas City, Mo., woman who embezzled nearly $2 million from her Kansas employer has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for failing to pay taxes on the money she stole.  Teresa Joyce Moore pleaded guilty in December to one count of filing false income tax returns and was sentenced Monday. In her plea deal she admitted embezzling the money while working as bookkeeper and office manager at Big W Industries in Kansas City, Kansas.  Prosecutors say Moore used the embezzled money to purchase homes, furniture, appliances and other items. She reported income of about $32,000 on her 2006 federal tax return but made $451,000 through embezzlement, and in 2007 she reported making almost $31,000 but had stolen $507,000 more that she didn't report.


Fort Hays State Begins Installing Wind Turbines

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Fort Hays State University could be generating electricity from wind turbines in the next few weeks.  After more than six years of planning and a price tag $9 million, work crews are installing two 400-foot wind turbines at the university in Hays.  The Hays Daily News reports that crews began installing the first turbine last week. Fort Hays President Edward Hammond says the turbines should be operational by August 1.  Hammond estimated the project will save the university $600,000 the first year, and as much as $700,000 to $900,000 in subsequent years.


KS Medicare Recipients Get New Summaries

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas residents who receive Medicare benefits will soon be seeing new information on their claim statements.  Shawn Sullivan, state secretary of aging and disability services, says it's part of an effort by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the health care system.  The statements will provide clearer information about the benefits residents are entitled to receive and the services that have been rendered. The statements will also provide information if a claim is denied or if one was filed for services that they didn't receive.  Residents should start seeing the new summaries in June and Sullivan is encouraging Medicare recipients to read them closely.


Barton County Inmate Recaptured after Brief Escape

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — An inmate who escaped from the Barton County Jail in Great Bend has been recaptured.  Barton County Sheriff Brian Belledir says Lee Dean was found about noon on Monday at a home in Great Bend after officers received tips from the public.  Dean and another person inside the home surrendered without incident.  The 23-year-old Dean was discovered missing from the Barton County Jail late Sunday during an inmate count. He was being held on a probation violation.


Former Garden City Employee Sentenced for Theft

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A former employee in a southwest Kansas prosecutor's office has been sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for theft.  The U.S. Attorney's office says 35-year-old Pedro A. Castro, of Garden City, must also pay nearly $52,000 in restitution under the sentence he received Monday in federal court.  Castro was indicted last November and pleaded guilty in March to theft of public funds.  The crimes took place in 2010 and 2011 when Castro worked as a diversion coordinator for the Garden City prosecutor's office. The office received more than $10,000 from the federal government during those two years as diversion funds.  Castro admitted in his plea that he stole more than $5,000 of the money. The total amount he stole wasn't clear from federal court records available online.




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