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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, November 12, 2013

KS Students' Scores on Reading & Math Tests Slip

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Education says overall scores by K-12 students on standardized math and reading tests have slipped this year. The department also reported Tuesday that 59 percent of the state's public and accredited private elementary and secondary schools failed to show progress this year in improving students' overall scores. Students took the tests in the spring. But Deputy Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander said some of the declines can be attributed to changes in academic standards since 2010. He said the tests are not fully aligned to what's being taught. The department reported that 84.7 percent of Kansas students were proficient in reading, compared with 87 percent in 2012. It said 78.3 percent were proficient in math, compared to 85 percent in 2012.


MO Governor Calls for End to 'Business Border War' with Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is calling for a moratorium on incentives to lure businesses across the Kansas-Missouri state line in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He says the two states should work together to promote the region as a whole. In a speech Tuesday to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Nixon said both states have spent too much money luring companies across the state line with no real job growth. The Democrat says he's been working with Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's administration to devise an agreement to end the so-called border war "once and for all." Nixon's plan calls for an immediate temporary moratorium within the Kansas City metro area, followed by efforts to persuade both states' legislatures to approve legislation making the moratorium permanent.


KS Governor Confirms Talks on Business 'Border War'


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he's open to discussions with Missouri on ending the use of incentives to lure businesses across the border in the Kansas City area. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called Tuesday for an end to using such incentives when companies simply move from one of the states to the other. Brownback said in a statement he has engaged in what he called an active discussion with Nixon about the issue for more than a year. He said talks also have included Missouri legislators. However, a moratorium may be a hard sell to some Kansas lawmakers. Kansas House Republican J.R. Claeys of Salina said that Missouri appears to be surrendering in the so-called border war because it can't compete with Kansas.


Ex-Congressman Joins KS Insurance Hopeful's Team

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House member Clark Shultz has enlisted the help of former congressman Dick Nichols as he seeks the 2014 Republican nomination for state insurance commissioner. Nichols has signed on as honorary chairman of the Shultz campaign. Both are from McPherson. Shultz is chairman of the Kansas House Insurance Committee and one of four declared GOP candidates for insurance commissioner in the August 2014 primary. Incumbent Republican Sandy Praeger is not seeking a fourth term. Nichols served in the U.S. House from 1991 to 1993. He represented the 5th Congressional District in southeast Kansas, which was eliminated after congressional reapportionment in 1992. Also seeking the Republican nomination are Beverly Gossage of Eudora, director of a health insurance consulting company; El Dorado insurance agent David Powell; and Leawood accountant Ken Selzer.


KS Woman Forced From Home After Mercury Spill

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An Overland Park woman was forced out of her apartment after as much of 10 pounds of mercury spilled from an antique clock. Fire department spokesman Jason Rhodes says the liquid apparently spilled weeks ago on a back porch of the woman's apartment but she wasn't aware it was dangerous mercury until a relative saw the spill Monday. Overland Park Fire Department spokesman Jason Rhodes says in a news release that the mercury spilled out of tubes that were counterweights for an old grandfather clock. The Environmental Protection Agency is advising on cleanup. The woman's apartment was sealed and will remain sealed until it is cleaned. Occupants of three other units were allowed to stay but advised to check with the Centers for Disease Control to see if they have exposure issues.

Committee: State of Missouri Should Keep Control of KC Police

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A committee is recommending that the state continue to have operational control of the Kansas City police department. The committee on Monday voted 13-12 to expand the Board of Police Commissioners from four to six members but recommended the Missouri governor continue to appoint board members. That committee, which was established by Mayor Sly James, rejected a plan to give the mayor the responsibility for appointing the police board. The Kansas City Star reports that the committee's recommendation isn't binding. James and the Kansas City Council can accept or reject the recommendation but any change in control of the department would have to be approved by either the Missouri Legislature or the state's voters. Kansas City is the only major U.S. city without full authority over its police force.

Lawrence Schools Won't Join International Program

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence schools will not join an International Baccalaureate Diploma program, which offers advanced courses to high school students. The board decided Monday the cost of the program was too high. But board members said they will continue to look for other advanced-studies programs to benefit college-bound students. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the IB program is similar to the better-known Advanced Placement, or AP program, offered by many schools. But the IB program focuses on humanities and liberal arts, and it requires students to complete an entire curriculum, while the AP program allows students to take specific classes. A committee of teachers who studied the IB program says it would cost the district and the students too much, and would benefit only students who are already academically successful.


KS Couple Sues After Marijuana Raid Comes Up Empty

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas couple has sued authorities after a SWAT-style raid of their home came up empty-handed for marijuana. Adlynn and Robert Harte of Leawood filed suit in federal court Tuesday against the Johnson County board of commissioners, Sheriff Frank Denning and several deputies for the April 2012 raid. The sheriff's office referred questions to its attorney, who did not immediately return a call. The lawsuit contends the raid was prompted by the Hartes' purchase a few months earlier of hydroponic growing equipment for an indoor vegetable garden. Authorities obtained a search warrant after misidentifying wet tea leaves found in their garbage. The Hartes say in an emailed statement they hope the lawsuit prompts an examination of what they called reckless law enforcement practices.


Kansas Man Gets 10 Years in Carjacking, Chase

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man has been sentenced to 10 years for his role in a carjacking that led to a chase at up to 112 miles per hour. The U.S. Attorney's office says 26-year-old Terry Tillman of Kansas City, Kansas was sentenced Tuesday in federal court. Tillman pleaded guilty in August to one count of carjacking. The crime took place May 26 at a gas station in Kansas City, Kansas. Tillman admitted he and another man robbed a minivan driver of a wallet and keys while a third co-defendant held the driver at gunpoint. The men drove off in the minivan and led police on a 17-minute chase before the vehicle wrecked in a plowed field in Basehor. Three other defendants are awaiting sentence. Two more are still facing trials.


Police Seek Mother Who Left 4 Children Home Alone

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Four young Wichita children are in protective custody after a neighbor found a 4-year-old wandering down the street in the middle of the night. KWCH-TV reports that the children had been alone in their home for more than 10 hours when the neighbor called police around 3:30 am Saturday. No arrests have been made, and police were still looking for the children's 24-year-old mother Tuesday. Officers responding to the neighbor's call went to the home in northeast Wichita and found three other children — a 6-month-old and two 1-year-olds. Police said the mother left the home around 5 pm Friday. Investigators were uncertain where she went.

KU Prof: Recession Hits Young Adults Particularly Hard

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Another study is finding that the financial crisis is having a lasting effect on young adults. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Terri Friedline of the University of Kansas co-authored a study mapping the patterns in household net worth from 1999 to 2009. The study found that children in households where net worth declined grew up to have only about $300 in savings. That's 10 times less than the amount for children raised in fiscally stable households. Friedline noted that $300 in savings isn't enough to rent a first apartment. She says the findings emphasize the importance of encouraging children, especially those in low-income families, to begin saving money at a young age.

Pratt County Sending Inmates to Other Counties

PRATT, Kan. (AP) — For the first time ever, Pratt County is sending inmates to other counties because of overcrowding at its jail. Sheriff Vernon Chinn says he sent four inmates to Ford County recently because the jail was over its capacity of 30 beds. Chinn says the jail has seen a big increase in population this year, ranging from a low of 22 to a high of 38. Chinn attributes the increase to cases taking longer to go to trial and inmates serving their sentences in the county jail, rather than being sent to prisons. KAKE-TV reports thatthe county plans to add 10 more beds in the next few years, but Chinn says the jail will still be understaffed and overcrowded.


KS Food Bank Predicts New Assistance Record

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Food Bank officials are expecting a record this year for the number of weekend backpacks the agency sends home to hungry schoolchildren as it continues to extend its reach beyond Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports the Food Bank says it's now giving backpacks to more than 6,300 schoolchildren every week in Wichita and the counties it serves in Kansas. By the end of the school year it expects to be giving out food to 7,500 to 8,000 schoolchildren. That would surpass the record set last year of more than 7,100. The Food Bank and other charities say they have seen a steady increase in poverty and hunger in recent years as parts of the state economy continue to suffer from the recession.


Southwest Chief Amtrak Route in Jeopardy

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Amtrak official says New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas communities face the potential loss of passenger rail service if a new agreement isn't reached by 2016 for maintaining and upgrading portions of the Southwest Chief route through those states. Amtrak's state government relations chief Ray Lang proposed to a legislative committee on Tuesday that Amtrak split the costs of maintenance and capital improvements for more than 600 miles of track with the states and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which owns the line but uses only a portion of it for freight trains. Lang and northeastern New Mexico governmental officials asked lawmakers to consider a cost-sharing arrangement for each of the states to spend about $4 million annually for a decade to keep the Southwest Chief on its current route.


Report: US Farm Equipment Sales Fall in October

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An industry report shows that sales of farm tractors and combines fell in October from the same month a year ago. But Monday's report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers also says that U.S. sales of the items in the first 10 months of the year still remain ahead of last year's pace. Sales of farm tractors totaled about 19,600 in October, down 3.4 percent from October 2012. Farmers bought 1,153 combines in October, a drop of nearly 35 percent from the same month last year. During the first 10 months of this year, farmers bought nearly 173,000 tractors, for an increase of 10.1 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Farmers bought 8,847 combines during the first 10 months for a sales increase of 5.6 percent.

Official: Oklahoma Senator's Son Killed in Plane Crash

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Secretary of Defense has confirmed the death of the son of U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma in the weekend crash of a plane that was en route from Salina, Kansas to Tulsa. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren says that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "was informed of Senator Inhofe's son's death." Perry Inhofe was a 52-year-old orthopedic surgeon for Central States Orthopedics in Tulsa. According to the clinic's website, he graduated from Duke University in 1984 before attending medical school at Washington University in St. Louis. The Federal Aviation Administration says the multiengine plane was about 5 miles north of Tulsa International Airport when it crashed shortly before 4 pm Sunday. The plane took off from Salina, Kan. Inhofe was a married father who lived in Tulsa.

Woman Stabbed Outside Salina Hotel

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A 19-year-old woman is recovering in a Salina hospital after being stabbed outside a hotel during the weekend. The Salina Journal reports the stabbing occurred during an altercation in the parking lot of the Ramada Conference Center. Salina police Lieutenant Scott Siemsen said Monday officers are looking for a known female suspect. The victim was stabbed in the hip, back and side of the neck. She has been identified only as a resident of Rose Hill, located about 90 miles away in Butler County. Police say neither woman had been staying at the hotel.

Inmate Dies in Sedgwick County Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 44-year-old inmate has died of apparent natural causes at the Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports the man was pronounced dead shortly before 1 pm Monday. The inmate's name and other details about him were not immediately released. Sheriff's Lieutenant David Mattingly says officials believe the death was related to a medical issue. Three other inmates have died at the jail this year from natural causes. Last Thursday, 59-year-old John Daniel Price died while awaiting trial on felony charges. Price had been receiving treatment for various medical conditions while he was in custody.

Chiefs WR Bowe Arrested for Pot Possession, Speeding

RIVERSIDE, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has been arrested outside Kansas City for speeding and possessing marijuana. Police in suburban Riverside say Bowe was pulled over for speeding late Sunday and that an officer smelled marijuana in the car. The officer found a bag holding Bowe's wallet and two small containers of what the officer suspected was marijuana. Police say Bowe was cited for speeding and possession of a controlled substance. He posted $750 bond and is scheduled to appear in Riverside court on Dec. 18. Chiefs spokesman Ted Crews says the team is aware of the situation, is gathering information and has no further comment. The Chiefs are off Tuesday before resuming preparations for a pivotal AFC West showdown at Denver on Sunday night.

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