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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, September 10, 2013


KS Officials: Voter Citizenship Rule Compliance Issues to Drag On

Kansas lawmakers have learned that administrative issues are likely to linger from a state law requiring new voters to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship. Department of Revenue officials told a legislative committee that they don't have a timetable for requiring everyone who seeks to renew a driver's license to provide citizenship documents. People can fill out voter registration forms at driver's license offices. Some legislators assumed that people renewing driver's licenses would be required to provide citizenship documents and therefore comply at the same time with the proof-of-citizenship rule for new voters. But more than 16,600 prospective voters have their registrations on hold because they haven't provided proof of their citizenship. Many filled out registration forms at driver's license offices.

Ex-KS House Member Launches Bid to Regain Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas House member who narrowly lost her seat in 2012 has launched a campaign to regain it next year. Topeka Democrat Ann Mah kicked off her comeback bid Monday. She served eight years in the House before losing to Topeka Republican Ken Corbet by 21 votes out more than 10,800 cast last November. Mah was the Legislature's most vocal critic of Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. A political action committee formed by Kobach backed Corbet. After the 2012 election, Mah fought successfully in court to obtain the names of voters whose ballots had been set aside by election officials, in hopes of contacting them and helping them correct problems. But this year, legislators changed state law to bar the release of the names of provisional voters.

State of KS Decides Not to Apply for Race to Top Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas education officials say the state won't apply this year for federal Race to the Top funds. The state's two previous applications for the federal funds have been rejected. Colleen Riley, who oversees early childhood programs at the Kansas State Department of Education, says feedback from the previous bids made it clear the state didn't meet all the criteria that the Department of Education required for the grants. She says state agencies believe another bid from Kansas would also be rejected. And she told The Topeka Capital Journal that the department would need more time to prepare an application, which is due soon.

United to Offer Chicago-Topeka Flights Next Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka officials say United Airlines' plans to offer daily flights between Topeka Regional Airport and Chicago will boost the city's image and economy. The Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority announced Monday that the two daily flights will begin Jan. 7. Each flight will hold 50 people and tickets are expected to cost the same as a ticket out of the Kansas City International Airport. WIBW reports that Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast and Governor Sam Brownback both called the announcement big news for the city's economy. Tickets are available to purchase immediately. Johnson said United has said it might add more flights if the initial routes generate enough revenue.

Topeka Police Catch County Jail Escapee

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an escaped Shawnee County Jail inmate has been caught in Topeka. According to WIBW-AM, a state corrections spokesman says 25-year-old David Kerth was taken into custody Tuesday by Topeka police. No further details were immediately available. Kerth escaped early Sunday from Shawnee County Jail custody after he walked away from a state work release program. He was working at a Shawnee County processing plant. He served time in 2007 for a Douglas County robbery and was placed under Kansas Department of Corrections supervision in February of 2012 for a probation violation.


DA: Topeka Officer Justified in Fatal Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor says a Topeka police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man. WIBW-AM reports that Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor issued his findings Tuesday about the death of 56-year-old Daniel DeLong on July 29. Taylor says the officer's use of force was justified as both self-defense and the defense of others under Kansas law. Police Chief Ron Miller said at the time that DeLong was shot after he ran at officers and other tenants of an apartment building with a knife. Three officers went to the apartment after managers said they were worried about DeLong's behavior. Miller said DeLong told the officers to go away, then opened his apartment door and ran out with a knife. DeLong died at the scene.


Officials Report Third Highway Shooting in KC Area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Law enforcement authorities are investigating the third highway shooting in four days in the Kansas City area. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a 47-year-old Kansas City man on a motorcycle was shot in the right hand Monday as he drove along northbound Interstate 435 in Clay County, Missouri. The patrol says the shot is believed to have come from a white male, with little or no hair. He was driving a newer model blue Chevrolet Equinox in an aggressive manner before the shooting. The other shootings occurred Friday night on Interstate 35 in Miami County, Kansas and early Sunday on I-435 near Missouri 210 in Kansas City. None of the injuries were life-threatening.


Kansas Rural Counties Join Student Loan Program

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Eight more Kansas counties have joined a rural economic development program that helps new residents repay their student loans. The Kansas Department of Commerce said Tuesday the counties have been certified to partner with the state to help new residents repay up to $15,000 in college loans. Each of the counties has been designated as a Rural Opportunity Zone under a 2011 law aimed at helping counties with population declines attract residents. The new counties taking part are Doniphan, Haskell, Meade, Morris, Nemaha, Ottawa, Rice and Stevens. Seventy-five of the state's 105 counties have been designated as opportunity zones, and 56 are now signed up. The program also includes an income tax waiver for eligible new residents.


KS Appeals Court Panel to Hear 7 Cases in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals plans to hear seven cases next week at Wichita State University. The Wichita setting is part of Constitution Day activities on September 17 at the university's CAC Theatre. Oral arguments begin at 9:30 am and 2 pm. The judges will be available to talk with students after each session. Court of Appeals Judges G. Gordon Atcheson and Karen Arnold-Burger will be joined by Senior Judge John Burkaty. The cases to be heard that day include a Seward County attempted murder case appealed under the state's self-defense law, an aggravated burglary case out of Sedgwick County, and a child pornography case also from Sedgwick County, among others.


Man Sentenced in Shooting of 4-Year-Old Kansas Boy

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — An Ottawa man has been sentenced to more than four years with the state corrections department for accidentally shooting a 4-year-old boy. A judge will decide September 30 whether 40-year-old Brian K. Bruno will serve the sentence in prison or on probation. Bruno was sentenced Monday to four years and four months for aggravated battery and a concurrent one year sentence for child endangerment. Bruno pleaded no contest to the charges last month. Authorities say the boy was shot in the leg with a handgun at his home. He survived and no one else was injured. Bruno lived with the boy but was not his father. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Bruno will be required to register as a violent offender.

KS Sheriff's Son Charged in Fatal Shooting

LINCOLN, Kan. (AP) — The son of a central Kansas sheriff has been charged in the fatal shooting of another man. Lincoln County Attorney Jennifer O'Hare says in a news release that 33-year-old Scott M. Weigel was charged Monday with second-degree murder. Weigel is the son of Lincoln County Sheriff Mike Weigel. The shooting occurred around 1:30 am Monday in the city of Lincoln. Authorities identified the dead man as 21-year-old Keith David Ancell. The younger Weigel was being held on $750,000 bond. It was not clear Monday night whether he had an attorney. O'Hare's office and the sheriff's department say the case is being handled by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.


Illinois Man Dies After Shooting in Hutchinson

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson police say a man from Illinois died in a shooting and they suspect foul play was involved. Police identified the victim of Monday's shooting as 26-year-old Sem Adrien, of Evanston, Illinois. He was found critically wounded at a home on Monday night and died later at a Hutchinson hospital. The Hutchinson Daily News reports that Kansas State Fair General Manager Denny Stoecklein says Adrien helped set up the grandstand stage last week and his employment with the fair ended Friday. Police records show that in the last month, Adrien has had four run-ins with Hutchinson police, including allegations of trespassing and public intoxication.


Pittsburg State Receives $1M for Nursing School

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Pittsburg State University has renamed its nursing school for the mother of a prominent alumnus who donated $1 million to the nursing program. KOAM-TV reports that the university renamed the school for the late Irene Ransom Bradley in a ceremony Tuesday. The Independence woman worked as a servant in a private home and died in 1996 at age 90. The gift is from her son, Dr. Fay Bradley, a retired Independence physician who earned a bachelor's degree in biology at the southeast Kansas university in 1960. Pittsburg State President Steve Scott said the announcement showed the importance of families. Scott said that while Irene and her husband didn't complete high school, they made sure their children finished, and four of the six received college degrees.


2nd Murder Charge for Lawyer Accused of Forgery

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City attorney accused of killing her father by forging documents while he was hospitalized now faces a second murder charge. Susan Elizabeth Van Note was initially charged with killing William Van Note in October 2010. He was shot at the Lake of the Ozarks vacation home he shared with girlfriend Sharon Dickson and died four days later in a Columbia hospital after Susan Van Note showed doctors a durable power of health care document that prosecutors say was forged. On Tuesday, Camden County Prosecutor Brian Keedy charged Van Note with first-degree murder in Dickson's shooting death and moved the case back to Camden. He also dropped charges against Stacey and Desre Dory of Shawnee, Kansas; they are two friends of Susan Van Note who had been accused of aiding the forgery.


Trial Begins for Retired Cop in MO Woman's Death

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A retired western Missouri police officer is going on trial, charged with killing a Harrisonville housewife and leaving her body in a bathtub. Opening statements in the trial of 54-year-old Jeffrey Dean Moreland were scheduled Tuesday in Cass County Circuit Court. The jury was brought in from central Missouri's Boone County. Moreland is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the November 2008 death of 30-year-old Cara Jo Roberts. Authorities said Roberts was shot in the head and had been sexually assaulted. Moreland was a police officer in the Kansas City suburb of Grandview from 1984 until his retirement in 2005. He was tied to Roberts's death and an October 2010 Jackson County (Missouri) slaying through DNA collected from the sexual assault of another Harrisonville woman in June 2011.

Man's Trial in Garden City Death Set for October

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Garden City man is scheduled to stand trial in October in the death of a man who authorities say was stabbed 45 times. A pre-trial conference was held Monday for 34-year-old Fred Schmidt Jr., who is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the March 2011 death of Jeffrey Nichols in Garden City. His trial was set for October 21. The Garden City Telegram reports that forensic analysis indicated Nichols was stabbed 45 times when the men fought near his home. Schmidt was arrested in May in Mississippi. The next pre-trial conference in the case is scheduled for October 11.


MO Supreme Court Upholds $1.5M Tobacco Judgment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a $1.5 million punitive damages judgment for a Kansas City area family in a long-running lawsuit against a tobacco company. The court's ruling Tuesday affirmed the 2009 judgment against Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. for the family of Barbara Smith. The Independence woman was a longtime smoker and died of a heart attack in 2000. A Jackson County jury originally awarded her family $20 million in punitive damages in 2005. But a Missouri appeals court sent the case back for a new trial on punitive damages. The subsequent judgment of $1.5 million in punitive damages had been appealed both by Smith's family and the tobacco company. Brown & Williamson is now part of North Carolina-based Reynolds American Incorporated.


Eisenhower Memorial Faces Further Delay on Design

WASHINGTON (AP) — After more than 18 months of delays, the planned Eisenhower Memorial project near the National Mall faces further setbacks. The federal Eisenhower Memorial Commission announced Tuesday that it will not appear before the National Capital Planning Commission as planned on Thursday. The memorial group cites concerns raised by the planning commission's staff over architect Frank Gehry's design. Gehry has proposed a memorial park with statues and images of Eisenhower as president, World War II hero and as a young boy from Kansas. Large metal tapestries and columns would frame the park, with images depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower's boyhood home. The planning commission's staff is questioning the durability of the woven metal tapestries and wants to see results from further testing. Most memorials are made of stone or bronze.


Kansas Artist Known for Porcelain Work Dead at 76

LUCAS, Kan. (AP) — Porcelain artist Eric Abraham, who was known for his community arts activism in the northwest Kansas town of Lucas, has died at age 76. The Cremation Center of Kansas City said funeral arrangements are pending for Abraham, who died Saturday. The Hays Daily News reported Abraham was a key player in many artistic ventures in Lucas. He was one of the first to suggest the community needed a public restroom given its goal to bring people to the town. Abraham created the swirling water porcelain artwork that welcomes visitors to Lucas. He moved from eastern Kansas to Lucas in 2004 and converted a former auto dealership building into a studio and gallery.

Mizzou Football Coach: Missouri-Kansas Rivalry Should Resume

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel says he would like to resume playing the University of Kansas in the future, with the games played at Arrowhead Stadium. During a meeting Tuesday at The Kansas City Star, Pinkel suggested the game could be played in the first or second week of the season. The rivalry ended after Missouri moved from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference in 2012. Missouri officials have generally favored resuming the rivalry in football and basketball, while KU officials have shown little interest. Pinkel says the game would make money for both schools and he would like the schools to bring the rivalry back for their fans. The Tigers and Jayhawks played at Arrowhead Stadium from 2007 to 2011.



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