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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, September 11, 2012



Fort Riley Marks 9/11 Attacks with Ceremony

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — The names of 16 soldiers are now part of a monument near Fort Riley's Cavalry Parade Field after a ceremony to mark the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The ceremony was held Tuesday by the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley. The names joined those of 188 soldiers on the Global War on Terrorism Monument at the northeast Kansas Army post. The annual event pays tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, as well as the thousands of soldiers who have been killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brigadier General Don MacWillie, senior commander of Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division, said the attacks rallied the United States around a cause, rather than than uniting citizens in fear.


Kansas Highway Patrol Finalizes Report on Bethell Accident

LYONS, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says medical conditions likely caused an accident that killed state Rep. Bob Bethell. The patrol said in a final report Tuesday that a possible heart condition or problems with blood glucose levels caused Bethell to lose control of his car on Interstate 70. The 69-year-old Bethell, a Republican from Alden, died May 20 while on his way home from an extended legislative session. Bethell's wife, Lorene, told the patrol that he was not feeling well earlier in the day. The Hutchinson News reports witnesses said Bethell's vehicle veered suddenly off the highway near the Paxico exit in Wabaunsee County and landed upside down in a ravine. Bethell represented the 113th district since 1999. The district covers Rice County and parts of Reno and Barton counties.


Brownback Defends Kansas Tax Cuts During Lecture

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback says it will be challenging to implement new income tax cuts but he's confident his administration will make the adjustments and the state economy will grow. The Republican governor spoke Monday at the University of Kansas as part of the business school's lecture series. The governor worked with the 2012 Legislature to cut individual income tax rates and eliminate income tax for owners of nearly 200,000 companies in Kansas. Brownback acknowledges the cuts will decrease state revenues in the first few months. But he projected the reductions will improve the economy and create thousands of new jobs in the long run. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Democrats contend the tax cuts will hurt middle and lower income residents and shift the tax burden.


Democrat Drops Out of WIchita-Area Kansas House Race 

The Democratic nominee for a Wichita-area seat in the Kansas House has dropped out of the race. The Kansas secretary of state's office said Tuesday that Pamela Frieden of Haysville withdrew her candidacy in the 93rd House District in southwest Sedgwick County. The Wichita Eagle reports that Democrats are expected to replace her with Sammy Flaharty of Garden Plain, who lost to Frieden in the August 7 primary election. Frieden abandoned her campaign before the primary, but made her announcement too late to have her name removed from the ballot. Democratic precinct committee members are scheduled to meet Thursday to pick Frieden's replacement. In November, Flaharty would face Republican George Edwards of Haysville and independent candidate Dan Thimesch of Cheney, who previously served in the House as a Democrat. 


Kansas DOT Plans Meetings to Discuss Road Projects

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Transportation has scheduled eight meetings around the state to discuss road and bridge projects and gather public comments on how highway dollars are being spent. The meetings are part of the department's ongoing review of a 10-year, $8 billion transportation program that began in 2010. The first meeting is set for September 24 in Salina. Other events are September 25 in Hays, September 26 in Dodge City, September 27 in Hutchinson, October 1 in Olathe, October 2 in Topeka and October 3 in Chanute. The last scheduled meeting is October 11 in Wichita.


Hotel Owners Charged with Hiring Illegal Workers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says the arrests of two suburban Kansas City hotel owners for knowingly employing illegal immigrants sends a signal that cutting corners to gain a competitive advantage won't be tolerated. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom on Tuesday announced charges against 51-year-old Munir Ahmad Chaudary and his wife, 40-year-old Rhonda Bridge. Their two companies and a man who worked for them also were named in the indictment. Grissom says the Overland Park, Kansas couple owned Clarion Hotels in Overland Park and near Kansas City International Airport in Missouri. He says the government is seeking to have the hotels — with an estimated combined value of around $5 million — forfeited to the government. Chaudary and Bridge were expected to be released after making a court appearance Tuesday.


Kansas State University Gets Grant for Grain Dust Safety Course

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is receiving a $120,000 federal grant to develop a training program on grain dust safety and explosion hazards at mills and elevators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the award Tuesday. Kansas State is among 72 recipients nationwide of $10.7 million in safety training grants. The dust generated at grain handling operations creates risks of fires and explosions. Kansas has had several grain dust explosions in recent years, including major ones at Haysville and Atchison that resulted in fatalities. OSHA says Kansas State's program will be targeted to workers and supervisors in small grain elevator businesses, including flour mills and feed mills. Training and materials will be developed in English and Spanish.

Ex-Kansas Lawmaker Says Doubts about Home 'Crazy'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Democratic lawmaker seeking to return to the Kansas House is dismissing questions from a tea party leader about whether he lives in the district where he's running. Former Rep. Tom Sawyer, of Wichita, said Monday the allegations by Kansans for Liberty president Craig Gabel are "crazy." Sawyer is the Democratic nominee in the 95th House District against freshman Republican incumbent Benny Boman. Sawyer also is a former House minority leader and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1998. Gabel says interviews with neighbors and other evidence gathered by the tea party group suggest no one lives at the address Sawyer listed when he filed for office in June. Sawyer said he's lived there since 1993. A state board expects to consider Gabel's objection to Sawyer's candidacy this week.


K-State Completes $5 Million Expansion

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is celebrating a $5 million expansion of Justin Hall to accommodate growth in its College of Human Ecology. The addition includes two high-tech classrooms, three conference rooms, a student gathering space, administrative office and a new student service center. It was dedicated on Friday. The Manhattan Mercury reports the college's enrollment has more than quadrupled since 1960, growing to 2,500 students from nearly 600. The college has nearly 100 faculty and staff members and more than $20 million in annual research funding.

Fees Slashed for Adoption of Some Kansas Horses

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Some horses being trained by inmates at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility are now available for adoption at the lowest price allowed under Kansas law. The Hutchinson News reports an expanded partnership between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation allows the BLM to offer some horses for $125 apiece. Between 14 and 18 minimum security inmates participate in the training program at any given time. The correctional center has areas designed to hold 350 horses in multiple enclosures and pens, all built by inmates using donated materials. The BLM has offered horses for adoption at the Hutchinson facility since 2001, typically for fees $600 to $1,000 apiece. Several untrained horses at the facility also are available for adoption.


Doctors Say Wichita Infant Had Meth in System

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say an 8-month-old girl whose mother claimed she had fallen off a bed was really under the influence of methamphetamine. KSNW-TV reports the baby was upgraded to stable condition Tuesday at St. Francis Regional Medical Center. The 34-year-old mother has been arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and possession of drugs and paraphernalia. Police say the mother called paramedics Monday saying her daughter was unresponsive after falling out of bed. The baby was taken in critical condition to the hospital, where doctors found meth in her system. The baby has been placed in protective custody. A 50-year-old man living at the same extended-stay motel as the mother and child has also been arrested. It wasn't clear Tuesday how the baby inhaled or ingested meth.

Kansas Man Appeals 27-Year Sentence for 'Sexting'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man is appealing his nearly 27-year federal prison sentence for enticing a 14-year-old girl into texting him a nude photo of herself. Twenty-six-year-old Shane McClelland filed a notice of appeal in the sexting case Monday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A federal jury convicted McClelland in May of obtaining the picture via cellphone from the girl, who lives in upstate New York. He was acquitted of a similar count involving another teen. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot sentenced him last month under enhanced penalties as a repeat sex offender.

Salina to Vote on Nondiscrimination Law Repeal

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina voters will decide in November whether to repeal the city's new ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Salina Journal reports the City Commission rejected a motion Monday to roll back the protections that took effect in June. The panel then voted unanimously to put the proposal to repeal the ordinance on the November 6 ballot. The commission approved the ordinance in May on a vote of 3-2. The local law bars discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in housing, employment and public accommodations. Efforts to roll back the ordinance were led by the Wichita-based Kansas Family Policy Council and a group called Awaken Salina. They collected hundreds of signatures on petitions to get the law repealed.


KU Endowment Receives $156 Million in Fiscal 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — For the fifth straight fiscal year, the endowment at the University of Kansas has recorded an increase in giving. The university said in a news release Tuesday that it received $156.5 million in private gifts and pledges during the fiscal year ending in June. The foundation received $153.2 million in the previous fiscal year. The commitments are for the main campus in Lawrence and the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Of $156.5 million, $121.4 million was outright gifts and pledges, $34.2 million was deferred donations and $900,000 was gifts made directly to the university. The commitments came from 46,000 donors.


Former KC Public Radio Manager to Chair Public Broadcasting Board

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former general manager of Kansas City's National Public Radio station has been elected chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Fellow board members of the nonprofit corporation elected Patty Cahill on Tuesday to a one-year term. Elizabeth Sembler, of Seminole, Florida was elected vice chairman. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created by Congress in 1967 and channels federal funds to public TV and radio stations nationwide. Cahill retired this year after 25 years as general manager of KCUR-FM, the public radio station at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also teaches communications studies. She previously worked as a reporter, news director and general manager of KMUW-FM at Wichita State University. Cahill was appointed to the CPB board by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.


Former Pittsburg State Football Coach Dies

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Thomas Lester, a former head football coach at Pittsburg State University, has died. He was 85. The university says in a release that Lester died September 2 in Overland Park, where he had been recovering from a stroke. Lester also played football for Pittsburg State and was an All-America player in 1951. He joined the university's coaching staff in 1961 as an assistant coach and was promoted to head coach in 1967. Lester coached the Gorillas until 1975, compiling a 48-38-5 record, including the 1970 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title. He continued to teach at Pittsburg State until his retirement in 1989. Services are scheduled for Friday morning at the First United Methodist Church in Grove, Oklahoma, where Lester had been living.

Kansas, US Reform Groups Fight over Presidential Nod

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas branch of the Reform Party is at odds with the national party over who should appear on the state's ballot as its presidential nominee. Kansas Reform Party officials favor Montana pastor Chuck Baldwin and submitted his name in June. But the party's national convention last month chose Andre Barnett, a business owner, model and military veteran from New York State. On Monday, the national organization formally objected to a decision by the Kansas secretary of state's office to list Baldwin as the Reform Party nominee. The State Objections Board expects to decide the issue later this week. A similar conflict arose in 2008, and the Objections Board sided with the state organization, also listing Baldwin as the presidential candidate.

Eisenhower Library Marks Research Milestone

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Two military officers studying at Fort Leavenworth helped the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum reach a research milestone. Majors John Ordonio and John Neal from the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies were honored Friday for helping the presidential library achieve 40,000 research visits. The officers were researching World War II operations. The library opened in 1966. It is part of the National Archives and Records Administration System. The first research work was conducted by Myrl Bailey, a graduate student from Oklahoma State University, who researched the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis. Library director Karl Weissenbach said interest in Eisenhower is growing, with a record 800 researchers visiting in 2011.

Kansas Guard Hosting Armenian Study Tour

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A delegation of Armenian officials is touring Kansas this week to study systems for responding to emergencies and natural disasters. Kansas and Armenia have had a civilian and military partnership agreement since 2003. This week's visit is being hosted by the Kansas National Guard. On Wednesday, the Armenians will tour the Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center in Topeka and the police 911 call center in Kansas City, Kansas. During their visit, the Armenians will also meet with staff of the Kansas Joint Forces Headquarters to learn more about the National Guard's role in responding to emergencies.

Kansas Farmers Now Planting 2013 Wheat Crop

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers have begun seeding the 2013 winter wheat crop amid a grim fall harvest of other major crops in the state. Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 2 percent of the state's winter wheat crop had been planted by Sunday. Meanwhile, growers are harvesting their drought-stressed crops, with about 41 of the corn acreage now cut. Soybean harvest has begun in some parts of the state with 1 percent of that crop now harvested. Sorghum harvest also is under way with 4 percent cut. The condition of fall-harvested crops still in the fields remains sobering in spite of some scattered precipitation. The agency gave poor to very poor ratings to 71 percent of the corn, 70 percent of the soybeans and 68 percent of the sorghum.


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