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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, September 24, 2013




Hensley: Appeals Swearing-In Timed to Avoid Vote

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback's spokeswoman says the Kansas Senate's top Democrat is wrong to suggest the swearing in of Brownback's chief counsel as a judge is being delayed to avoid a vote on whether the appointee stays on the bench. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley questions why Caleb Stegall isn't scheduled to take his seat on the Court of Appeals until Jan. 3. The GOP-dominated Senate confirmed Stegall's appointment to the state's second-highest court this month during a special legislative session that Brownback called to repair the first-degree murder sentencing law. However, Brownback's office says Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss wrote to the Republican governor and top Republican legislators in late August, telling them the Court of Appeals would need more money if the new judge joined it later this year. Court officials have said the timing of Stegall's swearing in was dictated by the budget.


KS Gets $3M Federal Grant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has been awarded $3.1 million in federal grants under the Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Kansas Department of Insurance say the money will be used to support the state's efforts to review health insurance rate requests and provide data on different prices charged by health care providers. The grants are part of $67.6 million awarded to 20 states, including Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports officials say the grant will help improve a database that collects non-personal information from most insurers about insurance policies they issue and claims they pay. The state insurance agency says that's expected to help in the rate review process.


No Charges in Lawrence Area Fatality

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says no charges will be filed against the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a 29-year-old Lawrence bicyclist. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Hayley M. Berrios was riding a bicycle east across the South Lawrence Trafficway in July when she was struck by a vehicle. Berrios was declared dead at the scene. She was hit by a 1974 Chevrolet truck driven by a 67-year-old Lawrence man. Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Dennis Shoemaker says the driver of the pickup will not be charged. Shoemaker says the highway patrol and Douglas County Sheriff's Department found the driver had a green light at the intersection where the accident occurred. The driver wasn't injured.


Wichita Approves $25K Settlement Over Standoff

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council has approved the largest cash settlement stemming from a police standoff at an apartment building. The Wichita Eagle reports council members voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve the $25,000 settlement with Southlake Village Apartments resident Justin Zoucher. He was among several residents whose apartments were damaged during the police standoff in July. The 32-hour standoff began after 24-year-old Jared Woosypiti locked himself in a nearby apartment. The standoff ended when Woosypiti was killed in a gunfight. The settlement with Zoucher is one of eight settlements the city has approved with residents. On Sept. 10, the council approved a $20,000 settlement with Alyssa Cooper and Derrick Jochum, whose apartment and contents were heavily damaged during the standoff. Six other settlements were approved earlier.


Kansas Burglar Leaves Apologetic Not

LOUISVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Whoever ransacked a building at a northeast Kansas landfill apparently felt a little remorseful. KCLY-FM reports an employee discovered the burglary at the Pottawatomie County landfill building near Louisville late last week. The sheriff's office says the burglar caused about $250 in damage to the building and made off with a small amount of cash. The perpetrator also left behind a note of apology. The crime remained unsolved Tuesday


KS Dairy Tries to Raise $650K

TECUMSEH, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas dairy is trying to raise $650,000 in less than two months to pay off its debt and exit bankruptcy. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Iwig Family Dairy, based in Tecumseh, hopes to raise $650,000 in 45 days through online donations. The dairy announced the fundraising campaign in a news release Tuesday. Iwig filed for Chapter 12 reorganization in November 2012. Donation options ranging from $5 to $10,000 at Indiegogo are marked to save increments of square feet on the 108-acre farm. Donations can also go toward naming rights to new calves. Iwig says pledges will be used to pay creditors and proceed with the planned expansion of new stores in Topeka and Manhattan.


Westar Reaches Settlement in Rate Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state's consumer counsel's office says Westar Energy's latest rate request has been settled. The proposed settlement will give the utility an additional $30.7 million a year and raise residential customer bills $3 a month. The Kansas Corporation Commission still must approve the settlement. The Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board says the settlement drops a proposal by Westar to shift about $50 million of cost from its large industrial and commercial customers to residential and small-business ratepayers. The Wichita Eagle reports Westar applied for the rate increase mostly to pay for required environmental upgrades at its La Cygne power plant in eastern Kansas.


KC Police ID Two People Found Dead in Burned Van

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have identified a man and woman who were found dead in a burned van earlier this month. Police on Monday say 24-year-old Dennis Smith and 22-year-old Linda Williams, both of Kansas City, died Sept. 15 after an argument with a friend. The victims got into an argument with the friend while in a van and the suspect allegedly shot Smith as he sat in the driver's seat. Williams and another person jumped out of the van but the gunman forced her back into the vehicle and drove away. Police say he later killed Williams and drove to Kansas, where he set the van on fire. The Kansas City Star reports the suspected gunman was arrested the next day on a federal parole violation.


Body Found Near Winfield was Homeless Man

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — Cowley County authorities say human remains discovered near Winfield in March were those of a homeless man originally from New Mexico. The sheriff's office said in a news release Monday that DNA testing showed the remains were those of 38-year-old Adam Tyler Miller. Authorities say Miller had been staying in the Arkansas City and Winfield area. He was arrested for trespassing twice in September 2012 but had no contact with law enforcement since then. Miller told officers he was homeless and suffered from several medical conditions. The sheriff's office says Miller left his home and family members in Albuquerque, N.M., five years ago and had not contacted them since then. Investigators found no evidence of foul play. Investigators are seeking information about Miller's movements since Sept. 12, 2012.


Distemper Outbreak Closes Emporia Animal Shelter

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The Emporia animal shelter is quarantined as officials deal with an outbreak of distemper. A temporary intake center has been set up at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in response to the outbreak, which has killed more than 60 dogs since February. Veterinarians say early test results confirmed the illness was distemper. KVOE reports the Capital Area Animal Rescue Team will operate the temporary shelter for at least three weeks. Animal Shelter manager Peggy Derrick says the remaining dogs at the animal shelter are healthy. Emporia veterinarian Floyd Dorsey says the health issues began in February and March after stray dogs from northwest Lyon County were brought to the shelter. Derrick says the shelter has been thoroughly bleached several times but dogs began showing symptoms again early this month.


Hensley: Appeals Swearing in Timed to Avoid Vote

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate's top Democrat says he worries the swearing in of Gov. Sam Brownback's chief counsel as a state appeals judge is being deliberately delayed until next year. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley is concerned the delay is to prevent a November 2014 vote on whether appointee Caleb Stegall stays on the bench. The GOP-dominated Senate confirmed Stegall's appointment Sept. 4. Stegall isn't being sworn in until Jan. 3. If Stegall took his seat before Nov. 4, he'd face his first statewide retention vote in the November 2014 general election. But with his swearing in set for next year, he won't be on the ballot until November 2016. The governor's office says it wasn't involved in setting the date. Court officials say the timing is tied to budget issues.


Alabama Recognizes Kansas Concealed Carry Licenses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas residents with concealed carry permits will now be allowed to carry their weapons in Alabama. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Monday that Alabama has become the 34th state to honor permits issued in Kansas. Schmidt said Alabama enacted a law recognizing permits from all other states, starting Aug. 1. It did so after Kansas enacted a similar law applying to permit holders from other states traveling in Kansas. The new Kansas law also requires people with concealed carry permits who move to the state to obtain a Kansas-issued license to legally continue carrying concealed guns. The changes took effect in July. There are more than 71,000 active Kansas concealed carry permits.


Perez, Gordon Lift Royals over Mariners 6-5

SEATTLE (AP) — Alex Gordon threw out a runner at the plate in extra innings and scored on Salvador Perez's two-out double in the 12th to lift the Kansas City Royals over the Seattle Mariners 6-5 on Monday night. Kansas City moved within three games of idle Cleveland for the second AL wild card with six remaining. Texas is a game behind the Indians. Gordon saved the Royals in the 10th inning, when his one-hop throw to Perez from left field cut down Kyle Seager for an inning-ending double play. Greg Holland walked the first two batters in the 12th, then retired three straight to end it. Gordon drew a leadoff walk from Lucas Luetge (1-3) in the top of the 12th and Emilio Bonifacio sacrificed. Eric Hosmer popped out before Johnny Giavotella walked.

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