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Regional Headlines for Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Kansas Board of Regents Wants Concealed Carry Study

VALLEY FALLS, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents wants an in-depth study of a new law that loosens restrictions on carrying concealed weapons into public buildings. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the regents indicated they would pursue the study during their annual retreat Tuesday. The new law allows licensed concealed carry on public college campuses. But the regents have taken an immediate six-month exemption for universities, and could later seek an extension through 2017. Some regents said the study would be helpful if the board decides to seek future exemptions in specific areas. Chairman Fred Logan says the regents need to examine if there are areas on campuses where concealed carry shouldn't be allowed, such as at athletic events or in classrooms or certain laboratories.


KDOT Spent $18.5M Clearing Roads in Fiscal 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Transportation says it spent more than $18.5 million clearing and salting highways during the past winter. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that KDOT included its winter storm expenses in a quarterly summary of operations posted online Tuesday. The figure for clearing snow and spreading salt to prevent ice buildup was for the 2013 fiscal year, which ended June 30. It was a big jump from fiscal 2012, which saw a mild winter and less than $7 million in spending on dealing with snow and ice. KDOT estimates that 575 trucks spread more than 4 million gallons of salt brine over 879,000 miles of roads last winter.


Kansas Board of Education Wants Better Felony Reporting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education wants prosecutors to do a better job reporting felony convictions so problem teachers can be weeded from the profession. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the issue was discussed Tuesday when the board revoked the licenses of six teachers, including four convicted of sex offenses against minors. A state law requires prosecutors to report all felony convictions to the Department of Education monthly so it can check them against employment rosters. But the law doesn't provide any penalties for prosecutors who don't comply with the requirement. The state says only 14 of the state's 105 county prosecutors have filed any reports with the department in the past two years. And there are concerns that some cases are slipping through the cracks.


32 Kansas Mayors Urge Immigration Reform

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Thirty-two Kansas mayors have signed a letter urging the state's congressional delegation to support immigration reform efforts. Wichita government relations manager Dale Goter said in a news release Wednesday that Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm circulated the letter as part of a joint effort. The effort involved a series of teleconferences with elected officials and immigration reform supporters. The letter says immigrants are "valued" community members and that the mayors are "supportive of a solution that allows reasonable access to citizenship while assuring adequate border security." The letter is similar to one sent to the congressional delegation earlier this summer by the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform. The group's members include the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas Farm Bureau.


Kansas Officials Seek to Calm Data Concerns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas education officials are seeking to calm concerns about the student data that is being collected as the state switches to new education standards. The Topeka Capital-Journal  reports that two Kansas State Department of Education officials answered questions during Tuesday's board meeting. The questions are coming amid the switch to the Common Core educational standards. The new standards replace a hodgepodge of educational goals that had varied greatly from state to state. Education department information technology director Kathy Gosa says information collected includes demographic data and test scores. Much of that data is aggregated without personal identifiers and used to determine state or federal funding. Speaking at the meeting, former board of education member Walt Chappell urged the board to "please stop collecting so much data on children and families."


MO Kidnapping Suspect Found Dead in Kansas Jail

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 23-year-old man accused of leaving a Missouri home with a 15-year-old girl he was legally prohibited from contacting has been found dead in a Kansas jail cell. The Wyandotte County sheriff's office says Tuesday's death of 23-year-old Elijah McPike appeared to be a suicide. But The Kansas City Star reports that an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday. Kansas City, Kansas police arrested McPike on Friday night and found the teen he was accused of taking the day before in Harrison County, Missouri. Prosecutors there had charged McPike with kidnapping and violation of a protection order. He was being held in Wyandotte County pending his extradition to Missouri. During the search for McPike, the patrol's advisory said he "has been known to be violent and suicidal."


Kansas Massage Parlor Owner Denied Release from Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a massage parlor owner accused of coercing women into prostitution recruited those who spoke only Mandarin Chinese so they would be isolated in Wichita. Details of the case against 44-year-old Gary H. Kidgell, of Waltham, Massachusetts surfaced Wednesday during a detention hearing. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren refused to free him pending trial, finding he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart also told the court that Kidgell left Wichita amid the investigation and moved to Boston where he opened another parlor. Defense attorney David Freund disputed the characterization that the women were isolated, noting they could call anywhere on a cellphone. Kidgell and two co-defendants are accused of sharing resources to operate nine massage parlors in Wichita.


MT Police Investigate Assault on Sisters of Charity Nuns

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Police in Billings, Montana say two elderly nuns were taken to the hospital after two men broke into their house, assaulted them as they slept and stole items from the house. Sergeant Kevin Iffland says both women were taken to St. Vincent Healthcare with non-life-threatening injuries including cuts, bruises and broken bones. The Billings Gazette reports that the men broke into the house at about 2:45 am Wednesday. Iffland says very little information on the assailants was available, but that police were still waiting Wednesday morning to interview one of the women. He did not say what was stolen. Iffland said reports indicate that both women are with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. Tax records list the Roman Catholic religious order in Leavenworth, Kansas as the owner of the house.


18 Face Federal Charges for Contraband Cigarettes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal grand jury in Kansas City has indicted 18 people on charges accusing them of conspiring to transport more than $17 million worth of contraband cigarettes to New York. The 43-count indictment, unsealed Wednesday, says hundreds of thousands of cartons of contraband cigarettes were taken from the Kansas City area to New York, where they were sold primarily on Indian reservations. Federal prosecutors accuse the group of running the operation from 2010 until last year. The indictment says two defendants bought about $17.3 million worth of contraband cigarettes from undercover agents and transported about 620,000 cartons to New York without paying the required $4.35 per pack excise tax. Prosecutors estimate the scheme cost New York more than $8 million in state excise taxes. The defendants are from several states, including Missouri and Kansas.


Over $10K Missing from Olathe School Group

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — More than $10,000 has gone missing from an Olathe elementary school's parent teacher organization. The Kansas City Star reports that police are investigating after leaning last month about the possible theft of PTO funds from Westview Elementary School. Olathe police say the report involves $10,640 over the time period from Aug, 1, 2010, until the end of June this year. No charges have been filed. Olathe School District chief financial and operations officer John Hutchison says the PTOs operate independently and maintain their own funds separate from school district funds. Hutchison says that twice a year, the district conducts workshops and provides information to PTO members about safeguards and best practices for handling funds.


Topeka School Bus Accident Causes Minor Injuries

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A school bus accident in Topeka has sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries. WIBW reports that the accident happened around 7:45 am Wednesday when the bus struck a van at an intersection. Police Sergeant Stephen Thompson says a child in the van and a girl in the bus were taken to a hospital. Their injuries were described as minor. The children on the bus were transferred to a different bus. Thompson says authorities are investigating what led up to the accident.


KS Man Charged with Assault on MO Sheriff's Deputy

PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man accused of trying to run over a Missouri sheriff's deputy is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. The Kansas City Star reports that Bryan K. Quinley of Leavenworth, Kansas is jailed in Platte County on $200,000 bond. He also is charged with resisting arrest and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. No attorney is listed for him in online court records. Authorities said they pursued Quinley on Friday afternoon from Leavenworth to the Platte County village of Farley, where a deputy fired shots at him.


Group Questions KU Med Decision on Art Show

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A national group says the University of Kansas Medical Center removed an art show at its library because of its content, but the medical center says the show was removed because the curator's contract expired. The paintings depicting small animals and weapons by Kansas City, Missouri artist Tom Gregg were installed at the library in June and taken down July 30. The medical center also canceled the art show program at the library. The National Coalition Against Censorship on Wednesday asked the Kansas Board of Regents to reinstate the program, citing freedom of speech concerns. Medical Center spokeswoman C.J. Janovy says the Gregg exhibit was taken down because the curator's contract expired, and the overall program was ended because the library doesn't have money to pay for exhibits.


KU's University Relations Building Demolished

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has demolished its nearly century-old University Relations building on the far northeast end of campus. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that over the years, the house-like structure also had served as a high school, a faculty lounge and offices for the KU Endowment. But the university's deputy director for Construction and Design Management, Paul Graves, says the building had become structurally unsound and posed a safety hazard. The Kansas Board of Regents rated the building's condition as "poor" in its 2012 facilities inventory. Graves says there are no immediate plans to build anything on the site where the building had stood since 1915. Demolition took most of last week.


Grenade Found in Donations to Derby Goodwill

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — Police in a south-central Kansas town say they'll probably never know who donated a grenade to Goodwill. KWCH-TV reports that workers at the Goodwill store in Derby came across the grenade while sorting through donations Wednesday. The building was evacuated while the device was removed. A technician from the Wichita bomb squad inspected the grenade and determined it wasn't live. No one's sure if the grenade was brought to the store or left in a Goodwill donation bin. Derby police say they consider the case closed.


House Connected to BTK Murder Will Be Sold

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas house is being sold where BTK serial killer Dennis Rader killed one of his victims. The Wichita Eagle reports that the three-bedroom, 960-square-foot house in Park City is being sold at an upcoming real estate auction. In 1985, Rader sneaked into it and killed his 53-year-old neighbor, Marine Hedge. After his capture in 2005, he still could recite the address of Hedge's house. Real estate agent Jack Newcom says the seller is disclosing the killing took place in the house to make sure that any potential buyer has no problem with its past. He says they're "trying not to profit from the misfortune." The auction is scheduled for August 27. Newcom says there is no "reserve" price, so the house will sell to the highest bidder.


KS, MT and SD Planning 3-State Trade Mission to Russia

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's Agriculture Department is leading a three-state trade mission to Russia to tout beef cow genetics in the Northern Plains. Officials with the state agriculture departments in Kansas and Montana also will be involved in the trip planned for late October, along with beef producers and industry representatives. Russia was the largest market in the world for U.S. cattle exports last year. The eight-day mission will include stops in Moscow and in Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city. Funding is being provided by U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, a nonprofit international trade organization that develops markets for U.S. livestock with help from the federal government. South Dakota's Agriculture Department led a similar mission last October.


KS Man, Doctors Celebrate 1-Year Anniversary of Rare Transplant

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Doctors at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center in St. Louis are marking a milestone. On August 16, 2012, 34-year-old William Drabant II of Baldwin City, Kansas became the first adult to receive a combination liver-double lung transplant at the center. Only 56 of the surgeries have been performed in the U.S. Drabant was returning to the St. Louis center on Wednesday to celebrate the one-year anniversary with surgeons, transplant coordinators and others who helped him. Drabant has had cystic fibrosis since birth. The center says he is doing well since the transplant, playing sports and being active with his young daughter.


Hospital Technician Pleads Guilty in Hepatitis Transmission Cases

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A traveling hospital technician accused of causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C last year has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in New Hampshire. David Kwiatkowski was accused of stealing painkiller syringes from Exeter (New Hampshire) Hospital and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood. U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said the guilty pleas are too little, too late given the harm Kwiatkowski caused. Originally from Michigan, Kwiatkowski worked in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired in New Hampshire in 2011. Forty-six people in four states have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries. The 34-year-old Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty Wednesday to 14 charges of drug theft and tampering under a plea agreement calling for him to serve 30 to 40 years in prison and avoid charges in other states. He will be sentenced at a later date. Originally from Michigan, Kwiatkowski worked in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired in New Hampshire in 2011. As a traveling hospital technician, he was assigned by staffing agencies to fill temporary openings around the country. According to a plea agreement filed Monday, Kwiatkowski told investigators he had been stealing drugs since 2002 — the year before he finished his medical training — and that his actions were "killing a lot of people." His lawyers have declined numerous interview requests. Forty-six people in four states in hospitals where Kwiatkowski worked have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries: 32 patients in New Hampshire, seven in Maryland, six in Kansas, and one in Pennsylvania. One of the Kansas patients died, and authorities say hepatitis C, which can cause liver disease and chronic health problems, played a contributing role. With his plea, Kwiatkowski will avoid criminal charges pertaining to patients outside New Hampshire. At least two dozen civil lawsuits related to his case are pending, most of them against Exeter Hospital.


Former Municipal Wastewater Manager Indicted 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The former wastewater manager for the city of Hays has been charged with violating the Clean Water Act by lying about nitrogen levels in the city's discharges. The U.S. attorney's office says a four-count federal indictment Tuesday accuses 57-year-old Charles L. Blair with making false statements about nitrogen levels in effluent at the city's wastewater treatment plant. Three counts relate to statements made in discharge monitoring reports. One count charges him with lying to agents of the Environmental Protection Agency when he said he had provided accurate levels for the report. Blair retired last year. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday he did not know why he was indicted because he had not lied. Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty said the city cooperated fully with the EPA investigation. 




'In Cold Blood' Killers' DNA Not Linked to Florida Slayings


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — DNA testing on the two men who killed a Kansas family and were profiled in the book "In Cold Blood" does not link them to a quadruple murder in Florida more than 50 years ago. Captain Jeff Bell of the Sarasota Sheriff's Office told The Associated Press on Tuesday they were unable to make a match between killers Perry Smith or Richard Hickock to Christine Walker, who was killed in Sarasota in 1959 with her husband and two children. Authorities say there's uncertainty because only partial DNA profiles were taken from the exhumed bodies and the Walker samples were degraded. No more tests are set. Smith and Hickock fled to Florida after killing Kansas farmer Herb Clutter, his wife and two of their children.



Sams, Waters in Race to Become Number-1 QB at K-State 

Kansas State University quarterback Jake Waters had always been the next guy in line. The veteran, Collin Klein, would graduate -- and Waters would step into the QB job. Now, he's getting his first taste of real competition. The junior college transfer is in a race with sophomore Daniel Sams for the starting nod with Kansas State just over two weeks away from playing its season opener. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said it's possible that a starter won't be decided until shortly before the Wildcats play North Dakota State on August 30. Waters and Sams are both are trying to replace Collin Klein, the Heisman Trophy finalist who led the Wildcats to a Big 12 title last year.



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