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Regional Headlines for Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013


$5M Bond Set for Suspect in Deaths of KS Mom, Children 

PARSONS, Kan. (AP) — The man suspected in the deaths of a southeast Kansas woman and her three children is being held on a $5 million bond. Labette County District Judge Robert Fleming signed an order Wednesday that gives prosecutors until December 10 to file charges against the 22-year-old man who was arrested late Tuesday. He was arrested late Tuesday in connection with the killing of 29-year-old Cami Umbarger and her children, ages 9, 6, and 4. It was unknown whether the man had an attorney. The Labette County Jail declined to make him available for comment. Cami Umbarger's cousin, Tara Umbarger of Fredonia, said Wednesday that her cousin met the suspect around the end of September and had gone out with him a couple of times. Tara Umbarger says the man had been stalking her cousin.


Kansas Revenues Top Forecast for November

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas revenue officials say growth in sales taxes helped the state collect slightly more in taxes than expected this month. Figures released Wednesday show the state collected $380 million in taxes and fees in November, topping the latest forecast by nearly $1 million. November collections of sale taxes were $1.1 million more than expected. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan calls the numbers a sign that consumers and businesses have confidence in the economy to spend more of their money. The report also says overall tax collections in the fiscal year that began July 1 totaled nearly $2.2 billion taxes. That's roughly $230 million less than in the same period of the previous fiscal year, due to the state's reductions in income tax rates.


Brownback Comments on Accelerated Holiday Shopping Push

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he understands why some retailers are holding Black Friday shopping hours on Thursday, but he doesn't like it. The governor told WIBW-AM on Wednesday he'd prefer that everyone observe Thanksgiving as a holiday. When stores open for shopping on Thursday, Brownback says, it takes workers away from their families. The shopping season is especially short this year because Thanksgiving is occurring on November 28 — one of the latest dates it can be observed. Meanwhile, Brownback issued a proclamation designating November 30 as "Small Business Saturday" in Kansas. The national "Small Business Saturday" campaign urges consumers to shop at businesses in their communities during what's usually the busiest shopping weekend of the year.


KS Atty General Issues Opinion on Guns at Polling Places

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is offering guidance on how the state's concealed carry law applies to buildings used as polling places on election days. In an opinion issued Wednesday, Schmidt says voters with permits to carry concealed firearms must comply with regulations that applied to the specific location before an election. That means if voters are allowed to have a concealed weapon in a building before the election they will be allowed to carry concealed guns when voting. Secretary of State Kris Kobach requested the opinion, to clarify any ambiguity over how the law applied in non-governmental buildings during elections. Such buildings include property leased temporarily as polling places. Attorney general opinions aren't considered law but can be used as guidance until an issue is tested.


Topeka Police Release Report on Fatal Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police have released a report on the fatal shooting of two Topeka police officers killed last year during an armed standoff with a 22-year-old man. The nine-page report released Tuesday includes a detailed timeline of the events leading up to the December 2012 fatal shootings of Corporal David Gogian and officer Jeff Atherly. David Tiscareno was killed about 12 hours after he shot Gogian and Atherly as they investigated reported drug activity at a central Topeka grocery store. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports while the report contains some new details, much of the information had been previously released. The report is available on the front page of the department's website until December 3.

KS Withdraws Subpoenas for Biz Records in Ottawa Case

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have withdrawn subpoenas for business records of an eastern Kansas man accused of killing three adults and a toddler. The subpoenas were mentioned at a status hearing in Franklin County District Court on Tuesday for 28-year-old Kyle T. Flack, who is jailed on $10 million bond on charges of capital murder, first-degree murder, rape and criminal possession of a firearm. He's accused of killing 30-year-old Andrew Adam Stout, 31-year-old Steven Eugene White, 21-year-old Kaylie Kathleen Bailey and Bailey's 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh earlier this year. The Lawrence Journal World reports the state did not rule out making a similar request in the future. The state's attorney general's office is handling the prosecution.

KS Sheriff Seeks Concealed Carry Law Exemption

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A central Kansas sheriff says he will seek a four-year exemption from a state law allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring guns into the law enforcement center, even if county officials don't agree. Saline County Sheriff Glen Kochanowski told county commissioners Tuesday that his office often deals with people who have anger issues when they come into the law enforcement center, so it's not wise to let them carry guns inside. The Salina Journal reports Saline County Commission chairman Randy Duncan disagreed, saying not everyone who gets mad is going to shoot someone. The Kansas Legislature passed a law last session requiring governmental entities to allow permit holders to carry their concealed guns in a building unless it is protected with metal detectors and guards.


Identities Released on 4 Killed in Wichita Fire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita authorities have identified two adults and two young children killed in a mobile home fire. Fire Marshal Brad Crisp on Wednesday identified the four victims as 21-year-old Amanda Nichols; her 1-year-old son, Isaaca; 27-year-old Camaron McGowan, and his 2-year-old son, K'dyn McGowan. They were killed in the fire at the mobile home early Tuesday. Crisp says firefighters found all four in the same bedroom. Crisp says autopsies have been completed, but the cause of death and the cause of the fire had not been released. Three people in the mobile home escaped. Those three people, a firefighter and a neighbor who helped, sustained minor injuries.


Body Found in Wyandotte County Lake

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County authorities are investigating after a man's body was recovered from Wyandotte County Lake. Officials said police received a call late Tuesday to report the body on the east edge of the 400-acre lake, about two miles from the park entrance. The victim was a white male about 58 years old. The Kansas City Star reports that officials were treating it as a crime scene.


Kansas Court System Names New Spokeswoman

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court says a new spokeswoman has been named for the Kansas court system. The high court said in a release Wednesday that Lisa Taylor has been appointed public information director for the Kansas Judicial Branch. Taylor succeeds Ron Keefover, who retired in September after starting the court's public information office in 1981. Taylor is a former communications director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture and has also worked with the state Department of Revenue. The Kansas Judicial Branch includes district courts in each of the state's 105 counties, the Court of Appeals and a seven-member Supreme Court.


KS Governor's Residence Ready for Holiday Tours

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas governor's official residence is being decked out in Christmas finery, and the public can get a glimpse when Cedar Crest opens for holiday tours next week. Governor Sam Brownback and his family were at Cedar Crest on Wednesday for the delivery of a Scotch pine Christmas tree by horse-drawn wagon. Also being delivered by wagon was a Douglas fir, to be displayed at Brownback's office in the Statehouse. The Kansas Tree Growers Association presents the Christmas trees to the governor each year. Beginning next week, Cedar Crest will be open for public tours each Monday afternoon and by appointment on Tuesdays through the holiday season.


Presta Named New Kansas Lottery Director

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former legislator and long-time business owner Terry Presta has been named the new executive director of the Kansas Lottery. Governor Sam Brownback announced Presta's appointment Wednesday. He replaces interim director Sherriene Jones-Sontag, who filled the post after the announcement that executive director Dennis Taylor was retiring. Presta served in the Kansas House from 1995 to 1999. He was the president and CEO of Overland Park-based Presto Convenience Stores until December 2010. Brownback cited Presta's business experience in making his selection for the position. Jones-Sontag will stay with the lottery as deputy director. Taylor had been handling special projects for the lottery in addition to serving as an interim director. He previously was secretary of the Department of Administration for Brownback.

Presale for Tickets to MLS Cup Compromised

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Sporting Kansas City's MLS Cup presale for season-ticket members was apparently compromised. The Kansas City Star reports Real Salt Lake fans acquired the online code and bought up tickets during the Tuesday presale for the December 7 game, which will decide the MLS champion at Sporting Park. Real Salt Lake says the tickets bought by the leaked code will be cancelled. The visiting team is allotted 1,000 tickets, which will be distributed by Real Salt Lake. Tickets bought by Sporting KC season-ticket members using the compromised code also will be invalidated. Sporting KC officials confirm the presale went awry, but says the team will work with season-ticket holders who made legal pre-sale purchases to ensure they have game tickets. Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday.

Wichita Runway to Be Tested for Damage

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An engineering firm is being brought in to determine if last week's wayward landing of giant Boeing cargo plane damaged the Wichita runway. The Wichita Eagle reports the city's Airport Authority is monitoring the condition of the runway at Jabara Airport after the Dreamlifter mistakenly landed at the airport last week. The Dreamlifter was supposed to land at McConnell Air Force Base. The modified 747 weighs about 600,000 pounds, or about 10 times the weight that Jabara's runway is designed to handle. Victor White, director of airports for the Wichita Airport Authority, says initial inspections show the aircraft did no damage to the runway, though some lights along the strip were broken. The airport is bringing in a runway specialty firm to test the runway for pavement damage. 


KC-Area Comedian to Activate Plaza Lights

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Actor and comedian Rob Riggle will flip the switch that lights up Kansas City's Country Club Plaza on Thanksgiving night. The annual event attracts tens of thousands of people to the upscale shopping and dining district, where several blocks of buildings will be outlined in holiday lights through January 12. A local celebrity gets the honor each year of flipping the switch with help from a child chosen at random from the crowd. Riggle grew up in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park and graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School and the University of Kansas. Musical performances and fireworks will also be part of Thursday night's festivities.


Hepatitis C-Spreading Hospital Tech Faces Sentencing Next Week

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Prosecutors say a traveling hospital technician who infected patients with hepatitis C through tainted syringes created a "national public health crisis" and should spend 40 years in prison. Defense attorneys argue he should get 30 years instead, in part because of a drug addiction that clouded his judgment. David Kwiatkowski has admitted stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood. He'll be sentenced Monday. Lawyers on both sides filed documents this week outlining their recommendations. Before being hired at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital in 2011, Kwiatkowski worked in 18 hospitals. He was fired at least four times over drug allegations. Thirty-two patients were infected in New Hampshire, seven in Maryland, six in Kansas and one in Pennsylvania. Kwiatkowski also worked in Michigan, New York, Arizona and Georgia.


2 KC Children Suffer Lead Poisoning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City health officials say at least two area children have lead poisoning from a contaminated cosmetic product commonly used in Myanmar. The Kansas City Star reports that the product, which is called Thanakha, and is also spelled "thanaka" or "tanaka," is a yellowish paste made from tree bark that is worn on the face and arms to treat acne or as a sunscreen. The health department says the contaminated product found in Kansas City was in a silver-colored metal container with a cardboard cover featuring a woman wearing a pink dress. The label is printed in Burmese. The health department is urging anyone who's used the product to get their blood tested for lead.


KU Prof: Save Money by Using Cash, Not Credit

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas researcher says Black Friday shoppers who want to save a little money should use cash instead of credit cards when making purchases. The Wichita Eagle reports assistant marketing professor Promothesh Chatterjee issued a statement Tuesday saying shoppers who use cash see their purchases much differently than those who use plastic. Chatterjee says his research shows that marketers may be influencing how much people spend and what they buy by encouraging them to use credit cards. He says people who use credit cards focus more on the benefits of a product, while those who pay with cash focus on its costs, including price, delivery time, warranty costs and installation fees. 


Union Station Backs KC Museum Agreement


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials with Kansas City's Union Station have endorsed a plan that would shift management of the Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall to the city's parks department. The Kansas City Star reports that the agreement calls for the city to take over managing the museum's collection, most of which belongs to Union Station. The city would also manage the museum's longtime home located in northeast Kansas City. The approximately $1.4 million in annual tax revenue for the museum would be retained by the city, which would lease space at Union Station for $131,000 a year. The executive committee of Union Station's board voted unanimously in favor of the plan Tuesday. The City Council is expected to vote on the plan next week.



Ethanol's Rise Can Mean Loss of Hunting Lands

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Since the government began requiring ethanol be added to gasoline, the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska have lost 2.8 million acres of land set aside in the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program. Hunters, who are big business in that part of the country, say they have felt the loss of habitats for ducks, pheasants, grouse and other wildlife as native grasslands that provided shelter to the birds have been overtaken by corn and soy crops, the main feedstock used to produce ethanol. Pheasant harvests in the region have declined by 44 percent since 2006. The owner of a Nebraska hotel popular among hunters says, "Everything's against the pheasants right now."


Plans for NW Kansas Wind Farm Move Forward

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Plans for a 200-megawatt wind farm in northwest Kansas are moving forward with approval of three key agreements by the Ellis County Commission. The Hays Daily News reports the agreements approved Monday for Buckeye Wind Energy cover road maintenance, payment in lieu of taxes and decommissioning of the project. The company plans to build the wind farm on roughly 28,000 acres north of Interstate 70 between the cities of Hays and Ellis. The energy would be the equivalent of powering 104,000 homes. Proposals for wind farms in Ellis County have prompted opposition and lawsuits in the past. County Commissioner Swede Holmgren says he hopes that some residents have changed their minds.


KCMO Red Light Camera Law in Question

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri appeals court panel has issued a ruling that raises questions about the constitutionality of Kansas City's red-light camera law. The Western District Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a decision by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Dale Youngs, who had dismissed a lawsuit brought against Kansas City and American Traffic Solutions, which operates the red-light cameras for the city. The Kansas City Star reports the new ruling says Kansas City's ordinance allows a driver to run a traffic light without points being assessed to a license although state law requires that moving violations be assessed points. The Kansas City City Council says no further camera tickets will be issued until further notice, but police will step up patrols at the city's 17 red light camera intersections.


Hate Crime Conference at UMKC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new U.S. Justice Department task force on hate crimes is holding a public conference in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that the program will be held January 13 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and seeks to expand community awareness of hate crimes. Michael Kaste, special agent in charge of the FBI's local office, said 67 hate crimes were reported in the Kansas City area last year. Most of those reports were for racially biased crimes. FBI statistics show that nearly 6,000 hate crimes were reported nationwide last year. Kaste says even though hate crime reports have remained relatively consistent over the years, any such crimes are "intolerable." The conference is free and open to the public.


KU Headlines Atlantis Tournament Field

With three games in three days coming up in the Bahamas, University of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self knows his team's depth will be tested. So will its star. Andrew Wiggins is averaging 16.8 points on nearly 59 percent shooting, one of the many reasons why the second-ranked Jayhawks have won all four of their games. Now the freshman will put his talent on display in the Bahamas, with No. 2 Kansas facing Wake Forest on Thursday in one of four first-day matchups at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Wiggins says he "can still be better," and Self says the same about his team. No. 23 Iowa is also in the field, along with Xavier, Villanova, USC, Tennessee and Texas-El Paso. Combined, the eight clubs have gone 33-4 so far this season.

Chiefs' Tamba Hali Plans to Play Sunday Against Broncos

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali plans to play in Sunday's matchup with the Denver Broncos despite spraining his right ankle in last weekend's loss to San Diego. The two-time Pro Bowl linebacker rolled over his right ankle in the first half of a 41-38 loss to the Chargers. He watched the second half from the training room with injured teammate Justin Houston, and said initially that he thought the injury might be serious. Hali, who has nine sacks on the season, went through a walk-through Wednesday and said that he wants to play against the Broncos. Both teams are 9-2 and tied atop the AFC West, though Denver has already beaten Kansas City once this season. Houston is almost certain to miss the game after dislocating his elbow.


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