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Regional Headlines for Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Kansas Deals with Federal Shutdown

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The federal government shutdown has hit Kansas, where signs have been posted at Farm Service Agency offices around the state saying the offices will reopen once Congress restores federal funding. The federal shutdown began shortly after midnight Monday, when Congress couldn't reach a budget deal. Funding for the Affordable Care Act is the main contention among lawmakers. The Hutchinson News reports that the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Chase County is also among the nation's national parks that are closed due to the lack of appropriations, as are the Cimarron National Grassland in far western Kansas and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Kansas. At Fort Larned National Historic Site, Chief Ranger George Elmore says there are 16 employees and all but he and one maintenance man are on furlough.

Budget Shutdown Hits Kansas Army Posts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Services have been curtailed, including the closing of post commissaries as the partial federal government shutdown takes effect at Kansas military installations. Major Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, says Wednesday that initially the impact isn't being noticed on the northeast Kansas post, though the effects will be felt the longer the shutdown lasts. About 1,000 civilian employees were put on emergency furlough until further notice. Functions related to the life, health and safety of soldiers and families were protected. But other activities have been altered, including the closing of the post commissary. In addition, the museum at Fort Riley will be closed during the week and open only on weekends. Another 2,300 employees were sent home at Fort Leavenworth, leaving 300 on the job.

KS Lawmakers to Examine Medicaid Changes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislative committee plans to meet next week to review issues arising from this year's overhaul of the state's Medicaid program. The October 7 meeting at the Statehouse comes amid complaints from hospitals of delays in payments for services they provide to needy Kansans who participate in the $3 billion-a-year Medicaid program. The state turned over most of the administration of Medicaid this year to three private health insurance companies. The reorganized program is now known as KanCare, and Republican Governor Sam Brownback's administration has said it is delivering better-coordinated services at a lower cost to the state. Lawmakers formed the joint committee this year to provide oversight of KanCare.


Audit Critical of Kansas Incentive Program

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A new audit of a Kansas incentive program shows that counties in suburban Kansas City have been the main beneficiaries of the program. The Kansas City Star reports that the Promoting Employment Across Kansas program allows a firm creating jobs to keep 95 percent of those employees' state income taxes for up to seven years. The state auditors estimated PEAK has created 5,200 jobs in Kansas, 2,800 of them moving from outside the state, in exchange for $21 million in forgone withholding taxes through December 2012. About 1,550 jobs went to Johnson County. Four companies also moved about 1,200 jobs to Wyandotte County. Cherokee County was the only Kansas county outside the Kansas City metro area that reported any jobs relocated by PEAK during the audit period.

Democratic Candidate to Challenge KS House Leader

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican-turned-Democrat has announced a bid to unseat Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast in next year's general election. KVOE-AM reports former Lyon County commissioner Teresa Briggs is running in the 76th House District, which includes the city of Emporia. Mast is a Republican from Emporia and was first elected to the House in 1996. Briggs spent four years on the Lyon County Commission before moving to Reading in nearby Osage County. She works as director of the Mental Health Center's Regional Prevention Center of the Flint Hills. Briggs says she was a Republican from the time she could register to vote. She says she's running as a Democrat because she believes the party is moving close to "the values and vision that I have for this state."


Kansas Academics Express Concern with Reaction to Prof's Tweet

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More than 100 current and former University of Kansas faculty and staff are publicly affirming the free-speech rights of a professor whose Twitter post against the National Rifle Association sparked a political firestorm. The statement issued Wednesday described the tweet by associate professor of journalism David Guth as "intemperate" but said the signers support his right to express his ideas. Retired American Studies Professor Bill Tuttle said the statement is a response to comments from conservative Republican Kansas legislators that Guth should be fired. Guth is on indefinite paid leave and declined to comment. In his tweet after the September shootings that killed 13 people at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Guth blasted the NRA and wrote, "Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters."


Kansas Makes Plans for Major Prison Expansions

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Department of Corrections official says it has plans for adding space for 640 inmates at the state's maximum-security prison outside El Dorado by July 2019. Director of Capital Improvements Michael Gaito discussed the department's plans during Wednesday's meeting of the Legislature's Joint Committee on State Building Construction. The department is planning two major projects at El Dorado, with a potential total cost of nearly $38 million. Gaito said the plans are driven by projected increases in the state's inmate population and added that the department might back off the projections change. One project would add two new housing units for 512 inmates by July 2016. The other would add a new mental health unit for 128 inmates by July 2019.


New Judge Named to Kansas 10th Circuit Court

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has appointed a new judge to lead the 10th Judicial District. The state Supreme Court said in a release Wednesday the high court appointed Judge Kevin P. Moriarty to a two-year term as Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial District. Moriarty has served as a 10th district judge since 2004. Moriarty replaces Chief Judge Thomas Foster, who will resume his role as a judge on the court without the administrative duties of the chief judge. His new position on the court starts January 1.

Fleetwood Reappointed Top Judge in Sedgwick County

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has reappointed Judge James Fleetwood as chief judge for the 18th Judicial District in Sedgwick County. The announcement of the two-year appointment was made Wednesday by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. It is effective January 1. Fleetwood has served as a district judge since 2009 in the 18th Judicial District in Sedgwick County. He is a graduate of the Washburn School of Law and was in private practice before being elected to the 11th Division in 1997. Fleetwood says in a news release the court and its staff strives to meet the challenges of budget constraints, developing technology and evolving court services. Nuss says that the state's judicial branch faces a number of challenges, particularly in the underfunding of the courts.


Suspect Convicted of Killing 2 at Wichita Store 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old Wichita man has been convicted of capital murder in last year's shootings of two people inside a Dollar General store. The Wichita Eagle reports that a Sedgwick County jury deliberated less than 90 minutes Wednesday before finding Marquis Marshall guilty. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty, meaning Marshall faces a mandatory life sentence on each of the two counts. Surveillance tapes from the November 2012 killings show a man entering the Dollar General holding a semi-automatic pistol and firing several times at 22-year-old employee Zachary Hunt and 79-year-old customer Henry Harvey. Both died at the scene. No robbery occurred, and no motive has been offered by police or by witnesses who testified in the three-day trial. Marshall was arrested two days after the killings during a traffic stop. 


Lake Search Yields No Evidence in Developer's Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Divers who searched a lake found no evidence in the death of a Topeka developer. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the underwater search of Lake Shawnee was tied to the investigation into 39-year-old Corey M. Brown's death. But Topeka police said Tuesday that divers from Douglas County only found junk. Police aren't discussing what authorities were seeking. Forty-year-old Monroe Eugene Lockhart III is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his friend and business partner. Lockhart also faces a felony arson charge in Shawnee County. Lockhart already was serving a nearly 10-year sentence for a home invasion when he was charged in Brown's death. Bond in the murder case has been set at $1 million. Lockhart's attorney isn't commenting.

Brownback Named Grand Marshal for NASCAR Race

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Speedway officials have named Governor Sam Brownback as the grand marshal for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The Republican governor will preside over the Hollywood Casino 400, which is the fourth race in NASCAR's top series championship. Matt Kenseth is leading the championship over five-time series winner Jimmy Johnson and Kyle Busch. Johnson won last weekend's race at Dover, New Hampshire. Two other races are scheduled for the weekend at the northeast Kansas track, starting with Friday's Kansas Lottery 98.9 ARCA Racing Series. The Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race will be run Saturday.

K-State's Currie Wins A-D of the Year Award

DALLAS (AP) — Kansas State University athletic director John Currie has been honored with the Bobby Dodd A-D of the Year Award. Currie received the award Wednesday at the annual Division I Athletics Director meetings in Dallas. Currie oversees an athletic department that has experienced tremendous success on the field and off. The Wildcats won or shared Big 12 season titles in men's basketball, football and baseball last year, and recently opened a $90 million renovation to the football stadium. The renovation was part of $125 million in facility enhancements that are either completed or underway. They include an $18 million basketball training facility, tennis facility, rowing center and other incremental upgrades to the athletic department's property. K-State football coach Bill Snyder was the winner of the 2012 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.

KU Endowment Gave About $120M to KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas University Endowment provided the University of Kansas with nearly $120 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The KU Endowment announced Tuesday that in the 2013 fiscal year it provided the university with $119.4 million, which was barely more than the $119.3 million the endowment provided the university during the 2012 fiscal year. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that of the total, only about $5 million came from unrestricted funds, while most were funds that donors earmarked for specific university functions. The total funding figure also includes $9.6 million for the University of Kansas Hospital. Other funds went to such things as student scholarships and fellowships and faculty salaries and professorships.

Winfield Standoff Ends with Man in Custody

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) — A man is in custody and will have a mental evaluation after a standoff that lasted nearly eight hours in south-central Kansas. KAKE-TV reports the standoff at a home in Winfield began around 8:30 am Tuesday. The man was upset with his family and fired several shots into the air, but had already gone back inside the home by the time police arrived. Officers from several police and sheriffs' departments responded, along with a Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who lives in Winfield. The man surrendered peacefully around 4 pm. He's described as being in his 30s and possibly suffering from mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder.


Bag of Cremated Remains Left at Wichita Liquor Store


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita businessman is trying to find the owner of a small bag of cremated remains labeled "Grandma." KAKE-TV reports that a customer left the bag about two weeks ago at Charlie's Liquor and Smoke Shop near downtown Wichita. Owner Charlie Nguyen reviewed security tapes but couldn't identify the customer. This week, he placed an ad on Craigslist hoping to connect with the bag's owner. The plastic bag holds a small amount of ashes and a piece of paper that reads "Remains of Helen K. Dapron," with "Grandma" in parentheses. It also gives apparent dates of birth and death, in October 1930 and June 2010.


Tractor-Trailer Accident Kills Kansas Driver

WASHINGTON, Kan. (AP) — A 65-year-old man has died after his pickup truck was hit by a tractor-trailer that was trying to pass on a northeast Kansas highway. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Larry Roger Mueller, of Hanover, was eastbound on U.S. 36 when the semi tried to pass his pickup. The semi couldn't complete the pass and moved back into the right lane, hitting Mueller's truck. The accident occurred near Washington, a few miles from the Nebraska border. It was the second Kansas fatality involving a tractor-trailer in two days. The patrol says that 72-year-old Marion Eastwood, of Fort Scott, was killed Monday when a semi ran a stop sign and struck his vehicle near the southeast Kansas town of Fulton.



Lawyer: Deal Reached in Lawsuit Against Missouri Priest


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An attorney for a girl and her parents says a lawsuit involving a western Missouri priest convicted of producing child pornography has reached a tentative settlement. Rebecca Randles, who has represented dozens of clients who claim to have been abused by Roman Catholic priests, declined Wednesday to discuss terms of the agreement. The Kansas City Star reports a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph also declined to comment before a judge approves the deal. The lawsuit against the Reverend Shawn Ratigan, Bishop Robert Finn and the diocese was scheduled for trial Monday. A hearing on the settlement agreement is set for October 25. Ratigan pleaded guilty to five federal child pornography charges and was sentenced last month to 50 years in prison.


WSU Marks Anniversary of Fatal Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — About 200 people attended a ceremony in Wichita to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the fatal Wichita State football plane crash. The Wichita Eagle reports that the ceremony Wednesday was led by WSU president John Bardo. The names of 31 people killed in the crash in Colorado were also read aloud. The victims included crew members, 14 players, their coach and athletic director. Also attending the anniversary service were crash survivors and other members of the 1970 Shockers, who picked up the pieces from the October 2, 1970, tragedy and resumed the season two weeks later in Arkansas. Many wore black shirts embroidered with the Shocker helmet of the era and the phrase, "Still a team." The current Shocker baseball team and coaching staff, dressed in black, stood behind them.


KCK Burn Center Marks 40th Anniversary

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A burn center at the University of Kansas Hospital is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The hospital says in a news release that the Burnett Burn Center is accredited for adult and pediatric burn patients. That makes it the only burn center in the region to have either accreditation. The center's staff cares for about 350 patients each year. They treat traditional burns, as well as electrical, chemical and frostbite-related burns. The program also takes care of patients with soft tissue infections and adverse drug reactions that cause skin to fall away. Caregivers, donors and patients are meeting Thursday night at the Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion in Westwood to mark the anniversary.


Man Gets Mostly Probation in Kansas Boy's Shooting

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — An Ottawa man who accidentally shot a 4-year-old boy will serve most of his more than four-year sentence on probation. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 40-year-old Brian K. Bruno will serve 60 days in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center. He then will serve the rest of his sentence on probation. Bruno was sentenced last month to four years and four months for aggravated battery and a concurrent one year sentence for child endangerment. But a hearing was set for this week to determine whether he would serve the sentence in prison or on probation. 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.

PSU Student Fabricated Abduction Story

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Pittsburg State University international student fabricated a story about being abducted. The Joplin Globe reports that the 26-year-old student reported that a man abducted her September 24 from outside the Overman Student Center. Law enforcement women found the woman east of Pittsburg a short time after she placed a call reporting the purported crime. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries. Campus police later announced a possible link to a burglary and assault at the woman's off-campus home on August 23. Police said they were looking for a man from 20 to 30 years old and possibly from Saudi Arabia. But campus police Chief Mike McCracken said Tuesday that authorities are now confident that no abduction took place.

Ultralight Pilot Killed in Crash

LONE JACK, Mo. (AP) — The pilot of an ultralight plane has died in a crash at a private airfield southeast of Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that the pilot was identified Wednesday as 56-year-old Richard Scalet of Greenwood. The Jackson County (Missouri) sheriff's office was called just before 6 pm Tuesday. Investigators said Scalet was flying a Kolb FireStar Ultralight and was the only person in the plane. He was seen taking off when the aircraft took a sharp turn and crashed into a grassy field west of the runway near the town of Lone Jack.


DC Sniper's Ex-Wife to Speak at Fort Riley

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — The ex-wife of the sniper who terrorized the Washington, D.C., area more than a decade ago is talking about domestic violence at Fort Riley.Mildred Muhammad will speak from 10 am to noon Thursday at the Parent Central/Kids on Site Child Care facility. The event is part of a month-long series of events scheduled to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.After several years of silence, Muhammad has opened up about her experiences. She says John Allen Muhammad terrorized her for years through intimidation and threats. Her husband and an accomplice went on a killing spree for three weeks in 2002, killing 10 and injuring three. Muhammad was executed in 2009.


KC Child Still Missing After Nearly Two Years

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Almost two years have passed since a 10-month-old baby was reported missing from her Kansas City home. The Kansas City Star reports that family and supporters of Lisa Irwin's parents will hold a vigil Saturday night. Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin have said they believe someone kidnapped the baby from her crib. Jeremy Irwin said that when he returned home from a late shift on October 4, 2011, the front door was open and the baby was missing. Police and the FBI conducted extensive searches, but no one has been charged. A $100,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information that brings the child home. Police say their investigation continues, but the calls and tips have dwindled. A family attorney says a private detective continues to investigate.


2 Injured in Wichita House Fire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A house fire in Wichita has injured two people and displaced a family of 10. The Wichita Eagle reports that the fire broke out early Wednesday at the home, where two adults and eight children lived. A 17-year-old was taken to hospital burn unit for treatment. A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said a second person was injured but refused treatment at the scene. The cause of the fire and a damage estimate haven't been released.

Missouri High Court Mulls Student Transfers from KC Schools

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court again is considering a court challenge to a law permitting students to transfer from unaccredited school districts to other districts nearby. The court upheld the law earlier in a case from the St. Louis area. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court's focus turned to Kansas City, which has been unaccredited since 2012. Taxpayers from five surrounding districts filed suit and contend the transfer law is an unfunded mandate violating the Missouri Constitution. A Jackson County (Missouri) judge ruled in favor of the Independence, Lee's Summit and North Kansas City plaintiffs but rejected the argument for Blue Springs and Raytown. The state and some plaintiffs appealed. Transfers from Kansas City schools have been on hold, but student transfers have caused acrimony in the St. Louis area.

KC Chiefs Begin Preparing for Titans Without Star Running Back

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) —Kansas City Chiefs were missing several key players, including Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, as they began preparing for Sunday's game at Tennessee. Charles missed Wednesday's workout because of blisters on his feet. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he believes Charles will be ready to go against the Titans. Top cornerback Brandon Flowers remained out of practice with inflammation in his knee, and starting free safety Kendrick Lewis has been dealing with a sprained ankle. Rookie right tackle Eric Fisher, the number-1 overall pick in the draft, is still undergoing evaluations from a concussion he sustained in last weekend's 31-7 win over the Giants. Even punter Dustin Colquitt was out of practice. He hurt his knee last Sunday.



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