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Regional Headlines for Wednesday, September 18, 2013

KPR-News-SummaryEx-GOP Veep Nominee to Help KS Gov's Campaign

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan will be in Kansas next week to attend Republican fundraisers for Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee will headline events Sept. 25 at the Wichita Petroleum Club and at a private home in Mission Hills. Ryan was Brownback's legislative director for two years in the 1990s when Brownback served in the U.S. Senate. The fundraisers will benefit Brownback's 2014 re-election campaign and the Kansas Republican Party. Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, of Lawrence, is the only announced Democratic candidate for governor. Ryan and running mate Mitt Romney lost their White House bid in 2012, but Wisconsin voters re-elected Ryan to the U.S. House on the same day.

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KS District Settles Lawsuit Over Fatal Bus Crash

PARSONS, Kan. (AP) — A southeast Kansas school district has settled a lawsuit over the death of a motorist in a crash with a school bus last year. The Parsons Sun reports the family of 34-year-old Andrew Simmons and Altamont-based USD 506 agreed to the $500,000 settlement on Tuesday. The Edna man was married and had five children. Simmons was killed in February 2012 when a school bus collided with the SUV he was driving in an intersection about four miles south of Altamont. The family sued the school district in Labette County District Court, alleging negligence. A lawyer for the school district says it does not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.

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Wichita Infant Tests Positive for Cocaine, Meth

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are investigating why a 3-month-old girl tested positive for illegal drugs. KSNW-TV reports the infant's 32-year-old mother brought the baby to a hospital Tuesday afternoon for a possible seizure. Doctors tested the baby and found cocaine and methamphetamine in her system. The infant remained hospitalized Wednesday as the investigation continued. Three other children — ages 2, 10 and 14 — were found at the mother's home but were not taken into protective custody.

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KCK Fire Crews Called to Same House

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters have been called to a fire at the same vacant house in Kansas City, Kan., three days in a row. No injuries have been reported. The Kansas City Star reports that fire officials say all three fires are believed to be arson. The latest fire at the single-story house was reported early Wednesday. Deputy Chief Kevin Shirley says the house already had caught fire twice earlier this week. The first fire was discovered Monday night in the back of the house. The second fire was early Tuesday. Shirley says the fires appear to be intentional. Authorities are asking anyone with information about who might be setting the fires to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (474-8477).

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Appeals Court Sides with Spirit AeroSystems

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court has sided with Spirit AeroSystems in a labor dispute stemming from the way the Wichita-based aircraft parts maker evaluates employee performance. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals found Tuesday that the district court properly refused the union's efforts to compel arbitration over the issue. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace alleged in a lawsuit last year that it was not consulted when the company changed its method of evaluating employees. The court agreed with Spirit AeroSystems that the grievance procedure outlined in the collective bargaining agreement applies only to individuals rather than class-wide dispute brought by the union. The court said the only exception is a lockout. Union and company officials did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

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KS Juvenile Facility Limits Toilet Flushing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County inmates are undergoing more restroom rationing, but this time it's in a bid to conserve water. Inmates at the Sedgwick County Jail have been allowed one roll of toilet paper a week since June. Now, the Sedgwick County juvenile detention facility is limiting inmates to three flushes an hour. The Wichita Eagle reports county officials said Tuesday a water use audit shows the jail was responsible for 55 percent of the county's water usage, while the juvenile facility accounted for only 4 percent. The juvenile facility limits flushing to three times an hour thanks to a plumbing sensor, which can be overridden in case of illness. The jail doesn't have the plumbing sensors, but county officials say they may consider installing plumbing controls at the jail.

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Lawrence Commission Considering Shelter Loan

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence city commissioners support loaning a shelter $725,000 but want more information about terms of the loan. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the Lawrence Community Shelter raised about $3 million in pledges to buy and renovate a warehouse for use as a homeless shelter. But shelter officials say costs to renovate the shelter are $600,000 more than estimated. That leaves the shelter with a $625,000, short-term bank loan that comes due later this year. The shelter also has about $100,000 worth of roof repairs. The shelter wants to replace the short-term loan with a 15-year city loan at lower interest. Commissioners told staff to draw up loan documents, but also say they want to know how the city will protect itself if the shelter defaults on the loan.

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New system promises versatile concussion testing

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is giving a test drive to a new system that its creators believe offers a better way to assess head injuries in student-athletes. The system is called C3 Logix, and has been under development the past two years by Cleveland Clinic's Innovation Group. The system uses an iPad2 as the assessment tool and incorporates more standard neurocognitive exams with balance and vision tests. The result is what Cleveland Clinic's Jay Alberts believes is a more comprehensive way to determine whether someone has a concussion. Kansas isn't alone in trying it out. Several schools and a handful of prominent hospitals, including Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, are also giving it a try.

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All KS Teachers will Need to Get Fingerprinted

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The State Board of Education has voted to require all Kansas teachers renewing their licenses to submit fingerprints for checks against a state criminal database. The 9-1 vote came during a discussion of how to strengthen a law requiring prosecutors to notify the state about criminal convictions of people seeking or renewing teaching licenses. Kansas has been fingerprinting applicants for new teaching licenses since 2002. The new policy would extend the requirement to teachers renewing licenses every five years. State law bars the board from issuing licenses to anyone convicted of sex crimes, child abuse, murder or certain other offenses. Prosecutors are required to regularly report all felony convictions to the Department of Education so it can check them against employment rosters. But there are no penalties for not complying.

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Colyer Testifying on Federal Health Changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer is preparing to testify before a joint congressional subcommittee on the potential challenges for states under the federal health care overhaul. Colyer said before his scheduled appearance Wednesday morning in Washington that it is important for Congress to hear concerns about the law championed by Democratic President Barack Obama. Colyer is a surgeon and contends like many of his fellow Republicans that the law enacted in 2010 is flawed and detrimental to ordinary Americans. Obama and his allies tout the prospect of millions of uninsured Americans finding coverage, including through online health insurance markets that begin operating in October. But some congressional Republicans are trying to delay or prevent the law's implementation.

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Colleges Recruit KS Students With Scoreboard Ads

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Universities are turning to high school gym scoreboards to recruit students. The Wichita Eagle reports that Wichita State University paid the local school district $90,000 for three years of scoreboard banners and other promotions at high schools with athletic programs. Other promotions include full-page ads in student planners and public-address announcements during varsity games. The contract could be extended another year for $10,000. Wichita district spokeswoman Susan Arensman says other colleges that have bought sponsorships include Friends, Newman, Cowley College, Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, McPherson College and Wichita Area Technical College.

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Former KS Jailer Revises Whistleblower Lawsuit

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A former northwest Kansas jailer has revised his whistleblower lawsuit after a federal judge dismissed his earlier claims. The amended complaint filed by David Vaughan addresses several mistakes in the original filing. Vaughan is no longer suing the Ellis County Sheriff's Department directly. Instead, he is now suing Ellis County and its commissioners as well as Sheriff Ed Harbin individually. Vaughan contends he was fired as retaliation for reporting a co-worker who repeatedly used a stun gun on a handcuffed inmate. But he is no longer seeking damages under the Kansas Whistle Blowers Act because he missed the filing deadlines. He now argues that his whistleblowing was protected under the First Amendment. The sheriff has contended the claims are without merit.

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Former AP Correspondent Loyal Gould Dead at Age 86

CHICAGO (AP) — Loyal Gould, a former Associated Press foreign correspondent who later chaired journalism programs at Ohio State, Wichita State and Baylor universities, has died. Gould's wife of 12 years Yanling Li (YAN'-ling lee) says Gould died of kidney cancer Sept. 8 at his home in Chicago. He was 86. Born in 1927 in Chicago, the World War II, U.S. Navy veteran studied in Germany and Switzerland before graduating from Florida State University. Gould was an AP foreign news editor in New York and foreign correspondent from 1958 to 1965. He made hourly reports from Berlin as the Berlin Wall was built. After working a year for NBC News in Europe and Asia, he entered academia.

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KC Toy Museum to Undergo Major Renovation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Toy and Miniature Museum in Kansas City plans to undergo a major renovation. The museum said in a release Tuesday it will close temporarily on Jan. 6 after the holiday season and reopen later as The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. The renovation is expected to begin in the spring of 2014 and take about a year. The Toy and Miniature Museum opened in 1982 and has the world's largest collection of miniatures, antique toys and marbles. The museum started a $9.2 million capital campaign last year to support the renovation and has raised $8.5 million so far. The new national museum is expected to reopen in early 2015.

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AT&T Plans Upgrades to Mobile Phone use at KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — AT&T is planning to install an antenna system designed to improve download speeds and capacity for mobile phone use across the University of Kansas campus. The university says the company will build a network of small antenna systems, with a goal of covering 95 percent of the campus in Lawrence. Currently, mobile phone users often struggle to download data or make phone calls inside many university buildings or athletic venues. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that AT&T is paying to build the network. It plans to recover its multimillion-dollar investment by eventually opening the system to other carriers and charging for network access. Jeff Perry, deputy technology officer for Kansas, expects the new antennas to increase data capacity for mobile users 32 times over the current capacity.

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Topeka Expands Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — After lengthy debate, the Topeka City Council voted to expand the work of the city's Human Relations Commission to include education about discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance passed Tuesday by the council does not include any specific protections for people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It says only that the commission will include those groups in its efforts to educate people about discrimination. The council approved the ordinance after hearing more than an hour of testimony. A majority of the speakers were in favor of the ordinance. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports opponents indicated after they vote they would try to overturn the decision through a petition.

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Former KS Jailer Revises Whistleblower Lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former northwest Kansas jailer has revised his whistleblower lawsuit after a federal judge dismissed his earlier claims. The amended complaint filed Tuesday by David Vaughan addresses several mistakes in the original filing. Vaughan is no longer suing the Ellis County Sheriff's Department directly. Instead, he is now suing Ellis County and its commissioners as well as Sheriff Ed Harbin individually. Vaughan contends he was fired as retaliation for reporting a co-worker who repeatedly used a stun gun on a handcuffed inmate. But he is no longer seeking damages under the Kansas Whistle Blowers Act because he missed the filing deadlines. He now argues that his whistleblowing was protected under the First Amendment. The sheriff has contended the claims are without merit.

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