LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
NEWSCAST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Local

Your local and regional news for Northeastern Kansas and the surrounding communities, brought to you by the KPR news staff.

Tornado Hits Harveyville, State of Emergency Declared for Wabaunsee County

 

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has declared a State of Disaster Emergency for Wabaunsee County.  An EF-2 tornado struck the small town of Harveyville, about 30 miles southwest of Topeka, just after 9 o'clock last (TUE) night.  More than a dozen people were injured -- one of them, critically.  A church and many homes were either damaged or destroyed in the town of 250 people.  Trees and power lines were knocked down throughout the area.  Wabaunsee County Emergency Management said four people were trapped in a building for a time, but law enforcement officials say everyone has since been rescued.  Officials say nearly ahlf the town was damaged.

A shelter has been established at the high school in Harveyville. 

The Kansas Department of Transportation says highways K-31 and K-195 are closed in the Harveyville area until further notice.  People are advised to stay away from the town while emergency workers and other officials begin to clear the area.

-------------------------------------------------------

There were also several tornado sightings and reports of high winds in other parts of Kansas.   

In southeast Kansas, the Labette County Emergency Management Director says high winds from a thunderstorm blew three trailers over shortly before 10:30pm Tuesday.  Three people were injured -- one of them, seriously.  All three were taken to hospitals.  Some power lines were also blown down.  Most of the damage occurred in a three-block area, according to the National Weather Service.

In Sumner County, in south-central Kansas, at least two houses were severely damaged, a garage was destroyed, and a barn was blown into the road. 

In Wilson County, a house was destroyed, and rescuers worked to pull a family from the debris. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Powerful storms also pounded parts of central Kansas.  Brief tornado touchdowns were reported southwest of the Hutchinson area before 7pm yesterday (TUE), amid violent thunderstorms with high winds. Reno County emergency management reported minor wind damage to a house, with vehicles and stock trailers flipped over.  Elsewhere in central Kansas, trained spotters and law enforcement reported hail the size of golf balls and winds estimated at 70 mph Tuesday night north of Hillsboro in Marion County.  Law enforcement officials reported some power lines down in Belleville, just south of the Nebraska line, shortly after 6pm.    

-------------------------------------------------------------------------


 

 

Investigation Opened into Airforce Contract that Excluded Hawker Beechcraft

 

The U.S. Air Force is canceling a disputed $350 million aircraft contract and opening an investigation into the award. Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft was excluded from bidding on the contract to build light attack aircraft. The company has challenged the decision in court. The Air Force has set aside it’s previous award to Nevada-based Sierra Nevada Corporation. Officials say they aren't satisfied with doucmentation supporting the decision. Wichita Congressman Mike Pompeo has been asking military officials to provide more information on why Hawker Beechcraft was excluded. The decision to cancel the contract makes him suspect there may have been problems with the process.

 

Pompeo says if the investigation finds significant problems, it could mean restarting the bidding process. In the past, Hawker Beechcraft officials said winning the contract would create 800 jobs in Wichita.

 

Regional Headlines for Tuesday, February 28, 2012

 

KS Panel Considers Cutting Funds for Remedial Course Work

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee is considering legislation that would eliminate state funding for remedial courses at state universities and community colleges.  Testimony on the bill is scheduled tomorrow (WED) before the House Appropriations Committee.  The measure would prohibit Board of Regents colleges and universities from using state funds to teach language arts or math courses designed to give students basic skills before they take formal college courses.  Universities and community colleges could still offer such courses, but funding would have to come from private or endowment sources.  The bill would also reduce to 5 percent from the current 10 percent the proportion of each freshman class at state institutions that could be exempted from entrance standards.

==============================

Will Charges be Filed in Case of Illegal Fireworks at KS Statehouse?

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor hasn't decided whether to file criminal charges against a man who parked a pickup truck carrying homemade fireworks near the Statehouse.  Lee McGowan, chief of staff to Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, says Capitol Police are still wrapping up their investigation of the February 15 incident.  The Capitol Police initially described the devices found in the pickup as improvised explosive devices or homemade bombs, but later said they were illegal fireworks.  The truck's owner parked the vehicle in a lot at the Kansas Judicial Center, across the street from the Capitol.  Officers detained the man in an underground tunnel connecting the Statehouse with an office building, but he was released.

===============================

KS GOP Leader Questions Pace of Meetings Review

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A spokesman for a northeast Kansas district attorney says his office plans to begin setting up interviews this week with legislators who had private meetings with Governor Sam Brownback at his official residence.  Chief of staff Lee McGowan says that Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor's office has not started interviews because of its caseload.  Taylor, a Democrat, is investigating the legality of seven meetings that the Republican governor had in January with GOP members of 13 legislative committees.  Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said the governor remains confident the meetings were legal. Legislators described them as informal dinners.  Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a Lindsborg Republican, said if Taylor thought the investigation was important, he should have started interviews while lawmakers' memories were fresh.

==============================

Body in Creek Identified as Missing Kansas City Man

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Independence police say a body found in a creek over the weekend is that of a Kansas City man missing for more than month.  The Examiner reports the man has been identified as 35-year-old Eric W. Hedrick. Hedrick was reported missing from Kansas City on January 19.  A cause of death is still unknown, but the medical examiner's office says there was no obvious sign of foul play.  Police were called to the creek in north-central Independence on Saturday after someone discovered the body.

================================

KS Toddler Tumbles Unnoticed from Mother's Car

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a 2-year-old boy suffered scrapes, cuts and a swollen lip after unbuckling a seat belt and tumbling unnoticed from his mother's moving car.  Residents spotted the toddler running down the street in a quiet neighborhood Sunday afternoon, crying and bleeding from his nose and lip.  The Wichita Eagle reports the boy fell out the back seat of his mother's car after unbuckling a seat belt and opening the door. The 22-year-old mother didn't notice the toddler missing until after she arrived home, more than a mile away. She retraced the route and found a woman comforting the little boy.  Police say the mother has been questioned but not arrested.

==============================

Hearing Focuses on Whether ATF Targeted Blacks in Firearms Bust

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas is expected to hear evidence on claims that a federal firearms sting in Wichita was racially motivated.  At least 43 of 51 people facing federal charges from the months-long operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are black.  Lawyers for some of the defendants contend the operation targeted black males because the ATF's bogus pawn shop was located in a neighborhood with one of the city's highest concentrations of African-Americans.  U.S. District Judge Monti Belot scheduled an evidentiary hearing in the case this (TUE) afternoon.  The government argues the claim of a racially motivated prosecution is baseless.

===============================

Group Says State Law Preventing Rally in Hutchinson

 HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Organizers of a large motor home gathering say they won't hold their event in Hutchinson because of a state law that prohibits out-of-state dealers from selling recreational vehicles in Kansas. The Family Motor Coach Association told the Kansas State Fair manager Monday that it will not bring its event to Hutchinson this year or next. The Hutchinson News reports that when the event was held in 2002, about 5,000 motor coaches camped at the fairgrounds, bringing an estimated $24.4 million economic boost to Reno County and another $7.2 million to the state. The law that prohibits out-of-state recreational vehicle and auto dealers from selling products in Kansas is designed to protect in-state motor home businesses.

===============================

Kansan Sentenced to Prison over Social Security Fraud

DENVER (AP) — A Kansas woman has been sentenced to prison for Social Security fraud.  Federal prosecutors say 61-year-old Kimberly Ann Stenerson, of Mankato, has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for making a false statement to the Social Security Administration. The former Steamboat Springs, Colorado resident was accused of accepting benefits for a mentally disadvantaged aunt whom she had placed in a nursing home in Mexico, while telling Social Security officials the aunt lived in California and that she checked on her regularly.  She must pay restitution.

==============================

KCP&L Seeking Rate Increase for Missouri and Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Power & Light is asking for a rate increase of its Missouri customers, and plans to ask for higher rates in Kansas later this year.  The company announced that it's asking for an average 15 percent increase in Missouri. That's about $180 a year for an average residential customer.  The rate of increase will vary in KCP&L's three service areas.  Utility officials said in a news release that the increase was needed to offset the increasing costs of transmission lines and other system upgrades, as well as alternative energy projects. It also cited a lack of wholesale power sales.  The Kansas City Star reports that the utility plans to file a rate case later this year affecting Kansas customers.

==============================

Lawrence Retirement Center Wants Lawsuit Dismissed

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for a Lawrence retirement center are asking a Douglas County judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the family of a former resident who alleged she was sexually assaulted at the center.  The family of Jean S. Allen sued Brandon Woods at Alvamar in January. They alleged that a nursing aide sexually assaulted Allen in October 2010 and staff covered up the crime. The family moved Allen to a different center, where she died in November 2010.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that an attorney for Brandon Woods says in a court filing that Allen was well cared for and notes that no one was ever prosecuted in the case.  Douglas County prosecutors said in January there was no longer an active criminal investigation in the case.

==============================

KS Doctor Claims He Got Poor Legal Advice

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas doctor serving a two-year prison sentence says he felt coerced and pressured when he pleaded guilty to unlawfully prescribing painkillers to a woman he never met.  Lawrence Simons testified in federal court yesterday (MON) on his claim that his previous attorney provided ineffective counsel. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot heard more than three hours of testimony but did not immediately rule.  Simons, of Goddard, is scheduled to complete his prison term March 7. He wants the judge to remove a prohibition barring him from practicing medicine during his supervised release.  He contends he is innocent and claims his trial attorney led him to believe he would get probation if he pleaded guilty.  But under cross-examination, Simons acknowledged admitting his guilt under oath at his plea hearing and sentencing in 2010.

==============================

AP Source: Gingrich Group Gets "Substantial" Funds

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A billionaire casino owner has given another "substantial" contribution to an independent group supporting Republican Newt Gingrich. The group is launching new TV ads in seven states this week.  A person familiar with the contribution says the super PAC Winning Our Future received a substantial donation from billionaire Sheldon Adelson that is similar to two separate $5 million donations Adelson and his family gave previously. The person was not authorized to discuss the donations publicly and requested anonymity.  The committee will air TV ads in Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee -- four Super Tuesday states voting March 6 and considered key to Gingrich's campaign. The super PAC will also start airing ads soon in Kanas, Mississippi and Alabama.  The Washington Post first reported the donation and ads.

==============================

City of Lawrence Won't Allow Chicken Slaughter for Art

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Chickens that were to be publicly slaughtered as part of an art project in Lawrence have been spared.  City officials told artist Amber Hansen that the slaughter would violate animal cruelty ordinances.  Hansen originally planned to display coops of chickens at various locations around Lawrence. The chickens were to be publicly slaughtered and served as a meal. She says the intention is to draw attention to the process of slaughtering animals.  Assistant City Attorney Chad Sublet told Hansen a public slaughtering of chickens would violate city codes. And even keeping the chickens on private land would require her to meet other city codes on animal care.  Hansen told the Lawrence Journal-World that she'll change the public art event, rather than fight the city's decision.

================================

Man Ordered to Trial in Death of Wife's Caretaker

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Olathe man will stand trial for first-degree murder in the death of his wife's live-in caretaker.  Fifty-nine-year-old Stephen M. Collier has been ordered to stand trial in the December death of 54-year-old Susanne Goslin.  Collier pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 6.  Goslin, a registered nurse, died from a gunshot wound to the head. She had been hired to care for Collier's wife at their home in Olathe.  The Kansas City Star reports that Collier's wife found Goslin's body December 28. She testified at the preliminary hearing that she saw her husband with a gun in his hand that day and that he fired a shot into the floor.  Collier did not testify during the hearing.  Collier is being held on $750,000 bond.

==============================

Man Pleads Guilty in Crash Death of WSU Student

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 37-year-old Wichita man will be sentenced April 12 for driving drunk and causing an accident that killed a Wichita State University student and injured two others.  Thirty-seven-year-old Tommie Lee Cameron Jr. pleaded guilty yesterday (MON) to involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence.  Cameron had been charged with second-degree murder in the July 2010 death of 21-year-old Kari Rinehart. She died when Cameron's car crashed nearly head-on into Rinehart's car.  Cameron also pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated battery for injuring Rinehart's identical twin, Kati Rinehart, and friend, Reva Sams in the crash.

==============================

First Black MLB Coach - Buck O'Neil - Honored at Missouri Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Major League Baseball's first black coach has been inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians.  The late Buck O'Neil, who played first base for the Kansas City Monarchs and went on to become a leading ambassador for Negro Leagues Baseball, was praised by former Kansas City Royals player Frank White and others during a ceremony yesterday (MON).  A bronze bust of O'Neil will now be included in a display at the Capitol.  O'Neil died in 2006 at the age of 94. He played 11 seasons with the Monarchs and was later hired as a scout by the Chicago Cubs, who made him the first black major league coach in 1962.  He became a scout for the Royals in the late 1980s and raised money for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

==============================

Catcher Salvador Perez Signs $7 Million Deal with KC Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals have signed catcher Salvador Perez to a five-year contract worth $7 million.  The team announced the deal yesterday (MON). The contract includes club options for three more years that could keep Perez with the Royals through the 2019. If Perez reached all the performance bonuses and incentives, the contract could be worth $26.75 million over eight years.  The 21-year-old Perez made his major league debut last August 10 and hit .331 with eight doubles, two triples, three home runs and 21 RBIs in 39 games. He has been chosen as the best defensive catcher in the Royals' organization the past three years.  Perez, who is from Venezuela, was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on September 27, 2006.

==============================

Former KU Star Marcus Morris Cited after Kansas-Missouri Game

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Houston Rockets rookie reserve Marcus Morris faces a misdemeanor battery citation over a reported Lawrence bar incident several hours after his former Kansas teammates beat Missouri on Saturday.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Supervising City Prosecutor Jerry Little has confirmed the citation.  The citation stems from a 2:37am Sunday police call to a Lawrence bar.  Police spokeswoman Kim Murphree says a male employee was punched twice and that two men received citations. Little says those citations show that Marcus Morris is scheduled to appear March 20 in Lawrence Municipal Court.  Morris had attended the Missouri-Kansas game with his twin brother, Markieff, a former Jayhawk who now plays for the Phoenix Suns. Markieff wasn't implicated.  A message left for the Rockets wasn't immediately returned.  

==============================

Police Crack-Down on Those Who Illegally Park in Handicapped Zones

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — People who park illegally in handicapped parking zones in Wichita might have a harder time getting away with it.  The Wichita police department is asking for volunteers to help it enforce handicapped parking regulations. The department is accepting applications for volunteers this week through March 13.  Lt. Doug Nolte says the volunteers will be trained by police to take pictures of violations, fill out forms and report the violations to police.  Volunteers must be at least 21 years old have a valid Kansas driver's license.

==============================

Air Force Investigating Disputed Plane Contract

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force is setting aside a disputed $354 million contract for a light air support plane and opening an investigation into the award. The Air Force said in an emailed statement Tuesday that it advised the Department of Justice it will take corrective action on the contract. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley says the Air Force senior acquisition executive wasn't satisfied with documentation supporting the award decision. The contract was awarded to Nevada-based Sierra Nevada Corp. in December. Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft filed a lawsuit alleging its own aircraft was wrongly excluded from the selection process. The Air Force halted work on the contract last month after Hawker Beechcraft sued but said at the time it was confident in the merits of the award decision.

==============================

Kan. woman sentenced in baby's hair dryer death

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman who left a hair dryer running to warm her infant daughter on a freezing night has been sentenced to three years' probation for the baby'sdeath from hyperthermia. KWBW-AM reports that Brigit (BRIHJ'-eht) Hippen of Hutchinson could go to prison if she violates terms of the community correction sentence she received Tuesday in Reno County District Court. Hippen pleaded no contest last month to involuntary manslaughter in the February 2010 death of her 2-month-old daughter, Karina Perez. Hippen had been charged with second-degree murder. Hippen told investigators she placed a running hair dryer near Karina's bassinet to warm thebaby, then fell asleep. Doctors have said Karina's temperature was 108 when she died.

CHAMPS of the BIG 12 - AGAIN! With Win over OSU, Jayhawks Clinch Regular Season Title!

Now, there's no doubt about it -- the Kansas Jayhawks have won the Big 12 regular season title outright. KU took care of business last (MON) night by defeating Oklahoma State, 70-58, and is now in the driver's seat of the conference.

The Hawks also secured the number-one seeding for the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.  KPR's Greg Echlin has more from Stillwater, Oklahoma.

 



Former Senator George Mitchell to Deliver Dole Lecture April 4

 

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell will deliver the annual Dole Lecture at the University of Kansas this semester. The lecture is set for Wednesday, April 4 at 7:30pm at the Dole Institute of Politics. The event is free and open to the public.  Institute Director Bill Lacy said Mitchell is an exemplary public servant and a perfect guest.  Most recently, Mitchell served as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.  Mitchell was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1980 to complete the unexpired term of Senator Ed Muskie. He was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982 in a come-from-behind victory. Mitchell went on to a career in the Senate spanning 15 years. He left the Senate in 1995 as the Senate majority leader, a position he had held since January 1989.  

Opponents of Animal Disease Lab - NBAF - Gaining Steam

NBAF site in Manhattan. (Photo Courtesy of Laura Ziegler)

Opposition to the Department of Homeland Security's National Bio and Agro-Defense facility -- or NBAF (en-BAF) -- have been inspired since the White House cut funding for the project in next year’s budget.  Meanwhile, supporters are moving quickly to do damage control.  And, they're looking for alternative sources of funding.  In another report from our continuing series on NBAF, Harvest Public Media's Laura Ziegler reports that the controversial project remains in political limbo.

For more information on NBAF - and for other stories related to our Midwest, rural and ag reporting project - log on on to HarvestPublicMedia.org.

 

Kansas Arts Funding Plan Advancing in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Supporters of the arts in Kansas say a proposal to raise additional revenue for the art programs will help... but won't replace state funding.  Last week, the Kansas House approved a plan to allow taxpayers to dedicate a portion of their annual returns as a donation for arts programs.  The check-off is intended to raise money to offset Governor Sam Brownback's decision last year to delete $689,000 in funding for the Kansas Arts Commission.  Four current check-offs use tax dollars to support programs related to breast cancer, military relief, Meals on Wheels and non-game wildlife. Combined, those four raised $415,511 last year.  Brownback has proposed spending $200,000 for arts programs in 2013, merging the arts and film commissions in one department.

George Strait Cuts KC Concert Short, Reschedules for March 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Country music star George Strait says he'll play in Kansas City next week to make up for a weekend concert he cut short because he was too sick to continue.  Strait made it through two songs Saturday night at the Sprint Center before telling the crowd he couldn't keep going because he was ill. The Kansas City Star reports the singer's voice was hoarse.  Many of the 18,000 in attendance stood and gave him a rousing ovation after they got over their initial disappointment.  Martina McBride opened for Strait with a one-hour set, and she says she will be back next Saturday to open for him again.  All tickets for the first show will be honored at the March 3rd concert.

Regional Headlines for Monday, February 27, 2012


Police Say Man Shot at Officers During Standoff

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas man is in custody after a standoff with police that included shots fired at responding officers.  According to the Kansas City Star, Osawatomie police were told by family members around 9:30pm Saturday that a 31-year-old was intoxicated, heavily armed and possibly suicidal inside his home.  Police say the man, who has not been identified, fired several shots inside the home before police arrived, then shot at officers who responded.  Police spokesman Robert Butters says the man came outside several times and fired additional rounds.  Miami County tactical officers were evacuating people in the neighborhood when the man surrendered after speaking with a police negotiator.  He was being held in jail pending further investigation.

==============================

KC Teen Dies while in Detention Center Custody

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A medical examiner is scheduled to perform an autopsy to find out what caused a 16-year-old Kansas City girl to die in custody over the weekend.  The girl was found unresponsive at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Facility Saturday afternoon and was pronounced dead at Children's Mercy Hospital less than two hours later.  County officials say the girl reported that she did not feel well just before noon Saturday, and that staff checked on her several times before finding her unresponsive around 1:30pm.  Authorities aren't saying what she had done to be held at the facility since February 10th.  Police say the girl's death is not being considered a homicide. A medical examiner is scheduled to perform an autopsy today (MON).

==============================

Sedgwick County Inmate Escapes from Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An inmate who escaped from the Sedgwick County Jail is still on the loose.  Sedgwick County authorities say Sean P. McKenzie ran off Sunday night while taking out the trash.  McKenzie is a trustee at the jail who gets extra privileges for doing duties such as taking out the trash and cleaning.  McKenzie was in jail for property crimes and is not considered dangerous.  He is a white male, 5'11" and 175 pounds. He was last seen wearing a tan jumpsuit.

==============================

KS DA to Begin Interviews on Meetings with Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A spokesman for a northeast Kansas district attorney says his office plans to begin setting up interviews this week with legislators who had private meetings with Governor Sam Brownback at his official residence. Chief of State Lee McGowan said Monday that Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor's office has not started interviews because of its caseload. Taylor, a Democrat, is investigating the legality of seven meetings that the Republican governor had in January with GOP members of 13 legislative committees. Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene (SHUH'-reen) Jones-Sontag said the governor remains confident the meetings were legal. Legislators described them as informal dinners.  Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a Lindsborg Republican, said if Taylor thought the investigation was important, he should have started interviews while lawmakers' memories were fresh.

=========================

Kansas Arts Funding Plan Advancing in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Supporters of the arts in Kansas say a proposal to raise additional revenue for the art programs will help... but won't replace state funding.  Last week, the Kansas House approved a plan to allow taxpayers to dedicate a portion of their annual returns as a donation for arts programs.  The check-off is intended to raise money to offset Governor Sam Brownback's decision last year to delete $689,000 in funding for the Kansas Arts Commission.  Four current check-offs use tax dollars to support programs related to breast cancer, military relief, Meals on Wheels and non-game wildlife. Combined, those four raised $415,511 last year.  Brownback has proposed spending $200,000 for arts programs in 2013, merging the arts and film commissions in one department.

==============================

KS Lawmakers Take Break after "Turnaround Day" Deadline

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have scheduled a short week of work to give themselves a long break after this year's session hit its official halfway point.  The Legislature did not convene Friday and isn't scheduled to meet today (MON) or tomorrow (TUE). The time off comes after last week's "turnaround" deadline, when most bills must pass the chamber in which they were introduced to be considered further.  Lawmakers don't meet most weekends during their annual session. Typically, they still receive their daily salary and expense payments and those days count against the 90 days their leaders have scheduled.  But with the long turnaround break, lawmakers declared themselves formally adjourned and cut off-their compensation, so the days don't count.  They've spent 46 days in session so far.

==============================

Former Cessna Mechanic Faces Sentencing for Thefts

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former aircraft mechanic, who fled to Equador after he was charged with selling stolen aircraft parts, has asked a federal judge for leniency. Diego Alejandro Paz Teran says his voluntary return to the United States to face charges shows remorse and a willingness to accept responsibility for the crime.  Paz Teran is scheduled for sentencing today (MON) before U.S. District Judge Monti Belot on a charge of interstate transfer of stolen property. The former Cessna Aircraft Company mechanic has admitted that for six months between 2008 and 2009, he stole aircraft parts from his employer and sold them on eBay.  His attorney, Kurt Kerns, told the court in a filing that his client panicked after he was charged and fled to Ecuador with his pregnant wife and two children in the summer of 2009. He spent two years on the lam.

===============================

Analysis: Regional Issues Flare-Up During Redistricting Debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Regional differences are complicating a redistricting debate in the Kansas Legislature that already is contentious because of political tensions.  State senators are reviewing proposals for redrawing their districts in committee and huddling over maps in pairs and small groups. Some Republicans want to use redistricting to maintain the GOP's dominance, while some GOP conservatives worry about a bipartisan alliance cutting them out.  Enacting a Senate redistricting plan also is proving tricky because some rural senators are hoping to preserve their collective clout, despite population losses over the past decade.  If they're successful, they could keep Johnson County, in the Kansas City area, from gaining a senator, though it has gained by far the most residents over the past decade.

==============================

Salina May Change Discrimination Law, Adding Gender Identity to Protected Class

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina residents are discussing a proposal to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the city's discrimination ordinance.  The city council has delayed a decision on the proposal until three public hearings are held.  During an information meeting Sunday, a woman who was born as a man discussed the process she went through as she changed her gender.  Stephanie Mott, chairwoman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said she wanted people to talk to someone who is transgendered in Kansas.  The Salina Journal reports some people at the meeting opposed the proposal. One of them, Cheryl Harp, said the current ordinance provides enough protection for everyone in Salina.  The ordinance would mean people can't be discriminated against in public accommodations, housing and employment. Some businesses and landlords would be exempt.

==============================

Man Dies in Kechi after Motorist Runs Over Him

KECHI, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says a 28-year-old man has been pronounced dead in Kechi after a woman called to report that she'd run over him. The sheriff's office says the woman called 911 to say she had run over a man later identified as Carson Shotton early Saturday. The female driver's name has not been released.

==============================

Comedian Bill Cosy Tells KC Teens: Stay in School!

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Comedian Bill Cosby told Kansas City teenagers that they should stay in school, study hard and stop making excuses. Cosby took center stage Friday to talk with several hundred students about a variety of issues during the 6th Annual Cosby/Goal Program at Ruskin High School. At a press conference with Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Cosby also said the black community needs to work to stop violent crime.

==============================

Fort Riley Soldiers Prepare for Deployment to Afghanistan

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — The 1st Infantry Division's headquarters is getting ready to leave Fort Riley and Kansas for a year in Afghanistan.  The deployment marks the second overseas duty for the headquarters unit since the division's flag returned to Fort Riley from Germany in 2006. The division staff spent a year in Iraq in 2010.  A ceremony is scheduled for March 7 at Fort Riley for a formal casing of the division's flag, signifying that it is deploying to combat. Staff and soldiers will be leaving Fort Riley in the following weeks.  The headquarters staff recently completed a readiness exercise involving 2,000 people to get ready for the Afghanistan mission.  Fort Riley is home to 18,000 soldiers and is located about 60 miles west of Topeka.

===============================

Higher Education Experiment Planned in Suburban KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Amid concerns that students are going into debt to earn degrees that aren't preparing them for jobs in emerging industries, a coalition of suburban Kansas City community leaders is planning an experiment to make college cheaper, quicker and more relevant.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon wants to see the idea spread across the state.  Through the program starting this fall on a small scale, students will begin earning college credits and workplace experience while still in high school.  Over the next several years, businesses and classrooms will begin emerging on a nearly 100-acre expanse of land in Lee's Summit. Businesses locating at the so-called Innovation Campus will employ students as apprentices and help pick-up the cost for their education — either by paying them or contributing money for their tuition. When the students finish a bachelor's degree, ideally two to three years after high school graduation, the businesses will commit to hiring many of them.

==============================

George Strait Cuts KC Concert Short, Reschedules

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Country music star George Strait says he'll play in Kansas City next week to make up for a weekend concert he cut short because he was too sick to continue.  Strait made it through two songs Saturday night at the Sprint Center before telling the crowd he couldn't keep going because he was ill. The Kansas City Star reports the singer's voice was hoarse.  Many of the 18,000 in attendance stood and gave him a rousing ovation after they got over their initial disappointment.
Martina McBride opened for Strait with a one-hour set, and she says she will be back next Saturday to open for him again.  All tickets for the first show will be honored at the March 3rd concert.

==============================

Central KS Man Gets 50 Years for Killing Wife

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A 37-year-old central Kansas man has been sentenced to at least 50 years in prison for killing his wife. A judge sentenced Davin Sprague on Friday. The Saline County man was found guilty of first-degree murder last September in the death of his 28-year-old wife Kandi Sprague.

==============================

Trial Set for July for Man Involved in Police Standoff in Downs

OSBORNE, Kan. (AP) — A man who was shot after a standoff in north-central Kansas will go to trial in July.  Downs resident Matthew Thille will stand trial July 23 on four counts of attempted murder.  The 22-year-old Thille pleaded not guilty last week to charges filed after an eight-hour standoff March 21 in Downs. The standoff began after Thille ran from a Jewell County courtroom and led police on a chase from Mankato to Downs.  He was shot several times by Kansas Highway Patrol officers as he ran from the house. Prosecutors say he had a gun in his hand.  The Hays Daily News reports that the attempted murder charges were filed after Thille allegedly shot at officers during the chase and standoff.  Thille remains in the Osborne County Jail without bond.

==============================

Convicted Doctor Wants Judge to Let Him Practice Medicine Again

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An imprisoned Kansas doctor -- who admitted prescribing a painkiller to a woman he never met -- is getting a rare chance to prove his claim that his previous attorney provided ineffective counsel.  U.S. District Judge Monti Belot will hear arguments and evidence today (MON) in the case of Lawrence Simons, the Goddard physician who pleaded guilty in 2010 to unlawfully prescribing narcotics.  Simons is scheduled to complete his prison sentence on March 7. He wants the judge to remove the prohibition that keeps him from practicing medicine during his supervised release.  Simons also contends he is innocent and says his trial attorney misled him into pleading guilty.  Prosecutors pointed out Simons testified as to his guilt and admitted under oath he prescribed painkillers outside the course of medical practice.  

===============================

Fort Riley Nurse Gets Three Years for Stealing Morphine

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Fort Riley nurse has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for stealing morphine from a Salina nursing facility.  U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says 25-year-old Melanie French Morrison pleaded guilty to one count each of consumer product tampering and alteration of a drug.  The Manhattan Mercury reports that Morrison took syringes from the medical room at Holiday Resort Nursing Facility, removed morphine from vials and replaced it with sodium chloride to hide the theft.  Grissom says Morrison took the syringes home and injected herself with the morphine.  A nursing director discovered in February 2010 that someone had tampered with multiple vials. She asked Morrison to submit to a urine drug test which showed the presence of opiates.

===============================

Topeka's Frito Lay Lays-Off Several Members of Management Team

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Frito-Lay says several members of management at its Topeka plant have been laid off.  A Frito-Lay spokeswoman has confirmed that the Topeka employees were affected by parent company PepsiCo's global layoffs announced on February 9th. The spokeswoman declined to say how many employees were being let go in Topeka.

==============================

Hutchinson Zoo Limits Wild Animals it Will Help

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — New state guidelines are prompting the Hutchinson Zoo to limit the types of wild animals it will help at its rehabilitation center.  The zoo says it won't take in deer, pigeons, starlings, raccoons or skunks.  The Hutchinson News reports the decision comes after the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism issued new guidelines on caring for wild animals.  Zoo director Jana Durham says most wild animals have a better chance of surviving in the wild.  And zoo curator Kiley Buggeln says safety is another concern. Many wild animals suffer from diseases such as rabies, distemper or roundworm.  Hutchinson is one of only four rehabilitation facilities in the state. The others are at zoos in Great Bend, Emporia and Salina.

==============================

National Park to Replace Plaque Related to Brown v. Board Decision

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The National Park Service says it will replace a plaque at a former Topeka elementary school after a community activist discovered it was missing.  Sonny Scroggins says he went to the school last week and found the placque designating the former Sumner Elementary School as a National Historic Landmark was gone.  The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 because of its role in the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case in 1954.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the school was closed in 1996 as part of a desegregation plan, and sold in January 2009 for $89,000.  

==============================

Fuller Brush Expects Few Changes in Bankruptcy

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Few changes are expected at the central Kansas headquarters of Fuller Brush Company following a bankruptcy protection filing that will let the company eliminate unprofitable products, a top executive said.  The 106-year-old company and its parent firm, New York-based CPAC Incorporated both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week in New York. Fuller Brush said its assets and debts both amount to between $10 million and $50 million.  Chief restructuring officer Larry Perkins told The Great Bend Tribune that bankruptcy protection will allow the struggling company to afford raw materials, cover salaries and pay the lease on its 123-acre site in the city.  All but five of Fuller's 185 employees work at the Great Bend headquarters, and Perkins said he does not expect any immediate changes in employment.

==============================

Man Gets 28 Years after Using Sister as Human Shield in Standoff

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man convicted of using his sister as a shield during a standoff with officers at a Hutchinson motel has been sentenced to nearly 28 years in prison.  Twenty-eight-year-old Deron McCoy Jr. was convicted last month on 12 counts, including aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, kidnapping and aggravated child endangerment.  The Hutchinson News reports that McCoy was sentenced Friday by Reno County District Judge Tim Chambers.  McCoy was arrested in March 2011 after a five-hour standoff that began when his former girlfriend came to pick-up their 7-month-old daughter at a Hutchinson motel room. Authorities testified McCoy held both the baby and his sister while pointing a gun at the sister and the officers trying to arrest him.

===============================

Man Who Attacked Women along KC's Trolley Trail to be Sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 24-year-old Kansas City man has pleaded guilty to attacking two women along a Kansas City walking trail.  The Jackson County prosecutor's office said in a statement Friday that James D. Kemp pleaded guilty to eight felony counts stemming from the attacks at or near the Trolley Trail in south Kansas City. The charges stem from separate attacks in June and July 2011.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 13. Kemp faces up to 30 years in prison on the charges, which include forcible sodomy, kidnapping and armed criminal action.

==============================

KU Student Dresses Up Like John Brown for Final Border Showdown

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Capturing the mood as well as anyone on a historic sports day was a KU student who came to the Kansas / Missouri basketball game dressed as John Brown. Decked out in 19th-century garb and with a thick beard dyed gray, Brian Duerksen did look eerily like the famed Kansas abolitionist Saturday, as he marked the passing of KU's 105-year-old "border war" rivalry with MU.  Playing before a sold out Saturday crowd in Lawrence, the 4th ranked Jayhawks topped the SEC-bound Tigers 87-86 in overtime.

==============================

Gay Rights Activist Chaz Bono to speak at NW Missouri State

MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Gay rights activist Chaz Bono is speaking next month at Northwest Missouri State University.  Bono, born Chastity Bono to musicians Cher and Sonny Bono, changed his gender through surgery and the court system. Bono has written three books and has discussed his transition in a documentary project that aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network.  During a March 7 appearance at Northwest, Bono will talk about gaining acceptance from his family and proceeding with his transition in the public eye. Bono also speaks about a range of LGBTQ issues, including marriage and transgender equality.  

==============================

K-State Researcher: Don't Rekindle Romance with Ex-Lover

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Rekindling romance with an ex may lead to stress and unhappiness.  That's the finding of a Kansas State University researcher. Assistant professor Amber Vennum found that with college-age students, about 40 percent are currently in cyclical relationships — the term used for couples who break up and then get back together.  Vennum found that couples in a cyclical relationship tended to be more impulsive than other couples about decisions such as moving in together or having a child together.  As a result, these cyclical couples tended to be less satisfied with their partner; had worse communication; made more decisions that negatively affected the relationship; had lower self-esteem; and had a higher uncertainty about their future together.  Vennum has advice for couples who have broken up: "Don't get back together."

==============================

 DA to Begin Interviews on Meetings with Gov

A spokesman for a northeast Kansas district attorney says his office plans to begin setting up interviews this week with legislators who had private meetings with Gov. Sam Brownback at his official residence. Chief of staff Lee McGowan said Monday that Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor's office has not started interviews because of its caseload. Taylor, a Democrat, is investigating the legality of seven meetings that the Republican governor had in January with GOP members of 13 legislative committees. Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene (shuh-REEN') Jones-Sontag said the governor remains confident the meetings were legal. Legislators described them as informal dinners. Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a Lindsborg Republican, said if Taylor thought the investigation was important, he should have started interviews while lawmakers' memories were fresh.

==============================

 

Ex-police chief to lead KC diocese review board 

Retired Kansas City police chief James D. Corwin has been appointed chairman of a board dealing with sex abuse allegations in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese. The diocese announced in a news release Monday that Corwin will succeed Jin Caccamo, who resigned in early February from the Independent Review Board. The seven-member board assesses child sexual abuse allegations and makes recommendations to the bishop on how they should be handled. The board works with an ombudsman, who investigates reports of sexual misconduct by clergy, employees or volunteers in the diocese. Corwin takes over at a time when a diocese priest, Rev. Shawn Ratigan, has been charged with child pornography and Bishop Robert Finn has been indicted for allegedly failing to report suspected child abuse.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Local

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)
contact@kansaspublicradio.org