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Headlines for Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pilot of Helicopter in Nepal Loved Flying, Helping People

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The father of the pilot flying a helicopter that went down in Nepal says U.S. Marine officials have notified the family that the wreckage was found but they haven't confirmed the identities of any bodies.Ronald Norgren of Wichita said yesterday (FRI) that "it doesn't look good." His 31-year-old son, Captain Chris Norgren, was flying a helicopter that disappeared Tuesday while delivering disaster aid to earthquake victims. The helicopter was carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers.Nepalese rescuers found three bodies near the helicopter's wreckage. Officials said it was unlikely anyone survived the crash.  Norgren says his son loved helping people and he loved to fly. He said his son was doing everything that he loved and lived life to the fullest.


Kansas Legislature to Vote Next Week on Uber Compromise Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature is expected to vote next week on a regulatory measure that ride-hailing company Uber says would allow it stay in the state.The House was expected to vote on the bill yesterday (FRI), but the text of the legislation was not ready.Uber announced in early May that it had ceased operations in Kansas after the Legislature overrode the governor's veto on regulations the company opposed.Under the new measure, Uber and other ride-hailing companies could do private background checks on their subcontracted drivers. They could face lawsuits from the attorney general if drivers were found to be operating with a criminal background.  Republican Representative Scott Schwab of Olathe said the bill also would fill gaps in insurance coverage for drivers.


Kansas House Panel to Continue Reviewing Lawmaker's Remarks

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee has scheduled its next meeting to investigate a Democratic lawmaker who labeled as "racist bigots" supporters of a bill ending college tuition breaks for students living in the U.S. illegally.Republican Representative Erin Davis from Olathe leads the investigating panel and said Friday it would meet on the day of the Legislature's formal adjournment ceremony. That date has not been set. Nine Republican lawmakers complained after Democratic Representative Valdenia Winn from Kansas City called the tuition proposal a "racist, sexist, fear-mongering bill" in March. She apologized to those "whose lives are being hijacked by the racist bigots" supporting it, a hearing transcript said.  When committee members objected to Winn labeling committee members as bigots, Winn responded "if the shoe fits, it fits," according to the transcript.


Kansas Revising Rules for Public Retirees Returning to Work

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Legislators have approved a bill rewriting the rules for teachers, school administrators and other public employees who return to work after retiring.The House approved the measure yesterday (FRI)  on a 97-22 vote, a day after the Senate passed it, 38-0. It goes next to Governor Sam Brownback.The state allows public employees to retire but return to work and earn up to $20,000 a year while drawing their pension benefits. Schools regularly use the program for hard-to-fill positions.The program expires at the end of June. The bill extends the program for a year but then makes changes.The changes are designed to prevent workers and employers from setting up post-retirement jobs before a worker retires. Also, workers would be allowed to earn $25,000 in their post-retirement jobs.


Woman, Son Plead No Contest to Killing his Adoptive Parents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A California woman and her biological son pleaded no contest yesterday (FRI) to the slayings of his adoptive parents in Kansas in deals with prosecutors sparing them the death penalty. Thirty-six-year-old Kisha Schaberg entered the plea Friday morning to capital murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. Hours later, 20-year-old Anthony Bluml pleaded no contest to capital murder in the November 2013 deaths of his adoptive parents, Roger and Melissa Bluml. Two of his friends are also charged in the killings. The couple was shot in the head as they sat in a truck outside their home in rural Valley Center. Melissa Bluml died the next day and Roger Bluml died about five weeks later.  Schaberg's sentencing is set for June 24. Anthony Bluml will be sentenced June 16th.


Kansas Senate Panel to Consider Expanding Liquor Licenses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — GOP legislators are weighing the political risks of voting on legislation allowing supermarkets to sell stronger alcohol.Republican Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said in a Wednesday meeting of the GOP Senate caucus that the chamber needs to debate the issue as it looks ahead to the 2016 campaign. That's because the topic has been the target major lobbying efforts by both supporters and opponents. Supermarket and convenience store chains like Dillons, Hy-Vee and QuikTrip support the move, saying it will increase consumer choices. But, opponents say that allowing the major chains to sell alcohol would threaten the state's roughly 750 individually-owned liquor stores.  Republican Senator Vicki Schmidt from Topeka said that voting on the measure would be risky because it would force lawmakers to publicly pick sides.


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