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Headlines for Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Here are the headlines for our area, as compiled by KPR news staffers.

Moran: Trump to Try to Soften Blow to Kansas over 737 Max

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says President Donald Trump has given him assurances that Trump will try to soften the economic blow for Kansas from the suspension of production of the troubled Boeing 737 Max jetliner. Boeing has announced plans to suspend 737 Max production in January, and Spirit AeroSystems is suspending its production in Wichita of fuselages. Moran told The Wichita Eagle that in a Sunday phone call, Trump said he knew the importance of aviation to the city. Moran said the president indicated that he would "see if there were ways that he and the administration could be of help.”


After Deadly Crashes of Marquee Aircraft, Boeing CEO Steps Down

Boeing's CEO is stepping down with no end in sight for a crisis that has enveloped the manufacturer and its marquee aircraft, the Max 737. The Chicago company said yesterday (MON) that Dennis Muilenburg will depart immediately. The board's current chairman David Calhoun will become president and CEO on January 13. Boeing's Max has been grounded worldwide after two crashes: one in October 2018 off the coast of Indonesia and another in March 2019 in Ethiopia, which killed a combined total of 346 people. The company said the change in leadership is needed to restore confidence in Boeing.


Changing Kansas Supreme Court Faces Wary GOP-Led Legislature

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas's new chief justice plans to push for changes aimed at helping veterans and the mentally ill, and she expects to press for a big budget increase. But the Kansas Supreme Court that Marla Luckert leads faces a Republican-controlled Legislature that's been sharply critical of the court. Luckert became the court system's top official last week, and her agenda includes expanding special courts that try to treat the underlying problems facing veterans, the mentally ill and drug abusers. But some lawmakers remain wary because of the court's past rulings protecting abortion rights and forcing increases in education funding.


Kansas Mental Hospital Pledges to Address Inspectors' Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is promising to provide more treatment to some patients after federal inspectors found problems with care at a state hospital for the mentally ill and threatened to pull funding. The Wichita Eagle reports that Osawatomie State Hospital responded to a unannounced federal inspection in November by pledging to have clinical group leaders attempt to provide patients who miss group therapy sessions with more one-on-one contact. Federal inspectors had said treatment for some patients needed to be more frequent and intense. The hospital also addressed another inspection issue by telling federal officials that treatment plans will be individualized for each patient. 


32 Years After Body Found in Kansas, Victim Is Identified

LINCOLNVILLE, Kan. (AP) — More than three decades after a woman’s body was found in a rural area of Kansas, authorities have identified the victim. Michelle Carnall-Burton went missing in 1987. On Monday, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said DNA testing showed that a previously unidentified murder victim found in 1987 near Lincolnville, Kansas, was Carnall-Burton. The match was confirmed after Carnall-Burton's parents submitted DNA samples earlier this year. The body was found by a road crew on Sept. 21, 1987. The remains were too decomposed to identify at the time. Carnall-Burton was 22 at the time of her death.


Judge Rejects Permits for Northwest Kansas Hog Operations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has invalidated two state permits allowing large hog production operations in northwest Kansas deemed too close to surface water by environmentalists. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson ruled earlier this month that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment violated state law. The permits were for four operations in Norton and Phillips counties in 2017 and 2018. The operations were under common management but organized as separate companies. KDHE allowed each facility up to 250 feet from surface water, half the distance for a single, larger facility. The Sierra Club sued in 2018. 


Man Killed, Teen Injured in Eastern Kansas Crash

BURLINGAME, Kan. (KAKE) - Authorities say a 20-year-old man died and an teenager was hurt in a car crash in eastern Kansas early Monday.  According to KAKE TV, the crash happened at around 1:15 am on Route 56 in Burlingame. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Nicholas Swanson lost control of his 2006 Ford Mustang near Kansas Street and left the roadway. The vehicle went into a yard and hit two trees before coming to rest in a creek bed.  Swanson, of Shenandoah, Iowa, died in the crash. His 16-year-old passenger, who is from Carbondale, Kansas, was transported to a Topeka hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  The patrol's online crash log states the man and teen were not wearing seat belts.


Gardner City Council's Move Against Local Newspaper Strikes Some as Retaliation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A growing community near Kansas City has decided this week to stop publishing its legal notices in its hometown newspaper. Some City Council members in Gardner, Kansas, describe the move as cost cutting, but the city is making the move after several officials publicly criticized the coverage the city was receiving. The council changed its "newspaper of record" following a staff report that the city would likely lower its costs 75% by going with another weekly publication. But critics see it as retaliation. The Gardner News' longtime Publisher Rhonda Humble says, "They're trying to shut me up." The newspaper stands to lose thousands of dollars a year by losing the city's business.


Report: Decline in Rural Students Affects Overall Decline in Enrollment at K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - An analysis by a Kansas newspaper shows that declines in students from rural counties are playing a major role in an overall drop in enrollment at Kansas State University. Total enrollment from Kansas counties considered completely rural fell by more than 27% over the last five years, while enrollment from mostly urban counties dropped by 9.2%, according to an analysis by the Manhattan Mercury.  Enrollment from counties deemed mostly rural fell by 21%. The categories were based on U.S. Census Bureau definitions.  Enrollment at the university's Manhattan, Salina and Olathe campuses dropped to a 20-year low... (of 21,719 students this semester).  


Native Kansas Broadcaster and KU Alum Bill Kurtis Gets Honorary Degree, So Does Former KU Artist Roger Shimomura

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Broadcaster Bill Kurtis is getting an honorary degree from the University of Kansas. The Kansas Board of Regents voted to give degrees to Kurtis and longtime KU faculty member Roger Shimomura. The university says Kurtis will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree and Shimomura will receive a Doctor of Arts degree. Kurtis anchored the CBS Morning News and has hosted various A&E crime and news documentary shows. He's also the announcer on the public radio show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." Kurtis worked at KANU Radio (now known as Kansas Public Radio) at the University of Kansas in the early 1960s as a classical music announcer. He also serves as an honorary member of the station's advisory board. Shimomura taught art from 1969 to 2004 at KU and creates art addressing the sociopolitical issues of Asian America.  


Survey of Plains, Western Bankers Shows Waning Rural Economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey of bankers indicates a waning economy in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, and weak farm income is hurting producers' ability to borrow money from banks. The Rural Mainstreet survey shows its overall index fell to to 50.2 this month from 54.2 in November. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey and says federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices kept the overall index from falling into negative territory. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.


Family's Christmas Tradition Is to Give Gifts to Strangers

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Santa got a little help in downtown Lawrence from a family handing out bright red gift bags to strangers in a busy shopping area. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Scott Sloyer and his adult children, Tyler and Rachel, hit busy Massachusetts Street on Monday, distributing about 40 bags that each are filled with about $15 worth of useful items like socks. The recipients included a homeless man and street musician who was playing the trombone while dressed as the jolly old elf himself. The family began the tradition of handing out gifts to those who may be in need when they lived in St.Louis. 


Fleeing Driver Killed in Crash on Gravel Road in Kansas

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a fleeing driver was killed when he went off the side of a Kansas road and struck multiple trees near the state's southern border with Oklahoma. The Kansas State Highway Patrol said 24-year-old Robert Jackson was being pursed by law enforcement around 11:30 p.m. Monday when the road went from pavement to gravel. That caused him to lose control of the pickup truck he was driving about 4 miles north of Coffeyville. The crash log doesn't say what started the pursuit.  


Police Seek Help Finding Car Linked to Fatal Kansas Shooting

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are looking for a car seen leaving a suburban Kansas City apartment complex where one man was killed and another was wounded. Police in Leawood, Kansas, said Monday they are looking for a dark-colored Dodge Challenger that was spotted at the scene of the Friday night shooting in the parking lot of State Line Apartments. Police said 24-year-old Zachary Morrisey, of Kansas City, was sitting in a vehicle when someone walked up to it and began shooting. A second victim drove them to a medical facility. Morrisey died of his wounds. The other victim was taken to an area trauma center. 


Death of 72-Year-Old Wichita Woman Ruled a Homicide

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The death of a 72-year-old Wichita woman who was letting a homeless man stay in her yard and  was found undressed from the waist down has been ruled a homicide. The Wichita Eagle reports that the coroner wrote in the autopsy that Rita Golden suffered injuries in July that “would have resulted in severe physical and/or emotional stress that would induce a cardiac arrhythmia in an already labile heart further compromised by her lung disease.” The autopsy described blunt force injuries and possible asphyxia by smothering. The autopsy report says Wichita police who searched her home found the homeless man in a closet in one of the bedrooms. 


Congress Goes on Recess Without Route 66 Preservation Funds

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Congress has recessed for the holidays, and it has gone another year without passing legislation that would boost funding for Route 66. The lack of movement on reauthorizing the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program means there will be no cost-share grants aimed at reviving old tourist spots in struggling towns where the Mother Road passed through. The program has helped finance projects like rehabilitating parts of the historic Rialto Theatre in Winslow, Arizona, and the Rock Cafe restoration in Stroud, Oklahoma. It's administered by the National Park Service. Ken Busby, executive director of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Route 66 Alliance, told Public Radio Tulsa the lack of dedicated federal funding for preservation work puts people trying to save the Mother Road in a tough spot.

"Having that federal aid that often provides a matching grant option really helps us leverage state and local dollars. So, it’s really critically important if we’re going to maintain this 2,448-mile stretch of road. We just have to have some help to do it," Busby said.

Legislation to designate the Mother Road a National Historic Trail stalled in the House and Senate.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays. 


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