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Stephen Koranda Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from the 2nd District, hopes Congress will be able to reach compromise on some important issues when lawmakers return to Washington in September. Jenkins was one of the legislators who voted for a debt ceiling deal earlier this month. She said she decided to compromise on that issue because it was a step in the right direction and avoided a national default.At a recent town hall meeting, Jenkins said the partisan divide in Congress mirrors a divide among voters, so reaching compromise could still be difficult. Tune in later this hour, when we’ll have...

Stephen Koranda Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Congress is in the middle of a month-long summer break. Many representatives are using the time to meet with constituents. Republican Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins is touring her 2nd District this month, holding a series of town hall meetings. KPR’s Stephen Koranda caught up with her at a recent meeting in Lawrence.

Stephen Koranda Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A semi-trailer full of cattle overturned in west Topeka early this (MON) morning, and the situation initially looked bad. But officials are happy with the outcome. The 39 head of cattle were successfully off-loaded onto other trailers without injury. According to fire department spokesman Greg Bailey, the driver was able to walk away from the crash.Bailey says the semi was part of a convoy headed from Texas to Nebraska when the driver mistakenly took the wrong exit off Interstate 470. The semi struck a median and overturned at around 3:30 this (MON) morning, shutting down a portion of...

Stephen Koranda Friday, August 19th, 2011

The Great Plains Balloon Club in Topeka is staging the 36th annual Huff 'n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally next month. A portion of the proceeds from the rally will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Topeka. Cyndi Menzel (MENN-zl) is the president of the balloon club, and says that volunteers will be critical to the success of the event. To volunteer, you can e-mail huffnpuffcrew@gmail.com. A training session for volunteers will be held this (SAT) evening at Tinman (TIN-MAN) Circle on the east side of Lake Shawnee at 6 o'clock. No sign-up is necessary...

Stephen Koranda Friday, August 19th, 2011

The National Endowment for the Arts, or N-E-A, has said Kansas won’t be eligible for federal matching funds. That decision comes after Governor Sam Brownback vetoed funding for the Kansas Arts Commission earlier this year. In past years, the money had been used to fund arts programs throughout the state. But the N-E-A’s decision may not be permanent. KPR’s Stephen Koranda has more.

Stephen Koranda Friday, August 19th, 2011

The city of Topeka is preparing to host the 36th annual Huff 'n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally next month. It's being sponsored by the Great Plains Balloon Club, and some of the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Topeka. Cyndi Menzel (MENN-zl) is the president of the club, and says that the group is looking for volunteers to help prepare for this event. A training session will be held tomorrow (SAT) evening at Lake Shawnee, where the club will teach volunteers all they'll need to know about working with hot-air balloons.To volunteer for the event, you can e-mail...

Stephen Koranda Friday, August 19th, 2011

More than 75 people gathered in Lawrence today (FRI) to share their opinions with Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. The Republican hosted the town hall meeting as part of a tour of the 2nd District. Congressional partisanship was on the mind of Bruce Johanning (joe-HAN-ing) from Lawrence. He says members of Congress aren’t doing enough to compromise on important issues.Representative Jenkins says some constituents have told her they don’t want her to compromise. She says the mood in Congress actually reflects a divide among voters. Jenkins’ tour will continue next week with a stop in Iola.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Governor Sam Brownback is scheduled to meet today (FRI) with officials from other states bordering the Missouri River. They'll be discussing how the river can be better managed. Some elected leaders believe the way the river is currently managed made this year’s flooding worse. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The National Weather Service says that 2011 is likely to be remembered as one of the most deadly years in weather history. National director Jack Hayes says that's why the organization is launching an initiative called "Weather Ready Nation." He says for starters, the initiative is about improving community preparedness. In addition to deploying new technology, Hayes says they'll work to improve forecasting precision. The agency also plans to examine the terminology used to describe weather events, with the idea of improving communications with local authorities and the public.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

It was reported this week that the Kansas Republican Party is operating on scarce funds despite being the dominant party in the state. Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party is flush with cash, holding $200,000 in reserves. Clay Barker, head of the state GOP, says the disparity comes from a lack of fundraising. He claims that the more solidly Republican a state is, the more difficult it is to raise money. Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty (BAY-tee) says that Barker's analysis is correct.An recent report indicates the state GOP's federal activity account had a deficit...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Four of the five largest tobacco companies are suing the federal government over graphic anti-smoking labels. Last June, U-S Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of nine new FDA labels -- one of which shows the image of a dead smoker. The former governor of Kansas said the hope is to persuade adults to kick the nicotine habit... and to prevent kids from starting to smoke in the first place. Tobacco companies claims the warnings no longer simply convey facts about smoking. They say the labels require producers of a lawful product to use their own...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The Kansas Historical Society is marking the state’s 150th birthday by honoring 25 notable Kansans. The first five names were revealed today by Governor Sam Brownback.The first five Kansans honored include Governor and publisher Arthur Capper, U-S Vice President Charles Curtis, Dr. Karl Menninger, Reverend Charles Sheldon and Kiowa Indian chief Satanta (suh-TAN-tuh). More names will be released in the coming weeks. The final five names will be revealed at the Kansas State Fair.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Governor Sam Brownback wants Kansas universities to focus on programs that grow the state’s economy. He says that could mean consolidating – or even eliminating – some programs that have fewer students and less economic impact. Brownback spoke yesterday (Wednesday) to the Kansas Board of Regents. He said important programs include the business and pharmacy schools at the University of Kansas, the veterinary school at Kansas State University and aviation research programs at Wichita State University.For more on this story, visit www.ksedpolicy.com

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback wants the state’s universities to focus on academic programs that can help grow the Kansas economy. He says that could mean consolidating – or even eliminating – other programs that draw fewer students and have less economic impact. Brownback spoke yesterday (Wednesday) to the Kansas Board of Regents. He said important programs include the business and pharmacy schools at the University of Kansas, the veterinary school at Kansas State University and aviation research programs at Wichita State University.For more on this story, visit...

Bryan Thompson Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The last in a series of public forums on how to reform Medicaid in Kansas drew more than 300 people to the Overland Park Convention Center yesterday (WED). As Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson reports, Governor Brownback has said he wants to find ways to improve care for Medicaid clients while saving money over the long term.

Stephen Koranda Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Classes begin this week at many schools in Kansas. For some high school students in Topeka, there will be more to this year's schedule than just reading, writing and arithmetic. That’s because Highland Park High will now offer classes in robotics. Students will actually earn certifications in operating and maintaining robots. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, local economic development officials believe it's one of the first programs of its kind in the nation.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

A surprise settlement has been reached between the city of Topeka and two brothers who were shot by an off-duty police officer in 2008. The $300,000 settlement was approved by the city council. Acting City Manager Dan Stanley says the city could have spent much more money if the case had gone to trial.The brothers, Daniel and Devin Llamas, had sought 47 million dollars from the Capital City for their wounds. The four off-duty officers involved in the post-St. Patrick's Day fight were never charged criminally. The Llamas brothers' attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray (eer-ih-GAWN-eh-guh-rye), says...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Coming soon to the Manhattan area: new laser cameras to make sure that traffic tailgaters get what's coming to them. Riley County Police are rolling out the new devices to prevent drivers from following other vehicles too closely. Officials say that was the number-one cause for the 192 crashes on K-18 between Manhattan and Ogden in the past three years. The device, called a "TruCam," will allow police to measure the distance between two vehicles in both feet and seconds. It will also take still photos and video of the violation.That's Captain Tim Hegerty with the Riley County Police...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Tailgaters beware: Riley County police now have a new way of telling just how closely one vehicle is following another. They'll begin to use it to write tickets next month. Riley County Police Captain Tim Hegerty says the department has purchased something called a "TruCam." And while the $5,300 device looks like a regular radar gun, it can actually measure distances in both feet and seconds.Hegerty says the TruCam will be used all over the city and county, but there will be a concentrated effort to check on drivers along K-18 between Manhattan and Ogden, where commuter traffic is often...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Economic development officials in Topeka say the city’s high schools will be the first in the nation to certify students in operating and servicing robots. Japanese company Yaskawa (yahs-COW-uh) will supply the robots needed for the training, which starts this school year. Doug Schenher (SHEN-er), with Yaskawa, says the company wants to increase the number of people prepared for a career in robotics.The students will be able to earn certifications on the types of robots found in factories and medical facilities. They’ll be able to continue training in a program at Washburn University.

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