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Regional Headlines for Friday, June 22, 2012






UPDATE!  Kansas Board Revokes Abortion Doctor's License

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas regulators have revoked the medical license of a doctor accused of performing inadequate mental health exams on young patients she then referred to the late Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions.  The State Board of Healing Arts today (FRI) ratified an administrative judge's earlier decision to revoke Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus's license.  The judge concluded in February that the Nortonville doctor's 2003 examinations of 11 patients ages 10 to 18 were insufficient. Neuhaus provided the second medical opinions Tiller needed by law to perform the late-term abortions at his Wichita clinic.  Neuhaus argued that her exams met accepted standards of care.  Groups that oppose abortion rights have criticized Neuhaus for years and are sure to welcome today's (FRI) decision.

KS Board to Rule on Doctor's License in Abortion Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas regulators are expected to decide whether to revoke the medical license of a doctor accused of performing inadequate mental health exams on young patients she referred to the late Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions.  The State Board of Healing Arts is meeting today (FRI) and is expected to review an administrative judge's order revoking the license of Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus (NOO'-hows).  The judge's February order concluded that the Nortonville doctor's 2003 exams on 11 patients ages 10 to 18 were inadequate. Neuhaus provided the second medical opinion Tiller needed under Kansas law to perform the late-term abortions at his Wichita clinic.  Neuhaus argues her exams met accepted standards of care. The board must decide whether to accept the judge's order and revoke Neuhaus' license.


Task Force Suggests Starting First KS Dental School

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A task force appointed by the Kansas Board of Regents says the state needs to start planning its first dental college.  The task force also said in a report to the regents yesterday (THUR) that the state needs to place more students in out-of-state dental colleges.  The regents appointed the task force last October to study insufficient dental care across the state, where 93 of 105 counties do not have enough dentists to serve their residents.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the task force said the state should send more Kansas students to dental schools in Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.  The students would receive a tuition subsidy if they committed to work with underserved populations in underserved rural and urban areas of Kansas.


Regents OK Plan to Transfer More College Credits

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents has made it easier for college students to transfer credits among the state's colleges.  The Regents have approved 17 general education courses that will transfer among the state's 32 public institutions of higher education.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that, depending on the credit hours taken and awarded, students may be able to transfer up to 59 credit hours between universities, community colleges and technical colleges.  The courses approved for transfer include basic courses in government, history, English, science, psychology, economics, geography and public speaking.  Regents Chairman Ed McKechnie says barriers to easily transfer credit hours stopped some students from achieving their higher education goals.


Former Truck Driver Found Guilty of 2000 Kansas Rape

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — A former cross-country truck driver was found guilty of the 2000 kidnapping and rape of a Kansas teenager in a case that went unsolved until a DNA match in 2011. A Franklin County jury on Thursday found Ralph Corey guilty of five charges. The 16-year-old victim was kidnapped in a parking lot in Ottawa after ending her work shift. She was driven to several locations in Ottawa and sexually assaulted. The Lawrence Journal-World reports no arrests were made in the case until 2011, when Corey's DNA profile in the national databank matched evidence collected at the scene. At the time, Corey was serving time in a federal prison in Arizona on counterfeiting charges. He also spent time in a Virginia prison for smuggling 500 pounds of marijuana through that state. Sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 27.


KS Man Convicted of Raping 5-Year-Old Girl

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A jury took less than two hours to convict a 27-year-old Kansas man of raping and molesting a 5-year-old girl.  Joshua M. Walker was convicted yesterday (THUR) in Douglas County of one count of child rape and two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy. He faces 20 years to life in prison on each count. He was living in Spring Hill when he was arrested in July 2011.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports the girl, from Eudora, first accused Walker of abuse in 2010 but recanted. The allegations resurfaced in 2011 and Walker was arrested.  A hearing will be held July 27 to hear post-trial motions. Walker could be sentenced during that hearing.


State Rests in KS Capital Murder Trial

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have finished presenting their case against a man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and their 13-month-old son and burying their bodies in northeastern Kansas.
Luis Aguirre is on trial in Riley County District Court on two counts of capital murder in the September 2009 deaths of Tanya Maldonado and their son, Juan. A hunter found the bodies in a shallow grave near Ogden.  KMAN Radio reports a Kansas State University biologist testified Thursday that layers of leaves found under the bodies suggested the grave was dug some time in advance. Aguirre had told investigators he dug the hole in a hurried panic shortly after what he maintains were the accidental deaths of the woman and child.  The trial resumes today (FRI).


KS Firm Agrees to $6.1 Million Medicare Settlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says a Kansas hospice care provider and its Texas-based parent company have agreed to pay $6.1 million to settle allegations they submitted false claims to the Medicare program.  The settlement with Wichita-based Hospice Care of Kansas LLC and Fort Worth-based Voyager HospiceCare Incorporated was announced yesterday (THUR).  The deal results from a whistleblower lawsuit first filed more than six years ago by Beverly Landis, a Hospice Care of Kansas nurse. Landis will receive $1.34 million under provisions of the federal False Claims Act.  The government alleged the companies submitted false Medicare claims between 2004 and 2008 for patients who did not have prognoses of six months or less to live — a requirement for the benefits.  An attorney for Landis, David White, says his client feels vindicated by the settlement.


Chlorine Cloud Sends Topeka Swimmers to Hospital

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Procedures are being revised at a public swimming pool in Topeka after a cloud of chlorine sent eight swimmers to hospitals. All were treated and released.  WIBW-TV reports the incident happened at Blaisdell Pool in Gage Park while the Topeka Swimming Association was holding practice yesterday (THUR) morning.  Fifteen-year-old John Schmidt says he saw what looked like a volcano swirling toward him from jets under the water. A bubble of chlorine hit him in the face, making it impossible to breathe, before the chemical created a haze above the surface.  An official says overnight storms shut off power to the pool. The chlorine bubble occurred when a staff member turned the pumps back on.  Officials say the pumps will no longer be restarted when people are in the pool.


Hearing Date Set for Parents of Tied-Up Children

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — An attorney for a suburban Chicago mother accused in Kansas of abusing her five children says the woman was unaware of how the children were being treated.  Deborah and Adolfo Gomez of Northlake, Illinois, appeared separately yesterday (THUR) in Douglas County District Court in Lawrence to set preliminary hearing dates.  The couple were arrested last week after two of their children were found tied up and blindfolded outside their SUV in a Walmart parking lot in Lawrence. Three older children were found inside the vehicle unrestrained.  Deborah Gomez's attorney says the woman didn't know what was happening to her children when she went into the store and left them with the father.  Both parents are being held on $50,000 bond and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing next Thursday.


Doc Seeks to Quash Subpoena in Abortion Threat Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita doctor is seeking to quash or modify the subpoena filed by an abortion opponent accused of sending a threatening letter after learning of the doctor's plans to offer abortions.  The dispute comes in the civil lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against anti-abortion activist Angel Dillard, of Valley Center, under a federal law protecting access to reproductive services.  Dr. Mila Means argued yesterday (THUR) that the subpoena seeking documents for her deposition next week are overly broad and burdensome.  She also contends the subpoenaed information about her efforts to obtain funding or a facility to provide abortions could subject others to threats and intrusions by abortion opponents.  No abortions have been performed openly in Wichita since Dr. George Tiller was shot to death at his church in May 2009.


KS Could Face Big Costs in Redistricting Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he'll try to persuade federal judges who handled a political redistricting lawsuit to limit the legal costs that must be covered by the state.
The lawsuit was over the Legislature's failure to redraw the state's political boundaries. The three federal judges handling the case imposed new congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts earlier this month.  Schmidt said yesterday (THUR) that he had expected the parties would file requests for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses after the court allowed 26 individuals to join the original plaintiff.  Nineteen plaintiffs submitted requests to the judges as of Thursday listing nearly $662,000 in legal expenses.  Schmidt is a defendant, but his only issue is the legal expenses being submitted to the state.


State Lifts Some Algae Advisories at Some KS Lakes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State health officials have lifted toxic blue-green algae advisories at some lakes but the problem persists at other lakes.  Yesterday (THUR), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment lifted health advisories at Milford Lake, Marion Reservoir and Winfield City Lake.  The state continues its advisory at Old Herington City Lake in Dickinson County, Cedar Bluff Reservoir in Trego County and Lovewell Reservoir in Jewell County.  Lakes under a warning are Logan City Lake in Phillips County and Veterans Lake in Great Bend.  An advisory means direct contact with the water is discouraged for people, pets and livestock.  A warning means the lakes contain high levels of the algae and contact with the water is prohibited.


Historic Emporia Church Slated for Demolition

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A landmark church near downtown Emporia will be demolished, after the congregation concluded it could not afford the estimated $2 million needed for repairs and renovation.  The Emporia Gazette reports the City Commission voted unanimously this week to approve demolition of the 84-year-old First Baptist Church building and its unused, 112-year-old parsonage.  The State Historical Society had recommended preserving the old church, but the congregation decided the $780,000 in credits being offered would not be sufficient.  Efforts will be made to preserve and reuse some of the historical features. They include stained glass windows, wooden arches and a rafter in which Emporia native Dean Smith — a future coach of University of Kansas men's basketball — had etched his name.


KC Firefighters Offered Retirement Incentive

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City is offering senior firefighters another incentive to retire.  Yesterday (THUR), the City Council endorsed a plan to give the firefighters 100 percent payout on their sick leave. Previously, firefighters eligible to retire got a payout of 50 percent of the value of their sick leave bank when they retired.  The city estimated the average payout would be just over $134,000. If every eligible firefighter took the incentive, it could cost the city more than $4 million.  The Kansas City Star reports city officials don't expect the payout to be that high and the program will eventually save the city long-term payroll costs.  Eligible firefighters must apply by July 31.



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