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

Share this page              

Regional Headlines for Monday, January 28, 2013


Kansas Senate Panel Sets Hearings on Governor's Tax Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee is planning two days of hearings this week on Governor Sam Brownback's tax proposals. The Assessment and Taxation Committee is scheduled to begin its examination of the governor's proposals Tuesday. Brownback's fellow conservative Republicans dominate the Senate, but many members have misgivings about the measures he's outlined. Brownback's goal is to stabilize the state budget while allowing room for additional cuts in individual income taxes after aggressive income tax cuts last year. He's proposing to phase in a fresh round of individual income tax rates over three years. But he's also seeking to eliminate two popular income tax deductions for homeowners. The governor also wants to keep the state sales tax at its current rate rather than having it drop in July as previously planned.


Kansas Lawmakers Planning Extra-Long Spring Break

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators plan to take an unusually long spring break before returning to wrap up business this year. House Speaker Ray Merrick of Stilwell said Monday the change is part of efforts by his fellow Republican leaders to shorten the time in session from the traditional 90 days to 80 or even fewer. The House and Senate will begin the annual break April 6. Normally they would be gone 2½ weeks and return April 24. But this year, they'll reconvene May 8. By then, Merrick says, any deadlines for Governor Sam Brownback to veto bills will have passed. Merrick says the goal is to limit the wrap-up session after the break to considering vetoes. The schedule also would allow lawmakers to attend two national conferences. Merrick said that's a coincidence.


Path for Adoption of Kansas Judiciary Plan Filled with Hurdles

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative Republican legislators are pushing aggressively for an overhaul of how Kansas fills vacancies on its two highest courts. But they face significant obstacles in getting a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot. For now, the GOP right's favored proposal is having the governor appoint whomever he pleases, subject to Senate confirmation. Both the House and Senate Judiciary committees have endorsed the change. Their separate measures would end the practice of having the nominating commission pick three finalists and requiring the governor to pick one, with no role for legislators. Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers, and conservatives are in charge. In the 40-member Senate, conservatives hold 27 seats, the two-thirds majority to approve a constitutional amendment. In the 125-member House, the picture is cloudier.


Kansas Legislators Hear Report on School Efficiency

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are getting a full immersion in education spending and policies, with another week of joint meetings by the House and Senate Education Committees. The meetings are meant to bring the large number of new legislators up to speed on school finance issues and related topics. Members of the two panels heard Monday from State Board of Education member Ken Willard, who also chairs the School Efficiency Task Force created last fall by Governor Sam Brownback. The task force was charged with finding ways for public schools to put more of their state funding directly into classrooms. Willard outlined the panel's 12 recommendations for the lawmakers Monday. He says the goal isn't to cut funding for schools but to reduce inefficiencies in such areas as purchasing and data collection.

Number of Mentally Ill in Kansas Prisons More than Doubles

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The number of mentally ill prisoners in Kansas has increased by 126 percent since 2006. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that nearly two out of every five adult inmates in Kansas is classified as mentally ill. Republican Senator Steve Fitzgerald blames the spike on what he describes as the state's failure to develop an effective community-based system of treatment. His district includes Lansing Correctional Facility. Fitzgerald says Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts is by default the provider of last resort for a growing cadre of people with mental illness. Kansas cut mental health spending by 12 percent from 2008 to 2011. But after the school shooting in Connecticut, Governor Sam Brownback announced this month he would redirect $10 million for a new mental health initiative.

State of KS Ends Free HIV Testing in Most Counties

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Some county health officials are concerned that the state's decision to stop providing free HIV testing in most Kansas counties will cause a drop in services for people with the virus. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment notified most county counseling and testing providers last November that it would no longer provide free HIV testing, starting in January. The Kansas Health Institute says the state will continue to provide the service in 10 counties, which are generally the most populous and have more cases of HIV. The Hutchinson News reports that state officials cut the service in counties with low instances of HIV in order to use the funds more efficiently. And the new federal health care law is expected to make more people eligible for the testing.

Kansas Water Authority to Hear Drought Update

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Water Authority is expected to hear an update on the drought at its meeting this week. The meeting begins at 8 o'clock Thursday morning at the Landon State Office Building in Topeka. Also on the agenda are a report on public water supplies, and a briefing on the John Redmond Reservoir Dredging Project and the wetland program. Governor Sam Brownback is also listed on the agenda as a speaker at the meeting.


GM Plans $600M Upgrade at Kansas City Plant

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — General Motors is investing in a $600 million upgrade at its assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas. The automaker said Monday it will start construction this year on a 450,000-square-foot paint shop, a new stamping press and other improvements at the Fairfax Assembly Plant. GM CEO Dan Akerson says the investment is a "vote of confidence" in the Fairfax plant, where the company has produced more than 12 million vehicles since 1945. GM announced earlier this month it planned to invest $1.5 billion in its North American facilities in 2013. Some 3,900 employees work at the Fairfax plant, where the company produces the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu. GM says the construction will take about two years to complete.


Japan's New Import Rules Expected to Help US Beef Industry 

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Japan's decision to ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports will provide a boost to the American meat industry, but tight supplies may limit how much exports can grow this year. Beef producers hope to restore Japanese sales to where they were before the first case of mad cow disease was found in the United States in 2003. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President J.D. Alexander said Monday the Japanese rules should improve profits for the industry. If Japan's decision to allow imports of beef from cattle up to 30-months-old leads to higher demand overall, American consumers may pay more for beef. But the North American Meat Association says the effect on prices is likely to be limited because many popular cuts of meat in Japan, like tongue, aren't popular in America.

Manhattan Company to Pay $97,000 in Back Wages

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Manhattan sportswear company will pay more than $97,000 in back wages to 133 workers. The U.S. Department of Labor said in a news release Monday that It's Greek To Me Inc., which operates as GTM Sportswear in Manhattan, violated federal labor laws by not paying sales associates overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week. GTM paid the employees straight salaries, regardless of how many hours they worked at its headquarters in Manhattan. Investigators also determined the company did not keep proper records of the hours the employees worked. The labor department says the company classified the employees as exempt from overtime but they did not meet the criteria necessary to be exempt. The company agreed to pay a total of $97,762.

KCK Shopping Area Auctioned Off

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Legend Outlets shopping area in Kansas City, Kansas remains open while a foreclosure lawsuit is settled. KKR Real Estate Fund Holdings offered $131.5 million for the shopping center at an auction Friday. That group includes RED Legacy of Kansas City and the New York investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. A backup bid of $131 million was submitted by CRG Acquisitions LLC. E3 Realty Advisors of Los Angeles was appointed receiver of the shopping center last year after U.S. Bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit because RED Legacy, the original Legends developer, owed $179.4 million. Dan Lowe of RED Legacy said the group intentionally stopped payments to force the auction because the debt needed to be restructured.

Beef Labeling Rule Caught in Bureaucratic Limbo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A new beef labeling rule that has the support of food safety advocates has been under review for months by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Kansas City Star reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed requiring labels on steaks and other beef products that have been mechanically tenderized. The process uses automated needles or knives that can drive deadly pathogens deep into the interior of the meat. If the meat isn't cooked thoroughly, those pathogens can make people ill. Currently, meat doesn't have to be labeled as mechanically tenderized. Food safety groups say the extended review unnecessarily leaves consumers at risk. An official at the budget office says the agency doesn't comment on rules that are under review.

KCK State Senator Introduces Medical Marijuana Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state senator has proposed a medical marijuana bill. Senator David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, has introduced the bill. It would allow Kansas to join 18 states and the District of Columbia in allowing people to use marijuana with a doctor's order. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the measure would allow patients to have up to six ounces of marijuana and grow up to a dozen plants at home. Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, says the measure won't get a hearing during the current legislative session. Currently in Kansas, illegally obtaining marijuana for a health condition can mean a year in jail, and growing your own pot can mean up to 17 years in prison.


Adele Hall, Wife of Hallmark Chairman, Dies at Age 81

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Adele Hall, wife of Hallmark Cards Chairman Donald J. Hall, has died. She was 81. Hallmark Cards spokesman Steve Doyal said Monday that Adele Hall collapsed and died unexpectedly Saturday at the family's home in Hawaii. The Kansas City-based greeting cards company says Hall had been married to her husband for nearly 60 years. She was active in numerous organizations and held leadership positions on several boards, including the United Negro College Fund, the Points of Light Foundation and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hall was also the first woman president of the Heart of America United Way and was a board chairman of Children's Mercy Hospital and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. She was Kansas Citian of the Year in 1990, the first woman to hold the title.


Important Black Historical Figure's Gravesite Found in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The search for the burial site of a man who persuaded thousands of freed slaves to move to Kansas after the Civil War is over. Historians say Benjamin "Pap" Singleton was one of the most important black men in Kansas history. A former slave, he brought freed black people north to one colony in southeast Kansas and another in the Flint Hills. The Kansas City Star reports that historians were never sure exactly where Singleton was buried after he died in 1900. Two Kansas genealogists and a researcher at the Kansas Historical Society confirmed recently that Singleton is buried in what was known as the "colored section" of Union Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri. Now, they want to raise money to give Singleton a proper memorial at the cemetery.

Officials Still Seeking Police Impostor

LYONS, Kan. (AP) — Kansas law enforcement officials are still looking for a man who is allegedly impersonating a police officer while trying to cash fake checks. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement officials say they believe 45-year-old Robert Wayne Helms of Pittsburg might be connected to at least 25 cases. Belle Plaine Police Chief Gorden Fell says the man showed up in his town last week. Lyons police are investigating a similar case. In some instances Helms flashes a fake badge and displays a gun. He has at least twice claimed to be a deputy from Adams County; there is no Adams County in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Corrections lists Helms as an absconder, with past convictions for forgery, theft and kidnapping. Officials say he is considered armed and dangerous.

Illness Forces Morrissey to Reschedule Concerts, Including One in KS

DETROIT (AP) — A spokeswoman for Morrissey says the former Smiths frontman and solo artist is postponing several shows, including the one scheduled February 2nd at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. Morrissey has been diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer. Lauren Papapietro tells The Associated Press in an email that Morrissey had been treated at a suburban Detroit hospital. He missed a show last Thursday in Flint, Friday in Minneapolis and Saturday in Chicago. Shows also are being rescheduled for Nashville; Atlanta; Asheville, North Carolina; Clear Lake, Iowa; and Lincoln, Nebraska. Ticketholders are being asked to keep their tickets because those dates will be rescheduled. The tour is scheduled to resume February 9 in Las Vegas. Papapietro says Morrissey is expected to fully recover and "thanks everyone concerned for their support during this time."

California Company Acquires Kansas Wind Projects

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A California company has acquired several wind projects in western Kansas. The Garden City Telegram reports that Santa Barbara-based Infinity Wind Power on Wednesday announced the purchase of the Pioneer Wind Project in Ford County from Clipper Windpower Development. The company last year also acquired two Kansas projects under development in Ford, Gray and Finney counties from local developer Zephyr Wind Power, based in Cimarron. Infinity CEO Matt Riley says the acquisitions bring Infinity's total development pipeline in western Kansas to more than 2,500 megawatts.


Passenger in Car Chase Dies After Wreck

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — A 29-year-old man died when the vehicle he was in crashed during a police chase in a Kansas City suburb. Blue Springs police say the chase began Sunday night near Lake Tapawingo when police tried to stop the car for careless driving. The chase along U.S. 40 went into Blue Springs, when the vehicle ran off the road and hit a utility pole. The Independence Examiner reports that a man believed to be from Overland Park died at the scene. The driver, a 29-year-old man from Blue Springs, fled on foot but was captured a short time later. He is being held by Blue Springs police pending charges.

16-Year-Old Dies Following SUV Collision with Deer

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A western Kansas teen has died after a sport utility vehicle collided with a deer and overturned. The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victim as 16-year-old Hope James of Dighton. She was a passenger in a SUV whose driver swerved Friday night in an attempt to miss a deer. The driver hit the deer anyway and drove off the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Ellis County. The driver then overcorrected and rolled. The vehicle landed on its top, hitting a fence. The patrol says four other people in the SUV were injured. Everyone was wearing a seat belt.

Suit Reveals Ties Among Radical Abortion Opponents

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A lawsuit against a Kansas woman who publicly proclaimed her admiration for the man who gunned down one of the country's few late-term abortion providers is revealing the unwavering support a small group of radical anti-abortion activists has for the imprisoned killer. The lawsuit against Angel Dillard is indicates the Justice Department is taking a more heavy-handed approach to perceived threats. The federal government alleges Dillard sent a threatening letter in 2011 to another Wichita doctor who was planning to offer abortions. The lawsuit also highlights Dillard's relationship with Scott Roeder, the man convicted of fatally shooting abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in 2009. Court documents also show extremists are visiting Roeder in prison, sending him money and offering legal advice.

Son of Famous Cell Donor to Speak at Kansas School

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The son of a woman whose cancerous cervix led to an immortal cell line for medical research is speaking next month at Johnson County Community College. David Lacks will talk on February 21st about what it meant to find out — decades after the fact — about his late mother's contribution to science. Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her consent, pieces of the tumor that killed her were removed and used for medical exploration and to build a billion-dollar research industry. The story of her life was told in the book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Students in several classes were assigned the book. The public is invited to the free event, which will be held at the Carlsen Center's Polsky Theater.

Salina Man Recognized for Preventing House Fire

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters have recognized a Salina man who prevented a house fire when he heard a neighbor's smoke alarms sound and sought help. Joshua Mast initially thought the smoke alarms he heard last month were an alarm clock sounding. The house looked normal from the outside, but Mast went ahead and called 911. The person who lived in the home was out of town, so the landlord let firefighters into the house. Inside, firefighters discovered that cats had knocked over the resident's Christmas tree. It was lying on a floor furnace, smoldering and filling the house with smoke. Firefighters were able to remove the tree and clear smoke from the house. The resident's two cats were unharmed. Mast was recognized last week with a certificate.

Kansas Wesleyan Chooses Florida Man as President

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina has a new president. The university announced Sunday that it has chosen Matthew Thompson, a vice president at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, to lead the school. Thompson will begin his duties April 15. He replaces Fletcher Lamkin, who resigned last June. The Salina Journal reports the university's board of trustees chose Thompson unanimously from three finalists. Kansas Wesleyan University offers 25 undergraduate programs and one graduate program.


Kansan Wins $1M in Powerball Drawing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Lottery says someone in southwest Kansas won $1 million in Saturday's Powerball drawing. Lottery officials said Monday the ticket matched the first five numbers but not the Powerball. The winning numbers are 3-22-26-41-49 and Powerball 18. The southwest region of Kansas consists of 24 counties: Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Ness, Rush, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Hodgeman, Pawnee, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Gray, Ford, Edwards, Kiowa, Morton, Stevens, Seward, Meade, Clark and Comanche.

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)