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Regional Headlines for Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sedgwick County Storm Damage Could Total $283M


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Sedgwick County officials say damages could be as high as $283 million after a tornado hit the southeastern part of Wichita. The storm that struck late Saturday night caused damage to a mobile home park and McConnell Air Force Base. A Boeing company spokesperson says the Wichita plant took a "direct hit." Emergency management officials said that at nearby Spirit AeroSystems most buildings were damaged. Flash flooding and fires also were reported. Sedgwick County was one of about a dozen counties where homes were damaged or destroyed from a powerful storm system that generated numerous tornadoes.

Furlough Days Begin at Kansas Courthouses


WICHITA. Kan. (AP) -- Brandon Eber and Rachel Dunmire will need to get their marriage license another day. The couple was part of a steady stream of people being turned away Friday at courthouses across Kansas as a series of furloughs began. The five furlough days continue every other Friday to close a $1.4 million shortfall in court operating funds. The furloughs put a halt to most regular court functions, even suspending criminal and civil trials. Judges were about the only people still working. They had to be available to handle emergency orders and time-sensitive matters.

Advocates For the Elderly Disagree With Governor's Choice For Long-Term Care Ombudsman


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Advocates for the elderly are taking issue with Republican Governor Sam Brownback's selection of Barbara Hickert as long-term care ombudsman. She's the third person coming from the nursing home industry to hold the post. Her appointment follows similar selections by Democratic governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson. Spokepersons for the governor and nursing home industry say the concerns are unfounded. They say Brownback's choices to run key state agencies have the experience to protect nursing home residents.

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