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Regional Headlines for Sunday, April 21, 2013


Police Rouse Kansas Man From Sleep as Home Burns

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas man has made it out of his burning home alive after rescuers broke through a door and roused him from his sleep. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Bob Bennett was sleeping on a couch in the Baldwin City home early Saturday when a passing motorist noticed it was on fire at 1:35 a.m. Baldwin City Fire Chief Allen Craig says the room where Bennett was sleeping was engulfed in flames by the time police officers got him to the street. Bennett says he had been renovating the home and thinks the fire started in a second-story bathroom where he had been working. He says he couldn't insure the house because of the condition of its two porches. Craig estimates the fire caused $150,000 in damage.


Two Arrested in Connection with Wichita Homicide

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two men have been taken into custody on suspicion of first-degree murder after a fatal shooting in a home near downtown Wichita. The two were arrested Friday in connection to an incident Thursday night in which a 33-year-old man was shot several times and died later at a Wichita hospital. The Wichita Eagle reports a 22-year-old man and 29-year-old woman also were wounded in the shooting. Police spokesman Lieutenant Todd Ojile says police were seeking a third suspect in connection with the shooting. The victim's name hasn't been released, and The Associated Press isn't naming the men arrested because they haven't been formally charged. Ojile says three men knocked on the home's door and were allowed inside. Police reports indicate someone knew at least one of the three visitors.


Kansas US Senators Push Gas Storage Inspection Bill

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' two U.S. senators have renewed a push to allow the state to inspect its 11 natural-gas storage fields because the federal government has opted not to do the inspections. Republican Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran filed a nearly identical bill in late 2011 but it didn't go anywhere in a divided Congress. The Wichita Eagle ( reports their latest measure would allow the Kansas Corporation Commission to resume inspecting the storage fields, which was discontinued in 2009. The Kansas Legislature mandated inspections after a series of 2001 gas explosions in Hutchinson destroyed a block of downtown businesses and killed a couple in their mobile home. A Colorado company sued in 2009 to stop inspections, arguing its gas was in interstate transit and the responsibility of the federal government.


Kansas Revenue Estimates Highlight Need for Deal

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — New state tax revenue estimates indicate cuts signed into law last year by Gov. Sam Brownback could send Kansas into deep financial trouble if there's no agreement this year to extend a temporary sales tax and reduce popular tax deductions. The Wichita Eagle reports an estimate by the governor's budget division shows the state would burn through its reserves and have to cut $64 million in 2014 if no policy changes are approved. The figures show $545 million in additional cuts would be necessary in 2015. Brownback wants lawmakers to extend a temporary six-tenths of a cent sales tax hike that expires in July. Republican House leaders say they have no appetite for extending the sales tax and have voted 120-0 against a Senate plan that includes the extension.


Kansas Lawmakers Eliminate 30-day Adoption Wait

(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have eliminated the state's mandatory 30-day waiting period on adoption requests, saying the limbo period can be heart-wrenching for the prospective parents. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Governor Sam Brownback signed the measure to remove the waiting period, which was highlighted in a reality television series called "The Baby Wait" on Logo TV. In that show a Wisconsin couple wanted to adopt a Kansas couple's twin newborns and expressed fear during the 30-day wait that the biological parents would change their minds. The new law allows a court hearing anytime within 60 days of someone filing an adoption petition. Topeka adoption attorney Allan Hazlett says the new law means an adoption could now theoretically be finalized before the baby is even a day old.


KBI Makes Push for Crime Lab Funding

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is hoping that more than a decade of efforts to build a new crime lab and replace the cramped, limited confines of an old 1928 Topeka junior high school are about to come to fruition. The agency is seeking $3.5 million from legislators to begin a partnership with Washburn University to construct a new, $55 million lab on its campus to open in 2015. The issue is one to be resolved when legislators return to Topeka on May 8. KBI Director Kirk Thompson says the needs and expectations from local law enforcement are increasing. As of early February, the KBI had a backlog of nearly 2,400 toxicology samples and 900 DNA samples. Thompson says the Washburn partnership would also help recruit and retain KBI staff.


Probe into Shooting of Kansas Witness Continues

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say their investigation is continuing into the shooting of a former military school employee who received death threats after news accounts publicly revealed his deposition testimony. Saline County sheriff's detective Jim Hughes told The Associated Press on Friday the investigation into the shooting of Jon Koop hasn't determined whether the incident is related to an AP story about the abuse lawsuit filed by 11 ex-cadets against St. John's Military School. Koop told the Salina Journal that he began receiving death threats after AP's story featuring his testimony that he knew of students at the Salina boarding school who were held down and branded against their will. Koop has not returned repeated phone messages from AP seeking comment.


Soldier Killed in 2009 Awarded Silver Star in Georgia

(Information in the following story is from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,

FORT BENNING, Ga. (AP) — An Army soldier who died from wounds suffered in a 2009 ambush in Afghanistan has been awarded the Silver Star medal. The posthumous award for Sergeant 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook was presented to his widow Friday during a ceremony at Fort Benning in western Georgia. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that Westbrook was 41 when he was wounded in a September 2009 battle in Afghanistan's Ganjgal Valley. He died in October. Commanders say Westbrook placed himself in the line of enemy fire as he helped mark enemy positions so that allied Afghan forces could eliminate them. Westbrook was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas. He trained at Fort Benning when he joined the Army after graduating from high school in Shiprock, New Mexico.


Tinsley Wins 400 Hurdles at Kansas Relays

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley won the 400-meter hurdles in 48.77 seconds Saturday in the Kansas Relays and was selected the top male athlete in the meet. Kansas sophomore Michael Stigler, recently honored as the Big 12 freshman track athlete of the year, was second in a school-record 49.42 — also the best college time this season. Kansas senior Kyle Clemons won the 400 for the third time in four years, finishing in 46.28.


Baseball:  Royals Fall to Red Sox 4-3

BOSTON (AP) — After honoring the victims and the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox kept on with their best start in 11 years by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-3 yesterday. Lorenzo Cain had a leadoff homer in the ninth inning for the Royals and scored on Jeff Francoeur's single.


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