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Regional Headlines for Sunday, December 16, 2012


Kansas Senator's Actions at Heart of Election Defeat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An outgoing state senator from southern Kansas says Governor Sam Brownback and his fellow conservative Republican lawmakers worked to oust him because he doesn't always stick to the official GOP line. Senator Dick Kelsey of Goddard told the Topeka Capital-Journal for a Friday story that he thinks his GOP political opponents wanted to make an example out of him so that others don't step out of line in the future. Kelsey was defeated in the primary by Representative Dan Kerschen of Garden Plain, and is leaving the Legislature after an eight-year career in the state House and Senate. Kelsey's critics have accused him over the years of using his political position to further his personal business interests. He denies doing so.


Woman Abandoned After Kansas Accident

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two people who were in a speeding car that crashed in Wichita abandoned a 20-year-old woman who suffered a broken neck and other serious injuries in the crash. Wichita police say the woman was thrown from the passenger seat of the speeding vehicle when the driver apparently lost control and crashed into a concrete wall and a tree Saturday. Police Sergeant Scott Brunow told The Wichita Eagle that alcohol was found in the car. He says the woman suffered "numerous broken bones" in addition to the neck injury and was taken to a hospital, where she was in serious condition. He says two other people in the car fled before police arrived, leaving the badly injured passenger alone. The driver hasn't been identified.


Wichita City Workers Overpaid Kansas Income Taxes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — State officials say thousands of Wichita city employees have been overcharged for years on state income taxes on their retirement benefits. But now those employees won't have to pay any tax at all on those benefits. The Wichita Eagle reports that most of the employees will be eligible for refunds. But they can only get refunds of the last three years of overpayments. The city and state have treated contributions to city employees' pensions as taxable income since 1985, as would be the case if they were state employees covered by the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System, or KPERS. But the Department of Revenue now says that because Wichita has its own retirement system, which isn't part of KPERS, the tax law doesn't apply to the Wichita pensions


Kansas 20-year-old Trying to Raise 5 Siblings

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A year after their mother died and their father was deported, six Kansas City, Kansas youngsters are sticking together through some tough times. Twenty-year-old Zenia Acedo became head of the family last year, when her mother delivered a baby three months early and died of cancer shortly after. Then, their father was deported to Mexico. Now, she's raising her baby sister and four brothers, aged 13 to 19. The Kansas City Star reports the family had been in two apartments run by Hillcrest Transitional Housing of Kansas City, Kansas but recently moved into a rental house. Acedo has a job and is making plans for college too.


Deal Looms in Kansas Case on 'Total Identity Theft'

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A prosecutor says a plea deal has been reached in the case of an illegal immigrant who put a face to the growing problem of total identity theft. A docket notation Friday shows a January 7th hearing has been scheduled for Benita Cardona-Gonzalez in federal court in Wichita. The notice came the same day the prosecution amended charges to a single count of possessing fraudulent identification documents. Cardona-Gonzalez's attorney did not return phone and email messages. The Mexican national is accused of completely assuming the persona of a Houston, Texas elementary-school teacher. Prosecutors say she opened fraudulent credit and bank accounts, and used the identity to obtain a job, a driver's license, a house mortgage and medical care for the birth of two children.


Book Tells Story of Harveyville Tornado

HARVEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — A Harveyville resident has compiled a book with the stories of people who survived the tornado that hit the small Kansas community in February. The EF2 tornado cut a 150-yard swath through Harveyville on February 28th, injuring 14 people and killing one resident. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Debbie Roberts, whose home was destroyed, has put together a book called "Heart of Harveyville: Surviving the Tornado!" a 162-page collection of survivors' stories. Harveyville is a town of about 235 people located southwest of Topeka. Roberts, a retired teacher, says the book contains a map of the tornado's route, and the stories are presented in the order of the tornado's path. Profits from book sales will go to the Harveyville Children's Park and rebuilding of the United Methodist Church.

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