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Regional Headlines for Sunday, March 18, 2012


Boeing, Machinists Union Discuss Plant Closure

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- The Machinists union has begun talks with Boeing about what will happen to Wichita's hourly workers as the company closes the facility. The Wichita Eagle reports that the discussions include issues such as dates of closure, relocation packages, medical coverage and pension. Union officials say their goal is to have represented employees placed in jobs at one of Boeing's sites if they are willing to relocate. The union represents about 325 of Boeing Wichita's 2,100 employees. The Wichita plant is set to close at the end of 2013, with the work that had been done there moving to Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Puget Sound area in Washington state will get a tanker refinishing center that had been planned for Wichita.


NEA Chairman Discusses Cuts to Kansas Arts Funding

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts says the agency had no choice but to cut Kansas' arts funding. Rocco Landesman addressed issues facing Kansas after Republican Governor Sam Brownback removed the budget for the Kansas Arts Commission last May, making Kansas the only state to eliminate its arts funding. Landesman said the NEA told Kansas it wasn't eligible for federal funding because it could not demonstrate that it was supported financially by the state. Kansas then lost $1.3 million in federal and regional matching funds as a result. He said it's mandated by law that there has to be a state match. Landesman said Thursday that other states don't want to be in the position Kansas is in because they want NEA support and funding.

Kansas Abortion Debate Shifts to Doctor Training

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A push by abortion opponents to ensure that Kansas doesn't have even indirect involvement in terminating pregnancies has legislators focusing on the state medical school. The University of Kansas Medical Center would be affected by two separate but similar measures. One is a provision in a proposed state budget facing a final House vote Monday. Another is a bill endorsed by a House committee aimed at making sure the state doesn't subsidize abortions indirectly through tax credits or deductions. Both measures say no health care services provided by a state agency or state employee while on the job could include abortion, except to save a woman's life. Doctors in training at the Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas are considered state employees.

Two From Louisiana, One From Kansas Killed in Crash

HOISINGTON, Kan. (AP) -- Two men from Louisiana and one person from Kansas have been killed in a crash in central Kansas' Barton County. The Hutchinson News reports that 23-year-old Ronald Firmin, of Zachary, Louisiana was headed southbound on U.S. 281 Friday when he failed to stop at an intersection about three miles west of Hoisington. Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong said Firmin drove into the left side of a large truck that was headed eastbound on Kansas 4. Both vehicles went off the side of the highway and came to rest in a ditch. Firmin was killed along with his passengers - 38-year-old Zulet Rodrigues-Harp, of Great Bend, and 29-tear-old Jeremy LeJune, also of Zachary, Louisiana. The truck's driver was injured, but refused treatment.

Topeka Zoo's Arctic Fox Dies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- he Topeka Zoo's 12-year-old arctic fox has died. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Laddie was euthanized Thursday. The zoo said Friday that Laddie was diagnosed with an irreversible health condition in early fall 2011 and moved off exhibit. The fox had chronic renal failure and pancreatic exocrine. A cow pancreas supplement supplied by a Holton meatpacking plant helped for a while. But as the kidney disease progressed, Laddie gradually began to lose weight over the past month. The veterinary staff says necropsy findings show Laddie had an enlarged heart, diseased kidneys, pale lungs and a thyroid tumor.

Kansas, Purdue Understand Value of Defense

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Kansas coach Bill Self and Purdue's Matt Painter understand the value of defense, particularly this time of year. Particularly when longshots start toppling Final Four contenders. The Jayhawks and Boilermakers each saw Number 15 Norfolk State's dramatic win over Missouri on Friday, when the Tigers' inability to get a stop cost them dearly. It gave Self and Painter yet another reason to harp on defense before their teams meet Sunday in the third round of the Midwest Regional. Painter says: "There are going to be two or three games where your shots don't go in. It comes down to whether you can still grind it and win those games."

Kansas State Holds Off Princeton Women 67-64

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- Branshea Brown scored a career high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Kansas State past Princeton 67-64 Saturday in the first round of the women's NCAA tournament. Janala Childs added 15 points for the eighth-seeded Wildcats (20-13), who play top-seeded Connecticut or Prairie View A&M in the second round. Niveen Rasheed had 20 points and Lauren Edwards and Devona Allgood each had 15 for Princeton (24-5). The Tigers lost for the first time in 18 games and for the third consecutive year in the first round of the tournament. The win is the first in the tournament for Kansas State since 2009. The Wildcats have not advanced past the second round since 2004.

Top-Seeded Syracuse Lands Spot in Sweet 16 After Win Against K-State

PITTSBURGH, Penn. (AP) -- Scoop Jardine had 16 points and eight assists to lead top-seeded Syracuse to a 75-59 victory over eighth-seeded Kansas State on Saturday in the third round of the Men's East Regional Tournament.

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