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Regional Headlines for Thursday, April 11, 2013


Topeka Police: Explosive Device Found at Burglary Scene

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police and federal officers say they found what is believed to be an explosive device at a home that has been burglarized. Police say in a news release that the device was found Thursday morning at a home in southeast Topeka. WIBW reports that police aren't sure if the device was inside the home when it was burglarized, or if it was left by the burglars. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called in to help with the investigation.

Kansas Seeks Federal Declaration for February Storm Damage

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are seeking a federal disaster declaration for 23 counties that were impacted by severe winter storms in February. Governor Sam Brownback sent a letter on Wednesday to President Barack Obama seeking assistance to help the counties recover from the storms and cover cleanup costs for snow and debris removal. The storms brought heavy snow and high winds across much of the state from February 20 through February 23. Preliminary damage assessments put the cost of the storms at $4.4 million. If approved, a federal declaration would make funds available to state and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations. The declaration is sought for Barber, Barton, Dickinson, Ellis, Franklin, Harper, Hodgeman, Kingman, Marion, McPherson, Ness, Osage, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rice, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Smith, Stafford and Sumner counties.

Study: Fewer Kansans Insured Through Employers

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — A new report shows a declining percentage of Kansans are getting their health insurance through their employers. The study, released Thursday, was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds health research and programs. Researchers at the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center found that 64 percent of Kansans were insured through their employers in 2011, the latest information available, down from 73.9 percent in 2000. Nationwide, 11.5 million fewer Americans get their insurance through the workplace in 2011 than in 2000. The decline comes as insurance costs increase. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey says higher costs lead to fewer employers offering insurance coverage and fewer employees accepting it when it's offered.

Roberts Among GOP Senators Invited to Obama Dinner Meeting

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has hosted Republican senators at the White House, with the budget, guns and immigration up for dinner table debate. Their dinner came hours after Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget proposal. His aides said other issues were up for discussion, including the gun bill up for debate Thursday. U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia compiled the invitations to the White House's Old Family Dining Room, at Obama's request. Among those on the list were Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and Nebraska's Deb Fischer. Obama had a similar dinner last month with other Republican senators at a hotel near the White House while Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul waged a 13-hour filibuster against the President's nominee for CIA director.


Kansas Bill Seeks to Change Human Trafficking Focus

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Legislation that would heavily amend Kansas laws regarding human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of young women is awaiting Governor Sam Brownback's signature. The bill passed the House and Senate easily last week. It creates the crime of commercial sexual exploitation of a child, covering those aged 14 to 17. It also will establish a fund that will be financed with fines and forfeiture of property from those who buy sexual relations. The revenues will be used to pay for treatment and services for the victims of the crimes. Supporters hope that the new laws and language in the statute changes the perception of the young women involved in the acts from being prostitutes to that of crime victims.


Army Chaplain Receives Posthumous Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama has bestowed the Medal of Honor on an Army chaplain he says dodged bullets to provide medical aid and spiritual comfort to wounded soldiers during the Korean War. Obama says Captain Emil Kapaun carried an injured American for four miles as Chinese captors led them on a death march. He says he cleaned captured soldiers' wounds, convinced them to share scarce food and ministered to them in captivity. Obama says Kapaun showed even in hellish situations, there's a touch of the divine. He says Kapaun wielded a weapon mightier than the gun: a willingness to die to save his brothers. The Kansas-born Roman Catholic priest died as a prisoner of war at age 35. Some of the soldiers helped by Kapaun attended the White House ceremony.

Salina Teen Arrested After Class Stabbing

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A Salina middle school student has been arrested after authorities say he stabbed another boy with an awl during a class. Lieutenant Scott Siemsen of the Salina Police Department says the 13-year-old boy is accused of causing a puncture wound when he stabbed the other boy's shoulder with the awl during a technology class at South Middle School. The boy's wound was bandaged by the school nurse. An awl is a pointed spike that can be used for such things as poking holes into leather. Siemsen told The Salina Journal that the incident was not preceded by any argument or confrontation between the boys. Siemsen says the boy accused of stabbing the other student is being held at the Saline County Juvenile Detention Center.

KU Frat Where Pledge Died in 2009 Bans Alcohol

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Alcohol is no longer allowed at University of Kansas fraternity house where a 19-year-old freshman pledge died of alcohol poisoning four years ago. The Kansas City Star reports that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter went dry this semester, becoming only the second on campus to ban alcohol. The new policy has been in the works since Jason Wren died March 8, 2009, after a night of binging that resulted in him passing out in his bed at the fraternity house.Investigators determined SAE had done nothing criminal to lead to Wren's death, but the fraternity was sued by Wren's parents and settled out of court. House adviser John Stacy says pledge class numbers jumped this semester, and he hopes other fraternities on campus will consider making the change.


Woman Sentenced in Shooting Near Topeka School

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 23-year-old woman involved in a fatal shooting near a Topeka high school has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Samantha Dawn Carroll was drove the car used by four people charged in October 2010 shooting death of 20-year-old Matthew C. Mitchell. A 17-year-old was wounded in the shooting during a drug deal near Topeka West High School. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Carroll will receive credit for the two years she has been incarcerated since she was charged in the case. She pleaded guilty in October 2011 to conspiracy to commit felony first-degree murder and no contest to aggravated intimidation of a witness.


Kansas Honored for Changes to Driver's Licenses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A national group is praising new features in Kansas driver's licenses as a model for protection against fraud. Brian Zimmer, president of the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, presented an award Wednesday to officials of the Kansas Division of Vehicles. The Washington-based nonprofit organization praised the Kansas cards for their design and security measures. The changes went into effect in October and include features that make the licenses difficult to counterfeit. They include special holograms, ultra-violet images on the front and back and raised printing. Zimmer said the Kansas design made it one of the most difficult for criminal duplication.


Kansas Woman to Stand Trial in Honor Flight Theft

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A Great Bend woman who ran a group that flew World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., has been bound over for trial on two felony counts of theft by deception. The Wichita Eagle reports that LaVeta Miller pleaded not guilty Wednesday after a lengthy preliminary hearing that began in March but had to be continued because of scheduling conflicts. Miller is former head of Great Bend-based Central Prairie Honor Flights, which raised nearly $1.2 million to take 1,100 veterans to Washington from 2008 through 2011. Miller canceled two Honor Flights last June because she said there was a shortage of funds, and the Central Prairie chapter was disbanded around the time she was fired July 1.


Kansas Couple Charged in MO Retiree's Death May Testify

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas couple facing forgery and second-degree murder charges in connection with a Camden County (Missouri) man's 2010 death may testify against the victim's daughter. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports a prosecutor told a Boone County judge this week that Stacey and Desre Dory are cooperating as the state builds a case against Susan Elizabeth Van Note. Van Note, a Kansas City lawyer, is charged with killing her millionaire father by forging health care documents that led to University Hospital doctors removing him from life support. William Van Note and his long-time girlfriend were attacked at their Lake of the Ozarks home in October 2010. Van Note's daughter has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. Desre and Stacey Dory of Shawnee, Kansas have pleaded not guilty.

Missouri Town Goes Without Water After Main Break

LAWSON, Mo. (AP) _ A northwest Missouri town was without water after a main break that forced local schools to close and will require residents to boil water before drinking it at least until Saturday. Lawson City Administrator Bryan Richison says workers noticed water tower levels getting low around 1 am Thursday. KSHB reports that city crews found a 6-inch break in a 12-inch water main about an hour later. Richison says the break was fixed around 11 am Thursday and pressure was slowly building up in the water system. Residents are asked to boil water until test results come back Saturday and the water is determined safe to drink. Lawson is a town of about 2,400 residents 35 miles northeast of Kansas City.

Kansas Woman Charged with Trafficking Counterfeit Goods

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita store owner has been charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods. A criminal complaint in federal court accuses Glenda Sue Morgan of trafficking in fraudulent merchandise at her business, The Fabulous Store. Prosecutors allege Morgan was selling handbags, wallets, sunglasses and jewelry bearing trademark designs and names but which were not manufactured by the company whose trademark the items bore. Morgan is in custody pending a court appearance Friday. A phone message left Thursday for her husband was not immediately returned. An affidavit shows Morgan met with federal agents in January 2011 after the seizure of more than 2,590 items that would have been valued at $1.5 million if authentic. Agents launched an undercover operation in March after receiving a tip Morgan had resumed selling counterfeit merchandise.


Wichita Pastor Accused of Stalking Faces Hearing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The court hearing for a pastor accused of stalking the woman who opened an abortion clinic in Wichita has been delayed until next week. Thursday's hearing has been reset for April 18. Julie Burkhart, executive director of the Trust Women's clinic has obtained a temporary protection-from-stalking order against Mark Holick. She is seeking to make it permanent. Holick's attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing Holick's religious and political speech is protected by the First Amendment. The abortion-rights group opened a clinic offering abortions and other medical services in the building where abortion provider George Tiller had his clinic before he was gunned down in 2009 in his church. A court filing says Holick pointed a sign at Burkhart's house that read, "WHERE'S YOUR CHURCH."

New Hearing Date Set in Ex-IRS Agent Theft Case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A new sentencing date has been set for a former Internal Revenue Service agent who admitted receiving payments for meetings with taxpayers that never occurred. Court records show a hearing for Becky L. Book of Pittsburg is now scheduled for May 21. She pleaded guilty in February to receiving more than $26,000 in salary and mileage payments she didn't earn. Prosecutors say Book claimed she worked 744 hours between March 2010 and April 2011, but she actually used those hours as unauthorized personal time. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil will decide whether to accept the government's recommendation of a sentence of probation. Book has agreed to pay $13,000 in partial payment of restitution at her sentencing.


Navy to Name New Combat Ship After City of Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Navy plans to name a combat ship after the City of Wichita. U.S. Senator Pat Roberts said in a news release Thursday that the USS Wichita will be the third to bear the name and honors the largest city in Kansas. The ship is designed to be fast and agile with the flexibility to execute missions close to shore in mine, anti-submarine and surface warfare. The USS Wichita will be built by Lockheed Martin for delivery in February 2017. It will be 378 feet long and able to travel at more than 40 knots. U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo says the last USS Wichita was a replenishment oiler decommissioned in 1993. The first USS Wichita was a heavy cruiser used during World War II in the invasion of Okinawa.


Dental Association President Attends KC Conference

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The head of the 157,000-member American Dental Association is in Kansas City for the Midwest Dental Conference. Dr. Robert Faiella isn't delivering a formal speech during the gathering of thousands of dentists and dental hygienists. But he'll be talking informally with dentists about topics that include health-care reform and its effects on oral health care. The four-day conference started Thursday and continues through Sunday. It's put on by the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and its Dental and Dental Hygienists' Alumni Associations. The university says the event includes dental education, equipment exhibits and meetings.


Nelson-Atkins Renames Sculpture Park for Philanthropist Donald Hall

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City is renaming its large sculpture park after businessman and philanthropist Donald J. Hall. The museum said in a release Wednesday that it has renamed its 22-acre park The Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. The renaming is part of the celebration for the park's 25th birthday in 2014. The sculpture park contains 35 sculptures, including the well-known "Shuttlecocks." Sarah F. Rowland, chair of the Nelson's board of trustees, says the renaming is a way to honor Hall's commitment to the museum. Hall is the chairman of the board of Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards. He and his late wife, Adele, have been strong supporters of the Nelson-Atkins for years and worked behind the scenes to support its acquisition of major works of art.

Garden City Manufacturing Business Sold to International Company

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Garden City company has been acquired by an international diversified metals company. Worthington Industries announced Thursday that it had acquired Palmer Manufacturing, which employs about 200 people in Garden City. The financial details were not disclosed. The Garden City Telegram reports that Palmer Manufacturing makes equipment for the oil and gas industry, as well as custom manufactured fiberglass tanks for agricultural, chemical and general industrial applications. Palmer Manufacturing owner Cecil O'Brate says the Garden City plant will continue to be used and none of its employees will lose their jobs. He says Worthington plans to double the plant's productivity and add employees. Worthington said in a news release that the acquisition fits the company's structure to expand in the oil and gas industry and broaden its energy product offerings.

Leavenworth Woman Makes First Court Appearance

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Leavenworth woman accused of leaving her infant son in an alley made her first court appearance after she missed the start of her child endangerment trial earlier this week. Elizabeth A. Michaud was scheduled to go on trial Monday for child endangerment. She's accused of leaving her son in the alley for at least three hours last May. But Michaud, who was out on bail, didn't show up Monday. She was arrested Tuesday and made her first appearance Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court. Michaud said in court that someone at the court told her that her trial wasn't scheduled until Tuesday afternoon. The Leavenworth Daily News reports that Michaud's new bond was set at $250,000 and a pretrial conference was scheduled for May 3.

Kansas Car Dealership Employee, Age 95, Honored

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 95-year-old man who works at a Dodge City car dealership is among several older workers honored this week by the Kansas Department of Commerce. Glenn Mauch, who was honored as the oldest worker, has worked for Dodge City's Lopp Motors for more than 70 years. The Dodge City Globe reports that Mauch transports cars from dealership to dealership and prepares them for sale. The 16th annual Older Worker and Employers Awards were presented Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Commerce. Six people, a business and seven organizations were recognized at the event. Honorees were selected from nominees that included workers age 55 and older, as well as businesses and companies that regularly employ older workers.

Economics Experts to Attend KC Panel Discussions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group of top economics experts are attending two panel discussions this week in Kansas City. The event is called "Speak Out to Defend the American Dream." Panelists include University of California Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong, Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal and former congressional budget analyst Stan Collender. Two University of Missouri-Kansas City economists also will participate: Bill Black and Stephanie Kelton. Black is the author of "The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One." Kelton is chairman of UMKC's economics department and started the New Economic Perspectives blog. The first discussion will start at 8 pm Friday at a tavern near the university. The second discussion begins at 10 am Saturday at Unity Temple on the Plaza.

UMKC: Costco Founder Among Entrepreneur Honorees

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The founder of Costco is among the entrepreneurs who will be honored at an awards celebration this fall at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. James Sinegal retired as chief executive officer of the warehouse store in January 2012. The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced this week that he will be one of the honorees for the 28th Annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards celebration. Also honored will be Jim and Virginia Stowers, who founded the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Jim Stowers founded American Century Investments in Kansas City. David Brain, who leads the specialty real estate investment trust EPR Properties, will be another honoree. The dinner is planned for October 21 at the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


Former Wichita Police Officer Sentenced for Child Abuse

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita police officer has been sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing two young children. The 28-year-old man was sentenced Thursday for two convictions of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. At a preliminary hearing, the man's wife testified that her husband had confided during therapy that he committed sexual acts on a 3-month-old child and a 1-year-old child. The man will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years. The Associated Press is not naming the man to protect the identity of the victims. The man was on three years' probation after pleading guilty in January 2012 in an unrelated case involving inappropriate touching of two women while on duty as a police officer. He resigned after those charges were filed.


Missouri Attorney Pleads Guilty in 2 Fraud Schemes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A disbarred Missouri attorney admits that he committed bankruptcy fraud and took money from a fund set up for two murdered children. Sixty-two-year-old Harley Kent Desselle of Raytown pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud. Prosecutors say Desselle took $19,500 from a fund set up for Sam and Lindsey Porter of Independence, who were murdered by their father in 2004. The money was intended for a children's playground. Desselle also admitted that he used $13,000 from another client's bankruptcy case for his own expenses, rather than to pay creditors. And as part of his plea agreement, Desselle acknowledged that he defrauded the widow of a longtime friend out of about $343,000 in an investment scheme. Desselle was disbarred in April 2009.


Kansas Man Charged with Killing One, Injuring Others

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A 43-year-old Manhattan man has made his first court appearance on a charge of first-degree murder in the weekend shooting death of a Fort Riley soldier. A Riley County judge on Wednesday found Matthew Wilson eligible for a court-appointed lawyer. Wilson appeared via webcam from the county jail and will have his next court hearing April 22nd. Riley County police say the soldier, 22-year-old Michael Lowery, was killed early Sunday at a Manhattan apartment complex. Another man and two women, both 23 years old, were also shot and taken to hospitals in the area. Wilson remains jailed on $2 million bond. The charges against him also include three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated burglary.

Kansas Driver Pinned for Hours After Wreck on I-70

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Junction City man is recovering in a Topeka hospital after being pinned in his car at the bottom of a creek bed for about 12 hours. Forty-six-year-old Daniel Delatore was in satisfactory condition Wednesday at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center. The Kansas Highway Patrol says he drove off the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 late Sunday or early Monday near Paxico and was found around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Patrol spokesman Marcus Seirer says Delatore suffered a leg injury that would have prevented him from getting far even if he hadn't been trapped in the car. Delatore told investigators he used a towel to mop up muddy water in the otherwise dry creek bed to stay hydrated.

Judge Rules Against Native American Claim on Park City Land

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has refused to order the federal government to accept into trust a tract of suburban Wichita land so that an Indian tribe can build a casino there. Wednesday's ruling means it will be up to the Interior Department to decide the issue of the Park City site. But U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson also said she would retain jurisdiction until the department issues a final ruling on the Wyandotte Nation's request. The dispute centers on land in Park City bought by the Wyandotte Nation in 1992. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows tribes to conduct gambling only on Indian lands, which are defined as land within a reservation or held in trust by the United States.

Non-Birth Parent Seeks Role in Sperm Donor Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The latest sparring in a Kansas sperm donor child support case is over the role of the birth mother's former same-sex partner in the proceedings. Angela Bauer and her then-partner advertised online for a sperm donor in 2009. The donor, a Topeka man, says he signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities. Bauer's former partner then became pregnant. But because no doctor was involved in the artificial insemination, the state sought to hold the donor financially responsible when the women split and the former partner sought public assistance. Bauer has asked to intervene in the child support case, saying she wants to co-parent the child. She and the sperm donor have now asked a Shawnee County judge to reconsider her recent ruling that it's premature to let Bauer intervene.



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