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Regional Headlines for Thursday, May 24, 2012




Judges Allow KS Attorney General to Join in Redistricting Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Three federal judges are allowing the Kansas attorney general to participate in a redistricting lawsuit, but only so he can weigh in on fees sought by attorneys after the case ends. Redistricting issues are before the federal court because Kansas lawmakers ended their session without drawing new maps for the state House and Senate, Board of Education and the four U.S. House districts. The judges on Thursday rejected an attempt by two Democrats to block any participation by Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who says he wants to prevent the state from paying unreasonable fees. The judges are allowing 27 individuals to participate in the case, along with Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the defendant, and Robyn Renee Essex, the Olathe resident who filed the case earlier this month.


Kansas Governor to Speak at Memorial Day Service

GARNETT, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback plans to speak at a Memorial Day service outside the small, eastern Kansas town of Garnett. Brownback's office says the ceremony is scheduled for 10 o'clock Monday morning at the Garnett Cemetery. The event is sponsored by the local posts of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Garnett is located about 50 miles south of Lawrence in Anderson County.


Suspect in Topeka TV Station Attack Reportedly Fixated on VA

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A knife-wielding man suspected of attacking two employees at a Topeka television station had a court record and had been kicked out of at least two homeless shelters. Forty-eight-year-old Ray Anthony Miles is jailed in Shawnee County on suspicion of six counts, including aggravated battery and burglary. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that charges haven't been filed but that bond was set at $100,000 during a court appearance Thursday. Court records show his convictions were for misdemeanors, including battery on a law enforcement officer. Shelter officials in Topeka said Miles was frustrated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. WIBW-TV reported that Miles broke a glass front door Wednesday morning after he complained to the news director about the VA. Two sales employees suffered minor wounds before police took Miles into custody.


Koch Industries Considering Headquarters Expansion

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Koch Industries is considering expanding its headquarters in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports the talks are only preliminary, although the company has discussed the idea with Wichita city officials. A Koch spokeswoman says the company is running out of room to fill 200 vacant positions at its north Wichita campus. She says Koch is trying to prepare for any potential growth in the future by reviewing options for building more office space on its Wichita campus. But she stressed that Koch has not made any commitments to expansion and it's possible nothing will change in the near future.


UPDATE: Judge Rejects Kansas Military School's Bid to Suppress Video

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected efforts by a Kansas military school to bar distribution of a video showing a student struggling to stand on two broken legs. St. John's Military School in Salina sought a protective order after The Associated Press requested comment on the cellphone video clip. The school contends that it's trying to protect students' privacy. Families of ex-cadets who sued the school over alleged abuse countered that St. John's was trying to suppress media coverage of the litigation. They noted The AP has already distributed a story containing the video. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale ruled Thursday the events are beyond the scope of the case and not the proper subject of a protective order. Gale also prohibited the school from deleting photos or video depicting any school activity.


KS National Guard to Name Intel Complex after Robert Gates

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita native and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will be honored later this month by the Kansas National Guard. The Guard announced Thursday it will name its intelligence complex at McConnell Air Force Base after Gates. Dedication for the Robert M. Gates Intelligence Complex is set for May 30. Gates served as Defense Secretary between 2006 and 2011. He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1993. The three-building complex at McConnell Air Force Base is home to more than 350 airmen who help produce intelligence information collected by various manned and unmanned aircraft. In April, it was announced that Gates would join an international consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Inmate Dies after Suicide Attempt at Wichita Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County authorities say a 35-year-old inmate has died at a hospital after attempting suicide in his Wichita jail cell. The sheriff's department says that staff members at the Sedgwick County Detention Center discovered around 10:30 am Thursday that the man had tried to hang himself. He was taken to a hospital and died about 45 minutes later. The inmate's name was withheld while his family was notified. The sheriff's department said he had been booked into the jail this month on a violation of probation for driving under the influence.


Wichita Research Center Moving, Losing President

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita research center created five years ago to foster medical inventions and create hundreds of jobs is being reorganized. The Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research had hoped to turn aircraft materials into medical advances but had little success. CIBOR was a partnership of Via Christi Health and Wichita State University. Officials with those groups announced Wednesday that Rich Sullivan is leaving as the first president and chief executive officer of CIBOR. It will also be relocated to the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State. John Tomblin, NIAR's director, will now run both organizations. Tomblin says the moves are necessary because money for research projects for CIBOR did not materialize.

Stolen ATM Recovered in Eastern Kansas

PRINCETON, Kan. (AP) — There's an art to stealing an ATM, and whoever made off with one of the cash machines outside an eastern Kansas bank apparently was no artist. The Ottawa Herald reports that Franklin County sheriff's officers responded early Sunday to an alarm at Patriots Bank in the small town of Princeton. Deputies arrived to see an ATM missing from its place outside the bank and being pushed slowly along a street by a pickup truck. The driver abandoned the cash machine and sped off, then crashed the truck and ran away. Officers recovered the ATM and the cash. The sheriff's department has identified a person of interest and continues to investigate.

Kansas Parks Agency Develops Mobile App

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Visitors to state parks and lakes in Kansas now have a mobile application to help them find their way around. The state Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has launched a free app called the Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger. The program has interactive GPS and mapping technology for trails, waypoints and landmarks at state parks. It also has features to assist with locating visitors in case of an emergency. The app is available at and on iTunes.


Kansas Marine Dies in Grand Canyon Fall

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old Marine who fell to his death at the Grand Canyon is being mourned in his south-central Kansas hometown of Derby. The Wichita Eagle reports that Jeffery Klingsick was recently discharged from his home base of Camp Pendleton, Calif. He was driving home to Kansas when he and a Marine friend stopped Tuesday at the national park in Arizona. Klingsick's father, Russ Klingsick, told the newspaper Thursday his son walked too close to the edge on the canyon's South Rim and fell 30 feet to a ledge below. The father says Jeffery then stumbled and fell at least 600 feet from the ledge. The Derby High School graduate had mustered out of the Marines after two years of service, including seven months in Afghanistan as a scout and rifleman.


Appointees Named to Assist Native American Farmers 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has named the members of a council created in a 2010 settlement to ensure Native American farmers and ranchers have access to Department of Agriculture programs. The Council for Native American Farming and Ranching is part of the $680 million Keepseagle lawsuit settlement. The 1999 lawsuit was named after George and Marilyn Keepseagle of Fort Yates, North Dakota. It contended Indian farmers and ranchers were denied USDA loans over several decades. The council will suggest changes to Farm Service Agency regulations and make proposals to improve Native American participation in the loan program and other USDA programs. The 16-member council reports to the secretary and is made up of Native Americans and four USDA officials. Its first meeting is scheduled for this summer.


St. Joseph Health Care Group Launches Partnership with Mayo Clinic

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A St. Joseph-based hospital group has announced an arrangement with the Mayo Clinic. Heartland Health said Wednesday it will become part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The Kansas City Star reports the agreement allows patients at Heartland's primary hospital or any of its clinics to receive second opinions or consultations from doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The second opinions and consultations will be at no added cost and will be handled through the electronic transfer of hospital charts and records. Dr. David Hayes, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, said the move allows Mayo to extend its reach in the competitive health care field. Heartland's primary hospital is Heartland Regional Medical Center, located in St. Joseph about 50 miles north of Kansas City.


Hutchinson Airport Hit by Vandal on Mower

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A vandal decided to take a ride while doing damage at the Hutchinson Municipal Airport. Airport officials say someone used a mower early Wednesday to drive over 19 taxiway lights, a runway threshold light and three signs that direct pilots to runways. Airport manager Pieter Miller says he's never seen as much damage at the airport. He estimated the replacement cost for the lights is about $3,000. Miller says an airport employee left the keys in the mower, which sits outside near a shop. The Hutchinson News reports most of the lights and signs were replaced by late Wednesday. The airport's operations were not seriously disrupted. No one has been arrested.

Man Jailed Following Attack at Topeka TV Station

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say the knife-wielding man suspected of breaking into TV station WIBW has been booked into jail after receiving medical treatment. Topeka police Captain Brian Desch said in a news release that the suspect is homeless. He was booked Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of six counts, including aggravated battery and burglary. WIBW-TV reports the man came to the station Wednesday morning complaining that the Department of Veterans Affairs was mishandling his case. Eventually, the man threw a lamp through the glass front doors and ran through the halls. The man was tackled and held down by several employees until police arrived. While restrained, the man stabbed and bit one sales employee. Another sales employee was cut. None of the injuries was considered serious.

Wheat Harvest Begins in Southern Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of the earliest winter wheat harvests in Kansas history is under way as farmers around Kiowa have begun cutting their crops. The industry group Kansas Wheat reported Wednesday that 35 truckloads were delivered the previous day to the OK Co-op elevator in Barber County. The elevator, near the Oklahoma state line, reports the harvest gained momentum in the area Wednesday amid temperatures in the 90s and strong south winds. Early yields ranged from 40 to 57 bushels per acre, with test weights averaging 56 to 62 pounds per bushel. The Kanza Co-op elevator in Stafford says some fields hit by drought have already been cut. In Cherokee County, a few loads of wheat were taken to the Farmers Co-op elevator in Columbus. Yields there averaged about 50 bushels per acre.

WWII Vet Visits Wounded at Fort Riley

FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — A member of the World War Two Army unit memorialized in the book and HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" has paid a visit to Fort Riley. Eighty-nine-year-old retired Staff Sergeant Earl McClung stopped at the northeastern Kansas post Wednesday to meet wounded soldiers at the Warrior Transition Battalion complex. McClung, who now lives in Colorado, served with E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Members of Easy Company parachuted into France on D-Day, fought through the Battle of the Bulge and reached Adolf Hitler's Eagle Nest retreat at the war's end. WIBW-TV reports McClung talked to the wounded soldiers about his own deployment and the importance of getting help upon returning home. He told the station he believes today's wounded have gone through more than he did.

Feds Seek KS Man Who Missed Court Date

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal agents are looking for an Overland Park, Kansas man who failed to appear for a hearing where he had been expected to plead guilty. The FBI on Wednesday asked the public for information on the whereabouts of 46-year-old Ronald Catrell, who didn't show up Monday to federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. Catrell was last seen Sunday afternoon at his home. He was charged in December with bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors say Catrell scammed three banks out of millions of dollars in loans and duped several investors in a scheme to sell shares of Facebook last year, long before its public offering last Friday. He is described as 5-feet-8 inches and 192 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.


Tornadoes Didn't Stop Kansas Couple's Wedding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — On the plains of Kansas, tornadoes are so unremarkable that wedding guests barely flinched as a couple exchanged their vows as a twister loomed in the distance. Video of the wedding for Caleb and Candra Pence has generated more than 20,000 views on YouTube. The footage was captured by the groom's uncle and shows the couple and their guests seemingly unconcerned as a pair of tornadoes swirl on the flat land behind them, some 10 miles off in the distance. The National Weather Service says the twister packed winds of at least 138 mph and ripped up a farm and wind turbines. Caleb Pence says he was so focused on marrying his wife that the storm was the least of his concerns. The two were married on May 19th on their property southwest of Harper, in Harper County. 

tornado weddingCaleb and Candra Pence on their wedding day (Image credit:


Grants Provide $250K to Fix Miro Mural in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The art museum at Wichita State University will use a $250,000 grant to repair a massive mosaic by Spanish artist Joan Miro. The money comes from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The mosaic, which measures 28 feet by 52 feet, was installed in 1978 across the south facade of the Ulrich Museum of Art. The outdoor mural, called Bird People, depicts several surrealist birds. The studio in France that created the mural based on a Miro painting affixed about 1 million pieces of Venetian glass and marble to particle board. The extreme weather common in Kansas caused pieces to pop off... sometimes as many as 400 a year. Officials estimate the restoration will cost $3 million and take about five years.


Harry Truman Debt from 1947 Finally Paid

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Even Harry Truman had problems keeping up with his bills. The late president somehow didn't pay a paperboy for six months of newspapers delivered to his Independence, Missouri home in 1947. On Wednesday, the paperboy finally got his money. Truman impersonator Niel Johnson presented a check for $56.63 to George Lund, now an 80-year-old resident of a retirement community in Overland Park. Lund says he delivered the papers to Truman's house for about six months and then quit the route before Truman paid the $7.50 he owed. The bill paid Wednesday included interest accrued since 1947. The Kansas City Star reports representatives of the Truman Library Institute say they decided to pay the bill to honor Truman, whose birthday is in May.


UPDATE: KU, K-State Baseball Teams Stay Alive in Big 12 Conference Tournament 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — In an consolation bracket game Thursday at the Big 12 conference baseball tournament, the University of Kansas Jayhawks defeated the University of Texas Longhorns by a score of 4-to-2. That means the Longhorns have now been eliminated. KU will play Friday against the loser of Thursday's Missouri-Texas A&M game.

The Kansas State Wildcats also kept their conference tournament hopes alive, eliminating the Oklahoma State Cowboys with an 11-5 win. Kansas State advances to play Friday against the loser of Thursday's Oklahoma-Baylor game. 

Kansas Military School Seeks Court Order on Cellphone Video

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Families of former cadets suing a Kansas military school for alleged abuse are fighting the academy's effort to bar distribution of a video showing a student with two broken legs. St. John's Military School in Salina sought a protective order last week after The Associated Press requested comment on the cellphone video clip. But in a response filed Wednesday in federal court, the families said the issue is moot because The AP has already distributed a story containing the video. The school contends that it's trying to protect students' privacy rights. The plaintiffs countered that St. John's is attempting to suppress media coverage of the litigation.

**this story has been updated. Please see above. 

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