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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Deadline Arrives for Kansas Primary Voter Registration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Residents wanting to vote in the upcoming Kansas primary election have until the close of business today (TUE) to register. Voters statewide will be deciding primaries in numerous Republican and Democratic races for the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the Democratic primaries for two of the state's four U.S. House seats. Advance voting for the August 7 primary begins Wednesday and closes at noon August 6. Eligible Kansas residents who aren't registered to vote can register for the November general election between August 8 and October 16.

Governor Brownback to Tour Drought Areas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is scheduled to tour areas of the state hit hard by drought. The governor's office says Brownback will be stopping in Saline County on Tuesday and then will be in Neosho and Labette counties on Wednesday. Brownback will tour northwest Kansas next week. Brownback will be joined by Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office, and Dale Rodman, state agriculture director. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 82 counties in Kansas federal disaster areas because of the ongoing dry conditions.

Report: Majority of Kansas Corn Crop in Poor Condition

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new government report is painting a grim snapshot of the drought's effects on farms across Kansas. Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that more than half of the state's corn crop is in poor to very poor condition. Soybean and sorghum crops are faring only slightly better with more than 40 percent of both those Kansas crops also in poor to very poor condition. The misery extends beyond the field crops as well, as livestock producers struggle with dried up pastures and shrinking hay and stock water supplies. The agency estimates 78 percent of the range and pasture land in Kansas is in poor to very poor shape. Hay and forage supplies are 57 percent short. Stock water is short to very short across 55 percent of Kansas.

Wichita to Lose Frontier Airlines Service

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Frontier Airlines has announced plans to halt its flights between Wichita and Denver. The Wichita Eagle reports that Frontier's two daily flights from Wichita will end on November 16. Frontier spokeswoman Lindsey Carpenter says the flights have been performing below average. Carpenter says the airline will contact travelers who have booked flights after November 15, and offer them a flight on another airline or a refund. The move will leave United Airlines as the only airline flying from Wichita through Denver to western destinations. Allegiant operates flights from Wichita to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix-Mesa.

Union Files Objection to Hawker Beechcraft Deal

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The machinists union is opposing Hawker Beechcraft's efforts to enter into exclusive talks with a Chinese firm for the sale of its civilian aircraft operations. A motion filed Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in New York asks the judge to deny a request seeking up to 45 days to negotiate with Superior Aviation Beijing Company, for the sale of the Kansas manufacturer for $1.79 billion. Superior has agreed to pay $50 million during the exclusivity period to cover operating costs for the business jet company while the deal is finalized. The union contends the proposed sale to a Chinese government-backed entity has implications for the U.S. economy and national security. It also objects because Superior would not assume pension obligations. Hawker Beechcraft said it would issue a statement on the issue at a later date.

Federal Government Expands State Access to Immigration Data

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Federal officials are expanding access to an immigration database so that several states can use it to cleanse voter rolls. The Homeland Security Department first notified Florida officials last week that they could check to see if registered voters are actually noncitizens who should not be eligible to cast a ballot. State officials said Monday that Homeland Security representatives are now offering similar access to other states who had been requesting the information. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler had renewed his request for the data last week, writing a letter with the support of several other states. He said Monday he was pleased that the federal government had agreed to work with states on the issue. Elections leaders in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah have also requested database access.

Kansas Attorney General Opposing Gulf Dead-Zone Lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas attorney general is opposing efforts by environmental groups that want new regulations on farm runoff that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Monday he's seeking to intervene in opposition to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Louisiana earlier this year. The lawsuit aims to force the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new regulations on runoff that flows into the Gulf from farms, ranches and sewage systems in Kansas and other states in the Mississippi River basin. The lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups says the runoff hurts the Gulf's commercial and recreational fishing industry. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Schmidt says he wants to defend the state's interests. Other states and agriculture interest groups have also sought to intervene.

IU, KU and UNC Scientists Receive Grant to Study Autistic Communication

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An assistant professor at Indiana University is leading a four-year project aimed at improving autistic toddlers' ability to communicate. The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a nearly $3.5 million grant to IU special education specialist Hannah Schertz, Kathleen Baggett of the University of Kansas, and Samuel Odom of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The three plan to test the effectiveness of an approach that targets pre-verbal social communication between toddlers younger than age 2 1/2 and their parents. Schertz says the idea is to intervene before the children's social patterns have become set and develop their communications skills through back-and-forth play with their parents. The project will involve toddlers from diverse groups in Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas.

UMKC Receives $8.3M Federal Grant for Studies on Aging

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri-Kansas City has received an $8.3 million, five-year federal grant to study certain aspects of aging. The grant from the National Institute on Aging will go toward building on new evidence about how bones and muscles communicate and could lead to new ways to treat aging bones and muscles. The Kansas City Star reports that the research team will be led by Lynda Bonewald, director of the bone biology research program at the UMKC School of Dentistry.


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