LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Regional Headlines for Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Kansas Governor's Plan Ends Home Property Tax Deduction

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is proposing to eliminate an income tax deduction for the property taxes paid by home owners. Legislators in both parties said Wednesday they were surprised to learn that the conservative Republican governor's proposals included eliminating the income tax deduction for property taxes. They said they didn't know it was a part of the plan until the Senate Ways and Means Committee agreed to sponsor Brownback's tax plan. The governor mentioned the proposal briefly in documents his office released last week but didn't talk about it in his State of the State address. The governor also proposes to eliminate a popular income tax deduction for interest paid on home mortgages. Brownback's plan also would set up automatic cuts in individual income tax rates in the future.


Kansas House Panel Passes Judicial Selection Change

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A state House committee has endorsed a proposed change in the Kansas Constitution to give the governor and legislators more power over appellate court appointments. The measure advanced Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee would allow governors to name whomever they want to fill vacancies on the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. The appointments would require Senate confirmation. The measure would scrap the statewide, attorney-led commission that screens applicants for the appellate courts and names three finalists for the governor. The current selection system has no role for lawmakers. The Judiciary Committee's voice vote in favor of the measure sent it to the full House for debate. Supporters said the measure will make judicial selection more open. Critics said the change will make the courts less independent.


Kansas Leaders Discuss State's Military Future 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Governor's Military Council is preparing to make the case for maintaining the presence of the armed forces in Kansas ahead of likely cuts in defense spending. At a meeting Wednesday, the council focused on the potential loss of spending and personnel at Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth and McConnell Air Force Base. The Department of Defense projects cutting 114,000 personnel nationwide by 2021. The council is also watching the competition among states to house the new KC-46 air refueling tanker. The Air Force announced earlier this month that McConnell and Topeka's Forbes Field were finalists. Decisions on where to base the tankers are expected later this year.


Kansas Officials Discuss Possible Prison Legislation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas corrections officials say they plan to propose legislation aimed at easing overcrowding in the state's prisons. Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts told a Senate committee Tuesday that legislation supported by Governor Sam Brownback could free up as many as 800 prison beds in the next two years. Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee the legislation would include $5 million over two years. It also would give probation supervisors more authority and create graduated penalties for probation violators. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Roberts's goal is to make supervision of high-risk offenders and reducing recidivism top priorities. Roberts said the recommendations came from his department's Justice Reinvestment work group. It was established last year in conjunction with the Pew Center for the States and the U.S. Justice Department.


Emporia Man Accused of Stalking More than 20 Women

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A 60-year-old Emporia man has been arrested following a long investigation into obscene letters sent to more than 20 women. Radio station KVOE reports that the man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of 47 counts of stalking and 47 counts of promoting obscenity. No charges had been filed as of Wednesday. Authorities say the stalking investigation involved more than 20 women in Emporia and surrounding Lyon County. Some of the women began receiving the letters in late 2011. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation worked with Emporia police and Lyon County deputies on the case. Investigators used video surveillance and handwriting samples to support a search warrant that led to the arrest. Authorities are notifying victims of the arrest.

Kansas Police Seeking Imposter

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Police across Kansas are looking for a man they say is pretending to be a law enforcement officer to try and cash bad checks. The man surfaced Monday in Belle Plaine, where he allegedly tried to convince clerks at two businesses to cash checks. Belle Plaine police chief Gordon Fell says the clerks didn't fall for the story, partly because the man claimed to be a sheriff's deputy from Adams County. There is no Adams County in Kansas. KAKE-TV reports that Fell says he has heard from other Kansas law enforcement agencies with similar reports. Fell says legitimate law enforcement officers would never try to cash a personal check at a business. He's concerned the man is trying to take advantage of trust for officers, particularly at rural businesses.

Feds Extend 5 Kansas River Sand Dredging Permits

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended five sand dredging permits for the Kansas River for one year. The corps says in a news release that three other dredging permits will end in May between Eudora and the Bowersock Dam in Lawrence because the riverbed has dropped more than 2 feet. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the current dredging permits authorized five companies to dredge 2.2 million tons annually. The permits expired at the end of last year, but the companies sought reauthorization and wanted to dredge 3.2 million tons of sand. An environmental consulting firm hired by the companies is expected to report on the environmental impact by early March. The conservation group Friends of the Kaw wants the corps to stop all dredging on the river.

Topeka Will Pay $45,000 Penalty for Zoo Complaint

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The city of Topeka will pay a $45,000 penalty to settle a federal complaint over rules violations at the city's zoo. The city council voted Tuesday to settle the complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December 2011. The USDA alleged 51 rules violations at the zoo dating from 2006. Shelly Starr, of the city attorney's office, said the civil penalties were based on violations resulting in nine animal deaths. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that zoo director Brendan Wiley says he's happy the matter is resolved so the zoo can move into a new era. Wiley became director after the USDA criticized it for the numerous animal deaths, its professional accreditation was tabled and most of its management left or were fired. The zoo has regained full accreditation.


St. John's Military School Cadet Leader Arrested

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas military school says it has suspended an 18-year-old cadet leader who was arrested last week on allegations of sexual battery against a younger student at its Salina campus. St. John's Military School said Tuesday that the cadet's leadership responsibilities were taken away and he was reassigned to another company while arrangements were being made to send him home to Virginia. The Associated Press is not identifying the suspect, who was arrested Friday, because formal charges have not been filed. President Andy England says the school immediately started an investigation and, based on its findings, notified police and the state's child welfare agency. The incident comes as St. John's is fighting a lawsuit filed by 11 ex-cadets that alleges a culture of abuse existed at the school.


Wichita Police Arrest 6 Suspects in Man's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have made two more arrests in the killing of a 34-year-old man — bringing the total number of suspects to six. Police arrested a 27-year-old man Tuesday and a 32-year-old man turned himself in at City Hall. Lieutenant Doug Nolte says police are not looking for anyone else in the death of 34-year-old Shawn Lindsey. Police believe he was killed January 11 and his body was dumped in a wooded area. His girlfriend reported him missing on January 13 and utility workers found his body three days later. Officers arrested two men early last weekend and two others late Sunday. Two of the suspects are twin brothers. Police believe Lindsey knew the first four men arrested and had worked with two of them at a machine shop.


Burglars Grab Electronics from Wichita Target

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are looking for two men who stole thousands of dollars' worth of electronics from a Target store. The break-in happened around 4 am Wednesday at the Target near the Towne East Square shopping mall. KSNW-TV reports that burglars hit the same store last August and took 16 iPads. In the latest incident, two men wearing dark clothes, gloves and ski masks broke out two glass front doors and left with iPads, iPods, digital cameras and several laptop computers. Police said no employees were in the store at the time.

KC-Area Hospitals Will Share Patient Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than a dozen Kansas City-area hospitals will use a regional computer network to share their patients' medical information more efficiently. The hospitals' participation in the Lewis and Clark Information Exchange was announced Tuesday. It allows the hospitals immediate access to such information as the patients' laboratory results, medication histories, allergies, immunizations and medical reports. The Kansas City Star reports that Heartland Health, a St. Joseph-based health organization, created the computer network several years ago but turned it over to a board to operate. Some of the hospitals participating are Truman Medical Centers, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Children's Mercy Hospital, the University of Kansas Hospital and Olathe Medical Center. Advocates say health information exchanges reduce costs by eliminating duplicate tests and the need to copy and fax medical records.


2 Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide in Kansas

HOISINGTON, Kan. (AP) — The Barton County Sheriff's office says a couple died in an apparent murder-suicide at their rural home. Sheriff Brian Bellendir says in a news release that the bodies of 35-year-old Justin Heggemeier and 39-year-old Michelle Heggemeier were found Tuesday night at a farm northeast of Hoisington. Officers went to the house after a juvenile called to say shots had been fired at the home. Bellinder says it appears Justin Heggemeier shot his wife at close range and then killed himself. The juvenile apparently hid in the closet and was not injured.

Electrical Problem Caused Fatal Dodge City Fire

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dodge City fire officials say a blaze that killed a woman and child two days after Christmas was caused by an electrical malfunction. Fire Captain Ken Spencer said the December 27 fire began in an area where a space heater was plugged into an extension cord running behind a couch. The Dodge City Daily Globe reports that the home did not have any fire alarms. Fifty-one-year-old Luz Maria Conejo and 2-year-old Pablo Antonio Coca-Conejo died of smoke inhalation in the fire. Four people were able to escape the blaze.


93-Year-Old KC Man Charged with Murdering Wife


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 93-year-old Kansas City man has been charged with killing his 95-year-old wife in what investigators are calling a homicide and an attempted suicide. The Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutor filed the second-degree murder charge Wednesday against Harry Irwin, who remained hospitalized with self-inflicted stab wounds in his chest. Police have not said how Grace Irwin died. Paramedics who were called to the couple's home around 6:30 am Wednesday found her in bed, with blood on her head. A paramedic told police Harry Irwin was unresponsive in a chair, with blood on his shirt and arms. The paramedic says Irwin regained consciousness and said he had killed his wife and himself, then asked, "Why am I awake?" Neighbors said the wife had been in poor health. The couple's children and grandchildren visited them often.


Kansas State Signs Agreement with Eisenhower Center

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum have signed a partnership to strengthen research opportunities between the two institutions. The agreement was signed Tuesday by U.S. Archivist David Ferriero and Kansas State President Kirk Schulz. Elements include student internships, academic conferences, public lectures, exhibits and curriculum development. Schulz said the partnership with the Eisenhower center, located in Abilene, fits the university's goal of becoming a top 50 research university by 2025. Kansas State and the Eisenhower center have had similar partnerships for military history and 20th century studies since 2001. Karl Weissenbach, director of the Eisenhower Library and Museum, says the partnership will increase the center's visibility with the university community. Eisenhower's brother Milton, a 1924 Kansas State graduate, was the university's president from 1943 to 1950.

KU Student Organizes Bone Marrow Drive

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A student at the University of Kansas is organizing a bone marrow donor registry drive in honor of her husband, who has cancer. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the drive is scheduled to take place February 4 at the KU campus in Lawrence. The organizer is KU student Sharilyn Matthews, whose husband, Jonathan, has lymphoma. His doctors say they've found several potential donor matches for him and the family is hopeful that help is on the way. His wife is organizing the drive to help the donor registry, which is called Be The Match. Workers will swab potential donors' cheeks and store their genetic information, then notify people if a match comes up.

Principal Gets Diversion on Prostitution Charge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Topeka assistant high school principal has entered into a diversion agreement with the Shawnee County prosecutor's office on a charge that he patronized a prostitute. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 42-year-old Jeff L. Moss was arrested August 17 in an Internet prostitution sting that resulted in 12 arrests in Topeka. Moss was placed on administrative leave from his job as Highland Park High School's assistant principal after his arrest, and the school board voted to terminate his contract September 6. He was charged with the misdemeanor count in October. In the diversion deal, Moss must complete certain requirements to have the criminal charge dismissed. He also has to pay $170 in court costs and fees.

Kansas Aviation Museum to Open Learning Center

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita is planning to open an interactive learning center that features flight simulators, a weather station and educational stations. The new center is expected to open March 16. It is sponsored by Boeing with support from the Lattner Family Foundation and the city of Wichita. Features will include a mock control tower with a radio connection to a Cessna 210 simulator. Visitors can use a computer-aided system to design an air foil and test it in a virtual wind tunnel. They can also build the foil and test it in a real wind tunnel. Over the next year, the museum plans to start a new club for children, a merit badge program, home school programs and other activities.

Insider Knocks Kansas Judicial Selection Process

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A member of the Kansas commission that screens applicants for the state's appellate courts says the panel was biased against conservative candidates in its most recent deliberations. Commission member Felita Kahrs of Topeka said Tuesday the commission finally advanced one conservative's nomination to the governor last month to avoid angering legislators seeking to change the selection process. Kahrs provided a copy of testimony for a Kansas House committee to The Associated Press before it met Tuesday. It's unusual for someone involved in that process to advocate change. Kahrs is among four non-lawyers on the nine-member commission and was appointed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback in 2011. The commission nominates three finalists for appellate court vacancies. The governor makes the appointment, with no role for legislators. Supporters say that process eliminates political influence.

KDOT Seeks Comments on Biking, Walking Needs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An online survey has been posted by the Department of Transportation as Kansas officials seek to gauge public opinion about opportunities for bicycling and walking around the state. The department said Tuesday there is an online survey on its website for residents to identify statewide biking and pedestrian needs. There are two versions of the survey — one to be filled out by adults, the other by parents on behalf of children. Becky Pepper, KDOT's bicycle-pedestrian coordinator, says the responses will help the agency decide how to use what she calls limited resources for bicycling and pedestrian facilities in Kansas. Pepper says one key issue is whether urban, rural and suburban residents have different views on biking and walking. The survey will be used in a study scheduled to be completed this fall.

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)