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Your local and regional news for Northeastern Kansas and the surrounding communities, brought to you by the KPR news staff.

Piloting the Pope: Lawrence Man Recalls Time w/ John Paul II

Thirty-two years ago, Pope John Paul II visited the United States. It was in October of 1979 that the pontiff embarked on his six-day tour. One of the co-pilots on the pope's airplane was a flight engineer from Lawrence. Nelson Krueger (CREW-gur) will recall his time with the pope during a presentation this (FRI) afternoon at Benedictine College in Atchison. KPR's J. Schafer spoke with Krueger about his experience... and about his lasting impressions of piloting the pope.

You'll find more information about Nelson Krueger's presentation by visiting the website of Benedictine College. Just log on to Benedictine.edu.

Latest KS Crop Report Yields Mixed Bag of News

The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service is reporting a mixed bag of news about the overall condition of the Kansas wheat crop. Dry weather has taken a toll on wheat, but the dry conditions meant more farmers could get out in their fields to work. Bob White is with the USDA office in Topeka:

Meanwhile, Kansas farmers have planted 29 percent of their projected corn crop. Sorghum growers have just begun to seed their crop, with 1 percent planted statewide.

Dry Conditions Hamper KS Wheat Crop

A new report from the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service says persistent dry weather took a toll on the Kansas wheat crop over the past week. The USDA's Bob White says that soil moisture levels are widely varied across the state.

Yesterday's (MON) report showed 44 percent of the state wheat crop rated in poor to very poor shape. 21 percent was rated good and just 2 percent was in excellent condition.

Eudora Mayor Wants Cable Median Barriers for K-10

A double fatal crash on K-10 last weekend was the last straw for Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson. He has now written Governor Sam Brownback, demanding that the state install wire cable median barriers along what Hopson calls a dangerous four-lane highway from Lawrence to Interstate 435 in Kansas City. That stretch of road has seen an increased number of so-called "crossover crashes" in recent years. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that state transportation officials evaluated K-10 three years ago, and determined the highway did not qualify for cable median barriers, based on the number of crashes and the width of the existing grass medians.

State transportation officials say they will re-evaluate K-10 next year. But Hopson says that's not fast enough. He's urging those who drive on the highway or live on the K-10 corridor to write to the Governor, as well. A Facebook page has also been created to generate support for the cable median barrier installation proposal. Last Saturday, two Eudora residents...including a five-year-old boy...died when a car crossed a K-10 median and struck a minivan.

KS Ag Dept Warns of New Scam Targeting Restaurants

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is warning Kansas restaurant owners to be aware of a new type of scam phone call. Ag Department spokesperson Chelsea Good says the scam begins when a someone calls a restaurant, claiming to be a restaurant inspector.

Good says that no matter what, personal information should never be given out over the phone. The Ag Department says that if a restaurant owner receives a call like this, it should be reported to local law enforcement.

Governor Continues to Support Fair Fare Subsidy

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he is optimistic that Wichita Mid-Continent Airport's so-called Fair Fares subsidy will pass the state legislature, despite some opposition.

Fair Fares uses several million dollars in state and local money to subsidize low-fare airlines, with the idea of keeping all fares at Mid-Continent Airport lower.

Police Chief: Gas Costs Affecting Topeka Law Enforcement

The rising cost of gasoline is affecting crime-fighting efforts in Topeka to some extent, according to Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller. Miller says the police department had budgeted for gasoline this fiscal year at the rate of 2 dollars and 95 cents per gallon. Miller says that figure is obviously not sufficient to pay for gas at current prices:

Miller has recently released first-quarter crime statistics for this year. They indicate that police response times have slipped, according to a public survey. 85 percent of the sample polled said that officers responded to their calls in a timely way. Normally, that number is closer to 92 percent. Miller says the department will be looking to replace some of its aging police car fleet with more fuel-efficient vehicles. Those would include hybrids for supervisors and non-emergency responders.

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