Romanian student adjusts to Pitt State
PITTSBURG (AP) — Flavius Garmacea’s feet brought him to Pittsburg State. “I was going to play football here,” Garmacea said. “My last semester of senior year I started playing American football. ... I played soccer in high school and they needed a kicker/punter for the American football team. They saw me kick pretty hard, so I tried out and I could hit from 50 or 60 yards. The coaches told me I should play.” Flavius went to a few camps in ...
Kansas schools using new reading tool
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas parents can turn to the Web for a powerful new tool designed to help kids become better readers.
Kansas Book Connect lists books that fit the reading level and interests of students by using annual reading scores and other student data. That information will be given to schools within the next few months and will be made available to parents.
A third-grader might be given a 3.5 rating, meaning the student is reading at le...
Fort Riley halfway complete with construction boom
FORT RILEY (AP) — Army officials say they are about halfway through a $1.7 billion construction boom that was started to handle the return of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley.
About $500 million of the projects were related to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decisions to bring additional soldiers to Fort Riley, including the return of the 1st Infantry Division from Germany.
That move began in 2006 and will push the soldier popula...
Sedgwick County public defenders stop taking new cases
WICHITA (AP) — The Sedgwick County public defenders office has stopped taking new clients, saying its existing caseload is overwhelming at a time when the office is underfunded and understaffed. The public defenders office has 22 attorneys, with each attorney handling an average of nearly 200 cases each year. “We have an obligation to offer ethical representation and we just can’t keep going on like we have been,” said Steve Osburn, the of...
State payments to schools 25 percent short in December
TOPEKA (AP) — Public schools will get all the $165 million they’re due from the state this month, although about one-fourth of it will be a few days late because the economic crisis has slowed tax collections.
Deputy Education Secretary Dale Dennis said Tuesday the agency expects to get the remaining $55 million either later this week or the first part of next week.
“The state always comes through. Nobody wants to be late but right now we are...
Snow snarls Wichita traffic as accidents mount
Roxana Hegeman Associated Press Writer WICHITA (AP) — The season’s first winter blast spawned hundreds of traffic accidents Tuesday across central Kansas as slick roads made travel hazardous for much of the day. South-central and parts of central Kansas generally had accumulations of up to 2 inches. Stiff wind gusts of up to 40 mph also reduced visibility to half a mile, said Chris Bowman, meteorologist with the National Weather Service i...
SEK-based Heartland did not dispute FEMA’s reimbursement TOPEKA (AP) — With another winter approaching, rural power companies in Kansas are hoping to push forward with efforts to restore electrical systems damaged by last December’s ice storm. A meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials is set to start today in Topeka to hash out repair needs. A committee that represents 22 rural electric cooperatives and five municip...
Baker student senses campus in different light
BALDWIN CITY (AP) — In many ways, it’s a typical morning for any Baker University student. Greg Rogers has no classes on Thursdays, but he’s still out the door of his Zeta Chi fraternity house at 9:30 a.m. He’s off to a morning piano lesson, a chapel service and a lunch with friends after the service. For Rogers, a senior who will graduate in December, it’s just another typical day. But for an outsider, not familiar with Rogers or his rou...
Congress, White House continue to negotiate on auto bailout plan, House speaker says WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says negotiations are continuing with the White House on a $15 billion auto bailout that lawmakers are hoping to bring to a vote this week. Pelosi says the idea is to create a viable auto industry and that will require concessions from management, labor, creditors and others. The speaker puts it this way: “We c...
Kobach won’t run again to lead GOP
AP Political Writer
TOPEKA (AP) — Kris Kobach plans to step down as the Kansas Republican Party’s chairman early next year and said Monday he is seriously considering a run for secretary of state in 2010.
Kobach also said he hasn’t ruled out running for attorney general. Kobach announced he won’t seek a second two-year term as GOP chairman, and his current term expires at the end of January.
He said he’s accomplished his goals of i...
Letters sent by ‘Precious Doe’ killer to wife
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The man convicted in October of killing and beheading a 3-year-old girl known for years as “Precious Doe” wrote letters to his wife, urging her to change her story and reject plea agreements.
The series of letters, obtained by The Kansas City Star, showed how Harrell Johnson attempted to manipulate his wife, Michelle Johnson, alternating between caring and vindictiveness.
In one letter, written a month before Michelle ...
Cattle, horses pose highway danger, too
Livestock on roadway reported to Lyon County sheriff’s office weekly EMPORIA (AP) — Every fall, Kansas law enforcement agencies warn motorists to watch out for deer on the highways. After all, deer accounted for more than 13 percent of all collisions in Kansas last year at a cost of $61 million. But police and insurance adjusters know that deer are not the only four-legged creatures that pose a danger to drivers. Cattle and horses running...
Youngsters add touch of class with neckties
LAWRENCE (AP) — Some men have difficulties getting their neckties to look just right, but one Lawrence second-grader makes it look easy. And he’s started a new trend in the process. “My dad started wearing a tie and my dad wanted to buy me a tie,” said 7-year-old Wyatt Carson, a student at Pinckney School. Once Wyatt started dressing up for school almost every day, four of his friends followed in his footsteps. “Since he was wearing a ti...
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Heath Ledger’s family paid a teary tribute to the late actor as they accepted a top Australian film industry award on his behalf. Ledger was posthumously given the Australian Film Institute’s international award for best actor for his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” His father, Kim; mother, Sally; and sister Kate accepted the award. “It’s been without a doubt the most difficult year, losing such a loved...
Officials: Mountain lion e-mails are hoax
WICHITA (AP) — The e-mail shows a picture of a female mountain lion and her two mostly grown cubs feeding on a deer carcass and says it was taken east of Mulvane. State biologists say it’s just not true. “I probably got a dozen calls or e-mails, at least, the first day it hit Kansas,” said Matt Peek, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks furbearer biologist. “I sent an e-mail out to our staff so they’d know how to handle the phone calls ...
NYC man spends $7,500 to fight $115 parking ticket NEW YORK (AP) — A retired New York City man says he’s spent $7,500 fighting a $115 parking ticket because he’s got “nothing else to do.” Former electrical hardware firm vice president Simon Belsky says he was erroneously ticketed two years ago. The 63-year-old says the ticket cites his van for blocking a Brooklyn fire hydrant even though the only hydrant on the street was down the block. ...
Dear Heloise: Sending a “birthday party in a box” to our military is a great idea. The post office offers Flat Rate Priority boxes for free, including special boxes for APO/Military. There is also the ability to see when it is delivered with Delivery Confirmation. What a fantastic deal! Let’s honor our fighting men and women! -- K.J.R., Bedias, Texas You can create your own “birthday party in a box” to celebrate someone’s birthday long-dist...
Dear Amy: My elderly mother recently had heart bypass surgery and elected to go home rather than to a care facility when she was released from the hospital. My youngest sister, who lives in the same city -- my other siblings and I all live hundreds of miles away -- has been taking daily care of her. One reason my sister is available to do this is that she was recently laid off from her job. I’ve expressed my gratitude for her care of our m...
Confusion reigns in settlement of Kansas City mayor lawsuit
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Embattled Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser on Friday agreed to settle his portion of one lawsuit but may have opened himself up to a new one. Funkhouser said he will pay $30,000 to former aide Ruth Bates, who has claimed the mayor and his wife created a hostile work environment. The settlement also offers Bates a new job with the city. But in announcing the settlement, Funkhouser publicly questioned Bates’ motives ...
Secret Santas in 3 states spread cheer, $100 bills
ST. LOUIS (AP) — At a suburban Goodwill store on Friday, Theresa Settles selected a large, black comforter to warm her family until she can raise the money to turn the gas heat back on. A petite woman approached, her face obscured by dark sunglasses and a wrapped winter scarf, and handed Settles two $100 bills stamped with the words “secret Santa.” “The only condition,” she said, “is that you do something nice for someone. Pass it on.” “I...