The Salina Journal on Hawker.

William Brown didn’t exactly make a bunch of friends during his stop in Salina on Friday morning. The executive vice president of global operations for Hawker Beechcraft was in town to meet with employees of Salina’s Hawker plant.

As reported last week, the company announced the plant will close and 238 employees will lose their jobs ...

Some of his comments at the meeting did not sit well with employees or those involved with Salina economic development.

The Journal’s Michael Strand talked with Hawker employees after their shift ended Friday. They told him that Brown said local officials did nothing to keep the plant in Salina.

“Bill Brown specifically said Salina wasn’t offering anything to keep them here,” employee Sherri Curtis told Strand. Others at the meeting verified the comment ...

At a press conference last week, a bevy of local folks said the opposite ... The message at that presentation was that local leaders and state economic development officials had repeatedly contacted the company to find out what could be done to preserve the Salina plant ...

We believe they did their best to retain these high-paying jobs and we are confident they have evidence to verify their correspondence with Hawker.

On the flip side, we’ll give Brown the benefit of the doubt. It’s possible, though unlikely, that employees reporting Brown’s comments misinterpreted what he said. Or perhaps Brown just didn’t get the memo detailing Salina’s efforts to retain the plant.

Whatever the case, this episode does nothing to boost our confidence in Hawker. Instead, it confirms that the company planned all along to close the local plant, no matter what company officials might have said to the contrary.

Topeka Capital-Journal, on corrections ethics.

Kansas Department of Corrections officials have embarrassed themselves and damaged their organization’s credibility by filing an ethics complaint against local attorney Keen Umbehr.

They should drop the trivial action and move on to addressing the alarming problems that Umbehr helped expose in their system.

Umbehr ran afoul of KDOC for inviting Capital-Journal investigative reporter Tim Carpenter to accompany him to the Topeka Correctional Facility for interviews with two inmates last August...

As Kansans from border to border know, the interviews helped lead to stories revealing illegal sexual relationships and traffic of contraband in the prison. Carpenter’s reporting compelled Gov. Mark Parkinson to order an independent review of the prison system, and the Legislative Division of Post Audit also launched an investigation.

At that point, you might have thought KDOC would have bigger fish to fry than to lodge the complaint against Umbehr — like turning its full attention to improving prison security measures and increasing supervision of corrections workers.

But no. Corrections officials managed to find the time and resources to launch a smear attack against the attorney and, by extension, Carpenter ...

KDOC claims Umbehr gained access for Carpenter by misrepresenting the reporter’s occupation, an allegation the attorney vehemently denies. He says KDOC got its facts wrong and that the department is acting unethically by trying to squelch the inmates’ rights to free speech through its action against him ...

The complaint may have created an impression that Carpenter got into the facility through unethical means.

The fact KDOC included Carpenter in the complaint, knowing such a conclusion could be drawn, is unfair and out of line. He complied fully with the directions of staff members and was never asked to state his occupation or sign the logbook. Carpenter didn’t break the rules. That much is indisputable ...

The bottom line in the Topeka Correctional Facility case is Umbehr and Carpenter together gave a voice to inmates who wouldn’t have had one otherwise and exposed problems that desperately needed to be brought to the public’s attention ...

Prison reform should be KDOC’s focus right now, not pursuing a trumped-up ethics case.

The Garden City Telegram, on “In Cold Blood.”

It’s a day many local residents would rather forget.

Considering the horrific crime that occurred on Nov. 15, 1959, in Holcomb, and the surreal run of publicity that followed, it’s understandable that some people would rather not revisit the day two drifters entered a Holcomb farmhouse and killed the Herb Clutter family.

But Holcomb and Finney County were indeed stuck in the spotlight for years to come, mostly due to a writer interjecting himself into the local tragedy by pursuing a novel that would spawn movies and more coverage ...

Now, five decades later, people can take in a public memorial to the Clutters — Herb Clutter, a prominent farmer and community leader, his wife, Bonnie, and their children, Kenyon, 15, and Nancy, 16 — recently dedicated in Holcomb.

Not everyone embraced the new memorial. Some feared it would open old wounds.

Rather, it’s a fitting tribute to four good people slain in a senseless crime. When curiosity-seekers and others want to know about the Clutters, they can visit the memorial that speaks more to how the family lived than how they died ...

It’s impossible to extract such a painful chapter of local history. A measure of calm and innocence was lost forever, yet the community did succeed in pushing ahead.

And never will forget.

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