Salina Journal, on unmanned aircrafts:
Who’s flying this plane?
We usually read about unmanned aircraft in war stories when they are used to find the bad guys, track them and kill them with missiles.
These planes also can be used to save lives. ... The Federal Aviation Administration last week authorized the Aerosonde Mk. IV unmanned aerial vehicle to fly missions over the Crisis City training area at the Great Plains Joint Training Center west of Salina.
The aircraft has been flying over the adjacent Smoky Hill Weapons Range since last year. ...
Augusta-based Flint Hills Solutions and Kansas State University at Salina jointly operate the Aerosonde. Roger Powers, Flint Hills Solutions president, said flying over Crisis City allows more realistic training for search-and-rescue operations.
KSU-Salina Dean Dennis Kuhlman says the FAA is prepared to issue emergency flight permits so the aircraft can quickly put its cameras and thermal imagers to work when needed.
Beyond saving lives, this project also means local jobs and great potential in economic development. Salina’s Airport Authority, K-State and the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce are making progress attracting aerospace-related industries to our community, including development of unmanned aircraft.
Imagine the possibilities if Salina is established as one of the key locations for this industry. It will add another avenue for development and broaden our wide-ranging manufacturing sector.
Today the general public associates unmanned vehicles with military actions. Soon that perception will change and Salina can boast it had a role in developing aircraft that help those on the ground, rather than fight them.
The Topeka Capital-Journal, on fees for appeals work:
Former Shawnee County District Attorney Robert Hecht may have an inflated opinion of his value as an appellate prosecutor, but inflated opinions aren’t illegal.
The Kansas Attorney General’s office declined ... to file criminal charges against Hecht in connection with fees he charged Shawnee County for handling appeals of cases his office had prosecuted.
The county has filed a civil suit in an attempt to recoup some of the $482,895 Hecht charged for his appeals work, but lost a potentially strong ally when the AG said Hecht was entitled to compensation and the question to be resolved is whether the fees were reasonable.
County officials may have one ally, public opinion, in their corner. Unfortunately, public opinion often has little influence in a courtroom.
There is no doubt Hecht stepped over the line as his annual fees for appeals work climbed steadily from $14,125 in 2001 to $127,275 in 2008. ...
When someone finally asked, after the 2008 election, how much the district attorney earns, county officials quickly learned how much Hecht was charging for appeals work. The same information must have been within reach each summer as commissioners drafted the county’s annual budget. ...
Commissioners contend the law that allows Hecht to be compensated for appeals work requires that the bills be presented to the commission and paid from the county general fund.
The difference in the procedures wasn’t enough to convince the attorney general’s office Hecht had done anything illegal, which leaves it up to a District Court judge, or jury, to determine whether the fees were reasonable.
We think they were not, and think most county residents would agree there is plenty of blame to go around.
The Hutchinson News, on closing of George Tiller’s Wichita medical clinic:
In the end, the decision to close the Wichita medical clinic operated by the late Dr. George Tiller was no one’s business except for the family of the slain physician.
Certainly, family members knew the decision to permanently close the center where Tiller performed late-term abortions would be hailed as victory by pro-lifers and decried by those who support a woman’s right to choose.
The clinic closing was termed “tragic” by Dr. Warren Hern, a Boulder, Colo., physician.
“This is what they want, they’ve been wanting this for 35 years,” he told The Associated Press.
“They” would be people such as Scott Roeder, suspected of killing Tiller, and Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, who exclaimed “good riddance” when told of the clinic’s closing.
Yet, no one wins here. The family’s decision to close the center was compelled solely by the murder of their loved one. The closing will not halt abortions. Women will be inconvenienced by longer travel times to a Kansas City clinic or elsewhere, but still will have access to the same services Tiller provided.
Again, no one on either side wins.
But in the end, the Tiller family’s decision was a personal choice — one not influenced by pro-life or pro-choice factions. And as such, that very private decision ought to garner the silent support of those who vociferously argue the pros and cons in the never-ending debate over abortion.