Fiscal deal builds despite tough talk
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bluster and hot rhetoric aside, the White House and House Republicans have identified areas of significant overlap that could form the basis for a final agreement after “fiscal cliff” posturing gives way to hard bargaining.
Both sides now concede that tax revenue and reductions in entitlement spending are essential elements of any deal. If the talks succeed, it probably will be because House Speaker John Boehner yields on rai...
GOP elects state Senate president
TOPEKA (AP) — Republicans on Monday elected Susan Wagle to be the new president of the Kansas Senate, the first woman to hold court over either chamber of the Legislature.
Wagle, a veteran Republican from Wichita, defeated Steve Abrams of Arkansas City, 23-9.
“I don’t think I was elected because I am a woman. My colleagues elected me because I’m a qualified leader,” she said.
In the House, Stilwell Republican Ray Merrick defeated Arlen Siegfre...
Donor pays for stolen food at school
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — Independence kids right at the age to decide whether or not they believe in Santa Claus may revise their decision after an anonymous benefactor gave $400 to make up for a recent theft of donated food at Jefferson School.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” Jefferson School instructor Melinda Miller said, quoting the famous 1897 editorial in The New York Sun.
An unknown man walked into the Independence Police Department...
Climate talks focus on fossil fuel subsidies
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Hassan al-Kubaisi considers it a gift from above that drivers in oil- and gas-rich Qatar only have to pay $1 per gallon at the pump.
“Thank God that our country is an oil producer and the price of gasoline is one of the lowest,” al-Kubaisi said, filling up his Toyota Land Cruiser at a gas station in Doha. “God has given us a blessing.”
To those looking for a global response to climate change, it’s more like a curse.
Qatar — ...
Obama honors Letterman, Zeppelin
WASHINGTON (AP) — David Letterman’s “stupid human tricks” and Top 10 lists vaulted into the ranks of cultural acclaim Sunday night as the late-night comedian received this year’s Kennedy Center Honors with rock band Led Zeppelin, an actor, a ballerina and a bluesman.
Stars from New York, Hollywood and the music world joined President Barack Obama at the White House on Sunday night to salute the honorees, whose ranks also include actor Dustin H...
Egypt’s president faces rising pressure
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s political crisis is widening, with plans for a huge march and a general strike today to protest the hurried drafting of a new constitution and decrees by President Mohammed Morsi that gave him nearly unrestricted powers.
Morsi also faces the prospect of wider civil disobedience as media, the tourism industry and law professors pondered moves that would build on a strike by the nation’s judges.
The planned strikes and march...
U.S. considers military options if Syria uses WMD
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and its allies are weighing military options to secure Syria’s chemical and biological weapons, after U.S. intelligence reports show the Syrian regime may be readying those weapons and may be desperate enough to use them, U.S. officials said Monday.
President Barack Obama, in a speech at the National Defense University on Monday, pointedly warned Syrian President Bashar Assad not to use the weapons.
“Today I w...
Tax revenue exceeds expectations
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas collected slightly more in taxes than anticipated in November, but the state is still facing a self-inflicted budget shortfall that could force it to trim spending.
The state Department of Revenue’s report Friday pleased Gov. Sam Brownback and officials in his administration, who see it as part of a growing body of evidence that the state’s economy is not only stronger than it was a year ago but continuing to improve. Brow...
Agency works on sex-trafficking bill
TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Department of Children and Families is working with law enforcement officials on legislation that would increase penalties for those who engage in sex trafficking of children, while also providing help for the victims, an agency official said Wednesday.
The department is working with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office, law enforcement agencies and judges, Anna Pilato, DCF’s deputy secretary for strategic de...
Feds want answers from abortion opponent
WICHITA (AP) — The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to order a Kansas abortion opponent to answer the government’s questions about her relationship with the man convicted in the murder of abortion provider George Tiller, including compelling her to admit to statements she made to The Associated Press in which she said she admired the then-accused killer.
The request comes amid legal wrangling in a civil lawsuit the Justice Departme...
Senators ask Obama to protect Mississippi River
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A group of U.S. senators will ask President Barack Obama for an emergency declaration in an effort to keep barges moving on the drought-riddled Mississippi River, a spokesman for Sen. Claire McCaskill told The Associated Press Tuesday.
Senators from Mississippi River states are seeking an emergency directive that would increase the flow of water from an upper Missouri River dam and expedite removal of rock formations in the mi...
Crews find body of missing man
PITTSBURG (AP) — Diving crews recovered the body of a Southeast Kansas man in an old strip mining pit in a Pittsburg park.
Police Lt. Cris Hatcher said the body of 22-year-old Mateo V. Lorenzo of Pittsburg was recovered Monday in a mining pit at Wilderness Park.
A witness called police Saturday to say a man had fallen into the pit. Crews from Pittsburg, Frontenac and Newton County searched the strip pits most of Sunday. The searchers found Lor...
K.C. police pilots get night-vision goggles
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police helicopter pilots had gotten used to flying blind at night.
But when they started training this month with night vision goggles, a whole new world emerged.
Areas of the city that resembled large inkwells from the sky now teemed with detail.
“I can’t believe all the stuff we were missing,” said Officer Kevin Colmar. “It’s kind of spooky to think about.”
The night vision goggles are among the most popul...
Authorities search for man in pit
PITTSBURG (AP) — A 911 call to Pittsburg police has prompted a search of an old strip mining pit in Southeast Kansas for a man whose whereabouts are unknown.
The Joplin Globe reported a hiker called authorities on Saturday morning saying an adult male had fallen into the pit at Wilderness Park.
Police on Monday identified the missing man as 22-year-old Pittsburg resident Mateo Vincent Lorenzo. While the search goes on, investigators are also h...
Kansas works on system to evaluate teachers
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas teachers and administrators are working with the state Department of Education to develop an evaluation system to measure their performance.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the Kansas Education Evaluation Protocol is a pilot program in place in about two dozen districts.
It is part of the state’s efforts to comply with the requirements of a federal waiver it received under the No Child Left Behind Act.
All school ...
Kobach touts Kansas photo ID law
TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says fewer than expected registered voters cast provisional ballots in the Nov. 6 general election in response to the new state photo identification law.
The law requires voters to show a valid photo identification in order to receive a ballot and cast a vote. This was the first general election to require proof of identity since the law was enacted in 2011.
Kobach said Tuesday that only 717 ...
Theft stops honor flights
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — As many as 100 World War II veterans missed their chance to travel to Washington to see their war’s memorial after about $110,000 disappeared from a Kansas nonprofit that organized free trips for them.
Richard Foster, the president of the board for an organization that ran Central Prairie Honor Flights, fears some of the veterans will never see the National World War II Memorial. It wasn’t completed until 2004, and with...
Retailers push up opening day of holiday shopping
By The Associated Press
This season could mark the end of Black Friday as we know it.
For decades, stores have opened their doors in the wee hours on the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, major chains such as Target and Sears ushered customers in on Thanksgiving itself, even before the turkey leftovers had gotten cold, turning the traditional busiest shopping day of the year into a two-day affair.
Despite an outcry from some employees, b...
Rural hospitals brace for change
By Dave Ranney
KHI News Service
LEOTI — In small towns like this across Kansas, hospital administrators are paying close attention to federal deficit-reduction talks in Washington, D.C., that could lead to a 2 percent cut in Medicare spending, starting Jan. 1.
“Two percent may not sound like much,” said Vicki Hahn, who runs the Wichita County Health Center in Leoti. “But we’re a ‘critical access hospital,’ which means we’re reimbursed for 101 ...
Southwest Airlines to offer Wichita flights
WICHITA (AP) — Southwest Airlines has announced plans to begin flights in June from Wichita-Mid-Continent Airport, saying the fate of government subsidies given to its predecessor will have no bearing on its own future in Wichita.
“We are here with no conditions, no demands,” Bob Montgomery, the company’s vice president for airport affairs, said Monday. “We ask that y’all fly Southwest, because this is a tough business.”
The Wichita Eagle repo...