Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

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Health
10:17 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Kansas Healthcare Navigators Slammed With Requests Ahead Of ACA Deadline

Consumers and health care counselors struggled through problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace on Monday.

They were hit with a crush of late requests from Kansans trying to sign up for health coverage by the deadline.

The Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved trained most of the state's 170 or so health care counselors, or navigators.

The non-profit group reported that their schedules were packed with appointments ahead of the deadline.

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Education
11:22 am
Mon March 31, 2014

UPDATE: Kansas House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades Resigns Over Education Bill

Credit Stephen Koranda

Updated Monday, Mar. 31, 2:30 pm: House Speaker Ray Merrick names replacement for Rhodes. 

The House Appropriations Committee's chairman has resigned from the committee because he says he can't support a school funding plan drafted by the chamber's Republican leaders.

Newton Republican Marc Rhoades resigned Monday, just before the start of his committee's hearings on the plan.

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Community
10:50 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Plans To Level 'Points Of Rocks' Monument For Highway Expansion Abandoned

A plan to expand U.S. 50 in southwestern Kansas no longer includes leveling a historic rock formation.

U.S. 50 expansion from a two-lane road into a four-lane expressway will use a paved 16-foot median as it passes the Point of Rocks formation, which was once used as a navigational aid for travelers and cowboys along the Santa Fe Trail.

The original plan would have leveled the formation.

But the Kansas Department of Transportation considered other options after discussions with groups, including the Santa Fe Trail Association.

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Environment
10:43 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Hays City Commission Approves Resolution To Increase Water Conservation

The Hays City Commission has taken steps to increase water conservation for residents and businesses.

Hays commissioners unanimously approved resolutions last week to make plumbing more efficient in future construction and remodels.

The resolutions also update the municipal water conservation plan, and drought response plan, and revise irrigation regulations.

Commercial properties building new irrigation systems have to xeriscape 30 percent of their land; it's landscaping that uses vegetation that requires little water.

Community
10:37 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Immigration Mural Restored For The Second Time, Security Cameras Installed To Deter Future Mischief

The "Immigration is Beautiful" mural after its second restoration. A security camera has also been installed to catch future vandals.
Credit Carla Eckels

Volunteers have removed two swastikas that were spray-painted onto a mural in Wichita. On Saturday, volunteers scrubbed off two swastikas that had been sprayed in black paint on "Immigration is beautiful" mural in north Wichita.

High school students painted the art on the side of a store near 21st and Park Place. It depicts depicts two people wrapped in flags, one an American and one Mexican.

In early February, vandals also spray-painted the words "KKK," "welfare" and slur against people from Mexico on the mural.

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Community
7:24 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'Immigration Is Beautiful' Mural Defaced For The Second Time In Five Weeks

The Immigration mural after its first restoration.
Credit Lindsey Herkommer

Wichita's "Immigration Is Beautiful" mural has been vandalized for the second time in five weeks.

The north Wichita mural depicts a map of the United States, with images of the Statue of Liberty and two people wrapped in the U.S. and Mexican flags.

Two swastikas were painted on the mural late Monday or early Tuesday.

Artists had recently removed racist, anti-immigration and homophobic graffiti painted on it in mid-February.

Security cameras have been set up at the mural to catch any future cases of vandalism.

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Environment
7:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Gov. Brownback: Federal Protection Of Lesser Prairie Chicken Is An 'Overreach'

Governor Sam Brownback criticized the federal government's decision Thursday to add the lesser prairie chicken to its list of threatened species.

Brownback called it an "overreach," and his spokeswoman says his office is considering a lawsuit.

Governor Brownback and others are worried how the protections for the prairie chicken could affect agriculture, oil and gas drilling, wind farms, and other businesses.

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Business
10:55 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Wire And Cable Manufacturer Southwire Closing Coffeyville Plant

Southwire LLC says it's closing the company's plant in Coffeyville and laying off nearly 200 workers.

A spokesman for the Georgia-based company says the layoffs will be spread over several months before the plant closes in March of 2015.

The company is shifting some of its operations after a recent merger, which prompted closing in Coffeyville.

Business
10:50 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Candy Giant Mars Opens First North American Plant In 35 Years In Topeka

Mars Incorporated is throwing a grand opening on Thursday for its new $270 million dollar plant near Topeka that will produce millions of chocolate bars and other sweets every day.

Company officials say the plant exists mostly to meet U.S. demand for its  M&M's- and Snickers-brand candy. It's the first new Mars plant in North America in 35 years.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 14 million bite-sized Snickers bars and 39 million M&M's each day.

The plant is bringing about 200 jobs to the Topeka area.

Education
11:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Lawmakers Consider Bill To Restrict Data Mining Of Students

The Kansas House will debate legislation today that restricts the identifiable information collected on public school students.

Supporters want to protect the identity of students and limit disclosure of that information to specific agencies.

Those authorized to see the data include: the local school district, the Kansas Department of Education, the Kansas Board of Regents and public health agencies.

Legislators are concerned that data would be used inappropriately and shared with the federal government or other entities without parental consent.

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