Hutch man convicted of aggravated battery and aggravated burglary sentenced/Gough 11/30/2010

A 52-year-old man was given 36-months community corrections on a 103-month sentence after he was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Joe McCarville.

Victor Nunez had entered pleas on October 12 to two charges, including the aggravated battery and Aggravated burglary for forcing his way into a home in the 800 block of West 4th, and battered a man with the handle of an ax. This incident occurring back on Saturday November 28th, of last year.

In exchange for the plea, the state dropped the other counts including criminal threat, battery-domestic violence, and criminal damage.

Restitution in the case is still to be determined.


Shoplifting incidents on the increase with the holidays/Gough 11/30/2010

It continues to be a growing problem every year with theives taking merchandise from local stores without paying for them.

In the last day or so, Hutchinson police reporting several incidents of thefts from stores either leading to arrest or summons to appear in court for the alleged thiefs.

Most recent businesses reporting the shoplifting incidents include the Buckle, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Sears and the Sports Shack.

In one case, stealing from a store led to one teen being arrested on drug charges as well. A 17-year-old girl was arrested for possession of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

But, teens aren't the only ones being caught. In one case, a 43-year-old man was arrested for removal of theft detection device and theft from K-Mart.

Thieves should be aware that stores have people watching all the time looking for thieves.

And, if you've been advised of criminal trespass at a particular store, but go there and steal again, the charge isn't shoplifting, it becomes aggravated burglary, which is a felony.


Plea hearing set for Kansas nurse in tampering case/Associated Press 11/30/2010

WICHITA - A nurse with a history of drug abuse who is accused of diluting drugs at a Kansas nursing home may have reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

A court filing Monday shows Deborah J. Riggs of Goddard is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing on Dec. 13 before U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Topeka.

The 55-year-old nurse is accused in a 10-count indictment with tampering with a consumer product and adulteration of drugs. The charges allege she diluted morphine solutions intended for five patients at the Halstead Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Riggs has a previous drug-related conviction and had her nursing license suspended twice after previous allegations of stealing controlled substances.


Kanopolis Cabin Donation honors camp volunteer/nr 11/30/2010

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) will host a ceremony at 9:30 a.m, Thursday at the public-use cabins at Kanopolis State Park.

The family of Terry Reynolds will present KDWP Secretary Mike Hayden a $5,000 donation in memory of Terry, who died in August of 2009. The money will help construct shades over two horse corrals in the Rockin' K campground.

Terry Reynolds and his girlfriend served as volunteer camp hosts at Kanopolis State Park.

For more information about the Kanopolis State Park ceremony, call the state park office at (785) 546-2565. To reserve a cabin at Kanopolis or at any cabin location, visit


Westar Energy embarks on new reliability initiative/nr 11/30/2010

Helicopters will survey lines.

TOPEKA - Westar Energy announced Tuesday that during December, they will begin surveying selected transmission lines, measuring the height of these lines.

The project involves helicopters flying along routes, sometimes as low as 300 to 350 feet above the ground.

Helicopter passengers will use a variety of methods in the project including laser measurement, photography and coordination with teams working on the ground.

Work will be performed throughout December in and around Junction City, Lawrence, Lenexa, Manhattan, Olathe, Salina, Topeka and Wichita as well as rural areas.

The project is in accordance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) requirements.


Kansas tax collections close to estimate for November/Associated Press 11/30/2010

TOPEKA - Kansas saw its tax collections fall short of expectations in November, but not by much.

The Department of Revenue issued preliminary figures Tuesday showing that the state collected $384 million in taxes during the month. That's $783,000 less than forecast, but the difference is just two-tenths of 1 percent.

It was the first report since state officials and university economists issued a new financial forecast on Nov. 2, and a significant shortfall in tax collections would complicate budgeting for Gov.-elect Sam Brownback and legislators.

The state has collected $2.15 billion in taxes since the current fiscal year began July 1, again only $783,000 short of expectations.

In November, individual income tax collections were slightly higher than forecast, and retail sales tax collections were slightly lower than expected.


Kansas Governor-elect says ex-treasurer to join staff/Associated Press 11/30/2010

TOPEKA - Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback says former State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger will be the legislative liaison for the new administration.

Brownback announced Tuesday that Shallenburger will start serving as liaison this week for the Republican governor-elect's transition team, then continue once Brownback takes office Jan. 10.

Shallenburger, a Republican from Baxter Springs, was Kansas House speaker for four years, starting in 1995, and was elected state treasurer in 1998. He was the GOP nominee for governor in 2002 but lost to Democrat Kathleen Sebelius. He served as chairman of the Kansas Republican Party in 2005 and 2006.

Brownback, who's giving up a U.S. Senate seat, also announced that Landon Fulmer, a member of his Senate staff, will become state policy director in the governor's office. Fulmer is a Lawrence resident.


Counties want state to pay more for prisoners/Associated Press 11/30/2010

WICHITA - Some Kansas counties think the state should pay them more for housing felons who used to serve their sentences in state prisons.

And they are asking the Kansas Association of Counties to make the issue a priority in the next legislative session.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn says the state is turning county jails into subsidiaries of the state prison system.

The Wichita Eagle reported Monday that the association wants the state to reimburse counties for the cost of housing felons, to track how many are in county jails and to make that number available to the public.

Sen. Tim Owens, a Republican from Overland Park, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He says part of the problem is people want criminals to be punished but don't want to have taxes raised to pay for it.


More than 100 Kansas trees headed to South Dakota/Associated Press 11/30/2010

WICHITA - More than 100 Christmas trees were on their way to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, as a gift from Kansas tree growers.

The trees that left Wichita Monday are part of a national Trees for Troops program.

Willy Goevert, owner of the 4C Tree Farm near Wichita, says the tree growers want to do something to show appreciation to the troops.

Growers from across the nation have donated between 15,000 and 16,000 trees for military troops to use over the holidays for each of the past five years.

Nine Kansas growers donated Scotch and Virginia pines this year.

The website for Trees for Troops says the trees have been distributed to families in every branch of the military at more than 50 bases in 17 countries.


Three plead guilty in Kansas counterfeit case/Associated Press 11/30/2010

The federal case against four California men accused in Kansas of counterfeiting credit cards is ending in guilty pleas.

Three defendants each pleaded guilty Tuesday to single counts related to the counterfeiting case.

Their prosecution stems from an April 2 traffic stop in Trego County. Officers found 247 counterfeit VISA debit cards, a computer and a device used to read and write data on the cards' magnetic strips.

Entering pleas Tuesday were 29-year-old Adis Poghosyan, of Glendale, Calif.; 25-year-old Vachagan Baghdasarvan, of Los Angeles; and 27-year-old Artour Hakobyan, of Glendale, Calif. Their plea deals call for identical 18-month prison sentences. Sentencing was set for Feb. 15.

A change-of-plea hearing for a fourth defendant, Haykaz Mansuryan, is set for Thursday.