WIKILEAKS-MANNING NAME CHANGE
Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas judge has granted a request to formally change the name of the soldier convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks from Bradley Edward Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.
The former intelligence analyst is serving a 35-year prison sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website. Manning is serving the sentence at an Army prison in Kansas.
During a brief hearing Wednesday, Leavenworth County District Judge David King said he'd allow the name change.
The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but it would not compel the military to treat Manning as a woman. That includes transferring Manning to a prison with a woman's unit.
Manning has been diagnosed by at least two Army behavioral health specialists with gender identity disorder.
Kansas joining compact against federal health law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is joining a proposed compact with other states hoping to exempt themselves from the federal health care overhaul.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback announced Wednesday that he signed a compact bill passed by the GOP-dominated Legislature earlier this month. The new law takes effect July 1.
The compact would let participating states remove themselves from all federal health regulations if Congress consents.
Many Republicans strongly oppose the federal health care law championed by Democratic President Barack Obama.
Critics of the bill questioned whether Congress would approve a compact. They also suggested member states could cut Medicare benefits for seniors. Brownback said the federal health overhaul represents a bigger threat.
The Texas-based group pushing the compact says eight other states have enacted similar laws, including Missouri.
Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation nullifying city and county gun restrictions and ensuring that it's legal across the state to openly carry firearms.
The governor announced his action Wednesday. The new law will take effect July 1. The National Rifle Association has described it as a model for stripping local officials of their gun-regulating power.
The bill would sweep away local restrictions on open carry, though cities and counties could prevent people from doing so in public buildings.
The measure also would prevent cities and counties from enacting restrictions on firearm sales or how guns are stored and transported.
Supporters of the bill say a patchwork of local regulations has infringed on gun-ownership rights. But critics say local officials know their communities best.
FATAL PLANE CRASH
Barton County Commissioner dies in plane crash
(Information in the following story is from: Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, http://www.gbtribune.com)
GARFIELD, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Highway Patrol says a county commissioner from western Kansas died when his plane crashed while he was crop dusting.
The patrol says 67-year-old Don Cates, a Barton County commissioner from Claflin, died Tuesday afternoon when his ultralight, single-engine plane hit a power line and crashed into a ditch just northwest of Garfield in Pawnee County. Cates was the only person on board.
Cates joined the Barton County Commission in 2010.
The Great Bend Tribune reports that Cates was a pilot in Vietnam and was awarded several military honors. He then flew for 34 years as a commercial pilot before reaching the mandatory retirement age. He worked several jobs after that and was flying for Pratt's Farmers Spraying Service when he crashed.
AIR FORCE TANKERS-WICHITA
McConnell base gets final OK for refueling tankers
(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita has received final approval to become the main operating site for the Air Force's new KC-46A air refueling tanker.
Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, along with U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, announced Tuesday that the base in Wichita passed an environmental study, the final requirement for receiving the 36 new tankers.
The Air Force selected McConnell in May 2013 to be the home for the new tankers, pending the outcome of the environmental study.
The Wichita Eagle reports the decision means the base can start spending $219 million to prepare for the tankers, which are expected to arrive in early 2016.
The aircraft will replace the aging KC-135 fleet flown by crews for nearly 60 years.
Kingman voters extend city sales tax
(Information in the following story is from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com)
KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) - Kingman residents easily approved the extension of a 1 percent city sales tax.
The Hutchinson News reports results showed the proposal passed Tuesday by a vote of 213-95.
It extends a 10-year city sales tax, which was scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The sales tax is expected to generate at least $450,000 a year.
Kingman Mayor Elizabeth Madden said 82 percent of proceeds will go to capital improvements, with 18 percent for economic development.
The new sales tax takes effect Jan. 1.
Textron eliminating 750 Cessna, Beechcraft jobs
NEW YORK (AP) - Just over a month after buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion, Textron announced 750 job cuts at that company and at its Cessna division.
The layoffs will occur over the next 60 days. Both aircraft makers are based in Wichita, Kan.
Management and non-management jobs will be eliminated, the company said.
Textron Inc., based in Providence, R.I., expects about $4.6 billion in annual revenue from the combination of Cessna and Beechcraft.
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