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Wichita to host Special Olympics North America softball tournament -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Via Christi to offer 2 events to help people enroll for insurance -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Sedgwick County withdraws from National Association of Counties -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

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Jury acquits man for aggravated assault -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Second police officer to appeal firing to City Council -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

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Drop, Cover, Hold On -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

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Kansas Senate committee hears from medical marijuana supporters -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

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Meetings to discuss goals of education -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Wichita City Council could vote on marijuana issue Tuesday -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Salina woman's bank card fraudulently used -1/16/2015, 4:59 PM

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Wichita City Council votes 5-2 to move ahead with library plans -1/13/2015, 2:50 PM

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Mahindra to launch Midwest distribution center in Lyons -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

County commission votes Shadwick chairman -1/13/2015, 2:44 PM

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No-till farming focus of winter conference in Salina -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Negative publicity costly to county -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Hutch man pleads guilty to assault on officer -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Final person sentenced in connection with beating of Salina woman -1/7/2015, 10:59 AM

City Council to consider higher storm water utility fees -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

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Sylvia home deemed total loss after fire -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

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Man arrested in connection with alleged rape -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

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Cold front plunges much of Kansas into deep freeze -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Access TV looking to increase quality -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

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Santa Claus welcome year-round at Hutch home -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

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Kan. death has spurred work on virus -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Hospice rep goes to bat for nonprofit -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Cirque du Soleil coming to Wichita -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

V-Plan transmission line now in service -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Plains pupils: Pluto's a planet -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch United Way campaign slips further from goal -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch inmate charged with sexual assault -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Colorado teenager injured in 1-vehicle wreck on I-70 -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Salina Journal hires attorney to pursue names of county commission candidates -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Hays resident to sign copies of his book in Salina -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Grandview Plaza shows another clean audit -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Eighth-grader earns educational opportunity -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

koch121514 -12/15/2014, 9:56 AM

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Michael McDonald brings soulful sounds of Christmas to Stiefel Theatre -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

McCarville enjoyed Kan. Supreme Court work -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

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Abilene's Garfield Elementary has potential -12/5/2014, 5:54 PM

Man arrested for shoplifting at Salina Walmart -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Former school counselor sentenced for rape of 13-year-old boy -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

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Kansas highway projects to proceed as state grapples with budget -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

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Defendant in Fairmount Park attack now charged with capital murder -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

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Foster dad pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in baby's death in hot car -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

WSU to dedicate upgraded lab to study electrical power -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wilbur Middle School employee placed on leave after arrest -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wichita investors announce plan for southeast Kansas casino -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

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Kan. utility regulators approve operations changes

Published on -7/3/2013, 6:48 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The commission that regulates utilities in Kansas on Tuesday approved changes in its operations after replacing its top staff member and facing allegations it violated the state's Open Meetings Act.

The changes approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission included scheduling two public meetings a week to handle routine business, rather than just one, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/13k2oqh ). The KCC also will require that major staff changes be reviewed by all three commission members.

"There has to be opportunity for input," said commissioner Thomas Wright, the lone KCC member not appointed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

But the KCC also agreed to delegate day-to-day responsibility for making future personnel changes to Chairman Mark Sievers, who said he will continue to coordinate decisions with the governor's office. Sievers said it would not be accurate to describe the KCC as a "free standing" agency from the executive branch.

Wright said the KCC's capacity to make appropriate regulatory decisions in telecommunications, oil and gas, transportation and electric industries could be compromised if it becomes dedicated to rubber-stamping the governor's decisions.

Wright agreed to delegate day-to-day personnel responsibilities to Sievers on the condition that any legal settlements with former employees not remain confidential.

Sievers confirmed that last month he removed Patti Petersen-Klein from the KCC executive director's position. The move came after The Capital-Journal published contents of a consultant's report based on interviews and surveys of KCC employees.

In the report, Petersen-Klein described the KCC's staff as dysfunctional, while employees criticized her management style. The consultants concluded that the rift between her and the staff couldn't be repaired.

Days later, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor filed an open meetings lawsuit against the commission over its approval of a rate increase for the water district of a small Salina housing development.

Taylor's complaint questioned the KCC's practice of issuing regulatory orders without having a public meeting and vote, by having an attorney confer with each member individually and issue a decision reflecting the majority's views. The KCC defended the practice but voted last week to abandon it indefinitely.

Commissioner Shari Feist-Albrecht proposed scheduling more public meetings to handle routine business, saying it would lessen the need for "pop-up" public sessions called on short notice.

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