Local briefs

Smoking motor causes fieldhouse evacuation

An overheated air handling system motor caused the evacuation of Allen Fieldhouse Thursday afternoon. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical personnel, above, were called to the scene.

Mark Bradford, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical deputy chief, said smoke from the overheated motor, which was on the southwest corner of the third floor of the fieldhouse, was the reason for the evacuation.

The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. Bradford said there was no damage from the smoke.


Teacher facing charges resigns from district

Wayne Kruse, a teacher accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the local teachers union, will remain on the school district’s payroll through June 30.

Board members voted Thursday to accept Kruse’s resignation upon his waiving his due-process rights. Kruse has been suspended with pay since Jan. 11.

“He tendered his resignation,” Supt. Randy Weseman said. “It was accepted; it’s over.”

The decision, Weseman said, protects the district from paying additional legal fees and allows it to begin the processes for replacing Kruse. As long as Kruse’s status with the district was subject to appeal, his teaching position could not be filled.

Kruse, a sixth-grade teacher at Quail Run School, has been with the district since 1992. His salary: $37,231.

His preliminary hearing on theft and forgery charges is 2 p.m. May 9 in Douglas County District Court.


Kansas abortions drop

The number of abortions performed in Kansas dropped in 2004, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Thursday. More than half of those procedures were performed on out-of-state residents — the first time that has happened since 1973.

The state hosted 11,427 abortions in 2004, KDHE said, down from 11,697 in 2003. The recent peak was 1999, when 12,445 abortions were performed in Kansas.

Nearly 6,000 came to Kansas from out of state for abortions; about 4,600 were from Missouri.

The report said 79 abortions were performed on patients under the age of 15; 1,942 were for women between the ages of 15 and 19 years old.

Douglas County was home to 393 women who received abortions, KDHE reported. Johnson County led the state with 1,376.

Links to the 13-page report:



Filmmaker to speak on U.S.-Japanese relations

An Emmy-winning filmmaker will speak April 11 at Kansas University about relations between the United States and Japan.

John Nathan, whose humorous film on how Kentucky Fried Chicken cracked the Japanese market won an Emmy, will discuss “Japan Unbound: The Unraveling of U.S.-Japanese Relations” at 7:30 p.m. at the Dole Institute of Politics. His appearance is the fourth annual Grant Goodman distinguished lecture in Japanese studies.

Nathan is professor of Japanese cultural studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He also is a book translator and author and has written and produced 40 documentaries on Japanese society, entrepreneurship and management.

Nathan’s film, “The Colonel Comes to Japan,” will be screened at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Parlors Room at the Kansas Union. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion including Michael Baskett, assistant professor of theater and film, Grant Goodman, retired history professor, and Bill Tsutsui, associate professor of history.

Telescope with KU mirror to be dedicated

A new telescope that includes the mirror from a telescope formerly housed at Kansas University will be dedicated during a ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Clyde Tombaugh telescope will be located at Farpoint Observatory, which is at Mission Valley High School near Eskridge. The Northeast Kansas Amateur Astronomer’s League received a grant to use the 27-inch mirror from a former KU telescope to create a new instrument that will detect and track asteroids.

In 1939, the KU telescope was refurbished by Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto.

The new telescope was built by ScopeCraft in Utah. It was delivered to the Farpoint Observatory earlier this month.