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Archive for Friday, January 28, 2005

Local briefs

January 28, 2005

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SpaceShipOne engineer to speak at KU Expo

A Kansas University graduate who served as an engineer on SpaceShipOne, above, will return to campus next month to speak at the university's annual Engineering Expo.

Douglas Shane was director of space flight operations for the craft, which won the coveted X Prize in October after becoming the first privately funded, manned spacecraft to break the barrier into space. Shane, who graduated from KU in 1982 with a degree in aerospace engineering, also was a test pilot for the project.

He will speak at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 25 at the Lied Center. The presentation is free and open to the public.

His speech kicks off the annual Engineering Expo, which will bring hundreds of high school students to campus for presentations, competitions and demonstrations centered on the theme "Engineering Studios: Behind the Scenes."

Congress

Tiahrt appointed to Intelligence Committee

Washington -- Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt was named Wednesday to the House Intelligence Committee by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

Tiahrt becomes the second Kansan to serve on an intelligence committee in Congress. Before his appointment was made public, Tiahrt called Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to share the news.

"Senator Roberts is a great chairman, and I look forward to working with him to promote communication between the House and Senate committees," Tiahrt said.

Tiahrt retains his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Health Department offering flu shots

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has about 300 doses of flu vaccine available for $10 a shot.

The shots are at a reduced cost because they were obtained through a federal program. The health department was charging $12 for children younger than 3 and $17 for all others.

The peak flu season in Kansas usually is late January through March. People can get a shot by going to the health department's immunization clinic. The clinic will be from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at the health department, 200 Maine.

Insurance claims will still be processed for those with Medicare, Medicaid or Healthwave. Those who are unable to pay for the dose of flu vaccine will not be denied a shot. Anyone with questions concerning the flu or flu vaccine should call the health department at 843-0721.

Woman dies in house fire

An early-morning fire northeast of Princeton on Thursday killed a 76-year-old woman.

According to a statement issued by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Lamar Forrer and his wife, Georgia, were awakened by smoke in their home after midnight. Lamar Forrer, 87, escaped and went to a neighbor's home to call 911, but Georgia Forrer was unable to get out.

The Franklin County 911 Center got a call on the fire at 1:34 a.m. By the time fire crews from Ohio and Richmond Townships arrived on the scene, the house was engulfed in flames.

The fire was brought under control by 3:15 a.m. A subsequent investigation of the structure revealed Georgia Forrer's body.

Officials said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Man hospitalized, jailed

A Lawrence man who was sent to a Kansas City area hospital after being found with head injuries in a downtown alley was booked into Douglas County Jail Thursday on two charges, including criminal use of a spring gun.

Lawrence Police spokesman Sgt. Dan Ward said Thursday afternoon that police believed the 38-year-old man's injuries were the result of an accidental fall, but the man was later booked into jail.

Police say the man hit his head on the ground when he fell sometime before 7:30 a.m. in the alley between Connecticut and Rhode Island streets south of Seventh Street. A city employee on his way to work called police after spotting the man injured on the ground.

Police initially said they didn't know what had caused the injuries. But after crime-scene investigators had studied the scene, the man was booked into Douglas County Jail on charges of criminal threat and criminal use of a spring gun.

Rep. Ryun reintroduces heritage bill in House

U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., this week reintroduced a House bill to designate Lawrence and 24 northeast Kansas counties a National Heritage Area that would promote the area's "Bleeding Kansas History."

Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, also Kansas Republicans, introduced the same bill this week in the Senate. If approved, the 24-county heritage area would be eligible for $1 million in annual federal funding for the next 10 years to develop attractions that promote and explain the area's role in events leading to the Civil War.

In Lawrence, a "heritage summit" to consider plans for the designation will be held 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at City Hall.

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