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Oliver Morrison / The Wichita Eagle

Kansas Man Granted Clemency By Obama Adjusts To Freedom After 28 Years In Prison

On his last full day in office, President Barack Obama granted clemency to 330 drug offenders. That brings the total number of prisoners whose sentences were commuted under Obama to nearly 1700 -- more than the 11 previous presidents combined. Richard Reser is one of those 1700. He returned to Topeka in December and recently spoke to Wichita Eagle reporter Oliver Morrison about how he's adjusting to life after prison.

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The Kansas Board of Regents approved a proposal this week to form an affiliation between Wichita State University and Wichita Area Technical College. The plan will now go before the state Legislature.

Under the affiliation proposal, WATC would become the WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology, and its employees would become WSU employees.

WATC would remain a separate legal entity and continue to provide two-year associate’s degrees.

Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer has been in Washington this week attending inaugural events, but he’s also been speaking to members of Congress about the state’s privatized Medicaid program, known as KanCare. In a statement Friday, Colyer called KanCare a model for other states looking to overhaul Medicaid services.

That struck a nerve with the top Democrat in the Kansas House. Minority Leader Jim Ward points to a letter this week from the federal government that listed problems in KanCare. The feds also denied Kansas an extension of its privatized version of Medicaid.

Ten of thousands of people are headed to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Women's March on Washington on Saturday. But not everyone who wants to march will be in Washington—as many as 1,000 people are expected to march in Wichita.

Organizers of the Air Capital Women's March initially expected a handful of people to attend. But with the help of Facebook, the event grew immensely.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Some top Republican legislators in Kansas are looking to cut aid to public schools significantly to close a shortfall in the state's current budget by June 30.

Their goal is to avoid the accounting moves proposed by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and used in the past to cover budget holes.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn said Friday that she's working on a bill to cut spending to close the projected $342 million shortfall in the state's current budget. The Sedgwick Republican said she hopes to have it drafted next week.

Becky McCray / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a ninth case of reported voter fraud this week, criminally charging a man who allegedly voted illegally in Kansas and Texas.

A criminal complaint filed in Shawnee County District Court charges Preston G. Christensen with three misdemeanor counts of improper voting between Oct. 19, 2012, and Nov. 6, 2012, in Shawnee County, Kansas.

Little is known about Christensen, as Kobach’s filing doesn’t offer any personal details about the voter. Efforts to find Christensen in Kansas and Texas were unsuccessful.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Lawmakers in the Kansas House are considering whether they should repeal a law that exempts more than 300,000 business owners from state income taxes. One major question is if the policy is creating jobs? At a meeting on Thursday, they heard conflicting accounts.

Mike Bosworth is president of NorthWind Technical Services in Sabetha, an industrial design and automation company. He told the committee they’ve added jobs since the tax cut, and a tax hike might reverse that.

In a blow to teachers in Kansas, the state Supreme Court Friday upheld a 2014 law that stripped educators of due process before being fired.

In a unanimous ruling the court rejected an appeal by the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) that argued the law violated the constitutional ban of one bill covering more than one subject. KNEA claimed since the bill covered both appropriations and policy the act was unconstitutional.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants lawmakers to give him the authority to create a two-tiered voting system in Kansas. That would mean people who register to vote at the DMV and don’t provide a citizenship document, as required under state law, would only be allowed to vote in federal races.

Kansas voter registration laws still require proof of citizenship, but federal courts have ruled that the state can’t require such proof when people register to vote at the DMV or when they use a federal registration form. Kobach says that bypasses the state’s voter registration rules.

Oliver Morrison / The Wichita Eagle

On his last full day in office, President Barack Obama granted clemency to 330 drug offenders. That brings the total number of prisoners whose sentences were commuted under Obama to nearly 1700 -- more than the 11 previous presidents combined.

Richard Reser is one of those 1700. He returned to Topeka in December and recently spoke to Wichita Eagle reporter Oliver Morrison about how he's adjusting to life after prison.

Courtesy Paul Vick

When Donald Trump is sworn in as president on Friday, a family from Wichita will be there.

Paul Vick and his wife, Ann, are taking their two teenage children to see the presidential inauguration ceremony and parade in Washington, D.C.  

Vick says he has been supporting Trump since the caucus, and wouldn’t miss this opportunity.

"I think that bringing our kids to an inaugural event is a tremendous opportunity for them to get a worldview of a political event such as this," Vick says.

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Commentary

A Musical Life: Jack Korbel

Jack Korbel lead The Jack Korbel Confluence and has released albums such as Ingenious Plans and So Much Depends on the Weather . He is a Wichita State University graduate student studying speech-language pathology and holds a degree from WSU in English Literature.

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KMUW Music

Saturday, January 21

We'll hear Paul Thorn at the Old Settlers Inn. Blues, roots-rock with that hard-to-fine element that says “southern.”  Paul is gritty and graceful and a consummate storyteller.

Sunday, January 22

Hear fan favorite love songs from Anita Baker.  The soulful songstress reportedly took to twitter last week writing about her retirement.

“Lotta rumours out there. No Tour. No CD. #Retired#BeachBum#ThankUJesus.”

Baker added, “Jan 26th will celebrate my 59th BDay (lord willing) retirement was 1 of many goals/dreams #SuchaBlessing.”

“I still love 2 write & record music… its part of my DNA. But, im on a different road. #BeachBum.”

We’ll share some of her award-winning music Sunday at 6 pm on Soulsations

Album Cover Art

Thursday, January 19

We’ll hear selections from Spain’s 2016 release Carolina as well as music from Moreland & Arbuckle’s Promised Land or Bust.

Friday, January 20

On My Way is the latest from Kansas’ Split Lip Rayfield. Listen for selections from it as well as from Carrie Nation and The Speakeasy’s Hatchetations

Saturday, January 21

Monday 1.16.17

Night Train steps aside for two special programs in honor of Dr. King Day. In the first hour, a Night Lights special highlights jazz tributes to Dr. King from Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Mary Lou Williams and more. Then in hour two of the show, it’s a Blues and Beyond special with music from Dr. Billy Taylor, Paul Robson, Lucky Peterson, Eric Bibb and more.

(Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train all offer special programming tonight in honor of Dr. King Day.)

Monday, January 16

Global Village celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with songs dedicated to him and inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, along with songs that reflect human rights themes from artists from around the globe. Among the artists featured – Mavis and Pops Staples, Toots & the Maytals, the Soweto Gospel Choir and Judy Mowatt.

 (Global Village, Strange Currency and Night Train will all be doing special shows tonight in honor of King Day)

Tuesday, January 17

Noteworthy

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Medicaid Expansion Bill Introduced

Kansas lawmakers will consider a Medicaid expansion bill despite the anticipated repeal of Obamacare by Congress.

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