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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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TEXTRON-JOB CUTS

Textron eliminating 750 Cessna, Beechcraft jobs

NEW YORK (AP) - Just over a month after buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion, Textron has announced 750 job cuts at that company and at its Cessna division. About 600 of the jobs are based in Kansas.

The company says management and non-management jobs will be eliminated over the next 60 days.

Wichita also endured extensive job cuts after Boeing Co. said it would shut down facilities in the area in response to cuts in defense spending. The move affected more than 2,000 jobs. The company is now in the final stages of closing defense facilities in the area.

In December, Textron said it hadn't made a decision about layoffs following the acquisition, but it acknowledged restructuring and other moves were possible. The company said the combination of Beechcraft and Cessna would be good news for Wichita because Beechcraft would have a stronger parent company.

NEWTON-AEROSPACE COMPANY

Aerospace firm chooses site for new Kansas plant

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita-based aerospace company has chosen the suburb of Newton as the new home of its chemical subsidiary.

The Newton Kansan reports Aviation Business International will house its ABI Chemicals division in a 20,000-square-foot facility. The plant will be built at the Newton City-County Airport, near the Kansas Logistics Park.

The ABI Group of Companies supplies products to airlines worldwide, including Delta, Air France and British Airways.

The new plant will produce next-generation coatings used in aerospace manufacturing processes, being developed in conjunction with Wichita State University's National Institute for Aviation Research. Operations are expected to begin in October, with 14 employees by the end of the year.

The city of Newton will build the plant and lease it to ABI Chemicals.

GUN RIGHTS

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.

HEALTH CARE-KANSAS

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.

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.

SOLDIER-SOCIAL SECURITY PLEA

Soldier pleads guilty to falsely taking benefits

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Fort Riley soldier has admitted that he accepted disability payments he wasn't eligible to receive.

The U.S. Attorney's office says in a statement that 37-year-old James Scott Nickerson pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of making a false official statement to a federal agency.

Prosecutors say in October 2009, Nickerson applied for disability benefits under the Wounded Warrior Program. He claimed he was unable to work because of "mental disorders" he developed while serving in Iraq. But he concealed that he was working full time for the Army in various jobs, including as a platoon sergeant.

Nickerson admitted being paid nearly $72,000 in Social Security disability benefits he shouldn't have received. He has already agreed to pay restitution.

He will be sentenced Sept. 8.

RECRUITING VETERANS

Governor touts Nebraska jobs for veterans

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Dave Heineman is hoping to lure military veterans to Nebraska with a campaign touting good jobs for vets.

"The Good Life for Veterans" campaign seeks to attract military veterans and their families from other states to Nebraska. The initiative is a partnership between state government, business and veterans groups including the Nebraska Department of Labor, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, private business employers and others.

Nebraska employers and other representatives are attending a series of military career fairs in several states, including Kansas.

The initiative began after a Nebraska Chamber poll found that more than half of nearly 450 private business respondents had experienced difficulty hiring qualified employees during the past year.

Nebraska's unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation.

PLAYGROUND-KNIFE THREAT

Salina boy accused of playground knife threat

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - An 11-year-old Salina boy is in legal trouble after a group of children told police he threatened them with a knife.

KSAL-AM reports the incident occurred Tuesday evening on a school playground.

Police say the boy pulled out a butterfly knife with a 4-inch blade and waved it at four other children during an argument over his bicycle. The children - two 9-year-olds and two 11-year-olds - also told police the boy threatened to go home and get a gun.

The boy was arrested on four counts each of aggravated assault and making criminal threats. He was later released to his parents.

KANSAS CITY-NEW AIRLINE

Spirit Airlines to begin flying out of Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Spirit Airlines will begin offering five daily flights out of Kansas City in August.

The low-budget airline announced Wednesday that it would offer flights to Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, beginning Aug. 7. A roundtrip flight to Houston will begin Aug. 8.

The airline, based in Miramar, Fla., offers inexpensive flights but also charges for amenities such as soft drinks, carry-on bags and assigned seats. It also has more seats, which don't recline, in its airplanes.

Kansas City will be the 56th city in Spirit's network.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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