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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
December 1, 2021

New Mexico governor seeks pay increase for public schools

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday she will pursue a 7% pay increase for educators and staff at K-12 public schools as well as higher minimum salaries for teachers at various career stages.

The proposal would boost salaries for more than 50,000 public school workers across the state at an annual cost of about $280 million. The Legislature convenes in January to craft a general fund spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2022.

“New Mexico educators deserve better compensation,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “It’s as simple as that. ... I want our educators to be the best-compensated in the region.”

The governor’s office estimated the proposed changes would increase the statewide average for teacher pay to just over $64,000 a year.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/business-education-new-mexico-legislature-teacher-pay-9022a3d392eb94514acbeb6d4c1f677c

December 1, 2021

Kansas man who took video of himself in Capitol riot pleads guilty to misdemeanor

A northeast Kansas man who took video of himself in the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to a single misdemeanor charge.

Mark Roger Rebegila, of St. Marys, entered a guilty plea to parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol building. The hearing was held via video conference in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“Are you pleading guilty because you are, in fact, guilty, sir?” asked U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta.

“Yes, your honor,” Rebegila said.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 10. Rebegila faces a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. He also is required to pay $500 in restitution for damage to the Capitol building. Prosecutors say repairs to the building totaled about $1.5 million.

Read more at: https://www.kansas.com/news/state/article256243842.html

December 1, 2021

Fired Kansas health secretary says he was 'Fauci'd' by COVID politics

The job of guiding Kansas through a generation-defining public health crisis for nearly two years fell to Dr. Lee Norman. Until recently, and suddenly, it didn’t.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly recently fired him as secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment after months of reducing his role as the face of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She then quickly replaced him with Janet Stanek, a longtime hospital administrator who’s worked for the past 21 years at Stormont-Vail Health in Topeka.

Stanek will take the helm of the agency on Monday.

During the first several months of the outbreak, Norman, dressed in a white lab coat, was at Kelly’s side at widely broadcast briefings.

Read more: https://www.kcur.org/news/2021-11-30/fired-kansas-health-secretary-says-he-was-faucied-by-covid-politics

December 1, 2021

Kansas legislators drill into state Board of Education's tweak to district accreditation rules

TOPEKA — House and Senate education committee members chiseled away at the Kansas State Board of Education’s latest revision to school district accreditation rules and regulations, alleging objective measures were dropped in favor of subjective language not effective in promoting student achievement.

Rep. Kristey Williams of August and Sen. Renee Erickson of Wichita did their best Tuesday to define changes in the past year to the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation Model as destructive to the process of evaluating districts. They argued it would be beneficial to consider clear statistical evidence of kindergarten readiness, graduation rates or post-secondary success of students when deciding on renewal of district accreditation.

In the new standards, only assessment of social-emotional development was concretely affiliated with accreditation of the 286 public school districts in Kansas.

“We’re hearing the state board say achievement is important,” said Williams, chairwoman of the House Education Committee. “When we see things like the rules and regulations and the changes that were made, achievement is absent. It’s hidden. It’s buried. I don’t know if that’s intentional or unintentional.”

Read more: https://kansasreflector.com/2021/12/01/kansas-legislators-drill-into-state-board-of-educations-tweak-to-district-accreditation-rules/

December 1, 2021

U.S. Rep. Davids denounces gerrymandering of congressional district boundaries

TOPEKA — U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids challenged Wednesday the work of politicians motivated by personal and partisan gain to create a gerrymandered map of congressional districts in Kansas that effectively silences the electoral voice of voters in the Kansas City region.

Davids is seeking re-election in the 3rd District anchored by Wyandotte and Johnson counties, but boundaries of all four districts in Kansas could be significantly altered by the Kansas Legislature before voters head to the polls for the August primary and November general elections.

“There are leaders in the Kansas Legislature who have explicitly stated their motivation to gerrymander maps to their party’s political advantage,” she said. “I know people are tired of feeling like billionaires have more of a say than they do in our democracy, tired of having their voices taken away by partisan gerrymandering.”

She said some elected public officials were placing their partisan political goals above the public’s interests, which was “truly insulting to folks that not only want but deserve to have their voices listened to.”

Read more: https://kansasreflector.com/2021/12/01/u-s-rep-davids-denounces-gerrymandering-of-congressional-district-boundaries/

December 1, 2021

Well known Topeka attorney and philanthropist loses three-year battle with cancer

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Dan Lykins, a well-known Topeka attorney and philanthropist lost his three-year battle with cancer Thanksgiving night.

He was 75 years-old.

Lykins’ daughter Danya tells 13 NEWS her father endured a total of 107 chemotherapy treatments after his diagnosis and worked as a personal injury attorney up to the time of his death.

In 2002, Lykins ran to represent Kansas’ Second Congressional District as a Democrat, but fell short to Republican Jim Ryun. He also mounted an unsuccessful bid to become Kansas Attorney General.

Lykins served as a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, and used his personal success as a lawyer to contribute to several non-profit and charitable causes across Northeast Kansas.

Read more: https://www.wibw.com/2021/11/26/well-known-topeka-attorney-philanthropist-loses-three-year-battle-with-cancer/

Lykins helped organize Kansas presidential campaigns from Bobby Kennedy to Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. He served as treasurer of the Kansas Democratic Party from 1991 to 2010 and chaired the Clinton-Gore and Hillary Clinton Kansas campaigns, according to a biography compiled by the Kansas Historical Society.

December 1, 2021

Feds blast back at Rep. Fortenberry's claim that he was 'set up'

Federal prosecutors have fired back against claims that the FBI “set up” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, saying that the only set-up was when the Lincoln congressman “intentionally, repeatedly and proactively” lied to investigators.

In court briefs filed Tuesday, attorneys with the Central California U.S. District Attorney’s Office asked a judge to reject motions by Fortenberry’s defense lawyers to dismiss three felony indictments alleging he misled and lied to federal investigators.

“Contrary to defendant’s revisionist and misleading re-tellings, the only person who ‘set up’ defendant for this prosecution was defendant himself ...” stated one brief, filed by two lead prosecutors in the case.

Chad Kolton, a spokesman for Fortenberry’s reelection campaign, said Wednesday that the “attack” on the congressman’s character from prosecutors doesn’t change the fact that the FBI instructed one of its informants to call Fortenberry in 2018 to tell him something he didn’t know — that $30,000 in contributions he had received in 2016 were illegal.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/local/feds-blast-back-at-rep-fortenberrys-claim-that-he-was-set-up/article_877a28f7-6483-55f8-8a87-2cbad4ba87d7.html
(Lincoln Journal Star)

December 1, 2021

Big raises for Nebraska corrections officers already bringing in applicants

Two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts’ administration announced substantial pay bumps for state corrections officers and other state security workers, the higher pay appears to be spurring more interest in open jobs.

The raises were announced Nov. 10, with hopes that they might help recruit and retain employees and chip away at the prisons’ deepening staffing crisis.

As of last month, about a third of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services’ “protective services” positions — corrections corporals, sergeants and caseworkers — were vacant. The increasingly sparse staffing has spurred myriad problems, including record overtime costs, limits on inmates’ activities, safety issues, and “staffing emergencies” at prisons in Lincoln and Tecumseh that allow for 12-hour shifts.

Assuming the union approves the agreement, starting wages for corrections corporals and prison caseworkers will rise from $20 an hour to $28 an hour. That equates to a bump from an annual salary of $41,600 to $58,240, assuming a 40-hour workweek for 52 weeks a year. Sergeants will get a bump from $24 an hour to $32 an hour under the agreement, which would equate to a raise from $49,920 a year to $66,560.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/big-raises-for-nebraska-corrections-officers-already-bringing-in-applicants/article_add04eac-959d-51cf-bd19-38ccccc68576.html
(Lincoln Journal Star)

December 1, 2021

Two Nebraska county GOP organizations censure Sen. Deb Fischer for infrastructure vote

The Dawes and Sheridan County Republican parties in northwestern Nebraska's Panhandle voted to censure Republican Sen. Deb Fischer for her vote to enact the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

The two party organizations met in a joint session in Rushville in October and voted 23-2 to censure the senator.

"This vote was taken after (an earlier meeting in September) that included a conference call with Senator Fischer and her explanation of why she voted for this bill," the county organizations stated in a news release.

Fischer was one of 19 Senate Republicans who voted for the bill that was approved by the Senate on a 69-30 vote.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/two-nebraska-county-gop-organizations-censure-sen-deb-fischer-for-infrastructure-vote/article_d739d3b6-0546-5e47-9a1c-9fd280ce60dd.html
(Lincoln Journal Star)

December 1, 2021

Jury orders Children's Hospital to pay $26.1 million for failing to treat infant's seizures

OMAHA -- A jury awarded a record $26.1 million medical malpractice judgment Monday against Children's Hospital & Medical Center for failing to properly treat a child who suffered seizures after a fall at a Sarpy County day care.

After a two-week trial and two days of deliberations, a jury ruled that Children's Hospital and Dr. Heidi Killefer improperly discharged Vivianne T. Marousek after the head trauma that resulted in the then-11-month-old suffering seizures at the hospital.

An earlier emergency room physician had properly treated Vivianne, said Patrick and Joseph Cullan, the Omaha attorneys who represented Vivianne and her parents, Andrea and Jacob Marousek. But when Killefer took over her care in January 2017, she concluded that the child had suffered a one-off seizure that wouldn't persist, Joe Cullan said Monday. She released the child from the hospital.

Within 48 hours of her parents taking her home, the child suffered severe seizures and irreparable brain damage, Cullan said.

Read more: https://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/crime-and-courts/jury-orders-childrens-hospital-to-pay-26-1-million-for-failing-to-treat-infants-seizures/article_de808166-e9ea-56bd-970d-0d3baa871f74.html
(Lincoln Journal Star)

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Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
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About TexasTowelie

Retired/disabled middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

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