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Headlines for Friday, August 25, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Topeka Jury Rejects Bias Claim Against Kobach's Office 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Jurors have rejected a former employee's claim that religious discrimination was key factor in her firing from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office. The jurors sided Thursday with the office and chief Kobach deputy Eric Rucker in former employee Courtney Canfield's federal lawsuit. The secretary of state's office had argued that performance issues led to Canfield's firing in November 2013 after 9½ months. Canfield learned of her firing through her grandmother, who was a friend of Rucker. The grandmother testified that Rucker told her that Canfield's lack of regular church attendance was a reason for her firing. Rucker testified church attendance was not a factor. He said the subject came up only when Canfield's grandmother mentioned it in telling him that Canfield's life was a mess.

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Kansas City Confederate Memorial Removed After Vandalism

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Crews are removing an 83-year-old Confederate memorial from a grassy area along Ward Parkway in Kansas City. Workers began taking down the 9-foot tall monument with benches on either side this (FRI) morning. The Missouri Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy asked Kansas City Parks and Recreation officials to move the monument to a safer place. The request came after someone painted what appeared to be a red hammer and sickle on the "Loyal Women of the Old South" memorial last week. Crews covered it with plywood boards Sunday to prevent further graffiti until it could be relocated. The memorial was erected in 1934 to recognize women who supported the Confederacy. A private, anonymous donor is paying for the removal.

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Police Identify Victim in Topeka's 19th Homicide of 2017 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting at home in eastern Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that police identified the victim as 32-year-old Eric Plummer, of Topeka. Police say Plummer was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting around 3 p.m. Thursday. The shooter reportedly fled on foot in a southwest direction. No arrests have been made. The homicide is the 19th of 2017 in Topeka and the second in less than a week. Kenneth Leray Vetaw was killed last weekend. No arrests have been made in that homicide. 

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State Senator Tyson Enters Race for Kansas 2nd Congressional District Seat 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A conservative state senator is the latest Republican to enter the race to succeed retiring GOP U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins. Kansas state Senator Caryn Tyson of Parker announced her candidacy Thursday for the 2nd Congressional District seat that Jenkins has held since 2009. Tyson and her husband own and operate a ranch in eastern Kansas' Linn County. Tyson said in a news release that it was crucial to "embrace the President's call to repeal and replace Obamacare, secure our borders, and pass comprehensive tax reform to cut taxes." Other Republicans in the race are state Representative Kevin Jones of Wellsville, state Senator Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth and Basehor City Councilman Vernon Fields. On the Democratic side, former Kansas House member Paul Davis of Lawrence and Neosho County resident Kelly Standley are running. 

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Former Kansas Lieutenant Governor Tom Docking Dies at 63 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Lieutenant Governor Tom Docking's law firm says the Wichita attorney and son and grandson of governors has died. He was 63. Docking died Thursday night after battling cancer. His death was confirmed by A.J. Schwartz, the CEO of Docking's law firm. Other details were not immediately available. Docking served as lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1987 during Democratic Gov. John Carlin's second term. He was a member of the state's most prominent Democratic family. His father, Robert Docking, was governor from 1967 to 1975, and his grandfather, George Docking, held the office from 1957 to 1961. Tom Docking was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1986 but lost to Republican Mike Hayden. His wife, Jill, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1996 and lieutenant governor in 2014.

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Kansas Casino Generates Less Revenue Than Expected 

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A new, state-owned casino in southeast Kansas is trimming the hours it runs table games and cutting staff after failing to generate as much revenue as expected. The Joplin Globe reports that Kansas Crossing in Pittsburg was expected to rake in about $3 million monthly. In its first four months of operation, the casino has generated between $2 million and $2.4 million monthly. General Manager Doug Fisher says the casino has reduced hours to reflect customer interest and has laid off 10 employees out of about 400 staff members. Keith Kocher is the director of gaming facilities with the Kansas Lottery. He says casinos typically see revenue drop in the summer because regular customers are on vacation. Kocher says the state receives just over 20 percent of the casino's revenue.

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Sorority at Kansas Closes Down After Nearly 95 Years 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas sorority is closing after more than 90 years on the Lawrence campus.The international headquarters of Alpha Gamma Delta says its local Epsilon Beta chapter is closing for good. It was established in Kansas in 1922.The Lawrence Journal-World reports a news release attributed the closing to "challenges" in membership recruitment but it did not elaborate. More than 2,300 women have been initiated into the sorority chapter.

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Couple Gives $3 Million for K-State Library Renovation 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A couple from Florida has donated $3 million for renovation of Kansas State University's Hale Library. The university said the gift from Dave and Ellie Everitt, of Marco Island, Florida, is first major donation toward the $6.5 million first-floor renovation and modernization project. The Manhattan Mercury reports the renovation will create a more accessible entrance. It also will add group study spaces, instruction rooms, more spaces for student services, exhibit space for special collections, a café and an event space. Ellie Everitt graduated from Kansas State in 1973 with a degree in clothing and textiles. Dave Everitt earned his degree in industrial engineering from the College of Engineering in 1975. The Everitts previously gave $2 million to the School of Leadership Studies and $1 million to the Kansas State Welcome Center.

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Last Defendant in Pittsburg Student's Death Sentenced 

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The last of five defendants in the death of a Pittsburg State University student has been sentenced. Tyler Smith was sentenced Friday to two years and four months in prison for conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery as his role in the 2014 death of 20-year-old Taylor Thomas. Smith also was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution with other defendants in the case. The Pittsburg Morning-Sun reports Smith was accused of planning a robbery that led to Thomas's death. Authorities say Smith did not participate in the actual robbery. The other defendants broke into a home to steal money and drugs that belonged to Thomas's roommate. The roommate escaped from the house but Thomas was shot and killed. The other defendants have all pleaded guilty to various charges in the case.

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Plea Entered in Kansas Shooting That Wounded Good Samaritan 

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to an attempted robbery outside a Walmart in Kansas that ended with a good Samaritan wounded and a second suspect dead. The Kansas City Star reports that 28-year-old Arthur Fred Wyatt III, of Overland Park, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that included second-degree attempted murder. He was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder. Investigators say Wyatt and another man attacked a woman on Sept. 11, 2016, as she was putting her child in a safety seat in the parking lot of a Walmart in Shawnee, a suburb of Kansas City. A man in the lot intervened and was shot several times. Shawnee police say another Good Samaritan shot and killed one of the attackers, John Simmons of Kansas City. Sentencing is set for November 2.

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Officers Involved in Deadly Shooting in Olathe

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities are investigating after officers were involved in a deadly shooting in Olathe. Johnson County authorities say 26-year-old Ciara Howard, who is from the Kansas City metro area, was shot Wednesday evening while police and deputies were trying to serve a warrant to her. Olathe police and Johnson County Sheriff deputies say Howard, who is from the Kansas City metro area, resisted arrest and was in a standoff that lasted several hours. When officers eventually tried to arrest her, Howard allegedly threatened them with a weapon. Two Olathe police officers and one deputy fired at Howard, killing her. No officers or deputies were injured.

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3 Dead in Crash on Kansas Highway 10 Near Olathe

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say three young men from Olathe died in a crash in their hometown. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash happened around 3:15 a.m. Thursday on Kansas 10 when a car crashed into a guardrail. The victims were identified as 21-year-old Darius J. Thomas, 24-year-old Nicholas A. Sands, and 21-year-old Dalton R. Suggs. The patrol says Thomas was driving and lost control of his car for an unknown reason. The crash closed the eastbound lanes of the highway for several hours before it was reopened about noon. 

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Escaped Inmates Seen in Northeastern Oklahoma 

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) — The search for two inmates who escaped after overpowering prison transport officers in northwest Oklahoma moved to northeast Oklahoma after they were spotted at a convenience store in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa. Major County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Swymeler said Thursday that 32-year-old Andrew Foy and 37-year-old Darren Walp were seen on surveillance video Wednesday at a Quik Trip along Interstate 44, more than 130 miles from where the escaped. Swymeler said the two could be heading to Pennsylvania or Delaware, where both have ties, or could still be in Oklahoma where Walp has ties. Swymeler says they were driving a semitrailer stolen from the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno when they stopped in Sapulpa and left the trailer in the store parking lot. Authorities say Foy was being taken to Wyoming and Walp to Kansas, both to face charges for nonviolent offenses, when they escaped early Tuesday.

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Kansas Man Charged with Murder in Death of Infant Son 

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have charged a Greenwood County man with first-degree murder and child abuse after his 6-month-old son died in a Wichita hospital. The Emporia Gazette reports that 22-year-old Benny Clark of Reece was charged Thursday in the death of his son Cooper Clark. He is being held on a $1 million bond. Deputies responded to the Greenwood County Hospital emergency room on Tuesday for a report of a possible child abuse. The boy was later taken to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Deputies learned the next day that he had died.

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Former Topeka AP Correspondent Lew Ferguson Dies at 83

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Lew Ferguson, a journalist whose 42-year career included nearly three decades as the Associated Press supervisory correspondent in Topeka, Kansas, has died. He was 83. Ferguson's daughter said he died Thursday night at an Oklahoma City hospital. No cause of death was given. He was an Oklahoma native who returned there after working for AP in Topeka and serving a four-year term on the Kansas Board of Regents. Ferguson became the Topeka correspondent in 1970 and helped train some 50 young writers before retiring in 1999. He was inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2012. His long career in journalism included coverage of professional baseball and football in Minnesota and Kansas City, including coverage of three World Series and the Super Bowl in 1970. 

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West Virginia Leads 21 States - Including Kansas - Opposing Gun Restrictions 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's attorney general has filed a brief on behalf of a 21-state coalition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments against Maryland gun restrictions. The group is urging the top court to overturn the Fourth Circuit ruling and ensure Congress couldn't reinstate a similar ban nationally. The Maryland statute prohibits sale and possession of certain semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines. West Virginia allows them. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says banning certain types of firearms "steps on" the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Seven states have similar bans. Other states joining in the brief are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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Colorado Rockies Rally in 8th Inning to Beat Royals 3-2 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Rockies' Pat Valaika hit a two-run homer with two out in the eighth inning and Greg Holland finished for his 36th save in Colorado's 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. The Rockies snapped a four-game losing streak with just their fifth victory in 17 games. Royals' starter Jake Junis limited the Rockies to one run and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings. He matched his career high with seven strikeouts and walked one. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three August starts, walking one and striking out 16 in 19 1-3 innings. Whit Merrifield and Brandon Moss led off the Royals' first and second innings with home runs. It was Merrifield's third career leadoff home run and his eighth hit in 15 at-bats. Moss hit his 17th home run, 14 of them with the bases empty.

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