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Headlines for Friday, July 21, 2017

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

Hackers Had Access to Millions of Social Security Numbers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Records show a breach of a Kansas Department of Commerce data system gave hackers access to more than 5.5 million Social Security numbers in 10 states. The Kansas News Service reports records it obtained through an open records request show more than half a million of the 5.5 million Social Security numbers obtained by hackers were from Kansas. The records also show about 805,000 other accounts that didn't include Social Security numbers were exposed. The department will pay for credit monitoring for most of the victims. The suspicious activity was discovered March 12 by America's Job Link Alliance-TS, the commerce department division that operates the system. The FBI was contacted March 15. A commerce department representative didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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Union: Kansas Prison Forcing Officers to Work 16-Hour Shifts 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A union representing Kansas state employees says some officers at the state's maximum-security prison outside El Dorado are being required to work 16-hour shifts. The Kansas Organization of State Employees disclosed Friday that it filed a grievance earlier this month with Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood. KOSE Executive Director Robert Choromanski said the practice is dangerous. He also said it violates a bargaining agreement between the department and prison employees that keeps officers from being required to work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period. Choromanski said eight officers have complained to the union and the practice began in early July. An hours-long disturbance occurred at the El Dorado prison June 29. Department of Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment.

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Kansas Democratic Party Names Executive Director 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Democratic Party's new executive director is a lawyer who has worked on voting rights litigation. The party announced in a news release Thursday that Ethan Corson, a former U.S. Department of Commerce official, will take the party's top job beginning August 1. He previously worked on voter protection litigation for former President Obama's second campaign in Wisconsin in 2012 and for the Kansas Democratic Party in 2014. Party Chairman John Gibson says Corson's previous work is especially important at a time when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is working to tighten the state's voting laws. Kobach also is running for the GOP nomination for Kansas governor.

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Water Main Break in Emporia Prompts Widespread Advisories 

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued boil water advisories for 12 public water systems in Lyon and Coffey counties. The advisories were issued Thursday after a major water main break in Emporia left that city nearly without water. The health department says the line break caused a loss of pressure that could result in bacterial contamination in Emporia and other systems. The city of Emporia also is under a boil advisory. Others involved in the advisories include Admire, Allen, Coffee County Rural Water District 2E, Hartford, Lyon County water districts 1-5, Olpe and Park Place Communities Management in Lyon County. The advisory will be in effect until the line break issues can be resolved.

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Outsourcing Company Plans to Bring 400 Jobs to Wichita 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita officials say an outsourcing firm plans to bring about 400 jobs to the city. Mayor Jeff Longwell announced Thursday that Faneuil, a Virginia-based business services outsourcing firm will open a location in Wichita. The company plans to eventually move to the Union Station area downtown. The company says on its website that it employs about 5,500 people nationwide in more than 20 locations. Workforce Centers of South-Central Kansas will host a job fair related to the announcement Tuesday at the Wichita Workforce Center.

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El Dorado Inmate Stabbed This Week During Fight at Prison

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an inmate has been stabbed numerous times during a fight at a south-central Kansas prison. The Wichita Eagle reports that Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig said in a prepared statement that the victim received "several puncture wounds in an inmate-on-inmate altercation" around 7 p.m. Wednesday at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. The prison also was the scene of an hours-long disturbance last month in which emergency log books suggest inmates fought and that there was a fire. Fertig says the inmate who was hurt Wednesday received initial treatment at the prison before being transferred to an outside medical facility for "further evaluation and treatment." No other staff or inmate injuries were reported. The state's prison system has been grappling with significant staffing shortages.

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Missouri Inmate Dies After Being Placed in Restraint Chair 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a Missouri inmate after he was placed in a restraint chair.  The Jackson County (Missouri) sheriff's office said in a news release that the 35-year-old man was brought to the jail in Kansas City on a parole violation around 11 pm Thursday. The release says the inmate was evaluated by a nurse and placed in the restraint chair because of his "combative behavior" and to "prevent him from harming himself" or others. The release says national accreditation standards allow for the use of such a chair. The release says health and corrections staff checked him repeatedly during the 2.5 hours he was in the facility. The release says emergency staff was called after the man suffered a "health emergency." He was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

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Man Resentenced to Life in Killing of Kansas 18-Year-Old 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one of three men convicted in the killing of a Kansas woman initially left to die in a car's trunk has been resentenced.The Kansas City Star reports that 29-year-old Joseph Mattox won't be eligible for parole for 50 years under the life sentence imposed Wednesday after he waived his right to a jury trial. The Kansas Supreme Court tossed his original Hard 50 sentence because a judge, not a jury, imposed it. His attorney argues he should be eligible for parole after 25 years. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Keighley Alyea, of Overland Park, was attacked and thrown into a car's trunk in 2009 before being beaten and stabbed to death when she regained consciousness and began screaming. Her body was found in Missouri's Cass County.

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Man Charged in Killing of 66-Year-Old Man in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have upgraded charges against a suspect in a Topeka home invasion after the victim died from his injuries. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 31-year-old Howard Burchfiel, of Topeka, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated burglary in the death of 66-year-old Allen Wichman. His attorney, Matthew Works, didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press. Topeka police apprehended Burchfiel last month after a standoff. He initially was charged with aggravated battery. The home invasion left Wichman with life-threatening injuries, and he died July 14. Kansas Department of Corrections records show Burchfiel was released under supervision in March from Lansing Correctional Facility after being convicted in 2009 of aggravated assault, attempted first-degree murder and a third or subsequent conviction of driving under the influence.

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Rural Economic Survey Index for Midwest Drops Dramatically in July

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Drought conditions in some areas and weak grain prices are among factors weighing heavily on the rural economy in parts of 10 Plains and Western states. The overall Rural Mainstreet Index for the region plummeted to 40.7 in July from June's index of 50. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with any number under 50 indicating a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says July's was the largest one-month decline recorded in the index since November 2008, which was in the middle of the Great Recession. The confidence index, which reflects bankers' expectations for the economy six months out, slumped to 38.4 this month from 48.9 in June. Bankers from Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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5 Employees Resign from Southeast Kansas Humane Society 

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Five employees of the Southeast Kansas Humane Society have resigned, saying budget constraints, lack of staff training and job responsibility changes put animals at risk. Three former employees tell The Joplin Globe that they could no longer advocate for the animals amid the shelter's conditions. Catherine Geiger worked at the shelter for nearly two years. She says job responsibilities were recently redistributed without giving staff proper training for their new tasks. Logan Rink says she wasn't given formal training when she was hired in May 2016. She says the shelter typically has 150 animals. Valerie Weilert has worked at the shelter since October 2015. She says routine medical tests often weren't performed on animals. Mary Kay Caldwell, president of the shelter's board of directors, declined to comment.

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Kansas Court Affirms Conviction in Wichita Station Death 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has affirmed a man's conviction in the 2014 beating death of a Wichita radio station employee. The court on Friday rejected arguments from Antwon Banks that prosecutors presented circumstantial evidence that did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt during his trial for first-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Daniel Flores. The justices ruled the state presented sufficient evidence to convict Banks. Flores was found beaten to death in the basement of a Steckline Communication office in February 2014. Prosecutors said Banks bludgeoned Flores with a fire extinguisher after Flores found Banks scrawling hateful messages about Banks's former girlfriend on a wall. The girlfriend was a Steckline office manager. Prosecutors said Banks was upset over a recent breakup with the woman.

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Services Set for Pilot Killed in WWII-Era Plane Crash in Kansas

CHICAGO (AP) — Funeral services have been set for an Illinois man killed along with a passenger when his World War II-era aircraft crashed in Kansas earlier this week. Visitation for Vlado Lenoch of Burr Ridge will be held Sunday in the Chicago suburb of Willowbrook. His funeral will be held Monday at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Western Springs, Illinois. The 64-year-old Lenoch and 34-year-old Bethany Root were killed last Sunday when their P-51 Mustang fighter plane crashed in a field about 10 miles from an airport in Atchison, Kansas. The crash occurred one day after the fighter flew in a festival that celebrates famed aviator Amelia Earhart in her Kansas hometown. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the plane crash.

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Man Charged in Stabbing in Kansas City's Westport Area 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has been charged with fatally stabbing a homeless man in the Westport entertainment district in Kansas City. Forty-eight-year-old Kenneth Michael Tillson, of Kansas City, has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in Wednesday's stabbing of Jorge Sanchez. Court records say Sanchez stumbled across a street before collapsing near a Subway restaurant. He died Thursday at a hospital. Several witnesses identified Tillson as the attacker, and he was taken into custody at the scene. The records say that Tillson told detectives that he and Sanchez were arguing when the victim "made a move." Tillson said he believed the victim was "going to do something to me." Bond for Tillson is set at $75,000. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

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Police Say "Darlene" Might Be Name of Kansas Woman Found Dead in 1985 

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas City, Kansas, woman with the first name of Darlene may have been the person whose remains were found 32 years ago in a western Missouri field. Clay County Sheriff's Department Detective Jesse Stoker says the name is being released in the hope of generating more clues to identify the woman who was shot in the head three times. The Kansas City Star reports that a tipster reported the name to a hotline after investigators released a new composite in October. The tipster also said the woman might have had two children. The caller said the two occasionally rode back and forth to work. Authorities initially thought the woman was white but now believe she was black and between the ages of 17 and 23.

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Royals Rout Tigers 16-4 and Set Season High for Runs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brandon Moss drove in four runs, Mike Moustakas had three RBIs and the Kansas City Royals routed the Detroit Tigers 16-4 on Thursday night. Eric Hosmer and Whit Merrifield homered for the Royals, who moved within 1½ games of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central. The 16 runs and 19 hits were season highs for Kansas City. Detroit committed three errors in the Royals' four-run first inning, when only one run was earned. It was the most errors the Tigers have made in one inning since May of 2010. Detroit's Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, threw 37 pitches in the first. The heat index was 107 when the game started. Fulmer (10-7), who had won his previous four starts, was removed after facing 18 batters. He retired only eight, and eight scored. It was the shortest outing of his career.
 

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