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Headlines for Friday, September 6, 2019

Here are the headlines for our area, as compiled by KPR staffers.

Pompeo Silent on Senate Run in Home State Speech

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn't address speculation that he will run for an open Senate seat next year during a college lecture he gave in his home state of Kansas. Pompeo's speech Friday at Kansas State University came with three Democrats and four Republicans already actively running. Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is not seeking reelection. Weeks after Pompeo said a run is "off the table," though, he is still looming over the race, as only he has enough name recognition and support among Kansas conservatives to afford to wait until next June's filing deadline to decide. If he does run, Pompeo would enter the race as the favorite. Pompeo's speech didn't touch on his political ambitions but instead focused on a pet project: refocusing American diplomacy on the promotion of core human rights.

(– earlier reporting –)

Pompeo's Speech at Kansas State Spurs Speculation About Senate Run

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Many attending a lecture by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today (FRI) at Kansas State University will be listening for clues about whether he might run for the Senate next year. Three Democrats and four Republicans are already actively running for the seat held by Republican Senator Pat Roberts, who isn't seeking a fifth term. Several others are expected to join them. Weeks after Pompeo said a run is "off the table," though, he is still looming over the race, as only he has enough name recognition and support among Kansas conservatives to afford to wait until next June's filing deadline to decide.
If he does run, Pompeo would enter the race as the favorite. Joe Kildea, a vice president for the conservative interest group Club for Growth, said "It's the Pompeo decision, and then everything else trickles down." 

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EEOC Lawsuit Accuses KU Medical Center of Age Discrimination

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed Friday accuses the University of Kansas Medical Center of discharging an employee who reported a department head's age discrimination practices. The lawsuit against the Kansas City, Kansas-based medical center was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It alleges that in 2014, the medical center's associate vice chancellor for information resources advised managers within that department to focus on hiring younger people over older applicants. The lawsuit says information technology help desk supervisor Jeffrey Thomas reported his concerns. The EEOC says the vice chancellor then reorganized the department to eliminate Thomas's position. Medical Center spokeswoman Kay Hawes declined comment on the case but says the university seeks to foster an environment where employees "feel comfortable and protected when speaking up and reporting complaints of discrimination."

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Wichita to Join Lawsuit Against Pain-Killer Industry

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita plans to join a massive lawsuit against opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the city council approved a law firm Tuesday to represent it in federal litigation in Ohio, where the flood of cases over the opioid epidemic is being handled. Attorney Andrew Hutton says the city's complaint could be filed by the end of the week.  Hutton said in a statement that opioid manufacturers used deceptive marketing to maximize profits. He says doctors were convinced to prescribe opioids, not just for cancer patients or those recovering from surgery, but also for chronic-pain sufferers, despite the risk of addiction. The city wants to be compensated for costs such as opioid-related emergency calls. The Wichita area had 148 opioid-related deaths last year.

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Kansas Child Welfare Agency Had Repeated Involvement Before Wichita Toddler Died

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas child welfare officials say they received repeated reports about a Wichita toddler before he died of an overdose of the addiction treatment medication methadone.  The Kansas Department of Children and Families released a summary of its involvement with 2-year-old Zayden JayNesahkluah in response to a records request from The Associated Press. Zayden's mother, 23-year-old Kimberly Compass , was charged last month with first-degree murder. The agency says the initial reports in December 2018 and January 2019 were about neglect and lack of supervision. Later, the agency received reports that Compass' then-partner was physically abusive, and more that Compass was neglectful.  Although the reports weren't substantiated, Compass received a mental health referral. The agency says a service provider attempted to contact her on May 31, the day Zayden was found dead at a motel.

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Planned Lawrence Manufacturing Facility Would Add 80 Jobs

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A manufacturer of heating, cooling and plumbing equipment wants to build a new facility at a Lawrence business park that would bring 80 jobs to the city. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that U.S. Engineering Metalworks has filed plans with the city to build the 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on an approximately 25-acre site at the Lawrence VenturePark on the eastern edge of the city. The Kansas City, Missouri-based company would become the first to locate a business in the park, which opened in 2014. It is seeking a property tax break and other incentives from the city as part of the project. The company says it anticipates about 80 jobs would be located at the Lawrence plant initially, and that number could grow to 140 in about five years.

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Report Mostly Upbeat About Quality of Kansas Wheat Harvest

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Preliminary data offers a mostly upbeat assessment of the quality of this year's winter wheat harvest in Kansas. The National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Kansas Grain Inspection Service released on Friday its annual wheat quality report. Some 13,780 samples from 48 Kansas counties showed an average test weight of 61 pounds per bushel. That is slightly better than last year's crop. The 10-year average is 60.8 pounds per bushel. The report says 77% of samples received its top quality grading, up from 71% a year ago. Wheat having high protein levels typically gets better prices, and on that measure the Kansas crop this year fell short compared to previous harvests. Protein content averaged 11.5% in Kansas. That is below the state's 10-year average of 12.2%.

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Man Charged with Break-In at Islamic Center of Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man has been charged with breaking into the Islamic Center of Lawrence last month and stealing two donations boxes. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 32-year-old Amadou Oury Bah was charged Thursday with burglary, theft and criminal damage to property. Police said previously that the donation boxes contained between $1,000 and $2,000 in cash. Police previously asked for help identifying the break-in suspect, who was captured on surveillance video. Bah was arrested last week in Omaha, Nebraska, and is jailed on $15,000 bond.

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Kansas Man Dies More Than 2 Weeks After Parking Lot Beating

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died more than two weeks after he was beaten in a Wichita grocery store parking lot. Police say 33-year-old Haley Collins, of Bel Aire, died Thursday from injuries suffered in the Aug. 21 fight. A suspect who was arrested at the scene initially was booked on suspicion of aggravated battery. Jail records show he now also is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder. Police say officers are investigating and haven't yet presented their case to prosecutors, who will decide whether to formally charge the suspect in Collins' death.

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Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome Creeping into Central Kansas Fields

HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- The Hutchinson News reports that sudden death syndrome in soybeans is hurting farmers in Central Kansas. As heavy rains continue, SDS is spreading beyond Pawnee County and the Kansas River Valley into Central Kansas.  “Historically, areas along the Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas rivers fare the worst,” said Doug Jardine, Ph.D., professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University. “Reno and Sedgwick counties are hotspots for SDS. I’d be surprised if SDS wasn’t showing up.”  Although Jardine is not seeing specific cases in both Reno and Sedgwick County, he said he expects the disease has hit the area.  “It’s a high likelihood that they are seeing SDS in the Arkansas River Valley,” said Jardine, who has worked at Kansas State since 1985.  SDS tends to hit hardest on well-managed fields with high yield potential.  (Read more here.)  

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Woman Found Strangled in Hutchinson Alley in August Has Died

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson police say a 29-year-old woman who was found unconscious in an alley in August has died. The Hutchinson News reports Lora Beth Stratton had been on life support at a Wichita hospital since she was found strangled on August 24. Two people were arrested in Stratton's assault. Reno County Deputy District Attorney Tom Stanton says he has filed a motion to amend the charge against Isaac Granville Ervin but a hearing on that motion has not been set. Stanton said he will seek a first-degree murder charge against Ervin, who is currently is charged with attempted premeditated murder. Delshay Ronda Vinsonhaler remains charged with aggravated battery and obstruction. Stanton said he doesn't plan to amend those charges but did not say why.

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Judge Orders Anheuser-Busch to Halt "Corn Syrup" Labels

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal judge has ordered Anheuser-Busch to stop using packaging that implies MillerCoors' light beers contain corn syrup.  U.S. District Judge William Conley granted a preliminary injunction sought by MillerCoors.  Bud Light's packaging says "No Corn Syrup" in bold letters.  Conley says Anheuser-Busch can use the packaging it had on hand June 6 until it runs out, or until March 2020, whichever comes first.  The ruling extends a previous injunction Conley issued in May. Conley said then that Anheuser-Busch should stop mentioning "corn syrup" in ads without further context.  MillerCoors sued its rival in March, saying Anheuser-Busch has spent as much as $30 million on a "false and misleading" campaign.  MillerCoors uses corn syrup in the brewing process for Miller Lite and Coors Lite. Bud Light uses rice.

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Kansas City Man Charged with Murder in Revenge Killing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Court records say a Kansas City man told detectives he killed another man because he believed the victim was responsible for shooting his brother and wanted him to feel the same pain. Eighteen-year-old Taylor Mackey is jailed on $25,000 bond after he was charged Thursday with second-degree murder and three other felonies in the death of Isaac Louis Brown. Mackey and his younger brother were questioned after surveillance video linked them to last week's shooting. Court records say Mackey told detectives that he and his brother approached Brown and talked to him before they both pulled out their guns and shot him once. 

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Sedgwick County Zoo Begins a 25-Year Expansion Project

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The zoo in Wichita is beginning a 25-year process of rebuilding and expansion. The Wichita Eagle reports that the next few weeks will bring moving day for animals large and small at the Sedgwick County Zoo. The first noticeable change will be the demolition of the second-oldest building at the zoo, a 47-year-old Asian-themed barn with a corrugated steel roof. It will be torn down to make way for a temporary entrance while the main entrance is rebuilt at twice its current size. During the process, a 1,400-pound Zebu bull named Milkdud that's native to south Asia will be moved in with the Watusi cattle at the African Barn.  Plans also are in the works for a new home for the Amur leopards, new office space and a solar-powered train. 

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Jaguars Likely to Be Without Starting LT Robinson for Opener Against Chiefs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars likely will be without starting left tackle Cam Robinson for their season opener — and maybe longer. Robinson injured his right knee in practice Thursday and was listed as doubtful to play against Kansas City. It's not the knee that sidelined Robinson for 14 games last season. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against New England in Week 2 and spent the last 11 months working his way back. Making matters worse for the Jaguars, backup offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was ruled out because of a nagging hamstring injury. That leaves second-year pro Will Richardson to make his first career start — and not at his usual position. A fourth-round draft pick from North Carolina State in 2018, Richardson spent most of training camp vying for a starting spot at right guard. Now he will shift over after two days of practice and get tasked with blocking standout pass-rusher Frank Clark.

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KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.
 

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