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Headlines for Monday, March 13, 2017

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

Deaths of 2 Men, 1 Woman in Topeka Called Triple Homicide 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police have an undisclosed number of suspects in custody in connection with a triple homicide on Sunday. Police identified the victims as Matthew Leavitt, 19, Nicole Fisher, 38, and Luke David, 20, all of Topeka. The bodies were found late Sunday when officers responded to a welfare check call at a Topeka home. Police said Monday all people of interest related to the case are in custody. Details about those arrested were not immediately released.

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US Attorney for Kansas Not Among Those Asked to Resign 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas, Tom Beall, is not among federal prosecutors who were asked to resign. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Beall will stay in office for the time being. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week asked 46 prosecutors who were holdovers from the Obama administration to resign. Beall took over the job in April 2016 after Barry Grissom resigned. Grissom was appointed by President Barack Obama but Beall was not a political appointee. Beall joined the office in April 2011 and was named first assistant U.S. attorney two years later. After becoming acting U.S. attorney when Grissom resigned, the Justice Department later promoted him to his current position.

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Kansas Representative Jenkins Booed as She Defends GOP Health Plan
 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas congresswoman Lynn Jenkins has been booed and faced shouts of "Do Your Job!" as she defends a Republican plan for overhauling health care. The five-term Republican congresswoman had a raucous town hall meeting Monday in Lawrence reminiscent of recent events in which GOP lawmakers in other states have been booed and jeered. About 300 people attended the Jenkins event in perhaps the most liberal community in her eastern Kansas district. The crowd booed Jenkins when she said the House GOP leaders' plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act would not cause people to lose their coverage. Members of the crowd shouted, "That's not true!" She had the event as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that 14 million Americans would lose their coverage within the next year.

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Kansas Faith Leaders Gather for Muslim Advocacy Day 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Faith leaders are urging Kansans to support Muslims in the state during an advocacy day at the state Capitol. About 130 people gathered Monday morning for the event held by the Kansas branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Kansas Interfaith Action, a multi-faith advocacy group. Moussa Elbayoumy chairs the Kansas branch of the council. He says he's heartened by people who have "stood up with" the Muslim community and Muslims who offered to help protect recently vandalized Jewish cemeteries. He told the crowd that members of faith communities would oppose any parts of President Donald Trump's new executive order banning travel from six majority-Muslim countries that they think are unconstitutional.

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Missing Wichita Woman's Car Found With Body Inside

PARKVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri police say a car pulled from the Missouri River belonged to a missing Wichita woman and a female body was inside the car. Captain Stacey Graves couldn't confirm that the body was that of 20-year-old Toni Anderson, who's been missing since January 15. But Graves said the car found in the river near Parkville was Anderson's. She said a medical examiner will positively identify the body and determine a cause of death. Police say Anderson, a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was last seen after she left her job early January 15. A police officer pulled her over for a traffic violation then watched Anderson drive to a nearby QuikTrip to get gas for her car. 

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Kansas Education Commissioner Pushes to Double Number of Students with Degrees

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson says the state needs to double the number of students who earn college degrees or training certificates in order to compete in the changing economy. Commissioner Randy Watson says a national report found that 72 percent of the jobs in Kansas by 2020 will require some level of post-secondary education. Data from the National Student Clearinghouse found only about 65 percent of Kansas high school graduates in 2010 enrolled in college the following year. Six years after graduation, fewer than 40 percent had earned any kind of degree or training certificate. Watson spoke to a joint meeting of Kansas Senate and House education committees, which will help write a new school funding formula this year.

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US Attorney for Western District in Missouri Resigns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, has resigned. Dickinson is one of 46 U.S. attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration asked to resign Friday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Kansas City Star reports President Barack Obama appointed Dickinson, a former Jackson County prosecutor, to the office in January 2013. Tom Larson, a longtime assistant in the office, will be acting U.S. attorney for the district until President Donald Trump chooses a replacement.

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Kansas Sees 22 Percent Increase in Traffic Deaths in 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas recorded a 22 percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2016 compared with the previous year. The Kansas Highway Patrol trooper says distracted driving is the main reason. 432 people died in traffic accidents in 2016. The Wichita Eagle reports that the National Safety Council says traffic fatalities increased 6 percent nationwide in 2016. Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Chad Crittenden says distracted driving is the key reason for the increase. He says he recently watched 14 drivers while he was stopped at a busy Wichita intersection — and 11 of the drivers went through the intersection either talking or texting on their phones. Others say lower gas prices also are a factor, because more drivers are on the roads.

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Wildfires in Oklahoma, Kansas Now 42 Percent Contained 

GATE, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma Forestry Services says four wildfires in northwestern Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas are now 42 percent contained, but a high fire danger continues in the region. The agency said Monday that the largest fire is the Starbuck fire that began near Gate and has burned more than 1,200 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas and is blamed for one death in each state. In Oklahoma, the 283 fire near Laverne has burned 108 square miles; the Selman fire near Fort Supply has burned 74 square miles; and the Beaver fire between Beaver and Elmwood has burned just more than 4½ square miles. A suspected cause of the fires has not been released. OFS says firefighters continue patrolling the fires, putting out hotspots and working to improve containment of the flames.

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Kansas and 3 Other States Seek Grazing Assistance Due to Wildfires

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The governors of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico are seeking temporary suspension of conservation grazing restrictions for farmers and ranchers because of severe recent wildfires. The fires have burned more than 2,300 square miles in the four states, forcing farmers and ranchers to move their livestock. The letter from the governors to acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Young asks that the restrictions in the Conservation Reserve Program be lifted to provide more land for grazing. The program is a voluntary land conservation program of the Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land. According to the agency, emergency grazing of CRP land is authorized under certain conditions to provide relief to livestock producers due to natural disasters.

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Escaped Inmate from Central Kansas Jail Recaptured

RUSSELL, Kan. (AP) -Authorities say an inmate from the Russell County jail was free for about seven hours after escaping from the jail early Saturday morning. The sheriff's office says Jason Lesage escaped about 4 a.m. Saturday. He was recaptured about 11 a.m. Details of the arrest were not immediately released. The Hays Post reports a vehicle reported stolen in Russell was located Saturday morning in the southeast part of Dorrance, about 20 miles east of Russell. The Kansas corrections department says Lesage has previous convictions for burglary, forgery, weapons and drugs.
  
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EaglePicher Expansion to Bring More Jobs to Pittsburg

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - The EaglePicher Corporation says it plans to bring 15 to 20 new jobs to its Pittsburg plant, continuing an expansion that has been ongoing since the plant opened in 2007. The automated thermal battery production plant is owned by the city of Pittsburg and the company recently renewed its lease for another five years. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that since the plant opened with 26 employees, EaglePicher has grown to over 110 employees, including 46 new jobs in the last year. These jobs pay an average wage of $18 per hour. The company says the latest expansion will include new equipment valued at almost $3 million. 

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Injured Wichita Officer Moving to Rehab Center 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita police officer who was injured when he was hit by a car last month will be moving to a rehabilitation center in Colorado. Wichita police spokeswoman Nikki Woodrow said Officer Brian Arterburn is scheduled to leave Wichita today (MON) for Colorado. Arterburn has been hospitalized since he was injured early February, when he was run over by a fleeing and stolen SUV. The 25-year police veteran suffered chest, abdomen and brain injuries when the vehicle hit him as placed spike strips on a road in south Wichita. The man suspected of running over the officer, 31-year-old Justin Terrazas, remains jailed on several charges, including aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer.

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Woman Who Took Girl to Wichita for Paid Sex Sentenced 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman who admitted to driving a teenage girl to Wichita to have sex for money has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. The Sedgwick County district attorney's office says 21-year-old LaDeisha Brown of Wichita was sentenced Monday to four years and three months in prison. Brown pleaded guilty in January to attempted aggravated human trafficking and two counts of commercial sexual exploitation of a child. The 15-year-old victim told authorities she rode with Brown and Jaquett Dunbar to Wichita after she ran away from a Lawrence group home in February. Dunbar was sentenced in October to six years and 11 months in prison. The man accused of paying to have sex with the victim is scheduled for trial this month.

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Restored WWII Bomber in Wichita Ready for National Tour 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A World War II-era airplane that was originally built in Wichita and then restored in the city is now ready to tour the country. The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded the nonprofit group that restored the historic bomber an airworthiness certificate. The Wichita Eagle reports the plane was previously limited in flight distance and pattern. The nonprofit group, Doc's Friends, is planning to take the airplane to airshows in six states this year, and hopes to have an event in Wichita. After a nearly 16-year restoration effort, the Wichita-built Boeing B-29 made its first flight on July 17, 2016, from McConnell Air Force Base. The airplane was in a squadron named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 1945 until 1956.

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Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State Make NCAA Tournament Field

MANHATTAN, Kan. - There was plenty of suspense for some Kansas college basketball teams this weekend but when the dust cleared, the Kansas Jayhawks, the Kansas State Wildcats and the Wichita State Shockers will be among the 68 teams to compete in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. This will be KU’s 28th straight NCAA tournament appearance. That breaks a record previously held by North Carolina. Also, for the last eight years, KU has been either a No. 1 or 2 seed. KU plays in Tulsa Friday with hopes of advancing to Kansas City in the Midwest region. Kansas State plays against Wake Forest in the First Four to be played tomorrow (TUE) night in Dayton, Ohio. KU will play either North Carolina Central or UC Davis on Friday and Wichita State opens in Indianapolis Friday against Dayton.

Led by Kansas, Big 12 Flavor Dominates Midwest Region

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There is plenty of Big 12 flavor in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament.  Start at the top with No. 1 seed Kansas, which was rewarded for its 13th straight regular-season conference championship by getting to play the opening round just down the road in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The Jayhawks face the winner of a play-in game between North Carolina Central and UC Davis.  Big 12 Tournament champ Iowa State is the fifth seed in the region while Oklahoma State earned an at-large bid and will face Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan as the No. 10 seed.  The regional semifinals will be played at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, where the Big 12 just wrapped up its tournament. And you can bet local fans are salivating at the idea of Kansas and Iowa State meeting there in the second weekend.

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KU Coach Self: Josh Jackson Will Play in NCAA Tourney 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self says star freshman Josh Jackson will not miss NCAA Tournament games for an off-the-court issue involving a member of the women's basketball team. Self suspended Jackson for the Jayhawks' quarterfinal game in the Big 12 Tournament, which they promptly lost to TCU, as punishment of an accumulation of embarrassing incidents. The most recent case was Jackson hitting a parked car and fleeing the scene, but the one that continues to cause the most frustration for the Jayhawks is one involving women's basketball player McKenzie Calvert. The incident occurred in December, when Calvert allegedly threw a drink at men's basketball player Lagerald Vick at a Lawrence bar. The encounter escalated and Jackson followed her to the parking lot, where he is accused of kicking her car and causing hundreds of dollars in damages. Jackson was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property and is scheduled to be arraigned next month.

 

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