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Headlines for Saturday, September 13, 2015

Man Pleads Guilty to 1997 KCK Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County authorities say a man already serving a life sentence for murder has pleaded guilty to killing a woman in Kansas City, Kansas.  Deputy District Attorney Sheryl Lidtke said in a news release 34-year-old Torry Johnson pleaded guilty yesterday (FRI) to first-degree murder in the October 1997 death of 33-year-old Vicky Ernst inside her Wyandotte County home. The crime went unsolved until prosecutors and detectives turned up new evidence during a case review. Johnson and Jason L. Rucker were charged in April. Johnson, who will be sentenced October 16, is serving a life sentence in Missouri for the 2005 killing of a man in Kansas City. Rucker is being held on $1 million bond in Wyandotte County while his case is pending.


State Denies Worker Fired for not Attending Bible Study

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas secretary of state's office has acknowledged in a court document that it sporadically hosts Bible study sessions, but has denied firing an employee for not attending them. Its court filing yesterday (FRI) comes in response to the federal civil lawsuit filed last month by Courtney Canfield claiming she was terminated from her clerk's job after declining to attend prayer services held in the office. The state told the court in its response that all were welcome to attend the sessions, but no staff member was required to attend. It noted that the majority of the staff did not attend them. Courtney alleges in her lawsuit that invitations to the religious services were distributed during normal business hours and included a "prayer guide" to be used at that week's service.


KU Adopts Formal Social Media Policy

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas has officially approved a procedure to handle possible violations of the university's social media policy. The university has struggled with the issue since September 2013 when journalism professor David Guth posted a tweet criticizing the National Rifle Association. The Lawrence Journal-World reports a policy enacted by the Kansas Board of Regents in 2014 did not include a procedure for reacting if someone was suspected of violating the policy. The University Senate was told Thursday the process for handling such cases was approved over the summer. The process calls for the university to form a three-member panel to determine within a week whether evidence suggested the employee might have violated the policy. If so, another panel would decide if the employee should be disciplined.


Fans Stand by KSU Marching Band After Halftime Show

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Fans have started an online fundraising campaign to support the Kansas State University marching band, which drew criticism over its halftime show at a football game. The school said the band director will miss a Nov. 28 game and that university officials also must approve future halftime shows. The college added that it will pay a self-imposed $5,000 fine after the Big 12 Conference warned of potential sportsmanship and ethical conduct violations.The marching band had shaped itself into a rival mascot and what appeared to be a phallus during its Saturday show. Supporter Sarah Brinkley has started a crowdfunding account seeking donations with for the band. The Manhattan Mercury reports that as of noon Thursday, the account had raised nearly $13,000.


Report: Forecast for 2015 Kansas Corn Crop Down

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government forecast on the size of this year's Kansas corn crop is estimating that growers will bring in 555 million bushels. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported yesterday (FRI) that the anticipated 2015 crop in the state will be 2 percent below last year's production. That is due partly to fewer harvested acres and smaller average yields per acre. Kansas is harvesting 3.75 million acres of corn this season, down 1 percent from a year ago. The average yield forecast of 148 bushels per acre is down one bushel from a year ago. The agency is also forecasting the state will bring in 238 million bushels of sorghum, up 19 percent from last year. Kansas soybean production is anticipated to be 133 million bushels, down 7 percent from last year.

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