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Headlines for Saturday, September 7, 2019

Pompeo Silent on Senate Run in KSU 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 Senator 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.

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KC-St. Joe Diocese Lists Clergy Suspected of Child Abuse

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has released the names of 19 priests and deacons who Bishop James Johnson Jr. says have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children against them. Thirteen of the 19 clerics on the list released Friday have died. Two have been permanently removed from ministry and four have been laicized, or removed from clerical service. Shawn Ratigan, who was laicized, is in prison for producing child pornography. The dioceses also listed three clerics with substantiated allegations who are now in other dioceses and two religious-order priests who have been removed from the ministry. And it named three priests who were found to be "unsuitable for ministry" and three who have been named in legal settlements but whose cases have not been substantiated.

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Man Dies Two Weeks after Wichita 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 August 21st 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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KU Med Center Accused 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' 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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Proposed Lawrence Manufacturing Facility to 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 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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Woman Dies Following Strangulation in Hutchinson Alley

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 24th. She died Wednesday. 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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Man Charged with Lawrence Islamic Center Burglary

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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Wichita Zoo Begins 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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