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Headlines for Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

Topeka Child Abuser Sentenced to Life in Prison

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka woman has been sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing a child over several years.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Tiffany Seel pleaded guilty April 13 to charges including aggravated indecent liberties by an offender older than 18 when the victim is younger than 14, aggravated indecent liberties with a child 14-15, criminal sodomy with a child and sexual exploitation of a child.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that she was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years after admitting to encouraging, facilitating and taking part in the repeated sexual abuse over seven years.


Overland Park Officer Fired for Online Threat

 OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - A suburban Kansas City police officer has been fired after officials confirmed he made a Facebook post that appears to threaten a child.  Overland Park Police Chief Francis Donchez Jr. says the department began investigating after being notified of the post Friday morning.  He says the officer was terminated immediately after the department determined he had written the post. The Kansas City Star reports the comments were made on the page of a woman who had posted a picture of a small child. The post said: "We'll see how much her life matters soon. Better be careful leaving your info open where she can be found :) Hold her close tonight it'll be the last time." Donchez says information from the personnel probe has prompted a criminal investigation.


Phillips County Escapee Back in Custody

PHILLIPSBURG, Kan. (AP) - An inmate who escaped from a northern Kansas jail is back in custody. Norton Police Chief Ron Ridley says 18-year-old Trent L. Ludwig was arrested without incident Friday at a home in Norton. reports Ludwig was found hiding in a closet. Phillips County Sheriff Paul Wisinger said Ludwig of Hayward, Wisconsin, was being held at the county jail on misdemeanor drug charges and other local charges when he escaped Thursday evening.  Ludwig is currently being held in the Norton County Jail awaiting transfer back to Phillips County.


Life Sentence Handed Down in Salina Murder Case

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A central Kansas man will have to serve at least 50 years in prison after being convicted in the death of a 17-year-old girl. The Salina Journal reports Macio D. Palacio Jr. was sentenced Friday to life in prison in the 2015 death of Allie Saum. His sentence requires that he serve a minimum of 50 years before he's eligible for parole. He was convicted earlier of first-degree, premeditated murder in Saum's fatal shooting. Saum was struck and killed when Palacio fired into a truck in which she was riding. Judge Rene Young imposed sentences for additional crimes but ordered those sentences to be served at the same time as his life sentence.  Palacio was also ordered to pay more than $8,000 in court costs, fees and restitution.


Leavenworth Prisoner Accused of Carrying Out Fraud Behind Bars
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A former Connecticut state correction officer and Army reservist is accused of collecting state wages while serving time in a Kansas military prison. The Hartford Courant reports  Dennis Dockery, of Bloomfield, was arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community and second-degree forgery.  Dockery worked at the Enfield Correctional Institution and was commanding officer of the New Haven-based 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.  The 52-year-old was on active duty between April 2009 and October 2012. During that time, he was imprisoned for 17 months for assaulting a woman in Hamden. Prosecutors allege Dockery forged his military orders so it appeared he was serving at Fort Leavenworth rather than incarcerated, fraudulently receiving $5,182 from the state. It's unclear whether Dockery has a lawyer. He's due back in court August 1.


Pittsburg Native to Lead State Drone Program

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - An Air Force veteran has been named to lead the unmanned aircraft systems program in Kansas.  Bob Brock, a Pittsburg native and retired lieutenant colonel, has been selected by the Kansas Department of Transportation to be the state's first UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) director, or drone director. He was introduced Tuesday at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina, which recently was ranked second in the nation among UAS-training colleges.The Salina Journal reports  that as UAS director, Brock will oversee establishment of policies and procedures for the operation of drones in Kansas. Brock said his priorities will include protecting the privacy and public safety of Kansans.


Drivers Encouraged to us "Zipper" Method for Merging

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Transportation officials in Missouri and Kansas are encouraging motorists to resist the urge to get in line at the first sign of an upcoming lane closure.  Advocates of the "zipper merge" method say using both lanes for as long as possible shortens lines in construction zones by up to 40 percent. They say it doesn't get drivers through the zone any faster, but it reduces the risk of accidents and eases driver angst. Missouri started promoting the technique earlier this year ahead of a heavy summer construction season. Kansas followed with a pilot project that started last week using electronic signs to warn drivers of an upcoming merge and encourage them to use both lanes. Minnesota started promoting the zipper merge idea in 2011, and Washington followed in 2014.


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