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Headlines for Thursday, December 7, 2017

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

Orman Files Paperwork for Independent Run for Kansas Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Olathe businessman Greg Orman has appointed a treasurer for an independent campaign for Kansas governor next year. Orman filed the paperwork yesterday (WED), allowing him to legally accept campaign contributions. He also must collect the signatures of 5,000 registered voters before the August primary to get on the November general election ballot. Orman received national attention in 2014 for running as an independent for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Orman received 43 percent of the vote after the Democratic nominee withdrew. He is the 20th candidate to emerge to replace term-limited Republican Governor Sam Brownback. GOP candidates include Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. Democrats include Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward, ex-state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty and former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.

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Awkward Situation Causes Confusion at Kansas Statehouse  

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Sam Brownback remains the governor  of Kansas while he awaits U.S. Senate confirmation to take an ambassador post in the administration of President Trump. But he has allowed fellow Republican Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer to make major decisions for the administration, leading to an awkward situation in running the state. Colyer is now overseeing the drafting of budget proposals that will be submitted to lawmakers in January. Brownback has delegated two Cabinet appointments his successor. Colyer was headlining a significant announcement Wednesday in Wichita involving aircraft manufacturer Spirit Aerosystems, while Brownback was lighting the Statehouse Christmas tree. Some legislators said they don't know which one of them to approach about important issues.

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Kansas County Pulls Bid for Tyson Plant Amid Opposition

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas county that's home to Wichita has withdrawn its bid for a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant after weeks of public opposition. The Greater Wichita Partnership confirmed on Thursday that Sedgwick County has taken itself out of the running for the project. The business group echoed County Commissioner Richard Ranzau's Wednesday statement that there isn't enough support from the commission to offer Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson financial incentives to build the facility, the Wichita Eagle reported . "Given this information we thought it was best for the project team to let state partners know that Sedgwick County would likely not be competitive for this particular project," said Jaimie Garnett, spokeswoman for the partnership. County officials and opponents of the plant believe Tyson wouldn't come to the county without an offer of tax breaks or other financial subsidies. Other Kansas communities are expected to make offers to attract the plant. The facility would come with a $320 million construction budget and about 1,600 permanent jobs. Sedgwick County was named as one of three Kansas finalists to get the plant after the Greater Wichita Partnership and all five county commissioners invited the company asking it to consider the area. But the invitation sparked resistance from opponents concerned about the environment and the effects of the network of farms Tyson would need to raise chickens. No Tyson Sedgwick County organizer Lori Lawrence said she's hesitant upon hearing the county's bid withdrawal. "I'm cautiously optimistic," Lawrence said. "But you know, Tyson I just don't trust so I am not sure at this point to go, 'yay, it's over,' because I know in other places sometimes it looks like they're gone and they do an end run and they come in." Ranzau said the county made its decision last week, but withheld the news so as to not overshadow Wednesday's announcement of public subsidies to help Spirit AeroSystems expand in the area and add 1,000 to its workforce.

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Spirit AeroSystems Announces $1 Billion Expansion, 1,000 New Jobs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Spirit AeroSystems plans a $1 billion expansion of its manufacturing facility in Wichita and the addition of 1,000 new jobs. The project announced Wednesday includes capital investments at the company's Wichita plant over the next five years. Spirit Chief Executive Officer Tom Gentile says the company's growth is fueled by higher production rates on existing commercial aircraft as well as the increase in its fabrication and defense business. Plans call for hiring 800 new employees by the end of 2018 and 200 more the following year for jobs. The hourly jobs are estimated to pay around $56,000 annually. The company anticipates to be hiring sheet metal workers, mechanics, composite technicians and machine operators. The project is the culmination of economic development deal involving city, county and state officials.  

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Topeka Limits Sale of Tobacco Products to Those 21 and Older

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka officials have voted to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21. The ban approved by the city's governing board includes prohibitions against selling cigarettes and other tobacco-related products, including electronic cigarettes, to anyone under 21. Previously, the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Topeka was 18. The council members those who voted for the measure cited health concerns and said a majority of people supported the decision. The two members who voted against the proposal said they don't approve of smoking but did not want to infringe on personal liberties. The Shawnee County commissioners in August approved a nearly identical measure covering the county's unincorporated areas.

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Judge Dismisses Drug Case, Citing Prosecutor's Misconduct

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas has dismissed a man's drug indictment, citing misconduct by a prosecutor who was criticized earlier this year for her handling of case in the 1990s that caused a man to be imprisoned for nearly 23 years for a crime he didn't commit. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson on Tuesday ordered the release of Gregory Orozco on two drug charges. In her order, Robinson said federal prosecutor Terra Morehead, who works in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas, intimidated a witness and belatedly disclosed evidence that could have helped Orozco's case. In the 1990s, Morehead was accused of witness intimidation and prosecutorial misconduct when, as Wyandotte County assistant prosecutor, she prosecuted Lamonte McIntyre in a double killing. McIntyre was released from prison in October, when the current Wyandotte County attorney dropped all charges. Robinson sharply criticized Morehead in her Tuesday order, saying the prosecutor told a witness, Jose Luis Ruiz-Salazar, that she would create complications for him in a drug case in Missouri if Ruiz-Salazar "got in her way" by testifying in the Orozco case. Ruiz-Salazar declined to testify, and Orozco was convicted.

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Man Wrongfully Imprisoned for Years Gets Full Scholarship

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who was released from prison after serving 23 years for two murders he didn't commit has been offered a full scholarship to a Kansas City community college. Lamonte McIntyre was offered the scholarship Wednesday by leaders of Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. McIntyre was released from prison in October after Wyandotte County prosecutors dropped charges in a 1994 double murder. The Kansas City Star reports that while McIntyre was in prison he studied for his GED degree and took college courses. McIntyre is already taking classes at a barber academy and hopes to one day open his own salon. He plans to study business at Penn Valley. Kansas does not offer any compensation to people who are wrongly convicted in the state.

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Cocaine Dealer with Ties to Crime Organization Sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal authorities say a member of a Kansas City criminal organization was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Thirty-six-year-old Demond Robins was sentenced Wednesday for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He pleaded guilty in March to providing cocaine to a co-conspirator, who distributed the drugs and brought the money to Robins. Robins' girlfriend helped launder the drug proceeds. His co-conspirator and his girlfriend have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. The Kansas City Star reports Robins and his cousins, James Willis and Dale Willis, and some associates, were the focus of a joint investigation by Kansas City police and federal agents, which led to the charges against Robins. His cousins were convicted of killing a man outside an Overland Park, Kansas, bar in 2016.

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Kansas Child Sex Offender Sentenced for Assaulting Girl

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A convicted sex offender has been sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old Kansas girl. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office announced that 44-year-old Kelly Farr, of Scott County, Kansas, was sentenced Wednesday for attempted rape. The victim reported that Farr began assaulting her when she was in 6th grade and the abuse continued for two years. Farr was also convicted in 2004 of indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14.

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Parent Company Exploring Sale of EaglePicher Technologies

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - The parent company of EaglePicher Technologies is planning to sell the longtime Joplin employer but no deal is imminent. Penny Gibson, vice president of human resources at EaglePicher, said St. Louis-based VECTRA has told employees that the process of selling the company is in the early stages. The Joplin Globe reports Gibson said EaglePicher doesn't expect any sale to have an impact on the company's presence or workforce in the area. EaglePicher has several locations in Joplin and one in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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No Charges in Missouri Woman's Shooting by Former Boyfriend 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Prosecutors say a Kansas City man won't be charged in his ex-girlfriend's shooting death after he cited self-defense. The Kansas City Star reports that the decision has outraged relatives of 32-year-old Jessika Peppers. She was killed about three months ago after she went to David Love's home in the middle of the day to retrieve an iPhone and laptop. A police report say Love told investigators he was sleeping when he heard someone breaking in and pulled his gun out from under his bed. He said he fired as soon as he saw someone coming into his room. Peppers reportedly got into the home through a broken window. She was found with a hammer in her hand. Court records show Love wasn't allowed to possess a firearm at the time.

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Missouri Man Pleads Guilty in Jail Bribery, Smuggling Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man has pleaded guilty in a bribery and smuggling scheme at the county jail in Kansas City, Missouri. The U.S. attorney's office says 36-year-old Marion Lorenzo Byers, of Kansas City, admitted Wednesday to a corruption-related charge. The indictment says that at one time Byers helped a corrections officer at the Jackson County Detention Center smuggle a cell phone, charger and 15 anti-anxiety medications to an inmate for $300. Byers had been on probation in an unrelated case. The release says prosecutors will seek to have whatever sentence is imposed in the federal contraband case run consecutive to whatever probation revocation sentence may be imposed in state court. Several others also were charged after a June raid of the jail by roughly 200 law enforcers, including the FBI. 

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$73,000 Courthouse Gun Locker in Wichita Sees Little Use

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A county commissioner is questioning the light usage of a $73,000 gun locker at a courthouse in south-central Kansas. The gun locker's usage was reported at a Sedgwick County staff meeting this week under questioning from County Commission Chairman David Unruh. He was the only commissioner who voted against the gun locker when it was approved in March. County officials say the locker has been used 62 times in the last six months, primarily by a pair of lawyers who regularly check their weapons when they go to court. Unruh says the locker is unnecessary and a waste of money. Commissioner Jim Howell says the gun locker is a matter of principle because "people have a right ... to protect themselves."

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Autopsy Finds Wichita Woman Was Beaten to Death with Shovel 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Court records indicate a 42-year-old woman who was killed in Wichita in November apparently was beaten to death with a shovel. Perla Rodriguez, outreach director for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center, was found dead in her home November 14. Her boyfriend, 37-year-old Travis Becker Jr., has been charged with first-degree murder. KAKE reports that a probable cause affidavit states when Wichita officers forced their way into Rodriguez's home, they found her with several traumatic injuries to her head and throat. They also found a wooden handle shovel inside the bedroom, with the shovel blade covered in blood and hair. Becker was arrested at his sister's home in Olathe. He remains jailed on $250,000 bond.

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Man Who Ran to Barber Shop After Bank Robbery Pleads Guilty 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal authorities say a man who rushed to get a haircut after holding up a bank has pleaded guilty to bank robbery. Prosecutors say 34-year-old Joshua Aaron Hoover pleaded guilty Wednesday to taking $5,800 from the Arvest Bank in February. Court records show Hoover fled to a nearby barbershop. The barber told authorities Hoover was out of breath and said he ran there from work to get a haircut during his lunch hour. The barber shaved off most of Hoover's beard and hair. Hoover bought a hat and changed his clothes at the barbershop. Hoover was arrested at the Ameristar Casino while he was preparing to enter a poker tournament. He said he wanted to use the bank money at the casino so the serial numbers couldn't be traced.

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Chiefs Suspend Marcus Peters After Incident Last Sunday 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Kansas City Chiefs have suspended cornerback Marcus Peters for Sunday's game against Oakland after the volatile young player's embarrassing tantrum during a last-minute loss to the Jets last weekend. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid says that Peters will not practice with the team as it prepares to face the Raiders in a crucial showdown between teams tied atop the AFC West. Peters, an All-Pro last season, will return the following week against the Chargers. Peters has been involved in a series of incidents that have reflected poorly on the Chiefs, but his antics last Sunday versus the New York Jets pushed Reid to act. Peters threw an official's flag into the stands after a late penalty then stalked off the field with a smile even though he had not been disqualified. Peters had to run back to the sideline without wearing socks when he realized his mistake.
 

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