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Headlines for Thursday, June 29, 2017

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

Kansas Department of Corrections Says Prison's Inmates Back in Cells 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Corrections says that an incident at a maximum-security prison has been resolved and inmates are back in their cells. Department spokesman Todd Fertig said in a statement Thursday that no injuries to staff or prisoners occurred and that inmates did not obtain access to any weapons. Fertig confirmed that staff from other prisons were called to help deal with the incident but said that's normal procedure. He said inmates were returned to their cells with no use of force. The department had reported that inmates were refusing to return to their cells but Fertig said he did not have additional details. An official with the union representing corrections workers had said inmates controlled parts of the prison that included the gym, the yard and the kitchen.

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Kansas Congresswoman Jenkins Assails Trump for Crude Tweet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas Congressman Lynn Jenkins is assailing President Donald Trump for his crude tweet ridiculing a cable news anchor. The five-term Republican says on Twitter: "This is not okay. As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women." In a series of tweets Thursday morning, the president went after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have criticized Trump on their MSNBC show "Morning Joe." Trump called Brzezinski "crazy" and said he had seen her "bleeding badly from a face-lift." Trump said they asked to join him during a visit to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, and that he said "no." Scarborough said the visit was to arrange a Trump interview. The White House hasn't responded to a request for comment.

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Ex-Kansas Representative Tim Huelskamp to Lead Free-Market Think Tank 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp will become the new president of a free-market think tank also known for promoting skepticism about climate change. The Heartland Institute announced Thursday that its board of directors selected Huelskamp and that the former Republican congressman would take over as president next month. The nonprofit institute is based in the Chicago suburbs and has held 12 conferences on climate change since 2008. Huelskamp was a tea party favorite during his three terms in Congress representing the 1st District of western and central Kansas. But he angered business and farm groups and lost the GOP primary last year to Great Bend physician Roger Marshall, who won the seat in November. Huelskamp served 14 years in the Kansas Senate before being elected to Congress in 2010.

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Another Woman Testifies During Polarizing Sex Assault Trial 

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — Another woman has testified against a northeast Kansas man who is facing a string of sexual assault allegations that have divided his tight-knit hometown. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the woman told jurors Thursday that 22-year-old Jacob Ewing, of Holton, sodomized her and forced her to perform oral sex after a September 2014 party. She is among five women the former state football champion is charged with sexually assaulting. She said things became "blurry" after she drank two beers and a shot. She later recalled being naked on a floor. The trial is the second for Ewing and involves two of his accusers. He was acquitted during an April trial of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl when he was 19. Trials involving other women are scheduled later this year.

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Fired Kansas Deputy Charged with Official Misconduct 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a fired Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy with official misconduct. The prosecutor's office said in a news release that 38-year-old Jay Pennington also was charged Thursday with unlawful acts concerning computers, forgery and theft. Pennington was a team leader for the offender registration unit at the time of the alleged misconduct. The release said Pennington was fired and arrested Thursday. He later was released from jail after posting $20,000 bond. Pennington doesn't have a listed phone number, and the news release didn't say whether he has an attorney. The prosecutor's office didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking more details. A news conference is scheduled for Friday morning.

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Western Governors Back Endangered Species Act But Request Changes

WHITEFISH, Mt. _ The Western Governors Association has endorsed the aims of the Endangered Species Act but asked Congress to make changes, including giving states a larger role and clarifying recovery goals for animals protected by the law. The association approved a resolution on the act Wednesday during their annual meeting in Montana. The association includes 14 Republicans, six Democrats and two independents. Endangered species protection is controversial because it usually brings restrictions on mining, petroleum drilling, agriculture and other activities. The governors said Western states benefit economically from healthy species and ecosystems but bear the burden of those restrictions and some of the cost of recovery programs. Wolves, sage grouse, spotted owls and grizzly bears are among the species that have been protected by the law.

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Former Kansas Patrol Trooper Indicted for Excessive Force

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper has been indicted on a charge alleging that he used excessive force. Federal grand jurors in Topeka returned the indictment Wednesday in the case against James Carson. The indictment says Carson ``physically assaulted'' and caused ``bodily injury'' to a person identified only with the initials R.T. The indictment said the alleged June 2013 incident deprived the plaintiff of the civil right of due process. The U.S. Justice Department said in a news release that Carson faces up to 10 years in prison. A Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman said Carson worked for the agency between 2000 and 2013. 

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Mastermind of Lottery Fraud Admits He Rigged Jackpots

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former lottery computer programmer has pleaded guilty in Iowa to running a criminal scheme that allowed him to collect millions of dollars in lottery winnings in four other states. Former Multi-State Lottery Association security director Eddie Tipton on Thursday admitted that he manipulated the computer software he designed, allowing him to provide winning numbers to his brother and others. Tipton, his brother Tommy Tipton, and Texas businessman Robert Rhodes will repay $2.2 million in prizes they improperly claimed in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Kansas. Iowa prosecutors will ask for a 25-year prison sentence for Eddie Tipton. Tommy Tipton also pleaded guilty Thursday in Iowa and was sentenced to 75 days in jail.

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Baby Sitter Who Left Toddler's Body in Field Sentenced

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The baby sitter of a Wichita toddler whose body was found in a field has been ordered to serve 18 months of probation. The Wichita Eagle reports that Tyerria Miles was sentenced Wednesday for one count of interfering with the investigation of Jhornee Bland's death. The 2-year-old died in May 2016 during an overnight stay at a local hotel, where she had attended a pool party. Miles had been caring for Jhornee in the days before her death and initially told the police she had left the child with a friend. She later admitted that she moved Jhornee's body to a field instead of reporting her death. The coroner wasn't able to determine the cause of death. Miles declined to speak on her own behalf in court.

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Topeka Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Deadly Chase Crash 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing a passenger in another vehicle during a February 2016 police chase. KSNT-TV reports that 21-year-old Marcos Cruz Jr. was sentenced Thursday for five felonies, including second-degree murder. A witness at a preliminary hearing testified that a speeding car ran a red light and hit another car, which was forced into a fence at the Topeka Zoo. A passenger in that car, 69-year-old Edward Greene of Tecumseh, died at the scene. The driver was injured. Cruz's 8-month-old son was in his car but wasn't seriously injured.

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Kansas Wheat Harvest Mixed Amid Disease, Storm Damage 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The 2017 winter wheat harvest has been a mixed bag for Kansas so far as farmers race to bring in the crop amid damaging spring storms that have pounded some crops with hail. Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer for the industry group Kansas Wheat, says fields around Norton and Goodland in northwest Kansas were hit by hail earlier this week. That comes on the heels of a lot of hail last week around Garden City and Deerfield in southwest Kansas. A common theme with this year's wheat crop has been variability. Yields have ranged from 10 to 70 bushels per acre. Protein levels have gone up in heat-stressed crops in western Kansas. But hail has also destroyed some crops and some fields had so much disease they were not harvested.

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Colorado Announces Largest Pot Bust Since Drug Was Legalized

DENVER (AP) — Dozens of Coloradans are accused of running a marijuana trafficking ring in which they pretended to be growing marijuana for sick people but illegally shipped the drug out of state. A Denver grand jury has indicted 62 people and 12 businesses in a case that involved federal and state agents executing nearly 150 search warrants in 33 homes and 18 warehouses in the Denver area. The indictment was announced Wednesday by Colorado State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Coffman says it is the largest illegal marijuana operation since Colorado legalized the drug. She says that "the black market for marijuana ... continues to flourish." Coffman says that the enterprise was producing more than 100 pounds a month of illegal pot for shipment to Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma.

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Alternative Funding Planned for Kansas City Arts Campus
 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — University of Missouri System officials are no longer counting on state funding to help build an arts campus in downtown Kansas City. The Missouri Board of Curators and System President Mun Choi said in a news release Wednesday the system will develop alternative funding plans for the $96 million University of Missouri-Kansas City arts campus. The details of the funding mechanism will be presented at the curators' meeting in September. Choi said the $96 million and $2 million operating costs will not rely on state funding. The Missouri Legislature passed a measure in April to issue up to $48 million in state bonds to cover half the art project's campus. The bill is awaiting Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' signature, but supporters are concerned he will not sign it.

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Kansas State Halts Display of Stinky 'Corpse Flower' After Bloom

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University has closed its display of a rare stench-emitting "corpse flower" now that the plant has closed out its first-ever bloom. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that an estimated 1,000 people turned out to see the Titan Arum from the time it began blooming Tuesday afternoon until it began withering Wednesday, when the display was halted. Former Kansas State faculty members Ken and Janet Schroeder started the plant about 15 years ago.

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Perez and Moustakas Slam Homers to Lift Royals over Tigers, 8-2 

DETROIT (AP) — The Royals' Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas hit consecutive home runs during a four-run fourth inning as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 8-2 on Wednesday night. Kansas City's starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (2-6) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, earning his second victory in three starts. He gave up solo homers to Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila, but only after Kansas City had jumped to a 5-0 lead. The Tigers' Daniel Norris (4-6) permitted five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. Six of those hits came in the fourth. The Royals snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 16-8 in June.
 

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