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Headlines for Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Here's what we know so far.

Congressional Race in Deep Red Kansas Surprisingly Competitive

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A special election is underway in south-central Kansas, as voters decide who will represent them in Congress.  A Democratic civil rights attorney has made the race surprisingly competitive for this seat, which has been held by Republicans for more than two decades.  The special election today (TUE) between Democrat James Thompson and Republican Ron Estes to fill the seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo is being watched across the nation for signs of a backlash against Republicans.  President Donald Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the congressional district that includes the state's largest city of Wichita.  But in a sign of nervousness, Republicans poured money into the race late to bolster Estes. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded get-out-the-vote calls on his behalf and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas campaigned for him.

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Blog Readers Jump into Kansas Race 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  Readers of a liberal blog donated more than $200,000 in under a week to the Democratic candidate in a special congressional election in Kansas. The Daily Kos encouraged readers to contribute to and make phone calls for Democrat and Wichita civil rights attorney James Thompson. He is giving Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes a tougher-than-expected race in the 4th District of south-central Kansas. Democratic National Committee member and Daily Kos member Chris Reeves said Tuesday that the blog set up its donation site last week. A tally Tuesday morning showed more than 12,600 donors to Thompson. It is the first special congressional election since President Donald Trump's election. Thompson, Estes and Libertarian Chris Rockhold are running to replace the former congressman, CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

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Kansas Woman Jailed in Decapitation of Ex-Boyfriend's Mother

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas woman has been arrested in the decapitation killing of her ex-boyfriend's mother.  It was the victim's 9-year-old grandson who called 911 after fleeing from the attack.  Authorities say 63-year-old Micki Davis was killed Sunday afternoon. A 35-year-old Wichita woman has been jailed without bond in Sedgwick County on suspicion of first-degree murder.  Police say the grandmother was attacked after she took her grandson to a home to collect property that belonged to the victim's son.  During the assault, police say the boy grabbed his grandmother's phone and ran away.  Responding officers called for backup after finding the victim's body in the garage. The suspect was found hiding in the home.  Police plan to present the case to prosecutors today (TUE) or tomorrow (WED).  

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Pittsburg School Board to Change Hiring Procedures 

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A school board in the southeastern Kansas is looking for a third party to review its hiring procedures after an inquiry by student journalists had prompted an incoming high school principal to resign. Pittsburg School Board Vice President John Clark tells the Pittsburg Morning Sun that the board is seeking assistance in reviewing both the events that led up to Amy Robertson's resignation last week and shoring up their hiring practices to avoid similar incidents in the future. The student reporters' concerns stemmed from Robertson receiving her master's and doctoral degrees from Corllins University, an unaccredited, online school. Robertson said she received her degrees before the university lost accreditation. Superintendent Destry Brown says the board will call a special meeting to begin a new search for a high school principal.

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Police: Necropsy Shows Kansas Police Dog Killed by Suspect 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say a post-mortem examination of a police dog shows that he was fatally shot by a suspect later killed by officers. Police spokeswoman Sergeant Nikki Woodrow said the March 28 necropsy on the 6-year-old Belgian Malinois named Rooster showed that he was shot in a shoulder by a bullet that hit vital organs and exited the animal on the opposite side. Police have said officers responding to a domestic disturbance March 18 at a mobile home park surrounded a residence before 25-year-old Kevin Perry walked out with a gun in his waistband. Rooster was sent after the suspect to stop him from re-entering the home. That's when gunfire was exchanged, striking both the dog and the man. Perry later died at a hospital.

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Junction City Apartment Blaze Damage Totals Around $3.8 Million 

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials estimate that a weekend apartment complex fire in Junction City caused nearly $3.8 million in damage. The Junction City Fire Department said Monday that additional individual property loss for residents will vary. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that firefighters dumped more than 1.6 million gallons of water on the blaze in the Bluffs Apartment complex after responding early Saturday. The fire damaged 28 units across the three-story building. The cause is under investigation. A fire last April ravaged another building at the Bluffs.

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OSHA Looking into Blast at Missouri Ammunition Plant 

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — The latest on an explosion at a Missouri military ammunition plant that killed one person and injured four others (all times local):

5 p.m.

The ammunition plant in Missouri where one person was killed and four others were injured has been closed for the day while investigators try to determine what caused the explosion in a primer mixing building. Lieutenant Colonel Eric Dennis, commander of the plant in Independence, and Jim Nickels, a vice president with Orbital ATK, a private contractor that manages the plant, said at a news conference all the nearly 1,800 employees were sent home after Tuesday's explosion. They declined to release any information on the victim or other details. Federal investigators fined the plant for workplace safety issues in 2008, 2011 and 2012. The largest penalty paid was in 2011, when the operator at the time, Alliant ATK, was initially fined $28,000 and paid $5,600 after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited it for "serious" issues with process safety management of hazardous chemicals.
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3:50 p.m.

Federal workplace safety officials will investigate an explosion that killed one worker and injured four others at an Army ammunition plant near Kansas City, Missouri. Scott Allen with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says he has few immediate details about Tuesday afternoon's blast at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, just east of Kansas City. But he says OSHA investigators are heading to the scene. The Army Joint Munitions Command confirmed in a statement the number of explosion victims but did not reveal how the blast happened. The 77-year-old plant sits on nearly 4,000 acres and is the first of a dozen Army small-arms factories. The plant makes small-caliber ammunition and tests its reliability. It also operates the NATO test center. The property has more than 400 buildings and nine warehouses, and has a storage capacity of more than 700,000 square feet. Its workforce includes 29 Department of Army civilians and a soldier to provide contract oversight.
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2:30 p.m.

The U.S. Army says an explosion at an ammunition plant in Independence, Missouri, has left one person dead and three others injured. The Army Joint Munitions Command says the explosion happened Tuesday at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence. A spokeswoman says no further information was immediately available. The plant manufactures small-caliber ammunition and operates the North Atlantic Treaty Organization test center. It sits on 3,935 acres in Independence.

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Nebraska's Legal Options Limited in Dealing with Prairie Fire Smoke 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln attorney says that Nebraska has limited legal options regarding the smoke carried into the state from Kansas ranchers who annually burn tallgrass prairie. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that a group of ranchers in the Flint Hills burned upward of 2.3 million acres of North America's largest unplowed stretch of tallgrass prairie Saturday. The burning led to complaints from neighbors in Nebraska due to southerly winds carrying the smoke into the state. Lincoln lawyer Steve Mossman, who specializes in agricultural and environmental law, doesn't think Nebraska could successfully sue Kansas authorities to regulate prescribed burns because courts are reluctant to force them to regulate against their will. He says a better option is cooperation and better communication between the two states. Kansas usually burns the Flint Hills acres around March and April every year.

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Ex-Guard at Leavenworth Federal Prison Gets Jail Term Himself

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A former guard at the federal prison in Leavenworth has been sentenced to three years in prison for taking bribes to smuggle tobacco to inmates.  Forty-seven-year-old Marc Buckner of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Monday for one count of being a public official accepting bribes.  Authorities have said Buckner received more than $200,000 in bribes while he worked at the prison from 2005 to 2014. The U.S. attorney's office alleges Buckner got about $750 each time he smuggled tobacco into the prison.  Prosecutors say Buckner hid the contraband tobacco and rolling papers in two handmade insoles in his shoes and carried out the smuggling once or twice a month.

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Multi-State Crime Suspect to Stand Trial in Kansas Before Return to Mississippi 

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Multi-state crime spree suspect Alex Deaton's cases in Mississippi's Rankin County will be presented to a grand jury this month. But District Attorney Michael Guest tells WLBT-TV  that it will be a while before he stands trial in the Magnolia state. Guest says Kansas authorities have notified his office that they intend to bring Deaton to trial for crimes there before returning him to Mississippi. He says that trial will happen no earlier than six months from now. Deaton is charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, theft, armed robbery and personal felony in Kansas. In Mississippi, he faces murder charges for the deaths of his girlfriend and another woman, and aggravated assault after the shooting of a jogger. He also faces carjacking charges in New Mexico.

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More Mumps Cases Confirmed in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - The number of mumps cases at Kansas State University is now up to 15 since February.  The Manhattan Mercury  reports that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is recommending that people in close contact to others diagnosed with mumps receive a third dose of the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. The recommendation is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's outbreak control guidance.  The university says that three students were diagnosed in February, forcing the school to consider the situation an "outbreak."  The CDC says that some of the symptoms for the illness include fever, exhaustion and swollen salivary glands under the ears. Mumps is an airborne virus that can be spread by sneezing and coughing.  Riley County Health Department director Jennifer Green says health agencies continue to identify and contact those who may face increased risk.

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2 Hurt After Teen Driver Crashes into Lawrence Home 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 15-year-old drove into a Lawrence duplex, sending two people to the hospital with minor injuries. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the crash happened Monday night when the boy failed to negotiate a turn. The car he was driving hit a curb before crashing through a duplex wall. The vehicle was nearly entirely inside the building when it came to a stop. The boy fled the scene on foot. Lawrence Police Department spokeswoman Kim Murphree said in an email that he was later found and cited on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a valid driver's license. The girl who was riding in the passenger seat wasn't hurt. But Murphree says both people inside the home were taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

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KC Police: Maryland Brothers Face Child Sex Charges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Maryland man faces a federal sex charge in Missouri allegedly involving a suburban Kansas City girl who prosecutors say he met online and was trying to drive to his state. William Dela Cruz is charged with enticing a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity. Investigators allege Dela Cruz and his brother drove last Thursday from Maryland to pick up the 12-year-old girl. She was found safe Sunday near St. Louis.

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KC Police: Osawatomie Man's Death Was a Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of a man found in a wooded area of Kansas City, Missouri, as a homicide. Police say 29-year-old Michael Luckey, of Osawatomie, Kansas, was found dead last week. His cause of death wasn't immediately released. Police are urging anyone with information to call a tips hotline.  

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Kansas Man Sentenced for Using Stolen ID in Trying to Buy Jaguar

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Wichita man has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing someone's identity and using it to try and buy a Jaguar.  The U.S. attorney's office says that 32-year-old Jacob Michael Martin was sentenced yesterday (MON) for one count each of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.  He was one of 13 people indicted in a scheme to steal mail, forge documents and then shop with stolen identities.  Prosecutors say Martin obtained a $43,000 loan from Wells Fargo Bank in another person's name by presenting the victim's Social Security number. Martin also showed a driver's license with his picture but the victim's name.

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Police: Oswego Man Drowned in Neosho River

OSWEGO, Kan. (AP) - Police in the southeast Kansas town of Oswego say a man whose body was found in the Neosho River had drowned.  He'd been missing for more than a week.  Police say body of 63-year-old Michael Coysh of Oswego was located Saturday about two miles downriver from the dam near where his vehicle was found parked.  He'd last been seen March 30 at his apartment in the Labette County town.  An autopsy determined that Coysh drowned, and that his death is being ruled accidental.

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Lenexa Police ID 2 Teens Killed in Wreck
 
LENEXA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities in Lenexa, Kansas, are identifying two teenagers killed when the vehicle in which they were riding slammed into a tree shortly after the driver refused to stop for police.  Police say 15-year-old Isaiah Stroble and 13-year-old Angelito Espinosa died in the accident about 5 a.m. Sunday. Both victims were from Kansas City, Kansas.  Seven other people were injured.  Officer Danny Chavez says an officer noticed a vehicle driving without headlights and tried to stop it, but the driver didn't stop. The officer allowed the vehicle to go, but found the crash site a short time later.  Police say the investigation continues.

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Exterminators Battle Bed Bugs at Lawrence Call Center

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Exterminators are working to eradicate a bed bug infestation at a Lawrence call center that does data management for the federal government.  The Lawrence Journal-World  reports that city code enforcement manager Brian Jimenez says the Douglas County Health Department forwarded several reports to the city after receiving calls from employees at General Dynamics Information Technology.  Company spokeswoman Yvonne Hylton said in a statement that the company is working to resolve the situation "as quickly as possible."  Jimenez says General Dynamics already had contacted an exterminator by the time the city learned of the infestation. The exterminators will use a combination of heat, cold and chemicals to kill the insects and their eggs.

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Kansas State to Remember Soldiers Who Died in WWI

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University is remembering 48 students who died in World War I as the nation marks the recent 100-year anniversary of entering the global conflict.  The Manhattan Mercury  reports that the event is planned for April 21 at Memorial Stadium, where football games were played from the 1920s through 1967.  Among the soldiers to be honored is Lt. Eddie Wells, who was killed in 1918. Before leaving for the war, Wells was a varsity basketball and football player at what was then Kansas State Agricultural College.  Jed Dunham is a writer and researcher for Kansas State's Office of Military Affairs. He set out to learn more about Wells and the others who died in the war after seeing their names on a plaque in 2014.

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Royals Falter in Home Opener

The Oakland A's spoiled the Royals' home opener, defeating Kansas City 2-to-0 on Monday.

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