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Headlines for Tuesday, January 6, 2014

Economists Predict Kansas Will Add 24K Jobs in 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Wichita State University economists expect Kansas to add more than 24,000 jobs in 2015, most of them in service positions such as professional or business services, health care or education. The university's Center for Economic Development and Business Research predicts slightly more than 1.4 million people will be employed in nonfarm sectors this year. The expected new jobs represent a 1.8 percent increase over 2014. Employment growth in Kansas is close to the nationwide average. Last year, employment increased by 1.5 percent across the U.S. and 1 percent in Kansas. 


Baby Dies After KCK Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A 7-month-old boy who was injured in a drive-by shooting in Kansas City, Kansas, has died. Police say Jaquail Mansaw died early Monday of injuries he suffered in the shooting late Sunday at a home just south of Kansas Highway 5. Investigators say the baby's mother did not suffer any serious injuries. Police say the shooter drove by the home and fired several shots into the residence. Police have not released any information on a possible suspect or a motive for the shooting. This is the fifth incident since October in which a child has been killed or wounded in a drive-by shooting in the Kansas City area. 


KU Professor Questions Effort to List Monarchs as Threatened

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A University of Kansas expert on Monarch butterflies says he is suspicious of a federal agency's proposed listing of the butterfly on the Endangered Species list. Chip Taylor, an insect ecologist, says he's concerned about the public reaction if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begins telling property owners they need to conserve certain vegetation to provide critical habitat for the butterflies. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Taylor would prefer a grassroots plan with large-scale public participation to help the butterfly. The Wildlife Service said it would review the butterfly's status after receiving a petition in August from several groups seeking the designation. Taylor is founder of Monarch Watch, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the butterfly, its habitat and migration patterns.


Ex-Banker Indicted for Theft, Money Laundering

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Federal prosecutors have accused a former bank official of falsifying credit applications and making loans without the purported borrower's authority. A 23-count indictment unsealed Monday charges Brian W. Harrison of Great Bend with embezzlement, money laundering and other financial crimes. Harrison was a vice president and loan officer at Farmers Bank & Trust in Great Bend until his resignation in April 2012. The indictment alleges Harrison also made false statements to hide the poor performance of various loans he made. The government contends Farmers Bank has charged off at least $200,000 on loans to high-risk and nonqualified borrowers. 


Fort Scott Woman Sues Walmart After 'Black Friday' Incident

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) _ A southeast Kansas woman who says she was knocked down and trampled during an ``Early Black Friday'' promotion is suing Walmart for not doing enough to protect her. Amanda DuVall of Fort Scott says she got to the local store at 5 p.m. on November 28, 2013, to wait for the 8 p.m. sale of a $49.99 tablet. She says, when the doors opened, she was suddenly thrust forward from behind, her body fell violently to the floor, her face struck the hard tile and other customers stomped on her. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports DuVall filed a lawsuit in state court in Bourbon County in October. A Walmart spokesman says DuVall's claims could not be verified.


Settlement Prospects Dim in GMO Wheat Lawsuits 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ No agreement has been reached yet on the settlement of remaining claims in lawsuits over the May 2013 discovery of genetically engineered Monsanto wheat in an Oregon field. A joint status report filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas says the parties have been exchanging settlement offers and that the last offer from plaintiffs is under consideration by St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. The lawsuits from across the country have been consolidated in Kansas. The filing says the parties will continue to discuss an amicable resolution, but again urges the court to vacate its earlier order staying court proceedings. 


Former Railroad Union Official Sentenced for Embezzlement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A former secretary-treasurer of a railroad union was ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution and serve two years of supervised release for embezzling union funds. Federal prosecutors announced Monday that 63-year-old Dale T. Hull, of Herington, Kansas, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds. He took the money while he was secretary-treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen local that represents Union Pacific Railroad employees in Herington and Salina.  Hull admitted that starting in 2008, he made unauthorized account transfers from the union's account to his personal checking account. 


Protests Continue Against Proposed Landfill in SE Kansas 

GALENA, Kan. (AP) _ Protests continue against a proposed landfill in southeast Kansas. Dozens of people lined the streets in front of Galena City Hall Monday to protest the proposed landfill near Riverton in Cherokee County. Last July, the City Council approved acquisition of 160 acres, where 40 acres would be used for a landfill. The decision caused an uproar, eventually prompting the council to rescind the contract and ordinances to annex the land. The council said it would discuss the proposal again this month but did not raise the issue at its Monday night meeting. Opponents also successfully petitioned for a grand jury investigation into council actions involving the landfill proposal. 


Retrial Set for Salina Man Accused of 2 Murders 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) _ A man convicted of murdering two people in Salina is scheduled to go back on trial in April. The second trial of Willie Jerome Smith-Parker for the 2009 deaths of 22-year-old Justin Letourneau and 24-year-old Alfred Mack Jr. is scheduled for April 27 in Saline County District Court. The Kansas Supreme Court reversed Smith-Parker's convictions in December, citing several errors in his first trial. Smith-Parker was convicted in 2010 of first-degree murder in Mack's death and second-degree murder in Letourneau's death. He was sentenced to more than 80 years. The court ruled overall weakness of evidence and several errors in the first trial mean that Smith-Parker was denied a fair trial.  


Former Kansas State All-American Jack Parr Dies at 78

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Jack Parr, the two-time All-America basketball player who helped Kansas State to a pair of conference titles and the 1958 Final Four, died Sunday at his home in Lindsborg. He was 78. The school announced his death Monday. Parr was a star from the start, averaging 17.4 points and 13.6 rebounds while helping Kansas State win the Big Seven title his sophomore season. He averaged 20.6 points and a school-record 14.5 rebounds as a junior, and teamed with Bob Boozer to lead the Wildcats to the Final Four as a senior. After graduation, Parr was drafted by the NBA's Cincinnati Royals. He played one season before returning to Kansas to become a businessman and a basketball official. Parr is survived by wife Ann. Memorial services are pending.


Royals Shuffle Front Office Executives

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Longtime Royals executive Dean Taylor is retiring from the organization as part of a shakeup of the American League champions' baseball operations department. Taylor began his career in Kansas City in the early 1980s and spent time with the Atlanta Braves before becoming GM of the Milwaukee Brewers before returning to the Royals organization in 2006. Among other moves Monday, J.J. Picollo was promoted to vice president and assistant GM in charge of player personnel; Rene Francisco was appointed assistant GM of major league and international operations; Scott Sharp was made assistant GM of baseball operations; and Jin Wong became the assistant GM of baseball administration.


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