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Headlines for Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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

Tyson Foods Puts Plans for Kansas Poultry Plant 'On Hold' 

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — Tyson Foods says its plans to build a $320 million chicken-processing plant near Tonganoxie are "on hold." In a letter to media Tuesday, Tyson poultry president Doug Ramsey says the decision comes after the Leavenworth County Commission Monday reversed its support of issuing $500 million in industrial revenue bonds to help finance the plant. The commission rescinded the resolution amid growing opposition to the plant from Leavenworth County residents. On Friday night, between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended a town hall and persuaded local legislators to oppose the plant. Ramsey said Tyson still has an interest in building in Leavenworth County but will prioritize its locations in Kansas and other states that have expressed support for the plant. The company said the plant would bring 1,600 jobs to the county.

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Kobach's Use of Private Emails for Trump Panel Questioned

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is facing criticism for using a private email account for business associated with his work as vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud. A Kansas Press Association leader and a media attorney are questioning whether Kobach is flouting a year-old state law. It makes public officials' emails about public business subject to disclosure under the Kansas Open Records Act even if they are on private accounts or devices. Kobach told the investigative site ProPublica last week that it would be a waste of state resources to use his state email account because he's serving on the commission as a private citizen. 

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Dozens of Kansas Foster Kids Stayed in Offices Overnight 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State contractors are acknowledging that dozens of foster children in Kansas have stayed in their offices overnight in the past year because places for them can't be found. Contractors KVC Kansas and Saint Francis Community Services told a state task force Tuesday that more than 100 abused and neglected children stayed overnight in offices from September 2016 through the end of June. Most overnight stays were this year. The contractors said it's the first time that they've kept foster children overnight in offices. Children stay in offices overnight when they are removed from their families but contractors cannot immediately find foster homes. Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said the state Department for Children and Families is working to increase the number of foster care homes available for children.

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Appeals Court to Hear Kansas Voting Audit Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ An appeals court will hear arguments on whether to allow a recount of votes on audit tapes from voting machines to test the accuracy of the tallies in Sedgwick County. The case stems from a seven-year effort by Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson to gain access to the tapes. Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman denied the request, and that decision was upheld in district court. The Wichita Eagle reports a three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals today (TUE) will take up the case at Friends University in Wichita. Lehman contends no problem exists and releasing the tapes would risk compromising the secrecy of people's ballots. Clarkson has done several statistical analyses of elections and believes there may be tampering with the electronic machinery that counts votes. 

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Kansas Revenue Department Employee Shot in Wichita Office 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a man under investigation by the Kansas Department of Revenue is suspected in a shooting that critically injured an employee at the agency's Wichita office. Wichita Police spokesman Charley Davidson told reporters that a 35-year-old employee was shot multiple times Tuesday before the gunman fled the scene. The suspect was arrested about a half hour later and is in custody. Davidson says there was a Revenue Department investigation involving the suspect earlier in the day, but he did not have details of its nature. Police were called at about 2:40 p.m. to the shopping center where the office is located. The investigation is ongoing. No names or other details were immediately released.

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Body Found in KCI Parking Lot Undiscovered for 8 Months 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man's body sat undiscovered for eight months in his pickup truck in a Kansas City International Airport parking lot and his family wants answers. The body of 53-year-old Randy Potter was found last week after someone reported a bad smell coming from the truck. Police say the man from suburban Lenexa, Kansas, appeared to have died by suicide, but provided no details. His parking pass is dated January 17, the day he disappeared. The truck's windows are tinted, but are light enough to allow anyone to see inside. Police say a blanket covered the body. Potter's wife, Carolina, says the family suffered prolonged ``agonizing'' over his absence. Kansas City spokesman Chris Hernandez said in a statement that city officials are investigating. 

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Kansas Sanctions Missouri Doctor over 13-Year-Old's Abortion
 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has suspended a Missouri doctor's medical license for 90 days for failing to preserve a fetal tissue sample from a 13-year-old girl's abortion. The State Board of Healing Arts concluded that Dr. Allen S. Palmer violated a Kansas law during the December 2014 abortion. Palmer was working as a contractor for Planned Parenthood's clinic in Overland Park. He no longer provides services there. Kansas requires doctors to preserve fetal tissue when abortion patients are under 14 to be forwarded to authorities. Palmer says he didn't know the girl's age and blamed Planned Parenthood staff. His attorney didn't immediately respond to a message Tuesday seeking comment. The board's order last week said the suspension runs through December 7. It affects Palmer's ability to practice medicine in Kansas, but not elsewhere.

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Authorities Arrest Man Suspect of Growing Pot at Kansas Park 

CHETOPA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a Kansas man who is suspected of growing marijuana in a park in a small town in the southeast corner of the state. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that the 54-year-old man was arrested Monday after attempting to flee from law enforcement in a boat. He is accused of cultivating the marijuana on an island in Elmore Park in the Labette County town of Chetopa. He also is accused of criminal possession of a firearm because he had a past felony conviction. Sheriff's deputies, Chetopa police officers and KBI agents were involved in his arrest.

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Police Investigate Manhattan Man's Death as Manslaughter 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a Manhattan man as involuntary manslaughter. The Manhattan Mercury reports that police responded to a call late Saturday and found 60-year-old Randy Abarr unconscious. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died early Sunday. Police haven't made any arrests or named any possible suspects. Riley County Police Department public information officer Hali Rowland says she doesn't expect that police will release any additional information pending an autopsy report.

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Topeka Man Convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter in Stabbing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man faces a sentence of up to 20.5 years in prison after he was found guilty in the stabbing death of another man. A Shawnee County jury on Monday convicted Caleb John Kanatzar of voluntary manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Terrin Holloway. Holloway's body was found in December 2015 in a car stopped in the middle of a street in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Kanatzar testified last week that he stabbed Holloway in self-defense because he thought Holloway had a gun. Kanatzar said before the stabbing, he heard that Holloway fired shots during a drive-by shooting that wounded Kanatzar's cousin. The shooting apparently was over the theft of Holloway's lawn mower. Kanatzar is scheduled to be sentenced October 27.

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Kansas State University Receives 2,300 Acres of Farmland 

ALTON, Kan. (AP) — A couple from northern Kansas have donated 2,300 acres (930.8 hectares) of farmland for Kansas State University to develop a research farm to study sustainable agricultural practices. The Salina Journal reports that Alton residents Harold and Olympia Lonsinger's donation will be dedicated at a ceremony Wednesday. Harold Lonsinger graduated from the university in 1956 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He says he hopes the university's research will help protect and preserve natural resources. John Morris is senior vice president of development for the Kansas State Foundation. He says the farm will focus on providing food safely and securely. He says the farm will seek out sustainable agriculture practices and enhance the health of soil. The university's agriculture department will manage the land.

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Civil Air Patrol Officer Reinstated After Controversial Post, but Won't Return to Position

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A lieutenant colonel in the Kansas Civil Air Patrol who resigned his command after posting on Facebook that a state lawmaker should "swing from a tree" has chosen not to resume participation in the volunteer organization after being cleared to do so. Colonel Linette Lahan, commander of the Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, says Jonathan Holder is "not active." The Civil Air Patrol conducts emergency searches. Holder had led a squadron at the based at the Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia. The dispute stems from a Facebook post saying that Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park ought to die for introducing what he considers an unconstitutional bill to block carrying of concealed handguns on college campuses.

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Patient Charged in Fatal Stabbing of Kansas Psychiatrist

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A patient of a psychiatrist stabbed to death in the alley behind his holistic practice in Kansas has been charged with first-degree murder. Twenty-one-year-old Umar Dutt made his first court appearance Monday in the September 13 death of Achutha Reddy at the Holistic Psychiatry Services clinic in Wichita. He is being held on a $1 million bond. KAKE-TV reports that his attorney Kurt Kerns says the case is complex and sad. An attorney for Dutt's family released a statement offering their condolences to the doctor's family for their loss. Raj and Azra Dutt say their family has also suffered and will continue to suffer ``the terrible toll and consequences of mental illness.'' His next court appearance is set for October 3.  

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Kansas State Fair Officials Pleased with Event's Outcome 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State Fair official says the event ran relatively smooth despite minor hiccups that were expected. This year's fair featured a new website, new ticketing system and other new infrastructure. Fair General Manager Susan Sankey says that while those new features meant inevitable problems this year, those problems were minor in the grand scheme. Sankey says some positives from the fair were great working relationships with Kansas Highway Patrol, emergency medical services, staff, vendors and exhibitors. She also says many people had good things to say about performers in Gottschalk Park. The annual 10-day fair, beginning the Friday after Labor Day, is held at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

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Kansas Banker Sentenced to Prison for Wire Fraud Scheme 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say a former Kansas banker has been sentenced to prison eight months in prison for a wire fraud scheme that included the theft of funds from a bank and an insurance company as well as filing false tax returns. The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release Monday that 61-year-old Keith L. Shaffer of Altamont will also have to serve four months of home confinement after he completes his prison term. Jurors convicted Shaffer in November on charges of misapplication of bank funds, wire fraud, misappropriation of insurance funds and making false statements on a federal tax return. Shaffer was an employee of Labette Bank when he diverted more than $134,000 in commissions on sales of insurance belonging to the bank into his personal account.

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Former Mail Carrier Sentenced for Stealing Mail in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A former mail carrier in in Sheridan County has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing mail. The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release that 25-year-old James N. Stephenson of Basehor, Kansas, was also ordered Monday to pay $4,000 in restitution. Stephenson admitted in his plea the thefts occurred while he was employed at the post office in Hoxie, Kansas. He stole mail containing cash, gift cards and prepaid debit cards. 

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Kansas Winter Wheat Planting Makes Progress

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The latest government update shows winter wheat planting in Kansas is making some progress. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that about 7 percent of the 2018 winter wheat crop has now been planted. That is near the 8 percent that would be average for this time of year. Kansas farmers are also harvesting their fall crops. About 19 percent of the corn in the state has now been cut, along with 1 percent of the soybeans and 2 percent of the sorghum.  Cotton harvest is just 2 percent completed. 

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Employee Killed in Kansas City Cellphone Store Robbery 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City cellphone store employee was killed when he rushed to the aid of a co-worker. Kansas City Police Sgt. Kari Thompson says the victim was leaving a Boost Mobile store after his shift ended Monday afternoon when he noticed that his female co-worker was exchanging words with a suspected robber. The Kansas City Star reports that the victim went back into the store and was shot in the ensuing struggle. His name wasn't immediately released. The suspect fled on foot, and the employee died at the scene. Thompson described what happened as an "awful situation." No arrests had been reported. Police didn't provide a description of the suspect, but said they had planned to review surveillance video.

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