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Headlines for Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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

Kobach Clarifies Voter Fraud Claims in New Hampshire Senate Race 

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) —  The vice chairman of President Donald Trump's election integrity commission says he's now less certain that fraudulent out-of-state voters led to a Democrat's victory in a U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach paused Tuesday's commission meeting to clarify his recent comments on statistics about people who registered to vote in New Hampshire using out-of-state driver's licenses. Kobach wrote in a Breitbart News column last week that the statistics were proof that people enter the state to cast fraudulent votes and that it "appears" they led to Maggie Hassan's win. On Tuesday, Kobach acknowledged that New Hampshire allows college students and others to vote in the state without getting driver's licenses if they consider the state their domicile. 

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Prosecutor Says Officers Justified in Deadly Kansas Shooting  

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Johnson County prosecutor has found that law enforcement officers were justified in fatally shooting a woman. KMBC-TV reports that District Attorney Steve Howe made the decision after reviewing the August 23 shooting of 26-year-old Ciara Howard in Olathe. He found that two Olathe police officers and a Johnson County Sheriff's deputy acted reasonably. Police said deputies and police were trying to serve an arrest warrant at a home when a standoff ensued. When officers and deputies entered the home several hours later, authorities said Howard threatened them with a weapon, and the officers opened fire. No officers or deputies were injured.

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Public Forum Scheduled on Tyson Food Proposal in Tonganoxie 

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — Three state lawmakers who represent parts of Leavenworth County have scheduled a public forum to discuss a proposal from Tyson Foods Inc. to build a massive poultry processing complex near Tonganoxie. The forum comes amid opposition to the plant from Tonganoxie residents. The $320 million plant is expected to bring 1,600 jobs to a town of about 5,000 residents.Opponents say the plant could also bring smells, perhaps double the size of the school district and cause environmental problems. The Lawrence Journal-World reports residents also are upset that discussions about the proposal were kept secret until it was announced last week. Senator Tom Holland and Representatives Jim Karleskint and Willie Dove will co-host the forum at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Chieftain Park in Tonganoxie.

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Small Hazardous Waste Leak Reported at K-State 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Manhattan fire department says it responded to a small hazardous waste leak at Kansas State University. The department was sent to the university's Chemistry/Biochemistry building Wednesday morning, where a small ammonia cylinder had leaked on the third floor. The department says in a news release that university personnel had shut off the cylinder by the time crews arrived. Two people were checked for possible exposure and released. Fire crews ventilated the building and turned the scene back to the university within an hour. The Chemistry/Biochemistry Building houses offices, classrooms and research labs for those departments.

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Prosecutors Appeal Gun Ruling in Kansas Plot Against Somalis 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are appealing a judge's decision to throw out a firearms charge against a man accused of plotting to attack Somali immigrants in a meatpacking town in western Kansas. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in August dismissed a firearms charge against Curtis Allen along with evidence upon which that charge is based. The government appealed that ruling Tuesday. Prosecutors contend that the evidence is substantial proof of a material fact in the case. Allen and co-defendants Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright still face charges of conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex in Garden City where Somali immigrants live. All three have pleaded not guilty. The U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday that prosecutors do not expect the appeal to delay the Feb. 20 trial.

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Man Accused in Kansas Bomb Plot Blames Others 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) —  A man accused of planning to bomb a Kansas apartment complex that houses Somali refugees says he was unaware his co-defendants intended to carry out the attack. Gavin Wright made the argument in a court motion filed Wednesday that offers the first details at his defense strategy. His attorney filed the 93-page document during a hearing where she asked that Wright be released pending trial. The judge hasn't ruled on the request. Wright and co-defendants Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen are charged with conspiring to detonate truck bombs at an apartment complex in Garden City, a meatpacking town about 200 miles west of Wichita. They've pleaded not guilty. Wright's motion is redacted, but it portrays Wright as a lonely man desperate to find friends after moving to rural western Kansas. It contends Wright believed the talk about surveillance of the Somali Muslim refugee community was only hyperbole.

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Former Kansas Sheriff's Lieutenant Charged with Theft 

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — A former central Kansas sheriff's lieutenant is charged with stealing cash that was seized as evidence. The Salina Journal reports that Greg Swanson will make his first appearance next month on felony charges of theft, official misconduct and criminal solicitation. The complaint filed last month alleges that he stole between $1,500 and $25,000 from 2012 through January. Swanson began working for the Dickinson County Sheriff's Office in 2009 after 19 years with the Saline County Sheriff's Office. Dickinson County Sheriff Gareth Hoffman didn't immediately respond to phone or email inquiries from the newspaper about how the accusations against Swanson might affect cases in which the former drug task force agent was expected to testify or has testified. Swanson's phone number isn't publicly listed, and court records don't list his attorney.

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Kansas Education Board Struggles with Teacher Shortage 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State Board of Education panel is recommending a new licensing system to reduce the shortage of teachers in the state. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the state education department said Tuesday there are 90 elementary school teacher openings in Kansas and more than 80 vacancies for special education teachers. A teacher vacancy committee has recommended an elementary licensing process that would require a district to identify people with "great potential" to be a teacher. The person must have a bachelor's degree and be enrolled in an approved elementary education preparation program. The process to become a licensed elementary school teacher would take two years. Board member Janet Waugh says the board hasn't acted on those recommendations because it didn't have the latest teacher vacancy data.

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3 Kansas State Fair Workers Facing Charges over Ticket Sales 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Three Kansas State Fair employees are facing charges after allegedly selling fair gate tickets for their own profit. The Hutchinson News reports the employees were arrested Tuesday and accused of approaching people who were walking toward the fair, selling them tickets and keeping the money for themselves. Two of the men, Leeon Virgil Gould Jr., and Charles Scott, both 47 and of Hutchinson, made a first court appearance Wednesday and were ordered to return next week. The third suspect, Brett Ezra Thomas, bonded out of jail and did not make his first appearance. Reno County Magistrate Judge Cheryl Allen said another fair employee reported the sales to authorities.

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Judge Dismisses Kansas Teacher's Lawsuit over Secret Cameras 

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Kansas teacher who sued a school district for installing a hidden camera in a classroom where he sometimes changed clothes. Science teacher Rob Marriott said in a lawsuit that Bonner Springs-Edwardsville school district secretly operated video cameras in some classrooms from 2009 to 2015, which he didn't know until he left in 2016. Marriott said he sometimes changed clothes before coaching track and cross country, and others also used the room to change clothes. The Kansas City Star reports the judge ruled earlier this month that Marriott did not establish a legitimate claim to privacy in the classroom, particularly because he didn't have exclusive use of the room. The judge also ruled four administrators named in the lawsuit were not liable.

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Scenic Kansas Road Extended to Include 2 Counties 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Transportation has extended a scenic byway to add local and regional landmarks in two counties. The Manhattan Mercury reports the Native Stone Scenic Byway has increased from less than 50 miles (80 meters) to 75 miles (120 meters) to include Manhattan and Riley counties. The extension includes Manhattan's Flint Hills Discovery Center, the Underground Railroad history of Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie, and the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church in Wabaunsee. People can visit a hilltop overlooking the Flint Hills. The byway was originally established in 2005. It features abundant natural limestone formations as well as historic stone fences, buildings, barns and bridges. The Transportation Department worked with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the Kansas Historical Society to expand the corridor.

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Bodies Found in Vehicles at Kansas City Airport, Near Shopping Mall 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police do not suspect foul play in either the death of a person whose body was found inside a vehicle at Kansas City International Airport or another death in a vehicle near a shopping mall about 25 miles away. Police said in a news release that the first body was discovered around 8 p.m. Tuesday after police received a call about a foul order coming from a vehicle in the airport parking lot. Police said Wednesday afternoon the airport lot death was believed to be a suicide. About 30 minutes after the first body was found, officers discovered the body of a woman in a parking lot in southeast Kansas City. That death was later determined to be from natural causes. No further details in either death were released.

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Koch Gift Goes to Wichita State Institute on Economic Growth 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University will use a $3.6 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to create an Institute for the Study of Economic Growth. University officials say the institute will focus on economic and business research at the Barton School of Business. The Wichita Eagle reports the Koch Foundation's support of economic research centers at universities across the country raised some concerns that the Kochs' conservative, free-market politics would influence academic research. Anand Desai, dean of the WSU business school, says the university would preserve its academic freedom at the new institute. Desai said the institute will emphasize thinking about entrepreneurial activities and their role in free enterprise. The institute will employ three faculty members.

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Former Pittsburg Officer Charged with Misconduct 

GIRARD, Kan. (AP) — A former Pittsburg police officer is charged after he allegedly coerced a woman he had arrested into improper sexual contact in exchange for helping her in her legal case. Twenty-two-year-old Jessie Edward Loren Davis, of Carthage, Missouri, surrendered at the Crawford County jail Tuesday. He is charged with aggravated sexual battery and official misconduct. The Pittsburg Morning-Sun reports investigators say Davis was taking a woman involved in a domestic disturbance to jail on August 26 when he allegedly told her he would help her with in the case if he could touch her breasts. The woman told investigators she allowed Davis to touch her out of fear about what would happen if she didn't. Davis was fired after the incident was reported. It wasn't clear if he had an attorney.

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Police Identify Lyon County Man Discovered Dead in Burning Car 

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have released the identity of a man whose body was found inside a burning car in rural Lyon County. The victim was identified Tuesday as 19-year-old Jesus Avila-Galvin Jr. of Emporia. Emergency responders were called to the site on a rural road on September 6. When deputies arrived they found the body inside the car. The death is being investigated as a homicide. No further information on the case has been released.

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Sex Offender Sentenced for Taking Minor from Virginia to Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A registered sex offender from Kansas has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for taking a 16-year-old from Virginia across state lines for sex. Federal prosecutors say 21-year-old Logan Viquesney, of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of a minor for sexual activity. In his plea, Viquesney admitted that he communicated with the girl on the internet while she was staying with her grandparents in Virginia. The girl was reported missing from her grandparents' home in May 2016. Investigators learned that Viquesney drove to Virginia and picked up the girl. He took her to Maryland, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas and had sex with her on the trip. He was arrested when he and the girl arrived in Kansas City, Kansas.

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Kansas Corn Production Forecast Down From Last Year

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report is forecasting that Kansas farmers will harvest smaller corn and sorghum crops this fall. The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Tuesday that the state's corn production is expected to come in at 665 million bushels. That is down 5 percent from last year. A far bigger downturn is forecast for sorghum in Kansas. The agency forecast the state will bring in 196 million bushels of sorghum, down 27 percent from a year ago. Kansas is expected to harvest a record 202 million bushels of soybeans, up 5 percent from last year. A record harvest is also forecast for the state's cotton crop at 205,000 bales. That is up 189 percent from last year.

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Winter Wheat Moving Again to Gulf Coast Export Facilities 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Hard red winter wheat exports are flowing again from Kansas and other central states to the battered Gulf coast for shipment overseas. Industry experts say grain export facilities suffered little damage from Hurricane Harvey, but the railroad tracks that move wheat were more damaged by the storm. Most lines have since been inspected and repaired. Jay O'Neil is an agricultural economist for the International Grains Program at Kansas State University. He says the storm caused about a four-day stoppage, depending on the port. Hurricane Harvey was more of a disruption than Hurricane Irma for grain exports because the U.S. loads its exported wheat out of the Texas coast and New Orleans. The Texas facilities load onto ships the wheat that comes by rail cars from Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

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2 Killed in Southwest Kansas Crash 

MINNEOLA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two people are dead after a pickup truck and tractor-trailer crashed head on in southwest Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the truck was headed westbound in an eastbound lane of U.S. 54 on Tuesday morning before colliding with the tractor-trailer rig about 8 miles northeast of Minneola. The patrol says the crash killed the pickup truck's driver, 34-year-old Andrew Manning, of Wichita, and a passenger, 27-year-old Ashiona Hollingsworth, of Winfield. The rig's driver and a passenger were taken to a hospital in Minneola.

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Missouri Man Who Conned Women in Porn Scheme Sentenced 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City-area man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for persuading two dozen women to have sex with him by saying they were rehearsing for pornographic movies. Mario Ambrose Antoine, of Raymore, was sentenced Wednesday for wire fraud. Prosecutors said most of Antoine's victims were in financial trouble and he promised to pay them thousands of dollars to appear in porn films that would be available only on private websites overseas. The Kansas City Star reported that Antoine told the women they had to "audition" first. None of the women was ever paid. If the woman complained, Antoine threatened to send compromising images of them to their family or friends. In some cases, he did send the images to friends, boyfriends or employers.

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Brandon Moss Grand Slam Lifts Royals over White Sox, 4-3 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brandon Moss hit a grand slam in the first inning Tuesday for his third consecutive game with a homer, powering the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Scott Alexander worked out of a ninth-inning jam for his fourth save in six chances.  White Sox rookie Dylan Covey (0-5) walked the bases loaded before Moss drove a full-count fastball to right-center. It was Moss's fourth career grand slam and his first since July 24, 2014. He has nine RBIs in his past three games. Sam Gaviglio (4-5) picked up his first Royals victory in his second start after being picked up on waivers September 1 from Seattle.
 

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