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Headlines for Sunday, July 19, 2015

Boeing 737 Production Drives Job Openings in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The Wichita-based aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems is trying to fill 500 jobs including 350 openings for assembly mechanics. According to the Wichita Eagle, the company says the Boeing 737 program is driving their need for workers. Spirit builds the fuselage and other major components of Boeing's best-selling single aisle passenger jet. Production of the 737 is expected to increase.  Jim Hans, director of operations for Spirit's 737 fuselage program, says the company has a $46 billion backlog.  Spirit also builds parts for Boeing's other commercial airliners and some Airbus jets.  


Crowdfunding Sought for Topeka's Heartland Park

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas man is hoping that an ambitious crowdfunding effort will help him buy a beleaguered Topeka racetrack.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Dan Canady of Holton has started a GoFundMe crowdfunding effort to raise up to $10 million to buy Heartland Park Topeka. Heartland Park Topeka opened in 1989 and became one of the NHRA's most popular drag racing venues in the 1990s. After the racetrack's finances took a turn for the worse in recent years, the city proposed to buy Heartland Park from track operator Raymond Irwin and Jayhawk Racing. But Topeka's governing body voted against the plan.  Canady says he'll use the crowdfunding money to negotiate a deal with Irwin, and if another deal is finalized before he raises the money, he'll return the money to donors.  


Departure of Senior Judges Adds to District Court Woes

 WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The looming departures of two senior federal judges in Kansas are expected to exacerbate a backlog of cases in the state's U.S. District Court.  In September, U.S. District Judge Monti Belot of Wichita, will join the ranks of senior judges leaving the federal bench. The 72-year-old judge's full retirement comes just a month after that of his 93-year-old colleague. Judge Richard Rogers of Topeka.  Their loss will leave Kansas with just five active district judges handling all the criminal cases in the federal courts, and three remaining senior judges who have opted to hear only civil cases.

Neighborhood Violence Leads to Death in Topeka
 TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A man has been been killed in a Topeka neighborhood where there has been a spate of shootings in recent days.  Topeka police Lieutenant Chris Heaven says the victim was shot in the street in front of a home around 11:45 am Saturday. A police news release says the victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.His name wasn't immediately released.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that detectives are interviewing witnesses.   The shooting was the sixth the neighborhood had seen in two weeks. It was reported just after police finished a meeting about how to combat the recent gun violence.  Heaven says police have a plan to combat the shootings and have increased their presence in the area. But Heaven adds the continued violence is frustrating.


Kansas City Chase Ends in Fatal Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Federal authorities have released the name of a suspect killed after being pursued by law enforcement in Kansas City.The Kansas City Star reports that the man killed Thursday was identified as 30-year-old Patrick Stephen Pippin, of Olathe. Pippin was a suspect in a federal investigation that involved the U.S. Marshals Service, Kansas City police and the FBI. The chase started after authorities went to a home to serve a search warrant. The FBI says two people left in a vehicle and refused to stop. One suspect got out of the vehicle and ran, but was arrested shortly afterward.Patton says the chase ended on Interstate 35 after the suspect's vehicle became disabled, and the driver got out of the vehicle armed with a weapon. No officers were injured.


Kansas Congressional Staffer Sentenced on Child Exploitation Charges
 DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A former staffer for U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp has been sentenced to 12 months in prison in a Kansas child-sex case.  Matthew Pennell was sentenced Friday in Ford County after admitting to two of the 17 child sexual exploitation counts he was charged with in March. The Dodge City Daily Globe reports that Pennell also will be required to register as a sex offender and complete a treatment program. The affidavit says Pennell was in possession of child pornography.  Huelskamp's chief of staff, Mark Kelly, said in an initial statement that Pennell had been placed on unpaid leave. In a later statement Kelly said Pennell no longer worked for the Republican congressman and that staff members were "shocked and saddened.''  Huelskamp represents Kansas's 1st Congressional District.


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