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Regional Headlines for Wednesday, October 23, 2013



Topeka Company Recalls 23,000 Pounds of Meat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reser's Fine Foods is recalling about 22,800 pounds of potentially bacteria-tainted chicken, ham and beef products.  Reser's Fine Foods is headquartered in Oregon but the recalled food items were all manufactured at the company's facility in Topeka.  No other facilities are involved in the recall.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced yesterday (TUE) that the meat products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The meat was shipped to retailers and distributors in 27 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service listed various "sell by" dates for the recalled products.  There have been no reports of illness. Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon and potentially fatal disease. Symptoms can include high fever and severe headache.

For more information, consumers can call: 1-888-257-7913.


Police ID Man Killed by Train in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified the Lawrence man who was struck and killed by a freight train.  Police say the victim was 51-year-old Jerry D. Claypool of Lawrence. Officers were called Tuesday afternoon to the scene in the Burcham Park area.  Police said the adult male was hit by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train. Medical personnel pronounced him dead before he reached a hospital.  Police continue to work with officials from BNSF to investigate the collision.


KS Legislators Continue College Tour

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A group of Kansas legislators is continuing its statewide tour of higher education campuses to gather information about programs and spending.  The tour began yesterday (TUE) with stops at Topeka's Washburn Institute of Technology and Emporia State University.  Today (WED), members of the House and Senate budget committees are heading to Wichita State University and several research campuses in the city.  Lawmakers are looking at the activities and needs of each institution. The visits are intended to help shape policy decisions when the Legislature convenes in January.  On Thursday, the group will go to Fort Scott Community College and Pittsburg State University. Next week, the lawmakers visit Fort Hays State, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, including its medical center.


Nearly 50 KS Counties Qualify for Federal Disaster Aid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials say President Barack Obama has issued a federal disaster declaration for 46 counties hit by severe storms, high winds, tornadoes and floods from July 22 to August 22.  The declaration allows the counties to apply for federal aid to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the violent weather. The declaration also authorizes all Kansas counties to apply for federal grants to mitigate the effects of future disasters.  Counties covered by the declaration are Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Ford, Geary, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Linn, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morris, Ness, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Republic, Rice, Saline, Sumner, Washington, Wilson and Woodson.


No Ruling on Access to KS Teen's Murder Case

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Reno County judge has delayed a decision on a 14-year-old Hutchinson boy's request to bar public access to court proceedings over the arson deaths of his mother and younger sister.  The teen is charged with first-degree murder in the two deaths and the attempted murder of his father in the September 26 fire at the family's home. The state is seeking to prosecute him as an adult.  Judge Patricia Macke Dick put off her ruling after a hearing on a defense motion for an order to close hearings, seal the court record and impose a gag order.  Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder says the judge took the matter under advisement after The Hutchinson News intervened with a motion seeking to keep the proceedings open.


Federal Judge Denies Doctor's Motion to Grant Bail

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal magistrate judge is denying a request from a Manhattan physician to grant bail while awaiting trial on charges he illegally distributed painkillers from his clinic.  The motion was denied late Tuesday by Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius in the case involving Dr. Michael Schuster. The physician remains in federal custody where he has been since a grand jury indictment was filed in May.  Schuster's attorneys had argued that he and his wife had liquidated foreign assets and brought them back to the United States in effort to address concerns that Schuster was a flight risk.  Sebelius disagreed, saying even though the assets had been returned to the United States that the charges against Schuster were serious enough to deny bail.  A trial is set for May 2014.


KS Restaurant Operators Face Immigration Charges

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The operators of a Wichita restaurant have been indicted on federal charges of employing people who are in the country unlawfully.  The U.S. Attorney's office says 33-year-old Yong Lin and his wife, 29-year-old Zhuo Mei Weng, were arrested yesterday (TUE). They were booked into the Sedgwick County Jail and are scheduled to have initial court appearances today (WED).  Prosecutors brought the case after federal agents and Wichita police searched the couple's World Buffet Grill and three west Wichita apartments. The indictment had been sealed since it was filed September 11.  Lin and Weng are charged with conspiracy and harboring people who are in the U.S. unlawfully. The indictment alleges they paid the workers in cash and failed to complete employment eligibility forms.


Fire-Damaged KS Packing Plant Resumes Production

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A south-central Kansas packing plant is resuming full operation less than a month after a fire caused heavy damage.  The fire on Sept. 25 started in a conveyor belt in the fabrication at Creekstone Farms Premium Beef in Arkansas (ar-KAN'-zuhs) City.  The Arkansas City Traveler reports Creekstone began receiving cattle Sunday in preparation for resuming beef production Wednesday.  The company said in a news release that it continued supplying customers with its Black Angus beef products during the shutdown through arrangements with other packers. Ground beef and shipping operations resumed within a week after the fire.


KS Brothers Sentenced in Separate Murder Cases

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two Wichita brothers have been sentenced on the same day for their roles in separate homicides.  The Wichita Eagle reports that 23-year-old Steven Louis was sentenced yesterday (TUE) to life plus 13.75 years. His brother, 25-year-old Caesar Louis, was sentenced to more than 28 years.  Jurors found Steven Louis guilty of first-degree murder and other charges for firing 15 shots during a December 2011 shootout and then firing 18 more at a car and house he thought were occupied by rival gang members. The initial shootout left a fellow 19-year-old gang member dead.  Caesar Louis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges for his role in the August 2012 death of a 35-year-old man whose throat was cut after three men forced their way into his home.


Judge Drops Charges against Woman in Trucking Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has dropped all charges against a California woman ensnared in the prosecution of a cargo theft scheme in Kansas.  U.S. District Judge Monti Belot granted the government's request to dismiss the indictment against Larisa Nagapetian.  Her husband, Oganes Nagapetian, and his brother, Tigran Nagapetian, still face charges of conspiracy, identity theft and other crimes. All are from North Hollywood, California.  Prosecutors allege they tried to steal a semi-load of processed beef in November 2011 from the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Holcomb by pretending to be legitimate freight haulers.  The U.S. Attorney's office says the government dismissed the charges against Larisa Nagapetian "in the interest of justice." Spokesman Jim Cross declined to elaborate, citing the pending case against other defendants.


AP Corrects Landon Lecture Story

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — In a story October 22 about the Landon Lecture, The Associated Press erroneously reported that Kansas State University is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Manhattan school is celebrating its 150th anniversary.  A corrected version of the story is below:

Former US Ag Secretaries Speak at KSU

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Six former agriculture secretaries have delivered the latest installment of the Landon Lecture series at Kansas State University.  The Topeka Capital-Journal ( reports that Monday night's panel was made up of Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Ed Schafer and John Block.   Block served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1986. He says the challenge of doubling food production by 2050 to help nourish an estimated 9 billion people can be met with creative adaptation of technology.  The speakers were picked as the school celebrates its 150th anniversary and birth as a land-grant institution.  The Landon Lecture is named for former Governor Alf Landon, a Republican who was Kansas governor from 1933 to 1937. Landon lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 presidential election.


Anti-Slavery Constitution on Display in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A replica of an anti-slavery constitution that was drafted during the Bleeding Kansas era is going on display in Topeka.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Topeka Constitution was discovered recently at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., as documents were being placed on the Internet. Drafted in 1855 at Constitution Hall in Topeka, it is the first of four constitutions to be written during nationally divisive fights over whether Kansas would be a free or slave state.  Kansas finally entered the Union as a free state in 1861 under the Wyandotte Constitution. By that time, southern states were beginning to secede from the Union.  The replica is being unveiled at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.  The original 26-page handwritten Topeka Constitution will remain in Washington.


Missouri Officials: Help Prevent Spread of Deer Disease

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's firearms deer season takes place next month, and conservation officials are asking hunters to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.  The disease is deadly to deer, but there is no evidence it can affect humans. Deer can be affected through exposure to soil containing abnormal proteins that are called prions. The prions can get into soil when infected deer decompose on the surface.  The Conservation Department says hunters should avoid cutting through the spine, brain or bones. If hunters must move a whole carcass, they should send the non-edible parts to state-approved landfills for proper burial.




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