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Headlines for Sunday, August 25, 2019

Kansas Man Dies in Colorado Rock Climbing Accident

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Authorities say a 50-year-old man from Kansas has died after he fell while rock climbing in Colorado. The Boulder County Sheriff's Department says the man fell about 60 feet yesterday (SAT) in an area called the Bell Buttress in Boulder Canyon about 9 miles (15 kilometers) west of downtown Boulder. His name hasn't been released. The sheriff's department says the man and a companion had just completed a climbing route and were searching for a way to descend. When the victim walked to the edge of a cliff to look over, a rock gave way and he fell.


Hearing Postponed in 2017 Topeka Triple Murder

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A plea hearing for man charged in a 2017 triple murder in Topeka has been rescheduled. The Capital-Journal reports that a judge on Friday pushed the hearing for 20-year-old Shane Mays to October 24th. Mays — one of five people charged in the case — initially faced two counts of first-degree murder. Court records show prosecutors agreed to reduce his charges to second-degree murder and aggravated battery in exchange for testifying against Kora Liles, who was sentenced in May to three life terms. Joseph Aaron Krahn also received three life terms last November. Joseph Lowry was sentenced in July to 138 years in prison, and Brian Flowers is awaiting a hearing on a request to withdraw his guilty pleas to two counts of murder. Investigators say 19-year-old Matthew Leavitt, 20-year-old Luke Patrick Davis and 38-year-old Nicole Star Fisher were strangled in March 2017; Davis was also stabbed. Mays' attorney has argued that Mays was forced to participate in the killings.


KBI Warns Fingerprint Database in Danger

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Bureau of Investigation officials are warning that a system used to check prints of criminal suspects is in danger of failing. The system contains more than 2 million finger and palm prints used by law enforcement in criminal investigations and by child welfare workers for background checks on potential foster parents. The Kansas City Star reports that KBI spokesman Joe Mandala told lawmakers that the database needs to be replaced. He warned that if it fails, the state's criminal justice and public safety operations would be crippled. Kansas is the last state using the database and the company that makes it plans to stop providing maintenance by 2025. Replacing it would cost $8 million and take about two years. The KBI hopes to request proposals for replacement this year.


Presidential Hopefuls Flock to KC, Kandor's Vets' Group

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Democrat Jason Kander's job running a nonprofit for homeless veterans has made the Kansas City site a campaign stop for Democratic presidential hopefuls. The former Missouri secretary of state was considered a strong candidate for mayor of Kansas City. Then he dropped out of the race to get treatment for the post-traumatic stress disorder he'd struggled with since leaving the Army 11 years earlier. The Kansas City Star reports that Kander began to resume his public profile in July when he announced he would lead a national expansion of Veterans Community Project. Since then, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke and Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton have visited the home village, where the nonprofit provides rent-free temporary housing while helping veterans find permanent housing and jobs.


Black Faculty Numbers Increase at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Four years after student protesters denouncing a racist campus culture and demanding a more diverse faculty disrupted the University of Missouri, school data indicates minority hires have edged up but still lag the national average. Kevin McDonald was hired as the university's first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer in early 2016 to, in part, fire up minority hiring. By 2018, nine more black faculty worked at MU than two years earlier, raising the proportion of black people on staff to 3.4%. That year, less than 6% of full-time U.S. college faculty members were black. The Kansas City Star reports that McDonald recently left MU for the University of Virginia. Missouri administrators say the committed team he established still has much work to do to build a diverse faculty.


Hy-Vee Info Stolen, Sold on Internet

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa-based grocery chain says it's aware of reports that hacked customer account information is being sold online. The Des Moines Register was the first to report that credit and debit card information of some Hy-Vee customers is being sold on an internet site for $17 to $35 apiece. Hy-Vee issued a statement to station KCCI saying it is aware of reports of the stolen information being sold and is working with payment card networks to identify the cards and work with issuing banks. Hy-Vee acknowledge earlier this month that it detected unauthorized activity on some of its payment processing systems linked to card payments at Hy-Vee restaurants, fuel pumps and drive-thru coffee shops. The company doesn't believe the breach extended to payments systems used inside its grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores. Hy-Vee operates more than 240 retail stores across Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


Wichita Police Starting Swatter Alerts

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police will begin using a system that places alerts on addresses where potential swatting targets could be living. Swatting involves someone making a hoax emergency call to send law enforcement officers, particularly SWAT teams, to a particular address. The program announced Friday is voluntary and open to people who think they might be a victims of swatting. The alerts would be available to first responders. Wichita officer Paul Cruz said in a news release the alerts wouldn't slow emergency responders, but would make them aware they might be responding to a hoax call. In 2017, Wichita police fatally shot Andrew Finch after a caller falsely claimed a murder and hostage situation was occurring at his home. The call was aimed at someone who lived at the home before Finch.


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