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Headlines for Thursday, September 21, 2017

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

State Officials Hope to Keep Tyson Chicken Plant in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) _ Kansas officials are now working to find a new home for a $300 million chicken processing plant. Tyson Foods wanted to build the facility near Tonganoxie, but the Leavenworth County Commission withdrew its support for the project after hearing from thousands of residents who were opposed to the plant. Kansas Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey says at least 15 other communities have expressed interest in the plant. She says they're looking for an area that can meet certain needs, like an available workforce, and says she's confident they can put together a new deal with Tyson. McClaskey says if this project falls apart, the failure might cause other agriculture companies to think twice before considering the state. Many residents of Leavenworth County raised concerns about odor, pollution and quality of life. McClaskey says an area that has experience with food processing might be a better fit.


Study Finds GOP Health Bill Would Reshuffle Dollars   

WASHINGTON (AP) —  A study finds the latest GOP effort to end "Obamacare" would take federal dollars away from states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The study says the states that didn't expand Medicaid would initially get more federal dollars under the Republican Graham-Cassidy bill. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation study came out Thursday. It estimates the states that didn't expand Medicaid would get an average of 12 percent more. The study says states that expanded Medicaid to serve more low-income adults would face a cut of around 11 percent from 2020-2026. The biggest losers, percentage-wise, would be: New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and Minnesota. California would be the biggest loser in dollars. The biggest winners would be: Mississippi, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, South Dakota, and Tennessee. But the study says those gains could vanish over time.


Attempted Murder Charged in Kansas Tax Office Shooting 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of shooting a Kansas Department of Revenue agent has been charged with attempted first-degree murder. Ricky Wirths made his first appearance in court Thursday. He's charged in Tuesday's shooting of tax agent Cortney Holloway at a Wichita office. Revenue officials say Wirths owes almost $400,000 in taxes and the department was at Wirths's home seizing his assets hours before the shooting. Holloway was involved in the investigation of Wirths. Police say Wirths walked into the office Tuesday, asked to see Holloway and shot him several times before fleeing. During the hearing Thursday, Wirths's bond was increased to $500,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 5. KWCH-TV reports Holloway was listed in fair condition Thursday at a Wichita hospital.


Privatization Moved State Workers to Unsecured Office 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Revenue is reviewing security at its offices after a shooting this week injured an employee in Wichita. The agency moved out of the now-vacant Finney State Office Building in downtown Wichita three years ago as part of Governor Sam Brownback's push to privatize office space. That building had guards and other security for employees. The Wichita Eagle reports there was no protection Tuesday when tax compliance agent Cortney Holloway was shot at the office. The suspect, 51-year-old Ricky Todd Wirths, of Wichita, owed nearly $400,000 in outstanding tax warrants. State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Democrat from Wichita, and Robert Choromanski, head of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, both criticized the decision to provide no protection for state employees at offices the state rents from private owners.


Wichita Shooting Suspect Owed $400,000 in Taxes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Revenue says the man accused of shooting a seizure agent at its office in Wichita has two tax warrants totaling almost $400,000 related to his construction business. Police have identified the suspect as 51-year-old Ricky Wirths of Wichita. He is accused of shooting Cortney Holloway at the office in Wichita on Tuesday afternoon. Holloway is in stable condition. The tax warrants were filed in June against Wirths and his company Rick Wirths Construction. One warrant is for $196,455.46 in unpaid sales tax. The other against his company amounts to $198,250.02 in unpaid consumers compensating use tax, which is for merchandise purchased outside the state for use in Kansas. Revenue Secretary Sam Williams says in a news release that asset seizure is the "very last resort," and agents work with the taxpayer to try to set up payment plans. 


New Methane Plant at Lawrence Landfill Turns Trash into Fuel 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A new $20 million methane plant at a landfill in Lawrence is turning trash into an energy source. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the plant at the Hamm landfill has begun collecting harmful greenhouse gas produced by rotting trash and turning it into fuel for natural-gas-powered vehicles. Hamm officials said at a ceremony Wednesday that the new plant joins other recent projects that lessen the landfill's environmental impact, including a recycling center and a new system for capping landfills. The plant collects and processes methane gas that is released as organic material as trash decomposes. The plant includes extraction wells, a gas-processing facility and a seven-mile gas pipeline. The landfill serves about 500,000 Kansas residents. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that landfills produce about 20 percent of all methane emissions.


Pittsburg Settles Lawsuit with Former Police Officer 

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Pittsburg officials say the city has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former police officer. Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall says former officer Tommy Leftwich agreed to a $400,000 settlement. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports Leftwich alleged that he was wrongfully fired after complaining about rampant problems in the city's police department. He says his complaints began in 2013 when a female officer told him and another male officer about harassment by three different supervising officers in the department. Leftwich says his complaints were not addressed. The city argued that Leftwich was fired in 2014 for insubordination and unprofessional behavior.


Kansas Daycare Worker Ordered to Stand Trial for Murder 

EUDORA, Kan. (AP) — A judge has ordered a Eudora home daycare worker to stand trial for murder in the death of a 9-month-old baby. After a preliminary hearing Thursday, Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny ruled 43-year-old Carrody Buchhorn should be tried in death of Oliver Ortiz. The child died in September 2016 at the Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home. The Lawrence Journal-World reports medical examiner Erik Mitchell ruled Oliver's death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head and torso. Mitchell testified Thursday that he couldn't create a scenario to explain the boy's death as an accident. The trial was scheduled to begin February 12. The license for the daycare was put on emergency suspension after the toddler died and the state later ordered the business closed.


Bankers: Rural Economy Continues to Struggle in 10 States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new report says low commodity prices and weak farm incomes are continuing to hamper the rural economy in parts of 10 Plains and Midwestern states. The Rural Mainstreet Index for the region fell to its lowest level of the year at 39.6, down from August's 42.2. The index released Thursday ranges between 0 and 100, with any number under 50 indicating a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey of bankers, says more than half of the bankers reported that they have restructured farm loans. Nearly 20 percent have increased their collateral requirements. Bankers reported a 2.1 percent increase in farm loan defaults over the past year. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.


KCI Car Lot Where Body Found Should've Been Checked Nightly 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A private firm operating the parking lots for Kansas City International Airport says the lot where the remains of a man sat undiscovered for eight months was supposed to be checked every night. The Kansas City Star reports that airport police found the body of 53-year-old Randy Potter in a vehicle in Economy Lot B last week, when someone called to report a bad smell. Kansas City police say it appears Potter died by suicide but provided no details. City officials and representatives with private firm SP+ say they're investigating how Potter's truck remained in the lot for so long. The airport's contract with SP+ requires a license plate inventory of all vehicles in the lots every night. It's unclear if Potter's vehicle was ever recorded in an inventory.


Man Charged in Kansas City Shooting Death of Off-Duty Officer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man has been charged in the killing of an off-duty police officer at a restaurant in Kansas City's Westport entertainment district.  22-year-old Sean Steward, of Kansas City, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Thomas Alvin Orr III. The 30-year-old officer worked for the police department in suburban Lee's Summit. Police said Orr was not the intended target and was shot August 20 during an argument between other people at Californos restaurant. Court records say a witness told investigators that they saw Steward fire a handgun and run down a flight of stairs. 


2 Dead, 1 Injured  in Kansas City, Kansas Park

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say two men have been killed and another was injured at a park in Kansas City, Kansas. Police say the deaths were reported Wednesday night at Kensington Park. A spokesman for the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office didn't know how the men died. Investigators also are trying to determine how the third man was injured. No other details were immediately released, including the names of the victims.


Kansas Man Sentenced for Setting Occupied Home on Fire 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 38-year-old Wichita man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for setting fire to a house last year while seven people were inside. District Attorney Marc Bennett says Christopher Clark was sentenced Wednesday after being convicted last month of aggravated arson and arson. He says a security video showed Clark setting fire to a storage shed and window of a neighbor's home in August 2016. The people sleeping inside the house were able to escape.


Girls from Kansas City Catholic School Pose with Swastika 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A private Catholic school for girls in Kansas City says it has disciplined a group of students who posed at a party with a swastika made from red plastic cups. Administrators at St. Teresa's Academy notified parents Monday about the incident but declined to say how the girls were disciplined. The party occurred last week off school property and after school hours. The Kansas City Star reports a statement from administrators said the school investigated the girls for underage drinking and potential racial discrimination. City police also were asked to investigate because underage drinking was involved. St. Teresa's Academy president Nan Bone said she couldn't elaborate on details of disciplinary action because of privacy and legal concerns.


Father, Daughter Charged in School Attack on Ex-Boyfriend 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A father and daughter have been charged with attacking the girl's ex-boyfriend inside a Kansas City high school, leaving the 18-year-old in critical condition. Thirty-eight-year-old Josiah Wright, of Kansas City, is charged with first-degree assault and his 17-year-old daughter, Jonay Wright, with domestic assault in the Tuesday attack in Ruskin High School in the Hickman Mills School District. The prosecutor's office didn't immediately respond to a phone message asking whether they had attorneys. District spokeswoman Ruth Terrell-Lee says the parent got a visitor badge before going with his daughter to the counselor's office, where the fight erupted. Court records say the girl and her father kicked the victim and hit him in the head. The records say the father held people back so his daughter could continue hitting her ex-boyfriend.


Man Jailed in Fatal Lawrence Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities have arrested a man in a deadly shooting in Lawrence. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that police responded Tuesday night and found 26-year old Bryce Holladay suffering from fatal injuries. Lawrence police spokesman Officer Drew Fennelly says a 20-year-old man was questioned and booked into jail on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter. Fennelly says the investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and no other details were immediately released. Anyone with information is urged to contact police or a tips hotline.


Another Teenager Says He's Running for Kansas Governor

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — A second Kansas teenager says he wants to run for governor next year.  Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Village, who will turn 17 next week, filed campaign papers with the state this week. He is a junior at Shawnee Mission North High School.  The Hutchinson News reports Ruzich considers himself a moderate Republican but says he is still developing specific policy positions.  Another 16-year-old, Jack Bergeson of Wichita, is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Ruzich says he contacted Bergeson, who encouraged him to run.  Ruzich says the young candidates agree that having two teenagers in the race is an opportunity to get young people involved in politics and government.  Kansas has no age requirement for running for governor.


Moustakas Breaks Royals' HR Record in 15-5 Rout of Blue Jays 

TORONTO (AP) — The Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas hit his 37th home run of the season, breaking Steve Balboni's 1985 Royals record. Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield also connected as Kansas City routed the Toronto Blue Jays 15-5 on Wednesday night. Right-hander Jakob Junis (8-2) allowed four runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.42 ERA over his past eight starts. Moustakas eclipsed Balboni's 1985 record with a solo blast to right off Carlos Ramirez in the sixth. Merrifield also had three hits and drove in a pair of runs as the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the second time in their past seven. Kansas City came within a run of matching its season high. The Royals scored 16 against Detroit twice within a seven-day span in late July.


Sporting KC Beats Red Bulls 2-1 to Win 4th US Open Cup Title 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Latif Blessing scored midway through the first half, Daniel Salloi added a breakaway goal in the second and Sporting Kansas City held on to beat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 on Wednesday night for its fourth U.S. Open Cup title. The fast-paced match featured plenty of chances by both Major League Soccer clubs, but it was the pint-sized Blessing whose header in the 25th minute that put Sporting KC ahead to stay. The Red Bulls' Michael Murillo had just won a free kick, but Kansas City quickly cleared and went on the counter-attack. Graham Zusi got the ball on the wing, and the U.S. national team mainstay curled in a cross that the Blessing managed to connect with between four defenders.

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