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Headlines for Thursday, September 7, 2017

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

Norton Prison's Inmate Population Up Before Disturbance

NORTON, Kan. (AP) — Figures from the Kansas Department of Corrections show that the inmate population at the Norton Correctional Facility in north-central Kansas rose steadily for three months before a disturbance there. Department spokesman Samir Arif said Wednesday that the state began double-bunking inmates in some parts of the minimum security prison this summer. A disturbance Tuesday night left part of one building at the prison uninhabitable for inmates. Windows were smashed and inmates broke into a tool shed. Arif says the disturbance began when an inmate set fire to a mattress in a housing unit and as many as 250 inmates spilled into the yard. The department reported two minor injuries to staff. The department's figures show that the prison housed 707 inmates at the end of May. The population was 21 percent higher Tuesday at 856 inmates. The disturbance drew law enforcement officers and firefighters to the prison just south of the Nebraska state line and about 100 miles northwest of Hays.


Man Charged in Fatal Shooting at Lawrence Motel 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 19-year-old man is charged with killing one man and wounding two others at a Lawrence motel. Tyrone Carvin, of Kansas City, Kansas was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Cameron Hooks, of Lenexa. The shooting happened Saturday at a Motel 6 in Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Carvin faces three other felony charges after two men were injured. Carvin also suffered a gunshot wound but was treated and released and is being held in Douglas County on $1 million bond. Police have released few other details about the shooting. His next court hearing is scheduled for September 13. An attorney appointed for Carvin did not immediately return a call seeking comment.


Woman Says She Was Threatened by Former University of Kansas Football Player

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Court records say the girlfriend of former Kansas Jayhawk football player Maciah Long claims she was threatened with a loaded handgun during an argument. The Kansas City Star reports that the arrest affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court says Long told the girlfriend, "I'll shoot your kneecaps out." The 20-year-old woman told police that just before the threat, Long pulled the slide back on the gun to rack a bullet into the chamber. Long was arrested August 20 and dismissed from the team the next day. He is charged with a felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two misdemeanors. The 19-year-old from Houston played linebacker and tight end last season. He has been released from jail on $5,000 bond.


Federal Commission Sues over Pay Inequality at Kansas Restaurant

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the former operator of a Kansas pizza restaurant that offered a higher wage to a 17-year-old boy than to a female applicant of the same age. The Kansas City Star reports that the commission filed suit Tuesday against PS Holding LLC, the former owner of a Pizza Studio restaurant in Kansas City. Jensen Walcott raised questions after learning in 2016 that her friend, Jake Reed, was told he would be paid 25 cents an hour more. The Pizza Studio manager then withdrew both job offers, telling the friends it was against company policy to discuss wages. The pizza chain later said the manager was wrong and had been dismissed. The teens told their story of pay inequality at the Democratic National Convention.


Trump Picks Wichita Attorney for Federal Bench 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump has nominated a Wichita attorney whose practice is oil and gas law to the federal bench in Kansas. If confirmed, John W. Broomes would replace retiring U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten in Wichita. Broomes is a former submarine officer and petroleum engineer who practices at the Hinkle Law Firm. His LinkedIn profile shows he previously worked as a law clerk to former U.S. District Judge Monti Belot. His resume includes a 3-year stint as a project manager for Koch Industries' pipeline and refinery operations. The Center for Responsive Politics shows Broomes contributed to Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2016 Republican primary. He has also donated to several other GOP candidates. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran urged his confirmation, citing his "impressive record."


Konza Prairie Station Receives $225,000 Federal Grant 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The National Science Foundation has awarded Konza Prairie Biological Station and the Division of Biology nearly $225,000 to upgrade facilities for long-term bison research. The Manhattan Mercury reports the money will be used to replace some Konza Prairie corrals, build more pens, provide researchers easier access and add more remote scales to document the body weight of about 280 bison. Konza Prairie director John Briggs says the bison experiment studies how bison grazing affects the tallgrass prairie and measures bison performance, such as seasonal weight gains, in response to grassland conditions. The research began in 1987. The facilities were last improved in 1997.


Kansas State Fair Getting Ready to Open in Hutchinson 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Fair is getting ready to open in Hutchinson. The annual fair starts Friday and runs through September 17 on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. Events include a grape stomp Saturday to help celebrate the grape and wine industry in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Agriculture says that there are 41 farm wineries through the state. The wine industry is credited with contributing nearly $47 million to the state's economy and employing more than 200 Kansans. The fair also will feature carnival rides, livestock competitions, milking demonstrations, pig races, an antique tractor pull and demolition derby. Visitors also can see performances by Los Lonely Boys, Loverboy & Survivor, Josh Turner, TobyMac, Smashmouth, Old Dominion and Chevelle.


Lawrence Airport to Get $1.8M Wildlife Fence 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The City of Lawrence is preparing to install a $1.8 million fence around its airport to stop large animals from interfering with takeoffs and landings. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the City Commission awarded the contract to Amerifence Corp. on Tuesday for the fence that'll surround the Lawrence Municipal Airport.The commission says 90 percent of the project will be paid for by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The city's $180,000 share will be paid for by airport reserves.Plans for the 10-foot-high fence indicate it'll be just over five miles long, with six access gates and two pedestrian gates.City officials say that though there haven't been any collisions with animals thus far, animals on the airport's runways have created safety concerns. Construction will begin in October.


Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty to Fraud in Kansas 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty in Kansas to felony charges of selling unregistered securities that cost investors $800,000. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 51-year-old Kevin Brown pleaded to four charges Tuesday in Shawnee County District Court. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Brown in 2015 of participating in a collection of companies tied to three multimillion-dollar frauds between 2008 and 2014, including a Ponzi scheme. Brown's misconduct in Kansas occurred from 2011 to 2013. His case was originally investigated by the Kansas Securities Commission before being passed to Attorney General Derek Schmidt under authority granted by the 2017 Legislature. Brown's sentencing is scheduled for December 19.


After Boy Found in Concrete, Ex-Wichita Mayor Seeks Answers 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita mayor and gubernatorial candidate says unsuccessful efforts were made to confirm the safety of his grandson before a body that is believed to be the boy's was found encased in concrete. The Wichita Eagle reports that Carl Brewer says "something went wrong," although it's too early to know whether the system failed 3-year-old Evan Brewer. Police say the body found Saturday in a rental home is likely that of Evan, though final confirmation is awaiting DNA results. Brewer says Evan's father, Carlo Brewer, worked through the court system, the state child protective agency and police, raising concerns about Evan. Evan's mother and her boyfriend have been arrested but not charged in the death. Brewer says Governor Sam Brownback told him he would look into welfare officials' involvement.


Topeka Police Investigate Intentional Hit-and-Run of Cyclist 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a bicycle rider was intentionally hit by a pickup truck in downtown Topeka by a driver who didn't stop. The bicycle rider told police he was riding on the sidewalk Thursday when the truck drove over a curb and hit him on purpose. Police say the victim knew the truck driver. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the incident happened after an apparent disturbance at the Let's Help soup kitchen. Police said someone may have pulled a knife during the disturbance but no one was injured. Police Officer Brian Mooney said the bicycle rider was "banged up" but he refused medical treatment.


Kansas Army Vet Sentenced for Faking Blindness to Get Benefits

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ An Army veteran from Reno County was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution for benefits he received by pretending to be blind. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said 62-year-old Billy J. Alumbaugh, of Turon, was sentenced Wednesday for conspiracy to defraud the government. His ex-wife, 52-year-old Debra Alumbaugh, also of Turon, was sentenced to a year on probation for helping with the scheme.  While pleading guilty in June, Alumbaugh admitted he told the Veterans Administration that he was blind and homebound in order to receive monthly pension benefits. In fact, he was able to drive and engage in other routine activities without assistance. His wife accompanied him to medical visits, where they pretended he was blind and depended on her for help. 


Air Service from Dodge City, Liberal to Denver Ends Monday 

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — The regional airline hub providing service between Dodge City, Liberal and Denver is grounding its operations two months earlier than expected. PenAir announced last month that it was filing for Chapter 11 reorganization and would close its Denver and Portland, Oregon, hubs. Dodge City thought it would have 90 days before the airline quit flying. But on Tuesday, the carrier said its last day would be Monday. CEO Danny Seybert said in a release that the closure was necessary because several pilots had resigned and the airline could not replace them. PenAir was the Essential Air Service provider for the Dodge City Regional Airport. The Dodge City Daily Globe reports city manager Cherise Tieben says the city is working with federal officials to find a new airline.


Ex-Shawnee County Deputy Sentenced to Jail, Probation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Shawnee County Sheriff's detective will spend four days in jail and be on two years' probation for interfering with law enforcement. Erin Thompson, who was a sheriff's deputy for more than 15 years, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday on two counts of misdemeanor interference with law enforcement. She also was ordered to pay $5,000. Prosecutors say Thompson lied in 2014 about two interviews she conducted, claiming she talked to or tried to talk to people involved in cases she was investigating. At a preliminary hearing in January, witnesses testified they never talked to Thompson. Thompson's last day with the sheriff's office was August 30, after she served nearly two years of paid administrative leave. Thompson was originally charged in May 2016 with three counts of felony perjury.


Kansas City Police Investigate 3 Homicides in 24 Hours 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say three people have been killed in separate shootings over 24 hours in Kansas City. Police say the first of the killings happened around 9 p.m. Sunday. The 34-year-old victim, Dominique Jefferson, of Kansas City, was pronounced dead at a hospital. The next killing happened shortly after midnight Monday. Officers responding to an accident found 27-year-old Kendrick Anderson, of Kansas City, shot to death inside of a wrecked vehicle. The third homicide happened shortly before 9 p.m. Monday. Police found 38-year-old Lester Davis of Kansas City shot on a sidewalk. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police had no suspect information about the killers and are working with witnesses to develop a description. The murders bring the city's annual homicide total to 104.


Kansas State University Physics Department Gets $1.5M Grant 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State University physics department has received a $1.5 million grant to improve an online professional development tool for physics teachers. The National Science Foundation awarded the grant to associate professor of physics Eleanor Sayre. Sayre is working on a research project that investigates how an online tool called PhysPort affects teaching practices in physics classes. The project is in collaboration with the American Association of Physics Teachers. The university and the association created PhysPort to help physics teachers with expert recommendations, teaching method guides, assessment resources and online workshops. It's the third science foundation grant the university has received to develop the tool. A report says more than 24,000 individual users utilized PhysPort's resources in 2016.


Report: Kansas Wheat Crop Had Lower Protein Levels 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A report shows Kansas farmers harvested a winter wheat crop this year that had lower than usual protein levels. The report issued Thursday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service and Kansas Grain Inspection Service showed protein content averaged 11.6 percent. That is down from 11.7 percent last year as well as the 10-year average of 12.5 percent. Wheat crops with protein levels of 12 percent or more fetch premium prices for farmers because that higher quality wheat is used to make bread. The protein in flour is what gives it strength when mixed with water and yeast, allowing the bread to rise better for fluffier loaves. The average test weight in Kansas was 60.5 pounds per bushel. About 67 percent of the crop was graded No. 1, the highest rating.


Consultants Recommend New Jail in Kansas City 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Consultants are recommending a new jail in Kansas City to replace the outdated facility. The Kansas City Star reports that consultants told Jackson County officials that a new facility might cost as much as $180 million. Kansas City design firm HOK Inc. said that is a better option than spending $150 million to renovate the existing facility. The consultants said a new jail would be cheaper to operate and safer. HOK says the four buildings that comprise the jail complex range in age from 20 to more than 80 years old. HOK says all of them are in various stages of disrepair. The jail also is the focus of an FBI investigation and the jail was raided earlier this year, with two guards arrested in a contraband smuggling operation.


Man Sentenced in Stabbing Death of 86-Year-Old Wichita Man 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 28-year-old Wichita man was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 50 years for fatally stabbing an elderly man who was showing him a rental property. Boe Adams was sentenced Wednesday for first-degree murder and other charges in the April 28 death of 86-year-old Otto Meyer. Prosecutors say Meyer was stabbed when he was showing the property to Adams and a woman who was with him. Wichita police found the victim's truck parked at an apartment complex in Wichita. Adams and the woman were caught while trying to cash a check drawn on Meyer's account. His co-defendant, 19-year-old Yvonne Mosqueda, of Wichita, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 20 on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and theft.


Salvador Perez Hits Two Home Runs as Royals Rout Tigers 13-2 

DETROIT (AP) — The Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez homered twice as the Royals broke open a close game to rout the Detroit Tigers 13-2 on Wednesday night. Kansas City broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the seventh, then scored seven runs in the eighth. Perez drove in three runs, while Whit Merrifield had three doubles and three RBIs. Alcides Escobar had four hits. Pitcher Jason Hammell (8-10) got the win, giving up two runs, nine hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out six while winning for the third time in four starts. Tigers starter Matthew Boyd pitched six-plus innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out four.

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