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Headlines for Wednesday, September 6, 2017

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

Kansas Prison's Inmate Numbers Rose Before Unrest 

NORTON, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on a disturbance at a state prison in northwestern Kansas (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Figures from the Kansas Department of Corrections show that the inmate population at a northwestern Kansas prison 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 low-security Norton Correctional Facility this summer. A disturbance Tuesday night left part of one building at the prison not livable for inmates. Windows were smashed and inmates broke into a tool shed. 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. Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka said the relocation of inmates has created what she called a "self-inflicted" crisis.

3:40 p.m.
A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman is confirming that part of a building for housing inmates at a prison in the state's northwest is not livable following a disturbance. Spokesman Samir Arif also said the department increased the number of inmates it transferred out of the Norton Correctional Facility on Wednesday to 100, up from 90 earlier. But Arif said the inmates were transferred for security reasons, not because part of the housing building was damaged. The disturbance occurred Tuesday night. Arif said it began when an inmate or inmates set fire to a mattress and about 250 spilled into the yard. Windows were smashed in several buildings and inmates broke into a tool shed. The low-security prison is about 320 miles (515 kilometers) west of Kansas City.

10:45 a.m.
A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman says it has transferred 100 inmates from a prison in the state's northwest following a disturbance there. Spokesman Samir Arif said Wednesday that the inmates were moved from the Norton Correctional Facility to other Kansas prisons. Arif says the disturbance at Norton began Tuesday night when an inmate or inmates set fire to a mattress in a housing unit and as many as 250 inmates spilled into the yard. He said inmates broke into a tool shed and smashed several prison windows. Arif says two staff members suffered minor injuries that required no medical attention. The disturbance drew law enforcement officers and firefighters to the prison just south of the Nebraska state line and about 320 miles west (515 kilometers) west of Kansas City.

12:25 a.m.
NORTON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Corrections says an inmate disturbance at the Norton Correctional Facility has been brought under control. Prison authorities say all inmates have been secured. Two minor staff injuries were reported. An investigation into the incident is underway. Department of Corrections spokesman Samir Arif said the disturbance began last (TUE) night at the medium-security and minimum-security prison about 100 miles northwest of Hays. Norton City Administrator Chad Buckley says all of the town's firetrucks and the entire police department responded to the scene to assist corrections officials. The Norton prison houses nearly 850 inmates. Kansas has seen multiple inmate disturbances in recent months at its maximum-security prison in El Dorado in southern Kansas.


Tyson Foods to Invest $320M in New Chicken Plant in Kansas  

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — Tyson Foods plans to invest $320 million in a new chicken-processing plant in northeast Kansas that will employ 1,600 people. The company announced its plans Tuesday during a news conference with Governor Sam Brownback and other state and local officials in Tonganoxie. Tyson plans to build the plant outside the town of 5,300 people about 15 miles north of Lawrence. Tyson President and CEO Tom Hayes said the new plant will help the company meet a growing demand for fresh chicken. The plant will be able to process up to 1.25 million birds a week and is expected to open in mid-2019. The company and state officials expect the plant's payroll, its payments to farmers and its purchases of grain and utilities to total $150 million a year. Some local residents say the announcement came as a surprise to them and that they had no chance to weigh in on the project. Some say thay are concerned that the massive plant will lead to pollution, odor, and a lower quality of life. Tyson say it is planning to hold town hall meetings to discuss concerns about the project with local residents. 


Kobach Conciliatory on 6-Month Delay in End to DACA 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says a delayed end to a program protecting young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children is still a "good day for the rule of law." The Wichita Eagle reports Kobach's comment in an interview Tuesday after he told television's "Fox & Friends" that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should end immediately. Former President Barack Obama started the program in 2012. President Trump announced the program would end in six months. Kobach is vice chairman of Trump's commission on election fraud and a Republican candidate for Kansas governor. Kobach said that DACA is unconstitutional and the U.S. shouldn't continue violating its constitution. But he later told The Wichita Eagle that a slow end is still an end to the program.


GOP Candidate Says Kansas Needs Regional Approach to Jobs 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican candidate Jim Barnett says he'll pursue a regional approach to economic development that relies on help from local leaders if he's elected governor next year. Barnett had a news conference Tuesday in Topeka to outline a broad plan for creating new jobs. The physician and former state senator said his administration would identify high-performance and high-potential industries in different regions and convene industry leaders to work on job-creation strategies. Barnett has praised legislators for rolling back past income tax cuts championed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback this year to help balance the state budget. Some other GOP candidates have been critical of Brownback's tax cuts. Seven other GOP candidates have either launched campaigns or are exploring the race. They include Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.


Stolen Gun Found in University of Kansas Bathroom

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas police have found a stolen, loaded gun in a bathroom stall in an academic building on the Lawrence campus. Deputy Police Chief James Anguiano said the .38-caliber revolver was discovered Tuesday morning in Wescoe Hall. He said both a student and a graduate teaching assistant had seen the firearm. Anguiano said a check of the serial number showed the gun was stolen in Olathe, Kansas. He did not have more details. It was the second report in two months of an unattended gun being found in a university bathroom. A Wichita State University employee left one behind in July. A Kansas law that took effect in July requires state universities to allow concealed guns on their campuses.


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.


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.


50-Year-Old Man Dies When Farm Tractor Overturns 

WESTMORELAND, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 50-year-old man died when a farm tractor overturned in northeast Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the tractor had been pulling a hay trailer when the accident happened around 11 a.m. Monday in the west-central part of Pottawatomie County. Sheriff Greg Riat identified the victim as Loren Deters, of Westmoreland. The accident remains under investigation.


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 Mercury reports that 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.


Kansas Man Admits to Drunken Driving in Deadly Crash 

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — An Overland Park man has admitted to driving under the influence in a crash that killed a woman who worked with special needs children. The Kansas City Star reports that 28-year-old James McAllister pleaded guilty to a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Caitlin Vogel of Stilwell. He also pleaded guilty to driving without a court-ordered ignition interlock device. Authorities say McAllister ran a stop sign in May 2016, causing his sport utility vehicle to broad-side the sedan Vogel was driving. Vogel worked with special needs children as an autism instructional assistant for the Olathe school district. The plea agreement calls for a prison sentence of nine years and seven months.


Father of Boy Found in Concrete Cites 4 Abuse Allegations Since July 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The father of a boy whose dead body was found encased in concrete says officials received at least four reports of child abuse while the boy was in his mother's custody. Authorities said Tuesday that the body found in the rental home Saturday is believed to be 3-year-old Evan Brewer. The boy had been living with his mother, Miranda Miller, and her boyfriend, Stephen Bodine. A petition filed in May by the boy's father Carlo Brewer says four abuse reports were made dating as far back as July 2016 and as recently as April 2017. One allegation references an injury to his nose with filthy and inappropriate clothing. Wichita police Lieutenant Jeff Gilmore says state welfare officials investigated reports this year that Evan was being abused. Authorities unsuccessfully attempted to serve a protection from abuse order with his mother who Gilmore says was "alluding" law enforcement. Miller was arrested last week on suspicion of aggravated interference with parental custody and her boyfriend on an unrelated charge. Neither is charged in the boy's death.


Congress Votes to Honor Bob Dole with Gold Medal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has voted to give the Congressional Gold Medal to former Senator Bob Dole for his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator and statesman. The medal represents Congress' highest expression of appreciation for distinguished contributions to the nation. The Senate has already passed the legislation. Tuesday's approval in the House sends the measure to President Trump for his signature. Dole, 94, represented Kansas in the House for eight years and in the Senate for more than 27 years. He led Republicans in the Senate for more than a decade before resigning in 1996 to focus on his campaign for the presidency. That campaign ended with a loss to Bill Clinton. Dole was seriously wounded in World War II and never regained full use of his right arm.


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 Tuesday 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.


Tigers Slam 6 Home Runs in 13-2 Win over Royals 

DETROIT (AP) —  The Detroit Tigers' JaCoby Jones and John Hicks hit two home runs to add to Detroit's total of six homers in all in a 13-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez threw only five pitches and was knocked out of the game in the first inning after getting hit by Whit Merrifield's single in the right leg. Sanchez left the game with a calf injury. Reliever Myles Jaye (1-0) replaced Sanchez and pitched 2 1/3 innings. He allowed one hit, two walks and a wild pitch, leaving in the third inning with the Tigers holding a 7-1 lead. The Royals' starter Jason Vargas (14-10) took the loss, allowing seven earned runs and six hits, a walk and a hit batter in two innings of work.

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