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Headlines for Saturday, December 28, 2019


Possible Listeria Contamination Prompts Voluntary Recall by Clay Center Locker Plant, FFA Chapters in Clay Center and Chapman May be Affected

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued an alert to consumers about a voluntary recall by the Clay Center Locker Plant because of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.  The recall is for any ready-to-eat products, including smoked pork loins, ham hocks, and smoked ham.  KDHE urges the public not to consume any products affected by the recall. This includes products purchased at the retail counter in the plant and the hams that were delivered to the Future Farmers of America Clay Center and Chapman chapters.  

This recall was initiated after Listeria monocytogenes were found in a food sample tested as part of a routine sampling program by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. All known affected distributors and retail and food service customers are being notified. Some of the products were sold through FFA chapters in Chapman and Clay Center. To date, no illnesses have been linked with this recall.  Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in pregnant women, newborns, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  Although healthy individuals rarely become ill, older persons and those with weakened immune systems may suffer high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Symptoms begin from three to 70 days after consuming the bacteria. Listeria cannot be spread from person to person.

Anyone who believes they may have become ill with listeriosis should contact their health care provider. For questions related to the recalled products, consumers can contact Clay Center Locker Plant: (785) 632-5550.  For questions about listeriosis, please visit the CDC website or call the KDHE epidemiology hotline: (877) 427-7317.


Wichita Beechcraft Plant Explosion Injures 15 Workers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say more than a dozen people were injured when a nitrogen line ruptured at a Beechcraft aircraft manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas, and caused part of the building to collapse. Sedgwick County Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Wegner says the explosion happened at around 8 a.m. Friday. The county's emergency medical services director, John Gallagher, says 11 patients were taken to the hospital and four were treated at the scene. Robert Baker, a worker who was in the building when the blast occurred, told The Wichita Eagle that it was the most scared he's ever been.


Conservative Shawnee Legislator Announces Retirement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — One of the Kansas Legislature's most conservative members and strongest abortion opponents is retiring in next month. Republican state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook of Shawnee announced Friday that she will step down January 16th. She said in her announcement that “new leadership is sometimes required" to promote “time-honored" conservative principles. Pilcher-Cook is a 65-year-old computer software engineer who has served 15 years in the Legislature. She's been a consistent supporter of new abortion restrictions and a foe of same-sex marriage and measures aimed at combatting anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Fellow Republicans in her Kansas City-area Senate district will name her replacement.


Oklahoma Man Charged with Kidnapping, Forcing Woman to Dance at Kansas Strip Club

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — An Oklahoma man is accused of abducting a woman and forcing her to dance at a Kansas strip club, then taking the money she earned at the club. Gary Ballard of Tulsa is charged with aggravated human trafficking and aggravated kidnapping. The 23-year-old victim was reported missing from Coweta, Oklahoma. three weeks ago. Authorities say Ballard repeatedly hurt her and drove her to Cherokee County, Kansas, in the state’s southeastern corner. Detectives got a tip that the woman might be in Cherokee County. A news release says they found her Thursday night at a strip club.


2 Arrested after Missing Wichita Woman is Found Dead in Car

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A paroled killer and a woman whom he had lived with have been arrested in the death of the man's girlfriend. KAKE-TV reports that jail records show that 39-year-old Ahmad Bey and 34-year-old Vanessa Waner were each booked early Friday on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Melinda Sprague. Bey was also jailed on a state warrant. Captain Brent Allred said a coworker reported Sprague missing when she didn't show up for work on Tuesday. Her vehicle was found Thursday behind a business with her body inside.


Report: Kansas Sees Progress after Juvenile Justice Changes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new report says Kansas has been putting fewer juvenile offenders in its detention center and lessening their time on probation in the three years since it overhauled its juvenile justice system. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the oversight committee issuing the report Thursday recommended doubling the state's annual spending on juvenile justice programs to nearly $22 million. Advocates sought the changes in 2016 to deal with more offenders in their home communities. They argued that youth were removed from their homes and sent to residential facilities or correctional institutions too often. They wanted programs to reduce repeat offending.  


Kansas Prosecutor Calls for Justice for Wrongfully Convicted Man

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor who helped free a man who spent 23 years in prison for a double homicide he always said he didn't commit is calling for justice as the state fights the man's effort to get compensation. Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree Sr. described the case of Lamonte McIntyre as a “glaring stain on the criminal justice system" in an open letter Tuesday. McIntyre was 17 in 1994 when he was arrested in Kansas City for the double homicide. McIntyre was sentenced to two life sentences but he was freed in 2017 after Dupree asked the court to vacate his convictions.


Worker Critically Injured at Wichita Recycling Facility

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a worker at a Wichita recycling facility suffered a critical head injury when he was struck by a spring. Wichita police say the accident happened around 8:20 a.m. Thursday as the 51-year-old worker was dismantling a dock lift at the Donham Recycling Facility. The man was rushed to hospital. His name wasn't immediately released.


Baby Jesus Statue Missing Again from Wichita Church Nativity

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita church says a baby Jesus statue has been stolen -- again -- from an outdoor nativity scene. The Church of the Blessed Sacrament says in a Facebook post Thursday that it would like the statue back “no questions asked.” When the statue went missing in January of 2018, the church posted a sign saying: “This is why we can't have nice things.” The sign also asked people to pray for the statue's return. The statue later was found in a yard of a home and returned to the parish office.

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