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Headlines for Monday, December 19, 2016

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

Kansas's 6 Electors Vote for Trump 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas' six members of the Electoral College casting their votes for president (all times local):

1:25 p.m.

The votes cast by Kansas's six members of the Electoral College for President-elect Donald Trump have been greeted by boos from some of the dozens of people who watched. The Republican electors met Monday in the Kansas Senate chamber. Trump received nearly 57 percent of the vote in Kansas. About 80 people crammed into the Senate's west gallery to watch, and about 40 more people watched from the Senate floor. Some of the observers applauded the announcement that Trump had received the state's electoral vote. But others in the gallery shouted "Shame!" and "The blood is on your hands!" The Electoral College formally elects the president, and each state has as many votes as members in Congress. A candidate must win 270 of the 538 votes to be elected.
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12:35 p.m.

Kansas's six Republican members of the Electoral College have cast their ballots for President-elect Donald Trump, keeping with the state's popular vote. In voting Monday at the Statehouse, the electors ignored thousands of emails urging them to vote against Trump. And about 19 people protested at the Statehouse on Monday. But the electors said most of the emails came from outside Kansas and urged a vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, as the winner of the national popular vote. Trump received nearly 57 percent of the vote in Kansas. The electors signed separate ballots for Trump and his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence. The Electoral College formally elects the president, and each state has as many votes as members in Congress. A candidate must win 270 of the 538 votes to be elected.

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Wichita Hits Record Low Sunday

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Temperatures fell well below zero around Kansas this weekend, including in Wichita, which hit a record low for the date. The temperature in Wichita on Sunday dipped to minus 10, a record for December 18. The National Weather Service said the temperature later inched up to minus 5. Weather service meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser told The Wichita Eagle the former record for December 18 was minus 4, which was recorded in 1983. He also says the Sunday low tied for the third-coldest December day in Wichita. The weather service says that while wind speeds have eased up in Kansas, temperatures were expected to be between minus 5 to the single digits around the state Sunday.The frigid weather follows freezing rain that created dangerous road conditions throughout much of Kansas on Saturday.

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GM to Temporarily Close 5 Factories, Including KCK's Fairfax Plant

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors will temporarily close five factories next month as it tries to reduce a growing inventory of cars. Spokeswoman Dayna Hart says the factories will close anywhere from one to three weeks due to the continuing U.S. market shift toward trucks and SUVs. Just over 10,000 workers will be idled. The company's Detroit-Hamtramck and Kansas City, Kansas factories will be shut down for three weeks, while a plant in Lansing, Michigan, will be down for two weeks. Factories in Lordstown, Ohio, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, each will be idled for one week. The factories make just about every car in the General Motors lineup. Last month, almost 62 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales were trucks and SUVs.

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Kansas Crime Database to Be Revamped 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is revamping its crime data system, which debuted in 1993. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the agency began the revamping process this past fall. It is expected to last through 2021, in time for new federal guidelines on indictment reporting. The system provides unspecified data like the total number offenses reported by each agency, but research analyst Bill Reid says the Kansas Bureau of Investigation routinely gets more complex questions from lawmakers and others. The approximately 420 law enforcement agencies in Kansas don't necessarily report statistics the same way, which can affect the way the system provides information. The first half of the new database is expected to be online by fiscal year 2019, and its costs will be funded by a more than $570,000 U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics grant.

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3 Inmates Serving Time for Kansas Crimes Get Sentence Commutations 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Three federal inmates serving time in Kansas-related drug cases are getting their sentences shortened by President Barack Obama. Those commutations were among 153 announced Monday by the White House, along with 78 pardons. That's the largest number of individual clemencies in a single day by any president. Under Obama's action Monday, Demetri Alexander's 15-year sentence received in 2007 for the Kansas City, Kansas, man's cocaine and gun convictions will come to an end next April. So will Franklin Goodwin Jr.'s life term related to the Leavenworth, Kansas, man's 2009 cocaine-trafficking conviction. Obama also ordered that the life sentence Steven Speal of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, received in 1997 is serving on a Kansas drug and weapons charges expire in December 2018.

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City of Lawrence No Longer Accepting Many Holiday Gifts 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The city of Lawrence will no longer accept many of the holiday gifts it receives under a new policy. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that city departments sometimes get holiday gifts from residents or vendors they do business with, but the city manager says the new policy applies to those gifts as well. City spokeswoman Megan Gilliland says employees who work in public safety and solid waste tend to receive the most gifts from residents. They are allowed to keep some gifts, like cookies to be shared throughout the department, but they're not allowed to accept cash, gift certificates or alcohol. The city will now be donating the gifts to local charities. People who send gifts will be sent a thank-you note and will have their gift returned if possible.

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Documents Detail Allegations Against Ex-Kansas Sergeant 

VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas law enforcement officer is accused in court documents of using his authority to have sex with a woman in 2003 and 2004 and making a minor send him nude images. The allegations were made in two protection orders granted last week. The Wichita Eagle reports that it obtained the documents through a records request. The former Valley Center police sergeant and Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy is free on bond. He resigned from the Valley Center job earlier this month after being booked on suspicion of official misconduct, rape, sexual battery and sexual exploitation of a child. No charges had been filed as of Monday. Sheriff Jeff Easter says the arrest resulted from a complaint alleging that he possibly had inappropriate relationships with two Valley Center girls.

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Santa Robbed of Handmade Coat in Kansas Van Theft

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Someone is on Santa's naughty list after making off with his jacket and toy bag. The Kansas City Star reports that the theft happened Saturday when longtime Santa actor 62-year-old Gary Senner stopped for coffee before spending the day hearing children's Christmas wishes. While he was inside a convenience store in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, someone drove off with his van. He was wearing his Santa pants, but he left his coat and keys in the vehicle. Senner says police came and took a report, but he had to bum a ride. He said his mother made his Santa outfit, which he describes as "very distinctive." It is burgundy, not bright red, and has fur trim. Senner says it's "pretty upsetting to say the least."

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Police: Wichita Teen Dies After Accidentally Shooting Self 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita, Kansas, say a 16-year-old girl died after accidentally shooting herself. Wichita police Lieutenant Jason Stephens says 16-year-old Nautica Whittker shot herself unintentionally early Saturday when she and other teenagers were playing with a shotgun in the basement of a home she was visiting. Whittker died at the scene. Stephens says the shotgun belonged to a resident of the home.

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Hearing Set for Two Charged With Attack on Kansas Deputy

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has scheduled a February preliminary hearing for two men charged with kidnapping and raping a Johnson County deputy The Kansas City Star reports that 24-year-old William Luth of Blue Springs, and 21-year-old Brady Newman-Caddell, of Independence, are charged in Johnson County District Court with abducting the woman in October from outside a county detention center in Olathe. Authorities said the deputy was sexually assaulted before her attackers released her in Jackson County, Missouri. A judge Friday scheduled their preliminary hearing for Feb. 16. The judge will determine after the hearing if there is sufficient evidence to take the case to trial. Both defendants are being held on $1 million bond.

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Kansas Board of Regents Approves Room and Board Increases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Students at the University of Kansas will face at least a 3 percent increase to live on campus next year. University of Kansas students next year will pay $5,910 to live on campus, which is $172, or 3 percent, more than this year. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that adding in about $4,150 for meals means a student's total is $10,060 for the year. The figures are for what the university describes as a "typical" dining plan and double room in a renovated residence hall. It was among state university housing and dining rates approved last week by the Kansas Board of Regents.

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Kansas Officers Work to Improve Interactions with Disabled

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina-area law enforcement recently underwent special training to help them interact with people with disabilities. The Salina Journal reports that the training was prompted by tragic encounters between law enforcement and people with mental and physical disabilities in Kansas and across the nation. Officials say the goal is to prepare emergency responders to recognize characteristics of people with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities and learn effective ways to interact with them. Sheila Mortimer is special education coordinator for Central Kansas Cooperative in Education. She said that during the four training sessions, they discussed several experiences with Salina and Saline County law enforcement officers.

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Mexican Woman Sentenced for Gun Role Tied to Kansas Killing 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Mexican woman who tried to hide a gun her boyfriend used to fatally shoot a Kansas teenager has been sentenced to time already served and will undergo deportation proceedings. Twenty-two-year-old Azucena Garcia-Ferniza was sentenced Monday in federal court to the 15 months she already has been in custody. She pleaded guilty in October to a weapons count. Court documents say Garcia-Ferniza legally entered the U.S. at the age of 3 and had a permit to work in the U.S. at the time of her arrest, but her visitor visa expired in 1998. Authorities say 17-year-old Allie Saum was killed in 2015 in Salina while riding in a pickup truck mistaken for someone else's truck. Garcia-Ferniza's boyfriend, Macio Palacio Jr., has been sentenced to more than 50 years in prison.

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