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Headlines for Monday, December 25, 2017

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

US Attorney Hiring New Prosecutor to Help Fight Violent Crime in KC Area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri says he will hire a new assistant U.S. attorney to help combat violent crime in the Kansas City area. The U.S. Attorney's office has announced that the new position is part of a federal program to hire 40 assistant U.S. attorneys in 27 selected districts to reduce violent crime. The Western District of Missouri has been designated as one of eight Public Safety Partnership Diagnostic Sites. Federal anti-crime experts will work with local law enforcement in those districts on strategies to reduce violence. The partnership allows cities to consult with and receive training, technical assistance and resources from the Justice Department to improve local violence reduction efforts.

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All Kansas Courts to Mandate Electronic Filing Next Summer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court plans to require attorneys to file their documents electronically in all of the state's courts starting in late June. The high court says mandating electronic filing is an important step toward setting up a central system for managing court cases. The Supreme Court eventually hopes to make documents available to the public electronically. The Supreme Court is taking public comment on new rules designed to advance electronic filing. One would prevent attorneys from faxing documents. The electronic filing mandate takes effect June 25. People representing themselves still can make paper filings. The state's appellate courts have required electronic filing since November 2015, and 24 judicial districts covering 79 of the state's 105 counties require it. It's available but not mandated in the other seven districts.

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Kansas Adds CPR Training to High School Graduation Requirements

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas students will have to undergo CPR training to graduate high school starting next fall. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the state Board of Education approved the new requirement earlier this month. Kansas will be the 38th state to require CPR training for graduation. It's estimated that nearly 33,000 students will be trained in CPR across Kansas after the requirement goes into effect.

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Wichita State to Offer Online Degree in Homeland Security

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University plans to offer an online bachelor's degree in homeland security, beginning next spring.The Board of Regents on Wednesday approved the proposal to offer students an overview of homeland security with an emphasis on law enforcement operations.The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Wichita State officials said the four-year program is designed to appeal to people wanting homeland security jobs in law enforcement or private security companies.In Kansas, two-year programs related to homeland security exist at Butler, Barton and Kansas City community colleges. Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina offers a bachelor's degree in homeland security that focuses on emergency management. Southwestern College in Winfield has a certificate program in homeland security.

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Kansas Tech School to Help Fill Nurse Shortage

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A technical school in Kansas will be offering a practical nursing program to help alleviate the state's shortage of nurses. The Salina Area Technical College will begin offering the program starting next fall for up to 40 students. College President Greg Nichols said the school has already received more than 50 applications for the program. The college got final approval to launch the program last week, the Salina Journal reported. Program graduates will receive a practical nurse technical certificate that allows them to apply as a licensed practical nurse. Nichols said the certification takes three semesters including prerequisite classes. Nichols said the college is trying to go one step further and is seeking approval to launch a registered nursing program in 2019. "This program is the entry level to the nursing profession," he said. "Our plan is for it to expand the following year to the registered nursing program. We are already in the process. We have designed the plan. We have to go through the approval process." The new program will be the only practical nursing program in Salina. The total cost is expected to be between $13,000 and $14,000 but the board of trustees hasn't approved the tuition rate yet. The Kansas Department of Labor projects that the state will need 90 new nurses a year for the next decade just to serve north-central Kansas."There is a huge tidal wave of retirements coming," said Matt Thompson, president of Kansas Wesleyan University, which offers four-year degrees in nursing. "It's what they refer to as the graying of the field." Salina Tech already offers programs for certified nurse's aide, certified medication aide and emergency medical technician.

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Authorities Say Driver Attempting U-Turn Killed in Crash

WOODRUFF, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an Iowa woman died after a collision in northern Kansas. The Wichita Eagle reports that the accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. Friday east of Woodruff on U.S. Highway 183, just south of the Nebraska state line. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 61-year-old Jolene Nikl was driving east and had pulled to the right to do a U-turn when her car was struck on the driver's side by an eastbound semitrailer. The patrol says Nikl died at the scene. Her two passengers were taken to a hospital. The truck driver wasn't injured.

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Topeka Man Imprisoned for Pedestrian's Death in 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man has been imprisoned for killing a pedestrian on July 4 last year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Jason Patterson, of Topeka, was given two years and 10 months Tuesday. He'd pleaded guilty to reckless involuntary manslaughter. Patterson was charged in the death of 60-year-old Tara French. She was hit by Patterson's truck on the west side of Lake Shawnee. Police determined Patterson had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent when he was stopped after the accident. The legal limit in Kansas is 0.08 percent.

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Despite Problems, Louisburg Couple Welcomes 4 Babies

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A couple from Louisburg is celebrating four Christmas miracles. Kaitlin and Josh Hartman are preparing to bring home four healthy babies from Overland Park Regional Medical Center next month. The Kansas City Star reports the three girls and one boy were born November 17. Doctors say they are remarkably healthy for quadruplets.The Hartmans used fertility treatments because Kaitlin was told a hormone imbalance made it unlikely she would get pregnant.She spent 67 days in bed with her feet raised above her head. Josh Hartman said they heard a lot of negative statistics about the chances of all four children being born, or being healthy, but their faith kept them going. Family and friends have created a support group to help when Teagan, Ainsley, Sadie and Braylon go home.

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2 Dead in Independence, Missouri Fire

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri State Fire Marshal and local authorities in Independence are investigating after two people were found dead at the scene of a fire. The blaze broke out Saturday evening in an unoccupied building in the Kansas City suburb. Firefighters found the bodies. Names of the victims have not been released and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Escaped Inmate Captured in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Police in Manhattan say a jail inmate who escaped three weeks ago is back in custody. 32-year-old Billy Womack of Manhattan did not return to the Riley County jail after a work release on December 5. Womack was being held on a warrant for failure to appear. Police arrested Womack at a motel in Manhattan. In addition to his original charges, he is now charged with two counts of aggravated escape from custody and a probation violation. Womack is jailed on $103,000 bond. Womack was arrested in August on a warrant accusing him of drug distribution.

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Wichita Police Chase Ends with Car in Arkansas River

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are searching for the driver after a chase ended with a car in the Arkansas River. KAKE-TV reports that officers were called around 1 a.m. Sunday to a report of a disturbance. Arriving officers saw a sedan leaving the scene. When an effort to pull over the driver failed, a chase began. Police called off the chase a short time later, but found the car in the river. The driver was not located near the vehicle and police have no description.

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Passing Pedestrian Saves Two in Shawnee Fire

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) - Two people are safe after escaping an early-morning fire Saturday in Johnson County, thanks to the quick actions of a person passing by. The fire broke out early Saturday at a home in Shawnee. Fire officials say a person passing by saw the fire and alerted the residents. Fire crews rescued a cat but were unable to save the family dog. Fire officials believe a wood burning stove in the garage caused the fire.

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Topeka Zoo Anticipates Inspections After Elephant's Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka Zoo officials are expecting inspections of its elephant program after one of the elephants died. Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the zoo expects to know by early January what killed the elephant, Shannon. The 35-year-old elephant died after spending about 20 hours lying on the ground over two days. The 5,500 pound African elephant was found on the ground December 10. She was lifted back up but was found on the ground again the next morning. She died later that day. A California-based animal welfare organization says the Topeka Zoo was negligent for not better monitoring the elephant. The group, In Defense of Animals, wants the zoo's remaining elephants removed and the zoo's accreditation revoked. After the elephant's death, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the zoo began using a remote video system to monitor the elephants at all times.

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SkyWest to Add Salina Flights to Chicago, Denver

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Airplane passengers in Salina will soon have a few more flights with larger planes for trips to Denver and Chicago. The Salina Airport Authority says SkyWest Airlines will provide flights from Salina to and from Denver and Chicago beginning in April. Flight schedules and prices will be announced next month. SkyWest will fly one nonstop route to Chicago and two flights to Denver, with a stop in Hays. SkyWest replaces Great Lakes Airlines, which currently offers two daily flights to Denver. Salina Airport officials say SkyWest will use 50-seat regional jets. Great Lakes used 30-seat aircraft. The Department of Transportation selected SkyWest to replace Great Lakes as the air service provider for Salina. 

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Topeka Zoo Welcomes 2 Aging Malayan Sun Bears

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Topeka Zoo is the new home of an aging bear couple named HoHo and Cupcake. The zoo welcomed the two Malayan sun bears last week. But they will be under quarantine for 30 days and construction might prevent them from being on display for a few months. HoHo, a male, and Cupcake, a female, are both 28. The city says they'll live in a space formerly occupied by Tiffany the gorilla, who died last August. The city said in a news release Thursday the two bears have lived together since they were about 2. Topeka officials didn't say where the bears came from but The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that social media posts indicated the bears came from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

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Secret Santa Spreads Joy in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas City area's Secret Santa is at it again, this time focusing his annual good cheer on Kansas' capital city. During the past week, the Secret Santa followed his long tradition of handing out $100 bills to strangers in places where the hurting and downtrodden gather, including a shelter and thrift store. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt accompanied the Secret Santa this year. Schmidt called it a "heart-warming experience." The Secret Santa tradition began years ago with a man named Larry Stewart. When Stewart was dying of cancer, he asked the current Santa to carry on the mission. The anonymous benefactor has continued the tradition for 11 years.

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Kansas Minister Gains Fame with Gospel Hit

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A minister from Kansas City, Kansas, is soaring to the top of the gospel music charts after a chance encounter at a national worship event with a national gospel performer. The Kansas City Star reports that Bishop Cortez Vaughn's song "You Deserve It" was rewarded earlier this month with a Grammy Award nomination for best gospel performance/song. The popularity grew after Vaughn's performance of the song caught the attention of JJ Hairston, a national recording gospel artist. Hairston invited Vaugh to travel to Washington, D.C., to record the song. The song spent more than 20 weeks topping gospel music charts and caught the attention of gospel icons and choirs worldwide. "You Deserve It" also helped land Vaughn a record deal.

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Chiefs Beat Miami 29-13 to Win Back-to-Back AFC West Titles 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Alex Smith threw for 304 yards and a touchdown, Kareem Hunt ran for 91 yards and a score as the Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 29-13 on Sunday to clinch back-to-back AFC West titles for the first time in franchise history. Tyreek Hill had six catches for 109 yards, and Harrison Butker converted five field goals, as the Chiefs (9-6) dashed any postseason hopes for the Dolphins (6-9).  Miami struggled against a Chiefs defense that has been stingy and opportunistic the past two weeks. That's coincided with the return of Marcus Peters from his disciplinary suspension. The Chiefs' star cornerback had two interceptions and forced a fumble against the Chargers last week, a win that pushed the Chiefs to the brink of the playoffs. He recovered a fumble and forced another on Sunday, giving Peters a hand in five turnovers the past two weeks.

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