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Headlines for Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lawrence Finds Zebra Mussels in Water Line

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials approved the purchase of special equipment after utility workers found a thick coat of zebra mussels in one of the city's water transmission mains. The Lawrence Journal-World reports an inspection found a nearly 2-inch thick layer of mussels stretching about 2,000 feet in the main. Utility officials say if the mussels are allowed to grow unchecked, they could choke off pipes and intake openings. The infested transmission main moves water from Clinton Lake to the Clinton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant. In response, city commissioners this week approved the purchase of about $80,000 worth of copper ion generation equipment to manage the mussels. Philip Ciesielski, assistant director of utilities, says the equipment will put low doses of copper ions into the water, eventually killing the mussels.

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Judge Dismisses Case Against Woman in 1989 KCK Murder

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a Kansas murder case against a woman who was arrested last year in the killing of a teenager nearly 30 years ago. Wyandotte County prosecutors issued a statement Friday announcing the dismissal of the case against 48-year-old Carolyn Heckert of Smithville, Missouri. They didn't say why it was dismissed. Heckert had been jailed since her arrest last October in connection with the 1989 stabbing death of 18-year-old Sarah DeLeon. DeLeon's body was found along railroad tracks near Interstate 435 in Kansas City, Kansas. New DNA collection and testing technology led police to reopen the case in July 2014. Heckert's attorney, John P. O'Connor, says she is elated that charge was dropped.

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Shawnee County Jury Clears Man of Attempted-Murder Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas jury has cleared a man of attempted-murder charges linked to a shooting nearly a year ago. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports a Shawnee County jury acquitted 29-year-old Joshua Mathews Yasuo Valdivia on Friday, also clearing him of a weapons count. Jurors did find him guilty of interference with a law enforcement officer. Valdivia testified Thursday, denying he had never met Dennis and didn't shoot him eight times. Dennis survived. Jurors had the option of acquitting Valdivia or convicting him of attempted first-degree murder or attempted second-degree murder. A co-defendant, 23-year-old Malik Yates, is serving more than four years in prison on convictions of aggravated burglary and interference with a law enforcer. He pleaded guilty last October, when a charge of attempted first-degree murder was dropped.

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Kansas Smoke Threatens Nebraska Air Quality

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Officials are warning that the air quality in parts of eastern Nebraska could suffer this weekend as south winds blow in smoke from Kansas agriculture fires. Douglas County health officials have warned that residents in and around Omaha and Lincoln should monitor the Air Quality Index this weekend, as the air quality outside is expected to veer into the "unhealthy" category. Officials say it's important for people with lung disease, respiratory disease or a heart condition to monitor the air quality. Parents should monitor conditions for their children, especially those with asthma. Officials say healthy people are usually not at a major risk from short-term exposures to smoke.

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