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Headlines for Tuesday, September 6, 2016

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

Former Kansas Governors Campaign to Retain Supreme Court Justices

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Four former Kansas governors have launched a bipartisan campaign to retain Kansas Supreme Court justices in November's election. The first of three invitation-only events featuring former Republican Govs. Mike Hayden and Bill Graves and former Democratic Governors John Carlin and Kathleen Sebelius took place Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri, and are sponsored by Kansans for Fair Courts. That group says it wants to keep the state's courts independent. Voters will determine whether five of the seven justices receive another six-year term. They are Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and Justices Carol Beier, Dan Biles, Marla Luckert and Caleb Stegall. Conservatives are targeting all of them except Stegall. He is Republican Governor Sam Brownback's only appointee.


Source of Water Leak at Nuclear Plant near Burlington Found 

BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Staff members at the Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station near Burlington have located the source of a minor water leak and are working to repair it. Communications director Jenny Hageman says Wolf Creek personnel identified a cracked weld as the source of the water leak in the reactor cooling system. Staff members are finalizing a repair plan. The Emporia Gazette reports that the plant was manually shut down Friday due to the leak. Hageman says officials had planned to shut down the nuclear plant on Sept. 24 for a maintenance and refueling outage. The plant will be kept offline through the scheduled outage.


Man's Body Recovered After Flooding in Northwest Kansas 

LENORA, Kan. (AP) — The search has ended for the body of a man who disappeared during flooding in northwest Kansas. Norton County Emergency Management says the body of 58-year-old Bobby Morris was found Monday near Lenora, where he lived. The discovery was made about a quarter mile from where his vehicle was found one day earlier near the North Fork of the Solomon River. Emergency Management says Morris became trapped in his vehicle after it slid off a road. A tree limb went through the windshield, allowing water to rush into the vehicle. Fast-moving water initially impeded rescue efforts. Parts of north-central Kansas received 5 to 7 inches of rain on Saturday night.


Conviction in Deadly Topeka Fire Tossed; Prosecution Appeals

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors are appealing a decision to overturn the conviction of a man accused of setting a fire that destroyed a Topeka apartment building and killed one tenant. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a Shawnee County judge ruled last month that Frank Jerome "Chicago" Robinson wasn't fairly convicted and should be retried. Robinson had been serving a 36-year prison sentence after jurors convicted him of reckless second-degree murder and aggravated arson in the 2006 fire that killed 53-year-old Marvina Washington. Several other people escaped, including a woman who was badly injured while jumping. Robinson's attorneys had argued that his trial counsel was ineffective. Shawnee County District Attorney's office chief of staff Matt Patterson says efforts are underway to notify surviving victims, witnesses and Washington's family about the decision.


Traffic Jam Forces Sheriff to Close Access to Sunflower Farm

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas sunflower farm was so popular on Labor Day that law enforcement closed access to it after cars were backed up several miles to get a glimpse of the state's botanical symbol. The Kansas City Star reports the Grinter farm in Leavenworth County has drawn huge weekend crowds as the 40 acres of sunflowers reaches its peak, which is in late August and early September. But with a combination of nice weather and the holiday, so many cars lined up along U.S. 40/24 between Lawrence and Tonganoxie that the county sheriff closed off access in mid-afternoon. A message left on the farm's Facebook page apologized for those who drove a long way to see the sunflowers before being turned away. It encouraged visitors to return this week.


ITT Tech Permanently Closing Campuses in Kansas, Missouri 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Indiana-based company says its ITT Technical Institute campuses in Overland Park, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, have permanently closed. ITT Educational Services blamed the closings on a federal ruling last month that banned the company from enrolling any students who relied on federal financial aid. The Kansas City Star reports the action reflects concerns by the U.S. Department of Education about the company's "administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial ability and ability to serve students." ITT Educational Services says the closings will be permanent and idle most of its roughly 8,000 employees. U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. says students enrolled in ITT facilities may be able to have federal student loans at the school discharged.


Former City Clerk in Southeast Kansas Faces Felony Charges 

FRONTENAC, Kan. (AP) — A former city clerk in southeast Kansas has been charged with misusing public funds and several other felonies. The Pittsburg Morning Sun reports that Doug Sellars, of Frontenac, was arrested Friday morning. Other felonies he is facing include official misconduct and theft. He has been released on $10,000 bond. His attorney, Rick Smith, declined to comment. Sellars began working as the Frontenac city clerk in 2004 after more than a decade with the city's police department. He was appointed interim city manager in 2014. Sellars abruptly resigned from both positions August 2015. Authorities say the alleged misconduct occurred in 2014 and 2015. The allegations include that he purchased about $8,100 of "personal merchandise" with city dollars. The charges follow a Kansas Bureau of Investigation probe.


Police: Kansas Man Harassed New Zealand Blogger, Others 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Lawrence man charged with harassing a New Zealand fashion blogger online also sent sexual pictures to other people. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a recently released arrest affidavit says the social media accounts of 19-year-old Kalim Akeba Lloyd Dowdell had been blocked more than two dozen times. He faces a single misdemeanor charge of harassment by telecommunications device in Douglas County. The criminal charge was filed eight months after blogger Rachel Gronback contacted police about inappropriate pictures she had received on her Instagram account. The affidavit says Dowdell would create new accounts when Gronback attempted to stop the pictures by blocking him.  A Lawrence resident has offered to pay a substantial portion of her travel fees if she needed to come to the U.S. to testify.


Police Identify Girl Killed in Kansas City, Kansas Drive-By Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, say a 15-year-old girl killed in a drive-by shooting last week has been identified. Police said in a statement Monday that Brannae Brown died at the scene of the gunfire about 6:30 pm Friday. Another person was wounded. Police say the preliminary investigation shows that unknown suspects drove by and fired at Brown. Police have not released a possible motive. The investigation is continuing.


Police Investigate Fire That Damaged Kansas School's Playground

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Police in Kansas City, Kansas, are trying to solve who set fire on a school playground, damaging tens of thousands of dollars of equipment. KMBC-TV reports that equipment including slides and climbing structures at Stony Point North Elementary School was burned over the weekend. Officials say the playground's newest section featuring equipment for children with disabilities wasn't damaged. As the investigation continues, the school is trying to raise the estimated $50,000 it will take to replace the playground. Police say there have been no arrests or charges.


2 Children Die in 5-Vehicle Crash in Suburban Kansas City 

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say two children have been killed in a five-vehicle crash in suburban Kansas City. The pileup happened around 6 pm Monday on Interstate 70 near Blue Springs in Jackson County. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a sport utility vehicle struck the rear of a family's car, killing 7-year-old Chloe Beaird and 13-year-old Gavin Beaird, both of Warrenton. Two adults in the car were seriously injured. The patrol says the SUV also hit a second car that was pushed into two other vehicles. The SUV's driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The crash is under investigation. The Kansas City Star reports that Sergeant Bill Lowe says there are indications that alcohol and a distracted driver played a role in the crash.


Some Kansas Schools Experiment with 'Makerspace' Education

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — Public schools in Kansas, Missouri and around the country are joining an educational movement that changes how students learn and teachers work. It's called the "maker movement," which encourages students to direct their own education by tapping their creativity and collaborating with others. The Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and Liberty, Missouri, school districts are among many that have created "makerspaces." The spaces include a wide range of materials, from 3-D printers to simple building blocks. Students use the materials to solve problems, with teachers watching but not directing the work. Advocates say the maker movement is a better way for students to learn. But others are worried already-busy teachers will not be able to fit the new makerspace effort into test-based curriculums that need to meet education standards.


Royals Start Road Trip with 11-5 Win in Minnesota

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals staged a dramatic comeback Monday afternoon after suffering several close losses recently. The Royals started a week-long road trip with a victory over the Minnesota Twins, 11-to-5. The Royals' Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer both hit home runs to pull away from the Twins on a Labor Day afternoon game. Jarrod Dyson also had three hits and scored three times for Kansas City. The Twins' Brian Dozier hit three home runs for Minnesota. The Royals play two more games in Minneapolis before travelling to Chicago to face the White Sox in a weekend series.

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