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News Headlines for Sunday, February 15, 2015

Here's a summary of the day's AP news headlines for our area, mostly Kansas.

Study: Oklahoma's Daily Small Quakes Raise Risk of Big Ones

SAN JOSE, California (AP) — New federal research says small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes.  Scientists link many of these quakes to the deep underground injections of wastewater after drilling for energy in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  Federal records show Oklahoma has had nearly 200 quakes that people have felt since January 1st.  U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist William Ellsworth says the jump in these nuisance quakes increases the risk of future ones that can do serious damage.  The number of small quakes started rising in 2008 and then really soared in 2013 and 2014.  Ellsworth says it's still a low risk, with a chance of about 1 in 2,500 years, but it's among the highest east of the Rockies.

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Proposals for SE Kansas Casino a Contrast in Approaches

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Developers hoping to operate a state-owned casino in southeast Kansas have offered four proposals that provide a sharp contrast in approaches.  The two most expensive proposals would place the casinos near the Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas borders. One is Castle Rock Casino Resort's $145 million facility, the other is a yet-unnamed casino proposed by Southeast Kansas Casino Partners for $140 million.  The Wichita Eagle reports both would compete with the Downstream Casino Resort just across the Oklahoma state line.  The other two are more moderately priced and would place the casino near Pittsburg, catering more to regional gamblers. The Emerald City Casino Resort would be a $110 million project in Frontenac north of Pittsburg, while the $62 million Kansas Crossing Casino would operate south of the city.

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State Spending Millions to Upgrade Osawatomie State Hospital

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is spending millions of dollars to rehab one of its two psychiatric hospitals to avoid the loss of federal Medicare and Medicaid funds that make up about one-fourth of the facility's $26 million budget.  The Kansas City Star reports Osawatomie State Hospital an hour south of Kansas City is replacing patient beds and mattresses, installing new bathroom fixtures and making other changes after an inspection in late January raised concerns about patient safety.  Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services spokeswoman Angela de Rocha says it will cost the state about $3 million to bring the hospital into compliance on top of costs it already has incurred.  It's the second time in recent months that federal regulators have threatened to take away the facility's Medicare and Medicaid funding.

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