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Regional Headlines for Sunday, May 12, 2013



Franklin County Sheriff: Body Found, Believed to Be Missing Toddler

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say they have found a child's body believed to be that of an 18-month-old girl as they continue to investigate a series of Kansas farm deaths. Franklin County Sheriff Jeffrey Richards said early Sunday that the body believed to be that of Lana Leigh Bailey was found hours earlier by a sheriff's deputy in another Kansas locality. He says evidence found at the scene in Osage County corroborated earlier information that led investigators to believe the remains were those of the missing child. But he said he hoped forensic examination would make the final identification. Crews in eastern Kansas had been searching for the girl, whom authorities said earlier was presumed dead after the bodies of her mother and two men were found at a farm home earlier in the week.

Kansas Rides National Wave of Judicial Selection Changes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Renewed legislative efforts to change the way Kansas selects members for its highest courts are part of a recent wave of modifications sought nationwide to alter the composition of the state's judicial branch. Supporters of the changes said Friday momentum is shifting in their favor despite resistance to the idea of altering the system in which justices are chosen for the Kansas Supreme Court. House Judiciary Chairman Lance Kinzer says he's been working on the changes for years. The executive director of a national organization that advocates for merit-based selection said the trend started about 10 years ago, when money started flowing into contested races in states where judges are elected.

5 Kansas Control Towers Target for Closure Will Remain Open

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Control towers at five airfields in Kansas will stay open now that the Federal Aviation Administration has cancelled plans to close 149 similar towers across the country. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that control towers at airfields in Topeka, Manhattan, Hutchinson, and two in Olathe had been slated for closure. But the FAA said Friday it will keep the towers open after Congressional approval of a bill directing the FAA to find savings in its budget rather than furloughing air traffic controllers and closing control towers at the smaller, regional airfields. The towers operated by contractors for the FAA at low-traffic airports had been scheduled to close June 15. The U.S Transportation Department said Friday they'll stay open at least through September 30, the end of the federal budget year.

Sculpture Stolen for Scrap Reinstalled at Topeka Church

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Members of a Topeka congregation have a special reason to reflect on forgiveness this weekend: A beloved sculpture, stolen for scrap last fall, is back in place outside their church. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the 10-foot-tall bronze, called "Forgiven Man," was reinstalled Friday in a courtyard at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The 350-pound sculpture, valued at $40,000, had been undergoing repairs and refinishing since a tip led to its recovery in rural Topeka last October 11. That was eight days after thieves unbolted it from its pedestal and drove away with it. Topeka artist Jim Bass, the sculpture's creator, was on hand for Friday's reinstallation. He says "Forgiven Man" is more secure now, having been welded as well as bolted to the pedestal.


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