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Your local and regional news for Northeastern Kansas and the surrounding communities, brought to you by the KPR news staff.

Facebook Page Established for Lake Shawnee Body Mystery

A Facebook page has been founded to gather tips on what happened to a body found in a car submerged in Lake Shawnee east of Topeka. It's already turning up some interesting information about several unsolved missing persons cases. The page is titled "Who Killed Me in Topeka, KS." and was created by Kansas City activist Alonzo Washington. He may be best-known for his efforts to identify a child found Kansas City, Missouri, known for years only as "Precious Doe."

The coroner's office has released little new information about the body recovered from Lake Shawnee on June 11th. There is still no positive identification of the remains, nor any approximate age or gender available. Washington says the new Facebook page has generated information on at least one 1980s murder case in Wisconsin and on a mystery concerning a body that has never been found. Washington hopes to generate more publicity on the mystery at Lake Shawnee by shooting a YouTube video on the case, as well.

Western Wildfires Affect Kansas Train Travel

Wildfires in New Mexico are still disrupting Amtrak service on the Southwest Chief train route. Mark Magliari (magg-lee-AIR-ee) is a spokesman for Amtrak, and says that while the method of transportation along the line has been temporarily altered, no stops in Kansas have been entirely abandoned:

Despite the wildfires in New Mexico, Magliari (magg-lee-AIR-ee) says the daily Southwest Chief service that runs between Chicago and Los Angeles is expected to continue operation through Kansas because of the alternative transportation methods. The Southwest Chief train makes Kansas stops in Lawrence, Topeka, Hutchinson, Newton, Dodge City and Garden City.

Wildfires Lead to Amtrak Service Changes

Wildfires in New Mexico continue to disrupt Amtrak service in western Kansas. Mark Magliari (magg-lee-AIR-ee) is a spokesman for the company:

All stops in Kansas, though, are being covered with the use of alternative transportation being arranged by Amtrak. The company has chartered motor coaches to cover the distance between Newton and Lajunta (la-HOON-tah), Colorado.

Topeka Boot Policy Approved

The Topeka City Council has approved an ordinance that will allow a boot restraint device to be placed on a vehicle's wheels if parking and traffic officers find the owner has failed to pay three or more city parking tickets. City council member Sylvia Ortiz was not a fan of the measure, saying it potentially puts officers and other personnel in harm's way.

But seven other councilmembers did not agree, and the boot ordinance was approved. The effort is similar to those in other cash-strapped...and parking-strapped...cities around the country. A report indicated that 400 people in Topeka had accumulated $400,000 worth of unpaid fines. 15 of those people were responsible for more than $175,000 of that amount.

Schools Look to 2012 Budgets

The 2011 school year doesn't begin until August, but the Kansas State Board of Education is already looking ahead to 2012. Board members are getting their first looks at school spending ideas for next year. Chair Dave Dennis says their final proposal should push to reverse recent budget cuts.

The legislature has the final say on school funding, and while Dennis did not rule out tax increase proposals to increase funding, political analysts agree that such a plan would be unlikely to succeed.

KS Board of Education Rejects Fingerprinting Requirement

The State Board of Education has rejected a proposal that would have required Kansas teachers to pay a $50 fee and have their fingerprints kept on file. Board member Sue Storm spoke in opposition to the measure:

The board ultimately voted to reject the measure, which would have required that some 40,000 educators to have their fingerprints kept on file with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The requirement would have applied only to licensed staff, not other school district employees.

KS National Guard Prepares for MO River Flooding

Kansas National Guard troops are standing by to assist people in communities along the swollen Missouri River. Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli says soldiers are already stationed along the levees in Doniphan County.

The National Weather Service says flood warnings will remain in effect until further notice for communities along the Missouri River, including Atchison, Leavenworth and St. Joseph.


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