Kansas at 12:05 a.m.
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AROUND THE STATE:
WICHITA — Saying it needs to balance its workforce, Spirit AeroSystems announced Thursday it will lay off about 150 salaried employees and managers at its Wichita plant while hiring about 400 more factory workers by the end of the year. The airplane parts maker said the layoffs are in addition to a significant number of salaried employees who have expressed interest in voluntary retirement and layoff programs. Evans declined to release the number of employees who expressed interest in the voluntary retirement, except to say that it's in the "hundreds." Spirit has about 11,000 employees in Wichita and 2,500 at its plant in Tulsa, making components for such airplane manufacturers as Boeing and Airbus. By Roxana Hegeman. SENT: 390 words.
WICHITA — With corn harvest getting underway this month, a new government forecast released Thursday projects Kansas is on track to harvest 38 percent more than a year ago in what's expected to be the third largest crop in the state's history. The updated forecast from the National Agricultural Statistics Service projects Kansas will harvest 525 million bushels. The estimate is based on crop conditions as of Sept. 1, which includes the effects of last month's heavy rains on crops as much of Kansas broke out of a drought. By Roxana Hegeman. SENT: 360 words.
AP Photos KSWIE101, KSWIE102, KSWIE107, KSWIE106, KSWIE105, KSWIE104, KSWIE103.
DES MOINES, Iowa — The combination of heat and scarce amounts of rain intensified the drought in several agriculturally significant states, contributing to declining crop conditions in parts of the Midwest and South. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a separate report Thursday the expected record corn harvest and third-largest soybean crop are on track, since areas that aren't seeing as severe a drought will produce enough to make up for the driest regions. By David Pitt. SENT: 500 words.
TOPEKA — Kansas' only nuclear power plant has shut down because of a potential problem with an air conditioning unit that cools safety-related electrical equipment, a spokeswoman said Thursday. Spokeswoman Cassie Bailey said officials at the Wolf Creek plant do not know when it will resume generating electricity. The plant, outside Burlington and about 55 miles south of Topeka, has been offline since late Wednesday. By John Hanna. SENT: 270 words.
WICHITA — Disparaging the refusal of a Kansas social worker to act as "inexplicable and unprofessional," a federal judge nonetheless summarily found in her favor Thursday in a lawsuit brought by the grandparents of a 23-month-old girl who was beaten to death after authorities ignored pleas to protect her. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot ruled that Linda Gillen, a former social worker with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, was entitled to qualified immunity from the lawsuit. He cited prevailing case precedent that a social worker is "constitutionally free to ignore the pleas" of the grandparents and offer no assistance. By Roxana Hegeman. SENT: 380 words.
BUSH INSTITUTE-ENERGY CONFERENCE
DALLAS — Former President George W. Bush addressed members of a Thursday conference on energy regulation, saying that what's at issue is how to best harness energy for the "common good in a reasonable way." ''The question is: Can these energy sources be exploited in safe and sound ways?" he asked. "That's what the debate is about. ... We at the Bush Center think so." By Jamie Stengle. SENT: 300 words.
AP Photos TXMO102, TXMO105, TXMO104, TXMO103, TXMO101.
— FATAL FIRE-MOTHER CHARGED — A Wichita woman who was away from home when her daughter suffered fatal burns in a fire has been ordered to stand trial on child endangerment charges.
— MANHATTAN KILLING — A man and woman are jailed as suspects in the killing earlier this week of a 68-year-old Manhattan man.
— INSURANCE RACE — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's former budget director is supporting a fellow certified public accountant in the insurance commissioner's race.
LAWRENCE — Life is good these days for Kansas linebacker Samson Faifili. He started his first game for the Jayhawks last Saturday against South Dakota, making four tackles in a 31-14 season-opening victory. He's on scholarship, playing football at the Division I level and, most important, doesn't have to worry about pinching pennies. By Geoffrey Calvert. SENT: 630 words.
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