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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND-WAIVER

Kansas gets 1-year waiver of federal schools law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas has received a one-year extension of a waiver that gives it more flexibility in meeting some of the provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

The U.S. Department of Education also granted an extension Thursday to Indiana. Kansas first was granted a waiver in 2012, but was told last August it was at "high risk" of losing it because the state hadn't taken enough steps to use student achievement data as part of teacher evaluations.

Interim Kansas Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander said he was "pleased."

The Kansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says education evaluation systems will incorporate the student data as a "significant" factor this year. But those student growth measures will not be used to make personnel decisions until the 2017-18 school year.

INNOVATIVE DISTRICTS

3 new innovative districts get initial approval

(Information in the following story is from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com)

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Three Kansas school districts have received initial approval to become special innovative districts, which would make them exempt from many state education regulations.

The Coalition of Innovative School Districts on Wednesday recommended that Kansas City, Hugoton and Blue Valley districts be designated as innovative. A fourth request, from the Santa Fe Trail District, was not approved.

The Kansas State Board of Education must approve the coalition's recommendations.

A 2013 law allows districts to be exempt from certain state regulations involving public education if they present plans to improve student achievement.

The Salina Journal reports up to 10 percent of the state's school districts can be members. The Concordia and McPherson districts were the first two member districts selected as part of the coalition.

STOLEN JEWELRY-INDICTMENT

Topeka jeweler accused of buying stolen goods

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man is accused of knowingly buying stolen jewelry at his Topeka store, then reselling it as scrap gold.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 53-year-old John Dasher, of Silver Lake, made a first court appearance Thursday on 32 counts of money laundering and one count of transporting stolen property. Court records did not list an attorney for Dasher.

Prosecutors said Dasher bought gold jewelry at his store, The Diamond House, that he knew had been stolen in home invasions in the Topeka area. The indictment alleges he melted the stolen jewelry and sold it as gold scrap to precious metal wholesalers.

Authorities allege the wholesalers paid Dasher more than $430,000 from November 2008 to April 2013.

FRATERNITY FIRE-CAUSE

Smoking materials caused KU fraternity fire

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Investigators say a fire at a University of Kansas fraternity house was caused by improperly disposed of smoking materials.

No injuries were reported after the fire Tuesday at the Sigma Chi fraternity house.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire official Shaun Coffey said Thursday the fire caused an estimated $150,000 in damage. Flames were contained to the third floor but lower floors had smoke and water damage.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports fraternity members said a bathroom and bedrooms sustained the most damage.

The 74 residents of the home were allowed to return to the house Tuesday evening.

Coffey said he did not know what type of smoking materials caused the fire.

CESSNA-10

Cessna's Independence plant sends 10,000th plane

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Cessna Aircraft's Independence plant has delivered the 10,000th single-engine airplane built at the plant since the first delivery in June 1996.

The company says the milestone plane, a Cessna Skyhawk, was delivered recently to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, along with two other Cessna Skyhawks.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the airplane has a custom paint job noting the milestone.

Cessna builds most of its single-engine piston products in Independence, including the Skyhawk, Turbo Skylane JT-A, Stationair and TTx.

It also produces the Citation Mustang and Citation M2 jets. The company's Garmin avionics training center is also at the plant.

HIAWATHA MOVIES

Effort underway to bring theater to Hiawatha

HIAWATHA, Kan. (AP) - A group of residents in Hiawatha are trying to bring a movie theater back to the northeast Kansas town.

Hiawatha's Arrow Twin Theatre closed about a week ago after voters in April rejected an initiative that would have funded the construction of a new city-owned theater.

Now, a nonprofit group called Hiawatha ACES has launched a fundraising drive to buy and renovate the 40-year-old Twin Theatre.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports the group estimates it would cost $200,000 to update the theater. For now, small improvements and maintenance will begin, with a goal of reopening the theater by the holiday season.

However, a second proposal to fund a city-owned movie theater will be on the ballot in November. If it passes, the plans to renovate the Arrow Twin will stop.

KANSAS STATE-ONLINE COURSES

Kansas State to offer first massive online course

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State University has announced that a health and wellness course will be its first "massive open online course."

The school joins dozens of leading universities that have begun offering free, digital versions of their most popular courses. The so-called MOOCs allow tens of thousands of students to take a class at the same time. But dropout rates often hover around 90 percent.

The Kansas State course will teach about the changes that can be made to improve health, physical fitness and overall well-being. The first cycle of the course will be taught Oct. 6 to Nov. 15, with content remaining open to students until Dec. 12.

Assistant human nutrition professor Linda Yarrow says the class format encourages instructors to be creative and innovative in their educational offerings.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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