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Fires plague western Kansas…winds cause blow overs on highways…and other headlines: March 7, 2017

Fire is a major concern across Kansas; the result of weeks of dry weather coupled with more recent high winds. State officials are monitoring fires in 21 counties. The highest-profile, the Highlands fire, forced evacuations and road closures near Hutchinson. A separate blaze destroyed homes in Ness County.
A driver from Texas is in the hospital after his semi blew over on I-70 at the Oakley exit. It’s one of several accidents being blamed on the wind. Four separate semis blew off the interstate in the 40 mile stretch between Colby and Grainfield.
Portions of southern Kansas feel a second earthquake this week. A magnitude 2.7 quake rumbled yesterday afternoon, 20 miles east of  Caldwell in Sumner County. 2.6 was the reading on a quake Sunday morning, 17 miles northeast of Caldwell. Six earthquakes were recorded in Kansas last month, all in the same general area near the Oklahoma state line south of Wichita.
The former city clerk in Bennington gets a year and four months in federal prison after admitting court to embezzling more than $100-thousand from a real estate company and more than $75-thousand from the city. She also has to pay it all back.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports the state’s wheat crop is very mixed. 22 percent of Kansas wheat is rated poor or very poor, 35 percent fair, and 43 percent good to excellent. Rain and hail have taken a toll on crops in southeastern Kansas, while dry and warm weather has taxed the wheat farther west.

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