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Unemployment figures announced today showed a slight decline in the local unemployment rate.

Unemployment was 6.3 percent in Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County, according to figures from the Kansas Department of Labor. That compares to 7.1 percent in February 2015 and 7.3 percent for March 2014 for Wyandotte County.

Kansas City, Kan., tied with Junction City, Kan., for the highest unemployment rate of the larger cities in the state, according to the figures.

Wyandotte County had the third highest unemployment rate of all counties, with Neosho County at 7.6 percent and Linn County at 6.7 percent, according to statistics.

Statewide, the unemployment rate for March was 4.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, the same as last month, and slightly lower than 4.6 percent one year ago, according to the Department of Labor.

The Kansas secretary of labor said the rate shows a steady economy with high labor force participation from Kansas residents.

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Races are scheduled tonight at Lakeside Speedway, 5615 Wolcott Drive, Kansas City, Kan.

The dirt track races start at 7:30 p.m. tonight. There will be competition for USRA modifieds, USRA stock cars, USRA B mods and grand nationals.

The track is one mile west of I-435 on Wolcott Drive.

With Peru State College coach Joan Albury looking on, Kansas City Kansas Community College basketball standouts Rashaun Casey, left,  and Iland Shurn signed letters to attend the Nebraska NAIA Division I college this fall. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
With Peru State College coach Joan Albury looking on, Kansas City Kansas Community College basketball standouts Rashaun Casey, left, and Iland Shurn signed letters to attend the Nebraska NAIA Division I college this fall. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Two sophomores who helped Kansas City Kansas Community College win 52 basketball games over the past two seasons – guard Rashaun Casey and forward Iland Shurn – will be taking their skills to Peru State College in Peru, Neb., this fall.

“We expect them to make an immediate impact,” said head coach Joan Albury. “We expect Iland to help carry us in the post and Rashaun to put up shots from the outside.”

A 5-8 guard from Bentonville, Ark., Casey set a KCKCC record when she knocked down eight 3-point goals against Central Methodist JV last year.

Named to the All-Region VI second team as a freshman, Casey led the Blue Devils in scoring with a 13.8-point average. She also averaged 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals.

Playing behind All-American Cierra Gaines this past season, Casey averaged 6.1 points and 2.3 rebounds.

A 5-9 forward who graduated from Bishop Miege High School, Shurn led the Blue Devils in rebounding and shooting percentage as a freshman.

Averaging 7.0 rebounds a game and 8.5 points, she shot at a 51.0 percent clip from the field, then shot even better this past season (53.9 percent) while averaging 5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

The only NAIA Division I college in Nebraska, Peru State is a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“We’ll have 12 teams in the conference this year and 14 the next year, all in Iowa and Missouri,” Albury said.

With only one starter and three other non-starters returning, Albury said the two KCKCC standouts figure heavily in Peru State’s future plans.

“She said our experience and leadership coming from a winning program should provide a huge impact for the team,” Shurn said.

Both Casey and Shurn said a visit to the Peru State campus was a major factor in their recruitment.

“The coaching staff was also real nice,” Casey said. “They said if I came in and worked hard I’d get a lot of playing time.”

Shurn said she was looking forward to playing in a smaller community after growing up in Raytown, Mo.

“It suits my personality,” she said. “I’m not that outgoing so I’m looking forward to it.”

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

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