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Headlines for Friday, November 28, 2014


Kansas Tax Collections $3.1M More Than Estimated

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas says its tax collections in November exceeded estimates by $3.1 million. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that revenue collections totaled more than $409 million this month, while about $406 million was estimated. Corporate income tax receipts came in $1 million above estimates, while individual income tax receipts were $3.8 million above estimates. But sales tax receipts fell short of estimates in November, coming in about $1 million below expectations. The positive November revenue report came after Kansas fell $23 million short of estimates in October.


Lawmakers Study Corrections Employees Pension Fund

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering where to place the state's pension obligations to more than 2,000 state corrections employees. The issue is whether to keep the corrections employees in a distinct group within the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System or to move their pensions to a division of the system serving police officers and firefighters. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the 2013 Legislature studied the issue last year but left the decision to an interim committee that will consider the issue in December. Members of KPERS' correctional fund have the same benefit formula as other KPERS members. But corrections employees can retire at a younger age than others — 55 or 60 — with 10 years of service.


Underground Utility Board Remains Without Budget


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas law requiring a public entity to run underground utility notifications remains in flux six years after its passage. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a private-sector nonprofit called Kansas One Call has been responsible for running a call center and educating people about the need to call before digging since the 1980s. But a 2008 law required a public notification entity. After the Kansas Supreme Court determined that Kansas One Call isn't a public entity, the state created a new entity called the Kansas Underground Utility Notification Center to oversee the notification center. The Kansas Corporation Commission appointed Kansas One Call as the interim operator of the notification center so there wouldn't be any disruption in services. The eventual plan is to seek bids for running the notification center.



Group Tries Again for Vote on Heartland Park

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A group seeking to force a vote on the purchase of a Topeka racing facility is appealing a judge's decision. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Chris Imming initiated a petition drive. He wants to overturn the city governing body's vote to buy the financially troubled Heartland Park and expand its redevelopment district. Petition backers contend it's not a financially good deal for the city. After more than enough signatures were gathered to force a vote, the city sued, contesting the petition's validity. City officials have said buying Heartland Park would help address the need to cover bond debt on the property. Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks ruled the petition was invalid earlier this month. Imming then announced his intent to appeal Wednesday afternoon.


Kansas Supreme Court Disciplines 3 Lawyers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Supreme Court has taken disciplinary action against three lawyers from the northeast part of the state. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the high court ordered the indefinite suspension of Mindy Lynn Miller, of Topeka, and Karen Eager, of Lawrence. The court also placed Andrew Delaney, of Hiawatha, on two years of probation and ordered him to pay a client $2,000. Accusation against Miller included that she failed to make court appearances. She is a former in-house counsel for Midwest Health Management. Eager was accused of multiple violations of professional standards, most occurring while she worked for the Disability Rights Center in Topeka. Delaney was placed on probation for professional misconduct in cases involving a divorce, the dissolution of a partnership and a child in need of care.


Mom Pleads for Hit-and-Run Driver to Come Forward

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A mother is pleading for the driver who struck and injured her 2-year-old son to come forward. Eduardo Lopez Martinez was critically injured in Monday's crash in Kansas City, Kansas. The driver didn't stop, but the boy's mother, Teresa Martinez, said Wednesday through an interpreter that the person had to have felt the crash. Police said an older, white, four-door Chrysler sped off after striking the boy. The director of the University of Kansas Hospital pediatric intensive care unit says Eduardo was breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. The child also suffered rib fractures, but there is no apparent brain damage. Eduardo is expected to survive. Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.


2 Die in Shooting in Suburban Kansas City

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) - Police say two people have died in a shooting at a home in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs. The Kansas City Star reports that police were called to the home around 7:30 am Thursday and heard gunshots as they arrived. Police Sergeant Joe Fanara says both people were dead when officers entered the home. Fanara says a third person was in the home but didn't witness the shooting. Fanara says police are investigating the deaths but that no suspects were at large. No other details were immediately available.


Kansas Farm Bureau Convention to Focus on Public Policy

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - More than 1,000 farmers are expected to gather in Manhattan next week to outline a roadmap for the public policy issues the Kansas Farm Bureau members consider of importance to agriculture. Among the featured speakers for the two-day event that begins Monday is American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. Workshop topics include succession planning, advocating for agriculture, the 2014 farm bill, and water and agriculture technology. This year's convention marks the end of the 12-year tenure of retiring Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus. A celebration of his service will be held at Monday evening's banquet, which will be attended by Governor Sam Brownback and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts. The convention ends Tuesday with the election of a new president to replace Baccus.


Kansas, Missouri Colleges Start Food Pantries

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several colleges in Kansas and Missouri are starting food pantries to help students survive the ever-increasing costs of higher education. In Kansas, Emporia State University and Washburn University opened pantries this month, while Pittsburg State opened one in October. The Kansas City Star reports that the University of Missouri-Kansas City student activities office is working on opening a food pantry in March. The nonprofit Feeding America said in its 2014 report on hunger that one in 10 hungry U.S. adults is a student. Two million are attending school full-time, and 1 million go part-time. Feeding America spokeswoman Elaine Waxman says her agency has seen an increase in calls from colleges and universities inquiring about starting a campus food pantry.


Pilot Inexperience Blamed for Fatal 2012 Plane Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Federal aviation officials say pilot inexperience is the likely cause of a 2012 plane crash that killed a Kansas businessman, his wife and their four children in a swampy area of Florida. The Kansas City Star reports that the National Transportation Safety Board released its findings earlier this week. The report noted that Ronald Bramlage had purchased the turboprop plane about five weeks before crashing about 50 miles southwest of Orlando, Florida. The Junction City businessman was returning home with his family after a vacation in the Bahamas when the plane's autopilot disengaged. A statement of probable cause from the NTSB found that Bramlage could not maintain control of the aircraft. Ronald Bramlage was the grandson of Fred Bramlage, for whom Kansas State University's basketball arena was named.


Auto Dealership Employee Stabbed During Test Drive

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police are looking for a man accused of stabbing an auto dealership employee and fleeing in the car he was test driving. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 65-year-old Kenneth Gorman was attacked Wednesday night in a bank parking lot in Topeka. Police say the suspect then fled in the 2014 Chevy Malibu he was test-driving. The Malibu was recovered less than an hour later. Gorman was in critical condition when he was transported to a Topeka hospital. But Topeka Police Lt. Ash Kaboudan says Gorman is improving and is expected to survive. Gorman worked for Doug Richert Cadillac.


32-Year-Old Arrested After Deadly Olathe Crash

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ A man has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after a deadly crash at a northeast Kansas intersection. The Kansas City Star reports that a vehicle headed west on an Olathe street collided around 3 am Thursday with car going north on U.S. 56. The driver of the northbound vehicle was taken to a hospital, where he died. The 32-year-old driver of the westbound vehicle wasn't injured, and police arrested him. The news release says "driving under the influence is being investigated as a possible contributing factor in this accident." No other details were immediately released.


Shelter Focuses on Black Pets for Black Friday

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas shelter is offering Black Friday deals on hard-to-place adoptable black pets. The Wichita Eagle reports that black animals often are overlooked at shelters in part because of superstition. The Kansas Humane Society is offering black or mostly black pets for free from 11 am to 8 pm Friday. The shelter has been having a Black Friday sale the past few years to garner interest in the pets. Besides black pets, dogs 6 months and older and kittens of any color will be $50. Adult cats are always free, though donations are accepted.


K-State to Break Ground on Renovations to Stadium


MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State will break ground on its latest renovation of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, which will enclose the north end zone, during halftime of Saturday's game against rival Kansas. The school spent about $90 million last year to rebuild the west side of the stadium. The new construction will replace the existing football offices and locker rooms, and include an expanded academic learning center, improved team spaces and state-of-the-art sports medicine facilities. It will also improve seating, fan amenities and overall aesthetics. Kansas State has already raised $48 million for the project, which is expected to cost about $69 million. School officials anticipate it being done for the start of next season. The current Vanier Football Complex will be demolished beginning December 8.


Auditor Finds Improvement in KC-Area School District

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — State officials say a Kansas City-area school district has made improvements since a review eight months ago uncovered leadership and financial control shortfalls. The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich's office released a status report Wednesday on the Hickman Mills School District. Of 17 problem areas cited in a March report, recommended fixes for 16 of them either have been completed or were being completed. Auditor's office spokesman Spence Jackson says the school system has "made a tremendous amount of progress." Jackson says the most bothersome problems dealt with a superintendent search not being conducted in a public manner and a disputed balance to be paid to former superintendent Marjorie Williams as part of her leave package. The district has since reached a settlement with Williams.


Royals Reach $1.8 Million, 1-Year Deal with Frasor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jason Frasor and the Kansas City Royals have agreed to a one-year contract with a 2016 mutual option that guarantees the reliever $1.8 million. Frasor gets $1.25 million next season under Friday's deal, down from $1.75 million this year. The 2016 option is for $2 million with a $550,000 buyout. The 37-year-old right-hander was acquired from Texas in July and went 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 23 games for Kansas City. He was also a veteran presence for a young clubhouse as the Royals made the postseason for the first time since 1985 and lost to San Francisco in a seven-game World Series. Frasor was 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in the playoffs, earning victories in the Royals' wild-card win over the A's and in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series against Baltimore.


KU Cruises to 76-60 Win over Rhode Island

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Kansas Jayhawks' Perry Ellis scored 17 points as No. 11 Kansas beat Rhode Island 76-60 on Thursday in the opening round of the Orlando Classic at Walt Disney World. Ellis had 11 points in the opening 20 minutes to boost Kansas to a 43-25 lead at halftime. Frank Mason III added 12 points for Kansas (3-1), which has a pair of victories since a 72-40 loss to No. 1 Kentucky on Novmber 18. E.C. Matthews scored 20 points for Rhode Island (3-1), which was coming off a 66-62 victory over Nebraska on Saturday.


Ellis, Alexander Lift KU over Tennessee, 82-67

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Perry Ellis scored 24 points, Cliff Alexander added 16 and the number 11-ranked University of Kansas beat Tennessee 82-67 Friday in an Orlando Classic semifinal. Frank Mason III had 11 points and seven assists for KU (4-1). Tennessee (2-2) got 16 points from Josh Richardson, while Kevin Punter finished with 14. After Tennessee's Armani Moore tied it with two free throws, Alexander's 3-point play keyed a 7-0 stretch as Kansas went ahead 69-62 with five minutes left. Ellis's 3-point play made it 74-64 with two minutes to go.


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