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Headlines for Saturday, December 3, 2016

Kansas Hits Pessimistic Tax Projections in November

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas hit its new, more pessimistic revenue projections for November, with tax collections exceeding estimates by $1.4 million. But this week's  report from the state Department of Revenue did not significantly alter the state's gloomy budget picture. It still faces a projected shortfall of more than $345 million for the current fiscal year that began July 1st. The state expected to collect $399.9 million in taxes in November and collected $401.3 million. The surplus was 0.3 percent. It was the first monthly report on tax collections since officials slashed the state's official revenue projections three weeks ago to reflect their pessimism about the economy. Tax collections last met expectations in April after forecasters issued the previous revenue projections. They've fallen short of expectations 10 of the past 12 months.


Kansas to Cut Funding for Child Psychiatric Care

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials plan to reduce funding to providers of residential psychiatric care for children in a move expected to save about $350,000 from the state general fund. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services' announcement comes after Governor Sam Brownback cut Medicaid reimbursement rates by 4 percent in May to help balance the budget. Residential psychiatric facilities receive payments each day a child is in their care. They're also paid on days the child is out of the facility, but a bed must still be reserved. Plans call for reducing payment on reserve days by 40 percent. The change is scheduled to start in March. Children's Alliance of Kansas director Christie Appelhanz says fewer children will be able to receive services under the change.


Details of Kansas Judicial Nominating Process May Go Public

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court is considering a rule that would require records related to the selection of nominees for the high court and other judgeships to be made public. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the rule change would require those records to be retained for at least three years after the nominating commission has made its decision. The minutes of the commission would be retained indefinitely. The commissions are made up mostly of attorneys who interview and nominate candidates for the governor's consideration. The state Supreme Court will accept public comments on the proposed change before deciding whether or not to implement it.


One Dead, Several Injured in Home Fire North of Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person has been killed in an early morning house fire north of Topeka. Kansas State Fire Marshall's Office spokesman Kevin Doel says eight people were in the home when fire started yesterday (FRI) morning. Several were transported for treatment, including the person who died. The name and age of the victim wasn't immediately released. Doel says he has no information about the conditions of the other people injured in the blaze. Authorities are investigating.


Trump Aide: Kobach a Source for Unsupported Fraud Claim

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump says Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is among the sources behind Trump's unsubstantiated claim that "millions" of people voted illegally. Kellyanne Conway was Trump's campaign manager and mentioned Kobach twice as a source during an interview yesterday (FRI) on ABC's "Good Morning America." Trump has claimed without providing evidence that he would have prevailed in the popular vote absent illegal voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The Republican president-elect won enough electoral votes thanks to narrow victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Kobach on Wednesday supported Trump's claim while providing no evidence of specific cases of fraud this year. He is the architect of tough voter identification laws in Kansas. Kobach's spokeswoman did not return a telephone message seeking comment yesterday (FRI).


Rural Kansas Couple Sues Dairy Alleging Water Contamination

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas couple alleges in a lawsuit that a neighboring dairy has contaminated their water supply. The Hutchinson News reports that Beryl and Becky Grow of rural Reno County are seeking more than $75,000 in damages from Perry and Sharon Beachy. The suit alleges "permanent and irreparable" property damage. The Beachys haven't yet filed a formal response, but Sharon Beachy denied the suit's allegations. The suit contends the Beachys intentionally discharged waste from a lagoon on the dairy property onto the Grows' adjoining three-acre property when the lagoon got too full. The suit also accuses the dairy of pumping wastewater from the lagoon when it was raining, so the Grows wouldn't notice it. The suit says testing shows that their well water is contaminated with nitrates and coliform bacteria.


Leawood Teen Enters Plea in Sexual Assault Case

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A teenager accused of sexually assaulting two classmates at a suburban Kansas City high school has pleaded guilty to amended charges in a case that touched off a metro-wide protest. The Kansas City Star reports that the 15-year-old Leawood boy admitted Thursday in juvenile court to two felony aggravated battery counts. The teen initially was charged in September with three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with two underage students at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village. He also had been charged with exposing himself in April 2015 to a girl at another school. Under the plea agreement, he faces 10 days in juvenile detention and two years of probation when he's sentenced in April. Hundreds of students wore black earlier this year as part of the protest.


New Kansas State President to Receive $500,000 Salary

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman hired as Kansas State University's president will receive a $500,000 annual salary. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas Board of Regents released the letter of appointment Thursday for General Richard Myers. He was promoted last month from interim president, a job he has held since April. The Kansas State University Foundation will finance $156,250 of Myers' yearly salary, a common practice for paying university presidents. As part of his annual compensation package, the foundation will provide Myers with two university vehicles and a membership to the Manhattan Country Club. The foundation also will finance Myers' deferred compensation package. That includes getting $31,250 after his first year of service, progressing to $187,500 if he remains as president for eight years or more.

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