Suspected Newton Shoplifters Killed after Reno County Chase
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two suspected shoplifters in a stolen car were killed in south-central Kansas when they crashed into a tractor-trailer during a chase by police. Police say the crash happened yesterday (FRI) morning near Hutchinson. The victims' names were not immediately released. Police say three people who used fraudulent credit cards to buy $1,100 worth of merchandise from a Walmart in Newton sped away in two vehicles. Investigators say two of the suspects in one car later led officers on a chase involving speeds of up to 115 mph. That car later swerved out of control when the driver tried to avoid tire-flattening strips police had set out on the highway, and the car crashed slid sideways into a tractor-trailer that had stopped for a roadblock.
Kansas City Protesters Rebuke Trump Victory
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than 100 protesters in Kansas City, Missouri, are decrying President-elect Donald Trump. As temperatures dipped into the 40s, the demonstrators gathered last (FRI) night outside Kansas City's landmark Union Station and planned to march to City Hall in the latest protest over the businessman's Republican victory. Clutching a placard reading "Not My President," 67-year-old Kansas high school teacher David Young says he objects to what he perceived to be Trump's intolerance toward Hispanics and others during his campaign. Young, a French and Spanish instructor from Shawnee, Kansas, says "Trump's message of hate has to be stopped," and "it goes against everything we're trying to teach." Previous demonstrations since Tuesday's election drew thousands in New York, Los Angeles and other large urban centers. Some involved sporadic vandalism, violence and street blocking.
KU Science Building Closer to Completion
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A new science building at the University of Kansas is getting closer to completion. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the final beam has been hoisted into place for the new $117 million Integrated Science Building. Several hundred people gathered Thursday in the partially completed building to celebrate the construction milestone. The 28,000-square-foot building is the keystone of the university's $350 million Central District redevelopment project. Funding comes through something called a public-private partnership in which a private, outside entity gives money for construction and then leases the building to a university until it's paid off. The university says the goal is to complete the massive project with little state funding. But lawmakers have raised concerns that if something goes wrong with the project, taxpayers will be responsible.
Kansas Faces $349 Million Shortfall in Latest Budget Forecast
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas faces a $349 million shortfall in its current budget and more gaps in the near future after officials issued a new, more pessimistic fiscal forecast for the state. The forecasters on Thursday slashed the state's previous projections for tax collections through June 2017 by 5.9 percent, or $355 million. They also issued the first projections for the two fiscal years beginning in July 2017. Those projections were conservative. Legislative researchers projected budget shortfalls totaling $1.1 billion through June 2019. The previous fiscal forecast was issued in April. The state has missed monthly revenue targets six of the seven months since. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since slashing taxes in 2012 and 2013. The new forecast also reflects pessimism about agriculture and energy production.
Write-in Votes Slow Tally in in Saline County
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — One central Kansas county had its vote counting slowed by a large increase in write-in votes. The Salina Journal reports that the nearly 1,300 write-in votes in Saline County were more than three times more than were cast in the 2014 general election. County Clerk Don Merriman says that every time the machine saw a write-in, it stopped counting. Besides legitimate write-in votes, some people wrote in "Anybody but" or "None of the above." There also were votes cast for Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse and Jesus. Unofficial totals, which didn't include the write-in votes, weren't announced until shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday. The count that included the write-ins was finished shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday. For general elections, voters have a right to put down any name they choose.
Wichita State University gets $1 Million Gift for Sculptures
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University has been given $1 million to create an outdoor sculpture fund. The Wichita Eagle reports that Joan Beren presented the gift to the university to create the Joan S. Beren Outdoor Sculpture Conservation Fund before her death in January. Beren's gift will cover maintenance and cleaning of the 76 works in the university's Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection. Beren served two terms on the school's Board of Trustees and chaired the Ulrich Museum of Art's Outdoor Sculpture Committee for several years.
Westar Plans for Reno County Solar Installation
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Westar Energy says it is quickly filling subscriptions for a new 1 megawatt "community solar installation" west of Hutchinson. The utility says in a news release that construction on the installation will begin in December and the plant is expected to be in service early next year. The plant will include 3,400 panels. Westar officials say in a news release that 90 percent of the available subscriptions to use the plant have been filled. Plans for the plant were announced early this year. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said about 900 customers had signed up as of early Thursday. Participants can choose to lock in their energy price for five to 20 years.