Kansas Budget Woes Have Lawmakers Wanting More Oversight
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — With Republican Governor Sam Brownback for now refusing to say how he'll keep Kansas' budget balanced, some GOP lawmakers are promising more aggressive oversight. Some even want to challenge the governor's longstanding control over annual spending blueprints. Senate President Susan Wagle outlined a proposal this week to give lawmakers a bigger role as internal documents from state agencies showed how they might reduce spending. Some agencies' potential cuts would eliminate programs that keep state prisons from becoming crowded or even hinder efforts to collect taxes. Kansas has struggled to hit revenue targets and balance its budget since GOP legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging as an economic stimulus. Monthly tax collections have fallen short of expectations 71 percent of the time since then.
Fuel Error, Pilot Blamed for 2015 Plane Crash that Killed Two Kansans
DENVER (AP) — Federal air crash investigators say a pilot was unfamiliar with his plane's fuel system and pilot error contributed to a 2015 propeller plane crash near Eaton that left two Kansas men dead. The National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot lost control in gusting wind and crashed because of the error. According to the Denver Post , the plane had monitors on separate fuel tanks and the pilot failed to notice he was running out of fuel. The pilot was identified as 35-year-old Jared Langston, of Holyrood, Kansas, and the passenger was identified as 41-year-old Benjamin Bates, of Lyons, Kansas.
Wichita State to Convert Old Building to Makerspace
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University will renovate the second-oldest building on campus into a makerspace for creative people from the Wichita area. The $8 million renovation of Henrion Hall is included in a $250 million fundraising campaign the university announced Wednesday. A makerspace provides tools and space for collaborative, creative learning in several different areas. The Wichita Eagle reports the renovations at Henrion Hall will update arts facilities and add such things as an audio studio, video production lab, pottery wheels, power tools and metalworking. The university says people will be able to buy memberships for the makerspace to get access to the new tools and facilities. Wichita State already had announced plans for a makerspace inside the Experiential Engineering Building that is currently under construction.
Report: Non-farm Kansas Jobs to Increase
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A recent Wichita State University report says Kansas could see more than 12,000 new non-farm jobs in the coming year. The Hutchinson News reports that there are over 1.4 million non-farm jobs in the state this year. The report from the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at the university's business school forecasts that most of new jobs are expected to be in the service sector. Financial, education and health services, as well as leisure and hospitality sectors are also expected to grow. Growth in trade, transportation, manufacturing and utilities jobs are predicted as well, but only by a little more than half of a percent. The report says there will be a slight decline in federal and state government employment.
Chancellor: KU can't Ban Concealed Guns in Sensitive Areas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas' chancellor knows firing a gun on campus areas with pressurized gas cylinders, rocket fuel and other combustibles might be disastrous. But she says the school can't ban guns in such places. State-run universities in Kansas must begin allowing concealed weapons onto campuses next July. Schools must submit proposed policies to the governing Kansas Board of Regents by October. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little told the University Senate on Thursday there are high-security labs and other campus areas where shooting a gun would be dangerous. But she says the state's attorney general has told the school it can't make those places exceptions to state law.
Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to University of Kansas Graduate
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas says this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is a Kansas graduate. The university says in a release that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, is a 1973 graduate of the University of Kansas, where he majored in business and economic. Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end a civil war in Colombia. The award came just days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the peace deal that Santos helped bring about. The university says Santos arrived in Kansas in 1969 and earned his degree in seven semesters before returning to Colombia. The university's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presented Santos its Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in 2012.
Man Charged in Kansas Rape After 10 Deportations
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man from Mexico who has been deported several times faces charges accusing him of raping a child in Kansas. Tomas Martinez-Maldonado is jailed in Geary County on $100,000 bond on a charge of raping a child under the age of 14 last month. Public defender Cole Hawver declined to comment yesterday (FRI). The public defender's office was appointed to represent Martinez-Maldonado during his first appearance Thursday. The Kansas Bureau of Information says he was taken into custody in late September in Missouri, where authorities alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE said that Martinez-Maldonado has been deported back to Mexico 10 times since 2010. ICE also says he's a priority for deportation when his Kansas case is completed.
Kansas State University Opens New Business School Building
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The $60 million College of Business Administration building at Kansas State University, which opened for use this semester, is the result of more than five years of planning, fundraising and collaboration. The college's senior director of development Darin Russell says officials wanted the building to have a corporate feel, but blend in with the campus. According to Stacy Kovar, associate dean for academic administration, more space for classrooms was the number one priority. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that students quickly began using the many collaborative areas incorporated into the new building. The building has such an abundance of meeting space that other departments on campus are using the business colleges for some of their needs.