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Headlines for Sunday, January 17, 2016

Uncertain State Finances Weighs on Some Lawmakers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Repeated misses in Kansas' monthly revenue projections has clouded the state's ability to balance budgets, and some lawmakers are thinking the process could use reform. Republican Governor Sam Brownback's latest spending plan unveiled days ago for the fiscal year that begins in July projects a $190 million hole. He believes that can be patched by such things as juggling state funds and selling off assets of the privatization-bound Kansas Bioscience Authority. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since the Legislature got on board with Brownback's plan to slash personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 in hopes of stoking the economy. But since then, the state's month-to-month revenue estimates have been volatile. Republican Senator Jeff Melcher of Leawood wonders whether it's time to get outside help with financial modeling.


Salina Loses Only Air Carrier

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina's only air carrier has ceased operations in Kansas and other locations because it says there's a shortage of airline pilots in the United States. The Salina Journal reports SeaPort Airlines informed Salina officials of the move over the weekend. SeaPort staff and equipment at Salina Regional Airport are expected to be gone by Wednesday. The airline also has stopped service at Great Bend, Kansas City, Missouri, and airports in California and Mexico. Its operations in the Pacific Northwest, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas will not be affected. SeaPort's Essential Air Service contract to provide subsidized service at Salina was set to expire in the spring and Salina already was working to land another carrier.


Teacher Hired Despite Pending Child Porn Investigation

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man charged with child sex crimes was hired as a Wichita teacher last fall after a background check failed to uncover that he resigned from a southwest Kansas community college amid a child pornography investigation. Sixty-two-year-old Steven Thompson, of Wichita, was charged this month with three counts of sexual exploitation of a child in Finney County, where he previously was a tenured computer
science instructor at Garden City Community College. Garden City Police Captain Randy Ralston says school officials reported in September 2013 that child pornography was found on Thompson's work computer. Wichita schools spokeswoman Susan Arensman told KWCH-TV that nothing showed up on the background check because Thompson hadn't been charged when he was hired. Thompson is free on bond. His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message.


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