Kansas Collects $7.6 Million More in Taxes Than Expected in July
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas says it collected $7.6 million more in taxes than anticipated in July during its first month under an income tax increase approved by legislators. The Department of Revenue reported Tuesday that the state collected $453.5 million in taxes. That's 1.7 percent more than the official projection of almost $446 million. The surplus in July collections came after the state ended its 2017 fiscal year on June 30 with tax collections exceeding expectations by $72 million, or 1.3 percent. Total tax collections for fiscal 2017 surpassed $5.8 billion. Lawmakers enacted the income tax increase over Republican Governor Sam Brownback's veto to raise an additional $1.2 billion over two years. Brownback budget director Shawn Sullivan tweeted that it's too early to tell whether the tax increase will generate what is expected.
Kobach Appeals Order to Answer Questions Under Oath
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seeking to avoid answering questions under oath about plans to change U.S. election law. The Kansas Republican filed a notice late Monday saying he is appealing to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals an order to submit to a deposition by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU called Kobach's appeal of the deposition order "bizarre." Two federal judges have each twice ruled Kobach misled the court about the contents of documents he took into a November meeting with then-President-elect Donald Trump and a separate draft amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. The court fined Kobach $1,000 and ordered him to testify on Thursday about the documents. Kobach is vice chairman of Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
Small Airplane Crash Near Topeka Claims Two Lives
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says two people were killed when the plane they were in crashed near an airport in Topeka. The patrol says the victims of the crash shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday were 61-year-old pilot William Leeds of Topeka and his 55-year-old co-pilot, James Bergman of Leawood. Both men died at the scene. The 1965 Piper PA-30 fixed wing multi-engine airplane went down near Philip Billard Municipal Airport. The patrol says the aircraft appeared to miss the runway and hit the ground at a high rate of speed. After impact, the aircraft turned about 180 degrees and came to rest in a grass field. Federal investigators were expected to help determine what caused the crash.
Lawmaker Wants Audit into Troubles at El Dorado Prison
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas lawmaker is seeking a report from legislative auditors on recent inmate disturbances at the state's maximum-security prison in El Dorado. Democratic state Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka said Monday she is concerned that the Department of Corrections is not being transparent enough. The department has confirmed incidents involving inmates refusing to return to their cells on May 8, June 24 and June 29. But it has said they were less serious than some employees and their union described them. Kelly said she wants auditors to investigate and report on what actually happened. Department spokesman Todd Fertig said it is being transparent. The committee that directs the auditors' work will consider Kelly's request in October. If the review goes forward, a report would be ready early next year.
Kansas Legislative Post Audit Contradicts Corrections Department Information
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A legislative audit contradicts information the Kansas Department of Corrections gave lawmakers about the least expensive way to finance a new prison. The audit released yesterday (MON) said it would be cheaper for the state to issue bonds for the new prison in Lansing to replace the existing prison there. The department had told lawmakers it would be cheaper to have the company building the prison lease it to the state.
Authorities Cracking Down on Wichita-Area Gambling Machines
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say two people were arrested and 284 illegal gambling machines were seized during raids in the Wichita area. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said Tuesday that law enforcement served more than a dozen search warrants at various businesses in Wichita on Thursday. Ramsay said the raids were a joint operation with police, Sedgwick County officials and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. He says more than 500 machines have been seized in the city during the last year. The chief says crime generally goes up around businesses that offer the machines. And District Attorney Marc Bennett said the devices are usually old machines from casinos. He says the machines are often rigged to reduce the chances of people winning.
KCK Chemical Company Fined for Pollution
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas-based chemical company has agreed to pay a $950,000 penalty to the federal government for allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act. The settlement announced yesterday (MON)by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency also requires Harcros Chemicals of Kansas City, Kansas, to make sure that its accident prevention program complies with federal requirements. Harcros operates 31 facilities in 19 states.
Kansas Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Tax Return Fraud Scheme
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas man pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy that tried to obtain about $445,000 in fraudulent federal income tax returns. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Larson said in a news release that 24-year-old Orville Frame Jr., of Topeka, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Missouri. The scheme used false W-2 forms to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. Prosecutors say Frame and a co-defendant, 37-year-old Byron Meeks of Topeka, attempted to obtain about $445,000 but received only $10,945 from one federal refund and $3,389 in a Kansas state tax refund. Meeks was sentenced in April to five years in federal prison without parole. Frame faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
Police Probe Shooting Deaths of 2 People in Kansas Home
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating the shooting deaths of two people found in a home in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe. Olathe police say officers responding shortly before 1:30 p.m. Monday to a reported medical call at the home found a woman's body and a wounded man. He later died at a hospital. The police identified the deceased as 36-year-old Amy Mabion and 36-year-old Philip Mabion. Police said in a news release the deaths were a homicide-suicide but provided no other details. Police say they are seeking no suspects.
Survey Suggests More Growth Ahead for Midwest Economy
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business leaders suggested a drop in business conditions but still indicated the economy will pick up over the next few months in nine Midwest and Plains states. A report released Tuesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 56.1 last month from 62.3 in June. The May figure was 55.5. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says it "points to solid growth for both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing for the second half of 2017." The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
As Homicides Increase, Kansas City Grasps for Answers, Help
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri, has a new police chief, and stemming a surge in the city's homicides appears certain to be high on his agenda. Major Rick Smith was promoted Friday to the helm of the department he joined 29 years ago in a city that has recorded 86 homicides so far this year. That's 26 more than the same stretch in 2016. That year ended with 130 homicides, the most here since 1998. The city's 81 homicides in 2014 were the fewest in 42 years. While explanations of the rising homicide numbers are elusive, the federal government has Kansas City on a list of communities to help. And the city soon hopes to do what a task force recommended months ago — hire someone to align local violence-prevention efforts among advocates, law enforcers, researchers and activists.
Family of Kansas Jewish Site Shootings Settles Gun Lawsuit
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The family of two people fatally shot outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park has settled a lawsuit with Walmart over one of the guns used in the shooting. The Kansas City Star reports the settlement's terms between Walmart and the family of William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, are confidential. The two were killed in April 2014 by F. Glenn Miller Jr., who was trying to kill Jews. He also killed Terri LaManno at a nearby care center. None of the victims was Jewish. The lawsuit contends at least one Walmart employee was present when another man bought the shotgun used to kill Corporon and Underwood at a Walmart in Republic, Missouri. Miller could not buy a gun because he was a felon. A similar lawsuit filed by LaManno's family is pending.
Man Shot, Wounded by Police in Kansas City Suburb Charged
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — An armed man who was shot by police during a confrontation last weekend in a Kansas City suburb is charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon. Jackson County (Missouri) prosecutors say 45-year-old James B. Shade of Lee's Summit is accused of discharging a firearm from an apartment and exhibiting a weapon in a threatening manner. Lee's Summit police have said officers had responded to a report late Friday of a man threatening to harm himself when the man fired a shotgun through an apartment door before he emerged. Police say the man refused officers' demands to drop his weapon and was shot with less-lethal rounds. But investigators say the man continued to approach officers and was shot. Online court records don't show whether Shade has an attorney.
Teen Fleeing from Kansas Police Causes Crash; Injures Four People
SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) - Police in the Kansas City suburb of Gardner, Kansas, say four people were injured in a crash involving a 15-year-old boy who had fled after striking a police officer. KMBC-TV reports that an officer was checking on a car Saturday night when the driver suddenly sped away, striking and slightly injuring the officer. Kansas Highway Patrol troopers later chased the suspect on Interstate 435 before he lost control of the vehicle, sideswiped another vehicle and crossed into oncoming traffic before colliding head-on with another vehicle, which then overturned. The suspect was taken a hospital. Three other people, including a toddler, also were injured. The medical statuses of the injured were not immediately available Monday. There was no immediate word about any charges.
Police: Federal Agent Shoots Self in Foot at Florida Airport
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A vacationing federal agent from Kansas City accidentally shot himself in the foot while "unslinging a shoulder bag" inside Orlando International Airport. Local news outlets report the shooting happened around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in the passenger lobby. An Orlando police statement says the bag knocked his weapon from its holster. The agent "tried to catch the firearm and inadvertently pulled the trigger." Police said the agent was going to be flying with a loaded gun. The Orlando Sentinel reports the agent is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound in his left heel. No one else was hurt, and airport operations were not affected.
Judge Delays Trial in Kansas Credit Union Embezzlement Case
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A federal judge has again delayed the trial of a southeast Kansas woman accused of embezzling more than $5 million from a now-defunct credit union. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten has put off until November 14 the jury trial for Nita Rae Nirschl on an 81-count federal indictment accusing the Parsons woman of embezzlement and money laundering. She had been set to go to trial in September in Wichita, but her attorney asked for more time to review the voluminous amount of evidence. The crimes allegedly took place while Nirschl worked for the Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union based in Parsons. Federal prosecutors say that after an audit found the credit union was insolvent, it was placed in conservatorship and ultimately liquidated in March 2014.
Missouri Historic Tax Credits Confirmed for Kemper Arena
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Economic Development has approved historic tax credits to help finance the redevelopment of Kemper Arena in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports developer Steve Foutch said Tuesday that state and federal historic tax credits should cover about one-third of the project's estimated $39 million cost. Kemper Arena was listed on the National Register of Historic Places last September. The arena in the Kansas City stockyard region has been virtually unused since the Sprint Center opened in 2007. Foutch's plan is to renovate the arena as a private regional amateur sports and entertainment center for several sports and fitness activities. He says many weekend events are booked starting next summer, with the first event scheduled for July 7-14.
Two Kansas Men Guilty of Stealing from Mailboxes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Two Kansas men have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to their scheme to pilfer items from Wichita mailboxes. Thirty-eight-year-old Shalan Hiatt of Wichita pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of mail theft and possession of a counterfeit mailbox master key. Thirty-three-year-old Jason Farner of Leavenworth pleaded guilty to two counts of mail theft. Authorities say Hiatt and Farner admitted they were members of a group of people in Wichita who used counterfeited mailbox keys to steal mail containing checks and forms of identification. Sentencing for both men is scheduled for October 19.
K-State Coach Weber Agrees to 2-Year Contract Extension
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber agreed a two-year contract extension Tuesday that could keep him with the Wildcats through the 2020-21 season. It was the first major personnel decision made by new athletic director Gene Taylor. Weber had two years left on an extension he signed in April 2013, and the terms of those two years remain unchanged. That means he is due $2.15 million this season and $2.25 million next season, and the two extension years will pay him $2.35 million and $2.45 million. The final two years of the agreement now include a reduced buyout provision. Weber was on the hot seat last season before leading the Wildcats to 21 wins and a win over Wake Forest in a First Four game in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State lost to Cincinnati in the next round.
Royals Fall to Orioles 2-1
BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Kansas City Royals fell to the Baltimore Orioles 2-to-1. It's just the second loss in the past 11 games for Kansas City. The Royals still trail the Cleveland Indians by two games in the AL Central division.