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Regional Headlines for Saturday, January 26, 2013



Hawker Beechcraft Closer to Bankruptcy Emergence

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Hawker Beechcraft says key creditors are strongly backing its proposed reorganization plan in a vote that moves the company closer to emerging from bankruptcy. The company said Friday that it will seek court approval to exit bankruptcy at a hearing Thursday and expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in February. It also said it has secured an underwriting commitment for $600 million in exit financing consisting of a term loan and revolving line of credit from JPMorgan Chase Bank and Credit Suisse AG. Hawker Beechcraft Incorporated CEO Robert Miller said in a news release that the show of support from creditors will dramatically reduce the company's debt load, while the financing commitment marks an important milestone as the company emerges from restructuring.


Kansas Officials Struggle with Corporate Income Tax

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican officials in Kansas are interested in lowering corporate income taxes but are struggling to figure out how to mesh such reductions with GOP plans for more cuts in individual income tax rates. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said Friday that cutting corporate income taxes would boost the economy and that the state needs to consider the issue. But Jordan said the issue also is complicated, and GOP Governor Sam Brownback's proposals focus on reducing individual income tax rates again after aggressive reductions last year. State Representative Marvin Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican who serves on the House Taxation Committee, says he and his colleagues are interested in lowering corporate income tax rates. He said they haven't figured out how to do it.


Kansas Woman Sentenced to Life in Daughters' Rapes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City, Kansas woman who arranged for a man to have sex with her underage daughters has been sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors say the woman drove her daughters to a Wichita hotel at least five times and watched as 49-year-old James Lamont Brown raped them. The girls were 11 and 12 during some of the encounters. Under a sentence imposed Friday, the woman won't be eligible for parole for 25 years. Brown is serving 17 life sentences without parole after being convicted in November on nine counts of rape and eight counts of aggravated human trafficking. The mother's name is not being published to protect the identity of her daughters.


Missouri Judge Says HCA Owes Foundation $162M

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge has ordered Hospital Corporation of America to pay a Kansas City foundation $162 million for failing to spend enough on improvements at Kansas City area nonprofit hospitals HCA acquired nearly a decade ago. Jackson County Circuit Judge John Torrence ruled Thursday that HCA must pay $162 million to the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The foundation filed suit in 2009 contending HCA hadn't spent the required $450 million on improvements to the Health Midwest hospitals that HCA bought in 2003 for about $1.1 billion. Torrence also appointed an auditor to determine how far HCA has progressed toward meeting its obligation of spending about $65 million a year to treat indigent patients. HCA says in a statement Friday the company has met its obligations and will appeal.


Kansas Strip Club Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The owner of a Salina strip club faces possible prison time after admitting he underpaid his federal income taxes by more than $153,000. The U.S. Attorney's office says 49-year-old Kirk Roberts pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to three counts of filing false income tax returns. Prosecutors said Roberts failed to report $538,000 in cash receipts from customers and dancers at his Wild Wild West club from 2006 through 2008. Roberts could be sentenced to three years in prison on each of the three counts. The sentencing is scheduled for April 22nd.


Judge Sets Hearing for Ex-KU Ticket Consultant

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge wants a previous attorney for a former University of Kansas athletics consultant to testify before he rules on a request seeking a shorter sentence in a ticket-scalping conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Monti Belot said Friday he was surprised neither side called the former attorney for Thomas Ray Blubaugh at an evidentiary hearing last week. Blubaugh claims attorney Stephen Robinson did a poor job during his trial. Belot wants Robinson to testify at a February 11th hearing. Blubaugh is serving a 46-month sentence for conspiracy to defraud the United States. He is the husband of Charlette Blubaugh, former ticket director for Kansas athletics. They were among seven people convicted in a $2 million scheme involving the theft and sale of Jayhawk athletic tickets.


Colo. Gov: Use Windfall to Study Fracking Statewide

DENVER (AP) — Colorado should use unexpected tax money to study the effects of oil and gas drilling on air quality. That's a request by Governor John Hickenlooper in a letter to lawmakers about tax collections that exceeded expectations last year. The Democratic governor has said the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is safe. But skeptics continue to press challenges to fracking. The governor told lawmakers Friday that they should spend about $11 million for the state Health Department to study the impacts of oil and gas extraction on environmental air quality. Hickenlooper has also requested $12 million more for schools and $10 millon for wildfire prevention. Hickenlooper's spending plan has been adjusted because the state knows more about taxes than it did in November, when Hickenlooper made his formal budget request.

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