Kansas Revenues Come in Over Projections
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is reporting that it collected $66 million more in taxes than anticipated in April. That makes eleven months in a row that revenues have been better than expected. The Department of Revenue said today (TUES) that the state collected $932 million in taxes last month and the official forecast was $866 million. The 7.6 percent surplus was notable because it was the first monthly revenue report since state officials and university economists issued new and more optimistic projections April 20th. The state's tax collections are 20 percent higher than they were a year ago.
Weather Service Forecasts Severe Storms for Kansas, Plains
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The National Weather Service is warning of strong storms and possibly tornadoes in the southern Plains. The Weather Service says potentially severe storms are expected to develop by tomorrow (WED) afternoon and continue through the night into Thursday morning, ranging from north Texas, across Oklahoma, through eastern Kansas, and into Nebraska. The Storm Prediction Center says the area covers over 103,000 square miles and affects almost 7 million people.
Uptick in Kansas Earthquakes Marked by Geologists
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Geologists are blaming an uptick in small Kansas earthquakes on an underground pressure wave that is slowly creeping northward from the Oklahoma border region. The Wichita Eagle reports that there were 13 earthquakes that originated in Kansas last month and were strong enough to feel. There were just a combined total of 10 earthquakes for the first three months of 2018. On the Oklahoma side of the border, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded another 57 quakes for April, many of which were felt in southern Kansas. Oklahoma's quake rate has stayed consistent so far this year, averagin about 50 temblors of 2.5 and above per month. Quakes in the two states have been tied to underground injections of wastewater from oil and gas drilling.
Kansas Lawmakers Approve Fix for School Funding Law
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislators have approved a bill that is designed to fix a flaw in a new education funding law that would have cost public schools $80 million. The Senate's 30-8 vote Monday sends the measure to Governor Jeff Colyer and he has promised to sign it. The House approved the bill Saturday. The new school funding law was supposed to phase in a $534 million increase in education funding in hopes of meeting a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to boost spending on public schools. The law set a minimum for local property tax revenues to be raised by local school boards and counted those dollars toward the state's total aid. Instead of adding local dollars to state dollars, the technical calculation inadvertently replaced state dollars with local dollars.
Man Serving Life in Ex-Wife's Killing Wants DNA Retested
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas man serving a life sentence in the 2000 strangulation death of his ex-wife wants DNA evidence retested. A Reno County judge will take up Trevor Corbett's request later this week. A University of Kansas School of Law School clinic filed the motion on Corbett's behalf. Corbett, now 44, was convicted in 2003 of first-degree murder in the death of Crystal Casey. He's maintained his innocence. Experts testified at his trial that a DNA swab from Casey's elbow matched Corbett's. But although none of Corbett's DNA was on the victim's neck, an unknown male's was. The prosecutor speculated that the neck swab DNA could've come from a paramedic, though none were tested and all wore gloves. Another of Casey's ex-husband was initially identified as a suspect.
Report: Midwest Business Conditions Index Rose Again in April
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A report says a business conditions index for nine Midwest and Plains states has surged to its highest level in a dozen years. The report released Tuesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index hit 64.5 in April, compared with 62.1 in March. The February figure was 59.7. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says much of the recent manufacturing sector growth has been driven by exports. 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.
Judge Cancels Trial Dates in 5 Kansas and Missouri Shooting Deaths
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A judge has canceled the weekend dates included in the trial of a man accused of killing four people in Kansas and one in Missouri. Pablo Serrano-Vitorino is scheduled to go to trial in October. He faces the death penalty in the March 2016 deaths of four men in Kansas City, Kansas, and a Montgomery County, Missouri, man. Serrano-Vitorino's public defender asked to withdraw from the case because he underwent heart surgery in April and will retire from the public defender's system June 1. The trial is expected to take up to a month. The weekend dates in the trial were canceled. A counsel status hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Topeka, Garden City Amtrak Stations to Lose Ticket Agents
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Amtrak ticket agents in Topeka and Garden City will lose their jobs in May, as part of the company's move toward online ticket sales. Amtrak regional spokesman Marc Magliari says the Topeka ticket window will close May 20 and the Garden City window will close May 15. Amtrak officials say onsite staff will remain at passenger rail stations in Newton and Kansas City. The rail line is laying off 22 people nationwide. Magliari says fewer than one in 10 Amtrak tickets are currently bought at ticket counters. Magliari says the company hasn't determined if passengers will be able to check baggage in Topeka after the agent is gone. At some stations, Amtrak allows train-side checked baggage.
Largest Kansas-Based Bank to Expand into Commercial Lending
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Capitol Federal Savings, the largest bank based in Kansas, says it plans to acquire a Topeka-based bank and expand into commercial lending. John Dicus, chairman and president of Capitol Federal, said in a news release Monday that it will acquire Capital City Bank. The acquisition is only the second in Capitol Federal's 125-year history. The $37.5 million deal creates a combined company with assets of $9.5 billion. Capital City CEO Bob Kobbeman will join Capitol Federal and lead its new commercial banking division. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of October. Capitol Federal has about 700 employees, while Capital City has about 110.
University of Kansas Museum Displays New Dinosaur Exhibit
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The University of Kansas says the only known dinosaur that inhabited Kansas is now on display in the school's Natural History Museum. Experts believe the Silvisaurus condrayi roamed the state 100 million years ago. The dinosaur was short but relatively long, measuring about 3 feet tall and 10 feet long. The museum's exhibit features the dinosaur fossil discovered in 1955 by Warren Condray, who found the bone fragments embedded in rock on his Ottawa County ranch. It also includes a display where visitors can feel the texture of the Silvisaurus' armor plating. The university says that part of the dinosaur had been exhibited but it was removed several years ago. University scientists collected fossils including the dinosaur's skull, lower jaw, teeth, neck bones, ribs, shoulder spikes and backbones from Condray's property.