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Stephen Koranda Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

The University of Kansas has been given an important set of papers by the estate of science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon. Sturgeon is well-known for his work on the television show "Star Trek" and his novel "More Than Human." His correspondence with writers including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison is included in the archive. His daughter and estate trustee Noël Sturgeon says she chose to give KU the papers in part because of the author's long-standing relationship with the university.The Sturgeon papers, valued at more than $600,000, will be housed at the Kenneth Spencer...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

More elected officials in Lawrence are asking the governor to reverse a decision to close a social services office in the city. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has announced it will close the Lawrence SRS office.

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will serve as co-chair of the consumer protection committee of a national group. Schmidt will take the position at the National Association of Attorneys General. Jeff Wagaman is a spokesperson for the A-G’s office.Schmidt will also co-chair the group’s committee on social networking.

KPR Web Operations Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Three, fully-restored planes from the World War II era are flying into Topeka today (WED), as part of a cross-country tour. KPR News intern Mark Arehart (AIR-HART) has more. (Admission $12 for adults, $6 for children under 12.)

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, faces a nearly 8 billion dollar deficit over the coming decades. Lawmakers passed legislation this year to help curb the problem. But as KPR's Stephen Koranda tells us, it's unclear if the law could be challenged in court.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

A report released this week by a conservative Kansas think tank says the state does have the ability to change retirement benefits for current public employees. Lawmakers passed legislation last session that would require employees to pay more into the public pension system, or have their retirement benefits reduced. The public pension system in Kansas faces a multi-billion dollar deficit. Economist Ralph Benko studied federal law and court cases on the issue. He says federal law does not bar the state from changing the benefits of current employees, within reason.The Kansas Policy...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

It's Fiesta Mexicana time in Topeka. The annual, week-long midsummer festival takes place in Topeka's Oakland neighborhood. The carnival's food and music have been packing the area's small streets and the Our Lady of Guadalupe church for 78 years, and is one of the largest Hispanic festivals in the region. Gail Ramirez is a spokesperson for the Fiesta, and says the music lineup is impressive this year:The Fiesta begins this (WED) afternoon at 4, and wraps up Saturday night. Admission is free.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Just in case this weather hasn't satisfied your cravings for heat just yet...the folks at the 78th annual Fiesta Mexicana in Topeka have a suggestion. The Fiesta, which begins its 5-day run today (WED), is hosting a jalapeno pepper-eating contest tonight (WED) at 7 o'clock. Publicity coordinator Gail Ramirez says space for the culinarily brave contestants is limited:Last year, the winner was Topekan Ron Ewing. He managed to stuff 12 jalapenos in his mouth without flinching....or at least, without flinching MUCH. The Fiesta is one of the largest Hispanic summer celebrations in the Midwest. It...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

More than 500 people gathered at a meeting last night (MON) to discuss the closing of a Lawrence social service office. The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has announced they'll close nine offices in the state, including the one in Lawrence. Plymouth Congregational Church Pastor Peter Luckey ("Lucky") called for reversing the decision.Secretary of SRS Robert Siedlecki (side-leck-ee) has said the office closures are due to budget cuts passed by the Legislature. He says there are other large SRS offices in nearby communities that can offer services to people in the Lawrence...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has announced it will close nine offices throughout the state, in an effort to save money. The largest office is in the city of Lawrence. Through SRS offices low-income Kansans can apply for food stamps as well as mental health and medical services. The offices also provide child protective services. Local officials and social service groups have been protesting the decision. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, hundreds gathered at a meeting in Lawrence last night (MON) to voice their concerns over the closing.

Bryan Thompson Monday, July 11th, 2011

The U-S Department of Health and Human Services has issued proposed guidelines for states to follow in setting up Insurance Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. More from Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson.

KPR Web Operations Monday, July 11th, 2011

Despite the current tough employment market, the health care industry is continuing to generate jobs. Linda Nickisch is with the U-S Bureau of Labor Statistics office in Kansas City. She says that unlike in many industries, jobs in the medical field continue to increase.Available jobs also increased in the hospitality industry. Overall, unemployment rose nationally last month, from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent.

KPR Web Operations Monday, July 11th, 2011

The planned closure of nine Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services offices across the state will make it harder to serve mentally ill and disabled Kansans, says former agency head Janet Schalansky (Sha-LANN-ski). Schalansky was secretary of SRS under governors Bill Graves and Kathleen Sebelius. Rob Siedlecki, Republican Governor Sam Brownback's pick to head the agency, says the planned office closures are necessary to comply with budget cuts ordered by the Legislature. Democratic legislators concerned about the impact of the cuts on vulnerable Kansans are hosting a public meeting...

Stephen Koranda Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Local legislators are holding a meeting tonight (MON) in Lawrence to discuss the closure of a social service office in the city. The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has announced it will close nine offices, including the one in Lawrence. SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki (side-LECK-ee) has said the closure is due to budget cuts at the agency. Governor Sam Brownback says he’s open to considering other options.Brownback has said there are online services available and SRS offices in nearby communities. Critics have argued that it will be difficult for people who need SRS services...

KPR Web Operations Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Major League Baseball's All-Star break is here. Representing the Kansas City Royals at the All-Star game in Phoenix is Aaron Crow, a graduate of Washburn Rural High School in Topeka. As Kansas Public Radio's Greg Echlin reports, it's rare that a Kansas high school alum becomes an All-Star.

Stephen Koranda Friday, July 8th, 2011

Governor Sam Brownback today (FRI) announced three appointments to the Kansas Board of Regents, including the wife of a Kansas senator. The board oversees the state's universities and community colleges. Brownback selected Robba Moran, wife of Kansas Senator Jerry Moran - and Fred Logan, a partner in a Prairie Village law firm. Brownback also chose Kenny Wilk, a former legislator who headed the team that prepared the Brownback administration to take office. Brownback stressed the economic role higher education plays in the state. Wilk says the regents need to make sure Kansas has a...

KPR Web Operations Friday, July 8th, 2011

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Stephen Koranda Thursday, July 7th, 2011

A recently revamped economic development program helped Kansas attract candy maker Mars Chocolate. The program is run by the Kansas Department of Transportation. KDOT helps pay for the costs of roads and other infrastructure needed by companies that locate in Kansas. AS KPR's Stephen Koranda tells us, earlier this year the program underwent major changes.

KPR Web Operations Thursday, July 7th, 2011

According to Forbes magazine, the city of Manhattan is at the top of the list for "best small places for business and careers" in the nation. And the area is no stranger to such rankings. In 2009, the Associated Press ranked Riley County -- where Manhattan is the county seat -- as the "least economically stressed" county in the country. So what makes Manhattan's economy so seemingly bullet-proof? John Pagen, with the local Chamber of Commerce, thinks he knows part of the answer. NBAF is the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which is scheduled to begin construction in Manhattan early...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Flood waters along the Missouri River have stabilized, but emergency officials say the flooding dangers have not yet passed. Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli says water levels have begun falling in Doniphan County. But the river could continue rising in northeast Kansas, depending on the amount of rain the area receives.Tafanelli says river levels will likely stay elevated at least through the end of August.


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