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Regional Headlines for Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Kansas Income Tax Changes Take Effect

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Sweeping changes in the Kansas tax code take effect Tuesday, with new rates for individual income taxpayers. The laws were approved by the Legislature in May and signed by GOP Governor Sam Brownback. They are part of the administration's efforts to improve the state's business climate and increase the amount of money residents keep in their paychecks. The top individual income tax rate drops to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent. The owners of 191,000 businesses are exempt from income taxes. The changes are expected to cost the state about $4.5 billion over the next six years. Brownback hasn't ruled out keeping the sales tax rate at 6.3 percent to help with budgeting. The rate was increased in 2010 and is scheduled to drop to 5.7 percent in July.

Recent Audit Examines Sale of Surplus State Property

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A recent audit finds the state could do a better job of selling its unused property. The Legislative Division of Post Audit found that the Department of Administration has failed to accomplish some key tasks. The report says the division lacks the authority to independently designate what properties are surplus. The audit also says the state's central asset inventory of real property is inaccurate and incomplete. And the process for selling surplus property includes disincentives. But the Lawrence Journal-World reports that there are obstacles in selling the properties. Some of the properties need title searches, others need appraisals, and some land is being leased for other purposes. The Department of Administration says it will put many of the audit's recommendations into action and report back to legislators by April.

Kansas Revenues Beat December Forecast

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials say the state is finishing 2012 with strong revenue collections, beating estimates by $30 million for December. The Revenue Department said Monday the state collected $602 million in December, compared with the $572 million that had been forecast. Individual income tax payments in December played a big role, exceeding estimates by $27 million. December sales tax revenues came in at $184.6 million, about $5 million less than expected. The department also said revenue collections are running $32.7 million ahead of projections for the first half of the fiscal year that began July 1st. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan called Monday's report a positive sign for the Kansas economy.

Kansas State's Snyder Tapped as Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year

ATLANTA (AP) — Kansas State's Bill Snyder, who guided the Wildcats to an 11-1 regular season, is the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year. Snyder was announced as the unanimous winner of the award at halftime of Monday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl between 9th ranked LSU and Number 14 Clemson. The winner is picked each year by votes from a panel which includes previous winners. Kansas State will play Oregon in Thursday's Fiesta Bowl. The award is named for a longtime coach at Georgia Tech.

Wichita Benefactor Jean Garvey Dies at 90

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita's Orpheum Theater will be the setting for a memorial service for Jean Kindel Garvey, a well-known philanthropist whose causes included education, social services and the arts. The Wichita Eagle reports that the 90-year-old widow of businessman Willard Garvey died Sunday at her Wichita home. In 1963, the Garveys co-founded the Wichita Collegiate School, a private school for children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. In 1980, Jean Garvey founded The Independent School, another private institution designed to provide quality education for children from all backgrounds. Jean Garvey also contributed time and resources to numerous nonprofit groups. And in May 2012, she donated $1 million toward the renovation of the Orpheum Theater, where her memorial service will take place Saturday.


Sperm Donor Claims Child Support Case is Politically Motivated

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Topeka man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple who conceived a child says a state effort to force him to pay child support is politically motivated. William Marotta told The Topeka Capital-Journal Monday that he has already paid attorneys thousands of dollars to fight efforts by the state to collect child support. When he donated sperm to the couple in 2009, Marotta relinquished all parental rights, including financial responsibility to the child. After the couple filed for state assistance this year, the state demanded they provide the donor's name so it could collect child support. The state says the agreement between Marotta and the couple is not valid because it didn't meet the requirements of a Kansas law that requires a licensed physician to perform artificial insemination.


Woman's Mother-in-Law to Stand Trial in Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The mother-in-law of a Topeka woman who was killed in October will go on trial for her alleged part in the death. A judge ruled after a preliminary hearing Monday that 57-year-old Manuela Alcala of El Paso, Texas, will be tried for first-degree murder in 34-year-old Ashley Alcala's death. Her trial is scheduled to start March 25. The victim's husband, 32-year-old Manuel Alcala of Topeka, and two 19-year-old men from El Paso are also charged with first-degree murder in her death. One of the 19-year-old men is also Manuela Alcala's son. Testimony on Monday indicated that investigators found a hand-drawn map at Manuela Alcala's home in El Paso that had an "X'' marking the Topeka home of Ashley Alcala. Testimony also showed that Manuela Alcala owed her daughter-in-law about $4,000.

Judge Won't Block Suit Against Nebraska Pipeline Law

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A district judge in Lancaster County, Nebraska has refused to block a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Nebraska's new pipeline siting law. Judge Stephanie Stacy on Monday denied a state request to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed in May by three landowners along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. The lawsuit says the law that passed in April unlawfully delegated powers to the governor that belong with the Public Service Commission. It also says the law stemmed from unconstitutional special legislation because it benefited only one entity, TransCanada. The company's pipeline is designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. TransCanada also has proposed connecting it to the Bakken oil field in Montana and North Dakota.

UMKC Receives $1.3M Federal Grant

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri-Kansas City has received a $1.3 million, five-year federal grant. The grant from the National Institute on Aging will be used to support the development of new drug therapies for protecting nerve cells from decay caused by chronic diseases. The lead investigator is Peter Koulen, a professor and vision researcher at the School of Medicine. Researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and West Virginia University also are involved in the research.


Chiefs CEO Hunt Taking Bigger Role in Franchise

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Clark Hunt is regarded as an intensely private man, someone who prefers to operate behind the scenes and away from the spotlight that comes with owning an NFL franchise. In some ways, that's about to change. Hunt fired coach Romeo Crennel on Monday as part of a shakeup of the entire structure of a franchise that his father, the late Lamar Hunt, founded 53 years ago. The younger Hunt said he plans to hire the next coach and that the individual will report to him, rather than through the general manager — a change in the way the team has operated since its inception. Hunt has refused to say whether GM Scott Pioli will be retained.

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