Archives for June 2015

School Funding Standstill

Kansas’ attorney general is asking the state’s highest court to put on hold a lower court’s decision that would provide roughly $50 million more in aid to school districts this week. Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the three-judge district court panel’s decision to invalidate key parts of an education funding law was “unprecedented.” The Shawnee County District Court panel’s decision ordered Kansas to provide more money to districts using the state’s previous school funding formula.

Fireworks Safety

We’re starting to hear the booms and bangs out there in the nighborhoods as fireworks go on sale. Firefighters tress to parents to remember that it might surprise you that sprakelrs are by fay the most dangerous firework out there. The reason, because kids usually hold them right in their hands. The magnesium in the sparklers burns at thousand of degrees right close to your skin.

Last year, Via Christi treated 15 people for fireworks-related injuries; three of those were admitted to the hospital. Statewide, hospitals reported 158 fireworks-related injuries, said Maria Loving, communications coordinator at the hospital. At Via Christi, injuries tend to cluster around adults ages 18 to 40, split fairly evenly between men and women.

Westar Request Concerns Solar Energy Advocates

Solar energy advocates have raised concerns about Westar Energy’s request for new financial setups for Kansas households with solar panels. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Mark Horst, a partner in Hutchinson-based King Solar, says the new plans could eliminate the cost savings of installing solar panels.

Despite Court Ruling, Lawmakers Won’t Have Special Session

Kansas lawmakers still must find $55 million for public schools this week because of a ruling by a three judge panel overseeing the school funding lawsuit. However, many lawmakers say they won’t be going back to Topeka this week. While the judges in the Shawnee County District Court are handling the school funding lawsuit, the state has appealed every ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court. Appeals take time. Therefore, lawmakers say there’s no reason to have a special session.

Program That Helps Pay College Tuition Faces Cuts

Budget cuts are leading to significant cuts to a Kansas program designed to enhance career and technical education. School districts this year will get less than half the monetary incentives they expected. The incentives are part of a 2012 initiative that called for the state to help pay tuition for high school students enrolled in career and technical education.

Cost of Land In KS Drops

New numbers from a farm management company show the cost of high-quality land is falling in Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that an acre of high-quality, irrigated land sold for an average of $5,000 in June 2015 in Kansas, down from $6,000 in in June 2014. Data about the 17-percent drop comes from Farmers National Company.

Wichita Mother Found Dead Inside Home; Daughter Unharmed

Police say the death of a woman at a home in the 2300 block of North Green is suspicious. Ciera Ray was discovered by her boyfriend just after 6:00 p.m. Ray’s three year-old daughter was reportedly also inside the home, but was unharmed. Ray’s body had multiple injuries, police say. She’d been dead for several hours. There are no leads in what appears to be Wichita’s 13th homicide of the year. If you have any information, call CrimeStoppers at 267-2111.

60K Ride Bus For Free

An Wichita transit leaders say lots of people took advantage of last week’s free bus fares. For the week, city buses gave more than 60-thousand free rised, which is up about three percent from the number of free rides given last year. The Week is designed to raise awareness about public transportation services while promoting the improvement of air quality in Wichita.

Bobcat Cage Vandalised, But Animal Returns

Officials of a Wichita nature center say Bobbie the bobcat is back home after vandals cut a hole into in his cage. According to Great Plains Nature Center director Jim Mason, someone took wire cutters and sliced a gap into Bobbie’s cage at Central Riverside Park’s Kansas Wildlife Exhibit early Thursday.

Brownback Disappointed Over Abortion Ruling

A spokeswoman for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says the Republican is disappointed by a judge’s decision to block a new state law that bans a specific abortion procedure. The governor is a strong abortion opponent. His spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, released a statement saying Brownback is committed to “supporting a culture of life.”