A Republican leader in the Kansas Senate says he’ll propose a fee on all utility bills in the state to help fund education. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, says his plan calls for a $3 monthly fee on residential electric, gas and water bills in the state. Those with all three utilities would pay $9 more a month. For commercial customers, the monthly fee would be $10 per bill. The Legislature returns to work Monday with every big issue, including school finance, still unresolved. Lawmakers have to close a projected $900 million budget gap over the next two fiscal years and find millions more for public education to satisfy the state Supreme Court. Denning says a utility fee is not only broad but manageable and stable and would raise $150 million a year.
Archives for April 2017
Cornejo & Sons LLC, of Wichita, continues the task of asphalt milling on Summit Street to prepare for a new surface. The crew is working southward from Kansas Avenue to Walnut Avenue and will then continue back northward from Walnut to Kansas. The process is expected to be completed in a week, depending on the weather. Traffic is being maintained but commuters are encouraged to slow down through the construction zone.
The popular area blues/rock band Moreland & Arbuckle has decided to dissolve amicably after a 15-year career, according to a press release Tuesday from their label, Alligator Records. The band will play their remaining booked dates, including the Kansas Sampler Festival on May 6 in Winfield. Their last concert will be Sept. 2 at Uncork the Music Presents: Moreland & Arbuckle at the Wheat State Wine Company in Winfield, according to their website. Guitarist Aaron Moreland, who lived in Winfield, plans to spend more time at home with his family. The other two members, vocalist/harmonicist/songwriter Dustin Arbuckle and drummer Kendall Newby, intend to keep playing professionally.
Cowley County banks and businesses are being advised by the Ark City Chamber of Commerce that a woman named Chalen Tickel has been using fraudulent checks. Union State Bank has informed the chamber the checks are drawn on a Union State Account but it is not a good account. She has erased customers info and put in her info. Two ways you can tell they are fraudulent. Hold it up to the light and you will be able to see where old info was erased and new info has been added. The check will also feel rough in the customer info area part of the check. If you receive such a check, you’re asked to notify authorities.
The fiscal picture at South Central Kansas Medical Center continues to get brighter. After several years of financial struggle, SCKMC is witnessing an increase in patient visits and experiencing a positive cash flow. The SCKMC board met Thursday for its regular monthly meeting. Holly Harper, chief financial officer for SCKMC, reported an increase in patient visits for both the hospital and the clinic, resulting in a profit of nearly $700,000 the first three months of this year. “I have only one comment: That’s a stunning turnaround, that’s terrific,” said Board member Hap McCleod stated it has been a stunning turnaround for the medical center. Patient days for the hospital so far in 2017 increased by 811 days over last year, and the downtown clinic increased by 467, according to Harper.
Toyota is recalling about 250,000 small pickup trucks mainly in North America because the rear wheels have the potential to lock up, causing drivers to lose control. The recall covers certain Tacoma trucks from the 2016 and 2017 model years. Toyota says oil can leak from the rear differential. That could damage components and cause the differential to lock up and stop the wheels from moving. A differential allows the wheels to travel at different speeds while a vehicle is turning a corner. Dealers will inspect the trucks. If no leaks are found, fasteners will be tightened. If there’s a leak, a gasket will be replaced and new fasteners installed. Owners will be notified of the recall by mail starting in mid-June.
A group of 30 to 40 retired General Electric employees gathered Wednesday morning outside the company’s Strother Field facility to protest changes made to their health insurance plan. The demonstration, organized by Retirees Against GE Health Care Changes (RAGEHCC), was part of a nationwide effort among retired GE employees who say the company did not make good on its promises after they retired. The gathering was schedule to coincide with GE’s annual stockholder meeting Wednesday in Asheville, N.C. Group representatives said that a similar demonstration was held at a GE facility in Evandale, Ohio. The retiree group held a similar protest rally in 2016 on the same date as the company’s annual stockholder meeting.
In a follow up on a story we brought you yesterday, law enforcement authorities in Sedgwick County continue to search for a suspect who escaped from police. Just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, police had 35-year-old Jose L. Cruz in custody. He was wanted for an alleged domestic sexual assault. Prior to taking him to jail, he began to complain of chest pain and was transported to St. Francis Hospital. While receiving treatment, Cruz escaped from his hospital room. Security cameras indicated he left the hospital in an unknown direction. Cruz is described as Hispanic, 6 foot 3 inches tall, weighs approximately 200 pounds with brown. He was last seen wearing a red shirt and black pants. In additional to the assault, Cruz is wanted on three bench warrants for criminal damage to property, receiving stolen property and possession of marijuana.
Here is one more reason why you should never send cash in the mail. A Kansas man has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for stealing mail while working as a mail carrier. The U.S. attorney’s office says 34-year-old Gary Yenzer, of Derby, was sentenced Wednesday for one count of theft of U.S. mail. Investigators learned Yenzer looked for birthday and anniversary cards while delivering mail last year in rural Sedgwick County. Prosecutors say he kept the cash he removed and sold some of the gift cards for cash, but he did not use the gift cards for fear of them bring traced to him.
Law enforcement authorities in south central Kansas are looking for a suspect who escaped Wichita police custody just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday while at St. Francis Hospital. 35 year old Jose L. Cruz is described as Hispanic, 6 foot 3 inches tall, weighs approximately 200 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. Cruz is wanted on three outstanding warrants. Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Cruz is asked to contact 911.