Kan. gov. pushing lawmakers to wrap up tax debate
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback is telling Kansas legislators that it's time for them to resolve their differences on tax issues and finish their work for the year.
The Republican governor issued his statement Wednesday after negotiations between the House and Senate on adjusting the state sales tax hit a new snag.
The legislative negotiators were unable to agree on canceling all or part of a sales tax decline scheduled for July. They planned to meet again Thursday.
Brownback wants to keep the sales tax at 6.3% to raise revenue so that Kansas can follow the massive income-tax cuts approved last year with more income tax reductions.
The governor said the Republican-controlled Legislature is positioning the state for economic growth.
But he added, "It is time to wrap up the session."
Forecasters: Kan. weekend tornado was an EF4
DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) - The National Weather Service says a tornado that traveled seven miles across rural western Kansas during the weekend was an EF4, with winds of 165 to 185 miles per hour.
The report from the agency's Dodge City office follows a survey of the tornado's path Saturday night in Pawnee County.
An EF4 is the second-strongest on the scale used to measure the strength of tornadoes.
No injuries occurred, but one farmhouse lost most of its roof and some walls and four others sustained lesser damage as the tornado traveled from six miles southwest of Rozel to about one mile west of the small town. The Weather Service says the tornado then turned to the northwest and dissipated about three miles northwest of town.
The tornado measured 1,100 yards across at its maximum width.
AIR FORCE TANKERS-KANSAS UPDATE
Senators praise McConnell tanker decision
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Republican Senator Jerry Moran says the Air Force decision to base a new air refueling tanker at McConnell Air Force Base will help protect the base against any future military cutbacks or closures.
The Kansas congressional delegation says McConnell will be the main operating site for the KC-46A, which will replace the KC-135. The Air Force will base 36 of the new aircraft at McConnell starting in 2016 and will spent $192 million on upgrades.
McConnell was chosen over bases in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Washington.
Republican Senator Pat Roberts says McConnell's makeover following the devastating tornado in 1991 gave it a solid platform and a "leg up" in the competition. He says it also fulfills an Air Force general's promise made after bombers were relocated to base in South Dakota.
3 SW Kan. children found safe 5 miles from home
LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) - Three young children who wandered five miles from their southwest Kansas farmhouse have been found safe after a frantic, 15-hour search.
The High Plains Daily Leader reports authorities in Seward County were notified of the children's disappearance Tuesday evening. A citizen spotted them around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Liberal and took them to a business. They were reported to be tired and hungry.
A family member had been looking after the children - two girls, ages 3 and 5, and a 7-year-old boy - at their rural Seward County home Tuesday while other relatives went to Liberal on errands.
Law enforcement officers and first responders from southwest Kansas and nearby Oklahoma searched for the children throughout the night, scouring fields on ATV's. Search dogs from Wichita and Hutchinson also took part.
Hutchinson council supports fireworks display
(Information in the following story is from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com)
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - It appears Hutchinson area residents might see a big Fourth of July fireworks display after all.
The fireworks show was in jeopardy after a new city policy wiped out the revenue that used to pay for it.
Now, Hutchinson is contributing $10,000 toward a $15,500 show at the Kansas State Fairgrounds. The Hutchinson City Council expressed a verbal show of support for the proposal Tuesday, although a formal vote wasn't taken. City officials are drafting a contract.
The Hutchinson News reports that in the past, revenue from fireworks vendors paid for the holiday show. But after the city banned aerial fireworks last year, no fireworks vendors applied to work in the city this year.
Eagle Communications and Showalter Fireworks have agreed to contribute the remaining $5,500.
Feds charge ex-police officer with bribe scheme
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A former Wichita police officer has been charged with conspiring to bribe a car-theft victim in hope of saving her job.
The U.S. attorney's office says 34-year-old ex-officer Joletta Vallejo was indicted Wednesday on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. Also charged in the case are 40-year-old Patrick Melendrez and 30-year-old Courtney Foster, both of Wichita.
The defendants' home phones were either disconnected or unanswered Wednesday. It's not known if they had lawyers.
Prosecutors say an internal police investigation concluded that Vallejo violated department rules in handling reports of a domestic violence case and a related car theft.
The indictment accuses Vallejo of arranging last August for Melendrez to pay the theft victim $150 to recant his statement and another $150 if she kept her job.
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