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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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BOMBARDIER LAYOFFS

Bombardier restructuring cuts 1,800 jobs globally

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Airplane maker Bombardier Inc. is cutting 1,800 jobs across facilities worldwide as it restructures operations.

Spokeswoman Isabelle Rondeau with the Montreal-based company said Thursday that Bombardier plans to reorganize the company into four business segments before Jan. 1.

Bombardier says production-related jobs will not be affected. It plans a 15 percent reduction in what the company calls "indirect functions," such as human resources, finance and communications.

Rondeau said it is too early to say what the impact will be on the company's Learjet plant in Wichita or any other of its facilities.

The four business segments will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Pierre Beaudoin.

In January, Bombardier announced a workforce reduction of about 1,700 employees and contractors at facilities in the United States and Canada, including 550 in Wichita.

SEDGWICK COUNTY-AIRLINE SUBSIDY

Sedgwick County renews Southwest Airlines subsidy

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A divided Sedgwick County commission has renewed a subsidy for Southwest Airlines.

The commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to renew an agreement that guarantees the airline up to $6.5 million a year to offset any losses from doing business in Wichita.

The Wichita Eagle reports the Affordable Airfares program is expected to be funded with $5 million from the state and $875,000 each from the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County. Southwest has been in the Wichita market for about a year.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn voted against continuing the subsidy, saying he hasn't seen any evidence that Southwest is not profitable in Wichita.

But Chris Chronis, the county's chief financial officer, said the program has helped increase ridership and reduce airfare rates at other competing airlines in Wichita.

INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENTS

Some Kansans to receive insurance reimbursements

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Nearly 60,000 Kansans will share more than $3.6 million in insurance reimbursements under a provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a statement Wednesday that the provision requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care and quality improvement. If more than 20 percent of that money goes to profits and administration, the companies have to reimburse their customers.

The department says the 59,966 Kansans who bought insurance on the individual or small or large group markets in 2013 will receive the reimbursements.

They money will be returned through a mailed check; a reimbursement to the electronic card used to pay the premium; lower future premiums, or by employers reinvesting the money in health coverage.

KANSAS-SENATE RACE

Kansas senator touts agriculture policy expertise

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has the support of major farm groups and is touting his expertise in agriculture policy as he campaigns for re-election in the nation's leading wheat-producing state.

But Republican primary challenger Milton Wolf's campaign is accusing the three-term incumbent of waging what it calls "geographical warfare" with a radio ad running in western Kansas.

Roberts has endorsements from the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association. He serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and is a former House Agriculture Committee chairman.

The tea-party backed Wolf is a Leawood radiologist but grew up on a farm in Rice County.

Roberts' ad in western Kansas suggests Wolf doesn't understand agriculture and lives "right next to Missouri." Wolf said Roberts is trying to divide eastern and western Kansas residents.

WICHITA KILLINGS-CAPITAL CASE

Kansas court to rule in brothers' capital cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court is preparing to rule on the death sentences and capital murder convictions of two brothers in connection with the shooting deaths of four people in Wichita.

The court said it would release decisions Friday morning on the appeals of Jonathan and Reginald Carr. They are facing lethal injection for the December 2000 slayings of three men and a woman in a snow-covered soccer field.

The brothers were convicted of dozens of criminal charges in connection with the spree.

They also were convicted of a fifth killing that occurred just days before the soccer-field murders.

The Carr brothers are among seven condemned murderers in Kansas, but the Supreme Court has yet to uphold such a death sentence since Kansas re-established capital punishment in 1994.

AG DEPARTMENT THEFT

Kansas woman sentenced in theft from co-workers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole for stealing from her co-workers at a U.S. Department Agriculture office in Kansas City, Missouri.

The U.S. Attorney's office announced in a news release that 50-year-old Paula Steen, of Overland Park, Kansas, also was ordered to pay $96,012 in restitution.

Steen, a former IT specialist, pleaded guilty in December. She admitted that stole from her co-workers over a four-year period, including charging $57,693 on credit accounts of a co-worker who is legally blind. Steen also did not repay loans of $48,171 from another co-worker and transferred $16,096 from another co-worker's credit union account to her creditors and bank account.

She also tried to open a joint credit card account with a co-worker without his authorization.

AUDITOR SHORTAGE

Shortage of auditors cited for audit rejections

(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A legislative committee says internal legislator requests for audits of various state interests are being delayed because of a lack of auditors.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 25 legislator requests for internal audits have been delayed because the auditors don't have the resources to get to them.

One factor in the slowdown is a 2013 law that required the Division of Legislative Post Audit to audit three school districts per year for the next three years.

The auditing division has less than 25 employees, although it has been authorized to add three more this year.

The requested audits that are awaiting action include the proposed sale of state buildings, the cost effectiveness of the death penalty in Kansas and the Kansas Board of Cosmetology.

KU-$16 MILLION GIFT

$16 million grant to KU for new Slawson Hall

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The University of Kansas says a $16 million gift will help build a hall in the university's planned Earth, Energy and Environment Center.

The university announced the gift Thursday from the family of Donald Slawson, a Wichita resident who died July 7. He graduated from the university in 1955 and founded Slawson Exploration, becoming a leader in the oil and gas exploration industry.

The university said in a news release the gift will fund Slawson Hall, which will provide space for collaboration among researchers in several earth science and energy fields. Part of Slawson Hall will be used to provide real-world applications of discoveries made at the university.

Slawson was twice appointed to the National Petroleum Council, and also served two terms on the Kansas Board of Regents.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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