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Westar Energy has agreed to refund $10 million to its customers and decrease its rates slightly to settle a complaint filed by state regulators with the federal government.

Westar and the Kansas Corporation Commission announced the settlement today. It would a resolve a complaint filed by the KCC last year with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The KCC had alleged that Westar was charging unjustly high transmission rates.

davidgsteadman, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas board has picked a group with ties to two other casinos in the state to develop a new one in the state's southeast corner.

On Tuesday the casino review board selected a $70 million proposal from Kansas Crossing that was less expensive than two rival plans. The others included the $145 million Castle Rock casino that would have been within 2 miles of a Quapaw tribal casino in northeast Oklahoma.

The board split 5-2 between Kansas Crossing and Castle Rock.

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Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George says his state is close to reaching an agreement with Missouri that could end poaching of businesses between the two states.

Missouri and Kansas have competed for several years by offering incentives to persuade businesses to move across the border. The moves often did not result in many new jobs or investments for either state.

George says local and state officials from both states have been meeting to discuss the issue.

Kansas and Maryland led an investigation into FTD, the floral delivery company, and Classmates Inc, a social networking company. The two will pay a combined 11 million dollars to consumers who lost money due to their business practices. KMUW'a Aileen LeBlanc reports...

Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today that Classmates, Inc., along with Florists’ Transworld Delivery, Inc. and FTD.com Inc. (collectively “FTD”) have agreed to pay refunds to consumers who lost money because of the companies' misleading advertising and billing practices.

Mike Mozart, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has rejected a measure to allow supermarkets and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.

The Senate voted 26-11 yesterday against adding the proposal to a bill on alcohol regulations. The Senate later approved the bill on a 31-5 vote.

Supermarkets and convenience stores in Kansas now can sell only beer with 3.2 percent alcohol. Stronger alcoholic drinks can only be sold in the state's roughly 750 individually-owned liquor stores.

The issue of expanding alcohol sales has generated fierce lobbying efforts on both sides.

Some Kansas cellular customers will be getting refunds from their cell phone carriers. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc reports...

The practice is called "mobile cramming" and it includes allowing third party text messaging. These services generally range from one-time fees, costing $0.99 -$5, to subscriptions, which cost up to $14-a-month.

Mobile service company Verizon will provide $70 million in refunds to customers who were charged for services they did not authorize. Sprint is expected to pay out $50 million to its customers.

Abigail Wilson

Ennovar, the Institute of Emerging Technology and Market Solutions at Wichita State University announced details of a new partnership with California-based Social Networking Technology Inc. today. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson has more…

The one-year contract, worth more than $600,000, will provide for 18 student positions in the fall semester and up to 30 positions by the end of the contract. Student salaries and nearly $30,000 of tuition reimbursement for students who work for the institute for a full semester are also included in the contract.

Matthew, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas counties would be allowed to expand liquor licenses under a bill being discussed by a state Senate panel.

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee is holding a hearing today to discuss the issue.

The bill would allow supermarkets and other retailers to sell liquor, wine and full-strength beer in counties that approve the measure through a local election.

Supporters say it would be more convenient for consumers, but opponents say it would hurt the state's roughly 750 individually owned liquor stores.

A pressurized tank manufacturing company in Garden City is laying off 80 workers because of lower oil prices.

The layoffs at Palmer Manufacturing and Tank are part of 245 jobs the company is eliminating in three states.

Spokeswoman Cathy Lyttle says customer orders have dropped because of low oil prices and fewer new wells starting in the country.

Brendan Wood, flickr Creative Commons

A state agency is reminding utility customers who are behind on paying their electric and natural gas bills that the Kansas Cold Weather Rule ends Tuesday.

The Kansas Corporation Commission says the rule aims to protect residential customers who cannot fully pay winter utility bills. It is in effect from Nov. 1 through March 31 of each year for customers of companies under the KCC's jurisdiction.

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