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ethanolpics, flickr Creative Commons

That’s bad news for farmers hoping ethanol will help increase grain prices. But Brad Lubben, an economist at the University of Nebraska, says demand for ethanol could still increase in foreign markets.

"The growth in the biofuels market may increasingly focus on export potential because of these continued lingering issues about the national renewable fuels mandate," Lubben says.

Most of the increase in renewable fuels requested by the EPA would come from advanced fuels like biodiesel which have a smaller carbon footprint than corn ethanol.

Abigail Wilson, File Photo / KMUW

Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts is painting a bleak picture of the nation's farm economy.

Kansas Department of Labor

The latest jobs report for Kansas is a mixed bag.

Kansas’ unemployment rate fell slightly for the second month in a row, but the state Department of Labor says job growth has stalled.

According to a report released Friday, the unemployment rate for April was 3.8 percent, down from March's rate of 3.9 percent. It’s also down from April of last year, which was 4.2 percent.

Locally, Sedgwick County’s unemployment rate dropped sharply, from 4.6 in March to 3.9 in April.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Hundreds are expected to leave their cars and trucks at home today and cycle in to work as part of Bike to Work Day. It’s just one of the activities planned throughout May to promote riding bicycles, and new bike paths have been developed across Wichita to help with the effort.

KMUW’s Carla Eckels brings us this sound portrait of a ribbon-cutting ceremony along the Redbud Trail. The pause point near Wichita State University showcases images of local trailblazers and mosaic tiles capturing the city's stories.


Hugo Phan / KMUW

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he's improving the voter registration process at motor vehicle offices. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered that thousands of people be added to the state’s voter rolls, even though they supposedly didn't provide citizenship documents while registering to vote at DMV locations.

PHIL CAUTHON, KHI NEWS SERVICE

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this week signed bills that prevent privatizing troubled state mental hospitals unless lawmakers approve. There have been staff shortages and other issues at the Larned and Osawatomie state hospitals.

Tim Keck, interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, has said in the past he wants to at least consider the option of privatizing state hospitals. This week, Brownback was asked by a reporter if privatizing the facilities is a long-term solution for the problems.

Pew Charitable Trust

A report out this week from Pew Charitable Trusts found that unfunded pensions are the largest claim on future revenues in the state of Kansas.

The data set looks at the debt of all 50 states, the money owed into pension funds, and future money owed for retiree health care.

Using data from 2013, the report found Kansas has a $9.8 billion shortfall between the benefits promised to teachers and government workers and the savings available to meet those obligations.

Courtesy Eric Hammond

The last day of classes at Wichita’s Southeast High School is tomorrow, and there’s nostalgia in the air as teachers pack up and prepare to move from the current school at Edgemoor & Lincoln to their new building in east Wichita.

History and government teacher Eric Hammond says Southeast is a busy place.

"There's boxes galore," he says. "Boxes everywhere."

He, along with other staff and students, are moving. Hammond has been teaching at Southeast High School for six years.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Budget problems are forcing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to make cuts in the state Medicaid program that he once said he wouldn’t make.

In 2012, Brownback was pushing lawmakers to approve his plan to privatize Medicaid. In his State of the State speech that year he said creating KanCare would save money--and do it in a more responsible way than other states.

“Now many states are either kicking people off of Medicaid or paying doctors and other providers less," he said. "Neither of these choices providers better outcomes.”

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Several churches in Wichita offer dinners for the public and hold bake sales each year. It helps them reach out to the community, and it helps their bottom lines.

Two festivals featuring Lebanese food have been drawing big crowds to St. George and St. Mary churches for eight decades.

More than a thousand people came to St. Mary’s Mediterranean Festival this past weekend. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar takes us inside the kitchen where it all begins.

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