News

http://www.oklabeef.org

Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million from an Oklahoma nonprofit board that promotes the beef industry. An investigation by Harvest Public Media and StateImpact Oklahoma shows the money came from a mandatory government program funded by farmers and ranchers.

The Oklahoma Beef Council is part of a national group funded by a mandatory one-dollar per-head checkoff fee paid each time farmers and ranchers sell an animal.

linkedin.com

Clergy, lawmakers, law enforcement, schools and community members will gather at the Kansas Statehouse on Thursday to acknowledge the work of a non-violent civil rights leader.

The governor’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will feature keynote speaker Dr. Anthony Moore.

Moore is a former chief diversity officer who currently serves as an adjunct professor and Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education in the Raytown School District.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Legislature convenes on Monday, and some of the biggest stories of the past week took a look at what we can expect from the 2017 session.

For the first time, the Kansas Legislature will make available audio streaming of some of its committee meetings when the 2017 session kicks off Monday. The goal is for all committee rooms to have streaming in place before the end of the session.

Andy Marso / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

AgriLife Today, flickr Creative Commons

As a result of changing regulations surrounding the drone industry, Westar Energy has expanded its use of the technology and is using drones commercially. 

In August of last year, the rules surrounding drone usage became less strict, allowing non-pilots to fly unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes, if they earn a certificate.

For Westar Energy, the largest electric utility provider in Kansas, that means the company can use drones to help make maps, inspect equipment and collect data.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas State Library is offering a free hotline for residents to call with questions and information about the Legislature.

Kansans can call, text, email and send instant messages to reference and research librarians at the Statehouse. Communication is kept confidential.

Lines are open for the Ask a Librarian program Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Librarians are on hand to answer questions about legislation, legislative procedure, state government and public policy issues.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

In tight budget times, Kansas mental health advocates are turning to the lottery for some financial help.

Kyle Kessler, executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, said the association will ask the Legislature to commit an additional $31 million over the next two fiscal years for the centers. That $31 million — pulled from Kansas lottery proceeds — would return funding for the 26 centers across the state to the 2007 fiscal year level.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have the tall order of writing a new school funding formula this year. There’s already some agreement between the governor and the organization representing school boards: They don’t want the current funding system extended.

Kansas legislators threw out the old school funding formula in 2015 and replaced it with block grants set to expire this year.

Some lawmakers are concerned they might get bogged down writing a new formula and end up extending the block grants. Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s not in favor of that.

downtownwichita.org

Officials say 2016 was a good year for launching new projects in downtown Wichita. More than $280 million have been invested along Douglas Avenue alone.

Kevin Winter

When Aaron Watson released his album The Underdog in early 2015, he believed it was good, but wasn't expecting it to make history. When it arrived in stores and online that year, the album debuted at the top of Billboard's country albums chart, becoming the first independent record to do so.

Its success, Watson says, was due to more than a decade of hard work in the country music scene and plenty of preparation.

Pages