Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

Governor Sam Brownback's chief spokeswoman says the governor's recent executive order on same-sex marriage does not apply to local governments.

Spokeswoman Eileen Hawley issued a statement yesterday in response to criticism from the group Equality Kansas.

The order this week protects clergy, churches and religious groups that refuse to participate in same-sex weddings or to provide goods, services or accommodations for them.

The order says state agencies and political subdivisions shall not punish them for acting on their opposition to same-sex marriage.

wikipedia.org

A small liberal arts college in Lindsborg has received a more severe sanction from the Higher Learning Commission than what was recommended earlier this year.

The Salina Journal reports that Bethany College, which has been running deficits for the past eight years, has been placed on probation by the commission.

The commission, which provides accreditation to colleges across the nation, has given the college until November 2016 to document a resolution of its financial issues.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has been appointed to a committee established by the national group for state attorneys general to study legal issues surrounding agriculture.

Schmidt's office said his membership was confirmed Tuesday for the new National Association of Attorneys General panel.

The Republican attorney general is a former chairman of the Kansas Senate Agriculture Committee and served in the Senate for 10 years before being elected to the statewide office in 2010.

Agrilife Today, flickr Creative Commons

The latest government update shows the 2015 winter wheat harvest is nearing completion in some parts of Kansas, and making good progress everywhere else.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that harvest statewide was 79 percent finished. That is ahead of the 66 percent cut at this time last year, but still behind the 83 percent average for this date.

Jack Snell, flickr Creative Commons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Amtrak routes across Kansas and Missouri could keep running under a tentative agreement reached in a dispute over federally required safety systems, officials said Monday.

The rail passenger service had warned it might stop or reroute its Southwest Chief line through Kansas and to end its River Runner service between Kansas City and St. Louis because of disagreements over who would pay to install safety technology designed to prevent traffic accidents caused by human error. The disagreement centered on lines used to route trains through the Kansas City area.

The owner of a Kansas metal finishing business has been sentenced to four months in prison followed by six months of home detention for discharging untreated wastewater into a city sewer.

C&R Plating and its 56-year-old owner, Kevin L. Cline, were also ordered Monday to pay $281,503 in restitution. The company was fined $10,000.

They pleaded guilty in December to one count of violating the federal Clean Water Act by introducing pollutants into the water treatment system of the north-central Kansas community of Minneapolis.

kumed.com

The University of Kansas Hospital is teaming up with 14 small hospitals and medical centers in the western part of the state to make improvements to rural health care.

A three-year, $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center has enabled the hospital to create the Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a warning of high levels of toxic blue-green algae for six lakes.

The agency said Thursday the lakes under warning status are in Brown, Sedgwick, Jewell, Marion, Barton and Rooks counties.

The environmental agency said in a statement that boating and fishing on the lakes under warning are safe, but people should avoid direct contact with the water.

Abigail Wilson file photo

The Kansas attorney general's office says legal disputes involving the state's gay marriage ban have cost taxpayers nearly $100,000 over the past 18 months.

The figures released Thursday cover expenses from three lawsuits but not staff time for Attorney General Derek Schmidt's employees.

Schmidt filed a petition in October with the Kansas Supreme Court to block county court clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill clarifying that a new law aimed at reducing local property taxes doesn't take effect until 2018.

Brownback's office announced Wednesday that he had signed the measure.

Pages