Monthly Archives: September 2010

City may require signs warning of extra sales tax in special districts

coinsIf developers want the city to let them charge extra sales tax and use it to help fund their business, they’ll have to alert their customers in a clear way, such as a sign on the front door or an itemized line on their receipt.

That’s the upshot of the city council’s informal discussion about community improvement districts in city hall today. The city has been grappling with rules for the districts since it penned a policy about five months ago.

The districts are a new economic development tool approved last year by state lawmakers. The districts let developers add up to 2 percent sales tax on purchases inside the district for up to 22 years. The taxes flow to the state, through the city and back to the developers to pay for private or public improvements, including some business operating costs. Read More »

Brownback and Holland will appear in televised debate

TelevisionTOPEKA – Kansans will have one chance to see their gubernatorial candidates face off in a debate in October.

The two main party candidates, Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback and Democrat state Sen. Tom Holland faced off in a live debate Sept. 11 at the Kansas State Fair. That exchange was not televised.

Brownback’s campaign announced Tuesday he had agreed to two televised debates. Holland’s campaign has agreed to one debate, but declined a second debate hosted by WIBW scheduled for Oct. 13.

Both candidates have agreed to appear at a debate from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7 on KWCH-TV. Read More »

Kansas receives $4.4 million to expand rural broadband access

cablesTOPEKA – Connect Kansas receive about $4.4 million in federal stimulus dollars on Tuesday to expand high-speed internet access in rural communities.

“Broadband is the driver of today’s modern economy,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Kansas’ parent organization, Connected Nation. “This grant will help Connect Kansas expand the effort to ensure that all rural Kansans have easy access to affordable high-speed Internet.”

Connect Kansas began mapping broadband access across the state in 2009 and found approximately 28 percent of Kansas households do not subscribe to home broadband service.

The program was started last year with money from National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which also allocated the funds announced Tuesday.

“This additional funding allows us to expand high-speed Internet access, thus bringing economic opportunities and quality-of-life improvements for all Kansans,” Gov. Mark Parkinson said in a written statement.

Republican Chairman Steele makes ‘fire Pelosi’ bus stop for Pompeo campaign

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele addresses the crowd during a rally for Mike Pompeo, right.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele addresses the crowd during a rally for Mike Pompeo, right.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele made a stop in Wichita on his “Fire Nancy Pelosi” bus tour Monday, exhorting about 200 enthusiastic Republicans to work to elect Mike Pompeo in the 4th Congressional District.

“This is your moment, this organic movement that we’ve witnessed coming from the people over the past year,” Steele said. “It’s not manufactured in some board room or in some Fifth Avenue marketing firm. It comes from moms and dads, grandmas and grandads who are fed up, who have had enough.

“They’re done. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and they’re looking for quality leadership … that’s going to charge ahead with the people.”

Steele made about a 15-minute speech outside the Woodlawn Avenue campaign headquarters of Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman. Steele is on a national bus tour campaigning for his party to retake Congress from Democratic control and unseat the House Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The message dovetails closely with Pompeo’s campaign; he almost never makes a speech or issues a public statement without some reference opposing the “Obama-Pelosi agenda.” Read More »

Attorney general seeks to stop Park City Indian casino

Attorney Gen. Steve Six is seeking to halt plans for a Park City casino by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma.

Six has asked the U.S. Department of the Interior to review a 1984 law that allowed the tribe to buy land for gambling in Kansas City and, based on that law, to deny its application to use its Park City land for a casino.

Congress passed the 1984 law after the Wyandotte claimed it never was properly reimbursed for land the government took from it in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1843.

Six contends that the law allowed the tribe to use $100,000 in land-claim settlement money to buy land that could be taken into trust for a casino. He says the tribe used all of that money to buy a former Shriner building in downtown  Kansas City for its 7th Street Casino.

The tribe contends that it used $25,000 of the $100,000 provided by the law to buy its land in Park City  in 1992, before it bought the Kansas City tract in 1996. That means its Park City land was bought with land-claim settlement money, and the Interior department must take the land into trust, the tribe says.

Read More »

Ellinwood honored for environmental awareness

City of Ellinwood compost pile

City of Ellinwood compost pile

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will honor Ellinwood on Wednesday for its commitment to recycling and composting.

The 2,000 residents of the small city near Great Bend divert more than 470 tons of wastes from the Barton County Landfill each year, according to KDHE.

“The City of Ellinwood demonstrated their community-wide commitment to environmental stewardship when City Administrator Bob Peter, the Rotary Club, and Chamber of Commerce chose a ‘Going Green’ theme for their annual After Harvest festival and activities,’’ Bill Bider, KDHE’s director of Bureau of Waste Management, said in a statement.

Ellinwood, which has had a reycling program for 20 years and composting for about 10, is the first city in Kansas to be honored by KDHE for its commitment to solid-waste management.

Read More »

Holland says Brownback school plan would raise property taxes; offers debate anytime

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Holland said Friday that his Republican opponent Sam Brownback’s plan for school finance would force property taxes upwards.

A Brownback spokeswoman said that is not the case and that Holland is confusing Brownback’s proposal with a Republican state representative’s plan that Brownback does not support.

Citing a quote from a Kansas City TV interview, Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, charged that Brownback, a US senator from Topeka, wants to change the school finance system to something “more like an earlier school finance bill in Kansas, before the current bill.”

The current finance plan was put together by lawmakers after medium-sized districts succeeded in a court case challenging whether the state was meeting its constitutional obligation to provide suitable education throughout the state.

Read More »

Goyle, Pompeo argue over jobs, politics at WSU debate

Goyle

Goyle

Pompeo

Pompeo

The candidates for the 4th District seat in Congress squared off mostly about jobs in their first debate, with Republican Mike Pompeo highlighting his business record and Democrat Raj Goyle touting his job-creation efforts as a Kansas legislator.

Goyle, a state representative from Wichita, lit into Pompeo for starting a small factory in Mexicali, Mexico, when he was president of Wichita-based Thayer Aerospace in 2003.

“We have fundamental differences about how to approach creating and protecting jobs,” Goyle said. “My opponent has said that nothing can be done about sending these jobs overseas. He’s engaged in the practice himself. And he’s actually said that he fundamentally thinks it’s not his job to bring jobs back to Kansas. I couldn’t disagree more.”

Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman and businessman, has said he created the Mexico jobs to land a contract that created more jobs in Kansas.

Read More »

Pompeo and Goyle backers gearing up for 4th District congressional debate tomorrow

Pompeo

Pompeo

Goyle

Goyle

Tomorrow’s debate between 4th District Congress candidates Raj Goyle and Mike Pompeo could become a raucous affair.

Today, Pompeo’s campaign sent out an e-mail message to his supporters urging them to “Please come show your support for Mike Pompeo at the first debate of the general election!

“Please wear your Team Pompeo t-shirt and your “I Like Mike” button … Invite your family and friends and be sure to cheer loudly for Mike!”

On the other side, the Wichita-Hutchinson Labor Federation has scheduled a “Rally for Kansas Jobs” just before and outside the debate venue.

The federation is urging its members to “join your brothers and sisters from organized labor and show your support for our candidate for Congress, Raj Goyle. The first debate between Raj and his outsourcing opponent happens immediately after the rally… Bring your family, friends and signs.”

Labor issues have emerged as a clear difference between Goyle, a Democratic state representative from Wichita, and Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman. Read More »

Commissioner asks county manager to draft job description in sheriff’s office

jailinmatepicSedgwick County commissioner Gwen Welshimer this morning asked county manager William Buchanan to draft a job description for someone who would be in charge of analyzing who is in jail and what “bottlenecks” contribute to overcrowding at the facility.

Welshimer reiterated that she is not willing to add on to or build a new jail, saying it’s an “if you build it, they will come” dilemma.

Welshimer said she would like to hire a jail “liaison” who would work with commissioners about the jail’s population.

Read More »