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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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KANSAS REVENUES

UPDATES: Kansas taxes $4M less than expected in August

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new report says Kansas collected $4 million less in taxes than expected in August.

The Department of Revenue said Friday the state took in $421 million in taxes, about 1 percent below the official forecast of $425 million.

The department called revenues flat but said there are signs of economic growth in the figures. Corporate income tax collections exceeded expectations for the month.

The state saw a slight surplus in tax collections in July. Since the current fiscal year began July 1, the state has collected about $829 million in revenues, against projections of nearly $832 million. The difference is about $2.4 million, or 0.3 percent.

The numbers are likely to renew a political debate over massive income tax cuts enacted at Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's urging.

KANSAS SUPREME COURT-APPOINTMENT

Governor names ex-adviser to Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback says Caleb Stegall is "one of the most qualified people" to ever be named to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Brownback named his former aide to the high court on Friday and called him "brilliant."

He put the 42-year-old on the Court of Appeals last year after he spent three years as the governor's chief counsel.

Stegall was one of 13 people who applied for the seat Justice Nancy Moritz gave up to take a seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appointment does not require state Senate confirmation.

An online magazine Stegall edited in 2005 encouraged "forcible resistance" to state and federal court orders to save the life of a brain-damaged Florida woman, though he later said it only advocated civil disobedience.

In a 2008 online newspaper chat, he called the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling legalizing abortion "weak."

SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS-RETIREMENTS

Spirit AeroSystems offers voluntary retirements

(Information in the following story is from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Spirit AeroSystems is offering a voluntary retirement program to some management and salaried employees in Wichita and Kinston, North Carolina.

Company spokesman Ken Evans said Thursday the employees must be older than 55 and have worked at least 10 years with Spirit to qualify for the program. Employees have until Sept. 12 to express an interest in the buyout, although that doesn't commit them to retiring or guarantee they will be offered the buyout.

Executives and stress and design engineers are excluded from the offer.

Evans says the company has no specific number of employees it wants to retire.

The Wichita Eagle reports Spirit is making other changes to cut costs, such as bolstering top management, reducing overtime for hourly workers and trying to sell its Tulsa wing plant.

WESTAR RETIREES-BENEFITS CHANGE

Westar Energy retirees' benefits to change

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Westar Energy is notifying its retired employees that they will have to find their own Medicare supplemental plans beginning Jan. 1.

Previously, the employees had received group coverage through the company.

Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig says the change will affect about 1,700 retirees who are older than 65 and qualify for Medicare. She says the employees will be paid a stipend to buy individual Medicare supplemental plans, known as Part B.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Penzig says the company believes at least 96 percent of the employees will end up with better plans than they had under the current Westar benefits. Westar says it currently spends about $3.5 million a year for retiree health benefits.

FARM BODIES-STATEMENTS

Judge says suspect's statements can be admitted

(Information in the following story is from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com)

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) - A judge has ruled that statements from the suspect in a quadruple homicide in Kansas can be used at his trial.

Franklin County District Court Judge Eric Godderz ruled Friday that statements from 29-year-old Kyle Flack will be admitted during his trial in September 2015.

Flack is charged in the deaths of two men, one woman and the woman's 18-month-old daughter in May 2013. The adults' bodies were found outside Ottawa. The child's body was found in nearby Osage County. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Flack made the statements during questioning by investigators.

The defense contended the questioning should have ended at least twice because Flack twice mentioned legal representation. . Godderz ruled that the statements appeared to be voluntary.

CHILD'S DEATH-PLEA

Kansas woman convicted in death of 4-year-old

HIAWATHA, Kan. (AP) - A northeast Kansas woman has been convicted in last year's beating death of her boyfriend's 4-year-old son.

KNZA-FM reports 30-year-old Janice Summerford entered Alford pleas Friday to second-degree murder, child abuse and interfering with law enforcement. An Alford plea does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors can likely prove the charges.

Summerford, of Hiawatha, had been facing trial next month for the death of Mekhi Boone in March 2013.

She was initially charged with aiding and abetting a death, but Brown County prosecutors upgraded the charge to first-degree murder after learning Summerford was the child's primary caregiver.

Mekhi's father, Lee Davis IV, was convicted earlier of second-degree murder and felony child abuse and sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison.

KU POLICE-BODY CAMERAS

University police begin using body-mounted cameras

(Information in the following story is from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com)

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - University of Kansas police officers have begun wearing body-mounted cameras this week.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the department spent more than $7,000 to buy eight cameras this spring to outfit all officers on duty at any given time.

Officers tested the new technology this summer before introducing it Monday. The department's captain, James Anguiano, says it's now department policy for officers to wear the technology at all times during their shifts.

The University of Kansas Police Department is the only law enforcement agency serving Lawrence to use body-mounted cameras. Anguiano says he thinks the cost of the cameras is why some other law enforcement agencies don't use the technology.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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