State Briefs

1/10/2014

Kansas 3rd in federal gun prosecutions

Kansas 3rd in federal gun prosecutions

WICHITA (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Kansas have filed so many firearms cases that the Midwestern farm state ranked third last year among the 94 judicial districts nationwide in the number of gun prosecutions.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says in a news release Thursday that his office prosecuted 298 firearms cases in 2013, up from 291 the previous year, when the District of Kansas also ranked third. The Kansas district led the nation in federal firearms prosecutions in 2011 with 279 cases.

Only Puerto Rico and the Western District of Missouri prosecuted more firearms cases in 2013.

Federal statutes prohibit convicted felons from possessing guns. It is also a federal crime to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking or violent crimes.

KU helps uncover Greenland aquifer

LAWRENCE (AP) — University of Kansas researchers have played a role in discovering a massive aquifer within the ice layers of a glacier in Greenland.

The school says radar technology that was used to find the hidden pool of water was developed by researchers at the university's Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets.

The aquifer is the size of Ireland. Scientists say its discovery could provide more details on how much old compacted snow flows into the sea when it melts and how much is left behind in the ice sheet to refreeze.

The discovery was detailed in the Dec. 22 issue of the scientific journal Nature. A University of Utah professor led the research project, and four University of Kansas researchers were cited as contributing authors.

Feds collect $12.1M

in Kansas cases

WICHITA (AP) — U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says federal prosecutors collected about $12.1 million in criminal and civil legal actions last year.

Grissom says in a news release that $6.1 million of the total came from criminal cases and $6 million from civil actions.

His office also worked with other U.S. attorney's offices in other states and the Justice Department to collect an additional $2.8 million in cases pursued jointly in civil actions.

Among the Kansas collections were environmental violation penalties of $1.7 million from Coffeyville Resources Refining and Marketing and $1.6 million from Ash Grove Cement. More than $853,000 came from Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in a settlement over allegations of false Medicare claims.

Kansas jobs forecast shows slight uptick

WICHITA (AP) — Researchers at Wichita State University predict Kansas will see slightly higher job growth in 2014 than it did last year.

A forecast issued Wednesday by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research predicts Kansas employment will increase by 1.4 percent this year, with a gain of 18,000 jobs.

By sector, professional and business services are expected to see the biggest increase at 3.3 percent, with more than 5,300 new jobs. The education and health services sector is second with anticipated growth of 2.7 percent, or roughly 5,100 jobs.

A net loss of 700 jobs is forecast for public employment, with growth in local governments partly offsetting an expected loss of 1,000 state and federal jobs in Kansas.

The report said Kansas employment grew by an estimated 1.1 percent last year.

Move to improve services for vets

TOPEKA (AP) — Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed improving services for veterans with a $1.4 million renovation of a residential facility, opening a housing unit and adding outreach staff.

The upgrades to the Fort Dodge home in Dodge City would be completed during the next two fiscal years. The housing facility in Winfield would be re-opened to serve 40 more veterans. Brownback also proposed Thursday hiring four staff at the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1glv0kW ) that about 12 percent of Kansas' 230,000 veterans get some form of military benefit. Comparable states with stronger outreach programs have pushed that figure to nearly 20 percent.

The recommendations will be included in the budget presented next week to the 2014 Legislature. They were drawn from study group formed two years ago.

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