Monday, March 2, 2015

KCK Public Library announces March selection for online book club

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Join Kansas City, Kansas Public Library’s Youngbloods Online Book Club to discuss this month’s creepy and enchanting selection, Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff.  Members will also get a chance to read a Q&A between library staff and Yovanoff.

Fiendish is a strange and magical tale: Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.  Magic is a fearsome and hopeful thing.  For Clementine, magic is what imprisoned her and magic is what saved her life.

When terrifying and unexplainable things began to happen in the town of New South Bend, the townspeople turned on her kind – the magical families who got their power from the strange and terrible fiends in the woods of Wixby Hollow.

KCKCC’s “Dream Girl” opens March 5

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Ann Keeling has watched her granddaughter perform in several local theater productions, so when the opportunity came up for her to try her hand at acting in Kansas City Kansas Community College’s latest production, she took it.

“It has been fun, and it is good to get to interact with some of our students,” said Keeling, part-time acquisitions assistant at the KCKCC Library, about her role in ‘Dream Girl.’  “It has also been great to be able work with Scintilla Capalla, after going to Japan with her (and many others) two years ago.”

“Dream Girl,” by Elmer Rice, covers one day of Georgina Allerton’s life. The play focuses on Georgina’s effort to run a bookstore even though she has the tendency to drift off into extravagant and sometimes comical daydreams.

Kansas State University seeks innovative startup ideas for Launch a Business program

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Kansas State University is seeking applications from Kansas-based startups to participate in its second Launch a Business program, powered by KS State Bank.

The Launch a Business program, or LAB, provides entrepreneurs much-needed resources, including faculty-led courses, hands-on student research teams and access to the world-class Kansas State University alumni mentor network. Specifically intended for early-stage companies, the program provides the building blocks for turning a concept into a successful venture.

As many as 20 high-potential startup ventures or concepts will be selected for participation in the program, including up to 10 companies from global food systems industries.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wyandotte County residents received $49.4 million in EITC

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Last year 18,546 working individuals and families in Wyandotte County received more than $49.4 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC). An average of $2,666.

"The EITC can put an extra $496 to $6,143 into the pockets of low income working individuals and families," said IRS spokesman Michael Devine. "If they qualify and claim the credit, they could pay less federal tax or even receive a refund beyond the amount of tax withheld."

The EITC was created in 1975 as a work incentive. In Kansas, the EITC was worth more than $492 million to more than 212,500 working individuals and families last year. The average EITC benefit was $2,307.

The IRS estimates that four out of five eligible taxpayers claim this tax credit, but some do not because they are unaware of the EITC or they don't know how to claim it. EITC, combined with the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit, lifts more than 10 million people out of poverty annually; more than half are children.

Those eligible to claim EITC but don't include non-English speakers, individuals who are self-employed or have service jobs in private households, childless taxpayers, rural residents, and recipients of other types of public assistance such as food stamps. 

New parents, grandparents raising grandchildren and foster parents may not realize they qualify.  Some families, such as those in the military and those raising children with disabilities, may not realize there are special rules that may help them qualify.

To make it easier to determine eligibility for this credit, the IRS has a self-help tool, the EITC Assistant at the irs.gov web site.  The program answers questions about eligibility, filing status, qualifying children and credit amount. It is also is available in Spanish.

“About one-third of the EITC eligible population turns over each year. So anyone who made less than $52,427 needs to check their eligibility at www.irs.gov/eitc,” said Devine.

Nationwide, almost 28 million households received more than $65 billion. The average credit was $2,400. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

House committee reconsiders Parents as Teachers funding recommendation

By DAVE RANNEY
KHI News Service

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- The House Social Services Budget Committee changed its mind Wednesday, voting to shelve an earlier recommendation that could have led to the Parents as Teachers program being cut from the state budget.

“We’re going to have another hearing,” said Rep. Will Carpenter, a Republican from El Dorado and chairman of the committee. Earlier in the week, the committee voted to encourage the House Appropriations Committee to consider dropping Parents as Teachers from the list of programs supported by the Children’s Initiatives Fund, the state’s repository for tobacco settlement monies.

“That really wasn’t about grabbing money,” Carpenter said. “It had more to do with getting their attention, which I think it did.”

Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement established at Kansas State University

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — A new center at Kansas State University will lead the nation in new media technology research for the improvement of small rural enterprises.

On Feb. 10, the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement was established to help small businesses succeed through new media marketing research.

This interdepartmental effort represents a collaboration of previous federal grant funding and support from the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Unified Government approves resolutions to bring Dairy Farmers of America to Wyandotte County


By NICK SLOAN, nick@kansascitykansan.com

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The Unified Government Board of Commissioners approved multiple resolutions that will finalize a deal to bring the Dairy Farmers of America's headquarters to Wyandotte County.

The Unified Government will provide the project's developers with a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement.

The Unified Government will also pay temporary financing of $4.5 million worth of street improvements. Long-term funding will be provided from the State of Kansas.

The $20 million private investment will bring over 300 jobs to Wyandotte County.

In terms of size, the building will be around 100,000 square feet in size and three stories tall.

The DFA headquarters will be located near the intersection of France Family Drive and 98th Street in Western Wyandotte County.

An initial target date for the completion of construction is November 1, 2016.

Kansas House leaders reluctantly agree to Medicaid expansion hearing

By JIM McLEAN
KHI News Service

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The odds that the Kansas Legislature will pass a Medicaid expansion bill this session remain long.

But they improved Thursday, however slightly, when conservative Republican leaders agreed to allow a hearing on expansion to avoid an immediate vote on the House floor. Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, was attempting to amend his Medicaid expansion proposal into an unrelated bill.

Uncertain as to how a vote might turn out, House leaders dropped their opposition to a hearing in exchange for Ward withdrawing his amendment.