Archive for Wednesday, June 12, 2002

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June 12, 2002

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Tourism officials worry Colo. fires will hurt tourism

With more than 100,000 acres ablaze in Colorado, many business owners are worried publicity will hurt tourism.

Mark Greksa, co-owner of the Georgetown Loop Railroad and Royal Gorge Route railroads, said people were canceling train rides on both lines after Gov. Bill Owens said Sunday that "all of Colorado is burning."

"Statements like these could be devastating not just to our attractions but to Colorado's tourism industry as a whole," Greksa said.

Owens spokesman Dan Hopkins said that Owens is an ardent tourism supporter, and plans to promote tourism this week.

Honors: Area companies receive Kansas merit awards

The Lawrence Paper Company and Reuter Organ Company, both of Lawrence, received Merit Recognition Awards Tuesday as part of Kansas Business Appreciation Month.

They were recognized for the significant contributions they make to the Kansas economy by Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer and officials from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing.

Baker University, Baldwin, also received an award in the service category.

Utility: Williams to cut jobs

Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams Cos. says it will reduce its financial commitment to energy risk management services, a move that will involve an unspecified number of job cuts.

The service offers energy supplies to customers such as municipalities, investor-owned utilities, energy producers and large industries at specified prices in long-term agreements.

The company said it will limit the financial commitment for this service companywide to $1 billion, down from $1.5 billion in order to increase cash flow and limit the company's risk.

Government: Unemployment fraud reaches $2.4 billion in 2001

Overpayments or fraudulent claims made up about 8 percent of the $30 billion in unemployment benefits paid last year, the government says.

About $2.4 billion in benefits were overpaid to people last year, including $560 million stemming from fraud and abuse, Labor Department officials told a House Ways and Means subcommittee Tuesday.

An audit conducted in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas revealed that nearly 3,000 claims totaling about $3.2 million were paid to people using Social Security numbers that did not exist or belonged to dead people. Illegal aliens filed a large portion of those claims.

Outlook: Economic policy conference scheduled for October at KU

The Kansas Economic Policy Conference "At the Crossroads: Can Kansas Afford Its Future?" has been scheduled for Oct. 17 in the Kansas Union at Kansas University.

Conference participants are expected to address issues facing Kansas, such as public education, state revenues, health care and social services, and the general Kansas economic outlook.

People who would like to attend may register online at www.kuce.org/app/kepc/.

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