News Minute: Here is the latest Kansas news from The Associated - KCTV5

News Minute: Here is the latest Kansas news from The Associated Press at 7:40 a.m. CST

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Democratic state senator is asking the Kansas Legislature's audit division to evaluate whether a former commerce secretary followed state law and procedure in awarding agency consulting contracts and when charging business expenses. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley told the Topeka Capital-Journal on Friday that the Legislature's oversight committee was expected to authorize the review of Antonio Soave, who led the Kansas Department of Commerce for about 18 months until June.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Several churches in Kansas are trying to meet the needs of people struggling emotionally this holiday season by offering Blue Christmas worship services. The Wichita Eagle reports that Blue Christmas services tend to be more subdued and sometimes reflect on themes of loss and hope. Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita's Blue Christmas service will include communion and quieter holiday music.

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A northeast Kansas man is spreading holiday cheer by giving free Christmas trees to people in need. The News-Press reports that Rex Powell is inviting people onto his land about 10 miles southwest of Lawrence to pick out the perfect tree. Visitors can then chop down the tree themselves and bring it home free of charge. Powell is encouraging people to donate a small sum to a local animal shelter where he got his three cats.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The commission that regulates utilities in Kansas will be getting a new member next year. Kansas Corporation Commission Chairman Pat Apple has announced that he won't seek reappointment to another four-year term. Apple's current term expires in March. He says he plans to return to a private construction business that he and his wife started in 1983.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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