Don’t want to buy a home? This city has the cheapest rent in the country

Wichita, Kansas, has the cheapest rent in the country, but renters in many other cities are starting to see discounts.

Think the rent is too damn high? You might want to hitch a ride to Wichita.

The Kansas city had the lowest average rent in May at just $634 per month, according to a recent report from real-estate website RentCafe and data analytics firm Yardi Matrix. That’s less than one-sixth of what renters pay in New York’s Manhattan borough, the most expensive rental market in the country, where the average rent is more than $4,000 per month.

Other cities with some of the cheapest rents in the country include Tulsa, Okla., at $669 per month and Toledo, Ohio, at $699 per month. (The report analyzed apartments across 250 cities located in buildings with 50 or more units ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units. It covered cities with populations over 100,000 people and a rental stock of 2,900 apartments.)

But chances are their rent hasn’t increased by a whole lot recently for renters from Wichita to the Big Apple. The average rent nationwide only increased 2% over the past year in May to $1,381 per month — the smallest annual rental growth since 2010. In many parts of the country, including Manhattan, Chicago and Austin, Texas, the average rent is the same now as it was a year ago, according to researchers.

In these cities “large numbers of new apartments are giving renters more options to choose from, which results in price concessions,” the report noted.

However, some of the country’s most expensive markets have continued to experience above-average rent hikes, thanks to the outsized demand for housing. In Los Angeles, the average rent now stands at $2,337 per month, which is 4% higher than a year ago. Rents swelled even more in Denver — up 4.7% to $1,566 per month over the past 12 months.

And in many smaller housing markets, an improved job market has created a major housing crunch. Midland and Odessa — two cities at the heart of Texas’ petroleum country — witnessed the fastest growth in rental prices, with the average monthly rent in both cities skyrocketing by more than 35% over the past year. Unsurprisingly, these two cities are also adding jobs at a fast clip.

Generally speaking, rental growth is more concentrated among the smaller cities and towns across the country, researchers said. “People are fleeing larger and more expensive cities for more affordable ones,” the report noted. “However, these economic and demographic shifts often drive housing prices up in those markets.”

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Something bit me! A summer full of mosquitoes in KS

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –

Kids are getting out of school and we’ve seen some warmer temperatures, these signs show that summer is here.

This season also brings out, you guessed it, mosquitoes.

A recent report by pest control giant “Orkin” shows that Wichita and the surrounding areas have a problem. Their study put Wichita in the top 50 worst cities for mosquitoes nationwide.

From your pets to your family we set out to problem solve your bite free summer.

As much as we would love to hear our pets talk they can’t tell us when they’ve been bit by a mosquito. Beneath the surface that bite can carry all sorts bad stuff.

"Heartworm season is also technically year-round but it is more prevalent in our area during the warmer months," says Dr. Susan Nelson with Kansas State Clinical Sciences.

That’s right, heartworm is a disease that can threaten the life of your cat or dog.

"So that is the disease that is spread by mosquitoes," added Dr. Nelson.

Before the summer is in full swing experts want to make sure your taking the right steps to protect your furry friends.

"We want to make sure that they are on their monthly heartworm preventives as well," says Dr. Nelson.

Ok, lets now move to humans. There are some things you can do to come across as less attractive to mosquitoes.

Studies found mosquitoes love the carbon dioxide from our breath, the more you exhale the more attractive you become to them.

On a related topic these insects are drawn to the heat from our bodies and to the lactic acid that comes through our skin. If you play some volleyball or do anything active outdoors don’t be surprised if mosquitoes flock to you after.

Also, sorry to spoil the party but studies show the more booze you put back increases your appeal to a thirsty mosquito. If you decide to get your buzz on make sure to mix in a shot or two of mosquito repellent.

So what’s the best way to treat a mosquito bite? Obviously don’t scratch it, instead take an antihistamine.

A couple of pills can relieve itching, redness, and swelling caused by a mosquito bite.

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Leslie Rudd, a Boy From Kansas Who Saw Château Haut-Brion as His Business Model

In the 1950s, teenage boys tended to be interested in girls, cars and a new thing called television. Leslie Rudd liked real estate.

While in high school, he often visited the office of Nestor R. Weigand Sr. , a prominent real-estate broker and investor in the young man’s hometown of Wichita, Kan., to ask questions about the business.

By his early 30s, Mr. Rudd was running a liquor-distribution company started by his parents and branching out with investments in real estate and restaurants. His bigger dream, conceived during a tour of France, was to own a wine-producing estate. He liked the idea of a family business that could last generations. In the mid-1990s, he sent letters to 18 owners of Napa Valley wineries, offering to buy them. One responded, and Mr. Rudd acquired what is now Rudd Oakville Estate .

He also was a fan of Dean & DeLuca, a gourmet grocery chain known for radicchio and balsamic vinegar, whose first store opened in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 1977. Mr. Rudd and others bought control of the chain in the mid-1990s, expanded it and sold it two decades later.

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Mr. Rudd died May 3 of esophageal cancer at his apartment in New York. He was 76.

One of his favorite mottos was “done is better than perfect.” He liked to ask, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Friends said he was a master of determining when to get into an investment and when to get out. He enjoyed buying and improving businesses; the day-to-day operations were left to others.

Leslie Gerald Rudd was born Aug. 15, 1941, in Wichita. His parents, Elenore and Sam Rudd, founded a wholesale wine and liquor company in the late 1940s. Leslie worked in the company’s warehouse as a boy and enrolled in what is now Wichita State University in 1959. He left school before graduating to work in the family business and soon made it clear he had bigger ambitions than those of his parents. (He finally received his WSU degree in general studies in 1981.)

“Leslie was the spark plug,” his mother said in a family history. “He had [his father] Sam build a warehouse and then another warehouse. From then on, Les took a big part of the business. Sam was more cautious and afraid to invest, but Leslie wasn’t.”

He was looking far beyond Kansas. At age 21, he toured France’s Bordeaux region and stopped at the Château Haut-Brion winery, where he was struck by the centuries-long history and emphasis on quality. He vowed to establish his own wine dynasty.

While building up the family liquor-wholesaling business, he began making real-estate investments with Nestor Weigand Jr. , the son of his early mentor. After making a large profit on the sale of an apartment building in Oklahoma, the two bought a vacation home to share in Aspen, Colo.

Mr. Rudd met one of Wichita’s most prominent investors, Charles Koch, in 1964 at a dinner hosted by F.A. “Baldy” Harper, an economist and writer. “We were simpatico,” Mr. Koch said. They became close friends, traveled together and shared business ideas.

Mr. Rudd was smart, inquisitive and humble, Mr. Koch said, and those qualities endeared him to others. When he visited top wine producers in France, “they’d show him what they were doing,” Mr. Koch said.

Mr. Rudd invested in Godfather’s Pizza franchises and was a co-founder of the Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon chain in the 1980s.

After living in Wichita and Aspen, he decided he wanted to raise his daughter, Samantha, in a more rural area while pursuing his dream of making wine. He spent two years searching for a wine estate in California before buying 55 acres in Napa Valley in 1996. There he established Rudd Oakville Estate as a producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and other wines.

A visitor from the British newspaper The Telegraph in 2014 said the estate’s entrance is “formal, wood-paneled and old-worldly, but underground all is modern. The cellars are antiseptically clean, lined with concrete and containing smooth, giant concrete eggs in which some of the wines are fermented.”

The restless Mr. Rudd also invested in other wineries, including a maker of kosher wines, and established an artisanal gin producer, Distillery No. 209, in San Francisco, selling it for as much as $60 a bottle. In St. Helena, Calif., he founded the Press restaurant. Some of the food came from his own Rudd Farms.

His foundation funds scholarships in Kansas, a center for wine studies at the Culinary Institute of America, and a center for food policy and obesity studies at the University of Connecticut.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Susan; a grandchild and a sister.

“He didn’t have any hobbies because he just liked to work,” said his daughter, who now runs the family businesses.

Write to James R. Hagerty at bob.hagerty@wsj.com

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The biggest bank based in Kansas is doing something it’s never done in 125 years | The Wichita Eagle

Home mortgages have been a mainstay for Capitol Federal Savings, the largest bank headquartered in Kansas.

But that’s about to change.

The holding company of the $9 billion-asset savings and loan is buying a bank — only its second acquisition in history — and will expand its business into commercial lending.

Capitol Federal Financial said it is acquiring Topeka-based Capital City Bank, which will allow Capitol Federal to make loans to businesses and related services, such as commercial deposits.

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John Dicus, Capitol Federal chairman and president, said in a news release that Capital City Bank has a similar culture of customer service and conservative lending.

“After growing our commercial real estate portfolio over the last 5 years through our correspondent lending network, we believe this is the right time to enter the commercial banking business through this low risk merger,” Dicus said.

Capital City CEO Bob Kobbeman will join Capitol Federal and lead its new commercial banking division.

The acquisition, expected to be completed by the end of October, is Topeka-based Capitol Federal’s second since its founding in 1893. Its first came in 1983 when it acquired Wichita-based Southwest Federal Savings and Loan.

Capitol Federal has eight branches in the Wichita area and ranks sixth in the area with deposits of more than $543,000, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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BrightWater Bay is Wichita’s new vacation-staycation combination | The Wichita Eagle

How is it possible to take a vacation and a staycation at the same time?

Jeff Lange has the answer.

His Lange Real Estate is kicking off the new BrightWater Bay 90-acre lake development near I-235 South and West Street, which will be available to rent by the hour, day or week.

"It’s a way to vacation without leaving town," Lange says.

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"It’s amazing how it just feels," he says. "As soon as you drive through the gates, it’s just like, ahhh, now this is relaxing. It just feels like you’re on vacation. It’s really cool."

The development follows the announcement of Lange and Triple Crown’s new Steeple Bay development where Camping World and Gander Mountain are going to open.

"BrightWater Bay is the next thing," Lange says.

"Kind of another high-profile property with water," says Jeff Lowrance, Lange Real Estate’s property development manager.

"Now is the time to start letting the world know about it," Lange says. "Springtime’s coming. It’s a good time to be thinking about a lake and all the activities that can happen out there, so here we go."

The 44-acre lake, which used to be known as Keeler Lake, is at 4900 W. 31st St. S., which is the northwest part of what Lange is calling the CrossGate District. Its boundaries are I-235 on the north, I-35 on the east and the Big Ditch on the west and south.

"We don’t see in this market where there’s really a lake to do what we’re doing," Lange says.

The property, which has not been open to the public in recent years, has an event venue and house along with amenities such as tennis and pickleball courts, horseshoes, shuffleboard and a basketball goal.

The house will be able to sleep up to nine people.

"It’s being completely renovated," says Rachel Lange, Jeff Lange’s daughter who also works at his company.

The renovation includes new large windows and a lot of glass facing the water.

"So all of a sudden now . . . it is part of the lake," Jeff Lange says.

Eventually, the venue will be renovated as well, but Rachel Lange says they want to see what visitors’ needs are first.

"We’re not going to do a ton of work on it this first year."

Visitors can rent the buildings individually or together along with the entire lake.

"You could act like you own it," Jeff Lange says.

Rachel Lange says the venue will be ideal for corporate gatherings, family reunions and other parties.

"Have your own retreat within the city," she says. "So you don’t have to travel all the way to Table Rock or even Cheney and load your boat and everything up."

The lake can have up to four watercraft at a time.

There are new docks, and a boat slip has been renovated.

There will be boat and jet ski rentals eventually.

"We’re working with a dealership that we hope to announce here soon that is actually going to look at relocating here to this site, and then we’ll create a little mini marina," Jeff Lange says. "That way you don’t need to own anything."

Also still in the works is a new entry point to the property.

"Right now the access is limited," Jeff Lange says.

Visitors have to go through the Blue Lake neighborhood. Jeff Lange says everyone — from neighbors to his company to the city — would prefer the entrance be off of K-42 to the north.

Lowrance says BrightWater Bay fits into Lange Real Estate’s bigger plans for the CrossGate district.

He calls the development "kind of a continuation of this family-friendly theme that we’re doing again and again in the CrossGate District. It’s a thumb-free zone where your kids can go do something that doesn’t involve an iPhone or a video game."

In an interview with Lowrance and Jeff and Rachel Lange, Lowrance also pointed out that the lake is hardly just for kids.

"Somebody in this room has been taking jet ski lunches," Lowrance says, looking at Jeff Lange.

"I have a picture of that," Rachel Lange says of her father. "In his business outfit. In his slacks."

Jeff Lange admits to taking some work breaks to enjoy the lake since buying it last year.

He says it’s a business venture for him along with "a cool spot to slip off to."

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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Pro-Trump Militiamen on Trial in Plot to Blow Up Muslims in Kansas Apartment

Curtis Allen (left), Gavin Wright (center) and Patrick Stein (right).

Ticklethewire.com

Patrick Stein, a right-wing militia member who thought Trump was “the Man” and Muslims were “cockroaches” that needed to be exterminated, met what he thought was a weapons dealer in a remote field in western Kansas.

“I’m sick of seeing these motherfuckers coming into this country,” Stein told the man, referring to Muslim refugees, Huffington post reports. “They’re here for one reason and one reason only.”

It was about a month before Donald Trump was elected president, and Stein had no idea he was actually meeting with an undercover FBI agent.

A few days later, the FBI arrested Stein, who was charged with a litany of federal offenses, including plotting to kill Somali refugees who lived in an apartment complex in nearby Garden City.

Since then, 18 months have passed, and Stein and his allege co-conspirators Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen are on the third week of a trial in Wichita.

While Stein met with the undercover agent in search of a weapon manufacturer, the co-conspirators did not demonstrate they were serious about the plot, their defense attorneys said.

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Vandalism of an entrance sign at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, via Twitter.

Ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigative the vandalism of an entrance sign at the Trump International Golf Club near the president’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend.

Red plant was splattered onto the entrance of the club at West Balm Beach, Fla. on Saturday night, and authorities found a can of paint nearby, ABC News reports.

Images online show paint covering some of the letters on the polished stone structure.

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The golf club is about 5 miles from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump was spotted at the golf club this weekend.

Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Baptist church in a rural Texas town.

Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of the assailants in mass attacks in the U.S. last year shared strikingly similar traits, a new Secret Service report found.

An analysis of 28 mass attacks, which killed 147 people and injured nearly 700 more nationwide, found that all suspects were male and 64% experienced mental health issues before the assaults.

Before the attacks, 79% of them had engaged in threatening or suspicious behavior witnessed by others, according to the National Threat Assessment Center report on Mass Attacks in Public Space.

About 71% of the suspects had a criminal history, and one-third had been charged with domestic violence. Two-thirds had a history of violence, though not all of it was reported or ended in charges.

In the five years before the attacks, more than half experienced financial hardships, and 82% “exhibited behaviors that were indicative of aggressive narcissism,” the Secret Service found.

Nearly half of the suspects were driven by a personal grievance, whether real or perceived.

Less than two months before the report was released, Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school after he passed a background check to buy an AR-15 assault-style rifle.

Cruz exhibited nearly every trait found in a majority of last year’s attackers.

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State moves to take over 15 nursing homes after owner says it can’t make payroll | The Wichita Eagle

Kansas government has filed court papers to take over 15 nursing homes across the state, including in Wichita, Wellington and El Dorado, because the owner can’t make payroll, officials said Thursday.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services — KDADS — is moving to take over the homes and contract with an operator to try to make sure patient care doesn’t suffer for 854 elderly and disabled residents.

"Our most pressing concern at this point is stability," Tim Keck, secretary of KDADS, said in a statement. "We want to ensure the residents of these facilities continue to receive the care they need, and to make sure the staff, which provides that care, continues to be paid.”

All of the care homes are operated under a variant of the name "Care and Rehabilitation Center" and are owned by a company called Skyline Health Care. Skyline is based in Wood Ridge, N.J., and acquired the Kansas facilities in 2016, according to KDADS.

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On the list locally are the Wichita, Wellington and El Dorado Care and Rehabilitation Centers. The Wichita facility is at 4007 E. Lincoln.

“This is a highly unusual situation, but we have identified a nursing home management group that is willing to step in immediately and begin overseeing these facilities," Keck said.

Mission Health Care, which operates 14 nursing homes in Kansas and four other states, will operate the facilities until a permanent solution is found, KDADS said.

In addition to the local facilities, the situation affects three Care and Rehabilitation Centers in Edwardsville and one each in Cottonwood Falls, Downs, Eskridge, Lansing, Neodesha, Pittsburg, Springfield, Wakefield and Wilson.

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Wichita remains the most affordable top-100 city in the U.S., according to Apartment List – Wichita Business Journal

Wichita remains an affordable place to rent an apartment.

That’s according to a monthly report released by Apartment List, a website that aggregates national apartment listings.

The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city is about $750 while a one-bedroom fetches on average about $560 per month, the March report said. That represents a slight increase of 0.6 percent from the same month in 2017.

From January to February, the average price for a two-bedroom jumped by 0.3 percent, the report said. The national average — from a list of the 100 most-populated cities in the U.S. — for a two-bedroom apartment is about $1,160 per month.

Wichita’s year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 1.6 percent and the national average of 2.3 percent. Of the largest 10 cities that Apartment List tracks in Kansas, six saw rents rise year-over-year.

The most expensive city to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to the release, is San Francisco ($3,040) while the most affordable city for a two-bedroom continues to be Wichita.

"Wichita’s growth rate is well below both the national average and the Kansas state average," says Apartment List housing economist Chris Salviati. "The median two-bedroom rent in Wichita is quite affordable compared to many of the nation’s large and mid-sized cities."

Oklahoma City experienced the largest dip in rents over the past year with a 2.1 percent drop.

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Woman accused of killing Wichita mother, kidnapping baby competent for trial

Yesenia Sesmas (left) and Laura Abarca-Nogueda with Baby Sophia

WICHITA, Kan. (WBJ) –

A judge has ruled that a 35-year-old woman accused of killing a Wichita mother and kidnapping her newborn child is competent to stand trial.

Trial for Yesenia Sesmas is scheduled to begin on March 26. She’s charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, aggravated interference with parental custody and other counts.

The Texas woman allegedly drove from Dallas to Wichita in November of 2016 to meet 27-year-old Laura Abarca, a friend she had met years ago working at a local restaurant.

Abarca had her baby just five days before she was shot in her west Wichita apartment and her newborn taken across state lines. Abarca’s boyfriend discovered the new mother dead on a couch and their newborn baby missing.

The break in case happened when authorities were able to track Sesmas as a potential suspect through a chatting app on Abarca phone. Baby Sophia was found two days later in the Dallas home where Sesmas lived.

During a previous interview with detectives, Sesmas admitted to shooting Abarca after Abarca allegedly went back on a deal to give Sesmas her baby.

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