Category Archives: Government

Efforts To Improve Child Welfare

DCF Secretary to Announce Efforts to Improve Child Welfare System

Policy, procedure, training changes and new foster care contracts

TOPEKA – Since her appointment as Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary, Gina Meier-Hummel has spent the last four months carefully reviewing the child welfare system and exploring ways to improve foster care services, licensing, training, family preservation services, adoption support and more.

Although her top-to-bottom review continues, with the assistance of national experts, she is pleased to announce an exciting move forward, with new foster care contracts for Kansas’ privatized child welfare system.

The new contracts will be designed to, among other things, streamline services, promote safety and permanency, increase accountability and prioritize keeping families safely together.

As the Request for Proposal is prepared to solicit bids, the Secretary is seeking the public’s suggestions for improvement that should be included in the new contracts. A Request for Information (RFI) process begins today.

For one week, DCF will offer the public the ability to provide suggestions for the new contracts through an online submission form, available at

A public comment meeting is also planned, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 24, at the DCF Administration Building, 555 S. Kansas Ave.

Further details, along with information about recent improvements to the child welfare system, will be announced during a news conference on Monday, April 23, in Topeka.

New Kansas Website For Posting of Meetings

Governor Colyer announces the launch of Kansas Public Square

TOPEKA _ Gov. Jeff Colyer, MD., announced Friday the launch of Kansas Public Square, the state’s new website for posting meetings and minutes, adding a new layer of transparency in state government.

“The framers of our Kansas Constitution had it right when they stated that ‘all political power is inherent to the people,’” Colyer said. “Through the development of Kansas Public Square, we are ensuring our citizens are informed about their government and have the opportunity to speak up and be heard.”

Governor Colyer ordered the creation of a public meeting website with the signing of Executive Order 18-08. All Cabinet agencies, boards, and commissions under the authority of the Governor are required to post notification of all meetings subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act. The order was one of several signed by Governor Colyer during his first days in office, aimed at improving government transparency and accountability.

Kansas Public Square was developed by the Department of Administration and the Office of Information Technology Services. The site allows for users to see meetings on a daily, weekly and monthly format, searching by the agency, board or commission. Users have the option to download the meeting notice directly to their Outlook, iCal and Google calendars.

The new site is also responsive to users whether on a PC, tablet or mobile device.

“We developed Public Square with the user in mind, incorporating features that will make it easier for citizens and others to be informed about when their government is conducting business,” said John Milburn, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for the Department of Administration. “The site is intended to complement existing practices for notifying the public about meetings.”

The site can be found at

New Tourism Sign Coming To Downtown Fort Scott

Fort Scott Community Development Director Rhonda Dunn shows the deterioration of the planters on Skubitz Plaza that will be demolished and a new tourism sign installed.

An unsightly part of Skubitz Plaza is being redeveloped by the City of Fort Scott to showcase a sign that depicts the city’s history.

The plans were approved by the city commissioners Tuesday evening.

Plans are for all parts to be completed by the Good Ol Days annual celebration, the end of May this year.

Two brick planters on Old Fort Boulevard at the north end of Main Street have been repeatedly hit by vehicles turning right.

The planters that will be taken down are the closest to the camera. They are located on Skubitz Plaza at the north end of Main Street in downtown Fort Scott. The new tourism panel will be placed to the east of the planter on the left.

“We’ve repaired it a number of times,” Rhonda Dunn, the city’s community development director said.

“This has been a long-term project for several years,” she said.

Serendipitously, a proposal for a new sign for tourism came along, she said.

“There is no downside to this,” Dunn said. “The broken planter will be gone and a new by-ways sign will go up.”

The new Frontier Military Historic  Byway sign panels will depict the history of Fort Scott and some tourism highlights as well.

Dunn shows the spot where the new tourism sign will be installed, out of the way of traffic.

The place where the western planter is currently will be an open space, the eastern planter will be removed also, then the by-ways sign installed, just slightly to the east.

City workers will remove and salvage brick that can be reused, Dunn said.

To view click on the links below, then click on the image to enlarge:




The Bourbon County Master Gardeners tend to the planters in Fort Scott’s downtown area as a community project.

“The master gardeners will remove plants from the planters, ” Dunn said.


Fire Scene At 6th and National Is Cleared

A fire this morning at 6th and National Avenue is still under investigation.

The building next to Petes 27, 605 National Ave., Fort Scott was reported on fire early this morning.

The building had furniture, clothing and appliances.

“It’s still under investigation,” Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou said. “There wasn’t a lot of damage.”

Two fire engines with approximately seven personnel responded to the alarm.

“We’ve cleared the scene,” Ballou said.

Emergency Siren This A.M. A False Alarm

Fort Scottians were awakened to an emergency siren sounding at approximately 6:45 a.m. this morning.

It was a false alarm, according to Tracey Reed, communications manager at the Fort Scott Police Department.

“We are not sure what set it off,”  Reed said. “We have had an issue with our federal siren system…it has had to do with batteries. It doesn’t occur often. We’ll have somebody come and check it out.”

“I know people get worried,” Reed said.

There will be siren testing at 1 p.m. today, Reed said.