Category Archives: Government

Enjoy Kansas Parks On Memorial Day

How To Safely Enjoy Kansas State Parks During Memorial Day Weekend

PRATT – Kansas’ 28 state parks, 63 state fishing lakes, and more than 100 wildlife areas remain open to the public and will be popular destinations over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. From camping and horseback riding, to boating and disc golf, there’s no shortage of fun to be had at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) areas, but visitors must remain steadfast in practicing social distancing, among other safety measures, to ensure these special places remain open and accessible to all.

“We want visitors to enjoy themselves, so long as social distancing is practiced,” Kansas State Parks director Linda Lanterman said. “Our staff have done an incredible job maintaining our parks, and ensuring that facilities remain open, but it’s ultimately up to the public to look out for each other and practice social distancing so we can all remain in good health and continue having these beautiful places to recreate.”

Here’s how visitors can safely enjoy their time at Kansas state parks over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer:

Practice social distancing, even on the water – While six feet is the standard measure for effective social distancing, maintaining a safe distance may look different while on a trail or on the water. Boaters – especially those recreating in or around coves – can practice social distancing by refraining from tying up to other vessels and instead anchoring vessels individually. Boating passengers should also refrain from moving between vessels.

Allow for ample time at boat ramps – Launching a vessel may take a little longer than normal. Plan ahead by having everything ready and packed on your boat before backing down the ramp. Many state park reservoirs and fishing lakes have multiple access points – visitors can benefit from knowing them ahead of time by referencing area maps at ksoutdoors.com. If a desired boat ramp is congested, consider launching at an alternate ramp or parking at a distance until the area clears.

Make reservations and purchases online – While state park staff are on duty to ensure Kansas’ state parks are safe, and that park facilities are regularly cleaned and disinfected, visitors are encouraged to conduct reservation and license purchase needs through KDWPT’s free mobile apps – CampIt KS and HuntFish KS. Campsite reservations can also be made on ReserveAmerica.com, and license purchases made on KSHuntFishCamp.com.

Keep to your camp – KDWPT-managed campsites are perfectly-suited to space visitors a safe distance apart. Visitors should use these designated areas to their advantage and keep family and friends safe by refraining from visiting other campsites or combining sites.

The wild spaces and fun places managed by KDWPT are intended to be enjoyed by all – help KDWPT keep these areas open by practicing social distancing and refraining from gathering in large groups.

For more on outdoor recreation opportunities in Kansas, visit ksoutdoors.com.

For more information on COVID-19 in Kansas, visit covid.ks.gov.

USDA March Margin Triggers Payments to Dairy Producers

March Margin Triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program Payment

Income-over-feed margin for March triggers first payment for 2020

 

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that the March 2020 income over feed cost margin was $9.15 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the first payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “It is the first triggered DMC payment for 2020, and the first payment to dairy producers in seven months.”

Current projections indicate that a DMC payment is likely to trigger every month for the remainder of 2020, a different expectation from last July when some market models had forecast no program payments for 18 months.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.

Although DMC enrollment for 2020 coverage has closed, dairy producers should look for FSA to open sign up for 2021 coverage in July.

USDA Service Centers, including FSA county offices, are open for business by phone only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

 

FSA Expands Set-Aside Loan Provision for Customers Impacted by COVID-19

 

Set-Aside Delays Loan Payments for Borrowers

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2020– USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will broaden the use of the Disaster Set-Aside (DSA) loan provision, normally used in the wake of natural disasters, to allow farmers with USDA farm loans who are affected by COVID-19, and are determined eligible, to have their next payment set aside. In some cases, FSA may also set aside a second payment for farmers who have already had one payment set aside because of a prior designated disaster.

This immediate change of the Set-Aside provision can provide some welcome financial relief to borrowers during this current crisis,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “FSA recognizes that some customers may need this option to improve their cash flow circumstances in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

FSA direct loan borrowers will receive a letter with the details of the expanded Disaster Set-Aside authorities, which includes the possible set-aside of annual operating loans, as well as explanations of the additional loan servicing options that are available. To discuss or request a loan payment Set-Aside, borrowers should call or email the farm loan staff at their local FSA county office.

The set-aside payment’s due date is moved to the final maturity date of the loan or extended up to twelve months in the case of an annual operating loan. Any principal set-aside will continue to accrue interest until it is repaid. This aims to improve the borrower’s cashflow in the current production cycle.

FSA previously announced it was relaxing the loan-making process and adding flexibilities for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need. Direct loan applicants and borrowers are encouraged to contact their local FSA county office to discuss loan making and servicing flexibilities and other needs or concerns. Customers participating in FSA’s guaranteed loan programs are encouraged to contact their lender. Information on these flexibilities, and office contact information, can be found on farmers.gov/coronavirus.

FSA will be accepting most forms and applications by facsimile or electronic signature. Some services are also available online to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the farmers.gov portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and certain program applications and payments. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance and electronically sign documents. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at farmers.gov/sign-in.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

 

Bourbon County Commission Agenda for May 26

Agenda

Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: May 26, 2020

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

MEETING WILL BE HELD AT THE FRONT STEPS OF THE COURTHOUSE WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PLACE

9:00 – 9:45 Jim Harris

9:45 Discuss Re-opening of the Courthouse

Flags Half-Staff For Memorial Day: Prayer For Peace

Governor directs flags be flown half-staff for Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day

 

In accordance with Executive Order 20-30, and in recognition of Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly has ordered flags throughout the State of Kansas to be flown at half-staff from sun up to noon on May 25. President Donald J. Trump also issued a flag directive honoring Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, as day of prayer for permanent peace.

 

“The military service women and men of this country have dedicated themselves to protecting the American way of life,” Kelly said. “We owe our most sincere gratitude and respect to the generations of military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States Armed Forces.”

 

The Memorial Day flag directive will follow the current order to lower flags to half-staff in honor of victims of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

 

To receive email alerts when the governor orders flags to half-staff, please visit https://governor.kansas.gov/newsroom/kansas-flag-honors.

Holiday With Safety in Mind

Governor Kelly encourages Kansans to have a safe Memorial Day Weekend

 

With Memorial Day approaching, Governor Laura Kelly reminds Kansans to enjoy the holiday weekend with safety in mind.

 

COVID-19-related guidance and requirements related to gatherings are outlined in the Governor’s reopening plan, and reflect her decision to move Kansas into a modified version of Phase 2 of the plan, starting Friday. The plan and additional safety guidance can be found at covid.ks.gov.

 

“The Memorial Day weekend is one of the first holidays of the year when people want to get outside and enjoy the weather, and spend time with their families and friends,” Kelly said. “But no one should use this as an excuse to ignore health and safety guidelines.”

 

The following is allowed on Memorial Day, according to “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas”:

 

  • Have a gathering in your home with 15 or fewer individuals, not including those you live with.
  • Use your backyard pool for any parties, so long as mass gathering restrictions are met.
  • Have a drive-through parade, so long as no more than 15 individuals are outside the car and they are able to maintain social distancing.
  • Go to a restaurant with your friends and family, so long as that business meets the necessary health and safety requirements.
  • Engage in outdoor activities at parks or other public spaces, so long as social distancing and mass gathering requirements are met.

 

Here’s what you can’t do on Memorial Day according to the “Ad Astra” plan:

 

  • Hold or attend an in-person fair, festival or parade.
  • Use community, public and other non-backyard pools for parties or gatherings.
  • Go to bars or nightclubs.
  • Have ceremonies or gatherings that violate the mass gathering limit of 15 or more individuals when a 6-foot distance cannot be met, except for infrequent or incidental moments of contact.

 

Additional health tips include:

 

  • Stay home if sick
  • Practice social distancing whenever possible
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover cough and sneezes into an elbow or tissue
  • Wear masks (especially in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain)
  • Stay home if you or a loved one is considered high risk.

 

For those having parties or gatherings this weekend:

 

  • Have cleaning supplies readily available
  • Avoid using buffets and other self-service food stations
  • Have individuals with gloves and masks serve food
  • Avoid punchbowls or other communal drink stations
  • Use disposable plate and utensils if unable to constantly clean dishes
  • Plan outdoor activities rather than indoor ones
  • Practice social distancing and maintain ventilation through your home by opening doors or windows if engaging in indoor activities.

 

For more information on health and safety guidance, or to see Governor Kelly’s reopening plan, visit the Kansas COVID-19 Response and Recovery website.

Flags Half Staff to Honor Victims of COVID 19 on May 22-24

Governor Laura Kelly orders flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Victims of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

 

In accordance with Executive Order 20-30, and following the proclamation of President Donald J. Trump, Governor Laura Kelly has ordered flags throughout the State of Kansas to be flown at half-staff, from Friday, May 22, 2020, to sunset on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in honor of the Victims of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic.

 

“The death toll due to coronavirus is devastating in Kansas and beyond,” Kelly said. “We all have an obligation to honor those lost to the virus, to include courageous frontline workers who literally gave their lives to help and protect others during this pandemic.”

 

To receive email alerts when the governor orders flags to half-staff, please visit:

https://governor.kansas.gov/newsroom/kansas-flag-honor

Statement on Attorney General’s recent opinion and the Legislature’s actions

 

The following statement is from the Office of the Governor:

 

Governor Kelly welcomes an honest conversation about the Kansas Emergency Management Act.

The Act has been in place for nearly 45 years and has served the state well for more common emergencies like fires, floods and tornadoes.

In fact, not since the Spanish Flu hit our state more than 100 years ago has any governor been forced to take the steps Governor Kelly has taken to protect the safety and health of all Kansans.

Ironically, KEMA was the modernization of several earlier emergency powers granted to the governor, by the Legislature, following the 1918 pandemic.

 

Unfortunately, this is not an honest conversation about reviewing and modernizing KEMA.

If it were, the Attorney General would not have released his legal opinion in the middle of the night right before the last day of the legislative session, and the Legislature would not be trying to cram multiple pieces of legislation – many of which have not been thoroughly vetted by the public – into what is traditionally a ceremonial end of the legislative session.

 

Governor Kelly welcomes the conversation about KEMA, but in a thoughtful manner that allows stakeholders like local government officials and emergency managers to weigh in on this important subject.

For her part, the Governor will bring the same bipartisan approach she has shown – which received praise yesterday from President Trump – to the conversation and to ultimately finding a non-political solution that works for all Kansans.

 

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Bourbon County Commission Special Meeting Agenda May 22

Agenda

Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

 

Date: May 22, 2020

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

MEETING HELD IN THE COMMISSION ROOM WITH NO PUBLIC ATTENDANCE (PUBLIC ATTENDANCE VIA FACEBOOK LIVE)

10:00 Public Hearing for CDBG Funds

Utilities Payment Plans Offered

KCC orders utilities to offer payment plans, waive late fees through 2020

 

TOPEKA – An order issued by the Kansas Corporation Commission this morning requires utilities under its jurisdiction to offer 12-month payment plans and waive late fees through the end of the year to help residential and small business customers avoid disconnection.

The Commission’s earlier order suspending disconnections is set to expire on May 31. Today’s order will help customers, struggling with the economic effects of COVID-19, pay off past due balances gradually while avoiding disconnection of service. Customers are also encouraged to apply for available utility assistance programs. Information is posted on the KCC website (https://kcc.ks.gov/consumer-information/utility-assistance-programs).

 

KCC staff filed a report with the Commission on May 6 recommending baseline customer protections prior to the end of the disconnect suspension order. Utilities had the opportunity to respond to the recommendations prior to today’s order. Several utilities have advised they plan to offer protections in excess of the minimums required.

 

The order states utilities may defer any extraordinary bad debt expense and lost fee revenue that arises from the required customer protections into a regulatory asset for accounting purposes only. Any recovery requests will be considered in a utility’s next rate case or rate recovery filing.

 

The Commission may extend the consumer protections outlined in today’s order if the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2021.

 

Today’s order can be viewed at: https://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/ViewFile.aspx/20200521111445.pdf?Id=932794de-f0cc-4397-b1bf-948512be107e

Kansas Families to Receive Additional Food Support Through Pandemic EBT Program

 

DCF and KSDE partner to offer one-time benefit

 

The Department for Children and Families in collaboration with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) announced today the creation of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Program (P-EBT). The program will help families who have been impacted by school closures due to COVID-19 to purchase food for their children.

 

“We know the pandemic has made it difficult for families to access food, especially if they relied on school meals,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Thanks to the partnership between DCF and KSDE the state will be able to automatically enroll most families into the P-EBT program, so they receive their benefit as quickly as possible.”

 

“Food insecurity should be the last thing our Kansas children should have to face right now,” Cheryl Johnson KSDE director of child nutrition and wellness said. “P-EBT provides temporary funding to address emergency food needs and avert financial hardship for families affected by the pandemic. I am thankful that through this partnership, Kansas is able to put healthy food on the table for Kansas children.”

P-EBT provides a one-time benefit of up to $291 on a Kansas Benefits Card to Kansas families whose children between the age of 5 to 18 would receive free or reduced-price meals at participating schools. There is no application process to receive the P-EBT benefit.

 

DCF will issue the benefit in phases. Those Kansas families who currently receive free or reduced-price meals and are enrolled in the food assistance or TANF programs should begin to receive their benefit later this week.

 

The second phase also will include an automatic match with those families on free or reduced-price meals and who also are receiving Medicaid or child care assistance.

 

The final phase will include families that need to provide additional information to receive the benefit. Those families will receive access to a parent portal to register for the program beginning June 5. Parents should receive information from their school district on how to access the parent portal.

 

 

“Most families should expect to see their benefit in the next two weeks,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “If families have not yet received information about P-EBT, I encourage them to reach out to their local school district.”

 

In order to provide additional information about P-EBT and to answer questions, DCF is hosting a virtual town hall meeting tomorrow from 11 a.m. to noon.

 

Virtual P-EBT Town Hall Thursday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to noon.

Use this link to join: https://bit.ly/KansasP-EBTTownHall