Category Archives: Kansas

State Approves Coronavirus Relief and Expanding Broadband

State Finance Council Approves $60 Million Broadband Expansion, State Agency Reimbursements and Consulting Services for Accounting and Compliance

 

TOPEKA – Today, the State Finance Council (SFC) approved $60 million to expand broadband access, $3.9 million in reimbursements to state agencies for COVID-19 related operational expenses and up to $5 million for consulting services for meeting the accounting and compliance requirements of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).  The SPARK taskforce recommended these proposals to SFC for approval; all will be funded through the CRF.

 

“COVID-19 has made it clear how important access to high speed internet is for Kansans in rural and urban regions alike. Whether it’s telemedicine, teleworking, or online education capabilities, broadband is a singular tool that can change outcomes for communities. My administration will continue to support investments in our state’s infrastructure like high speed internet to put us on stronger economic footing as we continue our road to recovery,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

 

The connectivity proposal featured $50 million for improving broadband infrastructure and $10 million for partnerships with internet service providers to serve low-income populations.

 

“The SPARK taskforce identified expanding broadband access as a top priority and I appreciate the SFC’s recognition that not only was important to approve these funds today but also to consider increasing our investment in round 3,” said SPARK Executive Committee Chair Lyle Butler.

 

On July 29, SFC approved $254 million funding for public health, education, and economic development. That allocation combined with today’s approvals for connectivity, remaining FY 20 state agency reimbursements and the consulting contract for the Recovery Office, will complete the round 2 funding of the CRF. There will be approximately $290 million of CRF funding remaining for round 3. Previously, $400 million was allocated to Kansas counties in round 1.

 

“The expediated timeline we’re operating under creates an even greater need for accountability and transparency to taxpayers and I appreciate the State Finance Council for providing the Recovery Office the necessary support to ensure we’re delivering the quality investments Kansans deserve,” said Recovery Office Executive Director Julie Lorenz.

 

More information on today’s meeting can be found here: https://covid.ks.gov/spark-meetings/

 

COVID-19 Update for Southeast Kansas

SEK Multi-County Health Departments

Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, and Woodson Counties

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

August 10, 2020

Allen County

Current Positive Cases 8
Positive Out of State-Staying in Allen County 2
Total Hospitalizations 2-1 remaining in hospital
Current Recovered Cases 13
Total Positives Since Testing 20
Deaths 0

Anderson County

Current Positive Cases 2
Total Hospitalizations 0
Current Recovered Cases 29
Total Positives Since Testing 31
Deaths 0

Bourbon County

Current Positive Cases 11
Presumptive Cases 13-1 listed on KDHE website, tested negative
Positive Out of State/County-staying in Bourbon 11
Total Hospitalizations 8-0 remaining in hospital
Current Recovered Cases 79-includes presumptive cases
Total Positives Since Testing 79
Deaths 2

Woodson County

Current Positive Cases 1
Total Hospitalizations 1-0 remaining in hospital
Current Recovered Cases 11
Total Positives Since Testing 12
Deaths 0

American Wind Week

Kansas Launches American Wind Week,
Hosts Virtual Panel with State, Business and Industry Leaders
The week’s activities will highlight Kansas’ position as a leader in wind energy development, opportunities for the state’s workforce, and the many ways wind is building the future.
Topeka, KS – This week marks American Wind Week, an annual celebration of wind energy’s leading role in powering our country and the many ways wind is helping build the future. This year, Boost Kansas and its supporters have plenty to celebrate as wind is now America’s number one source of renewable energy.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind power has created good-paying jobs for over 120,000 Americans across all 50 states, including more than 26,000 jobs at more than 530 U.S. factories that build wind turbine parts. Wind energy is a drought and flood proof “cash crop” for America’s family farmers and ranchers, paying over $1.6 billion dollars a year in lease payments and revenue for state and local governments, while avoiding carbon pollution equivalent to 42 million cars. The nation has a vast resource to harvest through both onshore and offshore wind energy development, with a power potential that is nearly double the nation’s electricity use.
Right here in Kansas, Governor Kelly issued a proclamation announcing this week as American Wind Week, along with 4 cities and counties. In Kansas, wind now supports 6,000 jobs, $36 million in annual land lease payments, and provides $29 million in revenue for state and local governments, leading to new community facilities such as schools and courthouses, improving roads and bridges, and upgrading emergency services. More than $11.4 billion in capital financing has been invested in the state, providing unparalleled opportunities for workforce expansion and economic growth as a result of wind energy.
Throughout the week, Boost Kansas will be sharing the stories of communities that are benefiting from wind energy. These stories are now available including two notable examples from Ford and Pratt Counties.
On Monday, August 10 at 10:30-11:00 AM CT, Apex Clean Energy will host a virtual tour of a wind farm and wind turbine climb to highlight the wind energy workers on the frontlines helping keep the lights on every day and ensuring that Americans have access to cheap, clean electricity. Join us at the following link to watch live!
Boost Kansas is also excited to announce that we’ll be holding a virtual event that will give Kansans an opportunity to hear more about the successes of wind energy in their own state:
WHAT
A virtual panel discussion with state, business, and industry leaders highlighting Kansas’ position as a leader in wind energy development, the economic and workforce opportunities wind brings to the state, and the many ways the energy source is building the future.
WHO
  • State Senator Elaine Bowers
  • Randi Tveitaraas Jack, Manager of International Development, Department of Commerce
  • Joann Knight, Executive Director, Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation
  • APEX Clean Energy
  • Enel Group
Moderator: Riley Scott, Boost Kansas
WHEN
Thursday, August 13, 2020
3:00 PM CT
RSVP
To set up an interview with a panelist during American Wind Week, please contact Jesse Dougherty at jdougherty@strategicelements.com or (608) 807-8619.
Boost Kansas will be sharing highlights and other content onFacebook and Twitter. Follow along and join in the conversation by using #AmericanWindWeek and #WindBuildsTheFuture.
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About Boost Kansas
Boost Kansas, an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association, is a statewide coalition of civic and business leaders supporting innovative policies that expand renewable and wind energy investment in the state. With commonsense federal and state policies, Kansas can continue to be a national leader in harnessing the power of wind and renewable energy development. Learn more at BoostKansas.com.
About the American Wind Energy Association
AWEA is the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry, the largest source of renewable energy in the country. We represent 1,000 member companies, 120,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, and a nationwide workforce located across all 50 states. AWEA serves as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere’s most efficient and targeted event for utility-scale renewable companies, the AWEA CLEANPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Indianapolis, June 7-10, 2021. An outgrowth of the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, CLEANPOWER is the first trade show focused exclusively on the utility-scale renewable power sector, bringing together all the major developers, utilities, OEMs, suppliers, and buyers under one roof. Visit AWEA’s website to learn more about the enormous economic benefits wind power brings to America and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Section of K-7 in Linn County to close for pipe replacement project

A close up of a map

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Closure shown in red

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will close a section of K-7 in Linn County on Tuesday, Aug. 18, to replace a crossroad pipe.

 

K-7 will be closed between county roads 1700 and 1800 the entire day, reopening in the evening. Traffic should use alternate routes.

 

Persons with questions may contact KDOT Superintendent Shawn Denny, (785) 433-6112, or Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen, (620) 902-6433.

 

 

Public Health Advisories for Kansas Lakes Due to Blue-Green Algae

 

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), has revised its list of public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae. Since Thursday’s update, Milford Lake Zone A has moved to a warning, while Milford Lake Zones B and C have been downgraded to a watch. Additionally, Agra Lake in Phillips County has been added to the watch list.

 

Warning

Milford Lake Zone A, Geary County (upgraded)

Gathering Pond, Geary County

Lovewell Reservoir, Jewell County

 

Watch

Brown State Fishing Lake, Brown County

Mission Lake, Brown County

Ford State Fishing Lake, Ford County

Milford Lake Zone B, C, Geary County (downgraded)

South Lake, Johnson County

Unit G Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area, Linn County

Marion County Lake, Marion County

Marion Reservoir, Marion County

Overbrook City Lake, Osage County

Agra Lake, Phillips County (new)

Cheney Reservoir, Reno/Kingman/Sedgwick Counties

Plainville Township Lake, Rooks County

Webster Reservoir, Rooks County

 

Warning Protocols

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

 

Watch Protocols

A watch means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water. During the watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Water may be unsafe for humans/animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
  • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms.
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.

 

KDHE investigates publicly-accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on credible field observation and sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.

 

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present. Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

 

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm. KDHE updates the listings of advisories every Thursday but may update more frequently if needed.

 

KCC Reviews Evergy’s New Plan

The Kansas Corporation Commission will review details of Evergy’s new Sustainability Transformation Plan to protect ratepayer interests


TOPEKAWith the announcement that Evergy’s Board of Directors voted in favor of a standalone plan (Sustainability Transformation Plan) to increase shareholder value, KCC staff will soon begin its review of the details and how the Sustainability Transformation Plan might affect electric ratepayers.

In June, the KCC opened a general investigation into an agreement between Evergy, a regulated utility, and Elliot International. The agreement required the utility to develop a standalone plan to cut costs or pursue a merger transaction to increase shareholder profits. KCC staff were concerned that either path had the potential to have a negative impact on consumers.

Evergy is required to file a report addressing questions posed by KCC staff about the new Sustainability Transformation Plan within two weeks of today’s announcement. After receipt, the KCC as well as other stakeholders participating in the investigation, have 45 days to respond to the information provided.

Six stakeholder groups, including the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board, Kansas Power Pool, Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc., Kansas Industrial Consumers, IBEW, and USD 259 Sedgwick County have intervened to participate in the investigation.

The general investigation docket is available on the KCC’s website at: https://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/portal/kscc/PSC/DocketDetails.aspx?DocketId=c1fa81fb-6557-4e0f-bf33-70fb0b5a47ad

Tax Collections More Than 2019

Kansas Total Tax Collections $484.6 Million Ahead of July of Last Fiscal Year

 

TOPEKA—The State of Kansas starts Fiscal Year 2021 by surpassing its total tax-only collections by $484.6 million compared to July of last fiscal year. Total tax collections for the first month of the fiscal year were $980.8 million. That is $4.6 million, or 0.5%, less than the estimate.

 

“While state revenue collections are more than the beginning of last fiscal year, we must continue to make fiscally sound decisions to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic moving forward,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

 

The State collected $619.6 million in individual income taxes for the month; an increase of $395.3 million, or 176.3%, compared to the July of Fiscal Year 2020. However, these collections were $30.4 million, or 4.7%, less than the estimate for the month. Corporate income tax collections were $69.8 million; $5.2 million, or 6.9%, less than estimated but an increase of $54.6 million compared to July of FY 2020.

 

Retail sales tax and compensating use tax collections performed better than both the monthly estimate and in their comparison to July of last fiscal year. Retail sales tax collections were $218.6 million; $16.6 million, or 8.2%, more than the estimate. That is a $14.0 million, or 6.9%, growth compared to July of FY 2020. Compensating use tax collections were 39.8%, or $14.3 million, more than estimated, with $50.3 million collected. That is an increase of $11.3 million, or 29.1%, compared to the same month of FY 2020.

 

“The state has seen consistent growth in compensating use tax collections as approximately 4,000 out-of-state online retailers have registered with the state under Kansas Department of Revenue Notice 19-04,” Secretary Mark Burghart said. “In addition, changing consumer purchasing patterns, which focus on online purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic, account for some of the increased use tax receipts.”

 

Kansas Department of Revenue Notice 19-04 was published Aug. 1, 2019, which notified retailers of sales tax requirements for doing business in Kansas.

 

Kansas Health Champion Nominations Sought

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Kansas Health Champion Awards

Exceptional efforts to promote health and fitness in Kansas to be recognized

TOPEKA – The Governor’s Council on Fitness is now accepting nominations for its annual Kansas Health Champion Awards. Awards are given to individuals and organizations that make an exceptional effort to model, encourage and promote health and fitness in Kansas. The deadline for nominations is September 30. Award recipients will be recognized at the Community Health Promotion Summit in January 2021.

“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is excited to partner in this important initiative to recognize those who make healthy living in our state a priority,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said. “It’s important that we recognize their efforts and the difference they are making in their communities.”

Nominees should demonstrate:

  • Work that goes above and beyond what is expected to model, encourage and promote fitness
  • Work that helps overcome health inequities
  • Sustainable influence or activity
  • Far-reaching health impact

“In addition to promoting effective models for increasing physical activity, nutrition and tobacco-free living for replication by organizations and communities around the state, the awards also allow us the opportunity to honor the outstanding work of one individual and one organization this year,” Candice McField, Governors Council on Fitness Awards Committee Chair, said. “Eligible nominees might include an outstanding volunteer, a school, a local community, a newspaper or individual reporter, a local or State policy maker or an employer, among others.”

To see past winners and get more information, visit getactivekansas.org and to submit a nomination you must complete the online form at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021KSHealthChamp. All other questions about the nomination process, contact Connie Satzler, 785-410-0410.

The Governor’s Council on Fitness advises the Governor and others on ways to enhance the health of all Kansans through promotion of physical activity, good dietary choices and prevention of tobacco use.

Animal Virus Confirmed in Bourbon County

KDA Update on Vesicular Stomatitis Virus 7-31-2020

 

MANHATTAN, Kansas — Updated situation report on the ongoing outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) in Kansas:

  • Total premises which have tested positive for VSV in Kansas: 97
  • Premises currently under quarantine: 51
  • Premises that have been released from quarantine: 157
  • Total counties in Kansas that have had positive cases of VSV: 24
  • Counties: Allen, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Riley, Sedgwick, Sumner, Wilson and Woodson counties.

 

KDA’s Division of Animal Health continues to respond to the outbreak that began in south central Kansas in mid-June and has now expanded its reach to the north and east. In addition, KDA is awaiting laboratory results from symptomatic animals in other counties as the outbreak continues to spread. All premises with confirmed cases of VSV in horses and cattle have been quarantined; in addition, any premises with animals showing clinical signs consistent with VSV are placed on quarantine. A quarantine for VSV lasts for at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms in the last animal on the premises. Quarantines are not lifted until a veterinarian has examined all susceptible animals on the premises.

 

What is VSV:

VSV is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. At this time, the vast majority of confirmed cases of VSV in Kansas have been horses, although some cattle have also been diagnosed. KDA has advised the beef industry to be vigilant in monitoring their cattle for symptoms.

 

In horses, VSV is typically characterized by lesions which appear as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands, or ventral abdomen. Other clinical signs of the disease include fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, ears, hooves and teats. Infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for infected animals and costly to their owners. Although it is rare, humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals and can develop flu-like symptoms. VSV is considered a reportable disease in Kansas. If you observe clinical signs among your animals, contact your veterinarian right away. Accredited veterinarians across Kansas have played a critical role by reporting and responding to animals affected by VSV.

 

Disease prevention:

The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. Owners should institute robust measures to reduce flies and other insects where animals are housed. VSV can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms. There are no approved vaccines for VSV.

 

KDA has developed guidelines to assist organizations which are hosting shows and fairs across the state, and have worked with many of them to consider how they can protect the health and safety of animals attending their events.

 

VSV in the U.S.:

VSV has also been confirmed in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Because of the confirmed cases in Kansas, other states and Canada are likely to increase restrictions on livestock imports. Animal health officials strongly encourage all livestock owners and veterinarians to call the animal health authority in the destination location for the most current import requirements prior to travel.

 

More information:

Information about VSV can be found by contacting the KDA Division of Animal Health at 785-564-6601 or on the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/VSV, with info about:

  • Documents describing symptoms of VSV
  • Recommendations for fly control practices
  • Guidelines for shows and fairs
  • Informational webinars about VSV
  • Current state and national situation reports

 

KDA Releases Custom Rates Survey

 

 

MANHATTAN, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the Kansas State University Land Use Survey Program has published the 2020 Custom Rates Survey, a summary of rates paid for custom work. The survey and report are released on a biennial basis.

 

The report details the average rates paid by Kansas farmers and ranchers for custom work performed on their operation in 2020. Rates reflect fair market value for custom services either rendered or hired and can be used by Kansas farmers and ranchers as they make decisions about rate charges.

 

“We view the Kansas Custom Rates Survey as a very valuable tool for farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to access as they enter into new and negotiate existing contracts and agriculture service arrangements,” said Secretary Mike Beam. “KDA works to provide support and assistance to help make Kansas agriculture more successful, and we are pleased to partner with K-State to publish this biennial survey.”

 

Last published in 2018, the new report indicates average custom rates have increased; it also includes historical tables and graphs which show results from previous surveys. Prices in the report should not be regarded as official or established rates.

 

For more complete information and access to the report, please visit the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/AgStatistics or contact KDA economist Peter Oppelt at 785-564-6726 or Peter.Oppelt@ks.gov.

 

Coronavirus Relief Fund Approved

State Finance Council Approves $254 Million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund

 

TOPEKA – Today, the State Finance Council (SFC) unanimously approved the public health, education and economic development proposals recommended by the Executive Committee of the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce for a total of $254,444,911.

 

“I want to thank the State Finance Council for approving these funds that will provide aid to Kansans who need it the most, help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate our economic recovery,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Both rural and urban areas of our state will benefit from these dollars.”

 

Executive Committee Chair Lyle Butler presented the round 2 proposals, which were crafted by the SPARK Taskforce with help from state agency working groups for the following amounts:

Public Health $100,909,138
Economic Development $78,600,000
Education $74,935,773
Connectivity $60,000,000

 

“SPARK identified public health, education, economic development, and connectivity as the top priorities for supporting the recovery of the state,” said Lyle Butler. “I want to thank SFC for their support addressing our most pressing needs.”

 

The SFC will reconsider the Connectivity proposals following the Legislative Budget Committee meeting on August 3, where stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide more input on the proposals.

 

“We’re committed to making the best investments possible, being accountable to Kansans and operating with the urgency necessary to utilize these funds by the December 30 deadline,” said Recovery Office Executive Director Julie Lorenz.  “We look forward to working with SPARK members, legislators and Kansans to ensure that happens.”

 

This is the second major allocation of the $1,034,052,049 the State received through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.  Previously, $400 million was allocated to Kansas counties.

 

KDHE receives grant for suicide care

 

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has been awarded a grant to support safer suicide care in behavioral health and healthcare systems in Kansas. The grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is for implementation of Zero Suicide in Health Systems.

Zero Suicide is a model and framework that believes suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. For systems dedicated to improving patient safety, Zero Suicide presents a framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care.

KDHE will work with key partners across the state, including Veterans Affairs and the 26 licensed Community Mental Health Care Systems that have more than 4,500 staff providing mental health services in every county (120+ locations) to more than 140,000 Kansans annually. Besides the policies, protocols and practices the Zero Suicide model supports, objectives include providing evidence-based trainings and practices to support a prepared, competent and confident mental health workforce and coordinated suicide prevention efforts across the state. This award will bring $700,000 per year for five years.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that has far reaching medical, economical and psychosocial implications for Kansas. Between 1999 and 2018, the rate of suicide deaths in Kansas increased 70% from 11.3 to 19.2 per 100,000 persons. The 2018 suicide rate was the highest in the last 20 years & is higher than the national rate (14.2 per 100,000 persons) which increased 35% during the same time period. In 2018, suicide was the 9th leading cause of death among all ages and the second leading cause of death following unintentional injuries for those age 15-34 years in Kansas. From 2016 to 2018, emergency department visit and hospitalization rates increased for suicide ideation-related injuries.