Category Archives: Kansas

Governor Kelly shows support for refugee resettlement in Kansas

 

Governor Laura Kelly joined a bipartisan group of governors in sending a letter to President Donald Trump to express her willingness to continue allowing refugees into Kansas communities.

 

The correspondence came in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13888, “On Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement.” The order directs the federal government to resettle refugees only in jurisdictions in which both the state and local governments have consented to receive them.

 

“Kansas has a long and proud history of welcoming the world’s refugees into our state,” Kelly said. “As Governor of Kansas, I not only consent to the initial refugee resettlement in Kansas as per the terms of the Executive Order, I also welcome them into our state.”

 

Kelly said that her administration is committed to working with President Trump’s administration to ensure that refugees are properly vetted and arrive in Kansas in a safe, orderly manner.

 

“Kansans are among the most welcoming, openhearted people in the nation,” Kelly said in the letter. “I know they’ll continue to accept these peaceful refugees into their communities, just as so many other states have done.”

 

Communities in Kansas already have, or are preparing to issue similar letters of support for refugees to be resettled locally.

 

A full copy of Governor Kelly’s letter to President Trump is attached.

Governor Laura Kelly Letter

Christmas Cash For Unclaimed Property

Kansas State Treasurer launches Christmas Cash website to encourage Unclaimed Property searches

Topeka—Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner today announced the beginning of their 2nd Annual Christmas Cash initiative with the launch of www.ChristmasCash.ks.gov. The website is a free search engine for Kansans to go online and find out if any of the $350-million in unclaimed property in the State treasury belongs to them. Last Christmas the website yielded over 40,000 searches and over $7-million dollars was returned to Kansans.

“We love putting this money back in people’s pockets, and what better time than Christmas for us to connect Kansans with a little extra cash,” said LaTurner. “Even if you’ve searched for yourself before and found nothing, search again. We get new property all the time, and would be thrilled to make the holidays a little brighter for you or someone you know.”

All searches on ChristmasCash.ks.gov are free and can be done for individuals and businesses. The State Treasurer’s office warns individuals to beware of anyone asking for a finder’s fee to return unclaimed property. Those types of solicitations are fraudulent and do not originate from the State Treasurer’s Office.

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Kansas Photo Contest Invites Youth to Enter

Happy Birthday, Kansas! Student Photo Contest Now Accepting Entries

Contest deadline is December 20, 2019

 

TOPEKA, KS—Third-grader Katherine Bartel of Wichita photographed James in the Pasture last year. Her photo showed a boy peering over a fence while cattle operations were in progress, the vivid blue sky with puffy clouds overhead. She received first place in her category in the Happy Birthday, Kansas! Student Photo Contest and won an iPad for her work. Katherine’s was one of 402 contest entries and she was among 24 students to receive awards.

 

Students are once again invited to enter their photographs in the Happy Birthday, Kansas! photo contest, and will be eligible for special prizes. This year’s theme is Going to School in Kansas. First place winners in each grade from first to 12th will receive iPads; second place awards in each grade are Kindles. These photographs from students across the state contribute to the pictorial history of Kansas. They will be preserved by the Kansas Historical Society.

 

  1. W. Halbe was an early 20th century student photographer who made a similar impact in his community. With a small box camera, the 15-year-old captured photos of Dorrance in Russell County and left a remarkable history, that continues to be preserved at the Kansas Historical Society. Today’s young photographers can make similar contributions by photographing people and places in their lives.

 

The contest deadline, for first through 12th grade students, is 5 p.m. Friday, December 20, 2019. Winners will be announced as part of the state’s 159th birthday commemoration at the Kansas State Capitol at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Find more information and a complete list of contest rules at happybirthdayks.org.

 

The contest is sponsored by the Kansas legislative spouses in conjunction with the Kansas Historical Society.

 

Find photographs from the Halbe collection online in Kansas Memory:

https://www.kansasmemory.org/locate.php?categories=4652

 

Find photographs of last year’s winners online at KSHS.ORG:

https://www.kshs.org/p/student-photo-contest-2018/20162

 

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Third meeting for the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform concludes

 

 

The third meeting for the bipartisan Governor’s Council on Tax Reform concluded this afternoon. The group, composed of experts, representatives and stakeholders, is performing an in-depth study of the state’s current tax system. Once their study is complete, the Council will make specific statutory recommendations to state lawmakers on tax reform in Kansas.

 

The one-day meeting began with a budget and consensus revenue estimates update, then moved into a public comment period. The council heard testimony from 11 interested groups and individuals, including the Kansas Association of Realtors, the Kansas Association of School Boards, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, KC Healthy Kids and others.

 

In the afternoon, representatives from the Kansas Department of Revenue gave presentations on Ad Valorem Property Tax and Global Intangible Low-taxed Income (GILTI) provisions under the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

 

Dr. Donna Ginther, professor of economics at the University of Kansas, then offered a history of the three-legged stool approach in Kansas. The three-legged stool refers to a sensible balance of income, sales and property tax revenue.

 

Following Dr. Ginther’s presentation, Council members participated in discussion regarding their initial tax reform policy thoughts and their expectations for December’s meeting.

 

Among other topics discussed by the Council:

 

  • Three co-equal, sturdy legs of tax revenue would cushion Kansas from recessionary pressures, such as the energy recession of the late 1980s.
  • Sales tax on food costs the average rural Kansas grocer close to $18,000 per year.
  • The property tax is the largest, single source of revenue in Kansas, generating $4.93 billion in levied tax from $36.57 billion of taxable value for calendar year 2018.

 

The next meeting of the Council has been set for Dec. 3-4, 2019. An interim report by the Council is planned for December 2019, in advance of the 2020 legislative session. A final report is due in December 2020, in advance of the 2021 legislative session.

 

For more on Governor Kelly’s executive order establishing the Council, its membership and presentation materials:

 

https://governor.kansas.gov/newsroom/council-on-tax-reform/

 

Student Photo Contest Accepting Entries

Happy Birthday, Kansas! Student Photo Contest Now Accepting Entries

Contest deadline is December 20, 2019

 

TOPEKA, KS—First-grader Addison Maxwell of Larned photographed his family’s wheat harvest last year, showing vivid blue skies and golden grains. He received first place in his category in the Happy Birthday, Kansas! Student Photo Contest and won an iPad for his work. Addison’s was one of 402 contest entries received and he was among 24 students to receive awards.

 

Students are once again invited to enter their photographs in the Happy Birthday, Kansas! photo contest, and will be eligible for special prizes. This year’s theme is Going to School in Kansas. First-place winners in each grade from first to 12th will receive iPads; second-place awards in each grade are Kindles. These photographs from students across the state contribute to the pictorial history of Kansas. They will be preserved by the Kansas Historical Society.

 

  1. W. Halbe was an early 20th century student photographer who made a similar impact in his community. With a small box camera, the 15-year-old captured photos of Dorrance in Russell County and left a remarkable history, that continues to be preserved at the Kansas Historical Society. Today’s young photographers can make similar contributions by photographing people and places in their lives.

 

The contest deadline, for first through 12th grade students, is 5 p.m. Friday, December 20, 2019. Winners will be announced as part of the state’s 159th birthday commemoration at the Kansas State Capitol on January 29, 2020. Find more information and a complete list of contest rules at happybirthdayks.org.

 

The contest is sponsored by the Kansas legislative spouses in conjunction with the Kansas Historical Society.

 

Find photographs from the Halbe collection online in Kansas Memory:

https://www.kansasmemory.org/locate.php?categories=4652

 

# # #

 

Connect with us!

Our website: kshs.org

Facebook: facebook.com/kansashistorical

Twitter: twitter.com/kansashistory

Instagram: instagram.com/kansas_history

Pinterest: pinterest.com/kansashistory

 

Water Conference: Sustainable Water Future and Flood Response

Governor’s Water Conference Focuses on a Sustainable Water Future and Flood Response

“Messages of Partnership and Collaboration with a Focus on Water Resources Delivered, Water Legacy Award” presented

 

Wichita, Kan. – Nearly 600 attendees with diverse water interests were encouraged at the Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas to keep pushing forward with implementation efforts for accomplishing state and regional priorities within the Long-Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas and incorporating it into the Kansas Water Plan to ensure our state’s water future.

 

“The State of Kansas remains focused on its goal of a sustainable water future,” said Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers. “During this past year serving as Lt. Governor I have met thousands of Kansans who are working each day to make a living and make Kansas a better place more prosperous place. It’s easy to see how having a ready supply of good quality water means a community or industry can develop and grow. It’s important for all Kansans to play a part in helping make progress on our water issues.”

 

Attendees heard updates on water resource statuses and continued implementation of the Vision as well as areas of concern throughout the state. Progress continues to be made through local, state and federal efforts to implement conservation practices to improve water quality and decrease reservoir sedimentation but much work still remains. To date almost 200 failing streambanks have been stabilized but nearly 700 still need to be addressed in priority watersheds. Reservoirs within Kansas continue to lose storage due to sedimentation. There are now 15 Water Technology Farms across the state demonstrating how producers can maintain their bottom line while reducing water use. More progress needs to be made to reduce water use as groundwater levels continue to fall in the Ogallala Aquifer.

 

Sustainable food production was the message attendees heard from Jill Wheeler head of Syngenta’s Sustainable Productivity in North America. She leads The Good Growth Plan, supporting Syngenta’s mission to improve the sustainability of agriculture and meet the challenge of feeding the world’s fast-growing population. “Sustainability drivers are opportunities that can be used on the farm. This means taking advantage of resources, increasing efficiency and improving profitability. Wheeler also posed the question, “What is the constant in agriculture?” to which she followed up by saying “It’s CHANGE.””

 

Meeting growing water supply needs is a common problem facing communities across the nation, and a critical component of the Vision in Kansas. Dr. Rollin Hotchkiss has conducted research in multiple aspects of managing reservoir sedimentation for more than 25 years as well as the economic impacts to decreasing supply. Hotchkiss said, “We need to propose solutions that are sustainable for sediment management and engage downstream stakeholders early in the conversation.”

 

“One important feature of our conference is to provide a perspective from outside our state from folks who are addressing similar water issues in other parts of the country and around the world,” said Kansas Water Office Acting Director Earl Lewis. “We were very pleased to have Wheeler and Hotchkiss as well as the Chief of USDA-NRCS, Matt Lohr join us today.”

 

The morning also featured the “Water Legacy Award” which was presented to Mike Hayden, who has epitomized what public service for water and natural resources stands for all across the state and country and help implement the modern water resource management funding and principles used today. Starting with his role as legislator to the 41st Governor of Kansas to Asst. Secretary of the Dept. of Interior for Fish Wildlife and Parks of the U.S. under the Bush administration to Secretary of Kansas Dept. of Wildlife Parks, he has spent decades leading many groundbreaking initiatives.

 

“The challenges ahead are greater than what we have faced in the past,” Hayden said. “There are many who say we needn’t take political risk, but you have to have vision, and you have to be willing to put your name on it to truly make a difference for the future.”

 

This year’s ‘Be the Vision’ award recipients were also honored for taking extraordinary measures to conserve, reuse or adopt better practices to help ensure the future of our state’s water resources. This year’s recipients were Garden City Company who has two Water Conservation Areas with about 15,000 acres enrolled using only about 62 percent of their water allocation and saving about 15,000 acre-feet of water for future use; Maize High School – Climate Club which was started by five high school students last year and has worked with the Kansas Biological Survey and KU faculty to help understand and monitor Cheney reservoir water quality as well as work to help address harmful blue-green algal toxins; and Public Wholesale Water Supply District No. 23 for bringing together 20 other entities who were struggling to negotiate annual terms of their water purchase contract to meet community needs. Ten years later PWWSD#23 became operational and the new plant was built this year. This has brought over $55 million dollars of USDA loan and grant funds into southeast Kansas for a sustainable water supply that will last for many generations to come.

The rest of the day continued with four panels highlighting different water topics.

 

Conference topics include:

  • Sustainability Across the Supply Chain
  • Flooding Impacts
  • Groundwater Quality/The Arbuckle
  • Reservoir Sediment Management

 

Tomorrow will build on Vision implementation and water management and policy discussions from the previous day with technical presentations, posters and talks. Graduate and undergraduate students will present their research.

 

The conference also features the Kansas Water Office Photo Contest. More than 100 photos were submitted to be voted on as the ‘people’s choice’ at the conference. The winner will be featured on the 2020 brochure, website and other locations throughout the coming year.

The Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas is hosted by the KWO and K-State /Kansas Water Resource Institute. Major sponsors for the event include 96 Agri Sales, Inc., Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock.

Governor’s Water Conference Starts Thursday

 

 

The eighth annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas will be Thursday, November 7 and Friday, November 8, 2019 at a new location, the Hyatt Regency in Wichita, Kansas.

 

Conference topics include:

  • Sustainability Across the Supply Chain
  • Flooding Impacts
  • Groundwater Quality
  • The Arbuckle
  • Reservoir Sediment Management

 

To view the brochure for a current list of speakers and panelists visit: www.kwo.ks.gov   

Some of the day one speakers include Jill Wheeler, head of Sustainable Productivity for Syngenta in North America; Matthew Lohr, Chief NRCS; Kim Dirks, Tyson Foods; Colonel Scott Preston, USACE Tulsa and more.

 

Day two will build on the water policy and vision implementation discussions from the previous day with technical presentation posters and talks. Graduate and undergraduate students will present their research.

 

The Water Legacy Award and Be the Vision recipients will be presented at the conference and the KWO Photo Contest will be a feature again this year.

 

This event is open to credentialed members of the media.  Please RSVP to the Kansas Water Office by phone (785) 296-3185 or email Katie Patterson-Ingels, Communications Director at katie.ingels@kwo.ks.gov.

 

The Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas is hosted by the KWO and K-State /Kansas Water Resource Institute. Major sponsors for the event include 96 Agri Sales, Inc., Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock.

Governor’s Water Conference is Next Week

 

 

WHO: Governor’s Administration, Kansas Water Office

WHAT: The Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas

WHEN: Thursday, November 7 and Friday, November 8

WHERE: NEW LOCATION – Hyatt Regency, 400 W Waterman Street, Wichita, KS

TIME: 8:30 a.m.

 

Information: The eighth annual Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas will address relevant and current water resource issues as well as the continued implementation of the Kansas Water Vision and integration into the Kansas Water Plan to ensure Kansas water needs are being met, now and in the future.

There will be keynotes the morning of Day 1 including Jill Wheeler, head of Sustainable Productivity for Syngenta in North America; Lt. Governor Rogers; Matthew Lohr, Chief NRCS; and Rollin Hotchkiss, BYU. There will be breakout sessions in the afternoon.

 

Topics include:

  • Sustainability Across the Supply Chain
  • Flooding Impacts
  • Groundwater Quality
  • The Arbuckle
  • Reservoir Sediment Management

 

The fourth Water Legacy Award will be presented at the conference Tuesday morning and ‘Be the Vision’ nominees will be recognized as well.

 

To view the brochure for a current list of speakers and panelists visit: www.kwo.ks.gov   

 

Day two will build on the water policy and vision implementation discussions from the previous day with technical presentation posters and talks. Graduate and undergraduate students will present their research posters.

 

This event is open to credentialed members of the media.  Please RSVP to the Kansas Water Office by phone (785) 296-3185 or email Katie Patterson-Ingels, Communications Director at katie.ingels@kwo.ks.gov.

 

The Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas is hosted by the KWO and K-State /Kansas Water Resource Institute. Major sponsors for the event include 96 Agri Sales, Inc., Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock.

Kansas Medicaid Expansion Continues

Second meeting for the Governor’s Council on Medicaid Expansion concludes

 

The second meeting for the Governor’s Council on Medicaid Expansion concluded this afternoon. The bipartisan group of policy experts, community leaders and stakeholders is studying Medicaid expansion from the 36 other states that have expanded to determine the best version for Kansas.

 

The meeting began with Cindy Mann, partner at Manatt Health, who presented information on the national overview of the Medicaid expansion population. The occupations with the largest number of workers covered by Medicaid are service workers such as cashiers, nurse and health aids and retail salespersons.

 

Hemi Tewarson, director at the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, gave a brief overview of Section 1332 waivers, the way they have been implemented in states and how they interact with Medicaid 1115 waivers.

 

The Council is tasked with identifying three to five guideposts or goals for responsible, sustainable expansion in Kansas. The Council will supplement the legislative work that is already underway.

 

The Governor’s Council on Medicaid Expansion’s next meeting is ­­­­Dec. 12.

KDOT is preparing for winter weather

 

Most people in the state are hoping for less snow this winter, but regardless of what Mother Nature has in store, the Kansas Department of Transportation has done its best to be prepared. Parts of Kansas have already received some snow, and more is expected this week.

Field employees have conducted snow and ice training during October, routine maintenance on vehicles and equipment has taken place and all KDOT storage facilities across the state are filled with a total of about 200,000 tons of salt and sand, according to KDOT Maintenance Bureau Chief Clay Adams.

“It’s important to review procedures like making salt brine, putting on tire chains and loading materials as well as basic snow and ice removal operations,” Adams said. “Whether it’s a harsh or mild winter, KDOT wants to be ready to go.”

KDOT uses salt brine in three ways.

“Spraying salt brine on bridge decks helps keep frost from forming on cold damp mornings,” Adams said. “Using salt brine to prewet salt as it’s being dispersed from the trucks can be very effective by putting a coating of brine around the salt, which helps the salt stick to the pavement and activates the salt so it can melt the ice. Treating roads with brine prior to a snowstorm will help prevent the snow from sticking to the pavement.”

Salt brine is not effective if it’s extremely cold, windy or predicted to be a dry snow. However, in specific situations, salt brine helps in the removal or reduction of snow and ice on highway surfaces and makes it easier to plow the snow, Adams said.

While KDOT crews are focused on their efforts to clear the highways, KDOT Director of Safety Catherine Patrick reminds motorists to never pass a snowplow on the right side, slow down and use caution. Numerous KDOT trucks have been struck by motorists in years’ past, which puts people in danger and takes trucks out of commission. In fact, in February, five snowplows were hit in the Kansas City metro area in less than 24 hours.

“Check the forecast before you leave if there’s inclement weather. And when you see our crews out there working, please give them plenty of room,” Patrick said. “We’ll be out there day and night treating the highways and working to clear the roads as quickly as possible.”

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Contact Utility Companies If Past-Due On Bills

The Cold Weather Rule takes effect November 1

TOPEKA – The Cold Weather Rule, designed to help Kansans who are behind on their utility payments avoid disconnection during the winter months, will begin on November 1 and remain in effect through March 31.

The Kansas Corporation Commission, the agency that regulates public utilities in the state, encourages Kansans who are past-due on their utility bills and at risk for disconnection to prepare for the colder weather by contacting their utility company to make the necessary payment arrangements.

The Cold Weather Rule was first enacted by the Commission in 1983 to prevent utility companies from disconnecting a customer’s natural gas or electric service during periods of extreme cold. Utility companies are prohibited from disconnecting a customer’s service when temperatures are forecast to be at or below 35 degrees within the following 48 hour period.

The Cold Weather Rule also requires utility companies to offer a 12-month payment plan to allow consumers to maintain or re-establish service. Any residential customer with a past due balance will qualify for payment arrangements; however, it is the customer’s responsibility to contact their gas or electric company to make those arrangements.

Payment plan terms to maintain or restore service require that customers agree to pay 1/12th of the total amount owed, 1/12th of the current bill, the full amount of any disconnection or reconnection fee, plus any applicable deposit to the utility. The remaining balance must be paid in equal payments over the next 11 months, in addition to the current monthly bill.

The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric and natural gas utility companies under the KCC’s jurisdiction. More information about the Cold Weather Rule is available on the Commission’s website (http://www.kcc.ks.gov/consumer-information/cold-weather-rule). Kansans may also contact their local utility company or the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at (800) 662-0027.

Specialty Crop Reimbursement Available

KDA Offers Reimbursement to Specialty Crop Growers

 

MANHATTAN, Kan. —  The Kansas Department of Agriculture has funds available for reimbursement to Kansas specialty crop growers who attend an educational conference with a primary focus on specialty crops. Qualifying conferences may include sessions about production practices, specialized equipment and technology, pest and disease management, specialty crop marketing practices, or business principles for specialty crop producers.

 

Applicants who apply for the reimbursement will be required to attend the conference and to complete surveys before, immediately after, and six months post-conference prior to payment being issued. Conferences not eligible will include those within the state of Kansas and the Great Plains Growers Conference. KDA will reimburse Kansas specialty crop growers up to $850 each in order to offset the cost of their conference registration, mileage/flights, hotel, meals, etc. The award is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for application is December 15, 2019.

 

Examples of conferences that may be eligible for applicants to attend include, but are not limited to:

  • North American Strawberry Growers Association Conference; January 19-22, 2020; San Antonio, Texas
  • North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association Conference; March 3-6, 2020; St. Louis, Missouri
  • Great Lakes Expo Fruit, Vegetable, & Farm Market Conference; December 10-12, 2019; Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention; February 28-30, 2020; Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference; January 9-12, 2020; Savannah, Georgia

This program is made possible by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG). The SCBG makes funds available to state departments of agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. According to USDA, specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.”

 

This grant fits KDA’s mission to provide an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy. For application details, go to the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/grants. Questions should be directed to Lexi Wright, From the Land of Kansas Program Coordinator, at 785-564-6755 or lexi.wright@ks.gov.