Category Archives: Kansas

New Interpretive Signs Greet Kansas Byway Travelers

TOPEKA – Travelers on the 12 scenic or historic byways in Kansas will enjoy their trips even more this year thanks to new or upgraded interpretive signs at 39 locations across the state. Kansas Byways are a collection of routes that highlight the beauty, history and heritage of Kansas; help stimulate the economy through tourism; and promote a positive image of the state.


The Kansas Byways program is jointly managed by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the Kansas Historical Society (KHS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Nine of the routes are scenic byways (two of which are national scenic byways) and three are historic byways.


The latest $1.44 million project included construction of five new kiosks housing interpretive panels, the rehabilitation of 12 existing kiosks and their signs, 26 interpretive signage plazas and 12 Kansas Byway welcome boards which will guide travelers to the byways as they travel the state. In all, 142 panel surfaces were produced.


KDOT and KDWPT received a $220,000 National Scenic Byway grant from the FHWA in 2010 to develop the Kansas Byways Interpretive Plan. KDOT and KDWPT evenly split the required 20 percent match of $44,000. Fermata, Inc. of Austin, Tex., was awarded the contract for the plan, which served as the basis for the signage project.


In 2014, KDWPT received a two-phase Transportation Alternative Grant from the FHWA which was administered through KDOT for design and construction. RDG Planning and Design, Omaha, Neb., was responsible for the design phase ($235,560). GSR Construction, Inc., Lawrence, served as general contractor ($986,168) for the construction phase. KDWPT paid the required 20 percent match for each phase.

“The project is the result of a huge partnership, and we want to thank our partners in this effort,” said Scott Shields, KDOT Byways Manager. “They include the National Scenic Byway Program, the FHWA, local byway committees, KDOT and KDWPT staff, local Kansas Byway cities and counties and the KHS.”

Members of the local byway committees appreciate the enhancements to their byways.

“The kiosk and new interpretive signage add so much to the history and understanding of the surrounding area for tourists to stop and read,” said Kaye Kuhn, Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, south central Kansas.


Jayne Humphrey Pearce added, “The Western Vistas Historic Byway Steering Committee is delighted that these new features are now available to those exploring our byway.”

For information about exploring the Kansas Byways, visit

Kansas Faces Demographic Changes

KDHE Publishes 2017 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics

The report may suggest Kansas is facing demographic changes.


TOPEKA –  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has posted the Kansas Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, 2017 online at The annual report may suggest Kansas is facing demographic changes.


“The Annual Summary of Vital Statistics summarizes key demographic and health information gathered from vital event records registered in 2017,” said Lou Saadi, State Registrar and Director Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics. “Since the data collected represents the entire population of the State, it serves as an excellent source for policy makers, program managers and the public to assess and study the health of Kansans.”


The report documents:

  • slowing population growth and an aging population
  • continuing declines in the number and rate of births
  • total fertility rates below the replacement rate
  • decreases in the rate of natural increase,
  • decreases in marriage rates
  • decreases in teen pregnancy


Other trends being noted for 2017 included:

  • homicides in the state increased by 21 percent
  • suicides increased by 6.3 percent
  • unintentional injuries increased by 7.2 percent


Kansas’s total population as of July 1, 2017 was estimated at 2,913,123, an increase of 5,834 (0.2%) from the estimate of Kansas’s total population as of July 1, 2016 (2,907,289) released in 2017. The median age of Kansans in 2017 was 36.6 years, a 4.0 percent increase from the median age of 35.2 in 1998. The median ages for men and women were 35.4 and 37.9, respectively.


There were 36,464 live births to Kansas resident mothers in 2017. The most recent year with fewer live births was 1976, when there were 35,278 live births. The birth rate in 2017 was 12.5 births per 1,000 population, the lowest rate since Kansas began statewide recording of vital events in 1912.


The 2017 birth rate of 12.5 births per 1,000 population is the lowest birth rate on record. The rate is part of a birth rate decrease that began in 2008.


One element of the decline in childbearing in recent years is due to factors generally considered desirable: teen pregnancy rates have declined from 32.4 pregnancies per 1,000 young women in the 10-19 age-group in 1998 to 12.7 per 1,000 in 2017.


In 2017, the state’s rate of natural increase was 3.3 persons per 1,000 population, a decrease of 19.5 percent from 4.1 per 1,000 population in 2016, and the lowest rate of natural increase in the past twenty years. The rate of natural increase is the birth rate minus the death rate.  A negative value for rate of natural increase would mean the insufficient births are occurring to replace the number of people dying in the state. Over the past 20 years (1998-2017), the rate of natural increase has fluctuated between a maximum of 6.3 persons per 1,000 population (2007) and a minimum of 3.3 persons per 1,000 population (2017).


The Kansas total fertility rate (TFR) in 2017 was 2,053 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. The Kansas TFR has been below the replacement rate of 2,100 for each of the last five years. Total fertility rate is the number of children who would be born per 1,000 women if women were to pass through the childbearing years bearing children according to the current distribution of age-specific fertility rates.


Deaths in Kansas, 26,725, represented a 2.3% increase from the 26,129 deaths in 2016. Increases in 2017 over 2016 were noted for selected causes:

  • Suicide, 512 in 2016 to 544 in 2017, up 6.3 percent;
  • Homicide, 148 in 2016 to 179 in 2017, up 21.0 percent;
  • Unintentional Injury, 1,468 in 2016 to 1,573 in 2017, up 7.2 percent.


Heart disease with 5,636 deaths was the leading cause of death in 2017, followed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, and stroke.


In 2017, 17,274 marriages occurred in Kansas, a decrease of 3.8 percent from the 2016 total of 17,948 marriages. The Kansas marriage rate in 2017 was 5.9 marriages per 1,000 population. This rate was 4.8 percent lower than the 6.2 marriages per 1,000 population recorded in 2016, and was the lowest rate recorded for the state of Kansas in the last twenty years (1998–2017). For the entire period, Kansas marriage rates have been lower than U.S. marriage rates.


The annual summary does not attempt to determine causes for these trends, as it is a summary of events recorded by the KDHE Office of Vital Statistics. Factors impacting the state’s demography can not be discerned from vital event records.


Kansas Information for Communities in a query tool the public can use to look at specific birth and death outcomes and prepare statistics.  The web location is

State Poetry and Art Contest

Kansas Department of Commerce Announces the National Career Development Poetry & Art Contest


The Kansas Department of Commerce is partnering with the National Career Development Association (NCDA) to participate in the 53rd NCDA Annual Poetry and Art Contest.

The contest theme is “Using Careers to Break Barriers, Empower Lives & Achieve Equity.”

The National Career Development Association promotes career development through its annual celebration of National Career Development Month. Every November, career development professionals are encouraged to celebrate with career related activities including the annual Poetry and Art Contest.

Entries will be judged on how they celebrate and inspire career development with a positive tone while emphasizing the national theme.


Every adult and student enrolled in school is eligible, as well as adult practitioners who are not in school. Contest divisions areas include:

o    Primary – grades K-2

o    Intermediate – grades 3-5

o    Middle – grades 6-8

o    Senior – grades 9-12

o    Adult Student – ages 18 and older, enrolled in school

o    Open Adult – ages 18 and older (student teachers, parents, professionals, etc.)


Poetic Form: Acceptable poetic forms, e.g. cinquain, free verse, diamante, haiku, limerick, metered, rhyming, blank verse

Size: Submit each poem on a single sheet of paper 8.5″ x 11″ in 12-point font.



Lettering: Simple bold lettering is preferred. Captions are to be used to convey the theme, attract attention, and to achieve goals of clarity, vigor and originality. All lettering will be considered part of the design.



Category 1 (C1): Standard use of ink, pencil, poster paints, magic marker, acrylics, and oils.

Category 2 (C2): Use of photos, clipart, graphic art software, collage, cut and pasted paper, and mixed media.

Size: All art must be created in 8.5″ x 11″ format, including matte, to be eligible.


All state award winners will be notified and sent to NCDA by Feb. 20, 2019

The winning entries for each division will be recognized on the NCDA website in May 2019 and displayed at the Annual Global Career Development Conference in June. National winners will also receive a special certificate and a congratulatory gift from the NCDA


Please submit any entries to by January 14, 2019

Submissions may also be sent by mail to:

Kansas Department of Commerce, Poetry and Art Contest

1000 SW Jackson St., Suite 100, Topeka, Kansas 66612


Collins Begins Political Career

Ken Collins, 102 E. First St., Mulberry,  is the newly elected  Second District Kansas State House of Representative.

“The district covers most of Crawford County, except Pittsburg, and the eastern edges of Neosho and Allen Counties along with the western edge of Bourbon County including Bronson and Uniontown,” Collins said.

Collins has been transitioning from citizen to a representative since being elected in November.

Orientation began last Sunday with social events and meetings.

Election of House leadership positions took place this week, Collins said.

He will be in his Topeka apartment at the beginning of January, he said.

“But I plan to come back home most weekends. It is important to me to not lose touch with the people of the district,” he said.

Constituents may contact Collins at his cell phone number,620-240-0778 or personal email

“I will also have an official email address that will be available on the website,” Collins said.

“I hope to have regular updates and I plan to continue the Facebook page that I  established during the campaign. It can be accessed on Facebook by searching for @kansasdistrict2.”

His priority is to see that US HWY 69 continues to be upgraded to four lanes all the way to the south of the Arma/Franklin bypass, he said.

Kansas Tax Collections Up

Fiscal year tax collections exceed previous year by $221.20 million



TOPEKA—Fiscal year tax collections have exceeded previous year’s totals by $221.20 million according to data from the latest revenue report released Monday.


Fiscal year 2019 tax collections so far total $2.70 billion, exceeding estimates by $2.74 million.


November tax collections were up $38.60 million, or 8.41 percent over last year. November’s tax collections exceeded expectations for the month by $2.74 million.


Individual income tax collections in November totaled $235.02 million which is $27.40 million or 13.20 percent above the same time last year. November sales tax collections fell slightly short of last November’s collections by $115,000.


State Offices Closed Dec. 5: Day of Mourning For President Bush

Governor Colyer Issues Executive Order Closing State Offices Wednesday to Observe a Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush


Topeka- Governor Jeff Colyer today issued the following Executive Order following the death of President George H.W. Bush:



Day of Mourning for President George H. W. Bush 

WHEREAS, as the 41st President of the United States, former President George H. W. Bush was a dedicated statesman who led our country through a time of change following the Cold War; and


WHEREAS, President Bush’s courage, dedication and leadership were evident throughout his lifetime of public service in many different roles, including serving with distinction in the United State Navy, as a delegate to the United Nations, envoy to China and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency prior to being elected President; and


WHEREAS, President Trump has declared Wednesday, December 5, 2018 a National Day of Mourning for President Bush; and


WHEREAS, State of Kansas offices were closed to mourn the deaths of other Presidents; including Presidents Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Johnson, Reagan and Ford.


NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Kansas, I hereby designate Wednesday, December 5, 2018 as a legal holiday in observance of the National day of Mourning for President George H. W. Bush and order that State of Kansas offices are to be closed in observance of the holiday.


This document shall be filed with the Secretary of State as Executive Order No. 18-20 and shall become effective immediately.


Flags At Half-Staff For President Bush

Governor Jeff Colyer Orders Flags to be Flown at Half-Staff Honoring Former President George H.W. Bush


Topeka – In accordance with Executive Order 10-12, and following the proclamation of President Donald J. Trump, Governor Jeff Colyer has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff immediately for 30 days due to the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

“I was saddened to hear last night of the passing of President George H.W. Bush, whom I had the privilege to serve under as a White House fellow. His hard work and dedication over decades of public service was matched only by his love and devotion to his wife Barbara and his children. His contributions at every level of his personal and political life have truly made our country and our world a better place. My prayers are with the Bush family during their time of grieving.”


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

Winter Storm State of Emergency


Gov. Jeff Colyer MD has issued a State of Disaster Emergency declaration Sunday morning for the state in response to the winter storm currently moving across Kansas. The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties.

“Here in Kansas we make it a priority to take care of our neighbors,” said Colyer.  “We strongly recommend that you postpone travel plans, if possible, however, if you must be on the road, make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is stocked, your gas tank is full and your cell phone and charger are with you and someone knows your travel plans.  Also, be mindful of all emergency response personnel out on Kansas roadways and give them space to do their jobs to ensure their safety and that of our citizens.”

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management has activated the State Emergency Operations center in Topeka to a partial level, to monitor the weather and coordinate any state emergency response operations that might be requested.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has reported multiple road closures due to visibility including I-70 eastbound and westbound from Salina to WaKeeney.  For an updated list of road conditions go to the Kansas Department of Transportation web site at Winter road conditions are accessible by dialing 5-1-1 from your mobile phone anywhere in Kansas; outside Kansas call 1-866-511-5368 (KDOT).

KDEM has been receiving reports of vehicles getting stuck in the snow and those individuals leaving their vehicles and walking in the storm.  The safest place for travelers is to remain in their vehicle.  Do not get out of your vehicle and walk because road crews may not see you due to visibility issues.  Stay in your vehicle, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear and not clogged with snow or ice debris or you run the risk of filling your vehicle is carbon monoxide.  Run your car sparingly while you are waiting on help.  Keep the window cracked.  If you are stuck in the snow call the Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.

The Kansas National Guard has Stranded Motorists Assistance Response Teams in nine locations throughout the state.  The SMART teams, which consist of two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWVs) and four Guardsmen, are assisting local law enforcement with patrolling impacted roads and assisting with stranded motorists.

Westar Energy and Midwest Energy are reporting power outages across multiple counties in the western and northeastern portions of the state. Restoration time for these outages is unknown.

Gusting winds with blizzard like and whiteout conditions are causing extremely hazardous traveling conditions.  Travel is discouraged.  If you must travel use caution and make sure your car has a full tank of gas and an emergency kit in your trunk.

A vehicle emergency kit should consist of

  • An ice scraper and shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Extra blankets or clothing
  • Non-perishable food
  • A first aid kit
  • Matches and candles or flares
  • Tow rope or chain

On the road, remember the following:

  • Allow extra time for delays and slower traffic speeds.
  • Buckle up and properly secure children in safety seats.
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Ice and snow significantly increase your stopping distance.
  • Accelerate and brake gently. A light foot on the gas is less likely to make wheels spin on ice and snow. Braking is best accomplished by pumping the pedal. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system, it is very important that you understand how to use it. Read the owner’s manual or check with a dealership for more information, and practice using it correctly.
  • Make turns slowly and gradually, especially in heavily traveled areas (e.g. intersections that may be icy from snow that melted and refroze).
  • Visibility is very important. You must be able to see out, and other drivers must be able to see your vehicle. Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights. Use headlights as necessary.
  • If your car loses traction and begins to slide, steer into the swerve, or in the direction you want to go. Anticipate a second skid in the opposite direction as the car straightens out.

If you are stranded in a winter storm, do not panic. Stay in the vehicle, keep fresh air circulating through a downwind window, run the motor sparingly, turn on the dome light, and stimulate circulation and stay awake by moving arms and legs. If you leave the car, work slowly in the snow to avoid over-exertion and the risk of a heart attack. If you have a cell phone, call a Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.

Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at

Outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to bitter cold and extreme wind chills. Bring outdoor pets inside if possible or ensure that they have a draft-free enclosure with straw-type bedding that is large enough for your pets to lie down, but small enough to hold in body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.

For general winter preparedness information, go to

Keep your family safe by making sure you have your emergency supplies up-to-date, including a safe alternative heat source.  Kerosene heaters are generally safe when used properly and a fireplace can provide some warmth, provided it is drawing properly. Never attempt to use a charcoal grill as a heat source. Charcoal generates carbon monoxide, which can be deadly in enclosed spaces.

In the event of power outages check on your neighbors to make sure they are all right, particularly older neighbors.

After the storm, when shoveling snow dress in layers. Use many thin, warm layers rather than a few thick layers.  Be smart as you work. Don’t over-exert yourself and take frequent warming breaks. Work as a team or at least have someone inside to keep an eye on you as you work.

Outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to bitter cold and extreme wind chills. Bring outdoor pets inside if possible or ensure that they have a draft-free enclosure with straw type bedding that is large enough to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold their body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.

For additional pet safety information, go to or

For a complete list of items for an emergency kit, go to


Tip For Little Kitchen Helpers

Make Safety a Tradition in Your Holiday Kitchen

Safe Kids Kansas offers kitchen safety tips for your little helpers

TOPEKA – For many families, the holiday season includes cooking or baking traditional foods in the kitchen. With a few simple safety steps, children can join in the fun and make memories for a lifetime.

“When kids are in the kitchen, supervision is key,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas (sponsored in part by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment). “Whether helping an adult cook or simply watching, children should always be in sight and in reach at all times. If you will be busy with preparations, ask another adult or teenager to watch the children as they perform age-appropriate tasks.”

Burns—from spills, steam, hot surfaces and flame—can be especially devastating injuries. Because young children have thinner skin than adults, they burn more severely and at lower temperatures. Scald burns from hot liquid or steam are the most common type of burns among children ages 4 and under. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water.

Safe Kids Kansas recommends these precautions against kitchen burns:

  • Keep children within eyesight of a hot stove. Unattended food on the stove is the number one cause of home fires.
  • Never hold a child while cooking or carrying hot items.
  • Cook on back burners whenever possible and turn all handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Wear close-fitting clothing in the kitchen.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Be especially careful around tablecloths—children can pull hot dishes down onto themselves.
  • Tie up the electrical cords of small appliances. A toddler playing with a dangling cord can pull a toaster or microwave down from a countertop.

In addition to hot surfaces, hot liquids and sharp objects, the other major hazard in the kitchen is poison. Store potential hazards, such as cleaning products and alcohol (including many baking extracts), in locked cabinets out of reach. Also, install a carbon monoxide detector to alert everyone to get out of the house if there is a buildup of the odorless toxic gas given off by fuel-burning appliances.

Children who can follow directions may be ready to help in the kitchen with tasks that do not involve knives, appliances or heat. Some examples of child-friendly tasks include: tearing lettuce, rinsing fruits and vegetables under cold water, stirring ingredients in a bowl, using cookie cutters, measuring dry ingredients or cutting soft fruits with a butter knife.

“You know your own children. Don’t give them knives or let them handle anything hot until you know they have the maturity and coordination to do it safely,” said Sage. “Some children mature faster than others, so it’s up to parents to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities.”

For more information about safety and burn prevention, visit


About Safe Kids Kansas

Safe Kids Kansas works to prevent childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children. Safe Kids Kansas is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing injuries in children. Coalition members include over 70 statewide organizations, agencies and businesses and a network of local coalitions across the state. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment serves as the lead agency for the coalition. Visit us at and on Facebook.

About the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

The KDHE is the State agency that oversees the divisions of Environment, Public Health and Health Care Finance, which includes the Kansas Medicaid program known as KanCare. The agency of more than 1,000 employees seeks to protect and improve the health and environment of all Kansans. Visit us at, on Facebook and Twitter.

This information can be made available in alternative accessible formats upon request. For more information about obtaining an alternative format, you may contact Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-1223, or Both speech/hearing disabled and hearing Kansans can access the Kansas Relay Center by calling toll-free 1-800-766-3777. Callers should inform the relay operator of the number they wish to call and the type of call they are making direct, credit card, collect, person-to-person, etc.

Protect and Improve the Health and Environment of all Kansans

Broadband Test Results In Kansas: Challenging The FCC

Governor’s Office Challenges FCC Mobility Fund Phase II Eligibility Map

Test Results Could Mean More Funding for LTE Service Buildout in Kansas


Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. announced that his office has successfully challenged the Federal Communication Commission’s Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) Eligibility Map, which the Commission will soon use to determine areas that will be eligible for funding for mobile LTE broadband service buildout in unserved areas.  Unlike surrounding states, Kansas was originally slated to receive almost no funding from the MF-II program unless the initial eligibility map could be challenged.  The map below indicates the areas that were initially deemed eligible for MF-II support (shaded in blue), based on coverage data reported by the nation’s mobile service providers.

Thanks to a $225,000 grant from the Information Network of Kansas (“INK”) Board of Directors, the Governor’s Office was able to partner with non-profit Connected Nation to conduct professional drive testing of mobile network coverage across the state.  Between the months of June and September, Connected Nation staff covered 15,620 road miles to conduct tests across parts of 56 Kansas counties (Allen, Anderson, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Clark, Comanche, Crawford, Decatur, Ellsworth, Ford, Geary, Graham, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Jackson, Jewell, Johnson, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Linn, Logan, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Mitchell, Morton, Nemaha, Neosho, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Riley, Rooks, Russell, Saline, Seward, Shawnee, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Wallace, and Wichita).  The areas tested were chosen based on analysis of areas that were reported to be served by no more than two mobile carriers—areas deemed most likely to be unserved.


Of the 187,397 tests that were conducted, 119,994 failed (64.03%)—meaning that the tests indicated less than 5 Mbps of mobile data service, or no service at all, in areas that the carriers had reported to be served.  The Governor’s Office was then able to use the testing data to challenge 13,158.63 square kilometers of the MF-II Eligibility Map—or 5,080.58 square miles—an area slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut.  While the challenge data submitted is still subject to review and adjudication by the FCC, it is now possible that a significant portion of the state of Kansas will be opened up for MF-II funding support—meaning many rural Kansans could finally see their mobile services improve.


The map below shows individual speed tests conducted in Jewell County. Red dots indicate failed tests, while green dots show passing tests.

“Mobile broadband service has become an essential tool in the daily lives of all Kansans, regardless of where they live, and it is quickly becoming a necessary resource for agriculture as well,” said Governor Colyer.  “I have driven all across this state, and I know how poor mobile coverage can be in some areas.  That’s why I was shocked to see that the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase II eligibility map showed almost zero eligibility for funding in Kansas.  I knew we had to do something.  With support from the INK Board and our partners at Connected Nation, we did—and now there is a great chance that we’ll see large swaths of service buildout in rural parts of the state.”


The map below indicates all of the one square kilometer grid cells that were challenged within Kansas:




It is important to note that the Governor’s Office’s MF-II challenge will be supplemented by testing conducted by Kansas Farm Bureau, which received a waiver from the FCC to file its own challenge.  Kansas Farm Bureau has been working aggressively over the same period in collaboration with its membership to conduct thousands of mobile speed tests across the state—the results of which will be announced later this month.  To participate, or to learn more about Kansas Farm Bureau’s efforts, visit  All MF-II challenge data must be submitted no later than November 26.

November is National Adoption Month

Adopted Teen Shares Her Story at Adoption Celebration


TOPEKA – Kimberly Allen-Thompson spent most of her life in foster care, aging out of the system. But, that wasn’t the end of Kimberly’s story because at age 18, she was adopted by her forever family, the Thompson’s.

The Thompson’s had adopted Kimberly’s younger siblings, and while she was already legally an adult, she chose to become adopted and have a family to turn to, no matter what.

Kimberly and the Thompson’s were present at the 42nd Annual Governor’s Conference in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Adoption Month Reception on Nov. 8, to share their story about adoption and kick-off National Adoption Month with Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and Kansas Children Service League (KCSL) staff.

Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D., signed a proclamation on Monday, Oct. 22, designating November as Adoption Month. Throughout the month, DCF, and its contractors and community partners are taking part in a series of events to call attention to the need for more adoptive and foster families. Currently, there are approximately 500 children available for adoption in Kansas. Of those 500 youth available, 125 are 15 years or older. In FY 2018, 766 children were adopted from foster care.

Helping youth achieve timely permanency has been a focus for DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel. Recently, DCF met internally and with contractors to identify and remove policies that were serving as a barrier to timely permanency. DCF also reviewed all cases where a youth was awaiting adoption and created working plans to safely finalize as many adoptions as possible in 30, 60 and 90 days. As a result of the many initiatives to streamline the adoption process, DCF anticipates finalizing approximately 1,500 adoptions in FY 19, double the number of adoptions from the previous fiscal year.

“When I arrived at the agency, remedying the adoption process was one of my top initiatives because timely permanency is vitally important for the child and the family. In my 25 plus years in child welfare, I have seen thousands of adoptions finalized, and each story and each family is unique,” said Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel. “But at the end of the day, each adoption finalized means a youth found their forever family.”

DCF’s contracted service providers and several courts around the state will celebrate National Adoption Day on Nov. 17, when many adoptions across the state will be finalized. As the final step of the adoption process, these events are often emotional culminations of months of effort. Media are invited to the following adoption finalizations:

  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Shawnee County Courthouse, Topeka, 8:30 a.m. – Approximately 35 children’s adoptions will be finalized, KVC Kansas
  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Johnson County Courthouse, Olathe, 9 a.m. – Approximately 19 children’s adoptions will be finalized, KVC Kansas

DCF also encouraged faith organizations to educate their members about adoption on Adoption Sunday, Nov.12.

To learn more about children who are currently available for adoption, visit or call 877-457-5430. On the website, you can view photos and read profiles of each child available for adoption.


Left (left to right): Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel listens as Kimberly Allen-Thompson shares her adoption story and talks about her journey through the foster care system.



Safeguard Antibiotics

State of Kansas Asks Residents to Help Safeguard Antibiotics

Kansas ranked among the highest nationally, total number of antibiotic prescriptions


TOPEKA – Since 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized a threat to antibiotic resistance and has begun working with many partners across the state and nation to safeguard the effectiveness of antibiotics. In an effort to promote awareness of this important initiative, Governor Jeff Colyer has designated Nov. 12-18 Use Antibiotics Wisely Week.


Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Chief Health Officer, Dr. Greg Lakin, says health professionals, patients and their loved ones need to be informed and only prescribe or use antibiotics when appropriate.


“The general public, health care providers, health care facility administrators, veterinarians, food producers and policy makers can all play a part in ensuring that antibiotics are only used when truly needed and likely to be effective,” Dr. Lakin said.


In Kansas, a broad range of individuals, professionals and organizations are working together to adopt best practices to help stem the inappropriate use of antibiotics. A statewide advisory group is assisting KDHE in spearheading this effort.


According to data from the CDC, the total number of antibiotic prescriptions written in Kansas ranked among the highest nationally. In 2015, more than 900 antibiotic prescriptions were written per 1,000 individuals statewide.


Antibiotic awareness does not mean stopping the use of antibiotics; it means changing the way antibiotics are prescribed and used today—when necessary and appropriate.


Since the 1940s, antibiotics have been used to treat patients who have bacterial infections, greatly reducing the number of related illnesses and deaths. But now, more than 75 years later, antibiotics have been overused and misused to the point that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective, according to the CDC.


The CDC finds that more than one-third of all antibiotics prescribed or otherwise used in the United States are either unnecessary or the antibiotic does not match the germ. Antibiotics are not needed for viruses, such as colds, most sore throats and many sinus infections.


Especially during the cold and flu season when viruses are prevalent, the public can do its part by recognizing that antibiotics are likely not the right medicine. Antibiotics can fight infections and save lives when used to fight the right germ, at the right time and for the right duration.


More than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and each year, at least 23,000 people die as a result. If drug-resistant germs keep growing, and if we lose the effectiveness of antibiotics, we may also lose our ability to treat patients who need them.


Here are ways you can help:

  • Do not request that your doctor prescribe antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics may have side effects. When your doctor says that you do not need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.
  • Only take antibiotics that are prescribed for you and take the whole course as directed. Do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.


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