Category Archives: Kansas

Governor praises NBAF operations transfer to USDA

 

 

 

Governor Laura Kelly praised federal officials for taking an important step toward transitioning operations of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) from New York to Manhattan, Kan.

 

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday signed a memorandum of agreement that formally outlines how the two departments will transfer ownership and operational responsibility for the NBAF from DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate to the USDA.

 

Under the terms of the memorandum, DHS retains responsibility for completing construction and commissioning of the $1.25 billion facility, while the USDA will assume responsibility for all operational planning and eventual operation of the facility. DHS’ efforts are on schedule and on budget to complete construction in December 2020 and to complete commissioning in May 2021, when ownership of NBAF will be formally transferred to the USDA.

 

“We’re grateful to the Trump administration and our congressional delegation from Kansas for their support of this important project,” Governor Kelly said. “NBAF will help protect the nation’s food supply for many years to come, while also providing an economic boost to the animal-science corridor and entire Kansas economy through private animal-health firms and others involved in research at the site.”

 

The state-of-the-art NBAF facility in Manhattan will replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. The Kansas site strategically places it near the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, providing access to important veterinary, agricultural and biosecurity research and expertise.

 

The facility will be the only one of its kind in the United States. NBAF will provide scientists unique access to high consequence pathogens that affect large livestock, as well as enhanced diagnostic capabilities that will speed up the response time to threats that harm the nation’s food supply. As the only biosafety level-4 large livestock research and diagnostic laboratory in the nation, NBAF seeks to protect the nation’s agriculture and public health by understanding and developing vaccines for zoonotic (animal-to-human) and high consequence foreign animal diseases.

 

“The mission of the Kansas Department of Agriculture includes protecting animal health, promoting public health and safety, and ensuring a safe food supply,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam said. “NBAF will provide fundamental research ensuring livestock, food and fiber industries in Kansas remain secure.”

 

The agriculture industry impacts the state’s economy more than any other sector, accounting for more than $63 billion to the Kansas economy each year. In an economy that relies heavily on the agriculture industry, innovative research is imperative for future progress and security.

U.S. 69 expansion in Bourbon County celebrated June 24

 

 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the U.S. 69 expansion in Bourbon County will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 24, at the Cherry Grove Baptist Church south of Fort Scott. The church is on the east side of the U.S. 69 and Cavalry Road intersection.

 

Governor Laura Kelly, Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz and Highway 69 Association President Ken Brock will speak prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Blake Benson of the Highway 69 Association is master of ceremonies.

 

Construction on U.S. 69 began in the spring of 2017. The project, part of the T-WORKS transportation program, expanded six miles of the highway to a four-lane upgradable expressway from south of Fort Scott to the Bourbon-Crawford county line.

 

The event is open to the public.

Governor announces Council on Tax Reform co-chairs

 

 

Honoring her promise to pursue commonsense, bipartisan reform of the Kansas tax code, Governor Laura Kelly today announced the appointment of two former state senators to serve as co-chairs of the new Governor’s Council on Tax Reform.

 

Kelly selected Steve Morris of Hugoton and Janis Lee of Kensington to lead the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform, charged with thorough review of the state’s tax code and recommendations for a more fiscally responsible and fair tax structure.

 

Morris, a moderate Republican, served 20 years in the Kansas Senate, including eight years as Senate president. During Lee’s 22 years in the state Senate, she was a longtime ranking Democrat on the Senate Tax Committee. She also is a former chief hearing officer for the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals.

 

Kelly served with Morris and Lee in the state Senate, and said their experience and bipartisan approach would be instrumental as the new Council on Tax Reform moves forward in pursuit of sound tax policy.

 

“The people of Kansas elected me to bring fiscally conservative and responsible principles back to our government,” Kelly said. “To that end, I expect the Council on Tax Reform to thoughtfully evaluate tax policy and recommend prudent, sustainable changes for the future.

 

“I know Steve and Janis share my desire to keep the state tax burden as low as possible. They also understand how important it is to ensure that our tax code supports public investment in areas such as education, public safety and infrastructure needed to help Kansas prosper.

 

“While it’s necessary to proceed with caution due to economic uncertainty, it’s also time to begin the conversation on tax reform that’s beneficial for families and businesses alike,” the governor said.  “We can and should build a sensible tax system that benefits Kansans who need it most, and ultimately all Kansans.”

 

Kelly plans to issue an executive order establishing and announcing the full membership of the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform, and detailing the full scope of work involved in the coming weeks.

KDOT requesting comments on STIP amendment

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) requests comments on an amendment to the FFY 2019-2022 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) document.

The STIP is a project specific publication that lists all KDOT administered projects, regardless of funding source, and includes projects for counties and cities as well as projects on the State Highway System. The list of projects being amended to the STIP can be viewed at http://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burProgProjMgmt/stip/stip.asp

The approval of the STIP amendment requires a public comment period, which concludes July 3. To make comments on the amendment, contact KDOT’s Bureau of Program and Project Management at (785) 296-2252.

This information is available in alternative accessible formats. To obtain an alternative format, contact the KDOT Office of Public Affairs, (785) 296-3585 (Voice/Hearing Impaired-711).

Kansas Notable 2019 Books

The State Library of Kansas Announces the 2019 Kansas Notable Books 15 books celebrating Kansas cultural heritage

 

Topeka, KS – State Librarian Eric Norris announced today the 14th annual selection of Kansas Notable Books. The fifteen books feature quality titles with wide public appeal, either written by a Kansan or about a Kansas related topic.

 

“I am proud to present the 2019 Kansas Notable Book list. Choosing only 15 books is no easy task,” said Eric Norris, State Librarian. “The selection committee began with a pool of nearly 100 submitted titles and worked diligently to identify the year’s best works by Kansas authors and illustrators, as well as those works that highlight our history and heritage. Kansans are encouraged to visit their local public library and celebrate the artists and the artistry of Kansas.”

 

Kansas Notable Books is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book, a program of the State Library. The Kansas Center for the Book is a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Throughout the award year, the State Library promotes and encourages the promotion of all titles on this year’s list at literary events, and among librarians and booksellers.

 

An awards ceremony will be held at the Kansas Book Festival, Saturday, September 14, 2019, at the State Capitol to recognize the talented Notable Book authors. The public is invited.

 

For more information about Kansas Notable Books, call 785-296-3296, visit kslib.info/notablebooks or email infodesk@ks.gov .

 

 

2019 Kansas Notable Books

 

American Heart by Laura Moriarty (Lawrence), HarperTeen

 

Buried in the Suburbs by Jamie Lynn Heller (Lenexa), Woodley Press

 

Brown Enough: A Tale of a Mixed-Race Baseball Team Summer of ’56 by Ken Ohm (Topeka), CreateSpace

 

The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo (Manhattan), HarperTeen

 

The Diaries of Reuben Smith, Kansas Settler and Civil War Soldier edited by Lana Wirt Myers (Newton), University Press of Kansas

 

A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools by Rachel Devlin (Brooklyn, NY), Basic Books

 

Eisenhower: Becoming the Leader of the Free World by Louis Galambos (Baltimore, MD), Johns Hopkins University Press

 

Elevations: A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River by Max McCoy (Emporia), University Press of Kansas

 

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh (Wichita), Scribner

 

Night Out by Daniel Miyares (Lenexa), Schwartz & Wade Books

 

No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas by C.J. Janovy (Kansas City, MO), University Press of Kansas

 

No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas by Tonya Bolden (New York, NY), illustrations by Don Tate (Austin, TX), Knopf Books for Young Readers

 

The Pastor Wears a Skirt: Stories of Gender and Ministry by Dorothy Nickel Friesen (Newton), Wipf and Stock Publishers

 

The Saint of Wolves and Butchers by Alex Grecian (Topeka), G. P. Putnam’s Sons

 

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker (Lawrence), Razorbill

 

The State Library of Kansas – To learn more, visit kslib.info.

 

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Cindy Roupe

Kansas Notable Books Coordinator

State Library of Kansas

300 SW 10th Ave Rm 312-N

Topeka KS 66612

https://kslib.info/notablebooks

Reimbursement Being Sought From Feds For Flooding Damage

The Marmaton River on May 23, 2019, nearing the level of the bridge on North National Avenue.

Governor Laura Kelly sent a request this month to President Donald Trump to ask for a  presidential declaration for public assistance for 63 counties in Kansas following recent months of record rainfall and severe weather causing flooding, flash flooding and tornadoes beginning April 28, according to a press release from the governor.

Bourbon County was one of the counties listed in the request.

“The county declared on the 23 of May,” Will Wallis, Bourbon County’s Emergency Management Director said. “It was orchestrated by the commission with their signatures and mine. It will help the county as far as reimbursement funds to public roads and bridges.”

The federal public assistance program helps pay for the restoration of public infrastructure and associated costs caused by flooding and tornado damage, according to the press release.

“It will pay us back for qualified roads, bridges, culverts, low water crossings and bridges but only if each one of them qualifies,” Wallis said.

“The (federal) government pays back 75% the state (government)10%,” he said. “This is a bare minimum.  If we can get mitigation funds involved, it could be more.”

” We start preliminary damage assessments tomorrow (June 14) that will determine if we have met our county threshold which is $57, 000 dollars,” Wallis said. “We are very sure we will meet the threshold without any problems.”

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s damage assessment includes the following types of damage: debris needing removed, the number of roads closed, the number of bridges unusable, the number of miles of roads damaged and public building, vehicles and equipment damaged, among others.

In addition, damage to recreation areas are assessed as follows: debris removal, damage to parks and facilities at parks.

An impact statement is included in the assessment: for essential services affected (EMS, law enforcement, fire departments), farmers unable to get in their fields, health and safety issues such as hazardous materials, contaminated water supply, etc.

For the full assessment document click below:

Damage Assessment Questionnaire

 

William Wallis, the Bourbon County Emergency Manager, KCEM, can be reached at

Em1@bourboncountyks.org

or in person at  210 South National, Fort Scott, Kansas 66701

or by phone: Office # 620-223-3800 ext. 124 or Cell # 620-224-8165

 

USDA Research Agency Relocating to K.C. Region From D.C.

Governor applauds USDA relocation announcement

 

Gov. Laura Kelly applauded today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to relocate major research agencies from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City region, along with nearly 600 high-paying federal jobs.

 

“This is a significant win for Kansas and Missouri,” Kelly said.

 

The USDA’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced its plan to relocate to the Kansas City region after a competitive bidding process. The USDA received 136 proposals from 35 different states.

 

Kansas and Missouri submitted a joint proposal to the USDA. A decision on whether to locate on the Kansas or Missouri side of the Kansas City area is expected to be made in July.

 

“The decision today to move the USDA agencies to the Kansas City area is proof of the value of collaboration between our two states and our congressional delegation. When we all work together, we can accomplish a lot,” Kelly said. “While we’ll work hard to make sure the final location is on our side of the river, we know the new location on either side will meet the needs of the USDA and benefit Kansas and Missouri.”

 

The move will put USDA employees closer to farmers and other agricultural interests such as the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the single largest concentration of animal health ventures in the world. The move from Washington to a lower-cost site also would save taxpayer dollars.

 

Kelly praised the USDA decision.

 

“We offered an ideal location for the USDA operations,” she said. “The new facilities will be strategically located close to a top agricultural research institution in Kansas State University. The quality of life we offer also was a strong consideration and selling point.

 

“The move will meet the needs of the USDA and benefit Kansas and Missouri. I thank Secretary Perdue, our team at the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas City Area Development Council for its hard in work in making this possible.”

 

Secretary of Commerce David Toland agreed.

 

“We’re thrilled that USDA has selected the Kansas City region, and we’re confident that our state’s numerous advantages will put Kansas over the top when USDA makes its final selection,” Toland said. “Kansas is on the cutting edge in the bioscience and agriculture industries with a cluster of prominent industry leaders located within our state. When it comes to research, technology and innovation, Kansas is the clear choice.”

 

“The size, scale and diversity of agriculture in this region makes Kansas City a perfect fit for these USDA agencies,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam said. “In addition, the quality of life here in the heart of the country will be a perfect fit for the employees of these agencies and their families. We look forward to welcoming them.”

 

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture conducts research into food conservation, nutrition, and ways to enhance to the nation’s food supply. The Economic Research Service analyzes the farm economy, food safety and global trade, among other topics.

 

The ERS jobs pay an average of $120,000 per year, and NIFA jobs between $110,000 and $190,000.

 

Proposals from Indiana and North Carolina were among the other finalists seeking the USDA research agencies.

 

Bourbon County Listed By Governor: Flooding Damage

Governor requests major presidential declaration

 

 

Governor Laura Kelly sent a request today to President Donald Trump asking for a major presidential declaration for the public assistance program for 63 counties in Kansas as a result of widespread, record rainfall and severe weather causing flooding, flash flooding and tornadoes beginning April 28. The Public Assistance program helps pay for restoration of public infrastructure and associated costs caused by flooding and tornado damage.

 

“Due to the historic torrential rains, thunderstorms, tornadoes and damaging winds, Kansas has suffered extended damage,” Kelly said. “We must continue to provide Kansans with the assistance, resources, and long-term fixes to infrastructure we need during this difficult time.”

 

Counties listed in the request are:  Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Gray, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jefferson, Kingman, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Norton, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington, Wilson, and Woodson.

The request was made under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5208 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.35.

 

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Aging and Disability Services Requests Waiver

KDADS to Request HCBS Waiver Extension, Conduct Additional Stakeholder Engagement

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) is submitting a request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to extend its current Intellectual/Developmental Disability (I/DD) waiver, set to renew July 1, 2019, in order to allow additional time for discussions with stakeholders.

 

It is anticipated the Frail Elderly (FE) and Physical Disability (PD) waivers, scheduled to renew January 1, 2020, will require further engagement with stakeholders to address concerns and a similar request to extend these programs will submitted to CMS.

 

Requesting an extension from CMS will allow the waivers to stand as written and approved today while the agency works with stakeholders to ensure the waiver renewal submissions support choice and community inclusion.

 

“KDADS’s decision will provide an opportunity to re-engage stakeholders, consumers and families as concerns continue to be raised,” said Amy Penrod, Commissioner of the Aging & Disability Community Services & Programs. “We want to continue the initial conversations we’ve had and take the time to thoroughly evaluate every opportunity to incorporate changes that are best for Kansas.”

 

Kansas has always been at the forefront of home and community-based services and supports. Since taking over leadership of the agency less than six months ago, Secretary Laura Howard has laid out a strategic vision that includes enhanced collaboration to ensure the state continues to be innovative in the way it addresses the health care needs of Kansans.

 

“Requesting additional time to collaborate with partners and incorporate the wisdom and contributions others bring to the table will ensure Kansas uses these waiver renewals to continue its long-standing leadership in home and community-based services,” said Secretary Howard. “Taking a step back provides an opportunity to approach these waivers with a new perspective of putting people first, incorporating innovations and supporting self-determination and community inclusion.”

 

Rocky Nichols, Executive Director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, and Mike Burgess, Director of Policy & Outreach, said in a joint statement, “We very much appreciate the decision by KDADS to delay implementation of these waivers and instead reengage with stakeholders to make positive changes. Kansas self-advocates with disabilities, families and service providers expressed concerns about the current versions of the waivers and KDADS listened. They are to be commended for their prudent action to slow this process down to get this right and we look forward to working to improve these waiver submissions.”

 

These actions do not impact the Brain Injury (BI) waiver, which is set to include the expanded populations of adult and youth with acquired brain injuries.

 

In 2014, CMS published final regulations affecting 1915(c) waiver programs. The purpose of the regulations was to ensure individuals receive HCBS in settings that are integrated in and support full access to the greater community. The regulations also aimed to ensure that individuals have a free choice of where they live and who provides services to them, and that individual rights and freedoms are not restricted. CMS has moved away from defining HCBS settings based on specific locations, geography, or physical characteristics, to defining them by the nature and quality of the individual’s experiences. Fundamentally, the regulations set higher standards for HCBS settings in which it is permissible for states to pay for services using federal financial participation under Medicaid, known in Kansas as KanCare.

 

 

Cara Sloan

Public Information Officer / Website Administrator
Office of the Secretary

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

503 S. Kansas Ave

Topeka, KS 66603

Office: (785) 296-0807

Cell: (785) 249-6234

cara.sloanramos@ks.gov

U.S. 69 overlay starts in Linn County

 

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation has started a resurfacing project on a seven-mile section of U.S. 69 in Linn County. The project area begins at the North Sugar Creek bridges and continues south to end 4½ miles south of the north K-52 interchange. Project activity consists of pavement crack filling and a three-inch asphalt overlay.

 

U.S. 69 north- and southbound traffic is restricted to one lane through the work zone. The work should be completed by mid-August, weather permitting. KDOT awarded the construction contract of $5.1 million to Bettis Asphalt and Construction, Inc., of Topeka, Kan.

 

Troy Howard, KDOT construction engineer at the Garnett office, reminds drivers to use extra caution and ‘Give ‘Em a Brake’ at the work zone. Persons with questions may contact Howard at (785) 448-5446 or Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen at (620) 902-6433.