Category Archives: Kansas

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy Available for Limited Time

 

Kansas residents receive support to quit smoking and end tobacco products use

 

TOPEKA –  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)’s Bureau of Health Promotion is encouraging Kansas residents who want to quit using tobacco products to take advantage of the opportunity to get free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The NRT will be shipped directly to their homes by calling the Kansas Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign that began in April, the Kansas Tobacco Quitline is offering a free two-week supply of NRT to all callers who register, while supplies last.

 

About one in six (17.2 percent) Kansas adults, age 18 years and older, are current cigarette smokers. And more than half of them have tried to quit smoking at least once in the past year.

 

“Quitting smoking not only benefits the health of the smoker but also helps to protect their loved ones from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure,” said Dr. Greg Lakin, KDHE Chief Medical Officer.

 

The Kansas Tobacco Quitline is a free, 24/7 resource available to Kansas residents to help them quit smoking. The Quitline provides help, such as counseling, a personalized Quit Plan and quitting support by phone and through online services. The Quitline can be reached by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting www.KSQuit.org.

 

“We want people to know that although quitting tobacco is hard, they can do it,” said Matthew Schrock, KDHE Tobacco Cessation Program Coordinator. “Smokers often need to make several quit attempts before succeeding, but proven treatments and services are available that can improve your chances to quit for good.”

The Kansas Tobacco Quitline is supported by KDHE. For more information on the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program, visit www.kdheks.gov/tobacco.

KCC Public Hearing on Westar’s Proposed Increase of $5.91 Per Month

KCC schedules Wichita public hearing on Westar’s rate change application

 

Topeka – The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 28 in Wichita to receive input from Westar Energy customers on the company’s rate change request.  The public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at Wichita State University’s Lowe Auditorium located at 5015 E. 29th St. N. in Wichita. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposed rate change, ask questions of the company and KCC staff and make comments to KCC Commissioners.

 

A public hearing was held in Topeka on May 22, and broadcast live on the KCC website. This public hearing in Wichita was scheduled to provide Wichita area residents with the opportunity to speak directly to Commissioners and share their thoughts regarding the proposed rate change.

 

The application, filed by Westar in February, requests a $1.56 million dollar rate decrease effective September 2018 and a $54.2 million dollar rate increase in February 2019 for the company’s retail rate customers.  Combined, the adjustments would increase prices by $52.6 million. If approved, residential customers with average monthly consumption of 900-kilowatt hours of electricity will see a monthly increase of $5.91 per month. The request also includes updated tariffs for customers who installed their own source of electric power after October 28, 2015. A complete copy of Westar Energy’s Application and supporting testimony is available on the Commission’s website.

 

The Commission will accept public comments through 5 p.m. CDT, July 18, 2018. There are three convenient ways to submit a comment:

1)      Go to the KCC website (www.kcc.ks.gov) and click on the “Your Opinion Matters” link to submit a comment.

2)      Send a written letter to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Office of Public Affairs and  Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604‑4027. Be sure to reference Docket No. 18‑WSEE‑328-RTS.

3)      Call the Commission’s Public Affairs office at 1‑800‑662‑0027 or 785-271‑3140.

Governor Colyer Announces Launch of KanTrack Website

Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. Announces Launch of KanTrack Website

 

Topeka– Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. today announced the launch of the state’s new KanTrack website, which is a hub used to track performance metrics of state agencies. These metrics measure the most critical functions of their respective agencies and make that information readily available to the public at the click of a button.

“When I became governor one of my first actions was to sign a series of executive orders aimed at increasing government transparency, including through the creation of the KanTrack website,” said Governor Colyer. This website will increase the public’s ability to observe the efficiency of government agencies, be informed on how we are performing and allow them to take a more active role in the governing process. The launch of this site was important to me because I believe transparency is the key to better accountability and accountability is the key to getting real results.”

In February, Governor Colyer signed Executive Order 18-07 ordering the creation of the KanTrack dashboard to make key performance measures for Kansas Executive Branch Cabinet-level agencies publicly accessible. Governor Colyer remains committed to improving the transparency, efficiency, and responsiveness of Kansas government.

The website can be viewed at https://admin.ks.gov/kpi.

 

44th ANNUAL KANSAS BICYCLE TOUR

 

 

(June 7, 2018) – The 44th year of the longest-running bicycling event in Kansas history—a 558-mile ride across the State—begins Saturday, June 9, 2018. BIKING ACROSS KANSAS (BAK) is an eight-day tour originating at the Kansas-Colorado line with up to 700 bicyclists, including support staff.

 

The bicyclists will start at the Kansas-Colorado line west of Johnson City. Their overnight stops will be Montezuma, Ashland, Pratt, Clearwater, Burden, Fredonia, and Arma. The cyclists’ final night together will be in Arma on Friday, June 15. The following morning, they will cycle to the Missouri border in Arcadia and cycle into Fort Scott, where they will celebrate the end of the ride with a picnic at the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

 

BAK is also routed through Ulysses, Meade, Greensburg, Coldwater, Zenda, Belle Plaine, Winfield, Longton, Elk City, St. Paul, and many more Kansas towns.

 

“2018 offers a variation of the much-requested southern route that Biking Across Kansas has visited less frequently than other parts of the state. The route will take cyclists through several scenic regions of Kansas including the wide-open High Plains, the Red Hills, the famed wheat country of south-central Kansas, and the rolling Flint Hills. Highlights along the way include the Adobe Museum in Ulysses, the Stauth Museum in Montezuma, the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade, the Big Basin sinkhole in Clark County, the World’s Largest Hand-Dug Well in Greensburg, the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, and Historic Fort Scott.” said David Rohr, Chairman of Biking Across Kansas, Inc.

 

Participants will enjoy the state’s favorable cycling conditions as well as people, attractions, food, and entertainment in rural Kansas. Bicyclists will also visit residents at Parkwood Village in Pratt and Morningstar Care in Fredonia to visit with residents and share about bicycling gear, and BAK. The Spokesmen, BAK’s barbershop chorus, will serenade residents.

 

Participants represent 26 states and 124 cities in 65 Kansas counties. Ages range from 10 – 85. Quite a number of riders have participated in BAK for over 40 years.

 

The primary objectives of Biking Across Kansas are to promote wellness through bicycling, celebrate Kansas history and the beauty of its landscape, and enjoy the warm hospitality of its towns and people.

 

For more information on Biking Across Kansas 2018, visit https://bak.org/.

 

About Biking Across Kansas

Biking Across Kansas (BAK) is an annual, eight-day, bicycle tour across the state of Kansas. BAK promotes health and wellness through bicycling, the history and beauty of the Kansas landscape, and the warm hospitality of the Kansas towns and people. BAK started in 1975 and has been an annual event bicyclist and Kansas local look forward to annually.

2018 Notable Kansas Books

The State Library of Kansas Announces the 2018 Kansas Notable Books

15 books celebrating Kansas cultural heritage

 

Topeka, KS — Acting State Librarian Eric Norris announced today the 13th annual selection of Kansas Notable Books. The fifteen books feature quality titles with a wide public appeal, either written by a Kansan or about a Kansas-related topic.

 

“I am proud to present the 2018 Kansas Notable Book list.  Choosing only 15 books is no easy task,” said Eric Norris, Acting State Librarian. “The selection committee began with a pool of over 100 submitted titles and worked diligently to identify the year’s best works by authors and illustrators from Kansas, 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 the 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 8, 2018, 9:30 a.m., 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.

 

 

2018 Kansas Notable Books

 

Bad Kansas: Stories by Becky Mandelbaum (Rockport WA), University of Georgia Press

In this darkly humorous collection, Kansas becomes a state of mind as the characters struggle to define their relationship to home and what it means to stay or leave, to hold on or let go.

 

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs by Carol Murray (Overland Park), illustrations by Melissa Sweet (Portland ME). Henry Holt & Co

Playful poems highlight surprising facts about the world of insects – from familiar ants and exotic dragonflies to cringe-worthy ticks and magnificent fireflies in this picture book for children.

 

Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin (Sag Harbor NY), St. Martin’s Press

Cowpokes, desperadoes, and lawmen: it wasn’t always easy to tell which was which. This rollicking tale of Dodge City brims with colorful characters. From frontier settlement to cattle drives, to a railroad town, the history of Dodge City is the story of how the West was won.

Feet of the Messenger: Poems by H.C. Palmer (Lenexa), BkMk Press Books

Between the horrors of the Vietnam War and the pacific silences of the Kansas prairie, these poems honor both the beauty of the English language and the ancient powers of poetry to speak experience without diminishing it.

 

Fireflies in the Gathering Dark: Poems by Maril Crabtree (Mission), Aldrich Press

These poems traverse landscapes, inner and outer: physical landscapes and metaphysical ones; the landscape of relationships; the landscape of age, from childhood to maturity; and the questing landscape that leads to new understandings.

 

Headlights on the Prairie: Essays on Home by Robert Rebein (Irvington IN), University Press of Kansas

These essays bring a storyteller’s gifts to life’s dramas, large and small. Moments of singular grace and grit encapsulate the lives of feedlot cowboys, long-haul truckers, and farm kids dreaming of basketball glory.

 

Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy by David A. Nichols (Winfield), Simon & Schuster

This fast-paced account reveals President Eisenhower’s subtly clever role in the destruction of demagogue Joe McCarthy. Drawn from documents in the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Nichols presents a gripping story of a classic power struggle.

 

Kansas Baseball, 1858-1941 by Mark E. Eberle (Hays), University Press of Kansas

The early history of baseball in Kansas is the story of towns and the ballparks they built. It was a time when baseball was adopted by early settlers, then taken up by soldiers sent west, and finally by teams formed to express the identity of growing and diverse communities.

 

Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers by Marci Penner (Inman) and WenDee Rowe (Inman), Kansas Sampler Foundation

The ultimate guidebook for all things to see and do in Kansas features 4,500 attractions, 843 eateries, and more than 1,600 color photos. Counties are arranged alphabetically within six geographic regions as are the cities within each county. Entries include directions, hours and contact information.

 

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill James (Lawrence) and Rachel McCarthy James (Lawrence), Scribner

A baseball statistician and his daughter deliver a provocative story that aims to solve a 100-year-old mass murder case. The two painstakingly scoured thousands of newspapers and records to discover and reveal the identity of one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

 

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Asheville NC), HarperTeen

While the stories of three women span multiple generations and thousands of miles, their lives are intertwined. Before leaving Kansas to go to Mars, Adri discovers Catherine’s journal of the Dust Bowl and Lenore’s letters about World War I. Each story weaves a unifying thread of hope.

 

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity by Grant Snider (Derby), Abrams ComicArts

What do ideas look like? Where do they come from? These one- and two-page comics have been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Kansas City Star. They are a colorful look into the creative process.

 

Stark Mad Abolitionists: Lawrence, Kansas, and the Battle over Slavery in the Civil War Era by Robert K. Sutton (Bethesda MD), Skyhorse Publishing

In 1854, Boston was in an uproar. Businessman Amos Adams Lawrence was inspired to put his efforts and considerable fortune toward keeping slavery out of Kansas. The town that came to bear Lawrence’s name became part of a bigger story of people willing to risk their lives and fortunes for freedom.

 

That is My Dream! by Langston Hughes and Daniel Miyares (Lenexa), Schwartz & Wade

Langston Hughes’s inspiring and timeless poem “Dream Variation” comes joyously to life in a gorgeously illustrated picture book. Follow one child on a walk through his small segregated town in the 1950s. Then watch his mind take flight as he images a brighter, more inclusive world.

 

To The Stars Through Difficulties by Romalyn Tilghman (Long Beach CA), She Writes Press

Inspired by the women who built fifty-nine Carnegie libraries in Kansas, the No Guilt Quilters overcome numerous obstacles to build the Cultural Center on the Plains- proving that New Hope is more than just the name of a town.

 

Seeking Nominations of Women and Minority Businesses

Kansas Department of Commerce accepting nominations for Minority Enterprise Development Week awards

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Commerce Office of Minority and Women Business Development is accepting nominations for Kansas minority and/or women-owned businesses, advocates, young entrepreneurs, and corporations. These nominations celebrate National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, October 14-20, 2018. Nominees and winners will be recognized at the annual Kansas Minority and Women Business Awards Luncheon to be held on October 11, 2018, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka.

“Minority and women-owned businesses are essential drivers of our Kansas economy, and this special awards ceremony will honor the tremendous accomplishments of these amazing entrepreneurs in our state,” said Robert North, Interim Secretary for the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The deadline to nominate a business or individual is June 15, 2018. Online nomination forms can be accessed at KansasCommerce.gov/MEDweek.

 

The 2017 award winners included:

Kansas Women-Owned Businesses

  • MySmartPlans – Kansas City (Construction Firm)
  • Advanced Welding Technologies, LLC – Wichita (Manufacturing Firm)
  • FSC, Inc.- Overland Park (Professional Service Firm)
  • Toronto Lumber Company – Toronto (Retail Firm)
  • Sage Restoration LLC – Overland Park (Service Industry Firm)
  • International Express Trucking, Inc. – Kansas City (Supplier/Distributor Firm)

 

Kansas Minority-Owned Businesses

  • Recyclable Materials Relocating, LLC – Kansas City (Construction Firm)
  • Quik Tek Machining, LLC – Wichita (Manufacturing Firm)
  • LaborMax Staffing KC Metro – Kansas City (Professional Service Firm)
  • Paleterias Tropicanas – Kansas City (Retail Firm)
  • Project Fitness LLC DBA Project Fitness CrossFit – Garden City (Service Industry Firm)
  • Sarin Energy Solutions – Overland Park (Supplier/Distributor Firm)

 

Minority Business Advocate

  • Sandra Olivas, Bank of Labor – Kansas City

 

Women Business Advocate

  • Debra Kunz, Center for Deliberate Growth™ – Mission

 

Young Entrepreneur

  • Paul Kaster, Crooked Branch Studio – Leawood

 

Corporation of the Year

  • Textron Aviation – Wichita

 

About the Kansas Department of Commerce Office of Minority and Women Business Development

The Office of Minority and Women Business Development provides assistance in business management, identifying resources for financing and establishing contacts in the public and private sectors. The office is responsible for certifying minority- and women-owned businesses as small disadvantaged businesses for procurement and subcontracting opportunities.

 

For more information: http://www.kansascommerce.gov/322/MED-Week-Awards

 

DCF Announces New Child Welfare Grants and Contract

 

Grants and contracts, effective July 2019, improves Kansas foster care services

 

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel is pleased to announce the new child welfare grants and contract Request for Proposals (RFPs). DCF posted the RFP’s today, May 31, and they include substantial changes from the current child welfare contracts. DCF developed the improved child welfare grants and contract to address known issues within the Kansas foster care system after receiving input from the public, legislators and stakeholders.

The new child welfare grants improve accountability, oversight, fiscal responsibility, quality services, conflicts of interest, are client-centered, focused on needs-based services, competition and innovation. In addition, foster homes, kin, children and families will be more empowered. The grants also emphasize permanency in child-time, preferably with family, if safely possible. With these grants, Secretary Meier-Hummel is also committed to safely reducing the number of children in out-of-home care.

“By listening to Kansans, and by taking a careful look at our systems, we created grants and contracts that we truly believe will have a positive impact on the children and families in this state,” Secretary Meier-Hummel said. “Overall, this is a dramatic change, creating more accountability and oversight. We will be controlling more of the process, monitoring and expecting results for the families we serve.”

Currently, DCF offers four family preservation and four foster care contracts, to two providers statewide. Moving forward, DCF will offer two grants—Family Preservation and Foster Care. Potential providers can bid for both grants, but will only be awarded one grant in each DCF Region. This will eliminate current perceived conflicts of interest. Additionally, a statewide Placement Matching System contract will be released soon. Below are some of the changes included in the RFP’s:

  • Family Preservation
    • A new program focused on keeping children with their families, when safely possible, and safely reducing the number of children coming into out-of-home care.
    • Previously a one-size-fits-all program will now be tailored to the needs of each family
    • The state determines when providers are in the home working with families, and the intensity of services
    • Rates will differ based on the intensity of services needed, and payments will not be made to providers until milestones with the family are met (previously payments were made regardless of progress made)
  • Foster Care
    • Services will be provided to the entire family, not just the child(ren)
    • Grantees will be required to use the Placement Management System.
    • New grant structure will contain costs, allowing negotiation of changes only if there is a substantial change in caseloads.
    • Caseload sizes will not be allowed to exceed 25-30, per case manager, for foster care/reintegration/adoption cases, and 50, per case manager, for aftercare cases.
  • Placement Matching System
    • Currently, each provider has its own system, and the State does not readily have available data. This new contract will require every licensed foster home or residential bed, to be entered into a single statewide system
    • DCF will monitor the system to ensure children’s placement needs are being met, and they are remaining in their home communities, when possible.
    • The system will capture electronic records for the youth that are in the foster care system

 

The grants also include a long list of other substantial changes:

  • Smaller foster care catchment areas, bringing more community providers to the table to serve Kansas children (previously four catchment areas, now eight)
  • The new grant establishes an advisory board—consisting of youth in care, biological families, foster parents and providers—to provide feedback directly to Secretary Meier-Hummel
  • DCF contracting directly with CPA’s
  • DCF establishes rate settings for placements—this includes increased rate setting for relative and kin placements.

 

“These new grants and contracts are essential to enacting major reform in Kansas child welfare. We are building an infrastructure that puts the children and families of Kansas first, while still bringing private providers, innovation and competition to the table,” said Governor Jeff Colyer. “These are our kids, they are Kansans, and they deserve the best care possible. Moving forward, they will receive quality, timely services.”

All of these improvements follow internal reviews of the agency, as well as a formal Request for Information (RFI) process, in which DCF gathered feedback from the public and stakeholders. Through the RFI process, we received 393 submissions, that will be available for review on the DCF Public website by 8 a.m., Friday, June 1.

“It was clear, based on the feedback and the work of the legislative Child Welfare System Task Force, a change in the structure and work in the child welfare contracts was needed,” Secretary Meier-Hummel said. “Quite simply, the public, stakeholders and legislators spoke, and we listened.”

“It has been my pleasure to be a part of the Child Welfare System Task Force. We have had purposeful, albeit difficult conversations, that are essential to cause statewide, systematic changes and break down barriers for Kansas children and youth,” said Senator Barbara Bollier. “It is obvious that Secretary Meier-Hummel and her team have been listening to these conversations, and are taking action to address much-needed issues within the system.”

RFP submissions are due by Monday, Aug. 9. Presentations will begin in October, and the child welfare grants and Placement Management System contract will be awarded no later than December 2018. The new providers will begin serving Kansas children and families on July 1, 2019. You can find the Foster Care and Family Preservation RFP’s here.