Wichita State. Kansas State University. Kansas University. All favorites of mine in the NCAA college basketball tournament. All with impressive records. All loaded with talent. And all failed to make the final four. They could have/should have and would have except for one thing—they didn’t. Until next year, I now would put away my lucky t-shirts bragging of my college loyalties.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the only game in town. The USA team prevailed in the World Baseball Classic, crushing Puerto Rico in the final game 8-0.
Go, America!!! Much better news from the baseball front.
Or maybe not. The next day, a friend explained that Puerto Rico is in economic shambles. Murders are rampant as are rapes and thievery, but all that stopped during the two weeks of the baseball tournament. The citizens unified…so much so that the country ran out of blonde hair dye as the locals copied the hair color of every player who, when introduced on the field, removed his cap and rubbed his yellow-tinted locks. For two weeks, Puerto Ricans relived every game, huddled in groups on corners to discuss each play their beloved team had made.
Not so much the United States. To most of us, it was another game, another evening of something to watch on television, filling our (YAWN) bored time.
Now I felt bad for Puerto Rico. They needed the win much more than we did. I had rooted against them, and now I thought differently.
I am good at that.
In the book “Alone With God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer,” I had underlined what author John Macarthur wrote about the godly Old Testament Jews: “…their prayers encompassed the good of the community and were not isolated to the individual. For example, the rabbis asked God not to listen to the prayer of a traveler. That’s because he might pray for an easy journey with good weather and accommodating skies when the people in that vicinity actually needed rain for their crops.”
Laura Story made that warning personal when she wrote the song “Blessings” (one of my favorites) after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and her prayers seemed to go unanswered. She begins by listing all the things we pray for—blessings, peace, comfort for family, healing, etc. Then we hear this chorus:
“…what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”
Oh, to count the number of times I have prayed selfishly without considering the bigger picture! And when I don’t get what I want? I forget that God’s answers many times expose my sins and fears and show up, uninvited, as loss, sorrow, conflict and disappointment.
Isaiah 55:8—“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
You can say that again. And again. And again.
The message was a slam-dunk. God must be a Tar Heels’ fan.
HB 2273: an act concerning consumer protection; relating to the Kansas no-call act; restricting use of automatic dialing-announcing devices.
SB 36: an act concerning the state corporation commission; relating to motor carriers, definitions, registration.
HB 2047: an act concerning the office of inspector general.
HB 2306: an act concerning the Kansas sexually violent predator act; relating to examinations; transitional release; conditional release.
SB 112: an act concerning crimes, punishment and criminal procedure; relating to evidence; videotaping of certain felony, custodial interrogations; domestic battery; creating the crime of aggravated domestic battery; controlled substances; unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia; burglary; expungement; arrest records.
H Sub for SB 40: an act concerning human trafficking and related crimes; creating the crimes of unlawful use of communication facility, promoting travel for child exploitation, internet trading in child pornography and aggravated internet trading in child pornography; relating to training for commercial driver’s license applicants; sexual exploitation of a child; buying sexual relations; commercial sexual exploitation of a child; offender registration; expungement of juvenile adjudications; victim compensation.
Sub SB 74: an act concerning persons needing assistance with cognition; relating to motor vehicle, placards, identification cards; state-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses.
H Sub SB 101: an act concerning crime victims; relating to protection orders; protection from abuse act; protection from stalking act; sexual assault evidence collection examinations and parental notification; the crime victim’s compensation board and claims for compensation.
SB 124: an act concerning the care of children; relating to the Kansas family law code; child custody, residency and parenting time; evidence of domestic abuse; relating to the revised Kansas code for the care of children; rules of evidence; admissibility of certain test results.
HB 2319: an act concerning abortion; relating to the women’s-right-to-know act; relating to certain physician information to be disclosed.
Medicaid Expansion Bill
Two weeks ago, the Kansas House passed a Medicaid expansion bill that would help cover more than 150,000 Kansans without insurance and aid our numerous hospitals and clinics whose budgets have been slashed multiple times over the last few years.
This week, the bill hit the Senate floor with the Medicaid expansion amendment, and passed. The bill was sent to Governor Brownback, who vetoed the expansion bill on Thursday morning.
The veto brought the Medicaid expansion bill back to the House floor later Thursday morning, where a debate ensued over whether to override the veto. In the end, the bill was tabled until likely next week. This means the debate will continue and the vote will occur when it’s reintroduced on the floor.
The bill was pulled from the table Monday morning. The override fell short by three votes with an 81-44 tally. It appears working poor Kansans will go another year without health care coverage, leaving the burden on those of us with insurance or the medical facilities that treat them. Our federal income taxes will continue to be spent in other states while Kansas will see more hospitals close.
We will have another newsletter out at the end of the week to wrap up 1st adjournment. The legislature will be out of session from April 7, thru May 1.
It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 50-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at (785) 296-7698 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can e-mail me at email@example.com. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org.
Mercy is committed to supporting charitable organizations and activities consistent with our mission to improve the health and quality of life in the communities we serve. Just one way that Mercy does so is by donating money to sponsor a multitude of annual events or organization’s efforts to promote health and wellness.
In order to better serve the organizations which submit sponsorship/donation requests, Mercy has introduced a new online sponsorship application system.
To be considered for funding from Mercy between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, all organizations seeking charitable support are asked to complete the online application at www.mercy.net/sponsorships.
The deadline to apply is June 1, 2017. Recipients will be notified by email after July 1, 2017.
To create your organization’s online proposal, you will first need to create an account by logging on to www.mercy.net/sponsorships. Note that the application will require a W-9, and Federal Tax ID number or a Social Security number to submit.
“The application review committee looks forward to receiving proposals and learning more about your organization’s plans to use funds to further our mission among the people you serve,” said Tina Rockhold, Community Relations Manager and Philanthropy Director. “We strongly encourage your organization’s members to think ahead for the next 14 months and submit applications for programs they foresee having funding needs through June of 2018.”
Two Sisters of Mercy arrived in Fort Scott in 1886 with the intent to operate a school. Instead, Rev. Francis J. Watron had determined that the community was in desperate need of a hospital. So, Sister Theresa Dolan and Sister Mary Delores Drew began immediate oversight of a 10-bed hospital.
“Today is no different,” said Reta Baker, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott president. “We continue to shape services and programs by our community’s needs. Since opening our doors, Mercy has focused on offering the health care needs that fit the populations we serve.”
Mercy Clinic Fort Scott is pleased to announce that through collaboration with Ortho Four States, Mercy nurse practitioner Greg King will continue to provide clinic for orthopedic evaluations, joint injections, sports medicine treatment, fracture casting and care, as well as Mercy Hospital Emergency Department coverage.
In January, it was determined due to low volumes in orthopedics and outmigration for surgery cases, the orthopedic surgical service line was no longer sustainable under Mercy’s operation.
The arrangement allows Mercy patients access to skilled orthopedic care and the coordination for further care at another site, if necessary. King will also make referrals to specialists for orthopedic surgery at the location of the patient’s choice.
“For years, Mercy Fort Scott has coordinated with Mercy and non-Mercy providers to bring highly-skilled specialty care not often found at smaller, rural communities to the patients in our service area,” Baker explained. “Other specialties falling into this category include allergy, cardiac and thoracic surgery, cardiology, neurology, oncology, and urology.”
For more information or to make an appointment with Greg King, Mercy APRN, call Mercy Clinic Fort Scott at 620-223- 8064.
On March 11, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 70 confirmed cases of mumps throughout multiple counties in the state. Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus and typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands. Vaccinations significantly reduce the chances of a person acquiring mumps and limit the spread of the disease.
“Vaccines are our number one resource in health promotion and disease prevention,” Kim Burns, Mercy APRN-FNP- c. “Keeping your children up to date with their immunizations keeps your child, and everyone around them, safer from preventable disease.”
It’s important that parents and guardians be well-informed about how and where to get children under the age of 19 years vaccinated to avoid costly, out-of- pocket expenses,” Burns added.
Mercy Clinics in Fort Scott, Arma and Pleasanton, as well as Mercy Convenient Care, are enrolled in the federally funded Vaccines for Children Program, known as VFC. VFC provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.
For example, a child insured through KanCare (T19), underinsured (commercial insurance that does not cover immunizations), Native Americans and children with no insurance coverage (self pay) will qualify to receive their shots free of charge at a clinic that offers VFC benefits. All vaccinations for children, even those younger than school age, are eligible for VFC coverage.
Although all Mercy Clinics in Bourbon, Crawford and Linn Counties are registered with the VFC program, not all clinics are so it is recommended to ask non-Mercy providers if they offer VFC benefits prior to receiving vaccinations. The immunizations, if not covered by insurance or VFC, could cost between $130 and $140 per dose. Children’s immunization that are self-pay will be charged a minimal-cost injection fee, but not the full cost of the dose.
In addition to reducing the spread of mumps, all public schools require that students supply an immunization record and that all vaccinations are up to date.
Vaccinations are recommended for patients based on age and vaccination history. Please talk with your health care provider to learn more about which shots your child may need for the coming school year.
Bereavement and Grief Support Group
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one and need support, you may find comfort among Mercy’s Bereavement and Grief Support Group.
Mercy Hospice will offer an eight week bereavement and grief support group at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott on Wednesdays 2-3 p.m. beginning April 5, through May 24.
The support group is open to anyone who has experienced loss of a loved one, regardless of hospice care or affiliation. Each week, professionals will share topics to assist participants on their journey to dealing with the loss.
Although attendance is not mandatory at all sessions, it is highly recommended. Enrollment will close after April 19.
For more information and meeting location, please contact Melissa George, Mercy Hospice Chaplain, at 620-223-8533.
Submitted by Chris Petty, K-State Extension Office
Springtime rains bring lush grasses to farm fields and ranch lands. Unfortunately, as the temperatures begin to inch up, so do pasture weeds. Serecia Lespedeza, Blackberries and Broomsedge (commonly known as poverty grass) are three common Southeast Kansas weeds.
To learn how to control these three weeds, join K-State Research and Extension Southwind District on April 18, in the Neosho County Courthouse basement meeting room in Erie, Kan.
K-State Research and Extension Area Agronomist Dr. Doug Shoup will be on hand to explain recommended treatment and control methods.
A $10 registration fee, payable at the door, will cover meal and materials. Pre-registrations are required by April 18, for an accurate meal count. To be included, call the Extension Office in Erie, Kansas at (620)244-3826.
Gardening 101 Program Set for April 6
Submitted by Krista Harding, K-State Extension Office
The first program of the “Grow It – Prepare It” series – Gardening 101 will be held Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m., at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds in Fort Scott. This is a basic gardening program designed to help first-time gardeners with topics such as soil preparation, garden layout, planting tips and more. By the end of the program, participants will know how to set up their own garden, what to plant and how to care for their garden throughout the growing season. For more information on this program and to register, please contact the Southwind Extension District at 620-223- 3720.
Speakers Bureau Offered
Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District, Director & Agent
K-State Research & Extension in the Southwind District is proud to present our 2017 Speakers Bureau as a service to the community. We offer presentations on a wide variety of topics and hope there is at least one that may suit your needs. Our speakers are District Extension Agents who have agreed to give presentations to elementary and secondary schools; parent-teacher, civic and professional organizations; and community groups. We are confident that you will find the presentations insightful and entertaining.
The topics that are offered for 2017 are:
Everything But the Oink will illustrate some of the more than 185 non-food products that come from pigs. Native American used every part of the buffalo and wasted nothing, and today we still use nearly every part of the food animal. Examples of these fine swine products include gelatin, footballs, china, cosmetics and fertilizers.
Growing Veggies in Containers is Easy addresses the basic steps to get a started on a container garden. The desire for homegrown vegetables is increasingly popular as people become more interested in where their food comes from. It is hard to beat vegetables picked from you own garden! But for people with limited space, mobility or time, traditional gardening can be difficult, and that’s where container gardening comes in. Vegetables can be grown in just about anything that will hold soil, and this presentation will show you how to container garden.
Let’s Play Leadership in the Classroom offers various team-building games encouraging adults and students to work together and gain all important leadership skills. After all, what better way to learn about leadership than through play! This program can be adjusted for a specific leadership request as a program on demand.
Information on GMOs and Organic Foods for Consumers provides an introductory overview of some of the benefits of genetically engineered foods (GMOs), organic and conventionally produced foods, as well as address consumer concerns with these products. Additionally you will learn information on some of the nutritional content and food safety differences and similarities between organic and conventional food products.
Gray for a Day explores the age-related sensory and functional challenges some adults might face with age. Participants will gear up, participate in various activities, and have some discussion about how to protect themselves from these physical declines in the future.
Board Leadership will provide an opportunity for board members to learn the basics of being a good board member. We all know informed and committed board members are the key to healthy, effective boards and committees in our Kansas communities. Whether you are a member of a church board, a township board, or belong to any service organization with elected officers, this topic is appropriate for you.
These presentations are flexible with location and presentation time—from a short 30 minute engagement to a longer format if needed. All presentations are offered free and by appointment only. We will do our best to accommodate your request, and presentations will be scheduled based on the availability of the individual presenters.
If your group or organization has an interest in these programs, please contact the Southwind Extension District, 620-365-2242 (Iola); 620-244-3826 (Erie); 620-223-3720 (Fort Scott). Additional information about the Southwind Extension District can be found on our website, www.southwind.ksu.edu.
Last week, the House was busy passing numerous bills. The many pieces of legislation ranged on issues from technology to healthcare to agriculture. Find a few of these bills detailed below.
Sub HB 2331: An act concerning information systems and communications; creating the representative Jim Morrison cybersecurity act; relating to digital information security for Kansas executive branch agencies; establishing the Kansas information security office; establishing the cybersecurity state fund and cybersecurity state grant fund in the state treasury, creating the Kansas information technology enterprise.
H Sub for SB 60: An act concerning agriculture; relating to the Kansas department of agriculture; certain fees, authorizing the Kansas secretary of agriculture to collect a fee for processing paper documents.
SB 20: An act concerning financial institutions; relating to certain acts under the administration of the state bank commissioner.
H Sub for SB 51: An act concerning controlled substances; the state board of pharmacy; relating to scheduling of controlled substance analogs, controlled substances and new drugs; emergency scheduling.
HB 2313: An act concerning the Kansas lottery; dealing with lottery ticket vending machines; repealing the lottery sunset.
HB 2232: An act concerning adult care homes; relating to electronic monitoring.
SB 68: An act concerning health and healthcare; relating to hospitals; enacting the Kansas lay caregiver act.
HB 2353: An act concerning state contracts and purchases; relating to purchases of products and services from not-for-profit entities; employment of persons with disabilities.
As most of you know by now, on Thursday, March 2, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled our current block grant unconstitutional. In addition, without a set dollar amount, the court ruled in favor of Kansas children. The court said that the legislature is not meeting the Kansas constitutional requirement to adequately fund public schools (Article 6 of the Constitution). Here is a link to the Kansas Constitution https://www.kssos.org/other/pubs/KS_Constitution.pdf, page 26, Article 6-Education. Thank God our forefathers had the foresight to protect the investment of educating our citizens in our state’s constitution.
It is our duty to provide equal and adequate education to all our youth. It makes no difference if they are born in Leawood or Arcadia, Goodland or Sublet. All Kansans have the right to a good education.
In the next few weeks we will come up with a new school finance plan. We must by June 30, according to the court’s deadline. The challenge will be a statewide plan that is acceptable by our most prosperous county. Johnson County is key to the new formula. A new proposal was introduced by Johnson County Representative Melissa Rooker and Shawnee County Senator Laura Kelly which is similar in many ways to the old school finance formula, in place prior to the block grants. It appears to meet constitutional muster and SEK would definitely be a beneficiary. While many Johnson County legislators support a plan that benefits the entire state and provides for an educated workforce in the future, not all are on board. There is an effort to keep Johnson County dollars in Johnson County. Regardless of the fact that we have a statewide economy, they remain narrowly focused.
Regardless of the fact that all our citizens statewide benefit from being better educated, they believe the most populous should benefit the most. Regardless of the fact that all corners of the state pay their fair share of income, sales and property tax for the greater good, some in Johnson County believe that the most affluent and populated county has no reason to be part of the greater good.
A better tomorrow is the great American dream. We have become the greatest nation in the world by investing in our future. For Kansas to stop now is to step backward. All good things come with a cost. A sound public educational system is the most important investment a state can make in its citizens. Failure to provide a better path leads down the wrong road. Bad things cost even more. Now is the time to put all of Kansas on the path to success. We know what works and how to get there. We must just do it and do it soon.
Republicans in the Senate have said they will wait to act on an education finance formula until the House addresses it first. Conversations as to how to solve this issue are underway, with many ideas being introduced. A bill has been proposed this week in the Kansas House, and we expect action on that bill to begin this week.
A tax plan to restore the revenue in Kansas has not yet been enacted. Previously in the session, the House put forth and passed a tax bill, which then passed through the Senate. The bill essentially repealed Gov. Brownback’s “march to zero” tax experiment. The Governor vetoed the bill, after which the House overrode his veto. The Senate failed to override by just three votes. A new tax plan should be coming soon from the Senate side.
It is a special honor to serve as your state representative. I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions. My office address is Room 50-S, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at (785) 296-7698 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the legislative session online at www.kslegislature.org
In October 2016, the Fort Scott Community College Library was awarded an Equipment Technology Grant from the Southeast Kansas Library System. Utilizing these grant funds, the FSCC Library recently installed a collaboration workstation, which will allow students, faculty, staff and community members to work together more easily and efficiently.
“Working together in a group can be difficult without the right tools. Our collaboration station will provide a unique and effective way for small groups to brainstorm and share ideas,” said Susie Arvidson, FSCC Director of Library Services. “It’s an ideal space for group projects, study groups, presentations and tutoring.”
The workstation includes a flat-screen television, five-person table and chairs, low profile desktop computer and Apple TV. A variety of cords will be available, which will allow devices, such as tablets and laptops, to connect with the station.
The FSCC Library will unveil the collaboration station during a celebration at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, at 2108 South Horton, Fort Scott, Kan. The celebration will include a live demonstration of the station. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Susie Arvidson at 620-223-2700, ext. 3441.
FSCC to host Community Children’s Fair
Fort Scott Community College will host its annual Community Children’s Fair 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 8. The free event will feature a variety of activities for children of all ages, including carnival games, minute-to-win-it games, bounce house, teddy bear clinic with the FSCC Student Nursing Organization, hair styling by the FSCC Cosmetology students, and activities with the Fort Scott Police and Fire Departments. Children are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal or doll for a free check-up for the teddy bear clinic. Gizmo the Greyhound will also be in attendance.
The children’s fair will take place at the FSCC campus south parking lot. The event will coincide with the KOMB-FM Home, Sport, Farm, & Garden Show, which will be held April 7 and 8, in Arnold Arena. For more information, please call Heather Browne, FSCC Director of Public Relations, at 620-223-2700, ext. 5248.
Summer and Fall Enrollment Opens at FSCC
Enrollment is open for the summer and fall semesters at Fort Scott Community College. Summer classes will begin on June 5, and fall classes will begin on August 21.
FSCC encourages students to enroll early in order to have the best selection of courses at their preferred times. New students should first apply online at fortscott.edu/applynow before enrolling. Current and new students are encouraged to contact their campus’s advisement office in Fort Scott, Paola, or Pittsburg to schedule an enrollment appointment. Students may also enroll via phone, email or online through GIZMO, FSCC’s student portal.
To view the course schedule, please visit fortscott.edu/schedule. For more information or to receive assistance with enrollment, please call:
Stay Strong, Stay Healthy, a Strength Building Program
Improve your health and independence through strength building exercises.
Starting April 3rd, you can join the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy class at Buck Run Community Center. This class will meet for one hour twice a week on Monday and Friday, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Registration forms are available at the Extension office (210 S. National located in the courthouse) or online at southwind.kus.edu. To learn more, please call Joy Miller at 620-223- 3720 or visit the website.
The Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program is based on simple, strength-building exercises that will improve balance, health and state of mind. No, it’s not strenuous weight lifting. You’ll start at a level that’s right for you. No one is too inactive to participate. Building strength promotes quality of life and independence, especially for adults over age 60.
K-State Research and Extension instructors lead this evidence-based program. These exercises are easy to learn, safe and effective. Cost is $20 per participant for this 8-week program. Don’t delay, class size is limited.