Category Archives: Government

KS Driver’s Can Now Update Address Change Online

Kansas Department of Revenue Announces Expansion of Online Renewal System to Include Address Change

TOPEKA – Kansas driver’s license holders can now quickly and conveniently update their address on their current credentials. Kansas licensees can update their address by downloading the iKan app from the Apple App or Google Play store or visiting ikan.ks.gov.

“The addition of address change to the iKan app will benefit all Kansas driver’s license holders,” Secretary of Revenue Mark Burghart said. “This expansion of service creates efficiency while shortening wait times for Kansans who must visit one of our driver’s license stations by allowing Kansans to update their address of record from anywhere.”

“We are excited to provide the option for Kansas drivers to update their address through the iKan service,”  David Harper, Division of Vehicles Director said. “This is the latest development in our commitment to expand service options for our customers.”

To update an address using iKan, the Kansas Department of Revenue’s official renewal app, customers must submit proof of a valid address with a copy of their current license. Once their address is updated, the licensee will receive an updated credential in the mail.

Wildlife and Parks Launches New Licensing System

KDWP Launches New Licensing System:

Go Outdoors Kansas

PRATT – The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) is proud to announce the launch of Go Outdoors Kansas – KDWP’s all-new licensing and boat registration system designed to provide outdoor recreationalist with an improved customer service experience. More than 500 license and boat vendor locations are now processing transactions through the online system.

Outdoor-goers can access the new system at GoOutdoorsKansas.com and download the mobile app for IOS and Android devices. Some customers may need to first delete the HuntFishKS mobile app, as it is no longer operational; customer information will not be deleted when removing the mobile app.

KDWP’s new mobile app – Go Outdoors KS – allows users to quickly view all purchased licenses on-the-go, regulations and sunrise/sunset times in the field, and report harvests immediately after hunting. Customers may also conveniently register and renew water vessels through the new system.

In addition to traditional and electronic licenses, hunters, anglers and boaters will also have the option to purchase collectible, durable hard cards. The front side of KDWP’s all-new hard cards feature handcrafted artwork by Kansas artist Dustin Teasley, while the back side lists a customer’s current license information. Find out more at GoOutdoorsKansas.com or ksoutdoors.com today.

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Kevin Allen Resigns As Fort Scott City Commissioner

Kevin “Skitch” Allen. Taken from Facebook.

Kevin K. Allen resigned his position as Fort Scott City Commissioner on April 17,  at the Fort Scott City Commission meeting.

Allen stated the reason he is resigning:  he is in the process of moving into his home at 507 Brown Street on the city’s east side, which is just outside the city limits.

Kevin Allen has served on the commission for two years and as mayor for five months, he said.

The current commissioners are Josh Jones, Tim Van Hoecke, Shane Walker and Matthew Wells.

He gave his opinion on the commission’s accomplishments in the last two years:

The city meetings are now recorded on YouTube for transparency and accountability to the citizens.

There are no time limits now when a citizen wants to speak to the commission at the meeting.

The streets department is now 10 employees, up from four, and has a budget of $1 million, up from $200,000.

The county and city governments are sharing services, which saves the taxpayers money.

Sunday liquor sales were approved, to gain tax revenue.

Several stop signs were removed, that were not needed.

Unused properties in Fort Scott and Lake Fort Scott were sold, and money put towards amenities at the lake.

A Land Bank was created.

A local city attorney was hired, replacing a Kansas City area one, saving the city $150,000 a year.

The city government now buys local services and insurance.

The commission has “focused more on infrastructure” and is “fixing up parks.”

“It’s been a great pleasure to serve as commissioner,” Allen said. “It’s time for me to mount up and ride.”

The commissioners expressed appreciation for Allen’s service.

In an interview on April 18 with Josh Jones, who is the president of the commission,  said he assumes the commission will interview the candidates for the vacant position and if there are an abundance of letters of interest, they will narrow it down, then interview.

The following is a press release from the City of Fort Scott:

“Persons interested in applying to fill the position vacated by Commissioner Kevin Allen are asked to submit a letter of interest to:  City Clerk, Diane Clay at 123 S. Main, Fort Scott, Kansas  66701 or by email at [email protected].  Letters of interest must be received by the City Clerk by 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31st, 2022. Only individuals who reside in the City limits of Fort Scott are eligible to apply.   Once the appointment has been made, it will become effective at the next scheduled City Commission meeting and the term will expire in December of 2023.

        Any additional information or questions may be obtained by contacting Diane Clay, City Clerk at 620-223-0550.”

 

Infant Formula Shortage Recommendations

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Actions to Assist Kansans Affected by Infant Formula Shortage

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced actions her administration has taken to ease the burden on Kansas families affected by the nationwide infant formula shortage. Since February, the Kelly Administration has been working with state agencies and federal partners to address the issue.

“I have directed all state agencies to do everything in their power to help Kansans access vital infant formula,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “From increasing flexibility to helping eliminate barriers at check-out, my Administration is doing what is within our power to ease the impact of the national infant formula shortage on Kansas Families.”

Governor Kelly has instructed agencies to work with their federal counterparts to expedite relief. To that end, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has taken a leading role in working with the White House, the National Governors Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Association, and private industry to help coordinate efforts and eliminate red tape.

KDHE has implemented a series of waivers to provide the maximum flexibility in making more infant formula products – including Ready to Feed (RTF) formulas – available to Kansans and has approved additional formula products for use by Kansas WIC families. The agency is also working with the Kansas Department for Children and Families on increased communication efforts to inform the public of possible alternatives.

The Kelly Administration, including KDHE, recommends the following to families struggling to find the formula they need to feed their child:

  • Call your OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they can provide any resources to access formula or for suggestions on an alternative formula to meet their infant’s health needs.
  • Switch to another brand or type of formula that is available if recommended by the infant’s physician.
  • Contact their local WIC agency to see if the infant is eligible for WIC benefits.

“KDHE is committed to ensuring infants in Kansas have access to formula,” Secretary Janet Stanek said. “Since February, we have been working to do what is possible, within our authority, to provide relief for Kansans. We urge all impacted families to follow these recommendations and stay up-to-date with information to care for their family’s needs.”

Families are strongly encouraged not to unnecessarily stockpile formula in such a way that would cause further strain on the supply chain.

KDHE strongly discourages the use of toddler formula to feed infants or watering down formula or trying to make infant formula at home.

The Kelly Administration will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as they become available. For more information about WIC eligibility, visit the KDHE WIC website. Find the approved substitution formula list for WIC families here.

Fort Scott Land Bank Meeting May 23

The Land Bank meeting will be held on Monday, May 23rd, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, 123 S. Main Street, Fort Scott, Kansas, in the City Commission meeting room.

 

This meeting will be made available via the City’s you tube channel at City of Fort Scott.

 

Bourbon County Commission Minutes of May 10

May 10, 2022, Tuesday at 9 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioners Harris, Commissioner Oharah, Commissioner Beth and the County Clerk were all present.
Matt Quick, Shane Walker, Susan Bancroft, Matt Crystal, and Rob Harrington were also present for all or a portion of the meeting.
Clifton made a motion to approve the minutes from last weeks meeting as well as yesterday’s meeting. Lynne seconded. All approved.

Eric Baily reported that they had one permit completion for Don Garrett at 35th North of the old bridge.

Eric informed the commission that it was time for the annual review of the solid waste management plan. He said that they have a plan to submit, but it will need to be signed by the
chairman and attested by the clerk, no changes were made in the renewed plan. Clifton made a motion to allow Chairman Harris to sign and the Clerk to attest the plan for solid waste
management. Lynne seconded. All approved.

Eric said that the rain caused some issues last week
with the trees down and washouts on roads, but they are taken care of and back to normal road maintenance.

Eric said that Keith Browning will be here today to go over and discuss pavement plans. Next week Eric and Dustin will be attending the Kansas County Highway Conference in Dodge City. They will be leaving Sunday and will be back Wednesday and that if anyone needs anything while they are gone to contact Chad Brown.

Eric asked if they felt a work session would be a good idea for the Elm Creek issues. He said that there is a group of people talking to
Todd, but he isn’t sure what the commission is wanting to do out there. Justin said that he was done some more research on public-private partnerships and that he will be working with Susan
next week to get out RFP’s. Jim said that he would like the RFPs to be included in the work session.

Eric stated that if they are going to move forward with repairing the building at Elm Creek that they also need to address the two leaks that are there as well.

Eric informed that the new crusher will be delivered Wednesday at noon, and they will be at training on Thursday.

Eric said he spoke with Jeff Spangler; they have been reseeding the roadway where the windmills are but it is getting late in the season and some may not take so they will be back in the fall to reseed
anything that is needed.

Clifton said he had someone ask what the flags at Tomahawk, east of the blacktop at Hammond were for. Eric said that he wasn’t sure but would look into it and let him know.


Clifton made a motion to go into executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(4) to discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual
proprietorships regarding the hospital. It will be for 10 minutes and include the threeCommissioners. They will meet in another location and reconvene in the commission room at 9:20 am. Lynne seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 9:20 am with action. Lynne seconded. All approved.


Clifton made a motion to move forward with a negotiation of contract with Via Christi Hospital to add specialist to our building on a month to month basis. Lynne seconded. All approved.

Justin Meeks stated that a KORA request from a patron came in last week. He commended Susan and Ashley for doing their due diligence with regards to it. I spoke with Ashley yesterday
and she has procedures in place that she didn’t have before. Hopefully, in the future this situation won’t be so time consuming.

Justin stated that the 2017 demand letters have gone out.
There were around 180 to 200 demand letters sent. Clifton made a motion to allow Chairman Harris to sign the contract with the title company for the 2017-2018 tax sale. Lynne seconded.
All approved. Hope to schedule the sale for the end of July or early part of August.

Justin stated that Patty said collections are up so the letters are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Lynne asked about parcels at Hidden Valley Lake. Justin stated there isn’t much you can do.
Justin stated that Patty and I talked about going and testifying about having a minimum collection amount. For example, if you owe $100.00 or less, (imaginary number) those parcels
would stay dormant for 50 years almost. Lynne stated they tried to get the Lake Association to take over the parcels themselves but they didn’t want to do it. Justin stated with so many lots
they wouldn’t be able to afford to do that. Jim asked about the county taking ownership and getting it off the tax roll and give it to folks like the land bank does. Justin said there would be a
lot of due diligence to be made. That would be a big undertaking and a cost associated with that including road maintenance. He also said the covenant of the Lake Association is iron-clad. It would take the entire association to agree and that probably won’t happen.


Susan Bancroft requested an executive session to discuss personnel matters including 3 commissioners, Justin. Clifton made a motion for an executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual, non-elected personnel to protect their privacy for 10minutes including 3 commissioners, Susan Bancroft and Justin Meeks returning at 9:42am.
Lynne seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session at 9:42am.
Lynne seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion for an executive session KSA 75- 4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their
privacy for 15 minutes returning at 9:58am including 3 commissioners, Susan Bancroft and Justin Meeks. Lynne seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal
session at 9:58am with action. Lynne seconded. All approved.

Lynne made a motion to give Susan Bancroft permission to handle all HR issues. Clifton seconded. All approved. Clifton
made a motion to make Mark McCoy an interim Medical Building Director. Lynne seconded.
All approved. Clifton amended the motion to allow Susan Bancroft, Chief Financial Officer to negotiate pay with Mr. McCoy. Lynne seconded. All approved.


Shane Walker, CIO, stated that the medical building has to have a fire system inspection to comply. Johnson Controls and Simplex handles this. The cost will be $12,000.00. Shane also
stated that the parking lot deal. Frank is coming this morning and will finish that. Starting next week are going to start redoing the website. Ashley, Courtney and I are going through it and will
make some changes. Adding new information for different departments and removing some information no longer needed.
Public Comment: No Comment
Elected Official Comment: Bill Martin asked for clarification on what HR is and what Susan will be handling when all elected officials are responsible for their own employees.

Justin Meeks stated he was not comfortable with answering in regards to any legal questions as Sheriff Martin
is represented by council. I need a waiver from his attorney stating that I can talk to him and answer questions. Bill Martin stated that he does not have legal counsel. He sought advice for
some issues that have come up. Justin answered the question regarding Susan Bancroft and HR
issues. Susan would have no authority over the sheriff’s department. Clarification of the motion should have been this would only be for employees directly monitored by the commission which
would be Road & Bridge, any department of nonelected directors. Hopefully, elected officials will use Susan as a resource to help with HR issues. Justin also stated that all claims need to
come through Ashley’s office. KCAMP wants claims coming from Ashley. Ashley is the elected official and statutorily needs to know what’s going on.


Bill Martin stated that he has a standing order with his employees that no county officials talks with them unless I am present or they have permission from me. Bill stated that he enters any
claims information in the KCAMP portal and then Ashley receives a notice of the claim. The system works well. Ashley stated that she is the only person with login capability. Department
heads can go in and make a claim. Justin stated that we can’t make an elected official do anything, but the procedures that were in place in the past worked well. The KORA request we had last week took way more time than it should have.


Commission Comment: Clifton stated that we are expecting the feasibility study next week.
Discussion was had regarding the time of the meeting. Plans had been made to have the meeting at 6pm at the courthouse for the May 17th meeting. It was determined the meeting would be held
at regular scheduled time of 9am. Clifton stated that there would be KORA requests for a copy of the study. Ashley stated copies are .35 cents per page. Clifton said this study could be
approximately 600 pages. Justin stated that the KORA request discussed previously was not charged for as there were procedural issues discovered. So we didn’t charge what we actually
spent because it shouldn’t have taken that long. Discussion continued regarding the feasibility study and the possibility of putting it on the website. Justin stated he wanted time to review the
report as there may be proprietary information. We can redact confidential information from the report that could have direct impact.


Lynne made a motion to allow Susan Bancroft, HR Director, to handle all HR and employment matters that report to the commission. If the elected officials wish to visit with Susan regarding
issues in their department they may certainly do so. If an employee under an elected official wishes to make a complaint they should be able to go to Susan. Susan stated that we are about
12 months away from having a revised handbook. Clifton seconded. All approved.


Clifton made a motion that the meeting for May 17th will be held in the Commission Room at the Courthouse at 9am and the meeting for May 24th be at Garland Community Building at 6pm.
Lynne seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to adjourn at 10:22am. Lynne seconded. All approved.

Bourbon County Commission Minutes of May 9

May 9, 2022 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioners Harris,
Commissioner Oharah and the County Clerk were present for the entire meeting.

Commissioner Beth was present by phone during the executive session.

Also present for the meeting were Justin Meeks, Shane Walker and Susan Bancroft.

Jim made a motion to go into executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in this room at 9:16am.
The session will be for 15 minutes and will include Commissioners Harris and Oharah (Commissioner Beth by phone) Justin Meeks, Shane Walker and Susan Bancroft. Lynne seconded. Jim and Lynne approved.
Lynne made a motion to resume normal session at 9:16am. Jim seconded. Both approved.
Lynne made a motion to allow Susan Bancroft to address and rectify a personnel issue.
Jim seconded. Both approved.

Jim made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Lynne seconded. Both approved.

Meeting adjourned at 9:17am.

THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS

(ss) Jim Harris, Chairman

(ss) Lynne Oharah, Commissioner

(ss) Clifton Beth, Commmissioner

Bourbon County Commission Minutes of May 3

May 3, 2022 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners and the
County Clerk present.

Matt Crystal, Clint Walker, Bill Martin, Matt Quick and Jason Silvers were also present for all or some of the meeting.

Clifton made a motion to approve the previous meetings minute. Lynne seconded. All approved.


Eric presented a new field entry permit request from Joe Warren just south of 1161 50th street.
Lynne made a motion to approve the culvert permit. Clifton seconded. All approved.

The next permit is Josh Query on 2504 Limestone completion. The last one Christian Gospel Chapel.
You approved this one but once we got in there it ended up being a replacement. No extensions needed.

Asphalt meeting we talked about the Onyx. On 235th it is 4.8 miles and on 75th it’s 1 mile and that equals 5.8 miles for a price of $107,490.24. There is a 5 year warranty. Lynne
made a motion to go with the proposal for Onyx. Clifton seconded. All approved.

Eric stated with all the rain lately, they have been working 12 hours on dry days so that they can get gravel on the roads. Then later in the week when it’s raining they leave early to maintain 40 hours per
week. Eric stated he is keeping an eye open for another truck. Diesel is up around the $5.00 mark and we trying to cut corners everywhere we can and still remain productive.

Bridge at 160th & Fern work is coming along. Our bi-annual bridge inspections are completed and will be sent to KDOT. Once that is complete, they will be back to inspect our low water crossings.

Jimasked that Eric keep an eye on the ditch that is across the road from the cemetery on the east side of Horton out by Evergreen Cemetery. Jim said the water running has cut the ditch deep. Eric
stated the crusher should be showing up around the early part of next week if all goes well.


Clifton stated that he noticed a grader had cut some ditches up in their area and they did a good
job.

Eric reported to Lynne that they took some gravel to the cemetery up on Yale Road but was not able to dump because of low hanging limbs. He also stated that he has on his list to take gravel to the cemetery on 160th.


Becky Johnson from the SEK Multi-County Health Department appeared to request their annual funding. We are continually expanding and adding new programs to better serve Bourbon
County. We are applying for two new grants hoping to provide some new services to the community. We are proposing a request of $90,750.00 for the year of 2023 which remains the
same as last year. Services that we have provided in the last 12 months outside our normal scope: Covid 19 Case Investigations, contract tracing, fielding numerous Covid 19 related calls,
work and school release letters for isolation and quarantine, providing public guidance and education via newspaper, radio and Facebook, attending Covid 19 taskforce meetings, send
regular updates and risk levels to schools. Also, updated commissioners and emergency managers as well as attending Covid 19 webinars 4 days per week. We provided masks and
vaccination clinics to the public and businesses. We had a lot of help from our community to make this possible. We worked afterhours and on weekends to make sure ones needs and expectations were met.

Justin Meeks, County Counselor stated that he is pushing the next tax sale back to late June as some of the properties are slated for demolition. Seventy percent of the sale properties have
special assessments. The average price of the properties will be $8,000.00. We did send out the
2017 demand letters with the help of Patty’s office.

Justin requested an executive session.
Clifton made a motion to go into executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(2) for consultation with an
attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client
relationship for 4 minutes returning at 9:22am including 3 commissioners and Justin Meeks.
Lynne seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session with no action.
Lynne seconded. All approved.


Susan Bancroft requested an executive session. Clifton made a motion for an executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect
their privacy including 3 commissioners and Susan Bancroft for 5 minutes returning at 9:28am.
Lynne seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session with no action. Lynne seconded. All approved.


Shane Walker, CIO, stated that the tower out east is now operational. We have ordered the other for Hidden Valley should be here in about 7 weeks. It is 150 feet. We’ll do another 100’ one at
Tomahawk. We will put one on the water tower in Garland.

Clifton made a motion for an executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(2) for consultation with an attorney for the public body or
agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship including 3 commissioners, Susan Bancroft, Shane Walker, and Justin Meeks for 15 minutes returning at
9:46am. Lynne seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session at 9:46am with action. Lynne seconded. All approved.

Clifton made a motion for Susan Bancroft and Shane Walker to meet with Kevin Ross in the near future. Lynne seconded. All approved.


Public Comment: No comment

Elected Official Comment: Bill Martin asked about EMS coming back to the county. Bill asked how we could take on the EMS when they have not been able to get raises. Susan clarified that
the County has always paid for EMS. It has always been county funded. Jim stated that there is no new dollars involved. Bill stated that Johnson County Medical Examiner Medical Office
would like to be considered to do our autopsies. Susan stated that she is already in communication with them.


Ashley stated that she and a member of her department would be attending the Kansas County Clerk meeting being held in Salina.


County Commission Comment: Lynne stated that Susan has lots of traffic in her office and if you
need to visit with her, please conduct business and move on. She is very busy and needs time.


At 9:55am, Lynne made a motion to adjourn. Clifton seconded. All approved.


THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS

U.S. Senator Jerry Moral Weekly Newsletter

Record High Inflation Requires Real Solutions

Since President Biden took office, we have seen record high prices for gas, food, rent and utilities. Inflation is wiping out the savings of Kansas families and hurting their ability to meet their most basic needs.

President Biden claims his policies “help, not hurt” inflation, however, Wednesday’s news regarding the Consumer Price Index report suggests otherwise. President Biden must change course and focus on real solutions like producing American energy and stopping unchecked government spending.

 

Celebrating All Schools Day

It was great to join folks in McPherson this week for the All Schools Day parade! All Schools Day is an annual event which started in 1914 to celebrate local graduates and has grown into a community-wide, week-long festival. Alumni from near and far come to McPherson in May to continue this century-long tradition. This year, I was able to bring my granddaughter, Paige, to participate in her first parade.

Many thanks to Joel Weide from Lindsborg for letting Paige and I, along with Kelsey and her husband Sean, join you on the parade route and to Kyler Jost for helping arrange our participation and for sharing your photos with us. This is an event I enjoy attending whenever I am afforded the opportunity, and I am always grateful to visit with Kansans who travel near and far to be in McPherson on this special day. Congratulations to all the graduates!

 

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Conference Committee Meeting on China Competition Bill

On Thursday, I gave remarks at the first conference committee meeting on the bipartisan innovation and competition legislation. I spoke about the importance of the U.S. outcompeting adversarial nations, namely China, and how the conference committee can achieve this objective.

I emphasized the importance of investing in research and development in places like Kansas. Kansas is one of 26 states that has been identified as annually receiving little federal research funding, with coastal states receiving the vast majority of these dollars. This conference committee has the opportunity to rebalance this disparity, increasing funding to Kansas and ensuring that our intelligence and productivity is properly utilized in our competition for the future. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the conference committee to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to increase our country’s innovation and competitiveness.

 

Western Kansans in Washington

This week, the Western Kansas Delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal officials. I enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces around the Capitol from the Great Bend, Hays, Dodge City, Liberal and Garden City areas. On Monday night, I joined the group for an event to discuss the importance of communities in rural Kansas working together to accomplish common goals – and how the Western Kansas Delegation is a prime example of this principle in action. Thank you to Great Bend Area Chamber of Commerce President Megan Barfield for working to organize the trip this year, as well as to Black Hills Energy for hosting everyone.

Hays
Prior to the event, I was pleased to meet with representatives from Hays and Ellis County. We discussed challenges that many communities in Kansas are facing, and I was pleased to hear about the work happening in Hays to solve issues related to childcare, workforce and infrastructure. In March, SkyWest Airlines announced they intend to end service to 29 Essential Air Service airports, including Hays, Liberal, Dodge City and Salina. I will continue to work with Hays and the Department of Transportation to ensure a positive outcome. Thank you to Mayor Mason Ruder, Vice Mayor Michael Berges, City Commissioner Reese Barrick, City Manager Toby Dougherty, Ellis County Commissioners Neal Younger and Darin Meyers, Chamber President Sarah Wasinger and Grow Hays Executive Director Doug Williams for travelling to our nation’s capital.

 

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Liberal
I also met with local officials from Liberal to discuss improvements to broadband occurring in Liberal as a result of federal investments, the need for more housing and workforce shortages in the community, the impact of inflation, the importance of rural health care, including recruiting a new VA doctor to Liberal. Thank you to County Commissioner Nathan McCaffrey, Liberal Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Brad Carr and Chamber President Rozelle Webb for your time.

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Garden City
Members of the Western Kansas Delegation from Garden City also stopped by the office to provide me with updates and share their priorities with me. I was pleased to learn about the progress of the expansion project at the Garden City Regional Airport, the work they are doing with the Bureau of Reclamation on their water project and the progress of their law enforcement training facility. They also shared challenges with me relating to housing, childcare and workforce, and I appreciate the good work happening in Garden City to resolve these issues. Thank you to City Commissioner Deb Oyler, Assistant City Manager Danielle Burke and Chamber President Myca Bunch for travelling to Washington, D.C. to visit with me.

 

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Dodge City
On Tuesday, I met with Dodge City Commissioners and industry representatives from the community to discuss project updates and the pressing issues facing Western Kansas. Most essential is the development of the Hilmar Cheese Company’s new plant in Dodge City, which will bring a strong economic investment to the area and create approximately 250 high-paying jobs. Additionally, rural housing is a crucial aspect of allowing our rural communities to thrive, and I’m proud to have cosponsored legislation that would incentivize housing development projects while increasing access to affordable homes for low- and middle-income Kansans. We also talked about the importance of Community Block Development Grants, given the significant impact such funding assistance has on local infrastructure, as well as the need for more transparency into the actions of pharmacy benefit managers’ role in prescription drug prices.

 

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Honoring Law Enforcement During National Police Week

Very little about being a law enforcement officer can be described as easy. They work around the clock and under difficult circumstances to keep our communities safe and often without the recognition that they deserve. This week, our nation observes National Police Week, a time when we pay tribute to our brave law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

Over the course of the week, Americans came together to pay tribute to the 619 officers who gave their lives in the line of duty last year. Among them, six brave officers from Kansas were memorialized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. I want to express my gratitude for Kansas officers who gave their all protecting the places we call home: Officer Stephen Evans of the Burns Police Department, Captain Clay Germany of the Wichita Police Department, Officer Freddie Castro of the Overland Park Police Department, Officer Theodor James “TJ” Ohlemeier of the Colwich Police Department and Sergeant Stacy Murrow of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

During this National Police Week and throughout the year, we must remember that law enforcement needs our support and not just during tough times. We must provide them the resources they need to do their jobs and strengthen the bonds of trust with those they serve. As the lead Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, I am committed to making certain our law enforcement officers have the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively and safely. May God bless our law enforcement officers and protect them from harm as they faithfully perform their duties each and every day.

 

Speaking with Kansans in Washington, D.C.

Air Capital STEM
The Wichita area American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) Team stopped by my office while they were in our nation’s capital before competing at TARC nationals in Manassas, Virginia this week. The team was one of 100 teams from 27 states to qualify for nationals this year and the only team representing the Sunflower State. The students of the Wichita-area TARC team represent the future generation of skilled STEM professionals our country so desperately needs to thrive in a global economy. I was glad to wish the Wichita-area TARC team the best of luck at nationals but also express my appreciation for the students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and hear what aspirations they have for the future.

 

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Eisenhower Group
I met with the Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series, a Kansas group that is a part of the National Excellence in Public Service Series. This organization is dedicated to encouraging, mentoring and preparing women leaders to seek new levels of involvement in government and politics. We had a great discussion on the most pressing issues facing our nation today, including inflation, abortion, immigration and workforce concerns in Kansas. My many thanks to Wendy Bingesser, Benne Hudson, Stephanie James, Jo Kuckelman, Marni Mills, Kim Quade, Becky Reimer, Julie Samaniego, Emily Wellman and Cynthia Yarnell for their leadership in Kansas and for taking time to meet with me this past week.

 

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National Teachers Hall of Fame
I was pleased to meet with the 10 newest inductees to the National Teachers Hall of Fame, located in Emporia, this week while they were being recognized in Washington. These educators were chosen from across the country, and each have over 20 years of teaching experience. The teaching profession is one that carries immense value and importance for society. Our future well-being and prosperity depend on a strong foundational education that sets our young people up for success in life. I thank these teachers for meeting with me and for the passion which they have displayed throughout their careers. I also thank Carol Strickland, Director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, for her work to honor these educators, along with others in their class. I was pleased to work with Carol on legislation, which was passed into law in 2018, to designate a National Memorial to Fallen Educators at the National Teachers Hall of Fame—Kansas’ first national memorial.

 

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Kansas Society of Anesthesiologists
I also spoke with Dr. Mark Brady and Ty Townsend, a veteran and Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant, regarding the National Standards of Practice being developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have spoken to the American Society of Anesthesiologists as well as numerous other groups who share concerns about the VA’s efforts to establish National Standards of Practice for 49 health care occupations. I share concerns the new standards of practice could negatively impact the physician-led, team-based approach to care for our veterans. I appreciated my conversation with Dr. Brady and Ty and will continue encouraging the VA to listen to concerns of VA’s anesthesiologists before approving new practice standards.

 

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Questioning Administration Officials

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
Kansas farmers and ranchers have faced drought and wildfire in recent months, including fires that burned across 13 counties in Kansas last December. Congress approved funding to help with disasters that occurred in 2021, but since this fire occurred outside the “normal grazing period,” these producers are ineligible for certain federal disaster assistance. On Tuesday, I questioned Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on USDA’s recently-announced disaster assistance program, and specifically called on him to provide assistance to those producers affected by wildfires.

 

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U.S. Army
On Tuesday, I heard testimony from Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth and Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville on the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request. They discussed the threats facing the U.S., which includes China as the pacing threat and Russia as a regional threat in Europe. They also discussed the Army’s modernization priorities, which includes robust funding to supply the Army with a wide range of new aircraft, long range precision fires, ground vehicles and missile defense systems. It remains critical to me that the U.S. defense industrial base can support the efforts to equip and field a modern army. My questions to Secretary Wormuth and General McConnville centered on the defense industrial base. Our competition with China and the war in Ukraine has increased the demand for robust and secure supply chains to deliver our servicemembers the tools they need to succeed in any mission. The Secretary and CSA agreed with me on the importance of strengthening the U.S. defense industrial base. I was also pleased that the entire Defense Appropriations Subcommittee agreed to my idea of holding a special, closed hearing to further discuss issues with our industrial base.

 

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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo
On Wednesday, Secretary Gina Raimondo testified before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Department of Commerce where I had the opportunity to question her on several issues. Last fall, I joined K-State Salina and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as they signed a memorandum of understanding to create an undergraduate program involving the two entities. The new undergraduate program will provide students with the science, technology, engineering and math skills to serve as officers and pilots within the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. I asked the Secretary of Commerce for an update on the progress of this important program and look forward to seeing it move forward.

The other issue I raised was how one small solar company has disrupted a $30 billion industry by using trade inquiries to gain a competitive advantage. Now, good-paying solar jobs in Kansas are at risk due to canceled projects and delayed imports. I questioned Sec. Raimondo about efforts to mitigate the economic impact of this anti-circumvention inquiry.

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Discussing Global Hunger Needs with World Food Program Director Beasley

On Wednesday, the Appropriations Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations held a hearing on global food insecurity. David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Program, testified that nearly 300 million people around the world are “marching towards starvation.” Conflict, the pandemic and drought already created dire circumstances, but Russia’s war against Ukraine has severely worsened the food situation around the globe. I asked Mr. Beasley what can be done to keep countries from instituting protectionist measures to secure their own food supply at a time when the world must come together to supply what it can to those in need, and I also asked about the status of food assistance in Yemen, where the Iranian-backed Houthis control much of the population. The hearing made clear how dire food security is around the globe, and I appreciated the time to explore solutions.

 

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Opposing Abortion Expansion

On Wednesday, the Senate voted on the most sweeping expansion of abortion access in our nation’s history in a desperate effort to create a federal protection for abortion. This legislation would have permitted unborn children to be terminated at any point for any reason. Additionally, this legislation would have eliminated conscience protections for health care providers who object to terminating human life and abolished state laws, such as waiting periods or requiring parental consent for minors to obtain an abortion. Not only is this legislation immoral, it is far outside the mainstream of American opinion and would have placed the United States alongside China and North Korea as outliers with the world’s most permissive abortion laws.

 

Meeting with U.S. Military Leadership

Ahead of next week’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing, I hosted U.S. military leadership who will testify regarding the President’s Budget Request for FY2023. I met with General Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations for Space Force, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Brown Jr., and I appreciated the opportunity to speak with these individuals prior to their hearings.

Secretary Kendall and General Brown outlined their priorities for the Air Force heading into a new fiscal year, namely, calling for greater investments in defending our air bases around the world, advancing operational space capabilities and bolstering our electronic warfare defenses. Kansas is home to McConnell Air Force Base – where I hosted Secretary Kendall in April – and Forbes Field, so it is my priority to ensure he understands these entities must be properly fitted with the aircraft necessary to rapidly deploy when our national security is at risk. I look forward to discussing these details at greater length when they both when they testify before the Defense Subcommittee.

 

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I also discussed the appropriations priorities for the U.S. Space Force with General Raymond, as well as the role Kansas plays in our space defense. We also touched on the importance of building a robust satellite network in space to improve our missile tracking and warning capabilities as our adversaries like China and Russia continue to advance their technology and capabilities in space. The next space race is happening now, and it’s important for our national security that the U.S. remains competitive. As co-chair of the Senate Space Force Caucus, I appreciated hearing General Raymond’s perspective on how to continue developing the Space Force to maintain America’s leadership role in space, and I look forward to hearing more of his thoughts in front of the subcommittee.

 

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Oversight on Quality of Care for Veterans

This week as the lead Republican on the Senate VA Committee, we held a hearing to examine the quality of care in VA and the private sector. I am concerned by a recent Inspector General report detailing examples of patient safety breakdowns and poor leadership culture. The VA has also failed to fully implement the MISSION Act’s quality standards directive. Our nation’s veterans deserve world class treatment when utilizing the VA for care, and it has been and will continue to be a top priority of mine to work with my colleagues to make certain that the VA system works for veterans and puts them first, not the other way around. Click here or below to watch my questioning.

 

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Working to Reduce Red Tape for New Businesses

This week, I introduced the Supporting NEW BUSINESSES Act, legislation to make it easier to start and grow a new business, with Senator Cortez-Masto. This bipartisan bill will require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide annual awards that would encourage states and localities to reduce red tape and streamline the process for starting a new business. Celebrating cities and states that implement innovative solutions to cut red tape, reduce bureaucracy, and make it easier for entrepreneurs to build successful businesses will encourage communities to enact policies that promote economic growth. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to promote the creation and success of small businesses.

 

Vulcan Rocket Update from ULA

This week I met with Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA). He provided me with updates on the status of the Vulcan rocket, which is to be used primarily for the U.S. Government’s National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program. As our adversaries, especially China, continue to advance their defense capabilities in the space domain, programs like the NSSL aim to keep America safe and competitive from interplanetary threats. When I welcomed Mr. Bruno and his team to Wichita, he quickly recognized the role that our state can play in this sector, and I will continue to leverage our capabilities so that Kansas is understood to be a catalyst for space manufacturing and development.

 

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Welcoming Rudy Klopfer and Family to the Capitol

On Wednesday, I met Rudy Klopfer, his wife Lori and his children Spencer and Spencer and Mallori, in the Capitol Rotunda to welcome them to Washington. My staff and I regularly work with Rudy as the CEO of VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System. His role is important in making certain Kansas veterans are receiving quality health care, and he often welcomes me to tour VA facilities in Kansas. I appreciated the opportunity to offer him a tour of the U.S. Capitol.

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Fort Riley Change of Command

On Wednesday, the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley held a Change of Command Ceremony. While I was unable to attend due to Senate business in Washington, D.C. I was pleased a member of my staff could be present. I value the important relationship I have with Fort Riley and look forward to working with the new Commanding General, Major General John V. Meyers III. Thank you to Commanding General Major General Douglas A. Sims II for his leadership at Fort Riley, and I wish him the best as he takes on his new role with the Joint Staff.

 

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Welcoming Kansas Honor Flight Veterans

It’s always special to have the opportunity to welcome Kansas Honor Flight veterans to the memorials built in their honor. For many, it is their first time seeing the memorials. Tuesday morning, I expressed my gratitude to each of them for their service and sacrifice.

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These Kansas veterans came from across our state, and I enjoyed hearing about their experience in our nation’s capital. It was also great to speak with WWII and Korean War veteran Max Manning from Topeka. Shortly after leaving the service, he became a minister and has preached for nearly 70 years, serving in his own community and around the world through ministry. Thank you to the Honor Flight team and volunteers who make these trips possible.

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Happy Hospital Week

Last week we celebrated National Hospital Week as we thank our Kansas health care professionals who serve their communities day in and day out. From urban health systems to rural critical access hospitals, I have witnessed the dedication of Kansas health care workers. Their work is often taken for granted, especially in the midst of a public health emergency, but we thank them for their willingness to serve and steadfast compassion shown to patients.

Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.

Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C. office.

 

Very truly yours,
Jerry

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KDOT employees celebrate service anniversaries

Phillip Pavey, Fort Scott, celebrates service anniversary

The Kansas Department of Transportation expresses its appreciation for employees celebrating state service anniversaries in June. KDOT is proud to acknowledge them for the long-term dedication they have provided to the state of Kansas.

 

Those celebrating 30 years:

  • Marty Eshelman, Equipment Mechanic Specialist, Harper
  • Brian Gower, Bureau Chief, Lawrence
  • James Gray, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Leon
  • Darrin Petrowsky, Professional Civil Engineer II, Iola
  • Duane Petty, Engineering Technician Senior, George
  • Michael Terrell, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Norton

Those celebrating 20 years:

  • Todd Anderson, Construction Manager, Oakley
  • Justin Shaw, Engineering Technician Specialist, Lawrence
  • Daniel Wadley, Bureau Chief, Topeka

Those celebrating 10 years:

  • Cody Braz, Equipment Operator Specialist, Francis
  • Cory Davis, Assistant Bureau Chief, Topeka
  • Phillip Pavey, Equipment Operator Senior , Fort Scott

USD 234 Special Board Meeting: New Super And Principal Hired

NEWS RELEASE

 

Monday, May 16, 2022

 

Members of the USD 234 Board of Education met at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 16, 2022, for a special board meeting.

President James Wood opened the meeting.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters for nonelected personnel.  The board returned to open meeting and approved the following:

 

A.    Employment of Destry Brown as Superintendent of Schools for the 2022-23 school year

B.    Employment of Dr. Zach Johnson as the Fort Scott Middle School Principal for the 2022-23 school year

C.    Transfer of Jennifer Herring, Winfield Scott cook, to high school cook for the 2022-23 school year

D.    Base salary adjustment for Bryce Daly, district technology technician, effective July 2022

 

The board adjourned.

 

USD 234 Fort Scott Names New Superintendent

U234 Press Release to Announce Selection

Destry Brown begins leadership of USD 234 Fort Scott on July 1.


The USD 234 Board of Education has announced the selection of Destry Brown, as the new superintendent. Mr. Brown will take the reins on July 1, 2022, after the resignation of Ted Hessong at the end of the 2021-22 school year.


Destry Brown has broad educational experience, as a teacher, administrator
and an educator of educators. He is currently serving as Superintendent of Clinton, Missouri schools. Mr. Brown has also served as superintendent of schools in Pittsburg, KS, Frontenac, KS and has been an elementary principal.


Students in our schools succeed because they are quality students focused on preparing for their future. We feel our staff and administration support student learning and educational opportunities that will ensure they are prepared for career or college.


“I am so excited to be the new superintendent in my hometown! I look forward to serving the students, teachers, the Board and the rest of the Tiger community.

The Fort Scott school system has a rich history and tradition of excellence. I am humbled to think that I will be a part of continuing this tradition. The district has amazing staff and students as
well as a super supportive community. All of those things working together will make being the superintendent in Fort Scott a joy and a pleasure. I am excited for the opportunity to become reacquainted with the Fort Scott community and to become a part of the Tiger
Family once again.”


Board President James Wood says that Destry Brown emerged from a very thorough search process as the right candidate to lead the School District.

“The Board is certain in our choice of Mr. Brown and confident that under his leadership USD 234 will again to be recognized as having a culture of student success, employee appreciation and community
pride.”


James Wood, Board President, explained that community input, including the involvement of stakeholders was a key factor in the success of the superintendent search process. The feedback provided from teachers and administrators, parents and community members, insured the board and stakeholders were on the same page. “The input from the community as a whole was very helpful to our process.”


The Board selected two finalists, who were interviewed by the Board.


As a board team we feel we made the right selection to serve our students and our community.