Daily Archives: April 5, 2007

Wanted: someone to lead Kansas education

The Hall Monitor has learned that the Kansas State Board of Education has chosen five candidates in the search for the state’s next top education guru.

The board members met in late March with the National Association of State Boards of Education. The national organization is helping the board conduct a nationwide search for the next commissioner. Former commissioner Bob Corkins resigned last November after some conservative members of the board lost their re-election campaigns. That changed the board majority from conservative to moderate.

For the moment, the identities of the five candidates is hush-hush. Board vice-chair and Wichita’s representative Carol Rupe said that the board read all the applications that were presented to them by the search firm but she couldn’t give out any of the candidate’s names. “I don’t know if that’s public information yet,” she said.

All five candidates will be interviewed April 26.

What’s the Council up to next? Lots of ceremony

Here’s what Tuesday’s City Council meeting looks like: Pray, Pledge of Allegiance and then ceremony (swear in the new mayor), ceremony (swear in a new council member), ceremony (tribute to Bob Martz). Oh, and once the new Council lineup is in place, they’ll dive into several issues.

Here are the hottest items:

  • Pick a new vice-mayor to replace Paul Gray, who is finishing his one-year term. (See procedure here.)
  • Vote to sign an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers to do a massive, $4.5 million flood protection project on the Cowskin Creek that will essentially cut a 300-foot wide overflow shelf into the shoreline. City drainage engineers say it could reduce flooding by more than a foot in some residential areas during the type of downpour that comes about once every 100 years. (See previous Eagle story.)
  • Consider a $45,000 contract for drug and alcohol testing of transportation, police and fire employees. That kicks in some new random tests agreed the unions agreed to about a year ago, and it comes at a time when both the police and fire unions’ men and women are working under an expired contract.
  • Decide whether to OK a $67,225 remodel of the planning department’s meeting room that includes audio/visual components.
  • Rename Harvest Park, 9500 Provincial Lane, as “Bob Martz Park” in honor of former District 5 City Council member Bob Martz, who died of an apparent heart attack in January.
  • Vote to rezone an oddly shaped swath of land near McConnell Air Force Base to “Air Force Base District” as part of the city’s massive rezoning around the base to show military officials who may be preparing the next round of base closures McConnell is prepared for future expansion and has terrorism safeguards.

See the full agenda.

Kansas health: truth in numbers

Want to know how long people are staying married in Kansas, what people in Kansas are dying from or what age group is having more babies out-of-wedlock?

Don’t look to the gossip columns. Look to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which released its 2005 Summary of Kansas Vital Statistics Tuesday. It’s the most up-to-date information on Kansas birth, deaths and marriages available from the state agency.

Among other interesting facts:

  • Kansans are continuing to delay marriage.
  • Slightly over half of the Kansans seeking abortions were 15 to 24.
  • The black infant death rate continues to be over two times higher than the rate for whites.

For the inside scoop, see the PDF report here.