Monthly Archives: June 2009

McGinn rules out run for Congress

WICHITA — The list of potential contenders for Kansas’ 4th Congressional District shrank again today.

State Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, decided not to run and endorsed Mike Pompeo, president of Sentry International, an oilfield and industrial machinery company, and a Republican national committeeman.

McGinn said she plans to focus on projects on her family’s farm and on local issues.

Pompeo and State Sen. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, are the only Republican candidates to file for the seat thus far.

Kelsey recently drew an endorsement from former Kansas republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Ken Canfield.

Other names that have been floated for the Republican side of the race include state Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Bel Aire; state Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita; state Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence; and Wichita businessman and entrepreneur Wink Hartman.

Parkinson requests disaster designation for Cowley, Sumner and Cherokee counties

TOPEKA – The governor Friday asked the federal government to help farmers impacted by this year’s harsh weather in Cowley, Summer and Cherokee counties.

“Declaring these counties agricultural disasters will allow farmers to apply for emergency loans administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. These loans can help Kansas farms recover from impact that severe weather has had on crops,” wrote Gov. Mark Parkinson said.

Parkinson, a Democrat, asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to declare the three counties agricultural disaster areas due to excessive rain, flooding, high winds and a freeze that occurred between late March and the end of May.

WSU’s tuition will increase 8.5 percent next school year

TOPEKA – Wichita State University students will pay 8.5 percent more in tuition next school year, but university officials plan to offset the increase through an automatic scholarship.

The increase, approved Thursday by the Board of Regents along with tuition jumps for all state universities, is higher than the 6 percent WSU had proposed in May.

With the augmentation, a full-time in-state WSU student will pay $2,248.50 per semester for classes. The automatic scholarship, funded by federal stimuli money, will apply only to in-state students, said WSU President Donald Beggs.

University of Kansas students will pay $3,283.50 for a semester’s tuition, up 6 percent from the current $3,097.50.

KU students enrolling in the school’s compact program which guarantees the same tuition rate over four year will increase to 7 percent to $3,679.50 up from the current $3,438.75

Kansas State University tuition will increase 3.9 percent to $3,093, up from $2,977.05.

Emporia State University has a small raise to $1,713 up 4 percent from this years $1,647 rate.

Pittsburgh State University students will pay $1,826, up 6.8 percent from $1,710.

Fort Hays State University tuition will jump 7.5 percent to $1,473, up from the current $1,370.25 per semester.

Kansas scores well (relatively) in Center for Public Integrity standards for legislators

kansas-capital Kansas state legislators got a relatively good grade in The Center for Public Integrity’s financial disclosure ratings. The state’s C grade makes it number 9 in the nation, behind places such as Louisiana, Washington and Texas.

Kansas dropped one spot since the last time the non-profit graded legislators’ financial disclosures in 2006. But it’s grade was the same — a C.

Kelsey picks up an endorsement from Dr. Ken Canfield in his Congressional bid

TOPEKA – State Sen. Dick Kelsey picked up an endorsement in his Congressional bit from former gubernatorial candidate Dr. Ken Canfield.

The Goddard Republican, who previously served in the Kansas House of Representatives, is hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Republican, who has his eyes set on the U.S. Senate seat.

“His reputation is excellent,” said Canfield in a written statement. “He is solidly pro-business, pro-family and pro-active in tackling issues that are essential to a prosperous future in the 4th District.”

Three Wichitans appointed to WSU board of trustees

TOPEKA – The governor on Wednesday named three Wichitans to sit on Wichita State University’s Board of Trustees.

Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, reappointed Tony Madrigal and appointed Vernell Jackson and Tom Winters to the board.

The board manages property and funds the university receives through donations and other means.

Our universities and colleges greatly contribute to the prosperity of Kansas,” Parkinson said. “Administering the resources provided to Wichita State University is crucial to the success of the university, its students and the entire state. I am confident in the board’s abilities and grateful for their dedication.”

Jackson retired more than a year ago as a senior vice president of Administration for Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. He graduated cum laude from WSU with a bachelor’s degree and holds a master’s degree in business management. Jackson is active in the Wichita community as a member of the YMCA Wichita Black Achievers Program and serves on the boards of directors for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Wichita Community Foundation.

Winters is a former Sedgwick County Commissioner and has served on several boards, including the Wichita Area Technical College Advisory Board, the Workforce Alliance Board and the Information Network of Kansas Board.

Gov. Parkinson joins the blogosphere

TOPEKA – “Welcome to my first actual blog,” wrote Gov. Mark Parkinson yesterday.

In the post Parkinson, a Democrat, said he decided to start blogging when he became governor at the end of April “to provide you a glimpse of what it is like to serve as Governor and to give insight into what happens in our office every day.”

The blog comes up with the governor’s website.

In the mostly biographical initial offer Parkinson promised he’d be the one writing the posts, “this isn’t something that a staffer is writing to try to make me look good.”

He also promised he, and other posters, would try not to be boring or politically correct and “we’ll try not to use political speak (lots of words that say nothing, but sound good).”

Tiahrt’s campaign logo gets some unwanted attention

Tiahrt's logoShenanigans blog on the website Politico poked fun at U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s logo for his Senate bid with one comment comparing it to a 13-year-old girl’s note.

“And by “adorable” we mean, not really,” the site snarked.

The Goddard Republican, who was first elected to Congress in 1995, has used the logo – a “T” with a “heart” in previous successful elections. Tiahrt is hoping to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor. Tiahrt is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran.

KDHE announces $6.3 million in grants to primary care clinics, including about $1.2 million for Sedgwick County

TOPEKA – Seven Sedgwick County health clinics received more than $1.2 million from the state to help provide primary health care to undeserved Kansans.

Tuesday, Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced the grants, ranging from $17,872 to $453,517, to 39 clinics through out Kansas.

“The services these clinics provide are critically important, making available needed health care services for families without health insurance or those who cannot afford the high cost of care,” said KDHE Secretary Rod Bremby.

In 2008, nearly 180,000 Kansans received health care at a state-funded primary care clinic, the department said in the release. Nearly 60 percent of these patients were uninsured, and over 65 percent were in households that earn less than the federal poverty level.

Area clinics receiving grants were:

  • Center for Health and Wellness, Inc. $105,00 for primary care, $15,000 for prescription assistance

  • E.C. Tyree Health and Dental Clinic, $80,000 for primary care

  • Good Samaritan Clinic, $88,400 for primary care, $12,000 for prescription assistance

  • GraceMed Health Clinic, Inc., $350,000 for primary care, $40,000 for prescription assistance

  • Guadalupe Clinic, $80,000 for primary care, $20,000 for prescription assistance

  • Health Options for Kansas Communities, $50,000 for primary care, $12,000 for prescription assistance

  • Hunter Health Clinic, $320,000 for primary care, $40,000 for prescription assistance.

For more, read Wednesday’s Wichita Eagle.

LED lights for parking garages pulled from city’s stimulus plans

light-poleA plan to replace more than 800 inefficient lights in city-owned parking garages with long-lasting LED lights seemed doomed from the start.

Vice Mayor Jim Skelton leveled arguments against them and said it just doesn’t make sense to pull functioning lights just to save some energy. (See The Eagle’s story about that.)

Now the city has pulled them from the list of projects they plan to fund with the federal stimulus money being given to cities across the country.

But the proposal, which council members will vote on Tuesday, still includes the other projects. Those include:

$3.6 million to put a “green roof” on the Rounds and Porter Building that sits just west of City Hall

$1.6 million to connect the K-96 bike path to the I-135 path

$560,000 to synchronize stop lights at about 227 intersections

$264,000 for voluntary energy conservation programs and education

$15,000 to buy a cardboard baler for Century II