Monthly Archives: July 2009

U.S. Senate approves funding for Equus beds, KU cancer equipment

Kansas’ two senators were celebrating today following Senate passage of an energy and water appropriations bill containing $4 million to buy cancer research equipment for the University of Kansas.

The bill also contained a number of appropriations for continuing water projects, including $2 million for recharging groundwater in the Equus beds aquifer, the primary source of water for Wichita.

The $4 million for KU will come through the Department of Energy Office of Science and assist the university in its effort to earn a National Institute of Health cancer center designation.

“I’m fully committed to KU’s effort as it will lead to better treatment for cancer patients and increased economic opportunities for our state,” Sen. Sam Brownback said in a statement.

Sen. Pat Roberts said the bill overall “contains millions of dollars for improvements to our daily way of life.

“This bill contains projects that will make critical investments in our Kansas lakes, streams and rivers for recreation, drinking water and flood control,” he said in a statement.

Among the expenditures approved for south central Kansas:

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Private donations funded most of All-American City trip to Tampa

all-american city logoWhen the city flew a crew of 13 (plus family members who mostly paid their own way) to Tampa, Fla. to compete as a finalist for the All-American City award, it spent about $37,000. That’s a high cost for an award when the city is facing a $13 million shortfall. Even City Manager Robert Layton said he can see why people would question it. He wasn’t surprised that The Eagle had gotten a package highlighting a city newsletter that was upbeat about the city’s trip and winning of the award along with a newspaper clip about the budget woes. But, it turns out, private donations reimbursed the city for most of its expenses. About $32,000 of it, anyway. Mayor Carl Brewer is fund-raising for the rest, and The Eagle will be looking for the follow through. (Here’s more on this Friday’s celebration.)

Meanwhile, here’s a look at who paid what for the 6-day trip. Read More »

Barnett to announce health care coalition Tuesday in Wichita

TOPEKA – State Sen. Jim Barnett is scheduled to announce his Congressional campaign’s Health Care Coalition Tuesday in Wichita.

“As a citizen and a doctor I have major concerns about the direction the health care debate in Washington is heading,” said Barnett, R- Emporia, in a press statement. “A personal principle of mine is to work towards solutions rather than complaining about the problems.” Read More »

Commissioners set mill levy at existing rate — for now

In a move that’s purely legal and likely not what Sedgwick County commissioners ultimately will pass, the board this morning voted to keep the county’s mill levy the same as it was last year — roughly 30 mills.

Under state law, by today’s decision, the county can’t raise the mill levy beyond that level but can — and likely will — make it lower.

Commissioner to 4-H’er: Don’t run for my office

In a lighter moment during this morning’s Sedgwick County commission meeting, focused on a public hearing about next year’s recommended budget, two longtime 4-H members spoke about the importance of the Extension Center.

When the two young men, 19 and 18 years old, were finished talking about how 4-H has shaped their lives, commissioner Dave Unruh commended them for their presentation, joking: “Don’t run for my office.”

That drew laughs from the audience.

Sedgwick County residents speak out against funding cut to Extension Service

In addition to speaking out against a recommendation to close the Kansas Coliseum complex, Sedgwick County residents also are urging commissioners to keep full funding for the Sedgwick County Extension Service.

County manager William Buchanan’s recommended budget for next year includes a $100,000 decrease to the Extension Service, which would cut more than half of its operating budget.

Speakers have talked about how the Extension Service’s programs help families and children. “Through the 4-H program, children learn by doing,” one of the speakers, Rocky Schmied, told commissioners.

The recommended budget also includes $100,000 cuts to Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Commission chairman Kelly Parks: ‘You may be surprised’

In responding to some people who have e-mailed him to show their support for Sedgwick County manager William Buchanan, commissioner Kelly Parks has responded that they may not know all the facts.

The Eagle e-mailed Parks asking to elaborate, to which he replied “You may be surprised.”

Sources say that Parks and commissioner Gwen Welshimer hope to fire Buchanan today during an executive session after the board’s regular meeting. Neither Parks nor Welshimer have commented. The agenda for the executive session says that the board will meet for personnel matters related to non-elected staff.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn likely would be the swing vote on a decision to fire or keep Buchanan.

About 80 people show for pavilions hearing

About 80 people have shown up at the public hearing for Sedgwick County’s recommended budget for next year, which includes a suggestion to close the entire Kansas Coliseum complex, including the pavilions.

About 35 people have signed up to speak. People in the commission’s chambers are holding brightly colored signs that say “We oppose closing the pavilions.”

The county has set up an overflow room for the crowd.

Several groups that use the pavilions have expressed their concern about losing events at the Coliseum.

Tiahrt asks House whether President Obama would have been aborted

In arguing against bill that could open the door for Washington D.C. city officials to help single, low-income women get an abortion, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, asked the U.S. House to consider whether such “incentives” might have led President Obama’s mother to get an abortion. He asked the same about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-New York, said the bill bans federal dollars from being spent on abortion. But, he said, it gives the D.C. City Council the option to use local dollars. (More on that from The Washington Post.)

Here’s a short clip of the C-Span video.

Here’s a longer version:

Ryun endorses Congressman Todd Tiahrt for U.S. Senate

Former Republican Congressman Jim Ryun threw his support behind Congressman Todd Tiahrt’s bid for U.S. Senate.

Ryun represented the 2nd Congressional District until he was ousted by former Rep. Nancy Boyda, a Democrat.

Tiahrt, a Goddard Republican, is running against fellow Republican Rep. Jerry Moran, who currently represents the 1st Congressional District which encompasses most of western Kansas.

The two are hoping to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, who is stepping down and running for Kansas governor in 2010.

Below is Ryun’s endorsement letter.

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