Monthly Archives: July 2009

Looking for readers to comment on a study examining a switch to a per-mile vehicle tax to fund road projects

A study from the University of Iowa is looking for Wichita drivers to participate in a program examining a new way to pay for roads and transportation projects.

Currently, road projects at the federal and state level are mostly paid for through a per-gallon fuel tax. But with more and more fuel efficient vehicles and people driving less, those funds aren’t keeping up with the needs.

Many experts are recommending switching to a system where users pay pennies per miles that a vehicle travels to generate the money.

The study wants 250 drivers who are willing to have a device installed in their vehicles for about one year that tracks the miles each vehicle is driven in Kansas. Wichita is one of six cities chosen for the second phase of the study.

What do you think, is this a good idea? Would you be interested in participating or is this just more big government looking over your shoulder?

If you would like to be quoted for a story in the Eagle, please contact reporter Jeannine Koranda at jkoranda@wichitaeagle.com by 5 p.m. July 16. Please leave a day-time phone number at which you can be contacted.

Kelsey, Pompeo differ in campaign fund-raising in 4th District

The two Republicans running for the 4th District congressional seat have about the same amount of money to spend, but came by it in different ways.

Republican national committeeman Mike Pompeo has raised about $253,000 since early April, primarily in large contributions from executives and their spouses.

State Sen. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, is largely self-funding his campaign so far, having lent his war chest $222,500 since announcing his candidacy in February.

In their quarterly reports, Pompeo reported cash on hand of about $233,000; Kelsey has $205,000.

Read More »

Intrust Bank Arena got dinged by hail

The hail that pummeled the Delano area west of downtown last week also dinged up Intrust Bank Arena a little.

A Sedgwick County spokeswoman said there was some damage to roof caps, which go around the top of the walls, as well as to mechanical equipment on the roof.  “The damage is what you’d expect from hail: dings,” she said.

Insurance will cover the damage. The county does not yet have an estimate, but the contractor is working with an adjuster and each subcontractor involved, she said.

The vast glass used in the arena’s design was not broken.

Westar to hold information meeting on rate consolidation tonight

Westar Energy customers can learn about the company’s rate consolidation plan at a informational meeting tonight in Wichita.

The meeting will be 7 p.m. at the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center in room 101AB.

The company is considering consolidating its rate structure for Westar South and Westar North customers so people will eventually pay the same rate in both areas.

The information meeting is the second of three. The third, and final meeting, will be Wednesday evening in Topeka.

Wichita customers will have two chances to voice their opinions on the rate consolidation plan at public meetings.

The meetings are scheduled for:

  • Thursday, July 16, 7-9 p.m., via video at the Kansas Corporation Commission, Finney State Office Building, Room 2078, 230 East William St.

  • July 23, 7-9 p.m., Kansas Corporation Commission, Finney State Office Building, Room 2078, 230 East William St.

What they do with mixed recycling materials

Ever wonder how trash and recycling companies deal with the mix of broken glass, cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum? Here’s an interesting breakdown by RecycleBank.

County election commissioner reappointed

Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh has reappointed Sedgwick County election commissioner Bill Gale to another four-year term.

Gale oversees all elections in the county. A former Wichita City Council member, he has been the county’s election commissioner since 2003.

A swearing-in ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the election office in the historic courthouse.

A look at the city/county arena parking plan

Arena Parking Presentation

Exploration Place interim director hired

The former city manager of Hutchinson will serve as interim director of Exploration Place.

Sedgwick County commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Joe Palacioz that pays him $1,500 a week for 30 hours of work each week. He will not receive benefits.

Palacioz will serve as the museum’s leader until a new president is hired. The county hopes to wrap up that process before March. Former president Alberto Meloni resigned earlier this year.

Sedgwick County checkbook open for your eyes

Want to peek into Sedgwick County’s checkbook? Now you can.

Chief financial officer Chris Chronis this morning unveiled a new feature of the county’s Web site, www.sedgwickcounty.org, that will allow anyone to see what money is coming in and going out. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn had asked for the financial data to be made readily public, explaining he had been frustrated as a citizen when seeking financial information from government agencies.

The checkbook also will show payments to vendors.

“This is just one more step to take the mystery out of government,” commissioner Tim Norton said.

The checkbook will go live today on the home page of the Web site.

County commissioner: ‘You can’t fix stupid’

During a discussion this morning on fireworks, Sedgwick County commissioner Tim Norton got a laugh when he used an old saying “You can’t fix stupid.”

No matter what rules the county has and enforces regarding fireworks, some people, he said, will do stupid things. If people want to shoot fireworks at each other, set off commercial-grade fireworks or make their own fireworks, they will, Norton said.

His comment came while commissioners discussed reaction to the no-fireworks rule in the unincorporated areas of the county. Some said their constituents want to be able to shoot fireworks on their own property. Norton said he would support allowing county residents in the unincorporated areas to celebrate the Fourth of July the traditional way — as long as they do it on their own property, not others’.

Commissioner Kelly Parks said many of his constituents appreciate the no-fireworks rule because they own livestock that gets spooked by loud noises.