Monthly Archives: August 2010

Soldier seen in WikiLeaks.org video to speak tonight

Wikileaks videoEthan McCord, a soldier from Wichita, was one of first troops to arrive on the scene of a deadly air strike in Baghdad in 2007. The attack by two Apache helicopters killed 12 people, including a Reuters photographer and his driver. Video of the attack, released by WikiLeaks.org, has been viewed more than 7 million times.

McCord will be at Wichita’s Central Library at 7 p.m. tonight to take questions after a viewing of a 20-minute video presentation including the WikiLeaks.org’s “Collateral Murder” video and McCord’s public response. Wichita’s Peace and Social Justice Center organized the presentation.

Koch Industries is among 22 Kansas employers and unions to accept health care money to cover early retirees

healthcareTOPEKA – Twenty-two Kansas employers and unions, including Koch Industries, have accepted money from the health care reform act to cover early retirees.

The $5 billion Early Retiree Reinsurance Program is intended to help maintain health coverage for retirees 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The program is part of the federal health care reform act and will expire Jan. 1, 2014 when the new state health insurance exchanges are established.

“Many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a written statement.

The money cover the costs of reimbursement unions and businesses accepted into the program for medical claims for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Read More »

Moran endorses Pompeo

Fresh from dispatching Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the race for a Kansas Senate seat, Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, on Monday endorsed Republican Mike Pompeo to replace Tiahrt in the House of Representatives.

Heavily favored in the November general election against little-known Democrat Lisa Johnston, Moran said he would “welcome the opportunity to serve side-by- side with Mike Pompeo.”

Both candidates said jobs are their major priority and they hope to relax regulation on businesses in an effort to encourage economic expansion.

Pompeo is running against state Rep. Raj Goyle, D-Wichita, for the 4th District seat that Tiahrt, R-Goddard, gave up to run for Senate.

Kansas officials seek more federal funding for transportation

truck2

WICHITA — State officials  called for increased awareness and more federal funding for rural  transportation in Kansas and the nation.

Speaking in Wichita this morning, Kansas transportation secretary Deb Miller and agriculture secretary Josh Svaty said growing agricultural, energy and military needs will require more than building more roads.

The challenges will have to be met through improved aviation, public transit and rail systems, as well, they said.

Miller and Svaty were responding to a national report, “Connecting Rural and Urban America,” prepared by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which represents state transportation departments.

Read More »

Transportation and Ag secretaries to discuss rural highway capacities in Kansas

TOPEKA – State Transportation Secretary Deb Miller and Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty will be in Wichita Monday discussing a report examining rural highway capacity.

The study by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is called “Connecting Rural and Urban America.”

The meeting will be 11 a.m., Aug. 30, 3400 N. Broadway, Wichita.

In case of rain, the event will be conducted at the KDOT Wichita Metro Office at 45th Street and North Hillside.

News from the Department of Redundancy Department, 4th Congressional District

Mike Pompeo edition:

Pompeo

Pompeo

Press release, Today,

Pompeo: “Thousands of jobs have been lost in the 4th District of Kansas because the Obama-Pelosi agenda of expanded government and bailout legislation has further stalled our economy,”

Press release, Tuesday

Pat Roberts: “In this era of out-of-control spending, government takeovers in too many areas of our lives, and looming tax increases, Mike Pompeo will stand up against the Obama-Pelosi agenda.”

Pompeo, same release: “We must create an environment that will sustain economic growth and bring jobs back to Kansas, not enable the Obama-Pelosi agenda.

Press release, Aug 16

Sam Brownback: “We need a Congressman committed to the Kansas way, not the Obama-Pelosi agenda.”

Pompeo, same release: “We’ve watched over the past nearly two years as the Obama-Pelosi agenda expands our federal government and spends more than we have.”

Press release, Aug 12

Josh Wells, Pompeo campaign spokesman: “The poll numbers show that voters across the 4th District are united behind the idea that we need a Congressman who represents Kansas, not the Obama and Pelosi agenda.

Wichita Eagle, Aug. 8:

The Pompeo campaign declined to respond directly to issues raised by its former campaign rivals and issued a statement reading, in full: “We’re getting a great response from Kansans of all stripes, Republicans, independents and Democrats, who support Mike and oppose the Obama-Pelosi agenda. There is a strong majority who want a congressman who represents us, not Obama and Pelosi.”

Raj Goyle edition:

Goyle

Goyle

Press release, April 14

“More than ever I am convinced that the hard working people of this district are committed to common sense leadership that will create bipartisan solutions to the problems we face.”

Goyle website

“I have worked across the aisle enough to know that bipartisan solutions are Kansas’ pathway to progress on energy.”

KSN voter guide

“We must continue to work toward bipartisan solutions that solve our immigration crisis immediately.”

Eagle voter guide

“Last year’s health care debate showed exactly what is wrong with Washington. We need bipartisan solutions that improve the bill by reducing costs.”

Campaign kickoff speech, June 7

“My vision is one where we work together… where we use common sense to find common ground… where bipartisan solutions fuel the economic growth and prosperity we all deserve.”

KDHE computer services restored

TOPEKA – It will be a few more days before people can access and input records for the state’s Office of Vital Statistics, but on Thursday KDHE announced its computer services had been restored.

The vital statistic system, which handles birth and death certificates, was the last major system to come online and is currently being tested, said Rod Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

In the meantime, KDHE staff are processing vital statistics requests by hand, he said. During August, the department receives about 900 requests a day.

Right now the department is facing a backlog of 8,000 requests, which is causing about a four-week delay, he said.

Bremby suggests that anyone who does not immediately need a record wait a few weeks to make the request.

The crash, which occurred Aug. 5, shut down most services used by the public and the agency’s e-mail. Technicians have since determined the root problem was a faulty disc drive.

The contractor, Eden Prairie, Minn. based Xiotech, has agreed to cover all the costs of the recovery and system upgrades including state employee overtime wages incurred while manually processing requests.

House candidate receives death threat

Dan Manning

Dan Manning

District 91 Democratic House candidate Dan Manning said he came home from work early Saturday morning and found a death threat clipped to the outside of his apartment door.

The note was created with letters cut from newspapers and other publications, and it noted that he’s a candidate for the House. It said “Will DIE,” “Kill,” “MURDER” and “Head OFF.” It also used two derogatory references to homosexuality.

Manning said he checked his doors and windows to make sure he was safe. He said he immediately reported the note to Wichita Police. Wichita Police Capt. Joe Dessenberger said police opened an intimidation case on it. The case is temporarily closed while the letter is being checked for finger prints, he said. No witnesses or suspects have been identified, he said. Read More »

No events scheduled next month at arena

Taylor Swift performed to a sold-out crowd at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas on April 1, 2010

Taylor Swift performed to a sold-out crowd at the Intrust Bank Arena on April 1.

There are no events scheduled next month at Intrust Bank Arena, assistant county manager Ron Holt told commissioners today.

Holt delivered his monthly report on the arena for June. He told commissioners to expect an operating loss in July but did not elaborate.

From January through June, there have been 71 performances at the arena with gross ticket sales of $12.3 million. Average attendance per performance has been 4,668.

Airport activity generates about half of Kansas’ aviation economic impact

airportrenoTOPEKA – Kansas airports generate about $10.4 billion in economic activity, a study released Wednesday by the state Transportation Department showed.

That is about half of the commonly cited $20 billion economic impact from aviation over all.

The study was funded in part by a $337,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and $16,500 from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller said she was surprised by just how much airports – from large hubs to small regional sites – contributed to the state.

“I would never have guessed that 50 percent of the economic impact of aviation came from on airport activities,” she said.

Read More »