Daily Archives: May 3, 2011

Time again to pick up trash on banks of Arkansas River

Stacey Groner, front, and Mike Patrick pick up trash along the banks of the Arkansas River in this photo from 2002

How much litter ends up along the banks of the Arkansas River near downtown Wichita?

More than a ton a year.

Last year, a rec0rd-setting 600 volunteers picked up 2.8 tons of trash in a few hours, said Libby Albers, an environmental specialist with the city. A lot of the trash is channeled to the river via storm water drains.

Volunteers will once again help clean the river up during the 10th annual River Trash Round-Up from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday.

Those interested in helping can meet in the southeast corner of the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium parking lot. The city will provide gloves and bags for those who don’t bring their own. Officials suggest wearing long pants and sturdy shoes. Canoeists and kayakers are also invited to help out while paddling the river. Volunteers will get a T-shirt and a bite to eat at a cookout after the clean up.

Senate, House remain split on Affordable Airfares

The House appropriations and Senate ways and means conference committee reported just a while ago that both chambers remain split on the Kansas Affordable Airfares Program.

The committee adjourned until 5 p.m.

At issue is $5 million in funding. Gov. Sam Brownback has the money in his recommended budget. The state has budgeted that amount for affordable air service in Wichita since 2006. The five-year commitment ends this year.

The money is in the Senate’s version of the budget. But the House stripped the money in its version.

Proponents of the funding point to an audit that showed for every $1 it spends on the program, the state get back $2.32.

But opponents say businesses shouldn’t be getting handouts from the government.

Word is a deal could be struck today. Stay tuned.

House gives final OK to crackdowns on scrap-metal theft and hit-and-run driving

Colloton

Bills cracking down on theft of scrap metal and toughening penalties for leaving the scene of an accident cleared their final legislative hurdle and are on their way to the governor’s desk.

The House today also sent a second bill outlawing the drug known as “bath salts,” to clean up problems found in a similar bill that has already been signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback.

The major change in law regarding scrap metal is to set the penalty for thieves based on the cost of replacing what they steal, rather than the value of the metal stolen, according to Rep. Pat Colloton, R-Leawood, chairwoman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee. Read More »

Council approves upgrades at Wichita Ice Center

The Wichita Ice Center will get a new coat of paint, new bleachers, better lockers, improved heating and air conditioning and a more modern sales system.

Wichita City Council members today unanimously approved $316,000 in upgrades to the facility at 505 W. Maple, which was built in 1996. Read More »