Author Archives: Deb Gruver

Former Congressman Tiahrt endorses Sauceda for Sedgwick County commissioner

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt endorsed Republican Ben Sauceda on Friday for District 2 Sedgwick County Commissioner.

“In a race that highlights the need for common-sense, free market solutions to make our local economy stronger, I am pleased to support Ben for county commission,” Tiahrt said in a news release. “Ben offers a strong work ethic, great ideas and a willingness to listen to and work for the voters of his district.”

District 2 covers south-central Wichita and Haysville. Sauceda is running against Democratic incumbent Tim Norton, who in his third year on the board. Norton is chairman of the commission this year.

Chamber PAC endorses Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton

Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton is the lone Democrat the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee endorsed in its latest round of political picks.


Norton, who is chairman of the board this year, is in his third term as a commissioner representing District 2, which includes south-central Wichita and Haysville.


The former Haysville mayor and Target manager faces Republican Ben Sauceda, a political newcomer, in the November election.


Norton was deemed “pro-business” by the PAC, which released its endorsements Thursday.



District 3 Sedgwick County commission challenger gets three endorsements from aviation leaders

Wichita City Council member Jeff Longwell, who is challenging Sedgwick County District 3 commissioner for his seat, announced at the Pachyderm Club meeting that three aviation leaders have endorsed his campaign.

Longwell said Jeff Turner, Russ Meyer and Lynn Nichols are supporting his campaign. Turner is CEO of Spirit AeroSystems; Meyer is former chairman of Cessna Aircraft; and Nichols is CEO of Yingling Aviation.

Former Congressman Tiahrt endorses Karl Peterjohn in commission race

Former U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt today endorsed Republican incumbent Karl Peterjohn in the District 3 Sedgwick County commission race. Peterjohn faces Wichita City Council member Jeff Longwell in the Aug. 7 primary.

Tiahrt ended his endorsement letter with the sign-off “For Liberty.”

County, city leaders write columns in “Kansas Liberty Freedom Express News”

Two Sedgwick County commissioners — Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau — and Wichita City Council member Michael O’Donnell wrote columns this month in “Kansas Liberty Freedom Express News,” an eight-page conservative publication.

Peterjohn wrote about the county’s jail and efforts to make the county more transparent by publishing its “checkbook” online at Ranzau railed against a sustainable communities grant that the Regional Economic Area Partnership received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

O’Donnell wrote about developments in south Wichita.

Peterjohn said the publication was the work of Craig Gabel, a Wichita restaurant owner who ran unsuccessfully for a county commission seat in 2008.

The publication is online at

Sheriff’s sergeant, son of Vern Miller, saw it all in 36 years with Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Sgt. Clifford Miller accepted his retirement clock today from the place he worked for 36 years.

Miller, the son of former sheriff and Kansas attorney general Vern Miller, had the audience laughing and crying as he told of his career with the county.

“I have seen babies born, and I have witnessed people die,” Miller said. “I have seen people with injuries that should not have died. . . die, and those with injuries that should have died. . . not die. Five of the last six sheriff’s officers killed were personal friends of mine. I’d had breakfast with one of them the very morning he was shot and killed in this courthouse. I watched one of them die on the operating table after he was stabbed in Oaklawn. He was my fishing partner and one of my closest friends.”

Miller noted that he was deputized when he was 3 days old and spent much of his childhood at the courthouse.

He joked that in the early days, he and a lieutenant were part of the Sedgwick County Skunk Removal Program.

“Nowadays, we would have to call that SCSRP,” he said, drawing chuckles from the crowd. “He and I, when things were slow, would look for and shoot skunks out in the county. The one with the most skunks got a free breakfast from the other at the end of our shift.”

Miller said he had been involved in “the foot chases, the car chases and the barking dog cases.”

He remembered a case in which a fellow officer was struck with a skillet by a woman who had called 911 to report her husband beating her.

He said he had trained many officers, including several who passed him in rank.

“I of course claim my influences on them only when they have done good things,” Miller said.

Miller was one of seven people who accepted retirement clocks from the county today.

Public works to Memorial Stadium?

Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan joked this morning about an upcoming trip to Lawrence that public works director David Spears is taking.

“He’s going to Lawrence later this week, and there’s speculation he’s applying for the coach’s job,” Buchanan said, alluding to the University of Kansas looking for a new football coach.

That drew laughs commissioners and county staff.

But Commissioner Karl Peterjohn must not have heard about Turner Gill losing his job because he joked back that KU basketball coach Bill Self likely wasn’t in danger of his losing his job anytime soon.

That drew some silent smiles.

Got a gripe or suggestion for Sedgwick County? Commissioners taking input at two meetings

Been itching to get something off your chest about Sedgwick County? Two county commissioners are holding meetings this week to get input from constituents.

Commissioner Jim Skelton’s 5th District Advisory Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Oaklawn Activity Center, 4904 S. Clifton. Skelton began a district advisory board earlier this year. Skelton serves District 5, which includes southeastern Wichita, Derby and Mulvane.

During this week’s meeting, a news release from the county said, health department director Claudia Blackburn will give an overview of her department and the medical reserve corps. City of Wichita chief engineer Gary Janzen will discuss the Oaklawn south water main replacement project.

The board meets the last Wednesday of each month and gives residents a chance to talk to Skelton about issues in their neighborhoods and concerns about the county.

The board will not meet in December.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau is holding a town hall meeting this weekend.

Ranzau, who represents District 4 in north-central Wichita, Valley Center and Park City, will meet with residents from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Life Point Church in Valley Center.

Sedgwick County commission votes 4-1 to give $1 million for Bombardier parking lot

Sedgwick County commissioners voted 4-1 — with member Richard Ranzau voting “no” — to spend $1 million for a parking lot at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport for Bombardier.

The incentive is part of a package the state, city and county put together to help Bombardier expand and bring 450 jobs to Wichita.

Ranzau said the company was in better financial shape to spend the $1 million than the county was, expaining his “no” vote.

“It’s going to hurt us more than it’s going to help Bombardier,” Ranzau said.

But other commissioners disagreed.

“i say it’s ‘Good News Wednesday,’ ” Commissioner Tim Norton said. “We’re putting people back to work.”

Sedgwick County commission chairman perturbed by Boeing

Dave Unruh, chairman of the Sedgwick County commission, pulled a photo of a KC-46A tanker off the wall Tuesday to make a point.

Unruh read an inscription on the framed photo, given to the county by Boeing after it won a contract to provide tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

“We’re honored that the U.S. Air Force has selected the Boeing KC-46A to be its next generation aerial refueling tanker, ensuring our nation’s warfighters will have the advanced capabilities they need. It’s a victory for tanker crews and for Kansas, where Boeing supports thousands of jobs and works with more than 450 suppliers across the state.

“We’re proud of our partnership with Kansas and look forward to a bright future working together.”

Unruh said Boeing gave the photo to the county only months ago and is now studying whether to stay in Wichita.

He is not happy about the prospect of the company leaving the Air Capital.

Boeing officials confirmed Monday that they are studying the future of their presence here.

Aviation reporter Molly McMillin reported in her blog that the Kansas Congressional delegation and Gov. Sam Brownback said the company promised jobs to the state when it won an aerial refueling tanker contract, and “we expect the company to honor that commitment.”

“I’m agitated too,” Commissioner Tim Norton said.

Boeing said it expects to finish the study by the end of this year or early next year.