Kansas Municipal News

Retiring Gus Collins reflects on his time as Wellington’s city manager


Gus Collins says some of his best memories from his eight years as manager for the city of Wellington came during when the city was pursuing casino development.
Collins says though Wellington ultimately lost out on its bid to land a state-owned casino to Mulvane, the city showed tremendous resolve and unity during the process.

(Read more: Wichita Business News – Local Wichita News | The Wichita Business Journal)


Goddard council approves first phase of destination complex project


The Goddard City Council on Tuesday approved the first phase of a $130 million destination athletics/hotel/restaurant/retail project along West Kellogg.

The project from Goddard Destination Development includes a natatorium – a 60,000-square-foot competitive swimming complex – integrated into a 150-suite hotel, along with baseball fields, restaurant pad sites and the utilities and roads to support them.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Business)


Play presents history of Chanute from its beginning

City of Chanute

“Our Hometown: The Story of Chanute” starts when there isn’t a Chanute.
The area where Chanute now stands used to be nothing but prairie occupied by the Osage Indians. The land was purchased from France in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
The famous explorers Lewis and Clark called the land “unfit for human habitation” at the time.
The play, researched and written by Neosho County Community College Theatre Director Emily Kasprzak, opens Thursday at Chanute Memorial Auditorium. It explores the history of Chanute starting from that point and looks at other settlements in the area before Chanute, like the vegetarian colony of Octagon City.

(Read more: The Chanute Tribune)


Ambulance Fees Going Up in Great Bend


For the first time since 2009, Great Bend’s EMS rates will go up.

Great Bend Fire and EMS Chief Mike Napolitano says, “We just haven’t taken a good hard look at it until last year, and we’re just now getting to where we can adjust it.”

The city found that their prices were well under the standard, and their costs have continued to climb.

Non emergency basic care will go up 66 percent and emergency care goes up about 28 percent. For more advanced care, the non emergency paramedic level care will go up 70 percent to $425.

(Read more: ksn.com)


Kansas school boards cautioned about using new powers to hire, fire teachers

The Kansas Association of School Boards is urging local boards of education to use caution before taking advantage of new powers granted to them under a school finance bill that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Monday.

Mark Tallman, KASB’s associate executive director for advocacy, said districts should be careful before changing their practices in either of those areas.

In a statement posted on KASB’s website Tuesday, Tallman said the repeal of teacher tenure means teachers can be removed, “without the lengthy and expensive hearing officer system now required.”

“However, KASB recommends caution in making any changes to current hiring and termination practices at this time,” Tallman wrote. “For example, districts could negotiate a local due process system with their teachers.”

He also said there may be “unresolved legal issues about how courts would treat teachers who have already received due process rights.”

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories: News)


El Dorado considers law on dangerous dogs

The City of El Dorado considers repealing a ban on pit bulls and moving forward with restrictions on dangerous breeds.

Public works director Brad Meyer said the city commission decided to table discussion on the current ban and research other dogs. He said up to 12 dog breeds are being researched, including Doberman Pinscher, chow, German Shepherd, Rottweiler and others.

(Read more: KAKE – HomePage – Headlines)


Topeka ethics code still in place despite 2008 council action


Then-Topeka City Councilman Brett Blackburn thought the council was doing away with the city government’s Code of Ethics when it voted — over his objections — to approve an ordinance in June 2008 repealing the section of city code outlining ethics rules.

But that wasn’t the case.

Suzie Gilbert, the city’s communications and marketing director, indicated Tuesday the ethics code resolution remains in effect.

Gilbert said: “The resolution was not repealed. The code section was repealed, but the resolution remains.”

(Read more: News)


Wellington City Manager Gus Collins resigns; tenure ends June 1


Gus Collins, Wellington City Manager, has submitted his resignation to pursue another career opportunity.

Collins will complete his tenure here on June 1. The Wellington City Council has called a special meeting Thursday at 5:45 p.m. It will be there where the council will officially accept his resignation and start the process of finding his successor.

(Read more: Sumner NewsCow)


Roeland Park speakers tell council they oppose anti-discrimination ordinance


Although the Roeland Park City Council did not talk about its proposed anti-discrimination ordinance or have it on the agenda Monday night, a week after a community forum on the subject, it was still the primary topic for open comments at the council meeting.
All of the Roeland Park residents who took to the microphone Monday opposed the anti-discrimination proposal which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes and not allow discrimination by businesses and landlords of a certain size in providing services and accommodations.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)


Wichita city officials try to improve smell at sewage treatment facility


For years, area residents have complained about the smell coming from the plant.

According to officials, they have been steadily working on upgrades to the system to cut down on odors leaking into the air.

On Tuesday morning, the city council approved a contract to purchase chemicals that could stop the smell before it even gets to the plant located in south Wichita.

(Read more: ksn.com)


Pratt sends KDOT back to drawing board

pratt sign

To provide for wide right turns from First Street, about a dozen parking spaces on South Main would be sacrificed, and the Main Street access to Sanders Insurance Agency would likely be closed.
“Parking and access are affected and are community concerns,” [State Traffic Engineer Brian] Gower acknowledged. “I’m here to understand city concerns and determine if we can go forward.”
He said, however, “I think we’re pretty steadfast on five lanes.”
Commissioners were just as steadfast that the concept would hurt business in Pratt’s downtown.
“This is not workable at all,” said Commissioner Luke Kumberg. “The loss of parking spaces would be devastating to businesses.”

(Read more: pratttribune.com)


Wichita hopes ozone plan will help it stay out of trouble with EPA


If Wichita’s air quality declines, the cost to residents and businesses will be millions, city officials said Tuesday.

How much? Tighter regulations, beginning with auto emissions. Two to eight cents more per gallon of gasoline. Higher retail prices everywhere. Higher energy costs. Lost jobs, through business closings and lost economic development opportunities.

Those are the stakes before the city in a decisive summer that will determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency finds Wichita out of “attainment,” a bureaucratic term meaning the city has more than 75 parts per billion of ozone in its air – air pollution.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: News Updates)


Hays, Great Bend airports to replace lost commercial air service

Hays Regional Airport and Great Bend Municipal Airport are replacing Essential Air Service, lost when Great Lakes Airlines halted the service in late March.

The two airports have been without commercial air service since that time.

Beginning in early June, SeaPort Airlines, based in Portland, Ore., will begin daily round-trip service between Great Bend and Wichita and Great Bend and Kansas City, said SeaPort executive vice president Tim Sieber.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Business)


Court document seeks removal of Topeka city councilmember


A petition for judgment filed against Councilman John M. Campos II on Monday is seeking to remove Campos from his elected seat, according to court documents.

The petition filed Monday by Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor in conjunction with two felony charges accuses Campos of deceiving the city’s legal department to get out of a citation.

The petition claims Campos violated two Kansas statutes dealing with “moral turpitude” that subsequently require Campos forfeit his position as an elected official. The petition further notes the district attorney’s office “prays” the court will issue an order ousting him.

(Read more: News)


Hoisington looks to improve its image


It’s an effort to improve Hoisington from the ground up.

“The ultimate goal is to provide incentives for development, so maybe we could incite new development or redevelopment in our community,” said City Manager Jonathan Mitchell.

Local leaders have approved renewing a plan, that was first adopted in 2007, that gives tax breaks to people who build new, or remodel their homes. The renewal would extend that project until 2020. City officials say that the tax break won’t hurt their revenue, because the tax break only kicks in on the improvements.

(Read more: Wichita News and Weather | Wichita, KS | ksn.com)


Goddard City Council passes aquatic complex; cleared for next phase


The town of Goddard is one step closer to potentially exponential economic growth. Goddard City Council approved a STAR bond development agreement and project plan Monday night during the city council meeting.

The $130 million project would change the western edge of Wichita, spanning 200 acres. The STAR bond district stretches from 183rd Street west to 199th Street in Goddard, located near the new Wal-Mart.

The developer, Goddard Destination Development, Inc., is asking the state of Kansas for more than $25 million worth of STAR bonds to assist in paying for the Goddard Aquatic Complex project.

(Read more: ksn.com)


El Dorado Recreation Department forms partnership with Subway

The City of El Dorado Recreation Department formed a new partnership with Rottinghaus Company, Inc., owners of Subway in El Dorado.
Passionate about youth sports and community health, Rottinghaus has dedicated funds for the Recreation Department to enhance and expand its traditional and non-traditional programing. In return for their investment, spectators will see Subway signage on all recreation scoreboards.

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)


Lawrence, Douglas County to consider investing in farmer’s market food stamp program

A local health advocacy group is asking the Lawrence and Douglas County governments to help encourage shopping at local farmers’ markets by those relying on food-purchasing assistance from the federal government.

This week, the city and county commissions will be asked to contribute $10,600 to fund a program by LiveWell Lawrence. The program would create a matching fund system for those who receive money from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps.

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories: News)


Roeland Park invites residents to help shape city’s strategic plan

Roeland Park residents get a chance to weigh in later this month on the city’s strategic plan. The strategic planning committee has been meeting with small groups, but wants to open the discussion to all of the city’s residents.

A community open house will be held on April 30 at the Roeland Park Community Center to let the public give input on some of the same questions. Residents can stop by anytime from 5 to 6 p.m. or 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. that night and come and go as they please. Several stations will be set up, says City Clerk Debra Mootz, where participants can add comments in response to specific strategic planning questions. Some potential questions: What are the city’s assets? What are the city’s challenges? What should the vision for the future look like? What would keep people coming to Roeland Park?

The strategic planning process is being facilitated with the help of Wichita State University’s Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs. Tom Madigan is chair of the committee.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)


Brownback to sign school finance bill; supports tenure repeal

Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday said he will sign into law the new school finance bill, which would increase funding to schools but also repeal tenure for teachers.

“There’s a lot of really good pieces to the bill overall,” Brownback said.

The measure will provide $150 million with about half going to schools and half in property tax relief, Brownback said.

It will also repeal due process rights for public school teachers who achieve tenure after three years on the job.

Brownback said now local school districts can decide whether to offer tenure.

“It makes it a local issue, and I think that’s a good place for it to be,” he said.

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories)


Prairie Village experimenting with flashing beacons at Weltner Park crosswalk

Prairie Village public works has installed a new crosswalk alert system at Weltner Park along Cambridge Drive that they hope will improve pedestrian safety.

The Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons have flashing amber LED lights that start signaling when pedestrians push a button mounted on the crosswalk sign pole. Public Works selected the site for the first installation of the devices in the city partially in response to a traffic study conducted on the park last year after residents raised concerns about the safety of crossing the street to get to Weltner Park.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)


Drug take-back day scheduled for April 26

Law enforcement officers across the state will be collecting unused medications for safe disposal on Saturday, April 26, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

The collection events are part of a nationwide effort to safely dispose of leftover medications to prevent accidental or intentional misuse. Since the program began in 2010, the semi-annual event has collected more than 22 tons of medications in Kansas alone.

“Unused medications are dangerous for kids, pets and the environment,” Schmidt said. “Getting these leftover medicines out of the medicine cabinets keeps them from falling into the wrong hands and makes our communities safer.”

Medications will be accepted at drop-off sites across the state from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. To find a location, visit www.ag.ks.gov and click on the “Got Drugs?” icon.

(Read more: Kansas Attorney General News Releases)


First lady’s commencement address draws criticism in Topeka

Graduating seniors from Topeka Unified School District 501 will be allotted up to six tickets apiece for friends and relatives to attend the joint commencement ceremony featuring first lady Michelle Obama as the guest speaker.

District spokesman Ron Harbaugh on Saturday said officials met Friday to make that determination. Harbaugh said an estimated 1,300 people will be on the floor of the Kansas Expocentre — graduating seniors, teachers and band members — and 6,486 seats will be available in the regular stands.

The latter figure doesn’t include behind-the-stage seating. If the Secret Service gives the OK, Harbaugh said, that would open up additional tickets for distribution.

According to the Expocentre’s website, there are 7,450 fixed seats in the facility.

Parents and students alike have expressed anguish that the first lady’s speech and limited seating for families detract from a day that should center on the graduating students and their loved ones.

However, Harbaugh said the district has received a lot of positive feedback in response to Obama’s impending visit despite the many who have voiced concerns or anger through media outlets.

(Read more: The Topeka Capital-Journal)


Tourism growing in Wichita

Wichita is known for a lot of things but tourism isn’t typically one of them. City officials are hoping to change that.

From charity walks to renaissance festivals, as the weather warms up more events are making their way into Wichita.

“Every weekend there’s an excuse to come so whether it’s our cultural arts our wonderful music theatre of Wichita, Intrust Bank Arena, river festival. When you look at that calendar we put it all on a list, we’re like you know every single weekend in Wichita there’s stuff going on and there’s a reason to visit,” said James Williams with GoWichita.

(Read more: ksn.com)


Topeka looks into whether ‘community garden’ concept may take root here

The city of Topeka will hold a public meeting targeted at seeking input on whether residents here have a taste for allowing “community gardens.”

… city zoning regulations currently prohibit community gardens as a primary use on vacant lot, but the city’s planning department — in collaboration with local community garden advocacy groups — is looking at making it easier to allow community gardens in residential neighborhoods.

The planning department also is looking at such matters as the conditions in which such gardens may be appropriate and the hours they may be open, as well as questions regarding sales, structures and signs.

(Read more: News)


Governor lets SE Kansas casino bill become law

Gov. Sam Brownback is allowing a bill aimed at luring a state-owned casino to southeast Kansas to become law without his signature.

Brownback announced the decision Friday, his deadline for acting. Brownback said he has reservations about state-owned casinos but noted that southeast Kansas residents strongly support the bill.

The bill decreases the investment required by Kansas law for a casino in either Cherokee or Crawford county to $50 million, instead of the current $225 million.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Top Stories)


Shawnee County selected to pilot broadband initiative

Shawnee County has been chosen by the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Statewide Broadband Initiative as a Local Technology Planning Pilot. Shawnee County will have access to national consultants, hired by the state through a federal grant, to help formulate a plan for enhancing broadband services.

So far the state has secured Norton County, Dodge City/Ford County and Fort Scott/Bourbon County in addition to Topeka/Shawnee County as pilot communities, said KSBI program director Stanley Adams. The commerce department didn’t have enough in the federal grant for every county, so it has selected about six counties to assign consultants and develop blueprints from which other communities can work, he said.

“We want to make sure economic development plans that are in the process include broadband initiatives,” Adams said.

(Read more: News)


Baldwin City named Tree City USA

Baldwin City has been named a 2013 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of its commitment to urban forest management.

To receive the recognition a community must:

• Have a tree board or department.

• Have a budget of at least $2 per capital for community forest management.

• Have a tree-care ordinance.

• Have an Arbor Day observance or proclamation.

(Read more: BaldwinCity.com stories)


Rural Kansans get improved ER

With 17,000 people through their emergency department last year from Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, they have started expanding.

“It’s an entire critical care system that we want to be able to expand so we can continue to meet the growing needs of Western Kansas,” said St. Catherine CEO and President Scott Taylor.

With a lack of walk-in clinics in much of rural Kansas, about 70% of the ER’s patients are non-critical.

“We want to be able to see all those patients in a timely and effective manner,” Taylor said.

(Read more: ksn.com)