Vol. 2, Issue 4                                         April 2018
It has been an interesting month since my last newsletter. We have been working with the Veteran’s Administration concerning reimbursement for our ambulance service used to transport veterans. The bills had piled up to around $1.5 million outstanding. Talks began between Sedgwick County and the Veteran’s Administration as soon as the issue was brought to my attention. We asked that our two Senators and our Representative also provide staff to participate in the discussions. Each ambulance transport was reconciled and a detailed report was prepared on the findings. As a result, both Sedgwick County and the Veteran’s Administration now have policies and procedures in place to assure that the County knows in a very short period of time if more information is needed before a claim can be processed, or if a claim is either approved or denied. If more information is needed, it can be provided on a timely basis, or if a claim is denied, the County can then look for other avenues for payment. In any event, the County will always insure that our nation’s veterans are cared for to the utmost of our ability.

Last year, the Board of County Commissioners added $1.00 to the solid waste fee. Recently, we used a portion of those funds to conduct an e-waste collection that ran over six different days. We are very proud to report that 3874 vehicles brought e-waste to be properly disposed of, for a total of over 522,000 pounds of e-waste. We are very pleased by the response from the community. I have received nothing but praise from the citizens who participated in the event.

Last week, we had the pleasure to honor Sgt. Clayton Barth, a Detention Academy for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department. Thanks to the DeVore Foundation, Sgt. Barth along with a member of the City of Wichita and Wichita School District will each receive a $2500 check at a reception at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9 in the Lotus Hall at Botanica. Congratulations Sgt. Barth!

The County is still looking at options for a new Administration building because the current County Courthouse is overcrowded and the courts and District Attorney require more space. Whatever decision we make must meet the needs of our citizens for a minimum of 50 years. Therefore, we must make the decision based on both current and future requirements along with the total cost including purchase, maintenance and operation. Our Sedgwick County leaders in the past had the foresight to build two buildings which have both served well over the years. Construction on the Old Historic Courthouse began in 1888 and the current courthouse was built in 1959. I want whatever decision we make to stand the test of time as well as those two decisions have.

Regards,

David T. Dennis
Nearly 4,000 people participated in County's e-waste collection
Over two weekends in April Sedgwick County Environmental Resources hosted an electronic waste collection event. Residents could visit the Public Works West Yard on April 5-7 and again on April 12-14 to safely dispose of unused and unwanted electronics. Over the six days nearly 4,000 cars drove through to drop off a total of 522,000 pounds of material. 

Devices with hard drives were destroyed to ensure that any information could not be gathered. All the material collected was recycled domestically and will not be sent to a foreign country.

Thank you to our residents for helping keep this material out of landfills. 
Crews continue to work on the Kellogg/ I-235 interchange rebuild. This first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Update on Kellogg/ 235 interchange
Project updates can be found at www.235red.org and include:

  • The southbound I-235 two-lane flyover ramp to eastbound US 54 will open in late April or May, weather dependent. 
Projects in District 3
Bridge Construction on MacArthur between 327th W and 343rd W (B467)
  • Road closed October 16
  • Bridge opened to traffic on April 16

Bridge Construction on 295th W between 45th N and 53rd N (B472)
  • Construction will begin on April 30
  • Expected to reopen by early fall 2018
County staff provide update on VA billing reconciliation
Commissioners received an update this month from County staff regarding the reported $1.5 million outstanding balance due from the Veterans Administration (VA) to the County for EMS services since 2014. Since Oct. 20, 2017, a team from Sedgwick County and one from the local VA have been working together to review and reconcile nearly 4,200 claims. Through these efforts, the VA has made payments totaling $645,000 from late October 2017 through late March 2018 to the County. A complete resolution to all unresolved claims is expected by the end of this month. 

“I am very pleased that we have been able to resolve this issue with the VA,” said Chairman David Dennis. “This relationship will be beneficial moving forward, especially as we are able to care for our veterans.” 

These efforts have resulted in additional recommendations to both organizations to ensure that this issue does not happen again. The dialogue and communication between the two organizations will continue and moving forward there will be regular communication. 
Sedgwick County invests in community and economic development
Sedgwick County has chosen to make economic and community development a priority this year. As such, the Commission voted to invest in Project Wichita, a new community engagement process to discover the community’s ten-year vision and the action plan to achieve it. 

Project Wichita, through a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, (Opportunity Wichita) requested a one-time investment of $45,000 from Sedgwick County to help fund a robust community engagement and strategic visioning initiative designed to determine the ten-year vision and action plan for our region, led by community input. County funding support will be used to fulfill the contract with Wichita State University’s Public Policy and Management Center to facilitate the public listening and engagement process.

“I support a strategic approach to economic development in this region. This provides the vision for our future,” said Commission Chairman David Dennis. “I am encouraged to see our community and region becoming a more attractive place to live, work, and play.” 

Earlier this year the Commission agreed to join the Greater Wichita Partnership, City of Wichita, and other regional investors, to fund an economic development consulting firm, who will refine and focus the Partnership’s regional economic development efforts. This one-time investment for Market Street Services, Inc. totaled $45,000 from Sedgwick County.

Sedgwick County and the Greater Wichita Partnership have a longstanding relationship and the County has invested in the Partnership for a number of years. This public-private partnership was created to align and focus economic development initiatives. 

The Greater Wichita Partnership is devoted to expanding the greater Wichita area's commercial and industrial base through aggressive business retention, expansion, recruitment activities, and marketing the ten county region of South Central Kansas as a fierce competitor in the global environment. Additionally, Commissioners approved an annual funding request from the Partnership in the amount of $300,000. 
Commissioners recognize Project SEARCH interns for completing program
During the April 18 Board of County Commissioners meeting five Project SEARCH interns were recognized for their service. These students have spent the last several weeks working for various Sedgwick County divisions and departments. Students participate in approximately three unpaid, 10-week internships led by a USD 259 instructor or para-educator/job coach during the school year. They will graduate in May. 

Project SEARCH is a business/organization-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration during a one-year rotational internship. The goal for each student participant is competitive employment. Project SEARCH has proved successful, with over 70% of graduates attaining employment.
National Public Health Week recognized April 2-8
For more than 20 years, communities around the country have celebrated National Public Health Week (NPHW), an initiative of the American Public Health Association, each April to highlight the good work of public health professionals. This year, NPHW was recognized April 2-8, 2018.

Sedgwick County Division of Health (SCDOH) used this time to recognize a community member who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and contributions to public health, through the Dr. Doren Fredrickson Lifetime Dedication to Public Health Award. Dr. Fredrickson served as the SCDOH’s health officer from 2002 to 2008. He was a dedicated, caring, and enthusiastic health advocate who devoted his entire career to improving public health. This year’s award recipient is Ms. Peggy Johnson; she was recognized at the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioner’s Meeting on April 4, 2018.

Peggy Johnson is the Executive Director and COO of the Wichita Medical Research & Education Foundation and has, with full support of the Board of Directors, taken the organization into the arena of Public Health. Under her direction the Foundation has increased its funding for public health educational events over 600%. Additionally, Peggy began the Foundation’s work in providing free Advance Directive documents to the general public to address health care issues for the elderly and terminally ill. She began the organization’s Annual Health Care Ethics Conference, which is now in its fifth year and brings together healthcare workers, social workers, chaplains, adult home healthcare administrators, and others to learn about ethical issues in the public and private healthcare arena. 
Central Plains Area Agency on Aging co-hosts Hoarding Conference
This month the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging co-hosted a conference with the Wichita/ Sedgwick County Hoarding Coalition and other governmental and community organizations. The conference focused on thought processes and underlying issues as it relates to hoarding behaviors. Health and human service providers attended this day long conference which included a keynote presentation by Christiana Bratiotis, Ph.D., LICSW Assistant Professor at The University of British Columbia. She is an expert in multi-disciplinary community hoarding task forces. Conference attendees reviewed several behaviors linked to hoarding, hoarding intervention, and animal hoarding. They also discussed how agencies can collaborate to deliver services and assist those in our community with hoarding tendencies.

Hoarding is not only extensive collections; it’s when an individual cannot use rooms and or furniture for its intended purpose or housing more animals than he or she can adequately care for. Hoarding can start as young as age five and it occurs in all social and economic groups. The Wichita/ Sedgwick County Hoarding Coalition is consistently working on ways to assist individuals in our community who excessively collect. There is a support group, Clutter Cleaners Club, for individuals that are interested in finding ways to overcome hoarding. 

For additional information about the Coalition or to make a referral, visit their website or call 660-5144. 
Stay safe during High Fire Danger days
Sedgwick County Fire District 1 would like to remind residents that during periods of High Fire Danger there are precautions you can take to help minimize the risk of starting a fire. High Fire Danger conditions include low humidity, long periods of very little moisture and very high winds that are usually greater than 15 mph or more. 
Here are some precautions you can take: 
  1. Be aware when discarding cigarettes, cigars, or other similar products. 
  2. Ensure trailer chains don’t drag on the ground and spark. 
  3. Properly maintain vehicles to prevent sparks or flammable materials from coming out of the exhaust system. 
  4. Completely extinguish all recreational burns, such as barbeque grills, chiminea fireplaces, fire pits, and the like, with abundant amounts of water. 

Click on the image in this article for a video with additional precautions. Please call Sedgwick County Fire District 1 at 316-660-3473 or visit www.sedgwickcounty.org if you have any questions.
April is 911 Education Month – five facts
You may have heard about the thin blue line as a symbol for law enforcement, but what about the thin gold line? That one represents emergency communications, the first of the first responders. April is 911 Education Month, and to give you a better understanding of what the call takers and dispatchers do, here are a few things you may not know about 911. 
  1. Sedgwick County Emergency Communications dispatches for 31 first responder agencies including the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, Sedgwick County Fire Department, and Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Service. Additionally, they provide dispatch services for the Wichita Police and Fire Departments, as well as outlying municipalities such as Andale, Bel Aire, Benton, Cheney, Clearwater, Colwich, Derby, Eastborough, Garden Plain, Goddard, Haysville, Kechi, Maize, Mt. Hope, Park City and Valley Center.
  2. Residents can access 911 by texting, if they are in a situation where a voice call is not possible. In the “to” field of a text message, type 911. 
  3. In 2017, 911 responded to 528,488 calls for service. 
  4. There were 94,550 pocket dials in 2017 compared to 129,561 in 2016. Emergency Communications wants to remind you that cell phones can still call 911 if a battery has a charge, regardless of whether it has a service plan.  
  5. It takes nine weeks of training to become a call taker, five more weeks to become an EMS and fire dispatcher, and an additional four weeks to become a law enforcement dispatcher. Call takers have one headset to handle one conversation at a time, while dispatchers are required to handle multiple conversations at once. 
Excellence in Public Service surprise for Sheriff’s Office employee
Detention Academy Sergeant Clayton Barth was recognized for his work ethic and exceptional performance and commitment to the community on Thursday, April 12. 

Barth graduated from Southeast High School in 1999 and joined the United States Army where he completed Military Police School and spent eight years serving. He is known for his bravery, courage, and leadership and has been awarded the prestigious Silver Medal of Valor. Barth has trained many staff members from the Sedgwick County Juvenile Division of Corrections, Kansas Jail Association, Andale Police Department and been invited to share his expertise in the field at numerous events.

Barth has been married to his wife Katie since 2002 and they have two children, Kylee and Austin. An active member of Journey Church, Barth serves as the Lead Pastor and an Executive Board Member. Under his leadership, Journey Church has distributed over 300 sack lunches to the Union Rescue Mission and provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to those in need. Sgt. Barth has demonstrated exemplary performance both in his work duties and in the community. 
As the top outdoor family attraction in the State, the mission of the Sedgwick County Zoo is to inspire discovery, appreciation, and respect for animals and nature. It is home to 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit is the third largest elephant habitat in the United States. 
Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center, inspires a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. Through its permanent and travelling exhibits, education programs, Digital Dome Theater films and special events, visitors can enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For example, the all-new, 5,100 square foot Design Build Fly exhibit celebrates our community’s aviation industry. Visitors encounter dozens of hands-on activities that focus on manufacturing and engineering to reveal what happens behind-the-scenes in our aircraft plants.   
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonant with EVERY Kansan. Located in the venerable Calvary Baptist Church, visitors may expand their knowledge and understanding of the Kansas African American story. 
Residents and visitors can gain an understanding of our community and cultural heritage at the Wichita – Sedgwick County Historical Museum. By collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials which reflect the area’s heritage visitors can experience different facets that shaped the community we live in today.  
County Information
316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203

Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203

Contact Corporate Communications Manager:
316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203