Vol. 1, Issue 8                                    November 2019
From a personal perspective, I think it is important to share with you some background about this project. During the time leading up to the August 2015 start, I was on the Wichita City Council. As much as we wanted to complete the East Kellogg project, we found that our estimates were over budget and it would take 11 years to complete, (two separate five-year projects). However, after very strategic meetings between Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), and Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA), and with City of Wichita, a new combined effort to re-bid this project in two shorter pieces was decided. The result of this strategy saved the taxpayers over $50 million from previous bids received and reduced an 11 year project down to four years, with one remaining year to complete remaining parts.  My sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone involved, and especially to KDOT and KTA, for working with City of Wichita.  As your County Commissioner, I hope to deliver future projects and services in a responsible and fiscally sound environment.  

Continue reading for more information about the projects.
East Kellogg Expansion
Two lanes of the eastbound and westbound mainline recently opened on East Kellogg, marking a significant milestone in the transportation projects that also include improvements to the Webb Road intersection, as well as eventual expansion of Kellogg to a six-lane freeway to K-96 with connecting ramps to the Kansas Turnpike I-35/KTA.

The partial opening of the lanes on Thursday were ahead of schedule, and those involved with the project credited the partnership between the City of Wichita, Kansas Turnpike Authority and Kansas Department of Transportation. Wildcat Construction is the lead contractor on the project, with TranSystems and WSP USA lead engineering firms.

Impact to drivers will include:

East Kellogg
  • Two-lanes of Kellogg will open from just west of Webb Road to K-96. This includes eastbound and westbound traffic and access to/from the frontage roads.
  • The speed limit will remain at 40 mph throughout the work zone to accommodate remaining work.

Webb Road
  • Tomorrow, weather permitting, the Webb Road intersection will be complete, and left turns will be permitted and included in traffic control signals.
  • Traffic restrictions for drivers exiting I-35/KTA near Webb Road will change from a stop condition to a free-flow condition, prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Construction on the first East Kellogg Improvement project started in August 2015 and includes a redesigned Kellogg and Webb intersection and widening of Kellogg from Webb to Greenwich. A second project, started in 2016 and expected to be completed in 2021, continues widening Kellogg to a six-lane freeway between Greenwich and K-96. In addition, new ramps will be constructed for southbound I-35/KTA to westbound US-54 and eastbound US-54 to both northbound and southbound I-35/KTA. 

View the whole project at www.E54ict.com.
I-235 Green Project Tracker
Project updates can be found at www.235green.org and include:
Work on the I-235 Green Project began in March. Completion is planned for November 2021. This is phase one of the Wichita North Junction project. 
  • The northbound I-235 on ramp and exit to North Broadway are both closed until construction of the ramps is completed.
  • Both northbound & southbound Broadway in the construction zone under I-235 are single lane traffic until next year.
  • Northbound I-235 and eastbound K-96 are reduced to one lane entering the work zone.

Your County Access: Fire Recruits
Sedgwick County’s new initiative – Your County Access – is designed to provide behind-the-scenes access to departments within Sedgwick County. The organization strives to provide quality public services for more than 500,000 residents, and these videos give you a glimpse into a day of hard-working and dedicated employees.

Class 1902 Recruits graduated from the Sedgwick County Fire District 1 Academy last week. Please watch the video (click on the photo) to see how hard they train to prepare for duty, serve with honor, and respond with compassion.
Public Works Trains for Snow
Every year, Sedgwick County Public Works conducts a snow removal training to prepare for the upcoming winter season. Roughly 75 employees spend the day rotating between the classroom, a road grater course, and a sand truck course. Click here to watch a video about the exercise.

Now is a great time to make sure your vehicle is prepared for colder weather by using this checklist provided by Sedgwick County Emergency Management.
Four Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season
For some, holidays can bring added stress, anxiety, or depression. Here are some helpful tips to managing your mental health during this time.
  1. Set realistic expectations. No matter how much you want, you cannot control the weather, friends, or family members. You may not get a white Christmas, a peaceful holiday, or everyone around the dinner table. That is okay.
  2. Do something good for others. Now is a popular time for charitable acts such as donating your time or money to a favorite charity, cause, or organization. Another idea is to bring a meal or a gift card for a meal to a family with a new baby, someone who is ill, or a family experiencing grief.
  3. Do something good for yourself. It is important to take time for yourself during this busy season. Be present and enjoy time with others or alone (if you want to be). Indulge in moderation; don’t punish yourself for having an extra slice of pie but also don’t eat the whole pie. Find time to exercise, even a quick 30 minute walk is helpful. Remember to get enough sleep; it allows our bodies to recharge and prepare for the next day.
  4. Include your children in holiday planning. Let your children suggest family activities while school is out to get their buy-in to participate. You should participate too, don’t be a spectator, and enjoy the fun. Remember to take time to relax together, too. 
Thankful for Caregivers
National Family Caregiver Month – celebrated annually during the month of November – recognizes and honors family caregivers across the country who dedicate themselves to providing care and support to aging loved ones so they may live in their homes and communities. This year’s theme – Be Care Curious – encourages caregivers to ask questions, explore options, and share in the care decisions that affect the health and well-being of their loved ones to ensure they are receiving the best care possible.

Caregiving for someone is tough, and can create profound life changes. If you are one of the 90 million people in the U.S. caring for a loved one, thank you. Learn about additional resources and information by visiting  www.sedgwickcounty.org/aging/ .
Seasonal Reminder from Animal Control
Don't forget about your pets this winter! If you're cold, they're cold too. Here are some helpful tips on keeping your pets warm if they must be outdoors.
Bon Voyage! from the Register of Deeds
The Register of Deeds Office will offer Passport Services, by appointment only, beginning December 16, 2019.

To learn more about Passport forms and other information, please visit the United States Department of State’s official passport website:  travel.state.gov/content/travel.html .
County Seeks Community Input on Strategic Plan
Over the past year, Sedgwick County has been dedicated to developing a new comprehensive Strategic Plan. Input was gathered from County Commissioners, local and regional partners, community stakeholders, and county employees - many of whom spent time facilitating meetings and gathering information to contribute to this effort. To this end, there are fresh mission, vision, and values statements, along with new organizational goals. 
At this time, we are seeking additional input from the community, and encourage residents to participate in a short survey about the strategic plan. The plan is still being revised and public feedback is essential to the process. Comments will be collected until Friday, December 6, 2019.

WSU Public Policy and Management Center  has been facilitating Sedgwick County’s strategic planning process since February, engaging employees at all levels, and keeping Commissioners updated on the process. Topics have included attracting and retaining workers, internal and external communications, and ways to move the County forward over the next five years. 
County's High Credit Rating Reaffirmed
Sedgwick County has received the highest credit worthiness rating of AAA from S&P Global.

Reported strengths include management practices, the County’s budget performance, fund balance levels/ ratios, the County’s liquidity, and its debt and contingent liability (a low debt limit). 

“Outside of our annual financial audits, this is an excellent way to provide assurance to our citizens as to the financial standing and management of the organization,” said Chief Financial Officer Lindsay Poe Rousseau. “This couldn’t happen without the Commission, County leadership, and support of the great Finance staff.”

In September, Sedgwick County received the highest credit worthiness rating from Moody’s – an Aaa rating which is above the median rating of Aa2 for US counties. Positive influencing factors cited included a solid financial position, an extensive and improving tax base, and a healthy wealth and income profile. The Moody’s rating also reflects an affordable debt burden which has decreased from 2014 to 2018.
General Election Results are Final
The Board of Vote Canvassers and Election Commissioner, Tabitha Lehman, met on November 15 to review the results of the General Election. Results were finalized Monday, November 18. View them here.
Riverfront Legacy Master Plan
On Thursday, November 14, the Design Team presented the preliminary design concepts for the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan site. Three scenarios with two variable options were presented each including an emphasis on public green spaces/parks/common areas, new performing arts and convention centers, various combinations of mixed-used buildings, a pedestrian bridge, and options for parking.
Provide your feedback on each scenario by taking an online questionnaire available at  www.riverfrontlegacywichita.org/contact .
If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation can be viewed at  www.riverfrontlegacywichita.org/engagement-events .

Mark your calendar for these upcoming community engagement opportunities regarding the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan:

Coalition Meeting
Monday, December 16
4 p.m.
Location to be determined
Learn more about the project at www.riverfrontlegacywichita.org .
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.  
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonate 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.  

525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203