Vol. 1, Issue 8                                     August 2019
Wow. Time is just ticking on! I have not had one free moment to send this out. Here are a few highlights from August! As always, my door is open. Please feel free to reach out to me at anytime! It is my pleasure to serve as your District 4 Commissioner.

Commission Adopts 2020 Budget
During their regular meeting August 7, Commissioners voted to adopt a $457,422,200 budget for 2020. It is comprised of $437,312,854 for Sedgwick County, $20,109,346 for Sedgwick County Fire District 1 (SCFD1), and a $22,798,238 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). 

Commissioners emphasized three themes throughout budget development including good partnerships with business, other local governments, and all stakeholders; emphasis on employees related to compensation and benefits, training and development, and overall work environment; and an increased emphasis on behavioral health services and resources.

The 2020 Adopted Budget highlights include additional staff, resources, or new programs: 
  • Funding to the Department on Aging for Meals on Wheels, wheelchair posture seating, and other services;
  • Six additional full-time positions for COMCARE’s Community Crisis Center (CCC);
  • Funding for a new basic nutrition program for seniors living in rural communities;
  • Three additional staff positions for Emergency Communications;
  • Funding for the Integrated Care Team -1 or ICT-1 pilot program;
  • A flat pay adjustment for all employees and additional pay adjustments for positions with high turnover and pay issues; and
  • A Technology Review Board (TRB) to encourage the organization to be more fiscally responsible and cohesive when making technology purchases.

This budget is evidence of an improving economy with assessed valuation growth in Sedgwick County of 4.61 percent and 5.32 percent in Fire District 1. Property tax rates are estimated to be 29.359 mills for Sedgwick County. The Fire District 1 mill levy was reduced from 18.131 mills to 17.889 mills based on estimated assessed valuation, subject to review and technical adjustments. The Budget was developed to ensure that resources were concentrated on those areas with the greatest needs for additional resources. 
Citizen Advisory Board
Lots of things happening at McAdams. At the August Citizens Advisory Board we heard from Charles McAfee and Larry Dennis. Two individuals who have worked very hard to make McAdams what it is today.  

My Citizens Advisory Board generally meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of the month. Any one from the public is welcome to attend our upcoming meetings:

  • Tuesday, September 10 - Maize Career Academy
  • Monday, October 14 - McAdams Recreation Center
  • Tuesday, November 12 - McAdams Recreation Center
  • Monday, December 9 - McAdams Recreation Center
School is Back!
It’s pretty crazy to think that my oldest daughter is a Senior this year! Time flies when you are raising kids!

Help keep our students safe this school year by following these tips:
  1. Be on the lookout for children and school zones.
  2. Always follow the school zone speed limits.
  3. Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading children.
  4.  Never pass a stopped school bus.
  5. Watch out for school crossing guards and follow their signals.
  6.  Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, and in school parking lots.
  7. Avoid using a cell phone while in a school zone.
  8. Never text while driving, especially in a school zone.
  9. Exercise patience while driving, dropping kids off, and picking kids up from schools.
The Election Canvass
Part of my duties as Commissioner is signing off on all the election results held in Sedgwick County. This picture was from the Wichita Mayoral and USD 259 election results. Shout out to our election commissioner Tabitha Lehman for a well run election!

Don’t forget to vote this November. 

Spirit AeroSystem Tour
As Commissioner one thing I must understand is the industry that surrounds our area. I was delighted to get the chance to tour Spirit. A couple of things I took from my tour were:
  1. Spirit uses 50 million gallons of water a month building the 737! And that water is only used for this one plane! Imagine the water consumption for the entire 600 acre campus?
  2. They need people. As I rode around on the golf cart one thing I noticed was a lot of men and not very many women. Really made me go back to why I ran for my seat. As women, when we don't see ourselves places ... we don't think the job is for us. I shared with them the Metallica Scholars Initiative of helping more women in welding. Suggested they think of doing the same?!
Valley Center Service Award
Congratulations Anne Carter-Hainlen for your 15 years of service to the Valley Center Community! Anne’s Attic is fantastic and a really uplifting place where you can find one of kind gifts and treasures. Stop by! You’ll be glad you did. Cheers to you! 
HumanKind Ministries
Imagine sleeping here. Probably not a place you envision sleeping, huh? These are a few imagines from my tour of Human Kind Ministries.
The need in our community is great. Hats off to the folks at HumanKind Ministries (formerly Inter-Faith) for the work you do in Sedgwick County.
Let's talk Wind and Solar
Recently the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners approved amendments to the Community Investments Plan and Unified Zoning Code, which addresses commercial wind and solar energy operations.

The amendments allow commercial solar energy systems that meet development and performance standards; allow for small wind and solar systems on individual properties that comply with guidelines; and prohibit commercial wind energy conversion systems in the City of Wichita and unincorporated areas of Sedgwick County. 

The new guidelines protect the area’s future growth potential, aviation facilities such as “airports and landing strips” and addresses “aesthetics, environmental and cultural” concerns related to an urban county.
Dunbar District
Stopped by to see the Dunbar Theatre last month. I see their vision and am excited for the future of this historic building and site. Thank you Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau for the tour and your energy surrounding this project.

“The Dunbar Theatre -- built in 1941, at 1007 N. Cleveland Street in the McAdams neighborhood -- served until 1963 as the only movie theater available to the African-American community in Wichita.

The Dunbar Theatre holds a special place in the memories of many as a cornerstone of what was once the thriving commercial hub of Wichita's African-American community during the 1940s and 1950s. Many enthusiastically recall the popularity of the bustling neighborhood -- with its drug store, ice cream shop, hair salons, cafes -- and the Dunbar Theatre for movies.”

Find out more by going here: historicdunbartheatre.com
Project Access Rappel
I RAPPELLED off of the Ambassador Hotel all in the name of PROJECT ACCESS. Pretty crazy but I was once uninsured and the work they are doing in the community is pretty incredible.

When I was 10-years-old I broke my hip. Crazy, huh? But nonetheless I did. My mother, not knowing my hip was broken, took me to a chiropractor. Yes, I said a chiropractor. Now think about that for a second. Your hip is broken and because you don't have insurance your mom takes you to a chiropractor. After 10 mins on a roller table, screaming in pain, Doc tells my mom she needs to take me to the ER. I remember thinking even as a 10-year-old kid how much this was going to cost? I can't even imagine how my mom felt.

I am supporting this cause because I know first hand what it's like to go without medical insurance both as a 10-year-old kid and as an adult. I love what the team at Project Access is doing to treat those in our community who are uninsured and want to help in any way I can. Even if it means rappelling off a 14-story building!

Since 1999, Project Access has coordinated nearly $211 million dollars in donated health care to more than 13,800 low-income individuals without access to health insurance or a government-sponsored program.
Community Coffee
The last Friday of each month I host a community coffee at a local coffee shop in district 4. This past month we had a great group of EMS professionals and other community members join to discuss what is most important to them. Please join me next month!  

  • 9:30 - 11 a.m., Saturday, September, 21
  • Daylight Donuts Park City, 1500 E. 61st St. N., Park City
9th Street Improvement
A celebration of improvements to 9th Street, from Hillside to I-135 was held on the last day of August. I was absolutely honored to have been a part of this ceremony. Along with paving, drainage and pedestrian upgrades, over 100 community members shared their vision by picking up a paintbrush or placing a tile to make Wichita a more beautiful place to live, in collaboration with local artist Ellamonique Baccuss. Aesthetic enhancements include an interstate gateway, Kwanzaa plaza, Adinkra sidewalk panels representing community values, Knowledge bus stop, 
and the "cultivating the seeds of our future" mural! Stop by and check it out sometime soon! 
I-235 Green Project Tracker
Work on the I-235 Green Project on began in March. Completion is planned for November 2021. This is phase one of the Wichita North Junction project. 
Project updates can be found at www.235green.org and include:

  • The northbound I-235 Exit to North Broadway is closed until November.
  • Northbound I-235 and eastbound K-96 are reduced to one lane entering the work zone.
  • The Broadway on ramp to northbound I-235 is closed.
  • Old Lawrence Road is closed under I-235 until at least November.
Aging Programs Recognized at National Conference
The Central Plains Area Agency on Aging (CPAAA) recently received two awards during a national association conference. These awards recognize agencies on aging for going above and beyond creating successful programs for caregiving, healthy aging, nutrition, technology, intergenerational needs, and transportation. 

CPAAA received an Aging Innovations Award for the Mobile Farmers’ Market program. People age 60 and older in the tri-county area are encouraged to purchase fresh produce, honey, or herbs at local farmers’ markets. This innovative partnership with a local farmer allows for a mobile food truck to visit older adults and senior centers. It takes the farmers market straight to the clients. More than 1,000 people participated in the program last year. 

The Agency works with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to distribute Kansas Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program booklets to eligible older adults. Service coordinators, senior centers, and local county departments on aging distribute booklets and raise awareness about the program. 

CPAAA also received an Aging Achievement Award for innovative partnerships to enhance congregate meal service. After identifying opportunities to expand this service with housing properties and rural towns, an outside-the-box program was developed. Using three unique congregate sites and a centralized kitchen led to an increase in usage in one county and a pilot project at a rural hospital. 
Mental Health Pilot Program Shows Signs of Success
Last year, the state legislature began a Mental Health Intervention Pilot Program to support mental health access in schools across Kansas. COMCARE of Sedgwick County and Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) were invited to participate in this program locally. COMCARE staff were placed in 22 schools in the district to provide mental and behavioral health support, in addition to school counselors.

By the end of the 2019 school year, more than 700 students were served through the program. As a result of this program, students’ grades increased by 50 percent, teachers reporting positive behavior increased by 70 percent, and attendance increased by 67 percent.

“This program has proven to be a needed resource in our school system,” said Joan Tammany, Executive Director of COMCARE. “The coordinated effort between USD 259 and COMCARE has allowed us to provide services to students faster and has helped students and families normalize the need for mental health resources. In addition, many students receiving services through this collaboration may otherwise never have sought out or received these services on their own. Intervening early can and does improve lives.”

Due to the success of the program, COMCARE will have staff in two more USD 259 schools this school year. 
Riverfront Legacy Master Plan Community Engagement
The next community engagement opportunity for the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan will be the Urban Explorations (a series of site tours) on September 24 and 25. Tour location to be determined.

September 24, 2019
5 - 6 p.m.
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

September 25, 2019
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
noon - 1 p.m.

Mark your calendar for 4 p.m. on Monday, September 30 for the next Coalition Meeting. 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