Vol. 2, Issue 9                                          September 2017
Cheerleader or Killjoy? Which are you?
Last week, I was excited to participate in my second city-to-city tour with 54 other city, county, school, and business leaders from the Wichita/Sedgwick County area. Annually since 2006, local leaders have traveled to study the successes and challenges of similar thriving communities. My goal for attending was to bring back a greater vision for economic growth along with real-world ideas on what makes these other communities great. 

The cities we visited this year were Raleigh and Durham NC. One thing I noticed is that the people that live there are upbeat and really love their communities. Folks there such as the Uber driver, the hotel clerk, and the waitstaff all speak highly of the city. Perhaps that’s why the population there grows by 67 people per day. The communities still have problems of course but those problems do not define them.

After three days of 'show and tell' and comparing our communities, our delegation hashed out a few conclusions. Once again, two themes emerged that the majority of participants felt were critical to change our economic trajectory. First, the need to invest significant public capital in new quality of life opportunities and secondly, the need to develop a fresh positive attitude about our own community.

Capital investment projects are naturally fiscally challenging but fixing a bad attitude is free. For 12 years now, poor self-image about our own community has remained a consistent take away. The criticism about our community is not getting better despite tremendous news and great accomplishments. 

Someone said, "Come to Wichita! You'll like us better than we do!" Like a disease, that damaging negative perspective continues to get propagated and acts like a wet-blanket on the economy. Trying to fire up the economy doesn't work well when we don't like it here and we don’t value our greatest accomplishments.

It would be awesome if we took an inventory of what’s great here and got excited. As one who's traveled around the nation and world, I choose to live here. I turned down several job offers in other states because I firmly believe that this is the best place to live. I'm not alone. Many boomerang Kansans choose to come back because they value the awesome things that many here take for granted.

You want to help kickstart the economy? Then choose to celebrate and cheerlead the things that make the Sedgwick County area unique and a first choice. Attitude does make a difference. 
American Legion National Commander Rohan Day
Over the weekend I had the privilege of meeting the first female National Commander of the American Legion, Denise Rohan, at the John M. West American Legion Post 408 in Derby. Sedgwick County declared Sept. 24, 2017 as American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan Day. I was proud to read and deliver the proclamation to National Commander Rohan on Sunday. She was elected to the position on Aug. 24, 2017. 
Celebrating U.S. Air Force Anniversary
As a proud Air Force veteran, I appreciate having McConnell Air Force in my district. My wife and I recently attended the Air Force’s 70 th Birthday Gala at the Kansas Aviation Museum where we were able to celebrate this milestone with current and veteran officers and airmen, including the new 22 nd Air Refueling Wing Commander Colonel Joshua Olson. 
How to Prepare for Disasters
After witnessing the destruction of Mother Nature in Texas, Alabama, and Florida, it is fitting that September is National Preparedness Month. Sedgwick County Emergency Management recommends following some basic steps to ensure that you, your family, and your pets survive in the event of a disaster.
 
Make a Plan  - Involve your family members in developing a plan, then remember to post the plan somewhere everyone can see the details. Discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, hazardous materials spills, floods and other emergencies. Talk about the ways in which you will respond to each situation. Identify two ways out of each room in your home. Talk about where your family will meet if you have to evacuate. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.
 
Build a Disaster Kit  – This kit should include a three day supply of food and water for every family member, a complete change of clothes and footwear for each person, battery operated/ non-electronic tools and supplies, and a first aid kit. Include copies of your important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, and insurance information. Don’t forget about your pets and their needs!
 
Stay Informed  – In emergency situations such as severe weather, flooding, and other disasters, Sedgwick County Emergency Management will be able to report information and developments to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This information will be posted to the  Emergency Log . NOAA Weather Radio, local television and radio stations, and social media are other methods to help you stay informed. Be sure to like and follow Sedgwick County to get up to date information about local government and emergencies in our area! 
 
More details about emergency preparedness can be found on our  website
County Raises Suicide Prevention Awareness
Following a recent proclamation declaring September 11 to 15 as Suicide Prevention Week in Sedgwick County, commissioners received a report of annual data from the Suicide Prevention Coalition.
 
Sedgwick County had 91 deaths by suicide in 2016 – the most reported since the data has been tracked. This is a growing trend.
 
There are several opportunities for the public to get involved and help reverse this trend. COMCARE offers a Mental Health First Aid class which teaches individuals how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
 
The public is welcome to attend several upcoming events:
  • Sunday, Oct. 1 - National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Candlelight Vigil at Newman University
  • Thursday, Nov. 2 – Party for Prevention at Abode
  • Saturday, Nov. 18 – Survivors of Suicide Day at Via Christi St. Joseph
 
If you or someone you know is talking about suicide, please call the suicide prevention hotline 316-660-7500 . It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
 
Click on the photo in this article to watch a brief video of mental health crisis services offered by COMCARE.
 
For additional resources visit COMCARE’s website: http://sedgwickcounty.org/comcare/ .
Central Plains Area Agency on Aging Receives National Recognition
The First Step program offered by the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging (CPAAA) recently received an Aging Innovations Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). This is the highest honor presented by n4a to member agencies. CPAAA also received the Aging Achievement Award for their partnership with local universities to extend Medicare Counseling services. Both awards were presented at the n4a Annual Conference & Tradeshow in Savannah, GA.
 
First Step facilitates a safe and smooth transition back to the community with limited in home services after an individual is discharged from an acute care hospital, rehab, nursing home, or upon referral/discharge from a Medicare home health agency. According to Annette Graham, Executive Director of CPAAA, “without this transition program many people couldn’t return home safely. These clients receive care management, in home services, and future needs planning.”
 
This year’s Aging Achievement Award winning program was developed in 2014 when volunteer opportunities were developed by CPAAA for students in KU School of Pharmacy and Wichita State School of Social Work. Students trained through the local Senior Health Insurance Counseling of Kansas program to offer Medicare counseling during Medicare open enrollment.
 
Plan to attend this year’s Senior Expo on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees can receive program information, caregiver resources, and enjoy the popular Local Favorite Fashion Finds Fashion Show. The event will be held at Botanica, Exploration Place, and the Wichita Art Museum with a shuttle to take people to all three locations. Follow Sedgwick County Government on social media for more details.
 
More information about aging services can be found online
Bike Share Station Added to Sedgwick County Park
Take advantage of the changing season and cooler temperatures at the Sedgwick County Park. Recently, a Zagster bike station was installed at Sedgwick County Park – near the 13th Street park entrance. 

To use the bike share program, download the free Zagster mobile app, create an account, and follow the instructions on the phone’s screen to check out and unlock a bike. Then, enjoy the roughly four miles of bike paths and more!
National Forensic Science Week
Sedgwick County's Regional Forensic Science Center opened its doors to the public on Monday, Sept. 18. Monday kicked off National Forensic Science Week, an initiative which recognizes and promotes forensic work.
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
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:
Keturah Austin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203