Vol. 3, Issue 1                                         January 2018
We're Gettin' our Aviation Mojo Back
I love everything about aviation. Watching aviation jobs come and go over the years reminds me of a roller coaster...the kind that goes upside down and backwards. Since 2008, our community had lost nearly 26,000 aviation jobs collectively but thankfully we have seen about half those come back. What’s different now is the aviation job forecast seems more stable than in years past. Even though our aviation job numbers have not fully recovered from the recent recession, in some ways things are better than they have ever been.

The recent Spirit Aerosystems jobs announcement was huge. Humbly, Spirit described 1,000 new jobs but in reality their investment is much more. The infusion of capital and salary into our local economy will be multiplied many times over. And that coupled with Spirit’s 20-year commitment to Wichita means many billions of dollars of promise over many years is our future. That feels more like a freight train than a roller coaster. The other well-known large manufacturers also have promising news as the economy continues to improve.

I recently toured Lee Aerospace in Wichita. This manufacturer employs hundreds of aviation workers and produces entire fuselages among other large assemblies. Those products are used in production at other plants locally or are exported from Wichita. This lessor known hidden gem of a company represents why we can still claim the title of “Aviation Capital of the World”.  Wichita’s aviation cluster includes dozens of smaller companies that get little recognition but they are part of what makes this place special.

Kansas Aviation Museum is growing and improving. Exploration Place just unveiled their most exciting exhibit, “Design, Build, Fly” which will teach the next generation about the science and history of flight. Trust me. It’s great. Another quality of life opportunity is developing at Eisenhower National Airport, namely the $6 million showcase hanger for “Doc”, the fully restored flying B-29. Visitors from all over will visit Wichita to experience this shiny historic bird built in Wichita that provided freedom to America. Add to that the National Institute for Aviation Research and the National Center for Aviation Training. We also have several engineering programs at WSU plus Airbus at Innovation Campus. Moreover, McConnell AFB is proudly the first home for the versatile KC-46 Tanker.

Let’s be proud of the fact that we are still the Air Capital of the World because it’s true...now more than ever before.  
Stay safe this winter with the following tips from Emergency Management
The safety and security of Sedgwick County residents is a top priority for the organization. Emergency Management recommends traveling with a full tank of gas and keeping the following items in an emergency kit for your car during these cold winter months.  
  • Small shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight 
  • Cellphone charger
  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • Water and snacks
  • Matches
  • Extra hats, socks, mittens, and blankets
  • First aid kit with a pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Tow chain or rope 
Battle of the Badges winner announced
Battle of the Badges participants with award
Congratulations to law enforcement, the 23rd annual Battle of the Badges winner! For more than two decades Wichita and Sedgwick County public safety agencies have teamed with the American Red Cross for an annual competition to encourage blood donations during the month of December. A top priority of Wichita and Sedgwick County first responders is to help others and save lives. Every person who donated blood or blood platelets was able to vote for law enforcement, EMS, or fire, and receive a commemorative shirt. There were 1200 blood and 584 platelet donations during this friendly competition, surpassing its goal donations.  
Flu season still in full swing
Remember to protect yourself and your family during the cold weather months. Flu season generally happens betw een November and March. Free flu vaccinations are available for uninsured Sedgwick County residents age 19 and older (until the supply runs out). These vaccinations are also available for a sliding fee to uninsured children up to age 18 with state-sponsored insurance plans such as Medicaid, Amerigroup, United Healthcare, or Sunflower. These vaccinations are administered at the main clinic at 2716 W. Central. 

Flu vaccines are recommended for anyone six months or older, unless otherwise directed by a physician. It is important to get a flu vaccination every year, as flu strains differ year to year. Sedgwick County wants to remind residents that flu vaccinations protect the person receiving it as well as others who are not able to receive this type of immunization.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get the flu. It strikes suddenly, can last several days, and symptoms vary by age, but can include: fever/ chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose.

You can prevent the spread of flu and safeguard yourself and your family with these simple steps:
  1. Get a flu shot. 
  2. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer if soap and running water are not available. 
  3. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. 
  4. Stay home if you become ill.
Tickets available for Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate, a great fundraiser for Exploration Place, will be held Saturday, February 24. Treat your senses with unlimited sweets and savory food and drinks from area restaurants, chefs, and vendors. Tickets are available for this event online ( www.exploration.org). This is a great opportunity for the community to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and hopefully, continue inspiring our younger generation to find careers in STEM fields. 
New exhibit now open at Exploration Place
RESCUE!, Exploration Place’s first travelling exhibit of 2018, is now open. Sedgwick County public safety agencies are helping during the run of the exhibit, coming out with equipment, expertise, and activities to make it fun and engaging for visitors. 

They can experience what it’s like to save the day by land, sea, and air. Visit Exploration Place’s website ( www.exploration.org) for more details about this engaging and educational exhibit. 
Take advantage of Winter Wednesdays at the Zoo
Every Wednesday now through February enjoy the Sedgwick County Zoo at a reduced rate. During these winter months, visitors can take advantage of $3 admissions on Wednesdays to see all of the exhibits on display at the Zoo. 
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:

  • Eight steel bridge beams for the north bound I-235 ramp bridge to west bound Kellogg were installed earlier this year.
  • A four beam follow-up is scheduled for February 2 through 5.
Projects in District 5
Bridge replacement on 87th South between Webb and Greenwich
  • Road closed January 8, 2018
  • Expected to reopen February 2018

Officials open new law enforcement training center
Commissioners joined Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, Wichita City Council members, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, and Wichita State’s Dr. Andi Bannister and Dr. John Tomblin to formally open the new Law Enforcement Training Center. The location of this joint facility was publicly announced May 2016, designed by GLMV Architecture, and constructed by Crossland Construction. This 60,000 square - foot building will be shared by Sedgwick County Sheriff and Wichita Police, with WSU’s Criminal Justice Program housed on the top floor.  

Wichita and Sedgwick County law enforcement officials have been training together for more than 30 years, thanks to the foresight and collaboration of Sheriff Mike Hill and Chief Richard LaMunyon. 
Commissioners select new leadership
Commissioner Dave Unruh’s term as Chairman and Commissioner Michael O’Donnell’s term as Chair Pro Tem expired on Wednesday, January 10. During the meeting that morning the Board of County Commissioners selected Commissioner David Dennis to serve as the 2018 Chair and Commissioner Dave Unruh to serve as the 2018 Chair Pro Tem. A reception followed the meeting to congratulate the new Chairman and to thank the outgoing Chairman for his service.  
County offices to close for holiday
Sedgwick County offices will be closed on Monday, February 19, 2018. Emergency services will be available by dialing 9-1-1.
Commissioners approve 2018 legislative platform
Recently the Board of County Commissioners approved their 2018 legislative platform. It includes five key initiatives: 
  1. Receiving an “urban area” designation which may help the County in spurring more economic development and community development similar to Johnson County, Kansas. 
  2. Suggesting changes to the Election Commissioner’s Office related to post-election audits, budget authority and policy application, and mail-in ballots. 
  3. Encouraging adequate support of mental health services. 
  4. Requesting state support for economic development efforts. 
  5. Supporting legislation that would require voter approval for all state tax increases and prohibiting retroactive tax increases. 

This platform will be shared with legislators in Topeka for their consideration with the new legislative session. The full platform can be found online here: http://sedgwickcounty.org/communications/government_relations.asp 
County considering new Administration building
The needs and space constraints of the judicial system have been a recurring theme over the last couple of budget cycles. The District Court and the District Attorney’s Office, along with the Sheriff’s Office, have made these needs clear in numerous meetings, beginning in February 2017 at the Budget Retreat and continuing through the adopted budget in August.  

Recently the Board of County Commissioners approved moving forward with further exploration and negotiation on the building located at 345 N. Riverview. County staff will research this building and perform due diligence to review the ability of it to meet the future needs of Sedgwick County. This action did not purchase the building. More details and discussion will come as staff are able to research this building. 
Places to Visit
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
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
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:
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203