Vol. 2, Issue 10                                           October 2017
Suicide trends are heartbreaking
In my teens, several of my close friends completed suicide. Over the years, I’ve also lost coworkers. Indeed, there are people all around us that have lost loved ones to suicide. In the last nine days two of my nieces (not in Derby), lost two classmates who chose to end their lives. The shocking news emotionally scars those that know the individual but also plants a seed, an idea that lingers. Those notions might lead others to consider suicide when things get tough. For those who are struggling, please know there is help. 

Everyone experiences difficult times and we often feel alone. Health problems, job issues, financial pressure, and relationships can easily overwhelm us. For me, I first rely on family and my local church for support and encouragement. Derby has 24 churches that are here to help. Another great, safe place to get help is the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Hotline at 316-660-7500. Privacy and confidentiality are paramount there. Last year, the COMCARE Community Crisis Center received nearly 70,000 calls. This care system is designed to protect the caller from developing a life-long stigma or career limiting consequences because the caller reached out for help.  

One of the reports produced by the county each year is a summery on suicide trends. Suicide is always tragic regardless of age, sex, and race. That said, some of this year’s statistics are truly sobering. For example, for people age 25 to 34, the incidence of suicide has shot up nearly 400% in just 7 years. Males complete suicide 3.5 times more often than females in Sedgwick County. By population, non-Hispanic Whites complete suicide 3 times more than all other races combined. However, another way to look at the data reveals that suicide among Hispanics has risen more than 10-fold in just two years.  

Overall, the occurrence of suicide is trending upward. In 2016, Sedgwick County set another record at 91 suicides. That’s a 33% increase over the previous year. Unfortunately, the 2017 trendline isn’t any better than last year. 

It breaks my heart to learn these kinds of facts. Let’s change this trend by being quick to seek counseling for both ourselves and our loved ones. We need to work together to watch for the signs of depression. There is no shame is asking for help. If you think you need help or if you are concerned about someone else, please call 316-660-7500. (Add this number to your contact list.) 
County launches new data application
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's office launched an application this week called "What's Going On?" that allows citizens to view locations and data tables that includes information like dates, places and types of crime. It's updated every morning at 7 a.m. and contains information from the last 365 days. Please note - the application only contains Sedgwick County Sheriff data. Visit our website and download our app for more information.
EMS Post 16 boosts public safety in District 5
EMS Post 16 recently opened on south Oliver. County leaders and community partners celebrated this new facility with a ribbon-cutting on Friday, Sept. 29. The new post is co-located with Sedgwick County Fire District 1 Station 36. It will be staffed 24/7 with one ambulance and crew. 
Bringing awareness to mental illness in Sedgwick County
Every year Mental Illness Awareness Week falls on the first full week of October. This year, Sedgwick County is recognizing it from Oct. 1 to 7. Commissioners brought awareness to it at a recent commission meeting.

Because we know that treatment works, many individuals experiencing a mental illness are able to work, play, and live in our community just as everyone else. COMCARE of Sedgwick County partners with many agencies including: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Newman University, the Robert Dole Veterans Administration Hospital, the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, Breakthrough Club, and Via Christi Behavioral Health, to provide treatment, support, education, and advocacy to help improve the lives of individuals affected by mental illness.

Additional resources and information are available on COMCARE’s website: www.sedgwickcounty.org/comcare
Flu shots now available - protect against the virus this winter
Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year usually between October and May. According to the Sedgwick County Division of Health a vaccination (flu shot) is still the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is able get a flu vaccination before the end of October.

Flu vaccines will be available at the Sedgwick County Division of Health Main Clinic, 2716 W. Central in Wichita, beginning October 2, 2017. Clinic hours are:
  • Monday – Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Flu vaccinations are available to uninsured children age 18 and younger, and children with state-sponsored insurance plans such as Medicaid, Amerigroup, United Healthcare, or Sunflower. A sliding fee scale is available for children who qualify.

Starting October 2, 2017, flu vaccinations will be available to uninsured adults age 19 and older for a sliding fee ranging from $2 to $30. Proof of income is needed for a discount.

If you do not qualify for a flu vaccination at the Division of Health, please visit your primary care physician or neighborhood pharmacy to receive one. Visit www.flu.gov for information about resources in your area. Flu vaccinations 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 are usually different from 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.

If you have questions about the flu vaccine, please contact the Sedgwick County Immunizations Program at 316-660-7362 or immunizations@sedgwick.gov .
Projects in District 5
Bridge Construction on 103 rd St. South between Webb and Greenwich.
  • Road closed October 2.
  • This section of road is maintained by Rockford Township.
  • Expected to reopen in January 2018.
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 new southbound I-235 ramp to westbound US 54 is now open.
  • On Saturday, October 28, Maple Street will be closed for the day to swing bridge beams above traffic lanes.
  • All four cloverleaf ramps at the I-235/US 54 Interchange are closed until late December as work on the I-235 bridges over US 54 switched to the right lanes.
87th Street South improvements completed
A one mile road improvement project on 87 th Street South between Rock and Webb Roads was recently completed. The project was funded by Sedgwick County, City of Derby, and Rockford Township. Partners celebrated the finished project with a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
Construction began in June 2017 and ended in October 2017. 
The entire mile was paved and the road subgrade was upgraded along with several other enhancements which improved the overall quality and lifespan of the road.  
Make your voice heard - vote!
Nov. 7 is Election Day in Sedgwick County. Registered voters will be able to vote for candidates for various local offices including cities and school boards. A list of current candidates can be found here .

Early voting at the Sedgwick County Election Office (510 N. Main, Ste. 101, Wichita) will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 to Friday, Oct. 27 and Monday, Oct. 30 to Friday, Nov. 3. Voters may also vote early on Monday, Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. until noon.

There will be 15 additional locations open for early voting. They are listed on the Election Office’s website: www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections . Registered voters may vote at any advanced voting location.

Polls will be open on Election Day, Nov. 7, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters may use the polling place locator to find their correct polling location if they choose to vote on Election Day.

Before heading to the polls, voters can review a sample ballot here: https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do
County participates in chili cook-off
Sedgwick County partnered with Public at the Brickyard in this year’s Wichita Wagonmasters’ Chili Cook-off. County commissioners and leaders dished out bison chili to event-goers. 
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:
Keturah Austin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203