Vol. 3, Issue 12                                    December 2019
2019 was a Great Year for Sedgwick County
Now that we are at the end of another year, it is a great opportunity to reflect on accomplishments and on goals for next year. I believe Sedgwick County is operating better than ever and is continuing to improve the services we provide. Here are a few highlights:
In January, we opened a beautiful new EMS station at 3575 N. Webb Road. This was the first time we used a new construction method that saved about $600,000, or 42% of the historical cost.

The community celebrated the opening of the 32,000 square foot Doc B-29 showcase hanger in west Wichita. Overall, the project totaled $6.5 million and the County provided $200,000 to move the project forward. Doc is one of 1,644 of his kind to be manufactured in the Air Capital and is one of two flyable super fortress B-29s remaining in the world.

Finally, in January, the County committed $6 million in supplemental funding to the Sedgwick County Zoo. That funding along with $9 million in privately raised funds was needed to implement the first phase of the Zoo’s new 25-year Master Plan. The plan includes a new entryway complex, administrative offices, gift shop, an expanded and enhanced Amur Leopard habitat, and an electric train charged by solar power.

In February, Tom Stolz took the reins as County Manager. Finding and hiring senior staff is always challenging for any organization. The County successfully replaced several key staff positions over the year. Overall, I believe we have excellent leaders in all the right places.
In March, we held several public forums on commercial solar and wind energy development. This came after we placed a moratorium on solar and wind energy development in the county. All renewable energy is now permitted in the codes except for the large commercial windmill turbines. That restriction was due to conflicts with existing FAA recognized runways across the county.

Through the summer, Sedgwick County Environmental Resources hosted another tire collection event. Similarly, they held an environmental waste collection event in each of the five districts. The Derby event collected a record amount of hazardous waste. The County also participated in a document shred event intended to reduce identity theft.

Over the last year, the County developed a new Strategic Plan, which was finally adopted last week. It is good practice to periodically redefine the mission statements and outline priorities for this organization.

These are just a few of the accomplishments. It has been a great year indeed. If you have suggestions or ways to steer the county in 2020, please let me know at Jim.Howell@sedgwick.gov.  
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 exit to North Broadway is now open.
  • The Broadway on ramp to northbound I-235 is closed.
  • 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.
Practice Fireplace Safety
Winter is in full swing so remember, as temperatures drop, the use of fireplaces increases. If you are using your fireplace to keep warm this winter, make sure you are using it safely. Follow the safety tips in the video from Sedgwick County Fire District 1.
Non-Emergency Line Active New Year's Eve
The Sedgwick County Courthouse and Sedgwick County offices will be closed Wednesday , January 1 in observance of the New Year’s holiday. Emergency services are available by dialing or texting 9-1-1.
 
The Sedgwick County Emergency Communications’ non-emergency phone line,
(316) 290-1011, will be available during the following hours:
9 p.m., December 31, to 1 a.m., January 1
 
This line functions as an alternative to 9-1-1 and is meant to receive calls for non-emergency nuisances that do not pose a threat to life or property; examples include complaints pertaining to parties, excessive noise, or fireworks. 

The non-emergency line was established to prevent an influx of nuisance calls that can block emergency calls from reaching a call taker; the non-emergency line is activated during times of historically high call volumes and as otherwise needed. If someone calls 9-1-1 with a non-emergency, they will be transferred to the non-emergency line.
Safety Tips for Older Adults
Every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. Falls can happen at any age and everyone hopes to avoid them. They can be painful, traumatic, and embarrassing. No matter how falls occur they are often unexpected and unavoidable resulting in injuries ranging from minor bruises and muscle strains to broken bones and head trauma. Simple precautions may help keep you out of the ER.
  • Talk to your doctor and evaluate your risk for falling.
  • Do strength and balancing exercises.
  • Have your eyes checked annually and update your prescription as needed.
  • Make your home safer by installing grab bars and railings.
  • Ask for help if you need it or offer your assistance to older adults.
 
Sedgwick County Department on Aging/Central Plains Area Agency on Aging is here to support older adults and caregivers (855) 200-2372 or visit www.cpaaa.org  .
Flu Shots Offered at Sedgwick County Health Department
Flu shots are the best way to protect yourself and others from becoming ill with the flu (influenza). Now is the time to be vaccinated as cold and flu season is in full swing.
 
The SCHD flu shots are offered at no cost to uninsured adults, uninsured children, children covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicaid (Aetna, Sunflower, or United Healthcare).

Residents who qualify may visit the SCHD’s Main Clinic at 2716 W. Central in Wichita. 
Flu shots are available at SCHD by appointment (316) 660-7300 or walk-in.
 
  • Appointments: Noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursday
 
  • Walk-ins available: 8 – 11:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
 
Residents who do not qualify for flu shots at the SCHD should contact their insurance company to find out where flu shots are covered by their plans and use the online flu vaccine finder at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/ (located at the bottom right corner of the page) to find the nearest location.
 
Anyone can get the flu. Influenza viruses spread from person to person every year through coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Flu strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms vary by age and can include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose.
 
To learn more about flu, please visit www.flu.gov .
Bon Voyage! from the Register of Deeds
The Register of Deeds Office now offers Passport Services, by appointment only. Schedule yours here !
 
To learn more about Passport Forms and other information, please visit the United States Department of State’s official passport website:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html .
County Implements New Strategic Plan, Mission, Vision, and Values
Commissioners received a new Strategic Plan from County Manager Tom Stolz during a recent meeting. The full document can be found at www.sedgwickcounty.org ; highlights include:
 
Mission:  Cultivate a healthy, safe and welcoming community through public services, effective partnerships and dedicated employees.
 
Vision: To be a local government leader in building public trust, implementing innovative solutions and supporting opportunities for success.
 
Values: Trust, Integrity, Collaboration, Compassion, and Innovation.
 
Key Service Areas:  General government, public safety, public works, human services, culture and recreation, human resources, communication, finance, and technology.
 
Over the past year, Sedgwick County has worked on a new Strategic Plan for the organization. Wichita State University’s Public Policy and Management Center guided the organization throughout the process. The process included input from County Commissioners, local and regional partners, community stakeholders, and county employees. 
Sedgwick County's 2020 Adopted Budget Now Online
The 2020 Adopted Budget is now available for review online . Commissioners adopted the budget and a five-year Capital Improvement Plan on August 7.

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 total budget is almost $460 million.
 
To help you understand more how your property taxes are used, Sedgwick County developed a quick way for you to see how those dollars are spent and allocated on government operations and other priorities. At the “My Local Taxes” online application, you will find two sources of information: Your Total Taxes by Jurisdiction and your Sedgwick County Taxes at Work. Click here to learn more:  https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/finance/my-local-taxes/
Christmas Tree Recycling Sites Now Open
Once you finish enjoying your Christmas tree, drop it off for mulching at one of the many locations listed in the flyer. Remember to remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel, and other decorations before dropping off your tree.
Riverfront Legacy Master Plan
Members of the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan Coalition have asked global architectural design firm Populous and the rest of the design team to bring back a bold design for the community to see at its next public meeting, 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at Newman University Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, 3100 McCormick St., Wichita.
 
The coalition made the recommendation at its December meeting, after four and a half months of engaging with the community, facilitating technical input, reviewing previous studies, and sharing opportunities and challenges related to the 55+ acre site along the Arkansas River, from Douglas to Kellogg and to Main on the east.
 
Members of the coalition took into consideration the community engagement input, which identified green space and activation of the river as critical components for any design. More than 5,000 comments were collected from online questionnaires, public open houses, presentations and social media from the July 31 kickoff of the planning process through the middle of December.
 
In addition, the coalition reviewed the market analysis, which showed that the master plan site can support a mix of uses, including shops, restaurants, a grocery store, non-convention hotel and commercial and residential properties.
 
The group also reviewed findings from previous studies that showed that Century II, the 50-year-old building at the north side of the riverfront master plan site, is no longer fit for its original purposes of housing performing arts and conventions. Based on the review by RCLCO, the real estate advisory firm that is part of the design team, Century II – because of its size and deferred maintenance costs – would not likely be able to draw developer interest to use the building for mixed use or other purposes.
 
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.  

Contact  Commissioner r J im Howell
316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203