Vol. 3, Issue 10                                       October 2018
Except for big spiders, fall is my favorite time of year. The colors are beautiful, the air is crisp, and the holidays and special family times are just ahead. In so many ways, I look forward to autumn. Of course, this is also when elections are finally here and we have an opportunity to vote. I am excited to vote and see the results and yet I know there are many, many people that work behind the scenes to make it all come together. From the organizational perspective, elections are extremely complex because there are seemingly endless numbers of details. Incredible attention to those details by hundreds of people is absolutely critical. So, I am thankful. I appreciate the great people working extraordinarily hard around the clock to make this all seem like a smooth operation. I hope we all appreciate their service to the people of this county. 

I am also excited to see our new election equipment being utilized in a gubernatorial general election. The only election larger than this one will be the presidential general election. This was a multi-million dollar investment and now we get to see it in action. The new electronic voting machines are really just sophisticated printers that create a paper ballot. That printed paper ballot can be inspected by the voter to double check their choices before the voter feeds it into the tabulator. If an error is discovered or the voter changed their mind on one of the races for example, the voter may have that paper ballot voided and a new ballot can be printed. Once the voter is satisfied, the voter inserts the paper ballot into the tabulator for that poll site. The paper ballots are also collected by the tabulator in a secure lockbox. A manual audit can simply hand count the paper ballots for a race and ensure the manual count matches the tabulator count. We essentially did an audit for the 2018 primary election for one-fifth of Sedgwick County. The results from the manual count and the tabulator matched exactly. That’s awesome. This result reassures me that the processes are reliable and trustworthy. We will continue to regularly audit the equipment and the processes because we helped pass legislation that mandates random manual audits of our elections starting next year. 

Please check out the various ways to vote. Sedgwick County accommodates the voters in many ways so there really is no longer any good excuse. I hope you will vote and have faith in the people and the processes that make our elections safe and secure. 
Happy Halloween!
Going trick-or-treating tonight? Stay safe with these helpful tips. 
Office of the Medical Director Moves into New Space
This week, Commissioners and County officials formally opened a new facility for the Office of the Medical Director (OMD). Previously housed in Sedgwick County Fire Station 37 in Bel Aire, OMD now has a new, more central location at 200 W. Murdock St. (the former Murdock tag office). 

The project involved transforming the vacated tag office into a simulation training space for EMS, offices, conference space, a video recording room, and break room. The simulation training space includes a mock outdoor area, a child care/play room, an apartment with a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, a bar/club scene, an intensive care room, and an Emergency Department room.  

SJCF Architectural Firm aided in the design of this transformation and Bauer and Son Construction completed the demolition and construction. Construction began on April 16, 2018 and was completed on September 27, 2018. The project totaled $458,550.33 which is less than its overall budget of $591,223.00.

The Office of the Medical Director plays a key role in providing clinical leadership and oversight for all aspects of pre-hospital patient care. This applies to all medical providers and agencies throughout the Emergency Medical Service System.
Prosecutors Receive Recognition from State Association
Two prosecutors in the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office received recognition on Oct. 8 from the Kansas County & District Attorneys Association. District Attorney Marc Bennett was named Prosecutor of the Year while Chief Attorney Tom Weilert received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the KCDAA Annual Fall Conference in Manhattan. 

This year Bennett successfully prosecuted Yesenia Sesmas who murdered Laura Abarca and kidnapped her baby. Sesmas was sentenced to 55 years in prison. Mr. Bennett was also successful in the prosecution of Corbin Breitenbach who sexually assaulted a seven year old girl. Bennett is a past board member and president of the Kansas County & District Attorneys Association (KCDAA) Board of Directors and is a current member of the Best Practices Committee of the KCDAA. 

Weilert began as a prosecutor in Municipal Court in Wichita in 1975. After a few months, he was hired by DA Vern Miller as an assistant district attorney. A few years later he went into private practice but later was hired by DA Nola Foulston in 1999. He left in 2005 to work at the National District Attorney’s Association. In 2009, Weilert rejoined the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office. For the last nine years, he has supervised the General Trial Division and has coordinated training and continuing education for all prosecutors in the office. 

Weilert, along with Assistant DA Jason Roach, helped Marc Bennett in the Sesmas trial which ended in July. 
Chief Attorney Tom Weilert received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Kansas County & District Attorneys Association conference.
District Attorney Marc Bennett named Prosecutor of the year by the Kansas County & District Attorneys Association.
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.235kelloggcentral.com and include:

  • All new ramps are open.
Projects in District 5
NovaChip Asphalt Overlays on select county roads
  • Construction expected through November
  • Roads open to traffic but expect delays

Bridge Construction on Pawnee both east and west of 143 rd St. East
  • Construction began October 22, 2018
  • Pawnee to be closed until Spring 2019
  • 143rd St. West to remain open
Sedgwick County Zoo Announces New Master Plan 
On Wednesday, October 3, Sedgwick County Zoo officials announced their new 25-year master plan for the #1 attraction in the State of Kansas. The public-private master plan includes an aquarium, an African savanna, an indoor water park, a hotel, and a restaurant among other improvements.

At the news conference, Chairman David Dennis said the master plan “demonstrates what we can do when we work together. When the public and the private sectors work together and understand how important our decisions today are to our citizens and to the future of our community."

For more details about the Zoo’s master plan, click on the photo above or visit www.scz.org .
First Reports of Flu in Sedgwick County 
Sedgwick County Division of Health (SCDOH) announces the first reports of influenza (flu) in the County. Although an increase in cases usually starts in December, now is the time to get your flu shot to protect yourself and your family. Flu vaccinations are recommended for anyone six months and older, unless otherwise directed by a physician. 

Symptoms of the flu start suddenly and include a fever that lasts three to four days, body aches, chills, tiredness, cough, and headache. The flu virus is spread from person-to-person by mouth droplets during talking, coughing, or sneezing. You can prevent the spread of flu with these simple steps: 

1.       Get a flu shot.
2.       Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
3.       Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
4.       Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
5.       Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest.
6.       Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
7.       Stay home if you become ill.

The SCDOH Clinic at 2716 W. Central provides free flu shots to uninsured adults age 19 and older and to children age 18 and younger with CHIP, Medicaid, Amerigroup, United Healthcare, or Sunflower. A sliding fee scale down to $2 may be applied for uninsured children age 18 and younger with proof of income. Call 316-660-7300 with questions. If you do not qualify for a SCDOH flu shot, visit your primary care physician or neighborhood pharmacy to receive one. Visit http://www.flu.gov/# for information about resources in your area. 
County Donates to USS Wichita Commissioning Committee 
Commissioners approved a funding agreement with the USS Wichita Commissioning Committee in the amount of $25,000. Funding would be used for the commissioning ceremony and to outfit the ship for the crew. The City of Wichita approved a similar agreement donating $25,000 for the ship and crew as well. 
Cast your Vote – General Election is Nov. 6 
The General Election is next week! If you choose to vote on Election Day, polling sites will be open on Nov. 6 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find out where your polling location is click here. Early voting will take place now through Nov. 5. Find early voting locations here
County Discusses Regional Transportation 
Commissioners and County leaders attended the Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force meeting on Oct. 18 where they discussed transportation priorities in the region. The afternoon session included an opportunity for local officials’ testimony. David Spears, Assistant County Manager, Public Works discussed top priorities for Sedgwick County including the North Junction transportation project and Northwest bypass, to name a few. 
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 Strategic Communications Director:
Van Williams, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 315, Wichita, KS 67203 
Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 315, Wichita, KS 67203