Vol. 3, Issue 10                                     October 2019
Vote with Passion
November is a very busy month with elections, holidays and a time to honor our nation’s veterans. The County Commission along with our Election Commissioner are working with the State to implement Senate Bill 130, which allows registered voters to vote at any of our locations on Election Day. We hope that the State can allow us to implement this during the 2020 elections. When you see your State Senators and Representatives, thank them for their support on this issue. Let them know that you want to be able to use the procedure they approved for the 2020 elections.
For this year's city and school election, if you vote on Election Day (Tuesday, November 5), I encourage you to vote in your assigned poll site. If you are unsure where that is, you can check the location here: https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do
If you vote anywhere other than your assigned poll site on Election Day this year, you will not be able to cast a regular ballot but you will have an opportunity to vote a provisional ballot. In that case, please know that any vote that does not pertain to where you live may not count and you may not have an opportunity to vote on every political race if you are not voting in your assigned poll site. 

The proverb “all politics is local” is most closely associated with former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. Although I was never a huge fan of O’Neill, I do think that quote is profoundly true.

I find it interesting that a general election is next Tuesday and yet it seems most people have no idea what is on the ballot or who is running for those positions. Is it just me or does political apathy seem more prevalent now?

I firmly believe these local elections have the greatest impact on our daily lives. For example, Sedgwick County focuses on things like public safety, emergency management, public health, mental health, etc. Local elected officials make decisions on how many police and firefighters we have. They determine how to create and maintain infrastructure and how to foster our next generation of local leaders. We should agree that issues such as these impact us every single day.

The syndicated news outlets are mostly just echo chambers; they all seem to say the same things over and over ad nauseam. When we focus on that sort of news, we might gain a little knowledge about the world around us. Nevertheless, is there really anything we can do to personally affect those stories? I pray for those situations and I vote religiously, but I feel mostly helpless and therefore somewhat apathetic to those national and world issues. 
Wouldn’t it be great if we could call the President on his cell phone and tell him what we think about an issue? I know that seems silly for obvious reasons but we can call the Mayor, City Councilmembers, School Board Members, State Representatives, State Senators and our County Commissioners. These local representatives are very available to hear us personally and they have the ability to make change.

Here are some sobering facts that illustrate local apathy:
  • Only about 66% of Derby-ites are registered to vote.
  • In 2015, the last election similar to this one, only 2,140 ballots were cast in the Mayor’s race. Also, unlike this year, all four of the council districts were contested.
  • Only 13% of registered voters (or 9% of our residents) selected the local leadership.

Looking back, I think a tremendous amount of business has come before our local representatives and the decisions they made have had a profound impact on our daily lives. If we really want to help steer our great city, now is our chance to learn about the candidates and vote with passion on November 5. 
Happy Halloween!
Going trick-or-treating? Stay safe with these helpful tips. 
Sheriff's Office Collaboration on School Bus Safety Led to 17 Drivers Cited
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Wichita Police Department, Maize Police Department, and Haysville Police Department collaborated on a special bus stop sign violations project, in Sedgwick County.

The enforcement took place during National School Bus Safety Week, October 21 through October 25. During the school bus safety campaign, deputies rode a school bus that had been designated as having the highest recorded violations on its route. Deputies assigned to a school bus communicated to law enforcement personnel positioned in the area. Law enforcement cited 17 drivers committing traffic violations during this project.

This project is a reminder for the public to be aware of school crossings and student drop off locations.  
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 on ramp and exit to North Broadway are both closed until construction of the ramps is completed.
  • 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.
  • Old Lawrence Road is closed under I-235 until at least November.
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). Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) is currently offering flu shots. Now is the time to be vaccinated as flu cases generally start to increase in October and November.

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 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.

There is no live virus in flu shots, and the vaccine cannot cause the flu. The SCHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a flu shot every year for anyone six months or older, unless directed by a physician. A flu shot can keep you from getting the flu, make symptoms less severe if you do become ill, and keep you from spreading the flu virus to your family and others, especially those unable to receive immunization.

To learn more about the flu, please visit www.flu.gov .
Exploration Place Announces New President
The Exploration Place Board of Directors and Sedgwick County announced that Adam E. Smith will be the science center’s new president effective Monday, Nov. 11. Smith has more than 25 years of experience in the museum field. He most recently served as Executive Director for Comic-Con Museum in San Diego, California.

“We are thrilled for Adam to lead Exploration Place into its 20th year of operation,” said Jeff Peier, Exploration Place Board Chair. “He is a true visionary and understands how to continue the museum’s momentum, keeping in mind its successful STEM-based educational programs, exhibits and events. Adam brings significant value on how to weave these programs into new areas including the ever-evolving technology realm – and how the museum will expand its workforce pipeline efforts for our community,” Peier said.

Before Comic-Con Museum, Smith served as Executive Vice President at Commemorative Air Force, the world’s largest flying museum. He led the organization’s move from Midland, Texas, to new headquarters in Dallas. The new museum location includes an Aviation Education Center and STEM innovation hangar, classrooms and exhibit space. Prior to that, Smith was senior vice president at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Frederick, Maryland.

Smith also spent 11 years as Museum Director and Vice President with the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he elevated its STEM-based learning, career development programming, distance learning and summer camps. Smith served with other museums as well, including National Museums of Scotland, Lower Methil Heritage Trust and Pendle Heritage Centre.

“Adam’s experience in the museum world and his interest in aviation made him an exceptional candidate,” said Commission Chairman David Dennis. “Through his leadership, I look forward to seeing Exploration Place continue to inspire the next generation through STEM learning.”

“I am truly honored to join Exploration Place and can appreciate the great amount of work that has gone into its successful STEM education programming,” said Smith. “I plan to continue this positive trajectory, working closely with the community – our county partners, board, staff, donors, members and all our museum’s stakeholders as we head into the milestone 20th year of operation,” he said. “This is an era of tremendous technological change and Exploration Place can play an important role in helping the community, especially its young people, to be well prepared for future opportunities and growth,” Smith said.

Smith earned a postgraduate diploma in museum and gallery studies (Awarded with Distinction) from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and a bachelor of arts degree in modern history (First Class Honors) from University of Leeds, England.

Originally from England, Smith has lived in the United States since 2001, but especially cherishes the time he was last in the Midwest, living in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for 11 years. Smith said when he visited Wichita during the interview process, he had the same sense of “coming home” as when he was in Oshkosh. “I felt those hometown values and strength of community. I’m looking forward to establishing roots once more in a central location of the country,” Smith said.
Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages interactive environments, hands-on experiences, Kansas’ largest domed theater – the Digital Dome Theater and Planetarium – imaginative spaces, and outdoor recreation, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in downtown Wichita, Kansas.
JROTC Leadership Week
Commissioners adopted a proclamation declaring November 9-15 as Wichita JROTC Leadership Week. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the program in Wichita.

The JROTC and leadership programs build citizenship and good character in our area youth. Today there are more than 2,400 Wichita youth participating as cadets in 18 public schools. This year is also the first time the organization has an all-female leadership corps.

The cadets invited Commissioners and County leaders to two upcoming events:
  • Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m., Thursday , November 7, at Century II
  • Veterans Day Parade at 11 a.m., Saturday, November 9, through downtown Wichita
Commission Adopts Policy for At-Large Board Appointments
In October, Sedgwick County Commissioners approved a new policy to bring more structure, public awareness, inclusion and transparency to at-large board appointments.

“This is a long-overdue change for Sedgwick County,” Chairman David Dennis said. “The intent of the policy is to help Commissioners make a more informed decision when considering at-large board positions.”

The policy provides more formality for at-large board appointments and clarifies how they are promoted, applied for, reviewed, and considered by the Board of County Commissioners. The policy aims to raise community awareness, encourage engagement, promote diversity, and ensure transparency for the appointment process. Commissioner Lacey Cruse requested the policy earlier this year. She wanted a greater number of applicants and for those appointed to reflect the demographics of the county.

“The boards that make up our community should actually reflect the people who live here,” Commissioner Lacey Cruse said. “By developing a formal policy and procedure, a transparent process for filling these positions, we are creating opportunities for everyone to navigate a system that is clear and easy to understand. I firmly believe we will see an increase in the pool of qualified candidates who are willing and capable of serving on these boards.”

The County has 30 boards and 66 at-large board appointments. Board appointees serve in an advisory role for Commissioners and other County officials.

The policy also requires the County to promote and track at-large board appointments at www.sedgwickcounty.org . That information will be implemented soon and more information about the at-large board appointment process will be forthcoming. 
U.S. Small Business Administration Recognizes County Efforts
Sedgwick County’s Purchasing Department and Director Joe Thomas were recognized in October for their vital partnership and collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“We sincerely appreciate the recognition of this great team,” said Chairman David Dennis.

Thomas is actively involved in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/ Women Business Enterprise consortium. The consortium allows area public partners such as Wichita Public Schools, City of Wichita, Wichita State University, and McConnell Air Force Base, to collaborate, share best practices and outreach to small business vendors.

“Partnership and collaboration are core values of the SBA, and we could not advance the agency’s mission without our community partners,” said SBA District Director Wayne Bell. “So today I’d like to recognize the Sedgwick County Purchasing Department and its leader Joe Thomas, Purchasing Director for their efforts.”

Under Thomas, the Purchasing Department is also an active co-sponsor of the SBA Suppliers Conference and provides expertise in the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program.

“The SBA programs have helped us get fair and equitable bids and allowed us to see the development of small vendors into pretty sizable ones,” said Thomas. “This award is more than me though; it’s given to the team behind the scenes.”

Through these efforts, the Purchasing Department is able to help support the SBA’s mission relative to the nation’s economy, by enabling the establishment and vitality of small businesses. The department operates under the Division of Finance, has eight employees, and works to acquire goods and services to support county departments –totaling approximately $150 million annually – for the best possible price, while being prudent with taxpayer dollars. It ensures that the purchasing process is open, fair, competitive, and provides opportunities for all interested vendors.
General Election is Fast Approaching
The General Election is Tuesday, November 5. 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, October 21 to Friday, November 1. Voters may also vote early from 8 a.m. until noon on Monday, November 4.

There will be 15 additional locations open for early voting.

Polls will be open on Election Day, November 5, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters may use a polling place locator to find their correct polling location if they choose to vote on Election Day.
County Officials Support Shred Event
Sedgwick County and the Better Business Bureau offered a no-cost shred event on Saturday, October 19, to help combat identity theft and achieve other goals. Identity theft and identity fraud refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.
Local elected officials were available to help collect documents from more than 700 cars. What a great turnout!
Spirit AeroSystems Celebrates New Facility at WSU Innovation Campus
Earlier this month, Commissioners and County leaders attended the grand opening of the Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. Research Collaboration Center on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus. The space is the training ground for researchers and provides great opportunity and economic growth in Wichita.
Veterans Day Discount Offered at Kansas Aviation Museum
In preparation for Veteran’s Day, the Kansas Aviation Museum would like to invite all Veterans and Active Military out to the museum at no cost between Sunday, November 10 to Saturday, November 16 during its normal business hours. Additional guests with any Veteran or Active Military visitor will receive the military discount off of their admission.

Hours for the Kansas Aviation Museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Please note the museum is closed on Mondays, including Monday, November 11, Veteran’s Day. 
Riverfront Legacy Master Plan
It's not too late to provide your feedback on the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan. Submit your thoughts here: www.riverfrontlegacywichita.org/contact .

Mark your calendar for these upcoming community engagement opportunities regarding the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan:
Public Open House
Thursday, November 14
6:30 p.m.
Coalition Meeting
Monday, November 25
4 p.m.
Wichita Community Foundation
Learn more about the project at www.riverfrontlegacywichita.org .
Time is Running Out to Use Bulky Waste Coupon
If you received a Bulky Waste Coupon over the summer, remember it must be used by Wednesday, November 20. 
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 Jim Howel l: 
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203